Thursday, December 17, 2009

Complete Bowl Game Predictions

New Mexico Bowl: Fresno 24, Wyoming 13
Beef O Brady St. Petersburg Bowl: Rutgers 21, UCF 28
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Middle Tennessee 24, Southern Miss 30
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl: BYU 27, Oregon State 17
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Utah 31, California 16
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Southern Methodist: 24 Nevada: 38
Little Caesars Bowl: Marshall 17, Ohio 21
Meineke Car Care Bowl: Pitt 24, North Carolina 16
Emerald Bowl: Boston College 9, USC 28
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl: Kentucky 24, Clemson 28
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl: Georgia 31, Texas A&M 35
EagleBank Bowl: UCLA 28, Temple 6
Champs Sports Bowl: Miami 42, Wisconsin 27
Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl: Bowling Green 49, Idaho 43
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl: Newbraska 13, Arizona 21
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Houston 21, Air Force 24
Brut Sun Bowl: Oklahoma 10, Stanford 14
Texas Bowl: Navy 24, Missouri 35
Insight Bowl: Minnesota 17, Iowa State 10
Chick-fil-A Bowl: VTech 21, Tennessee 13
Outback Bowl: Auburn 14, Northwestern 9
Konica Minolta Gator Bowl: West Virginia 28, Florida State 38
Capitol One Bowl: Penn State 14, LSU 21
Citi Rose Bowl: Ohio State 21, Oregon 31
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Florida 31, Cincinnati 35
International Bowl: South Florida 35, Northern Illinois 21 Bowl: South Carolina 19, Conn. 24
AT&T Cotton Bowl: OK State 28, Ole Miss 42
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Arkansas 27, East Carolina 21
Valero Alamo Bowl: Michigan State 21, Texas Tech 38
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Boise State 21, TCU 35
FedEx Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech 27, Iowa 24
GMAC Bowl: Central Michigan 21, Troy 17
Citi BCS National Championship Game: Alabama 28, Texas 20

Also check out the Dash picks.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ireland: Post Card Trip

I'm finally getting around to posting again about our Ireland trip. I figure since it's been more than a month since we got back, I better just post what I'm going to post and have done with it.

We saw so many different sights. Part of the allure of the Emerald Isle is its dramatic landscapes. While each of these images, even if captured by someone who hasn't quite figured out his new camera yet, can tell a story without words. Don't worry though, I'll throw some in so you know what you're looking at but mostly because I can't help myself (or is it meself, and then I say lassie? Oh well).
It's amazing how much the time you see something affects the way you see it. Look at a mountain side in the spring and it may be covered with flowers. Look at it in the winter, perhaps it's covered with snow. High tide, and there's a beautiful reflection, low tide and its more wild than majestic. The clouds roll by and cast their shadows, the wind dies down and leaves the water like mirror. The sun bursts out. All of these moments can change the way we see things, but the thing itself hasn't really changed, just the what we perceive and the way we are perceiving it.
Dunguaire Castle at low tide.
Dunguaire Castle at high tide. See? Wild or majestic. Time is the only difference.
This is taken from Dunguaire Castle. If you look carefully you can see a stone archway. That used to be a castle right across from Dunguaire. We stopped here briefly on our trip to see the Cliffs of Moher (see previous post).

Ballyalban Fairy Fort
This ancient earthen ring fort with tree all around it. In the center was an ancient well. Local legend has it that its inhabited by fairies. That leprechauns will catch you there and spin you 'round and 'round. The more they spin you, the drunker you get. Do you suppose that's where the phrase, drunk enough to make the room spin comes from?

Burren green. An island of green amidst a sea of rock. I wonder what it looks like with a storm rolling in?

Poulnabrone Dolmen
It's amazing that this ancient tomb, more ancient than the pyramids in fact, looks larger in pictures. It probably only is about five feet high. I could be off though. Google it if you really want to know. The rocks all around it, pretty nasty stuff.

