Tuesday, December 6, 2016

YES, YOUR VOTE COUNTS

We're going to dip our toes back into politics here for a quick minute, because I want to say something.

If you—or someone you know—ever says that their vote doesn't matter, and asks why they even bother, point them in the direction of this years Utah House of Representatives race.

LaVar Christensen won by five votes. Five.

You definitely know five people who spout that "My vote doesn't even matter!" bullshit, so do the rest of us a favor, look them straight in the eye and say "Yes it fucking does."

Listen, I get being disenchanted by the political system, but important races are being determined by as few as five votes. You can affect change—especially in your local races—but you have to vote, you have to vote on time, and you have to take it seriously.

LeVar Christensen was the sponsor of the bill banning same-sex marriage and he's one of the most conservative voices in Utah politics. And, guess what? He will be for the considerable future. If you want to complain about politics, that fine. If you want to bitch about policies that you don't like or don't agree with, I'm all for that. But to yell and scream about all of that while refusing to take an hour or two out of your day to vote? That drives me absolutely nuts.

Your voice does matter. You just have to actually use it properly.


RECOUNT CONFIRMS CHRISTENSEN'S WIN, STRETCHES MARGIN FROM THREE VOTES TO FIVE

A recount of election results in the hotly contested House District 32 race has not changed the outcome, as Republican Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, increased his margin of victory over Democrat Suzanne Harrison from three votes to five votes.

Attorneys for both candidates hovered over the count, monitoring the process closely as elections officials spent Monday re-tabulating more than 17,000 votes, feeding ballots through counting machines and scrutinizing dozens of ballots that had been disqualified or damaged.

Continue Reading....

Monday, December 5, 2016

THE COMEDOWN

What did I make it? Three days? Four?

Four days before I fell off. It wasn't intentional, but I just kind of forgot.

Saturday night, I went to see my friends band play at Urban Lounge, which isn't the best place for a small show. Bar shows are weird in general, because most people are there for the bar first and the band second, and that's not a concept that I ever dealt with in all my years of playing shows.

It made me (kind of) miss playing shows on a regular basis, but not enough to deal with all the other stuff that goes into being in a band full time. And by that I mean, finding a place to practice, coming to a compromise on what kind of stuff to play, figuring out and working around the schedules of three to four other people in their 30's with wives, families, full time jobs, etc.

Probably the biggest thing though is that I never really got as much out of being in a band compared to how much effort I put into them. The music should have just been enough, but there was so much other stuff that went with it, that I kind of soured on the whole thing. Maybe that will change.

I watched Dan, Matt, Chase and Drew play the other night and had a little urge to come out of retirement, but not a lot. Especially not to play at 10:30 at not even half-full bar. And the size of the crowd wasn't because of them. They've only played one other show, and it just seems that not as many people are interested in hardcore/punk anymore. All the kids are into EDM and DJ's and stuff like that. Probably because they're all on drugs.

But aside from that, Run Into The Sun is really good and you should listen to them. I'll make it easy for you.

With that, I'll hopefully be back tomorrow with more things to ramble about.

Friday, December 2, 2016

IT'S FRIDAY, IT'S 11:30, IT'S TIME TO PARTY...

I waited until the last possible minute to write this one. I've had a cold for the past few days, and this was the first day I felt like getting out of the house, so I ran some errands and then just drove around aimlessly listening to podcasts.

My next door neighbor/friend Danny is out of town for the month, and I've thought about pulling a George Costanza just to be out of my own apartment.


Luckily, Casey had a night off (which is what he calls a night when his wife doesn't have plans for the two of them), and the two of us went to see BAD SANTA 2.

Before I go any further, I'd just like to say that if there was anyone in this world that resembles (in life choices and behavior) George Costanza more than Casey, I don't know who it is. The resemblance to life situations is truly insane.

Anyway, BAD SANTA 2 is terrible. We both knew it would be, but weren't in the mood for something heavy/dramatic. We figured we'd get a couple of cheap laughs and call it a night. We each laughed exactly one time.  It's just boring, and mean-spirited. The first one was mean-spirited, but it had charm to go along with it. Not this time.

Before I left though, I spent two full hours playing Dr. Mario on the little NES Classic that just came out. I got it about a month ago, and have been getting pretty good at it (there's also 29 other games built in, but I honestly don't care about any of them). For some reason though, it took me until today to realize that I could turn off the music on the game and just listen to Spotify instead. It was much better. I also found a playlist that I made back when I was writing boring web content at Clearlink, so most of the songs remind me of HVAC systems and asphalt paving companies, but they're still good.

That's about it. Like I said, my life is boring as shit, but I'm forcing myself to write every single day, so this will have to do. Thanks for sticking with me. Here's a treat for you. Hopefully they remind you of something other than a cubicle and plumbing companies that start with the letter "A" because the phone book was super important at one point in time.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

HALF-ASSED REVIEWS

The only upside (for me, at least) about winter is that I finally get caught up on a ton of movies that I missed earlier in the year.

As I've written about before, I used to go to movies at least once a week—sometimes even more. But slowly, as my friends got married and had children, the Sunday movie group got smaller and smaller until it didn't exist at all. Now everyone sees movies when they can get a babysitter, when it comes on iTunes, or shows up on HBO. Granted, that's how I catch most movies these days, too. A few times a month, I'll catch a matinee or late show on my own though.

Side note here: If anyone ever tells you it's weird to go to movies alone, don't listen to them. It's awesome. I have a friend who thinks this and I just ignore him, but seriously, don't let anyone shame you for doing this. It's awesome. You don't have to share popcorn or anything.

I've got a shelf full of Criterion DVD's that I plan to work through this winter, but we'll get to those later.

This week alone I've caught three movies. Two of them I've wanted to see for a while and one just came out.

