Wednesday, August 30, 2006

BLUE 42! BLUE 42!!

Can you feel it? Companies everywhere are experiencing a drop-off in productivity from the XY employees as they delve into their wildest fantasy (league). The feeling is palpable; it’s a living organism with drug-like powers that grab hold of heterosexual males everywhere and captivating us for the next five months.
More powerful than scantily clad women is the draw of this most wonderful of seasons: football. The air turning cool, the sun setting earlier; sales of chips, dips and chicken wings have spiked. The raw, unadulterated grind of men engaged in an epic battle of monumental (though, in reality minimal) proportions, demonstrating incredible feats of strength on a field of real or imitation grass.
I’m living for the weekend. College football; professional football; even high school football draws me in. I’m in three fantasy leagues, with three drafts to attend next week; BYU is opening Saturday against Arizona on TBS at 10:30pm EST (that 6:30am bishopric meeting Sunday morning is going to come awfully early) and I watch it all, yelling, rejoicing and anguishing over every play. Here in the south, where football is king and people know ‘the Y’ as the YMCA, my opportunities to revel and revile in Cougar football is minimal at best; I’ve got to make the most of this.
Living in the south and having attended an Alabama game at Bryant-Denney stadium, I’ve realized folks out west don’t really grasp was college football is. Showing up in Tuscaloosa, I was one of maybe a dozen people not sporting crimson and white – not for long, because I went into the first shop I saw and dropped $50 on a hat and shirt. But it was crazy and awesome because everyone – parents, grandparents, students, babies, pets – was decked out. BYU fans need to be more like that: only blue, white and gold allowed in the stadium.
Even with this relative lack of football fanaticism (some would argue ‘proper perspective on what really matters’, but seriously...) I love BYU football; I bleed Cougar Blue; the wallpaper on my desktop is sportin’ the Coug’s and their 2006 schedule. Not since the 50’s have the cougars had three non-winning seasons in a row; I’m hungry for a great season. I need it, like a southerner needs their Coke and iced tea. And the potential is there. A Top 20 QB (John Beck) who finished #7 in the nation last year in yards per game; Top 10 TE (Johnny Harline) who led the nation in receiving yards for a TE; a 1000 yard rusher (Curtis Brown) with nearly 500 yards receiving; an O-Line that averages over 325 pounds. Defensively a new 3-4 scheme will take advantage of a strong linebacker corps; they just have to make a couple stops and let the offense rack up the numbers.
Prediction: 10-2 in the regular season, MWC Champs.
Rise and shout, it’s football season.

Friday, August 18, 2006


As some might know, I pretend to be a writer. In this capacity as a pretend author, I've reached a very cool and important milestone; at least to me. Today I passed the 200 page mark. If you don’t know what I’m talking about exactly, click here for the lowdown.

Anyway, I did a little Googling to try and get an idea of what my efforts would translate to if it was in actual book form, or at least what it should look like in manuscript form. Right now it’s just in MS Word default: Times Roman 12pt font, 1.25 margins. I discovered a manuscript is supposed to be in Courier New 12pt font and double spaced. This translates to about 250 words a page, which gives the editors an idea of the approximate book size should it be printed. I messed around with my document, making the changes to fit these specifications.

530. Pages


I’m excited.

They say it's your birthday...

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to siblings Amy and Dave Cashman. Yesterday was Dave’s birthday and today is Amy’s, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIDS!! This dynamic duo are awesome. I’ve mentioned them before, as has Paula on her blog. You couldn’t ask for better friends: they are always on the lookout for something to do to make your life easier. Dave gave me a sweet football for my birthday; Amy let us crash at her place after the breakin. More than once has Dave or Amy have picked up a tab when we go out to grab some grub; basically, they are just good people. I'm lucky to have such friends. Straight up.

Left: Dave with Paula at Longhorns.

Right: Amy with Jesse. Not 'with' with, just sittin on the same side of the table.