Poulnabrone Dolmen
From another angle, when a tourist wasn't in it ruining my shot.

Burren, at Poulnabrone Dolmen
See what I mean? Crazy rock. It was kind of slippery, very uneven and sharp. And it covers the entire burren. Most of its rockier in fact.

Cemetary outside the High Crosses
Apparently the circle is some sort of Celtic symbol, the cross of course is a Christian symbol. So as Christianity was spreading to Ireland they began making these celtic crosses so they wouldn't offend either religion (and get their monuments torn down).

The picture speaks for itself, doesn't it? Apparently if you couldn't find yourself a wife/husband by a certain age, then your parents found somebody to do it for you.

Atlantic Coast, Looking at the Cliffs of Moher on the Horizon
The layers fascinate me here. That and the fierce rocks give you no idea of how windy it was there at the edge of Europe.

North of Galway and on the way to Connemara and the Kylemore Abbey.

Standing Stones
If you look carefully, those things behind the fence that look like tombstones? Those are ancient standing stones, set in a ring and once protected by a ring of trees as well. Now they're guarded by fierce man eating sheep. Not true, but a better story than saying they're just sheep.

Ross Errily Friary, Courtyard Cemetery
Check out the link to see the wide shot. I didn't take any that turned out.

Ross Errily Friary
Lean in and you have a clean shot of a courtyard and some monks' rooms. Lean back a bit and a ruined window frames it for you. I really enjoyed going in and out the friary. It was enormous. I can't imagine how large it must have been in its original state.

Ross Errily Friary
Carved arches contrast the rougher stone of the wall.

Heaven? Lough Nafooey Valley?
Hundreds of islands decorate the large lake in the Connemara area. The picture doesn't do the steep rolling hills justice.

Ruined Stone House
The superstitious Irish won't touch the ruined stone houses. That'd be some major bad luck. The large room was for cooking. The small one is where all 10 members of the family would sleep.

Can't see the grin, but the eyes say it all.

If you can spot any white specs, those would be sheep. The green area, potato farms according to the guide. The brownish tint on the mountain side is apparently heather. I bet it looks amazing when the heather's blooming. Like an emerald and purple island.

Kylemore Abbey
This is one of the places on my Ireland wish list. Back in the day some rich guy built it for his wife out in the middle of nowhere. When she died he sold it to some nuns fleeing Germany during one of the world wars.

Kylemore Abbey

Inside The Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Mausoleum
When the rich guy's wife died (she was sickly folk) he had an elaborate mausoleum built for her. This is how intricately the place was carved. They used four different colors of marble, a rose, green, black and cream.

Kylemore Abbey
Lots of pictures of this place, but this isn't even half of what I took. Be glad I'm only showing my favorites.

Kylemore Abbey
The wind dies down, the sun peaks out of the sky and then magic happens.
I can't wait to go back to Ireland someday. There are so many beautiful things and places in the world. If we can just alternate out way of seeing things, have a little patience, then we won't miss out on those amazing experiences with out loved ones that let us savor the deep, rich flavor of life.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ireland: The Food

As Carrie and I were looking for places to stay we would often see the line “Serves a full Irish Breakfast”. What in the world is a Full Irish Breakfast? We certainly had no idea, but I’m so glad we found out.

Your Irish Breakfast consists of sausage, grilled tomato, fried eggs, mushrooms, white and black pudding, and a potato pancake (not sure if that is its official name). It typically comes served with brown bread and scones with marmalade. Now the bacon isn’t like bacon we have here, it’s more of a cross between ham and bacon that basically means its more meat than fat, which you know, is always a good thing. The white pudding is alright, not really a fan of oatmeal in something sausage like. The black pudding, it’s probably an acquired taste, one I have yet to acquire. I’m not sure I want to know how to make black pudding …
While on one of our day tour trips, we stopped in a pub and ate.