HELL OR HIGH WATER - I love a good bank robber movie and this was the best one I've seen in a long time. Jeff Bridges is in it as the near-retirement sheriff of a small West Texas town, and the two main bank robbing characters are my Hollywood doppelgänger Ben Foster*, and a guy I wish was my Hollywood doppelgänger Chris Pine. This is a lean, really well made movie and I loved every minute of it. Foster, Pine, and Bridges are all great in it and it's just the kind of movie I've been missing lately. It's one story, told really well, end to end. There's no need for a sequel, there's no reason to try and wring a prequel out of it, and it has no business as a full season TV show. It's in and out in 110 minutes. It's great.

*I went to a Halloween Party at a bar this year, but didn't have a costume put together, so I just wore my normal clothes and two people asked if I was dressed as Ben Foster from ALPHA DOG. TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE!)

COP CAR - I tried to catch this at Sundance a few years ago but couldn't get in, then kind of forgot about it. Then it was announced that the director, Jon Watts, would be helming the new Marvel version of SPIDER-MAN and remembered I wanted to see it. Then I forgot about it until I was browsing HBO and saw it on there. This is another example of a tight little thriller that had just as much story as time they told it in. Two kids find an abandoned cop car in the woods as they're running away from home, find the keys and take it for a joyride. Only problem is that it belongs to the corrupt sheriff who desperately wants it back. This movie, much like HELL OR HIGH WATER, has a somewhat ambiguous ending. I liked HELL OR HIGH WATER's ending more. This one could have benefitted from being a few minutes longer, but it was still really fun, and Shea Wigham should be in more things. Hell, put him in all the things. I won't complain.

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN - I knew nothing about this movie until is was released last week, then I watched a trailer and decided to see it ASAP. I've always loved awkward high school stories—like most John Hughes movies, ELECTION, EASY A, etc.—so this looked right up my alley. It stars Hailee Steinfeld, who was in the Coen Brother's TRUE GRIT (and a bunch of other movies I haven't seen, and is apparently also a pop star), as a girl whose only friend starts dating her older brother, and the terrible choices she makes while dealing with that. Woody Harrelson, who is always great, is also in it as her favorite teacher at school. It's not an amazing movie by any means, but it was damn entertaining.

I suggest you see all of these if you have time. Good stuff.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT

It's hard being vegan.

Okay, that's actually a blatant lie. It's not hard. At all.

Especially now. It was hard way back in 1998 when I started being vegan, when Long Life Veggie House and Evergreen were the only two vegan restaurants, no one knew anything about healthy eating, and there was no Whole Foods (or even a Wild Oats, for that matter) in Salt Lake. THEN it was hard to be vegan.

Now? Not so much.

The only hard part about it is finding good vegan shoes. That's a pain in the ass. Sure there are places online that sell 100% vegan shoes, but I hate ordering online because all shoes are different, and I might be anywhere between a 9 and a 10.5. It's frustrating. I know you can exchange online purchases, but I really hate doing that. I'd much rather just get it right at a store and be done with it. Unfortunatley, that's not really an option most of the time.

However, yesterday I overcame my fear of ordering shoes online because I found this really awesome pair that Adam Horovitz (Ad Rock) helped design. They're totally vegan, supposedly warm (which, in snow-covered Salt Lake from November through March, I desperately need), and best of all, for a good cause.

Keep x Ad Rock
Ever since the election, I've been trying to help out where I can, and somewhere that's going to need a lot of help over the next little while is Planned Parenthood. Horovitz and Keep (the company that's producing the shoe) are donating the proceeds from the sale to Planned Parenthood, and I'm all about it.

The downside here is that these are pre-orders, and they're expected to ship in "late February" which we all know probably means March or April, which probably means I'll be waiting until winter of 2017 to see if they actually keep my feet warm and dry during the winter.

Mostly I'm just happy that Horovitz is doing something productive and beneficial right now. I liked the Beastie Boys, but never loved them. I can't say I miss them, either. I think it's hard to be a rapper or a punk rocker when you get older, because I know you're full of shit if you talk about struggling.

Rap is especially hard in that area. The up-and-coming rappers are always the best because they're trying to make it. Once you know they've made it, none of it feels authentic anymore. That's why rock music sustains. It's easier to be authentic, but it's boring and safe authenticity. Rap, punk, hardcore—they're all different. You need that chip on your shoulder, and need to be struggling against the current. When what you're doing becomes the current, it's over.

The best rappers get rich and famous much quicker now, punk bands are the new dad-rock bands, and hardcore died when Jamie Jasta brought back Headbanger's Ball and MTV saw a revenue stream in it.

The Beastie Boys were a small part of all of those things. Plus, as time went on, they just became rich white guys. It's hard to rail against a system that was set up specifically to benefit them.

That's why I'm glad that Horovitz is using what he has and putting his might behind these shoes.

I just hope they keep my feet warm next winter.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

THE NEW STYLE...

Hi.

First off, I just want to thank anyone that checked out the voting guide I published earlier this month (or maybe it was late October), or shared it, or commented on it, or used it while filling out your ballot. I really appreciate it, and hope that it gave you a little better understanding of who was running for office.

Unfortunately, the good guys didn't have much luck in this past election. If you're as disheartened as I am with the way things turned out on November 8th (locally and to a much larger extent, nationally), I really hope you see how learning about politics is a good thing, and voting is an even better thing.

The most important thing though, is to never give up. Things are going to be rough for the next little while, which is why it's important to help out where you can, and when you can. There are a lot of people in far worse situations than you might be, and they may need your support. Keep your eyes open, and pitch it when and where you can.

Second, I don't have a job anymore.