Monday, August 14, 2006


I just finished reading this article about Steve Young. My mom sent it to me because, growing up, I idolized #8. He was one of the main reasons I loved the 49ers. When I was in middle and high school is when Steve took over the helm at San Francisco and led the league in pass efficiency for four straight years. I lived 49er football. Allow me to illustrate:
When I was growing up, TV on Sunday wasn’t allowed; that was fine and no big deal until I discovered football. Then it became a little more difficult. As a freshman/sophomore, I was on the JV basketball team and had early morning practice, which ran from 6-7:30am. In order to get there on time, I had to catch the bus at 5am. When Steve and the Niners where rolling through the playoffs en route to the Super Bowl, I’d record the game on Sundays, wake up at 3:30 on Monday morning and watch the game before going to school so I’d know the results and be able to discuss it with my friends. The only Super Bowl I watched for the first 21 years of my life was when Steve got the monkey of his back and threw for a NFL record 6 touchdowns. Nathan and I snuck over to my Grandma and Grandpa Roberts to do it.
That was 10 years ago now and Steve is a Hall of Fame quarterback, getting in easily on his first year of eligiblity; more importantly, he’s a Hall of Fame person. We live in a day where heroes are determined by foot-speed and not faithfulness; by money and not morality; by popularity and not purity. These types of heroes entertain, but they do not inspire greatness of character. Steve Young is one who does what one should with wealth, fame and greatness. I know he’s not perfect; I know he’s made mistakes; however, I also know he has been a righteous steward over those things God has blessed him with.
I highly recommend the article to all to read. You can’t help but be impressed.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Rookie Advice

August is going to be a crazy month. Every weekend will be occupied by weddings and receptions; we’re at that stage in life where our peers are involved in relationships that can lead to the big ‘M’. Also, Paula and I will have been married for five months this weekend as we travel to Minneapolis for Ty’s wedding. These events have caused me to reflect on marriage and why I’m so good at it. (First part serious, second part facetious; no one be trippin’.) Here are some things I've learned that have blessed Paula and me. (Minus prayer, scripture study, fidelity and such...they're givens.)
Hard times = best times: It seems masochistic, but it’s true. We’ve grown closest when everything hasn’t been roses; it’s been situations where we only have each other to rely on. The appendectomy (pre-marriage) and bills (marriage); working through that which shall not be named; having our apartment broken into; all in addition to the regular learning curve associated with marriage. I don’t enjoy trials; I do enjoy the cohesiveness it creates.
Speak up: When Paula asked my preference (what do you want for dinner, what do you want to do tonight, etc…), a lot of the time I'd say “I don’t care” because it’s not a big deal for me; I've learned to speak up and let her know. Ongoing, candid communication has helped our marriage because there are no pretenses – we both know where the other stands; if we don’t agree, at least we know. The first couple times aren’t easy, but the growing pains are worth it.
Less is more: We do better than most new young married couples: two incomes, no consumer debt. As such we wield the double-edged sword of disposable income. In a world where instant gratification is king, the temptation to accumulate things (easily absconded by punk kids) is powerful and one of the worst traps a young married couple can fall in. A goal of substance and working towards it nurtures a marriage; just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Debt for things (clothes, jewelry, trips, furniture, etc…) is plain asinine. It’s contrary to fundamental principles of the Gospel. I’m serious. The Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t “Zero down, Zero obedience until the judgment bar”. It’s sacrifice now and blessings later, faith precedes the miracle. Try to find an example to the contrary. Dare ya. Good luck.
TO for QT: That isn’t 'Terrell Owens for Quik Trip'; it’s ‘Time Out for Quality Time.’ Between friends, family, work, errands, varying sleep schedules and church stuff, spending quality time together can be tough. We work out together 3-4 times a week, have a date night once a week, dinner together nightly and try going to bed together (during the school year Paula sacks out around 9-10pm; I’m more 11ish.). All these provide opportunities to talk and get to know the other. It may sound silly, but unless you make an effort you don’t see much of your spouse.
Grab the tab: For 26 years my parents paid for dinner; they provided food and shelter for 18 years. Since our marriage, we’ve gone out to eat with each set of our parents and picked up the tab. (I practically had to fight my dad for it, but after I told him if he didn’t let me pay I’d never talk to him again, he consented.) This reciprocity (the quality or state of being reciprocal: mutual dependence, action, or influence) was a great feeling. It let our parents know they're appreciated and now they can focus more on each other. Too often children want to be treated as adults, yet they don't accept adult responsibility; it's hypocritical. Parents will always worry about their children; they shouldn’t always have to provide for them. Let their primary concern be each other. It'll be the first time since the oldest kid showed up.

