Monday, February 28, 2011

My Special Assignment From George

As I'm sure all of you know, there is an important event coming this September. You see, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there was a great battle that occurred, an epic struggle between good and evil. A man named George Lucas put together a documentary that chronicled these events. His important work will be coming to Blu-ray this September. This is very important, because I have clearly not purchased the Star Wars saga enough times. Yes, I own multiple VHS versions as well as a DVD version, but clearly I will need the Blu-Ray as well.

I do consider myself one of the Star Wars faithful. In my past I spent a number of nights sleeping on sidewalks so that I could be one of the first to partake of these movies.

 I feel this picture from my high school days sums it up.
Wow, I may have been more of a nerd than I thought.

Anyway, considering how faithful I've been over the years, George Lucas wanted me to help promote the new Blu-Ray release. He and I worked together to create this short film where I play all of the male lead characters and Robyn plays Leia. I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Trick or Treating For Adults

Do you remember when you were younger?  Remember how great Halloween was?  You would get all dressed up in your costume, you would run all over town to get a good haul of candy.  It was the greatest night ever.

I have good news for you.  Adults can achieve the same thing.  They just have to do it in a more awesome way.
This is me with my bag of goodness.  (Sorry the red bag blends in with my red shirt.)
Photo by Chase Davies

Today I went to the Big Business Expo at UVU.  This is where all sorts of businesses get together and go trick or treating to each other's booths.  Almost every booth has a big bowl of candy.  But even though candy was the pinnacle of goodness as children, candy is not even that cool at this trick or treating event because there's so much better stuff.

I got a myriad of pens, a calculator, a flash light, a first aid kit and other goodness.  Some of the booths had pizza or nachos.  Basically, it's the greatest thing ever.  Take a look at my haul.
Not Pictured:  All of the candy and other food I got

I was loving the free stuff so much.  I really wanted to go to a booth and just say "Trick or Treat!"  but I lacked the courage.  I think part of the key to preserving this wonderful atmosphere is that the adults have to be in denial about the fact that they are trick-or-treating.  But let's be honest.  That's what was happening.

Maybe next year I'll wear a costume.  That will get some attention.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Truly Awesome: Ken Jennings

This past week a very important event occurred.  I'm still geeking out about it.

In the world of geekdom we love to learn random bits of knowledge.  The crowning pinnacle of this geeky habit is the game show Jeopardy! where you win money by knowing the answers to random questions.  Of course, the greatest Jeopardy player there ever was is Ken Jennings.

Also, in the world of geekiness resides computer programming.  I'm especially fascinated by Artificial Intelligence.  I've played around with AI as I've attempted to write computer opponents to play chess or other games.

This week's event was the marriage of these two forms of geekalaciousness.   IBM pitted their super computer Watson against the top two Jeopardy players of all time, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.  To put it simply, Watson dominated. (Watson ended with $77,147.  Ken Jennings had $24,000 and Brad Rutter had $21,600)

But the best part was at the end.  The final Jeopardy question had to do with the author of the book Dracula.  This is how Ken Jennings answered the question.
Who is Stoker?
(I for one welcome our new computer overlords)
Ken Jennings, one of the world's smartest people, answered the question correctly and then added the afterthought that he welcomes our new computer overlords.  Because, he knows, as we all should, that if the machines are beating us in trivia games, we are only one step away from the rise of the machines and the genocide of the human race.  Naturally, he wants to get on their good side early.

So if Ken Jennings thinks it's coming, we should all be prepared for the rise of the machines.

It's coming soon.  I predict April 21, 2011.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Run in with the Law

It occurred to me that there are a great wealth of stories that happened before the inception of this blog.  It is a great tragedy to not share some of these stories.  I decided I should share the story of the time that I was picked up by the cops.  It's a good story.

I don't remember how old I was.  But I do remember it was my birthday.  I was turning either 14 or 15.  I had an overnight party.  We decided it was imperative that we toilet paper a house.

You have to understand that there was a period in my youth where toilet papering was the thing we did.  There's something magical about the long streams of toilet paper attached to the top of the tree and flowing in the wind all the way down.

Anyway, there were two girls in our neighborhood that lived across the street from each other.  They were fun and cute so they were natural targets for these sorts of things.

We did one house and then debated whether to do the second across the street.  We were having so much fun we decided to keep going.  About 20 minutes later we were putting the finishing touches on the second house.  I always liked to put the empty rolls on the antenna of the cars.  I was placing them on a car that was parked on the street when I saw headlights approaching.

Of course, the car I was working on was parked on the street and there wasn't time to run far, so I just dove behind the car in hopes that the oncoming car would just drive by.  Unfortunately, it didn't drive by.  More unfortunately, it was a cop.
This is not the cop that was there that night.  But the cop did point kind of like this cop.
The officer stopped and got out of his car.  He said in his most authoritative tone, "I know you're behind the car.  Just stand up and show yourself."  Naturally, I obeyed.  He told all of his to reveal ourselves.  Everyone came out from behind bushes and cars, except for my friend Mike.  He started running away as fast as he could.