Don't be alarmed. I didn't get laid off, or fired, so don't worry. I went back to serving earlier this year, after the cafe I managed closed down, but I hit a wall and needed a break. So now that I'm on sabbatical (or FUN-employment, as I like to say), I've got a few things I'm trying to accomplish—goals, if you will.

My main goal is to get back in the habit of writing, and that's where this comes in. I want to try and write a little bit every day, and the easiest way to do that is to use this. If you thought this blog was at all interesting before, you still might. If you never did and thought it was a waste of time, you definitely still will.

The way this is going to work is that I'll pick one thing and write about it. It could literally be anything that caught my attention that morning, the day before, whatever. Maybe it'll be a movie or a TV show I watched and I'll just rant/rave about it for a minute. Maybe it'll be a news story that I have a few comments on. Maybe it'll be a video I found doing research for another project, and I just need a place to gather some thoughts on it. They won't be very long, they may not be very funny or all that informative, but it will be content that you can use to pass the time.

Basically, this is a roundabout way of warning you that you're reading a blog. It's like a stay-at-home-parent blog without complaining about diapers or whatever gets written about on those.

If you never visit again, I won't be mad. If you do stick around, let me know, leave comments, whatever you want. Let's have some fun.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION

It's almost over. Don't worry. Just a few weeks left.

This election cycle has been a nightmare on all fronts, and we're probably all ready to just be done with it and move on. But before we can do that, it's time to actually vote.

There's one little problem with that though: No one knows who any of these people are.

We've been bombarded with so many stories regarding the two presidential candidates, that pretty much every single other race has been deemed irrelevant. I've seen a lot of people online asking who's on their ballot, what they stand for, and if any of the candidates are actually deserving of a vote.

That's where I come in!

Listen, change in government doesn't start from the top down. It just can't. Obama (I think it was Obama, anyway) described the government as a giant boat that can't turn on a dime, and takes a lot of people to actually move it in the correct direction. That starts with the politicians running for office in your hometown. Real change has to start at the local level, which is why local politics and local elections are sometimes FAR more important than national ones.

I'm going to break down each local election and give you some facts (and a few opinions) about each candidate. It won't be as heavily researched as we'd all like because I have other things going on in my life, but it's at least a start. A lot of this is just me collecting my thoughts as I go through the nominees, it's not going to be the same for everyone.

A couple of things here:
1) This is only for elections in Utah and Salt Lake City. I live here. I have no idea what's going on in Provo. That's on you. All the categories and candidates below are the ones that appear on my ballot. I live in downtown Salt Lake City, so these should apply to most of the people reading this. All 15 of you, if I'm being optimistic.

2) I probably disagree with 95% of Republicans, and that's a generous number. While I'm not registered as such, I lean very heavily Democrat, so some of these things may be a bit (read: heavily) biased—especially when it comes to things like the NRA (fuck those guys), Women's Rights (Planned Parenthood all the way), LGBTQ Equality (common sense, and if you're not on board, leave now), #BlackLivesMatter (10,000x yes, if you have a different opinion, go somewhere else), etc.

3) If you don't like that last part, start your own blog. It's not hard. Or just go do your own research. You don't need to read this.

That said, I provided a ton of links to candidates pages, articles, and other sites with information and I do encourage you to do your own research (I've seen a few people complaining that the personal commentary on my blog contains too many of my own opinions. No really. That's been a thing.) and come to your own conclusions. But if you want to cheat off my homework here instead, I'm all for that, since it means more votes against the GOP.

4) R - Republican
    D - Democrat
    LIB - Libertarian
    IAP - Independent American Party
    CON - Constitution Party

5) Edited to add: Before you continue, read numbers 2 and 3 again.

PRESIDENT

Listen, you know who you're voting for here. Nothing I say will change your decision. If you still haven't made up your mind this late in the game though, just please don't vote for the guy running a white nationalist campaign, who was endorsed by the KKK's official newspaper.

Moving on.

GOVERNOR
Gary Herbert - (R)
Mike Weinholtz - (D)
"Super" Dell Schanze (IAP)
Brian Kamerath - (LIB)

Utah hasn't had a Democrat as a Governor since 1985. The closest we got was Jon Huntsman a few years ago. Huntsman actually started to undo some of the dumb laws Republicans had put in place, but he left for a job in the Obama administration, Gary Herbert took over and immediately started undoing any progress Huntsman made.

The Gist

Herbert: He is the epitome of Utah politicians, which should tell you just about everything you need to know, because you either like them or you don't. Herbert is very staunchly LDS and tries to push laws through that reflect his faith. He's a HUGE fan of the Zion curtain, which states that restaurants have to have a divider so children can't see alcohol being poured. The new Eccles Center Theatre has to install a ceiling over the bar, because you can see down from the top floor and witness evil alcohol being poured into a glass. Listen, I'm still way straight edge and even I think the alcohol laws in Utah are some of the dumbest ideas ever committed to paper. Herbert also hates LGBTQ progress. Every time something happens that gives gay people a hint of equality, he throws a tantrum and tries to stop it from happening. He's a rich, old, Mormon guy who only wants to make things better for his friends and family. If you're not part of the church or his immediate family, he doesn't care about you. At all.

The only bright spot in Herbert's administration is Spencer J. Cox, who is also way Mormon, but at least he seems like he might be able to pretend to respect someone that isn't of the same faith. The problem is that he's not in charge and never actually will be.

Weinholtz: This is my guy. I just like everything he stands for. He wants to boost education starting with K-12 pupil funding (in which Utah is dead last), he supports women's right to choose, he's pro-legalizing marijuana (and again, even though I'm way sXe, this is a no-brainer), and he wants to do something about the air quality in Utah (something that Herbert just continues to pretend isn't a real problem). He's just a sensible guy who seems like he actually cares about bettering Utah for the all the people that live here, instead of those that live here and belong to a church.