Friday, August 04, 2006

NFL (Never Figured it Likely)

I just had one of those ‘WOW!’ moments; you know, when you see or hear something that blows your mind and makes you think about what you’ve done with your life? It’s mixed with some covetousness, an inkling of incredulousness and a smidgen of smirk. What was it that made me stop short? Here you go: Brett Keisel signed a four-year, $13.1 million contract and will be starting this year at defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And so what? I’ll tell you what: Before number 99 became a multi-millionaire – before the starting spot with Pittsburg; before the Super Bowl XL ring; before his days as a starter at BYU – Brett Keisel was the starting tight end/middle linebacker for the Greybull Buffaloes and the big man on their basketball team. And I played against him. In three meetings, our football team never lost to Keisel. The first meeting I watched from the sidelines as a freshman as our first-team won the game. As a sophomore I had my first encounter with the future NFL starter; I was starting on special teams as the wedge man on kickoff return. Keisel had broken his wrist and had a cast, but was allowed to pad it and played. On one return, I went to block him and he laid that cast upside my head; my consolation prize was that he went down after getting tangled up in my limp, momentarily unconscious body and Brandon May returned the kickoff for a touchdown, My junior year, we (Greybull and Rocky Mountain) were tied atop the Five Rivers Conference standings at 5-0 when we rolled into town to take them on. It was their homecoming. Starting now at defensive end, my job – as explained by my coach (Brett’s uncle) – was to make sure he never got clean off the line. And he didn’t. We won 48-21. A defining moment of the contest was when Joe Hatch (friend and future college roommate) knocked Brett off his feet and on his back. It was awesome. I’ve tackled, sacked, chipped, blocked, defended, made a buzzer-beater over (not for the game, just the 3rd quarter) a starting DE in the NFL. My record in six contests is 5-1 while his is 1-5; I’m batting .833, he’s batting .167; I was an active part of four state championships, he was part of one. And that means… I don’t know. Part of me wants to say that if I was as naturally athletic – with a big, muscular 6’6” frame that supports 290 pounds – I could have a Super Bowl ring. But frankly, that’s contrived and vain thinking. Getting down to the brass tacks of the matter reveals it’s all about making the most of the opportunities we’re presented with. Brett has been presented with an opportunity to make a splash on the biggest sports stage in the US; he’s taken advantage natural abilities he’s been given and is making those work for him. That’s my life lesson for the day, my moment of Zen. Am I magnifying my talents in the game of life (a cliché, I know, but very applicable here so deal with it) as Brett has his in the game of football? That’s really what I should be asking, not why he made it in spite of his follies. So props to Brett making it big-time; I’ll cheer for him on Sundays and if he does well, maybe I’ll put him as a backup on my fantasy football team. It’s cool to see a small-town guy making it in the big time. (Brett you know you’ll always fear the Grizz.)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Celebrating Will Ferrell and NCAA football

First, inasmuch as I love BYU football (it's a difficult thing to do sometimes, but I bleed Cougar Blue), this is a clip from when BYU's kicker Matt Payne demolished a Boise State's return man. The irony of the whole thing is our kicker could lay a massive hit but couldn't hit the game winning field goal. Dang.

As another tribute to the upcoming NCAA 2006 season (30 days, but who's counting?)and the Talladega Nights movie, I'm posting the following video. It's the intro to the 2005 Rose Bowl as USC and Texas played for the National Championship; having some smooth operator like McConaughey trying to match wits with Will Ferrell wasn't even a contest. If the game had to be decided by this clip, USC would have dominated.

Long live NCAA football and long live Will Ferrell!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Make your money make YOU money!