The officer yelled, "Come back right now."  At this point I wasn't sure what would happen.  Would he tase my friend?  Would he pull out his gun?  I figured if my friend got shot that might ruin my birthday.  Luckily, my friend responded to the cop's command and returned to the group.  (I still wonder what the cop would have done if he didn't obey.)

The cop took down all of our names.  He asked us who was the ring leader of the group.  Everyone pointed to me.  He called my mom and asked if she knew where I was.  "Yes, he's out toilet papering a house."  (I always told my mom where I was going.  I had a bad experience once when I snuck out.  Maybe I'll write about that later.)  The cop asked how many houses we were doing.  "They were doing 1 and possibly a second."  The cop told her he believed we had done 3.

He told us that we weren't in big trouble.  He said he did the same thing when he was our age, but he said we had to clean up all 3 houses.  We were confused, we had clearly only done two.  But we commenced to clean up the two that we had done.  Of course, this was a great tragedy to me.  I felt that toilet papering was an art form.  (Maybe I'll write later about the time I toilet papered my own house just because we had such excellent trees.)  I didn't mind being the one to clean it up.  I just wanted our recipients to see it first.  I tried to bargain with the cop that I would come back at 10 AM and clean it up but he would have none of it.

Since we had already been caught, I think that our commitment to being stealthy was over.  As such, as we were cleaning it up, the mom woke up and came outside to see what was happening.  My friend Cyle was standing right next to the front door when she came out.  When he saw her he just said, "It wasn't me, it was Jeff Stockett."  I have such courageous friends.

After cleaning up the two houses we were told we needed to clean up the third house.  We tried to explain that we had only done 2 houses, but again, he would have none of it.  He marched us to the 3rd house about 3 blocks away.  He drove his car as we walked along side it.

When we got there we were amazed.  Remember I told you that it was an art form?  Well, we had come to clean up the work of Rembrandt.  Every stream went to the very top of the 40 foot tree.  The flowing toilet paper was truly beautiful.  We were honored that the cop considered our skill to be on par with these masters.  We tried to explain that, as honored as we were, it wasn't us.  He didn't care, he just wanted it cleaned up.

So there I was 30 feet in the air, pulling toilet paper out of a tree at 3 AM.  I think that's when I decided that my toilet papering career was over.  You should also know, that was the only time I was on the wrong side of the law (other than speeding tickets, those don't count.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Ducks Are Watching

Anatidaephobia: The fear that wherever you are, whatever you're doing, somewhere, somehow, there is a duck that is watching you.

I used to think that was an irrational fear.  How could the ducks always be watching?  They can't see that far, they certainly can't see through walls.  But somehow, they are watching.  Here's how I know:  They gave me this certificate.

At first I thought that maybe by sending me this certificate they might be trying to guilt me into sending them money so that I could feel like I earned the certificate.  But, then I thought about it more.  Clearly they just wanted me to know how much they appreciate all the things I have done for ducks throughout the world.   Obviously they must have been watching me very closely, because they realized what a duck supporter I am even before I did.

Let me share with you all the things I've done for ducks over the years.

1. I use the address labels they gave me.
You know those little labels that companies give you that have your home address on them?  You can put them on envelopes so you don't have to write out a return address.  Well, the duck people sent me some of those.  The following people and organizations are fully aware of my support for ducks: the mailman, my mortgage company, and my utility companies.  I'm really getting the word out for ducks.

2. I never pick up a duck in a dungeon
You should know better than to pick up a duck in a dungeon.

3. If someone throws something at my head I duck
This may seem trivial, but that movement promotes ducks every time I do it.

4. I go on ducky dates
You know the date where you take a girl to a duck pond and throw bread at the ducks?  I have taken a number of girls on this date.  Every time it resulted in a marriage within a year.  Only once did that marriage involve me.

5. I ask small children what sound a duck makes
This gets the word out about ducks very early in the lives of the next generation.

So, as you can see.  My service to duck kind has been incredible.  This can only mean that the ducks have been watching me closely.  It makes sense.  I would watch me if I were a duck.  I do funny stuff all the time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Your Bucket List

What do you want to do before you die?  What do you want to accomplish?  Who do you want to become?  What do you want to see?  What do you want to experience?  How do you want to serve?

Sometimes it's fun to reflect on what you want to accomplish.  Hopefully, we will all live long, full lives.  But are there certain things that you want to be included in that long full life?

A while back a movie came out called "The Bucket List."  It was an okay movie, but it introduced the idea of a list of things to do before you kick the bucket, and I really liked that idea.