Schanze: Nah. This guy is nuts.

Kamerath: Listen, I like the general idea of the Libertarian party, but most of the politicians running under the Libertarian banner are just failed Republicans trying to impose their beliefs in a new party. Kamerath doesn't sound quite like that, but for all his talk about letting people live their lives without interference, his site doesn't mention anything about women's rights or LGBTQ equality, and has even avoided a few questions about these topics.

Verdict: I'm with Mike all the way. I like the cut of this guy's jib. I don't think he stands much of a chance, but a guy can hope.

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE (District 2)
Charlene Albarran - (D)
Chris Stewart - (R) (incumbent)
Paul J. McCollaum Jr. - (Con)

Chris Stewart was elected to this position in 2012, and he's been pretty quiet for most of the time—especially when you consider the other state reps are Jason Chaffetz, Mia Love, and Bob Bishop. He's up for re-election against a newcomer to politics, Democrat Charlene Albarran (and also Paul J. McCollaum Jr., who represents the Constitution party, so I won't even waste space on that one)

The Tribune did a nice breakdown of their debate earlier in October here.

The Gist

Stewart: His slogan is "Honor, duty, service to God, family and country" which should tell you right away that he leans heavily on his faith when making decisions. He opposes all gun regulations (received a $6,000 contribution from the NRA), relies on the "I have daughters" trope when asked about violence towards women, but apparently voted against a national bill on that topic because he feels it needs to be done at the state level (where he's done nothing about it). Believes climate change is real, but doesn't believe scientists when they say how real. He's typically Republican on the subject of immigration. Referred to Donald Trump as a "modern-day Mussolini" then promptly endorsed him. Rolled with him all the way until he made the "grab them by the pussy" comment, then called for him to drop out. Hasn't said who he supports since, so it's probably still Trump.

Albarran: Born in Idaho, owns a million dollar home in Park City, lives in an apartment in SLC so she could run for office. Opposes abortion, but admits it's a moral choice. Says nothing more. Supports gun rights, but wants regulations. Wants immigration reform, citing it hasn't been updated since the 80's. Believes in climate change and wants to push for clean air.

Verdict: Albarran sounds a little bit like a Republican that leans a little too Democrat for Utah, so she's just pretending to be one. Her campaign also sends me texts asking for her vote every once in a while. I have no idea how they got my number, but I don't get many texts these days, so it's nice to be noticed. I'll probably vote for her because she sounds a little more rational, and doesn't mention God on her website, whereas it's front and center in Stewart's slogan.

U.S. SENATE
Misty Snow - (D)
Mike Lee - (R) (incumbent)
Bill Barron - (unaffiliated)
Stoney Fonua - (IAP)

Lee was elected to office in 2011, and like most senators, hasn't had much competition since then.

The Gist

Mike Lee: Lee doesn't think that LGBTQ people are "subject to widespread discrimination" and according to Q Salt Lake, "is also a cosponsor of legislation that would allow child welfare organizations, including adoption and foster care providers, to make placement determinations based on the organization’s 'religious beliefs or moral convictions' regardless of the needs of the child." He's very much pro-life and can only think about women in the context of them being his mother, wife, sister, or daughter—but not as an individual. He made that abundantly clear when he dressed down Trump in a cute little video urging him to step aside. His best friend is spineless, groveling hack Ted Cruz who came crawling back to shill for Trump right after he heard that Lee would be on Trump's shortlist for SCOTUS (side note, if you've read this entire paragraph, you can see that Lee would be horrible for this position). His website is surprisingly light on things he actually stands for, and it's very hard to pin him down on any particular issue. In other words, he's a typical Utah Republican politician.

Misty Snow: The biggest thing she has going for her is that she's NOT Mike Lee. She's brand new to politics, having only worked at a grocery store for most of her adult life, but that's a good thing. She hasn't become blinded by special interest groups or jaded by the government process yet. Much like Mike Weinholtz, she's for a lot of things that scare the majority of Utah natives, but are just common sense to everyone else. She and Lee had a pleasant debate, and she probably has no chance, but it's a start.

Barron: He's running a single-issue campaign focused solely on bringing attention to climate change, which is admirable. Unfortunately, the majority of Utah doesn't believe in climate change. The more attention to this subject the better, because it needs to be addressed and I encourage everyone to read his website and spread the information around.

Fonua: This feels more like a statement campaign than anything. He's running as a Peacemaker candidate, and he's WAY into God and isn't as skilled at avoiding questions as other politicians.

Verdict: I'm with Misty Snow even if it's a long shot. Anything to help start showing people that there's an option that isn't an old white Mormon guy.

State Attorney General 
Sean D. Reyes - (R) (incumbent)
Michael W. Isbell - (IAP)
Jon V. Harper - (D)
W. Andrew McCullough - (LIB)

Let's get right to the biggest question: What does an Attorney General do? I'll let the people at Ballotpedia (where I got a lot of great information for this) fill you in.

"As the chief legal officer of the states, commonwealths and territories of the United States, the attorneys general serve as counselors to their legislatures and state agencies and also as the 'People's Lawyer' for all citizens.

While varying from one jurisdiction to the next due to statutory and constitutional mandates, typical powers of the attorneys general include the authority to issue formal opinions to state agencies; act as public advocates in areas such as child support enforcement, consumer protections, antitrust and utility regulation; propose legislation; enforce federal and state environmental laws; represent the state and state agencies before the state and federal courts; handle criminal appeals and serious statewide criminal prosecutions; institute civil suits on behalf of the state; represent the public's interests in charitable trust and solicitations; and operate victim compensation programs."

