Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Moon and New York city

Dear Blog spot,
I've been spending a lot of time with Facebook lately and I was wondering if you and I could still be friends?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The first day with Luca







Pepper is doing very well for just having given birth. She has liked having a few comforts from home.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Luca


Luca Plum Margarite Elliot
Born October 20 2008
8 lbs 10 oz
21 inches long

More photos to follow

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Baby Nameless

On Peppers countdown we only have one day to have this baby. I'll be surprised if it happens tomorrow.

Every day people ask what we are going to name it. And we don't know. Before Oslo was born we went through all kinds of names. With this one almost nothing comes to either of us.

But here is a short list of our top names we can both agree on.
Boy
1. Hutch Dragon Price Elliot
2. Del M. Elliot
3. Shem Hankrum Elliot
4. Justice Hammer Elliot
5. Cloudy Tamm Elliot
6. Eli Sable Elliot

Girl
1. Blondie Von Della Elliot
2. Trang Cartwright Elliot
3. Mantha Candice Elliot
4. Lori Lavern Elliot
5. Chaste Golden Elliot
6. Ronnie Brayer Elliot

Unisex
1. Clinton/Clintonia Subaru Elliot
2. Viz Fixen Elliot
3. Duo Vanderkemp Elliot
4. Forest Don/Dawn Elliot
5. Runglink Grestallvra Elliot

It'll be one of these.

Some one took my hoodie

I brought my black hoodie to school today
I didn't know it was so
some one else could take it home
I thought it would be another cool night in the city
So I packed my black hoodie
I hung it on its hook
It hung there so alone
I went away for lunch
And some one took it home
I lost my black hoodie at school today
It was a warm night
the moon was full-
and bright
Soon it will be cold again
Some one else may bring my black hoodie to school some day
I hope it finds my hook

This is a poem. It's how I write but not how I write letters or essays. It's how I write poetry. Because sometimes I am a poet. Other times I am a good dancer.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

...but not for 2,400 dollars

Sure I would like this shoe...





I have been doing a little shoe shopping lately. It's been something on my list of things to do for, um, two years. Finally, last week I broke down and bought two pair of Clarks. I have been really happy with them. For years I have mostly worn sued skateboarding shoes. It kind of felt like maybe it was time to transition from sued to leather. I was hoping it would still be in a skateboarding shoe but once I started shopping I found out I am hard to shop for.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When you get a chance...

Give me a call. I have still have some ailments and new shoes I want to talk about.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Dead Kennedy and Bread On the Table


When I was in my youth I found punk rock music. I will not sing the praises of this genre nor will I say in hind sight it has little value and I now see how destructive it is.

While I was searching out and listening to punk rock music I undoubtedly came across the Dead Kennedy's fronted by Jello Biafra. They were a political band and sang about issues and events I had never heard of. Even today it is not uncommon to hear of a political issue or figure from the past and finally a DK song from 20 years ago makes sense.

In my late 20's I saw Jello speak at the University of Utah. I enjoyed hearing him speak about an array of topics some I agreed with others I didn't but I always respected his clear stance on issues. He also had a way of sharing information in a way that was entertaining and informative. A combination I feel is valuable and powerful.

Even though I was exposed to some history, like who was Pol Pot, and rethought some issues - the drudgery and conformity of corporate America- the most powerful lessons I learned from Jello Biafra through punk rock were "how's" instead of "what's".

One of the lessons I picked up on was "Become the Media". Don't just wait for the media to feed you what they want. Instead broadcast your own facts with your personal bias. At the time I think he may have been referring to graffiti, news letters, zines, rallies and public access TV. Now the with the widespread use of the Internet and blogs I am sure he meant that too.

Another lesson was to simply stand up for what you believe in. In one of his songs he says he loves his country and suggests he may even "love it more than you" because he is willing to fight against the "stars and stripes of corruption". I think on many topics we would be on opposite sides of the fence but I still respect him and his method. At the core of his message I felt he was most interested in people acting in a way they thought was responsible instead of trying to get them to think or act like him.

When I saw him speak those years ago he said something that surprised me. I think if he had encouraged everyone to go out and burn a flag on a street corner it wouldn't have surprised me as much as it would have disappointed me. But what he said went something like this. At the end of the day we are all pretty much the same. We are worried about keeping a roof over our heads and putting food on the table.

