Monday, September 30, 2013


Wanted to give everyone a heads up that the LONG LIVE SLOAN shirt is back in stock.

Just in time for basketball season and just in time to show your support for the legend - especially now that he's back in the Jazz organization in some capacity.

Head over to my shop and pick one up.

Monday, September 23, 2013


We’re only a single sentence into this thing and I’m already lying to you. Technically, anyway.

All of this happened on Saturday night and my birthday was actually Sunday. I’ve lived in Utah long enough to know that if a holiday falls on a Sunday, you’re legally obligated to celebrate it the day before. Or something like that. Plus, if girls can celebrate their birthday for an entire week (or more), I can pretend that Saturday was my birthday. Besides, I had to wait tables all day Sunday and BREAKING BAD was on at night. I was kind of tied up that day.


It’s Halloween season, which means it’s also Haunted House season. City Weekly does a piece on as many as possible each year for one of the A&E features. I always try to get it, and for the last three years, I’ve been able to. Basically, I just go through as many as will let me in and then write a piece on what they’re like. It’s fun to write and even more fun to see them. And I don’t have to bring a can of food or wait in line. Usually.

On Friday, I went to two of the three I was supposed to hit. I had company for those and they were both a lot of fun. Unfortunately, my date had to work the next night, so she wouldn’t be able to accompany me to any more. I knew this beforehand, so on Friday morning I started calling around and making inquiries to find a replacement for Saturday. A whole bunch of people were already out of town – which I knew – but there were even more gone than I thought. It was brutal.

“I’ll be gone. Sorry.”

“I have to go up to Ogden for family stuff.”

My options were running low, but then I remembered Dan and Kristin. They’d just moved back from NYC and both love Halloween. They also live in Park City, so I never see them, which makes it easy for me to forget they like fun. They had to be into this, right?

“We have no plans and LOVE haunted houses.”

Perfect. I usually hate tagging along with a married couple (or couples in general), but Dan and Kristin are different. I’ve known them both for so long that it doesn’t feel like tagging along. They were the perfect choice.

At four o’clock on Saturday, my phone goes off. It’s a text from Kristin.

“Hey, Dan can’t make it but I’m going to take a nap and then I’ll call you.”

That should have been all the info I needed and a sure-fire sign to start making phone calls. Any time a girl says she’s going to take a nap before she meets up with you – married or not, and especially not – she has absolutely no intention of hanging out. She’s just laying the groundwork for ditching you. Either she wakes up too late and doesn’t feel like getting ready, or most likely, she’s off doing something else entirely, but has an alibi already set.

This may or may not have happened to me a few times. Maybe. I’ve already put too much thought into this, haven’t I?

I held out hope that she’d wake up in time and want to actually drive down from Park City, but in the back of my mind I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Still, I didn’t make any contingency plans. I could have. There were plenty of people I could have called, but I just didn’t make the calls when I should have. I waited around, watched a bit of football, went grocery shopping and sent Kristin a text at a little after 9.

“I just woke up. I don’t think I’m going to make it.”

Not saying that Kristin ditched me on purpose, because I don’t think she would, but still. I should have made arrangements. This is mostly on me.

The worst part was that I still had to go. The deadline for the write-up was the following Thursday and none of the Haunted Houses are open during the week yet. Saturday was my last chance. I had to go and it looked more and more like I was going alone. I made one last effort by stopping at a coffee shop hoping to run into someone with even less to do than me on a Saturday night, but nothing came of it. I grabbed a coffee and headed West.

A true journalist at work. The Hunter S. Thompson of Salt Lake City haunted houses. Surely they’re just as dangerous as tagging along with the Hell’s Angels or taking a bunch of drugs in Las Vegas. In the name of the story, I was on my way.

Whatever I needed to tell myself.

Take a minute to think about what happens in mid-to-late September. Any ideas? Homecoming. There are A LOT of high schools in Salt Lake and the surrounding cities and Saturday night was homecoming for a whole bunch of different ones. When I showed up to the haunted house, the line was full of teenagers dressed up in shirts, ties, dresses and corsages. It was a good 1 : 1 ratio of regular people and kids visiting a haunted house for their dance activity.

I found the production manager, told her who I was and who I was writing for and told her that I was forced to roll solo. She felt kind of bad and chatted with me for a minute before she had to go off to do actual work. Before that, she gave me a wristband and sent me to the front of the VIP line. There was not a single other person in that line. The regular line was full and stretched out the door.

The lines converged and I was moved to the inside waiting area – stuck between two different groups of high school kids. The group ahead of me was ushered into the haunt itself and I was left at the front of the line. I turned around to the group of 16-year-olds with scene hair and raccoon makeup and just put it out there.