Ideally, since this is a position based on law and being an actual attorney, political affiliation shouldn't matter. On the other hand, this is Utah.

Reyes: He was appointed by Governor Herbert after the resignation of previous AG John Swallow (who was then arrested along with his predecessor Mark Shurtleff, both on corruption charges). This kind of tells me that the AG office is a mess and just needs some fresh, non-Republican blood. Reyes, by all accounts is a nice guy, but I don't trust anyone appointed by Herbert.

Harper: Apparently, Harper has withdrawn from the race citing "health issues." It was too late to remove him from the ballot, so he's hoping that everyone still votes for him, because if he wins the Democratic party will be able to choose his replacement.

Isbell: He's running as an Independent American, and he's a big fan of Facebook memes, which is not something I'm impressed by in a person, much less a political candidate.

McCullough: I stand by what I said about Libertarians above, but this guys seems to have some common sense, and I feel like Libertarian views aren't as prominent in practicing law. I could be wrong though.

Verdict: Well shit, I guess McCullough? The Utah AG office has been full of corruption for going on 15 years with Shurtleff and Swallow in charge, and I feel that Reyes is just an extension of them. Harper dropping out is troublesome because I don't trust the Democrats to do just pick someone after they win. I don't trust a guy whose Facebook is littered with shitty memes, either. This is a hard one. If you know any good lawyers that should run in a few years, tell them to start prepping.

State Auditor
John Dougall - (R) (incumbent)
Mike Mitchell - (D)
Jaren Green - (IAP)

Again, from Ballotpedia: "The Utah State Auditor is an elected position in the Utah state government. The auditor is the chief watchdog for the state, providing independent audits of Utah's state and local governments. The auditor operates independently of any executive or administrative officers of the state. The position of state auditor is mandated in the Utah constitution and has existed continuously since the state was founded in 1896."

Verdict: Honestly, I can't find a lot to say about this race. I feel like an auditor should be pretty bipartisan, and none of these candidates have more than a Facebook that never gets used. One thing I will say is that Utah hasn't had a non-Republican auditor since like 1969, which is par for the course in Utah, so it's time for a change. I'll probably vote for Mitchell, since the IAP is super into the NRA.

State Treasurer
David Damschen - (R) (incumbent)
Neil Hansen - (D)
Richard Proctor - (Con)

Also from Ballotpedia: "The Treasurer of Utah is an elected executive position in the Utah state government. The treasurer is the state's chief financial officer, responsible for the management of taxpayer dollars. As the custodian of public money and the central bank for state agencies, the treasurer oversees the collection, safeguarding, investment and disbursement of state funds."

Verdict: Much like the office of Auditor, I'm kind of at a loss for this one. Damschen, who currently holds the office, was appointed by Governor Herbert, which is a strike against him (for me, anyway). No Democrat has held this office since 1981, which isn't surprising. The Constitution Party was founded by Republicans and mentions scriptures a lot in their descriptions, so they lost me almost immediately. Hansen is my guy here.

County Mayor
Ben McAdams - (D) (incumbent)
Dave Robinson - (R)

Verdict: McAdams has been fine. Pretty low profile for his entire tenure so far. I'll go with him, since I'm of the mind that the fewer Republicans in charge in Utah, the better.

County Council At-Large B
Catherine Kanter - (D)
Richard Snelgrove - (R) (Incumbent)

Verdict: Much like every other race that has a Republican incumbent, I'm inclined to go with literally anyone else. Since he's already in office, Snelgrove doesn't maintain much web presence beyond his official government page. Kanter has a pretty good listing of what she's for and I agree with a lot of it.


Board of Education District 7 
Carol Barlow-Lear
Shelly Teuscher

Verdict: In what should be a pretty straight-forward nonpartisan race, I'm leaning towards Carol Lear. Mostly because her website was working when I wrote this, so I was actually able to see what she stands for. Teuscher's wouldn't load and her Facebook profile was pretty barren of information.

Judges
This is the category that always gets me when I'm in the voting booth. I'm always inclined to vote that they shouldn't be retained, just because there are too many judges that are just terrible, and they get worse the longer they serve. Some of them are good, but having never had to stand in front of one, I don't have any first-hand experience. You can read a bio of all of them on the Utah Courts website (here, here, and here) but it's really difficult to find information on any of their rulings unless it's a high-profile case. You can, however, consult the Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission Guide to find out a little bit more. I did some cursory internet searching to see what I could find. Again, as we get to this part, remember, this is a personal blog, so if you don't agree with me, do your own research and come to your own conclusions about these people.

Paul Boyd Parker - Registered as a Republican, so there's that. He's one of only two judges whose party affiliation popped up immediately when I Googled their name. He was a Vernal police officer from 1978 - 1985, and he was appointed by Governor Herbert in 2013.

Kimberly Kay Hornak - She's been on the bench since 1994 when Mike Leavitt appointed her.

Randall N. Skanchy - Specializes in Civil and Environmental law. Went to Weber St. and BYU. He handles drug possession and trafficking cases.

James T. Blanch - Appointed in 2012 by Governor Herbert. He sentenced a guy to the maximum term, then suspended it in favor of probation, because his sons were running a drug lab in their home, for making "dabs" which, I guess means extracting cannabis from weed. Kids these days.

Mark S. Kouris - He used to be a bigwig at Proctor & Gamble, (which as a guy that's been vegan for nearly 20 years, means he's one of the bad guys). After that, he worked as the assistant DA where he prosecuted gang felonies (I have no proof, but this was probably around the time everyone in Salt Lake thought being straight edge should be classified as gang activity, which was and still is, dumb). Last year, there was a lawsuit filed against him for bias and abuse of office.

Renee M. Jimenez - She was appointed in 2013 to the Juvenile Court by Gov. Herbert.