I remember this ending put all his music and what I had heard in his spoken word tour into a different perspective. I saw him as a person who had strong convictions about daily issues and the state of things in America and the world at large and allowed him self to get heated up about it. But he knew, though the issues were real, it was still a form of entertainment. A way to get people to listen and hopefully act. And action is the message I heard the loudest from him. He has his views and he takes action. And he understands that others have their views and they should take their responsibility to act as well. I can't say never but I rarely felt preached to when I listened to the Dead Kennedy's. Other than I should exercise my right to act with in the laws that have been laid out by our government. Even though his views were clearly in opposition to most national leaders the message I picked up on was overthrow corrupt leaders by lawful means. Educate the public, encourage conviction and action, and vote. So I was surprised that at the end of his lecture he acknowledged the commonality we share in general as people. And that from this we should engage in dialog with each other. An unlikely sentiment from a world renowned punk rock icon.

With elections on their way and prop 8 on the ballet in California and SB 777 having already passed I have had current issues on the forefront of my mind more than any other time in my life. My son and a baby on the way contribute to this in the greatest of way. Having lived through the life the previous generation fought for or failed in for me, I am now concerned for the future I must help build for my children. And I do not think breaking down definitions and destroying tradition is the way to build a brighter future for any one.

Who would have thought that 20 years latter the Dead Kennedy's would have influenced a Mormon father of two to stand up for what he believes in and vote.

I don't know what I would say to Jello Biafra if we ever met. It might just simply be, "Thanks for encouraging me take a stance."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Paul Foot

Talent Show

There was a talent show held today at the church on the corner of Pacific and Gough. It had singing and dancing and dancing and singing and comedy and some ball bouncing and a Poem. And all of that was just on the main stage. At the back of the grand hall were tables with artwork and crafts and crafty art work and even a slide show of photos from around the world. Then there were some video presentations shown on a screen. In spite of some audio technical errors and a curtain that never closed and a small flicker in the lighting it was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Seating was comfortable and treats were in abundance. Children were running and playing and some how the one that tumbled off the stage did so with such childish grace and good fortune that he wasn't hurt. The timing of the event even had it's benefit. It was late enough that one was able to go to the beach in the morning and, due to the still long days of summer, if one wanted to could easily return to the beach in the late afternoon.

As for us? We just came home. It had already been a good day. We had spent the morning at the beach with a couple of friends and relaxed in the sun and splashed in the waves.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pepper alert

So when I am super famous. Not just blog famous. Pepper is going to come out with a sneaker and sweat pants line. We have been throwing around a few names for her company.
Pepper and Squid Inc.
Pepper Pushers
Socks and Pepper
Pepper the Company and Co.
Pepper Stay
Hot Pepper Pants
Sweat n' Pepper
Pepper Pants Shoes
P.U.M. wear
Ugly Stuff You Wear
Beauty Inside
Or
Roller Dance Smash Up Power Punchers In the Face of the People (RDSUPPIFP)
Rides Up P.I.F.P. YO! and Co.

So be on the look out for some amazing stuff from Pepper. She is the real brains and talent in this operation we call a family. I am just a front.

I know

I know. I know. I know. Some times I get bored with my blog too.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

There Are

There are a lot of good blogs out there.

Friday, August 29, 2008

At The Computer

A list of things at our computer station. From left to right.

-A small gold frame painting of Christ
-A generic gray/tan computer speaker with a green light that glows when the power is on
-A stack of seven blank compact discs in thin clamshell cases. (They are stacked on the speakers)
-Four learn French discs (on top of the blank discs)
-A Motorola V3 flip phone Motomanual (on top of the French discs)
-Two Discs of images for a music video I did some work for that was never made
-A red box from Red Envelope. It contains:
-Eleven photos of my son and wife. They were a gift.
-Three Viz Media business cards
-An expired temple recommend
-A menu for the 21st Amendment
-My cousins Address
-Two memory cards for a camera I don't own any more
-The corner of an envelope with a friends return address
-ipod slip case with a print of a race car driver on it
-More photos of Oslo- his first birthday
-Another disc of Oslo photos
-A copy of the Beastie Boys, The in sound from the way out
-An empty cd slip case for the Arcade Fire, with Cameron's address written in the corner
-A gray USB chord for Peppers camera
-An Orow Wheat coupon
-A note pad with phone numbers and a list of things to do
-A black Sharpie marker
-A burgundy Sharpie marker
-The right side gray/tan generic computer speaker. It has no light
-Black cloth for cleaning the lenses on my glasses. It's collecting dust. I just use my shirt
-My eye prescription
-Zoo membership
-The url for a friends website
-A thank you card sent to me for a painting I did for a friend
-Two Thomas and Friends DVDs out of their boxes
-A box of trendy thank you cards I need to use up soon. I am behind on my thank yous
-Another stack of cds, some burned some blank and some empty clam shell cases
-A black USB chord for my camera
-A wooden rooster magnet
-Two wedges of wood from a Utrecht frame
-A mostly empty case for my Waccom tablet pen
-A silver plastic GE cordless telephone and base unit

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Email

On average I get six emails a week.
On average I check my email seven times a day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Long Blog

Long Blog entries are the worst.