“So, how many do you guys have with you?”

“Just the four of us.”

“Cool. You guys mind if I tag along with you?”

“Uh, sure.”

I didn’t clarify a single thing. I just asked if I could tag along, they said yes and just like that, we were off. My new friends and I ventured into the throes.

I’d spent so much time trying to avoid going to this thing with a couple that I knew that I shot myself in the foot. I ended up spending an hour and a half on Saturday night with two high school couples leading them through the darkness of a haunted house in Taylorsville.

I wouldn’t say that we were friends by the end, but we were all cracking jokes and hanging out before we went our separate ways – me back home to watch the end of the BYU/Utah football game and them to wherever high school couples go after a dance. Maybe Village Inn or Denny’s. I don’t know.

The drive home is when I realized that I gave them absolutely no context of why I was there. I didn’t tell any of them my name and I didn’t ask for any of theirs. I didn’t tell them that I was writing a piece for City Weekly or that my friends had bailed at the last second. They knew nothing about any of that.

All they know is that some dude showed up alone to a haunted house at 10 PM on a Saturday night and tagged along with their group, leading the way as they did the West Valley Walk behind. As far as they’re concerned, I’m just a guy that loves haunted houses so much that he goes to them alone, latching on to dance activity groups to make new friends for a little bit while watching drama students jump out from behind the wall scaring everyone.

My only regret is that I didn’t have someone get a group picture of us.

Are there any homecoming dances next week?

Thursday, September 19, 2013


I've always been pretty fascinated with the JFK assassination and, really, the U.S. as a whole during the 1950's and 60's.

James Ellroy wrote a couple of books about that era that I count as some of my favorites (L.A. Confidential, American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, etc.). Lately there have been a few really good long-form articles popping up that become a bit of an obsession for a few days.

Earlier this year, The Memphis Commercial Appeal published a story called Six : 01 - The Last 32 Hours of Martin Luther King, Jr. and it was just fantastic. It was the 45th anniversary of his assassination and it's just a really well written, well-researched article.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Chris Jones - a writer that I've always admired and loved - has a great story in this month's Esquire. It's about the 6 hours inside Air Force One from the time the shooting happened to when the plane touched down in Washington, D.C. with Lyndon B. Johnson as the new President.

I hadn't really paid much attention to LBJ, so I didn't really understand how much the Kennedy inner circle disliked him. It's pretty much consumed my entire morning. I'm beginning to understand how there are so many people still obsessed with this story 50 years later. There was a lot going on back then and a lot of it seemed pretty shady.

But those are the things that make a great story, which is why it's still a prime candidate for use across all different forms of media.

Anyway, Chris Jones does a great job connecting a lot of what's been collected before into a single narrative. I didn't know that Jackie refused to change her clothes or clean herself up because she wanted the world "to see what they did" and no idea how desperate LBJ was to be sworn in before he left Dallas so that no one could change their mind about how it should go.

Also, LBJ was so powerless in the Kennedy administration that he and his wife lived in a house that only had a commercial phone line. That was replaced with something more secure as the plane was in the air bound for Washington. Johnson didn't want to sleep in the White House that night because it would seem disrespectful.

You should read it. It's online now, but Esquire sometimes only makes things available to look at for a certain amount of time before they put it behind a pay wall. Read it online now, or pick up the new issue when it hits stands.

Here's a little snippet:

2:34 P.M.

Marie Fehmer palms the typewritten oath to Judge Hughes. But they still need a Bible. Larry O'Brien, excusing himself to Jackie, finds a Catholic missal in the bedroom's nightstand drawer. It is in a small box, still wrapped in cellophane. It is possibly a gift, something that somebody, somewhere, had thrust into Kennedy's hands, perhaps even on this last trip to Texas. Now O'Brien tears open the box and hands the book to Judge Hughes.

Ken O'Donnell follows O'Brien into the stateroom. Johnson sees him: "Would you ask Mrs. Kennedy to come stand here?" He wants her to stand beside him.

"You can't do that!" O'Donnell shouts. "The poor little kid has had enough for one day, to sit here and hear that oath that she heard a few years ago! You just can't do that, Mr. President!"

"Well," Johnson says, "she said she wanted to do it."

"I just don't believe that," O'Donnell says, even as he heads toward the bedroom. He paces in the hallway, his hands on his head—hysterical is the word he later uses to describe himself. Finally he walks into the bedroom. Jackie is combing her hair.

"Do you want to go out there?" O'Donnell asks.