Robert P. Faust - He's basically been a lifelong lawyer and was appointed in 2007 by Jon Huntsman.

Vernice S. Trease - She's been a lifelong lawyer, appointed by Jon Huntsman in 2006. She worked as a lawyer for Salt Lake County before that.

Su J Chon - The Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee of Utah voted 7 - 2 against retaining Judge Su in the election, according to Fox 13 News, so there's that. She's the only one that didn't get a perfect 12 - 0 in favor of retainment.

James R. Michie Jr. - He was appointed to the Juvenile Courts in 2006 by Jon Huntsman.

Mark W. May - Presiding judge of the Juvenile Court appointed by Huntsman in 2007. He's been dealing with juvenile cases most of his professional life.

Bruce C. Lubeck - Lubeck has been on the bench since 2001, before that he had been the assistant U.S. Attorney since 1981, and a public defender before that even. Lots of experience there.

Barry G. Lawrence - Graduated with a degree in Biology from Cornell (Andy Bernard does an awkward fist-pump), so he's rooted in science, which is good. He moved to Utah and worked as a lawyer for 12 years before joining Mark Shurtleff's Attorney General office. Remember, Shurtleff and his successor were both arrested for corruption. This doesn't mean Lubeck was involved, but he was there.

John L. Baxter - Baxter has been on the bench since 2002. He presides over the Veteran's and Homeless Courts, and before that he volunteered as a lawyer for the homeless. He's a certified Tat Daddy, and was featured in this City Weekly cover story from a few years ago.

Clinton E. Balmforth - He's been practicing law since 1968, and is an instructor for Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training.

Jeanne M. Robison - She's been on the bench since 2005, and worked as an assistant city prosecutor for 10 years before that. Nothing of note pops up when you type her name into Google.

Shauna Graves-Robertson - One of the few people of color—and definitely the only African-American—I've seen out of everyone on the ballot. Graduated from Arizona State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, and been serving since 1999, and is currently the presiding judge in Salt Lake County. The only notable thing I saw during a Google search is that she sentenced a rancher to a small fine and service for negligence, after 10 of his horses died of malnourishment. The rancher had hired someone to care for them, the same person he'd hired many times over several years, and they died in his care. I'm way into vegan power and this is probably the correct decision.

L.G. Cutler - Served since 2004, and before that, specialized in providing legal representation to indigent children, parents, and families in juvenile court, and is also well versed in domestic law. His name pops up as the ruling judge in a lot of cases that warranted news coverage earlier in the decade.

Scott J. Mickelsen - Been serving since 2012, and before that he spent 36 years as a Sheriff's Deputy, and is a graduate of the FBI Academy. He's registered as a Republican, and his wife, Enid Greene Mickelsen (formerly Waldholtz), has a long history in Utah politics and was recently appointed by RNC Chair Reince Priebus as chair of the 2016 Republican Convention Rules Committee. So he's half of a pretty prominent Republican power couple. Also, there's the cop thing. That's the one that worries me the most.

Sydney Magid - She was appointed in 2004. She earned a degree in mass communications before attending law school. She currently serves on the Justice Court Judges Education Curriculum Subcommittee. She's mentioned in this City Weekly story about judges being dicks to people.

Constitutional Amendments

I'm just going to give you the link to our friends over at Ballotpedia again for these, because I can't believe that we have to spend time on a couple of these. You can find more info on what will be on other ballots in this KSL story, too.

Constitutional Amendment A

Constitutional Amendment B

Constitutional Amendment C

A Few Notes...

He's not on my ballot, but if Jason Christensen is on your ballot, don't vote for that guy. He's the one that went on Facebook and mocked a gay teenager for killing himself. Don't ever let that guy forget that he's a piece of shit. Read more about that if you want to.

Greg Hughes, the Utah Speaker of the House, is up for re-election this year, too. He's been pro-Trump since the beginning and still rides with him, even after he's revealed himself to be the garbage human we all knew he was. I guess sexual assault and "grabbing them by the pussies" lines up with Hughes' good Mormon values. Vote against him if you can.

And with that, I think we're done! I spent a lot of time reading about old, white, Mormons for you, so the least you can do is vote. Get to it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

STREAM SOME OLD SLCHC


Every once in a while, someone will contact me (via text, FB message, Tumblr, email, etc.) to ask why Cherem or Tamerlane isn't on Spotify, and my answer is usually just a shrug followed by "I don't know."

When we recorded all that stuff, streaming services weren't a thing and most people still only wanted CD's. By the time the tide had fully shifted to digital, those bands had been dormant or dead for a while. I also don't think any of us knew how to get that stuff up on those sites, and it was a pretty low priority.

Last weekend, I found a site that basically did all the hard work for me. I spent a couple of hours putting everything that I had together and opened an Old News Records digital account. The plan I signed up for lets me have unlimited songs from 5 bands, and it spreads them across basically every digital/streaming site online. It took a few days to process (and a few of the sites are still processing them) but for the most part, they're up on iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, and Spotify. Everything else like Tidal, Amazon, YouTube, Microsoft Groove, shouldn't be far behind. There are a few others that I've never heard of, but those aren't far behind either.

As of right now, you can stream everything that Cherem, Tamerlane, 78 Days After Death, Opened Up, and City to City ever recorded.

My original plan was to put up every old SLCHC band, but that was way more money than I wanted to spend. The plans come in tiers, and the first tier allowed for 5 bands so I chose the ones that I had a part in.

I'm not trying to make money off of this stuff, but in the off chance that someone actually buys any of these albums on iTunes (or streams the songs enough times that a little money is dropped into my account) I'll just use that to upgrade and add more stuff. There are tons of other bands like Dogwelder, Up River, Skeiff D'Bargg, and Pushing Up Daisies, that would be fun to add, but for now you've got these.