I've become very fiscally aware as of late. I bought Quicken 2006 Deluxe to track our expenditures; a co-worker gave me a copy of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and several worksheets in Excel to help with creating a budget and monitoring it. I am looking to get a Roth IRA for myself and Paula both. I'm really excited about it - there's something to be said for saving up money and disciplining your spending habits. Today's world is one of instant gratification and the average person doesn't put money away for large purchases; instead, it's all about financing a purchase with no interest until 2010 and hopefully nothing bad will happen between now and then.
Anyway, I got a little preachy there. My bad.
The real reason I wanted to do a quick post is because I'm looking at getting life insurance. I don't want whole-life because it's so expensive and you get so little back, so it's going to be term. So I found a $250,000 policy that will cover me for 30 years. It is $25/mo. So I got to thinking: what if I designated $100/mo to life insurance and put the extra $75 in just my ING Orange Savings account every month for the next 30 years? The account compounds monthly. So plug this into the Financial Calculator and see what nice little fund Paula and I would have at the age of 56, supposing we have $5000 in savings to begin with: Starting: $5000; Annual Addition: $900; Years to Grow: 30; Interest Rate: 4.75; Compound annually: 12 times
Not too bad.
Now, if you grab a Roth IRA through Vanguard (10-12%), max out your contributions of $4000/yr for the next 40 years and live an additional 20 years after you retire, your annual withdrawls available during retirement will be $207,947. Yeah, and that's per year.
But if I wait 10 years to start, giving me 30 yrs till retirement, that $207,947 drops to $77,286. The moral of the story: start saving NOW!

What should we do?

Mexico’s recently elected political party considered a radical offshoot of Catholicism called Locos continues hostilities along our southern border. Their radical label stems from their charter created in 1988, in which they’ve sworn to take back parts of the US they consider stolen – namely California, Texas, New Mexico and parts of Arizona – and are not going to stop until they get it back through a holy war:

“Our struggle against the United States is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Latino world, until the enemy is vanquished and God’s victory is realized…Holy War is its path and death for the sake of God is the loftiest of its wishes…There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad…The United States will exist and will continue to exist until we will obliterate it.”
These actions of our southern neighbors have taken a back seat to the trouble to the north. Canada has stood idly by as another radical, guerilla group called Canzollah (also sworn to wipe the USA from the face of the earth through Holy War) has gained power in the border region to our North. Apparently Canzollah has answered the call of their brothers to the south:
“The United States invasion is a vicious invasion. It does not refrain from resorting to all methods, using all evil and contemptible ways to achieve its end…They aim at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting consciences, deteriorating character and annihilating Catholicism. It is behind the drug trade and alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate its control and expansion.
"Countries surrounding the United States are asked to open their borders before the fighters from among the Latino and Catholic nations so that they could consolidate their efforts with those of their Locos brethren in Mexico.
"As for the other Latino and Catholic countries, they are asked to facilitate the movement of the fighters from and to it, and this is the least thing they could do.”
They recently have mocked our requests to return our border patrol agents kidnapped early last month; instead, they’ve informed us they have 13,000 rockets, some of which could reach close to 100 miles inside our border. With over 10,000,000 people living within that range (mostly in the urban areas of Seattle, Spokane, Detroit and Cleveland) this is a serious threat.
Our offensive to drive Canzollah from this region and to destroy its weapons has drawn much criticism from the international community due to the civilian casualties with have occurred on Canadian soil from our attacks. An attack on a post in the immediate vicinity of a UN outpost (which has been there for six years and has done nothing to stem the tide of the influx of weapons by Canzollah to the region) resulted in the unfortunate deaths of four peacekeepers. Kofi Annan has called this 'an apparently deliberate attack'; this ludcrious statement makes no sense as we already have little support from the UN. Why would we want to garnish more critisism?
Some of our attacks have yielded civilian deaths aimed at Canzollah; this is a terrible consequence of guerillas hiding amongst the local population, using innocent Canadians as human shields. Meanwhile, over 200 rockets have been launched over our border with the intent to kill US civilians. Even so, the international community has been telling us to stop our efforts to eliminate Canzollah while this terrorist group is accountable to no one.