They were serving this stew that looked amazing. Beef and Guiness stew is what it’s called. We were worried about the alcohol in it, so we didn’t order. Turns out the little extra ingredient cooks out. Problem was, when we found that out we had already ordered something else. Then when we went looking for it we could never find it again. Oh well, something to save for the next trip. Aside from the breakfasts, the pubs definitely had the best tasting food.

While we didn’t get the stew, we did order some chowder that tasted really good.

Atlantic Chowder is what they called it. It had salmon, potatoes, some assortment of other kinds of fish and tasted really good, once you added a bit more salt and pepper to the mix. Oh, the bread on the left, that’s brown bread. Imagine the taste of a typical bread with more of a texture of zucchini bread, that’d be brown bread. Really quite good.
In Galway one of the nights we were there, we had fish and chips (fries) and got an icecream cone. We specifically went to a place because we saw these chocolate sticks and wanted one of those to go with our icecream, well turns out the place we ate at didn't have the chocolate sticks. Carrie was really disappointed and was being too shy to try going into a different restauran to ask for some. I figured we didn't travel all this way only to miss out on something one of us REALLY wanted and had the chance to do, so I found a place that sold icecream and bought us some chocolate sticks, even then Carrie was telling me I didn't have to. 35 euro a piece in case you were wondering. They were good too, but it was really worth it to make Carrie happy, so she took a "My Hero" picture.

At the Kylemore Abbey I had lamb and potatoes.

It looked impressive, smelled impressive but didn't tase impressive. It tasted like a roast that had entirely too little seasoning and wasn't nearly as fun as it looked like it'd be.
In Dublin while we were walking around, we stopped into this cafĂ© that offered a sandwich and hot drink for 5 euro. We both ordered hot chocolate. I wish I had taken a picture of that. They made it with REAL European chocolate, melted down and mixed with milk. It was so thick and rich. Then they sprinkled cinnamon on top and topped it all off with some whip cream. If I woke up every morning to a cup full of that, I could die a very happy man. If I did though, I’d probably die sooner rather than later because it tasted too good to be anywhere near good for you.
All in all, the breakfasts, those were amazing. Filled me right up and took care of me for most of the day. Since we've been back I've been craving a good Irish Breakfast. I'd love to have one topped off by a cup of hot chocalte.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cliffs Of Moher

Rising up out of the Atlantic Ocean like a defiant challenge to the ever flowing power of the sea are the Cliff of Moher. Far away across the horizon they stand like stone giants, guarding the Emerald Island. Clouds roll in from the sea, carried on the back of the West Wind. As they sail across the sky they hide the sun, permitting the cliffs only the occassional respite in the sun's rays.

You can hear the waves crashing on the rocks hundreds of feet below and its so powerful and so peaceful sitting on top of the edge of Europe gazing out at the horizon and to the West.

Somewhere among the visitors to that enchanting place, someone is playing a tin whistle, and the music rises and flies like fairies on the wind. Everywhere you go in Ireland there is music, in the people and in the places. It truly is the Land of Song.
When Carrie and I first talked about our trip, I told her I wanted to go some place I could be ispired. We found it in Ireland. I could sit there for hours just listening to the wind and the whistle and the waves; watching the sky and the sea and the light; and writing ... There is beauty all around this world of ours. It is there, a gift for us to take and cherish. If we but open our eyes we can see it, that great gift, and if we open our hearts we will feel it. Truly "all things denote there is a God," especially Ireland.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Adventure: On Stand By

On round two we made it no problem. Sioux Falls to Atlanta, Atlanta to John F. Kennedy, and JFK to Dublin in business class. And as we sit on the plane I can't help but feel so grateful to be married to such an amazing woman, a woman who tells me to remember ow sweet she's being now when she's feisty later. We're going on an adventure and it's because we sacrificed and saved, received so much generous help and now we get to enjoy it. - 9-14-09

Flying Stand-by is fun. sure it can be stressful at times, things don't work out, you have to sprint to make it, but when you do, you're in. You're on a trip and just hours away from discovering some place new or re-discovering somewhere you've been before. Being at the destination isn't the only part of the adventure, it's an adventure just getting there. Carrie and I were able to fly both in to and out of Dublin in business class. Lots of leg room, gourmet meals, comfy seats you can actually fall asleep in. Everyone shoud get the chance to fly business class some time in their life.