MASS-ively annoying-EMAILS

Today I received two mass emails. I have been receiving more and more of these lately. And I don't particularly like finding them in my inbox. Even if it's for a good cause or something incredibly cute or funny. What ever the case I tend to loose a little faith in the person sending or forwarding the message.

Here's why. Even though the messages in the mass emails are varied there is generally a bias point of view and some outrageous point intended to get the reader to rally behind the cause. Maybe it's something like this:

Recycling- The Hidden Evil Of The 21st Century.

Stop recycling!
In towns across America illegal immigrants are collecting fingerprints and DNA from discarded bottles and cans. Once the personal leavings are collected and cataloged the recyclables are then traded, right out in the open, for cash at various locations that are likely in or near the neighborhood where you and your family live! The money the collected goes to funding identity theft and human cloning. And if that isn't scary enough soon enough it will be taught in schools that it in order to save the earth we must all recycle. When the real truth is, the only way to save the planet is to save America. And in order to save America we must save every bit of human waste in the very bottles we bring into our homes.

So I urge you to think twice before you toss out that bottle of pickle juice little Jimmy just gulped down after his soccer match. What is really being recycled? Glass or our children?
Stop recycling! Stop the invasion of an army of our own children- except they will be clones armed with glass shooting guns made of glass that can easily avoid detection by metal detectors.

This is clearly not a real issue, as of yet, but this is pretty much how most mass emails sound when I read through them. And tag lines like- "I don't know who wrote this but I thought you should read it and pass it on" or "I saw this on the news" and "A hitch-hiker sent this to me and when I wrote back they were gone" -never help the validity of the message.

Like I said in the beginning I found two of these in my email today. And each of the mass emails had a mass response, which is something I find more irritating than the initial email. However today I happened to take a moment and respond to each of the writers on an individual basis.

The first one was very thoughtful, polite and open in their dialog with me. It felt like a civil conversation between two people who have similar and opposing views. I felt a sense of respect from them and hope they felt the same from me.

Then second interaction I would like to share with you. I will refer to the other person as A. Because that's how they signed their email . And my response will be represented by an M. That just stands for "Me".

In response to a mass email calling for votes.

A- "Seriously...not everyone shares the same political views. Stop already."

M- "I agree that we do not all share the same views political or otherwise- I don't like tomato's. Nor do I like mass emails. One of the things I like less than mass emails is being included on the mass email response to the mass email. Please be the change you want to see in the world and respond only to the sender.
All the best"

A- "Are you kidding me. That was just lame. Keep to yourself and I don't need someone to tell me to be the change blah blah blah"

M- "I am not kidding you. Where is the lameness in not wanting be included in a mass responses? Can you explain to me how you have the right to tell me to keep to myself when it was you who instigated this dialog by sending me an email? Is that a specific guideline I should follow or is it more of a general rule that every one should follow?"

I haven't heard back from A. And if I do that will be the last of it. I have already given this more time than was intended.

So in closing I ask that you not include me on your mass emails (unless it's an invitation to a party or BBQ or boat race- is that a regatta?). And please if you need to respond to a mass email, simply respond to the sender. It's just good etiquette. So please help get the word out.
Good luck will come to you if you copy these last two paragraphs and forward them to 10 of your closest friends. If even half the people on your list will do the same when it comes back to you, you will find out who your real friends are and who had a secret crush on you in the fifth grade. It's so true it's creepy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

IQ Text

Please don't text in the movie theater. Even though I can't hear your phone, I can still see it. It's like watching little fire flies pop up and down in the dark - except it's not charming or magical.

Monday, August 4, 2008

What I did on my Summer vacation

Things from this post may end up in the book in more detail but this is not the book. It's just a regular post.

Today marks the end of another semester. It was a fast and fun seven weeks. I had four Pre College painting classes for High school students and one undergrad Abstract Painting class. I had the fortune of having a really good bunch of students in each of my classes and met some wonderful people who I think have some very bright futures. I gave some of the most harsh criticism I have ever dished out. It was though but needed to be said and for the most part brought impressive results. And some funny stuff happened.