There are still a few kinks that I'm trying to work out—like the City to City and Tamerlane albums showing up under another artists page. Shockingly, there were other bands with those same names that beat us to these places, so they technically have claim to them. I've requested they be separated, but we'll see what happens.

To get things started, I made a Spotify playlist with everything that I uploaded on it to get you started. So there you go. If there are any issues that you come across, let me know. I haven't checked everything for quality, but everything should be fine. If it's not, email me at trevorhale@gmail.com and I'll look into it. But for now, enjoy a little bit of what the Salt Lake City Hardcore Scene looked like between 2000 and 2010.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

REMEMBER ME?


Hi. Do you even remember me? You might not. That's okay. It's been a while.

It's me—Trevor Hale. I'm the guy that runs this blog. Or ran this blog. Or rambled in mildly coherent sentences into the vast nothingness that is the Internet.

It's one of those things. That's not important now. What is important is that I'm back—for a minute at least. There's a whole other post that could be written about how "lifestyle" and "fashion" blogs kind of ruined my desire to write anything, but more than that, I just haven't felt like writing in a while.

That last line is the most depressing part for me. Sure, there were people that checked this site regularly, there were others that stumbled across it, and there were even more that had no idea it even existed. I never felt like I was doing anything worth sharing and I hadn't been that plugged in to the side of the Internet that used to make this site fun. There was nothing for me to tell you about, and even less for you to hear from me.

Maybe that will change. I don't know. We'll see.

What I do know is that Craft Lake City was this past weekend and that's the real reason I'm posting. Before you get too excited, I'll admit that I didn't make anything new this year. I still had a bunch of HP Tank Tops, Long Live Sloan t-shirts, and copies of Tulip, but I didn't have the time to put my energy into a new project this summer.

But I did find some time to throw together a couple of smaller things.

Hilarious jokes and personal stamp of approval
I made some mixtapes. Actual mixtapes. I bought blank cassettes, sat in front of a stereo, and curated two 90-minute playlists that maybe 8 people will enjoy—really staying true to the spirit of everything else that I do.

The first mix is called Alternative Nation. It's basically the same as the playlist I wrote about in The Secret History of Trevor Hale, with a few minor changes. The theme of that tape was to showcase all the songs that I would have recorded off the radio when I was in junior high/early high school around 1995. There are a few key omissions there, because 15-year-old me would have most definitely had Blues Traveler and Hootie & The Blowfish on there, but 34-year-old me is trying to stay cool and keep a little street cred. My only huge regret here is that I forgot to include Alice In Chains in favor of a few much less important bands. That's the thing about a cassette tape though—once you're out of space, you're out of space.

The second tape is Teenage Wasteland, and it's a collection of all the punk songs I got into a little bit later. I ran into the same problem here, too. I have several bands twice (like Millencolin!) a Dwarves song and Wizo, but completely forgot NOFX. It's been eating at me for days.

I made 5 copies of each tape, wrote out the tracklist on the insert and wrapped them in an appropriate cover. I didn't let anyone see what was on the tape before they bought it, and I think that made it more fun. I only sold a couple of each of them, because no one actually owns a cassette player anymore.

But I worked hard on these tapes and a few people mentioned that I should make them into Spotify playlists, so I did just that. I've embedded them below, or you can follow them on there if you want to.

That's really about it. Maybe I'll be back sooner than later with more stuff, but no promises. If you miss me, I'm all over the rest of the Internet, with a really boring username (that stays true and strengthens my personal brand, though) . Come find me, say hi, favorite some stuff, like some things, send me cool DM's, do what you want. It's the Internet. There aren't any rules, so act out.

Until next time...

Twitter - @trevorhale
Instagram - @trevorhale
Snapchat - @trevorhale
Facebook
LinkedIn - Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. (I actually do have one, but it's for professional shorties only).

Teenage Wasteland


Alternative Nation

Monday, December 8, 2014

TOP 5 ALBUMS OF 2014

I wrote a little bit for SLUG Magazine again this year, which means I got to be a part of their annual Top 5 Albums issue (on news stands right now!) that they do every December. The main problem with this, as I laid out last year, is that since it's a monthly publication and they have so many freelancers, is that you have to submit your list super early. I think this was due right around the beginning of October, which means that there were a couple of albums released afterwards that I definitely would have added instead.

There were also a few that I just hadn't listened to

My Top 5 for this year (according to SLUG) were:

St. Vincent - S/T
Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden
Mobb Deep - The Infamous Mobb Deep
Patton Oswalt - Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time

The first two are still on there, 100%. St. Vincent is my favorite record of this year by far, and it doesn't hurt that I have a little crush on Annie Clark—especially after her performance with Nirvana.



Against Me!, even though I'm still mad at their tour manager for being a complete dick to me in 2004 when I booked a show for them, put out a great punk/rock record that I listen to regularly as well.

The other three, I could go either way on.

Since then I've been really into the new Death From Above 1979 album, "The Physical World", and seeing them live a few weeks ago only increased my love of it. Same goes for the new Run The Jewels record—who I actually saw live three days before DFA. That was a good week. I'd probably put both of those on there, and take two of the bottom three off.



Hell, I may just remove the bottom three altogether and give Run the Jewels two spots. But I'm not sure. There's still 3 weeks left in the year.

Also, holy shit, there's only three weeks left in the year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

FUCK THE POLICE

As told by...

N.W.A


Bruce Springsteen


Black Flag


KRS One


Bob Dylan



Monday, December 1, 2014

OLD NEWS RECORDS

I don't really know how this Cyber Monday thing is supposed to work, but I'm trying anyway!