On the way out dinner was filet, exotic cheeses, balsamic vinagarette and romaine hearts, ice cream sunday and tomato basil soup. Then for breaktfast we had a full Irish breakfast of Irish bacon, eggs, sausage, grilled tomato and brown bread. I'm definitely a fan of a full Irish breakfast. One of those and you'll be full for a week. Carrie had salmon that had been steamed and was both moist and tender, and on top of that it even was flavorful (our experiences with salmon have always been miss or REALLY miss). I think I watched 5 different movies on the two flights crossing the Atlantic.

On the return flight I had chicken parmegean and a mushroom soup. It's like a combination of a four star restaurant, 5 star hotel and flight.

Then, on the way home, after flying business class I had the very last seat on the plane from JFK to Atlanta. Last row, supposedly a window seat. But since the engine was like 4 inches from my ear, there was wall instead of window. My seat didn't lean back, but the seat in front of me did, and the passenger took advantage of it. I swear when he fell asleep I could rest my chin on his forehead if I'd wanted to. On top of that there was a big guy sitting next to me. It ought to be illegal to charge full price for that seat.

Still part of the adventure of buddy passes are seats like that. And how could I complain? Part of the reason I enjoyed and appreciated business class so much is I've experienced the cramped quarters of the forgotten seat 4 inches from the engine. (I think I have most of my hearing back).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Adventure Begins

Our adventure begins with the blaring of two alarms going off in synchronized tandem, but these aren't alarms you dread, hit once and throw across the room before rolling back over, these are alarms we've been waiting for for almost 10 months, longer if you consider the destinatioin. Still, as we head to the airport, me grinning like a 2-year-old at Christmas, there's no guarantee we'll get on the plane to Atlanta. It's over sold by one, and we're the fourth and fifth on the stand-by list. Or if three people don't make it and three more give up, we're on. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Carrie owes me a back rub if we get on the flight, what can I say, I'm an optimist, BYU did beat Oklahoma after all.

The desk agent (not sure if that's the official term) tells us that everyone's checked in, we're not going to make it. So as we start to grab our things and walk away from the gate, she yells at us, "Wait don't go yet!" Not everyone that's checked in is on the plane, so she makes a final call for anyone who hasn't gone through security yet but already checked in to get there quick.

A few minutes later, a few stragglers come in, she tells us that five people haven't shown up, that's when this old couple walks up, presents her the ticket, and get scolded like they're a bunch of twelve year olds who just blew up the family barn. That's okay though, three seats left. She takes our tickets and tells all three of us to just find an empty seat. We made it.

We walk down to board the plane and Carrie gets on, then I'm told to wait. Carrie gets all the way to the back of the plane and realizes that there aren't enough seats. She can go, the flight attendent insists, just take the seat. There's no room on the plane for me. We almost made it, if that twelve year old senior couple hadn't shown up when they did, we would be on our way.

Tyson on his way back OUT the airport.

But they did and so we aren't, but we will be. Not every leg of an adventure is successful, and it wouldn't be quite as adventurous if there wasn't the chance for failure. So for now, our fingers are crossed that we get on that flight tomorrow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

To My Friends

I have had the marvelous privilege in my lifetime to be blessed with amazing friends. Friends that I share a wide variety of inside jokes, adventures, joys, and who have been there for support as we've gone through trials.

The other day I was just thinking to myself, man I should give some of my old friends a call to see how they're doing. Then when I got to thinking about who I would call ... I couldn't help but think there had to be a better way. So this is what I've come up with.

Now there isn't a ton of housing in Sioux Falls, but there is just enough that I think all of my friends could fit in them, barely. Here's the plan. All of you are going to move to Sioux Falls, but I won't be working here forever, oh no, so in a couple of years we'll all pack up and move together and go someplace else.