There was the student that shook and hid their face each time I spoke to them. The one that liked me enough to promise a quick and painless death when they became President or Emperor of the world. I was hugged and picked up from the floor by an energetic corn fed young lady. Even after I said no, one of my more bold students drank from my Dr. Pepper. I said "It's yours now. And you owe me a Dr. Pepper next week." Which is still owed to me. I also think some one ate an orange from one of the still life set ups. That thing had been sitting around for a few weeks. One fifth of my students dropped out in the first week. I latter found out I was considered a mean teacher for the first few weeks of school. (It was all part of the plan.) I was able to work in a karate kick to one of my painting demos. "Uhhh. I have a question." was my favorite quote from the semester. One of the brilliant students made a self portrait out of gummy bears. It was half yellow half white. Just like they were. There was even a car wash for cancer and bake sale thrown in there.

Like I said, it was a fun semester. Too many things to mention. But now it's on to my summer. I will be building a crib and a bed for Oslo, building an online class and spending time with my family.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Best Joke

Another Part of CHAPTER FOUR
There is a bunch of stuff that happens in the middle of this and the tent stuff that actually ties together. When the hard copy of the book comes out and it has all the words from all the stories it will make sense.

The other day I heard one of the best jokes ever. I even had the opportunity to play a small role in the punch line. But I don't want to take too much credit. Mostly I just listened and observed. Here I will try to retell it in a way that is both funny and instructional. This works really well if the person you are telling the joke to has kids. Parents have a perspective that helps them understand this kind of humor.

Here's what you do. If you see someone with their child, go and sit by them and strike up a mild conversation. Be patient and before long the parent will inevitably say something about the child's development. And as soon as they do you say, "Oh he or she is so advanced." At first it might not sound funny but with a little patience and luck it will pay off. And here's how. If good fortune is on your side some one else will join the conversation within a few moments and when they do you can just casually slip in the punch line of the joke. Like so, "One of my favorite things to say when ever anyone is talking to me about their kids is that they are so advanced. It's like my little joke." Be sure to say it loud enough that the person you just played the joke on can hear it. That way they get to share in the punch line pay off.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So I have decided to write a book

People say to me a lot, "Mark, you should write a book. I would totally read it." When I hear this I have always been repeating in my mind, "I am a painter and a drawer. A visual type artist. Why would I write a book? A book writer is an author. A word artist... Which I am not." But on my face I just laugh and then look down at the floor or my lap as my smile fades like I am giving it some thought. But really I am just wishing it had never been mentioned. So I just keep looking down and I wait for the conversation to change. Which it does at some point. Because some one always says something.

Well, recently, no one has told me I should write a book. It might be because I have almost stopped talking to people. And if I do talk to some one I rarely say anything that would be in a book. But with no one prompting me to write I have had time to think. And through that thinking I have decided to write my book.

When ever I hear any one give advice about doing some thing creative I always remember the same thing that is eventually said. "Make, such and such, based on what you know." And since I know my life I'm sure my book will be mostly about that. Maybe some fiction thrown in if I forget a bunch of stuff or if I find my life too boring to write about.

Looking back I would have to say my book has gotten off to a pretty good start. I have already written three paragraphs and two sentences. And that's even before I have gotten into the meat of the book. This has just been the intro. Or the foreword. I don't read much so I don't know which one it is.

For some reason my wife of four years likes to point out the fact that I don't read. Maybe she thinks that will motivate me to read. Like today when I asked if she was still using the damp wash cloth sitting on the edge of the sink. In my mind I thought that would encourage her to put the wet cloth in the hamper. And maybe she did. I have not looked so I don't know. What I do know is that I do not read more than I have to.

And now with out further discussion or build up I will begin. (Please note this is only a sample. This is not actually how the book starts.)

And as it came crashing down it sliced the skin from my heal clean off.
That is the end of chapter three

CHAPTER FOUR

A good friend of mine likes to go camping. He calls it "back packing" though. I don't know the difference and it doesn't really matter because either way the person/persons involved end up in a tent.

In a tent. Of the ways I have woken up, this is one of my least favorite. Perhaps the only other way I have woken up that I like less is waking up after a surgery. I think it's the temperature and the lighting. Never, upon waking in a tent, have I felt rested or refreshed and eager to start the day. In a tent there is always something wrong. It's either too hot, too cold, too moist from breath build up and night sweats, and usually insanely bright for 5:45 am.