Over the weekend, I went down to the Old News Records office (i.e. the closet in my apartment where I keep everything) and updated all the inventory in there.

The holidays are here already—which is crazy because this year has gone by very quickly—and it's time to start buying gifts. So here are three things you may want to try getting for someone, and they're all in stock and ready to be ordered from the ONR Shop.

Visit the link above, or just type in OldNewsRecords.bigcartel.com and get busy ordering!

Tulip - A great novel written by a good friend of mine. I've written and talked about this before ad nauseam, but it's still worth it.


"Bogged down by the existential angst of the American Dream, Tulip has long since given up on any search for meaning—until a voice he's never heard sneaks into his head.

The small miracles of life, paired with the new voice, sets him on a path of moral awakenings and trials by the Devil's hand. Through it all, Tulip seeks love, fights back hoards of entitled masses and finds a new hope and respect for humanity.

At the same time, Tulip must decide if the voice in his head is real or if reality is just falling apart."

HP tank top - I made this tank top last year because I thought it was a clever idea. Apparently it was clever enough that someone else stole it from me. Either that, or great minds think alike. Probably the latter. Anyway. I've got plenty in stock, in all sizes, and they're ready to ship ASAP.


Long Live Sloan t-shirt - Last but not least, my tribute to the great Jerry Sloan. The Jazz are now on their second coach since the legendary Sloan stepped down, but we'll never forget Jerry.


Everything is available and ready to go. I'm going to say that if you want it by Christmas, you need to order by December 15. I don't trust the post office anyway, but I trust them far less on a time crunch.

LET'S ANALYZE THAT TRAILER, SHALL WE?

How much can we get out of a 96 second movie trailer? A lot.

As I was looking at Twitter after I woke up on Friday morning, I started seeing screencaps of a newly released movie trailer. I'm still trying really hard to only watch trailers at movie theaters, but sometimes I can't resist and watch them at home. I'd already seen so many stills and GIFS, that I gave in.

I've already watched this thing like 15 times, but let's go ahead and do a hard analysis of the trailer for Carmen Electra's new movie, LAP DANCE, and just try to figure out what everything means.



Now that you've had a chance to watch it, let's get right to it.

First, there's that iconic Texas sky that we all know and love—because it played a very important part in the FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS TV series.

Next, we get our first glimpse of the person we'll be spending this journey with: Ali Cobrin. Notice that Ali Cobrin is NOT Carmen Electra who, even though we've collectively forgotten about her since she's 15 years removed from popularity, gets top billing and is the face of the movie. Nope. Cobrin doesn't have a long history of acting credits, but you may recognize her from that one time you watched AMERICAN REUNION because you were bored.

Remember, this is a trailer and not a teaser, so we have to get a few actual plot details. This is where we find out that Cobrin and her boyfriend need money because he hasn't sold his script yet, her father is dying of cancer AND there's a dreaded yellow foreclosure notice on their front door. 

What's a girl to do in this situation? Well, start stripping of course! Because it's super easy, and as MAGIC MIKE taught us, strip clubs will pretty much hire anyone that wanders in off the street looking for money.

Now we're getting somewhere! Stripping is a great way to make money, and Monica's only going to try it for a week, so it'll be no problem. But as the trailer will soon tell us, "Fast money comes... At a dangerous price." Also, we're now exactly halfway through this thing and we haven't even seen Carmen Electra yet!

Oh. There she is. Okay. We're good. By the way, this movie is also based on a true story, which basically means that nothing nearly as dramatic happened. In reality, this girl probably got a job at a strip club, made pretty great money and went on living her life almost exactly the same as she had before. But that's not exciting. You know what is exciting?


A Ron Fucking Jeremy cameo! Now we're getting somewhere, and that somewhere is "generic trailer notes." At this point, the narrator tells us that "It's the money that brings girls in. It's the attention that keeps them coming back."


The rest pretty much hits all the beats it's supposed to. There's tension in the relationship, Monica admits that she's lost control, blah, blah, blah, swelling music, montage of possible girl-on-girl action, lens flares, and BAM! The title pops up and it's all over.

That was an intense minute and a half, wasn't it? Well don't worry, because we don't even have to wait that long to actually see this masterpiece.

It'll be released this coming Friday. Whether or not it will be in actual movie theaters remains to be seen. 

But in 4 months or so when it pops up on Showtime at 3 AM, just when you've just finished binge-watching HOMELAND for 6 hours, you can watch a few minutes of it. All the best parts were probably already in the trailer though. Except for maybe the nudity.

Wait. Did you think I was going to be writing about the new STAR WARS trailer? Oh. Well. Shit. Sorry everyone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

HENRY ROLLINS FLIPS INTERVIEW

Well this is awkward.

I wish someone would track this kid down so we could see what he thinks about this whole thing 30 years later.

Monday, November 24, 2014

STILL HERE

Hi.

I kinda forgot about this thing for a while. Remember when I got laid off? Did I even tell you about that? Well, anyway, I got laid off two days before the World Cup started and decided that I'd pretend I was 19 all over again, wait tables part time and have summer vacation. So that's what I did.

I hung out all summer, went camping, took a few trips, generally just enjoyed life outside. Now that it's like 20 degrees around Salt Lake I'm getting back on the blogging train. I actually had a few posts written and ready to go up last week, but then the thing with Brad happened and I wanted to keep that post at the top for a little while.

Things are still moving along in a few different areas, but nothing incredibly exciting has happened lately.

So on that note, let's get to the posts! Up first (below) is a little thing about Andre the Giant. It's the first of three wrestling posts I have queued up (including the tale of how Hulk Hogan is an asshole in real life), so stay tuned for those.

And for other stuff. I may be getting back into the groove here. Or I may just put these two up and forget about it again. We'll just have to find out together, I guess.