Anyone want to suggest the next spot?

The only requirement is that they have to have television there.

Seriously though, I have some really good friends that I feel like I should do a better job keeping up with. This blog is my solution.

I've decided to get over the fact that I am just not going to have pictures for every single one of my blog posts, but I will post more frequently. So that's a plus, unless you prefer picture books ... sorry about that.

So do me a favor. Drop me a line, post if you need my number and I'll get it to you. Let me know what's the best way to keep in touch with you. Do you prefer the blog thing? I think that's going to be my modus operandi from now on, but the thing is there are so many of you that have been such a big part of my life that I want to stay friends with you ... I'm just not sure the best way to do it.

That's all, please post and let me know what method you prefer to keep in touch.

Now to work on a fun post ...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nauvoo, The Beautiful Place

A trip to Nauvoo isn't so much something you do as something you experience. You drive down this rural highway and almost suddenly you've arrived. You look around and notice, rising above the rooftops is an image in gold, an angel with a trumpet upon his lips. There, just before the slope down to lower Nauvoo is the temple.

Rebuilt more than a century after it was first built, loved, used and then destroyed. It stands once more, a memorial to the promise that the spirit of Elijah will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers.
You can take the wagon ride from the Visitor's Center around that lower Nauvoo area. A retired brother or sister will drive the horses and one will tell you all about the city that a century and a half ago rivaled Chicago in population. You can see the blacksmith shop and watch a man forge a miniature horseshoe with a smile on his face. Go down the street a ways and learn how they made bricks, and what Nauvoo red is. At another site play games like they did back in the day.
Walk through the Browning gun shop, yes THAT Browning. Learn about the culture, the kitchens, medicines, homes, gardens, food and way of life. Yes, go to Nauvoo and you can learn a lot. But you won't even have begun to experience Nauvoo. To really experience Nauvoo you don't just see the sights, you feel the spirit of that Beautiful Place.

A grove of trees was left there, a path with the occassional plaque with journal entries dots the way. Listening there in that grove, the occassional ray of sun peaking through the clouds and leaves, you feel something.

A beautiful statue garden honoring the roles of women adjoins the visitor's center. You can see artisitc rendering of those roles, but you feel the love of God for his daughters. How He cherishes them, wants what's best for them, rejoices in their success. How He, The Father, honors them. Just close your eyes a moment and you'll feel it as you hear those soft sounds of the garden.

Then there's Parley street. The way is straight, surrounded by fields and it leads to the wide Mississippi. Here began the journey that for thousands would end not in a new home safe in the mountains, but in their death. As you walk, one step slowly in front of the other, each step crunching on the ground, you pass by plaques that tell you the story of that street. Called the "Trail of Tears" by those who first walked it, it is now called the "Trail of Hope". In early February they left, fleeing mobs who committed unspeakable crimes. They simply sought religious freedom, and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But there is no bitterness in the feel, no anger, no call for revenge. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the wind carry the words of the hymn penned from that trek, "And should we die, before our journey's through, Happy day! All is well!"

A Beautiful Place is not only a place you can learn, experience wonderful talent in sculpture, architecture, song and dance but a place where you feel peace. Where all sense of body and heart lead you to that serenity.

You can learn a lot about the way of life in the first half of the 1800s by going to Nauvoo, you can learn a lot about the history of Mormons. But something one of those old retired missionaries said on a carriage ride wrang true. You may forget the things you learned about the places and the people, but remember those feelings you felt. That is how you experience Nauvoo.


I'm starting this blog less for the one or two people who might have a slight interest in what I have to say and more to satiate my nearly incomprehensible and endless desire to write. I'm not sure when I first became a 'writer' but I've always loved telling and reading stories. But if there's a writer's bug, it bit me and now I'm doomed. Maybe you are too, I mean, you are reading this blog after all.

Anyway, welcome, and good luck.

Oh, and fair warning: I'm not promising short posts.