Now I will admit I have never spent good money on a sleeping bag but I have borrowed sleep sacks from a few people who have. And the common factor seems to be that by morning I feel like I am wrapped in a twig filled dirty damp napkin smelling of beef jerky.

Times have changed some may argue. And then tell me all about the latest brake through in watermelon rind fibers. And they keep going. And it's all good stuff but all I can think about is, in tents. I hate to wake up in tents. Cold (hot), twig filled dusty, nylon smoke house, crusty socks stuffed into wrong terrain kind of shoes by my face, dripping walls tents.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Peas and corn

When it comes to prepackaged peas and corn, I only like frozen peas and canned corn.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Roberts Freestone Carver


Though he was a policeman, a horseman and a rifleman, none of those are what come to mind when I think of my grandfather. Instead it is his roll as foreman. Each week he would oversee my lawn mowing duties, making sure I let fall the grass that needed to fall and bagged the grass that needed to be bagged. When I was done he would bring me a bottle coke and we'd sit in the shade of the back yard tree and he would tell me I was a hard worker.

My grandfather passed away peacefully in the familiar surroundings of his Ogden Utah home in the company of loving family members on May 6, 2008.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Songs from the dust, How Seven Days in Sammystown burried the Beverly Hills Cop

The "Beverly Hills Cop" soundtrack was the first tape I ever owned. It had that song "Axel F". To this ten year old boy it was the coolest song in the world. It really spoke to who I was as a person and what I wanted out of life. Then I heard The Far Side of Crazy, a minor college radio hit by the newly reformed Wall of Voodoo. The album was "Seven Day's in Sammystown". After hearing this album I wanted virtually noting to do with Top 40 Radio. I liked the song "The Far Side of Crazy" so much I signed up to lip sync for my fourth grade talent show. A few days later I got stage fright and erased my name from the list. I don't know what would have happened if I had preformed but I think it may have included the "stop button" on the square, green public school issue tape deck being pressed early. What ever the case I have never regretted keeping my admoreation for that song to myself that year. Also on the album was "Black Board Sky" a pulp fiction type song with the line "My head is ticking like a bomb on a subway train." I waited years to use this line in a real life situation. Sadly the situation never arose. There was "Museums", from this song I was introduced to the word "Anthropologist" and still have an affinity for the word to this day.
It was 1986 and I listened to Wall of Voodoo consistently for the next few years. However, over time I found new musical interests and the tape began to gather dust in my humble yet growing music collection. Eventually I moved onto compact discs and it was stored away. My love for the album never diminished I just knew it so well I didn't need to listen to it any more. Until now, fifteen years later.
On my last trip to my mothers home in Utah I rummaged through some of my old things and pulled out a few tapes I had not heard in years and brought them back home with me. Some of them that made it are, A compilation of 12" Remixes from The Cure, two mix tapes I made - One from Junior High and the other from High School, A mix tape from an ex-girlfriend (some people think it's weird that I still have this... But it's a really good mix.) And of course Wall of Voodoo. The tape has some garbles and warps and sounds like I am listening to it from a distant memory. And to make it worse it's not even the actual album. I never owned it. All I ever had were cheap copies. I had to make a second duplicate on the verge of the 90's because I had worn the first one out. Not spending the $9.99 to buy this album at the Toad Tape in the Ogden Mall still haunts me. Even still, when I walk into a record store I take a moment to look in the "W's" just to see if any one has traded in a copy- It's been out of print for nearly two decades. I found a couple of discs for sale on line but they are selling for almost $400 (that is my annual Coca-Cola budget) so I just can't justify spending that much on one album. (I can't really justify spending that much on Coca-Cola either. They don't need the money. Maybe I'll switch to RC Cola.) Even if it was the most influential album of my life I just can't do it. Nor do I think it should be done. So instead, it's on continuous play in our car. When you have a tape with a good full album on one side and a not so good album on the other side, continuous play means- a listen then a rewind then repeat. I had forgotten how slowly tapes rewind but it's been worth it every time.
Sorry Axel F, you didn't have the staying power.

Wall of Voodoo - Far Side of Crazy

Elbow - "One Day Like This"




Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Monday, February 4, 2008

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Rain and Snow

We have been getting a lot of rain here in SF. And I know Utah has been pounded with snow. I'd love to see some photo's of Utah snow. So if you have any posted, let me know so I can check them out.