"Yes," Jackie says. "I think I ought to. At least I owe that much to the country."

2:37 P.M.

Jackie Kennedy comes out of the bedroom. The room falls silent. She has taken off her single bloody glove, but she has not changed her clothes or made use of the blue towels.

Read the rest at

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Last year, right after Craft Lake City ended, I decided that the zine I made was going to come out every 4 months. August, December and April of every year would see a new issue. I started planning out the second issue pretty much while I was standing at my table and got really excited about it.

Then when December came around, and I had nowhere to really sell the thing other than my website, I dropped it down to twice a year. It would come out in February and August. That didn’t happen either and in May, when I got accepted to CLC again, I figured I should get the ball rolling and start putting things together. I cast a pretty wide net recruiting friends to write things. I recruited a ton of people figuring that a lot of them would flake out. None of them did and I ended up having twice as much material for the second issue.

There was so much time spent recruiting writers for content that I pretty much forgot to figure out what to do about visuals. Three days before I had to start laying it out I came up with a little cartoon to use a few times just to break up the huge chunks of text. It turned out really good, I think, and I’m proud that everything came together.

The whole concept of Filler is really nothing more than “I have cool friends, let me tell you about them.” I told everyone that I didn’t really care what they wanted to write about or talk about, just as long as it wasn’t already on the Internet or going up on the Internet. I wanted Filler to have exclusive stuff that they could only find in the zine and people were happy to oblige.

I’ve got a few copies left and they’re up for sale in the ONR store if you want to snag one. Here’s a few of the people that contributed to this issue and where you can find them.

Mike Farfel – A good friend of mine and the author of the first ONR publication, Tulip. You can find him on Twitter (@onebillionmikes), Instagram (@ohbeem) and his blog, Stay Asleep (

John Dilley – I met John through the company I work for and he hit the ground running pretty good with Twitter (@john_dilley) and his blog (, but he got a new job and he’s been pretty busy with that. Hopefully he gets back to it on a regular basis. He’s got some great stories.

Daniel Maland – I met this guy when he was booking shows and doing sound for me at New Song Underground. We reconnected at my boring office job, and he’s since moved on to doing sound full-time. He’s got a great site dedicated to that ( and he acts out on Twitter (@dmaland0) occasionally.

Makenna Walsh – He was the first guy to send me anything and it’s a hilarious and sad read all at once. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram (@holeinthehand) and occasionally he Tumbles (

Danielle Mariott – The only lady to break through the boy’s club wall this year (mainly because I see her every day at work, so she couldn’t forget about it). She gave me a couple of great poems that really gave the zine a little bit of diversity. You can find her sharing music and pictures via Instagram and Twitter (@pretty_okay) and her own Internet home ( She’s also got a great band called Light Black that you should listen to with my Craft Lake City neighbor Carrie Wakefield (Metalhead Jewelry).

Casey aka The Big Dogg – I’ve been writing down the ridiculous things that Casey says since 2001 and decided it was finally time to do something with them. I recruited Clark Snyder to draw a quick newspaper comic strip version of Casey so I could add a word balloon with a quote and it turned out great. Watch Casey act out on Instagram (@xperrograndex) and get tattooed by Clark (@clarksnyder) at Cathedral Tattoo.

Thanks to everyone that picked up a copy. Issue three will be along at some point. It’s a surprise. I like to keep you on your toes.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Let's talk a little bit about Tulip for a minute.

I met Mike Farfel years ago through punk rock and hardcore shows. I didn't know him much beyond being Gardner's friend and they both lived in Heber. Gardner and I got along really well, but being vegan kind of does that. You're always running into the same people at the same restaurants and such but I never really hung out with Mike.

He always seemed like a great guy, just quiet. He always supported the stuff I did whether it was promoting shows or putting out CD's (I did that for a bit). I never knew he was a writer until Gardner told me as I was putting together the first issue of Filler. I asked him to send something my way and he gave me an excerpt from a novel. I read it, thought it was a little weird but liked it all the same.

When it came time to do the Top 5 videos, he said he was interested and I jumped at the chance. That's where I learned that he'd actually finished the book he gave me the excerpt from and was shopping it around to publishers without much luck. It's really hard for a first-time author to get anything published these days and self-publishing a novel is pretty much frowned upon. He was eager to get it out there, so I asked him if I could read it.

He sent me the file and I read it in about three days.

We had talked briefly during the video thing and I told him if he hadn't found a publisher by May, I'd turn Old News Records into a publishing company and do a small run of Tulip. May rolled around, I got accepted to Craft Lake City and we hit the ground running on the book.