I think too often we live life day to day without thinking about the big (or small) dreams we have for the future.  I recently decided that I needed to compose my bucket list.  I started doing it in notepad on my computer but I decided that strategy was seriously lacking in awesomeness.

I did some googling until I found a recently launched website that I really like.  It is at  It is super awesome.  It allows you to create your own list, browse other people's lists, follow lists that you select, copy other people's items, and even add videos and pictures to any item on your list so that you can show off your awesomeness after you complete an item (or use pictures to better show what you're going to do before you do it.)

Since making my own list I have begun evangelizing friends and family so that they too will make lists on the site.  I already have a few converts. (okay, I'll admit two of them are my wife and my mom who are both required to put up with all my craziness)

So the next step in my evangelizing is this very blog post.  So what are you waiting for?  Why don't you go to the site and make a list of your own?  Your list can and should include things that are practical, fun, easy, hard and some things that are downright crazy.

Even if you decide not to do it on the site, I encourage you to think about it.  Have fun with it.  Dream about what you'd like to do, see or accomplish.  If you need some ideas for your list feel free to check out my list.  Let me know if you join the site so I can follow you.  Also, feel free to comment with some (or all) of your bucket list items.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Lost Powers

A few days ago I experienced an important day in history.  Robyn has long been an enemy of my eyebrows.  She has long desired to trim them but recently was the day I finally allowed it.

You see, I had this one super awesome eyebrow hair that was super long.  It's been there for many moons, and I've always known about it.  But a few weeks ago my brother Zack pointed it out.  He said, "I just keep staring at your super long eyebrow hair.  It's kind of gross."

I think Robyn felt that my brother's comment gave her license to say something.  Ever since then she has threatened to pluck it while I sleep or do other wicked things to it.

It should be noted that I didn't look this guy:

And, as awesome as he is, I didn't even look like this guy.

I wish I had taken a close up picture so you could understand the awesomeness.  The awesomeness of the two guys above was dwarfed by my own.  You see, this one eyebrow hair had been with me as long as I'd been alive.  The rest of them have fallen out over the years and been replaced by other hairs, but not this one.  

Since this one hair had never been cut, I could sing to it and it would glow.  (It didn't have that power until I saw the movie Tangled, but that movie revealed to me the power of an uncut hair.)  Also, much like Samson, my uncut eyebrow hair granted me uncanny strength.  I was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, eat large meals in a single bite and say long words with a single breath.

But, alas, ever since the cutting of my eyebrow hair I have felt tired.  My powers are lost.  I feel like the rest of the normal eyebrow trimming population.  I don't think I should have let her do it.  What do you think?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Night Visitor

I didn't get much sleep last night.  The Night Visitor ruined my life.

I was in my bed, sleeping soundly like a good kid.  It was about 1:30 AM.  The doorbell rang and it woke me up.  But you know how sometimes you get woken up and you think you heard something but you don't really know because you were asleep?  That's the experience I had.  I laid there thinking, "did someone really just ring the doorbell?"  Finally I decided I had better go check.  I didn't really expect to see anyone there because I thought I had dreamed it.

I looked out the peephole and saw a man standing there.  I didn't have a good feeling when I looked at the guy but he turned and said something to a friend of his and that's when I noticed a black figure standing there.  I liked that individual even less.  I debated for a few moments whether I should open the door.  But the first thing that came to my mind was the movie, "The Strangers".  (It's about not nice people that ring your doorbell.)
These are not the people that rang my doorbell.  These are The Strangers that I thought of.
I don't know if the guy heard me approach the door but only a few seconds after I looked through the peephole he became excited.  He started yelling, "Mark!  Mark!"  I don't know who Mark is, but I know it's not me.  At this point it reminded me of the vampires in the book I Am Legend that stand outside Robert Neville's house and yell his name.  (Not the zombified ones from the movie)

These are also not the people who rang my doorbell.  This is cover art from I Am Legend.
After I realized I wasn't in a horror flick I pondered what the true story might be.  This Night Visitor was obviously confused.  He really wanted to see Mark and he was quite sure that Mark was inside my house.  I thought maybe he was drunk or high.  He might be a nice guy that just needs some guidance.  Maybe he just wanted to be the first one to wish me a happy Groundhog Day.  Whatever his reasons, I still really didn't want to talk to him.  I kept looking out the peephole every few minutes to see if he was still there.  He rang the doorbell a few more times (Luckily, Robyn never woke up) and then he finally gave up and left.  I watched him and his darkly visaged friend go get into their car and then I went back to bed.  Of course, the weirdness was too much for me to immediately go back to sleep, so I read a book that happened to be next to my bed about how to survive a zombie attack for the next hour or so.  It made me feel much better and I was able to return to my slumber.

Was I just a scared wimp?  Have I read too many books and seen too many movies?  Should I have opened the door?  Or was I wise to keep it closed?  Perhaps I avoided a serial killer, zombie or vampire.  What do you think?
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