"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."

It's a fun read and it will make you think about a few things in your own life.

If you want to get a copy, it's available in my shop now. Buy it, read it, tell your friends about it and let us know what you think.


Let's talk a little bit about BREAKING BAD for a minute.

First, I love this show. From top to bottom, I think it's probably going to go down as my favorite TV show of all time. There's really only two ways they could screw this up:

1) Reveal that they've been dead for a while and just stuck in purgatory.


2) Cut to black without giving anyone a definitive ending.

Those are really the only two things that could derail the ending. Otherwise, they're sticking the landing really, really well in my opinion.

I've heard a few complaints about the show and the biggest one is that every episode seems to end with them almost getting caught, but never actually getting caught. I don't feel that way, and I think that anyone that does probably doesn't watch very carefully. I never feel like Walt or Jesse is going to get caught. They're always going to get out of it and one of my favorite things about the show is seeing how they get out of those spots.

Also, everything in this show matters. Everything. Remember that little throwaway moment from season 3? Well once it comes back to haunt these characters, you'll remember and wonder how the hell they pulled that off.

Those are the things that I love about this show.

I missed the newest episode because I was at the Utah State Fair (which was awesome), but I made sure to not check email, Twitter, Facebook or anything until after I'd gotten home and had a chance to watch it. Nothing was getting spoiled. I watched it at about midnight and haven't stopped thinking about it since. I won't spoil anything big, but it was amazing.

Let's just talk about my favorite part. It works on a few different levels. Remember in the very first episode, when Walt's pants blow away as he's trying to navigate the RV out of the desert? They made an appearance the other night.

As Walt rolls a barrel through the desert to The Limeliters "Take My True Love By The Hand", he passes by them as they're strewn on the ground, covered in dirt.

More than that though, the episode itself is titled "Ozymandias" after a poem of the same name by Percy Bysshe Shelley. It's about a ruined king alone in the desert. Bryan Cranston read it over a series of images for a teaser to promote the final 8 episodes and it was great then, but it's even better now that we've gotten a full look at the events of this episode.

The poem itself is chilling, but how much the show's writers, the episode's director (Rian Johnson, who also directed LOOPER and posted some amazing behind the scenes photos on his Twitter page) and creator Vince Gilligan got out of it just reinforces how much I love this show.

If you've never seen it, you've got ten days to catch up before it ends. Join us, won't you?

I met a traveller from an antique land 
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, 
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown 
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command 
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read 
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, 
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. 
And on the pedestal these words appear: 
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: 
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!' 
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay 
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, 
The lone and level sands stretch far away".

Thursday, September 12, 2013


The video below is amazing and the reason that I'm infinitely more terrified of the ocean than anything else on this planet. You can go on and on about life on other planets, and sure, I'll listen. There's only a handful of people that love space more than I do, so I hope there's something else out there, but that's a ways away.

The ocean is here. It's part of our lives already. And there is so much about it that we will never, ever know.

That's what terrifies me.

Seriously. Watch this video and tell me that doesn't scare the hell out of you while leaving you fascinated all at once.

I love science.

I got this from a site called Science Friday that I'd never heard of until just now. But it might be my new favorite site.

The video is hidden below the break because I couldn't figure out how to disable autoplay and it was driving me nuts, so click through and watch it. I promise it's worth it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Well that escalated quickly.

Let me give you a rundown of the past couple of weeks, real quick.

I work every day except Saturday and do a double on Wednesday. I’m not complaining about it, because those two extra shifts each week are my choice and I could pretty easily make a few cuts in my budget and do without them, but I just don’t want to. All the extra money I make goes into a savings account in case I someday decide that I hate my job and want to quit, leave the country for a while and go on an awesome adventure to Norway, visiting Viking museums and then venturing down through Europe. Sounds like something I’ve been thinking about, doesn’t it? It also gives me a little capital to make stuff and things for events like Craft Lake City and Salt Lake Comic Con.

Anyway, the month of August was pretty hectic as it was trying to get ready for Craft Lake City and as soon as that was over I had a couple of breathing weeks to do things like clean my apartment, wash my car and catch up on sleep. But it wasn’t too much of a vacation, because I worked pretty much every day.

The last week of August, I worked Wednesday day and night, worked Thursday, went to a wedding Thursday night, worked Friday, went straight to Tamerlane practice, then went directly to my brother and his wife’s “Announce the Sex” party for their new baby (it’s a boy). The next day, I woke up, had a tattoo appointment, a baby shower/diaper party for a different baby, then the Tamerlane/Mick Morris benefit show. I waited tables all day Sunday and all day Monday (Labor Day), worked Tuesday then went home to get all my Old News Records stuff organized. Wednesday morning I went to work until 5, drove immediately from work to the Salt Palace to meet Casey and unload all the tables and racks for Salt Lake Comic Con. We left, I drove to my parent’s house and spent the whole night pulling out and organizing the comics I was going to sell that weekend. I left my parent’s a little after midnight and headed home.

The next morning, I picked up Casey from his house at 6:45 AM. We drove to The Park CafĂ©, had breakfast and then picked up a U-Haul at 8. We made our way out to Spidey’s house in Draper, stopping at Office Max along the way. We loaded Spidey’s comics, drove back to U-Haul to exchange the truck because the “check engine” light came on, and moved everything from one truck to the other. Casey and Spidey headed to Casey’s house and the toy store to grab all his stuff and I went to my parent’s house and started bringing everything outside. About 11:30, Casey and Spidey showed up at my parent’s house and we loaded all my stuff into the truck. The two of them headed down to the Salt Palace and I headed out to Midvale to pick up my more “Long Live Sloan” shirts and the new tank tops I designed for the show. We got everything set up and the doors opened at 3 PM for people holding VIP passes.

From there it was pure chaos. Well, controlled chaos was more like it. No one really knew what to expect from a first year event like Salt Lake Comic Con, but the bar was set pretty high with all the tickets they’d sold already. Casey, Spidey and I were ready and excited. We’d had plans of vending at San Diego Comic Con and Emerald City in Seattle, but never actually made it so we wanted to bring our best effort to this – whatever it was going to end up being.

People started swarming our booth, checking things out and looking through all of the stuff we decided to sell because we felt bad storing it at our parent’s houses. We had a pretty great system going and we were all ready for the night. Casey thought he was going to leave in the middle of things to go to the gym, but once he saw how busy and crazy things were getting in the hall, he changed his mind.

The rest of Thursday was packed, and Friday and Saturday were both the same, too. It was an awesome weekend and our Old News Records/Grudge City Comics (yeah, that’s what we’re calling it from here on out) shop did really well. We were pretty tightly confined to a 10x10 space and every once in a while things got pretty cozy in there, but it was all worth it.

We sold a lot of comics last weekend and I mean A LOT. Casey and Spidey brought more books Friday and Saturday and I had to bring a second round on Saturday. There were surprisingly few booths actually selling comics at the show, which I thought was kind of weird, but I guess it makes sense.

The other, actual brick and mortar shops in Salt Lake all had a presence, but Dr. Volt’s mostly focused on gaming stuff, Black Cat brought mostly quarter and dollar books and I have no idea what Night Flight had. Blast from the Past Comics, which was next to us, brought a lot of older comics that were worth some serious money. There was another shop from California that came by our booth every morning to pillage through our stuff and, I’m sure, turn around, mark it up and sell it at their booth. After I figured out what they were doing the first day, I stopped letting them go through the new stuff I brought. I hid it under the table while they looked through the boxes and told them that I hadn’t brought anything else. It was for no real reason other than spite. They just hovered around like vultures waiting to look through things while we were trying to get our booth set up and organized. I just started ignoring them instead of telling them to get lost like I really wanted.

But since we were selling most everything for about a dollar a book, people kept coming back over and over again. I even heard one guy say, “Oh this is the booth they were talking about.” I had no idea who was talking about us or what they were saying, but I was thrilled that people were talking and that word was getting out.

Between doing Craft Lake City two days and vending at Salt Lake Comic Con for three, it’s made sitting behind a computer writing IVR (Interactive Voice Response) copy and wireless Internet tips really, really hard.

All in all, it was a lot of fun and I’m very much looking forward to next year. There are already some wheels in motion for how we can do things better and how we can expand our little operation. Thanks to everyone that stopped by to say hi, actually bought some stuff or just wanted to look through our comics. You guys made it all worth it.

Now that it’s all over and I don’t have any other vending shows coming up, I’ll be updating the ONR store and probably doing a little spotlight on some of the stuff I had this summer – most notably Mike Farfel’s novel Tulip. I’ll have a little write-up on Filler Issue 2, the HP tank top and the new mini-comic that Candace and I finally got printed on Friday night of the convention.

If you missed out, you really missed out. It was an awesome time from start to finish and I can’t wait until next year. You should probably start planning your cosplay costumes now. And if you can top the Princess Leia, I'll be impressed.

Also, if you actually know the Princess Leia, send her my way. I'll be her stuck-up, half-wittet, scruffy-looking nerf herder any day.