Exploring Home

After traveling and being away from Utah for some time it has been very nice to be back home. The idea of home for me has always been transient and hard to define, but for right now Salt Lake City is it. I have gotten to really appreciate the view of the Capitol Building and the mountains from our living room window, and being able to walk or bike most anywhere I want to go is something that will be hard to move away from. So, for now I’m trying to take it all in and enjoy it while I’m here, which is really what this whole project was about from the start.


When I got back to SLC last week it was in the 50s in January, so I took that opportunity to run and feel the altitude burn my lungs. I went out and made some friends on the disc golf course and took my time walking around the city from place to place. I did all of that specifically because I knew a snow storm was coming, and I wanted just a little more fall weather before it hit. And when it started snowing, it didn’t stop for 2 days.


I was lucky enough to get a job working at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City as the snow began to fall. While the drive was slow, it was beautiful and different than I had seen it before. I walked with crowds of people going to see independent films through giant snowflakes, and everyone was smiling, enjoying the ephemeral beauty of it all. When I got back into Salt Lake thin tree branches supported more snow than I thought possible, and the streetlights held flakes in their triangular yellow beams as they fell softly to the ground. I couldn’t wait to see the city the next day.


The snowfall continued, but there was no way I was staying in. Becca and I headed out early, walking up along City Creek to incredible white scenes. We had been up these paths dozens of times before, but it all felt new! Snow has the ability to completely reinvent a scene and highlight the beauty you may have missed or forgotten. The winding creek cut through the starkness of the landscape and tiny bridges reached across as we made our way up the mouth of the canyon. The falling snow limited distant visibility, but that only forced us to focus on the wonderful sights in front of us.


After some time we wrapped around to the Capitol area. It’s one of my favorite places in the city to just sit and admire the scene. The large domed building dominates the hilltop and the white lawn falls off to either side with mountains and the city skyline just below. There is no bad vantage point, which is precisely why this location was chosen for the State Capitol. Under snow, it just seems fantastical. Each of the days after the storm began I found it slightly different, yet always holding my attention. Whether it was grey skies or bright blue I can’t seem to get enough of it.



I feel genuinely privileged to be living here so close to something I can stand in awe of every day. I look forward very much to watching the seasons change around here and experiencing it first-hand in all the ways I can. There’s always something new to uncover wherever you may be, so don’t wait to go find it; explore!



9 Podcasts to Drive Your Road Trip

When I go on road trips I start off beaming with excitement for all the things I’ve planned to do. All those big plans will come, but there’s a lot of open road between here and there. The excitement can quickly fade if you’re not keeping your mind occupied while you’re on a long stretch of highway with nothing to look at.


I listen to podcasts in the car more often than I listen to music these days. Traffic jams are my least favorite thing on the road, but even heavy traffic doesn’t annoy me when I’m listening to something that engages me. There’s just so much content out there and even if you have a 20-minute drive you can learn something. Long drives are the perfect opportunity to put on some long-form interviews or listen to a series of one-hour shows. From fictional content to video game reviews to political discourse, there’s honestly something for everyone. I’m going to share a few of my favorites.

This American Life

This might be one of the most well-known and popular podcasts and for good reason. Ira Glass has been doing this show for over 20 years for radio and the content has been quality the whole time. The themes can range from a very personal story of one person’s life to an embedded reporter talking to a career senator about why she is leaving government work. Even the most unlikely topic is made relatable and crafted beautifully by skilled reporters. The most recent 4 episodes are always available to download for free, but the full 600+ episode archive is available on the This American Life app for only $2.99. It’s definitely worth it for all the great content, and it supports the show continuing on. I’d suggest a favorite episode, but honestly just pick one that sounds interesting. I promise you it will be.



Another NPR podcast, this one often investigates scientific ideas and makes them easy to understand. Hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich talk to experts on myriad topics to dissect grand ideas like the structure of language or how the Supreme Court was formed. If you’re interested in things like this I would suggest starting with the episodes “Time” and “Numbers.” Two things that seem so simple will blow your mind.



The Tim Ferriss Show

Tim Ferriss is known for his book, The 4-Hour Workweek as well as other books, and his podcast is just as inspiring. He talks to people in business, tech, entertainment, and really any other area who are at the top of their game, and he dissects their methods to find out how they became successful and how they stay that way. As a big fan of stand-up comedy I really enjoyed the Mike Birbiglia episode. The techniques he discussed really have changed the way I work on writing. There’s something for everyone on this podcast, and I can assure you you’ll learn from it.


Reply All

This show began as two guys talking about internet ephemera and has turned into one of my favorite shows with deep stories. PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman joke around a lot. They have a segment where their boss brings them a tweet he doesn’t understand, and they proceed to explain it to him while laughing at the absurdity of the whole thing. On the flip side they recently did a story where Alex travels to India to track down a call center who contacted him in an attempt to scam him for money. It’s a great balance of good reporting and fun antics.


Up First

Staying informed about world events isn’t always easy on the road, so I like listening to this NPR podcast that is released every weekday. It gives a succinct report of the most important news stories you should be aware of without going too in-depth.


Savage Lovecast

Dan Savage has his Savage Love advice column in newspapers around the country, and this podcast is an extension of that. People call in, ask questions about love, sex, and relationships, and Dan answers them in his singular decisive voice. It’s more fun than anything else. Maybe you can learn something or you can take solace in knowing other people have worse relationship issues than you.


Women of the Hour

Lena Dunham talks with women who have inspired her as well as some of her friends and co-workers who also fit that description. The topics range from abuse to creative techniques for writing. It’s very much just a chat show most of the time, but the topics are engaging and keep you interested.



This show makes you think. Alix Spiegel, Lulu Miller, and Hanna Rosin explore invisible forces that shape our lives; emotions, beliefs, assumptions, and a slew of brain science that they cut through to make everyone understand. It’s a light show for such heavy topics, and I always finish an episode wanting to sit with the information and think about it a while longer. Check out the episode “Emotions” for a very… emotional story of a court case that takes a turn you won’t expect.


Stuff You Should Know

This is the podcast that got me into listening to podcasts. Josh Clark and Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant tackle anything and everything that they find interesting. That’s anything from LSD to impeachment to Jim Henson. They talk about everything, and they make it fun. The best part of the show is the relationship between Josh and Chuck. It feels like you’re hanging out with your friends who just happen to know everything about bat feces and want to tell you about it. They digress often, but it’s endearing, and that has become my favorite part of the show. I would pick one episode to suggest, but they’re almost all fantastic. Check it out!



Honorable Mentions:

WTF with Marc Maron – Comedian Marc Maron chats with other comedians, actors, and even President Obama.
The Nerdist – Long form interviews with people all over the entertainment industry.
TED Radio Hour – Expanded TED talks and interviews.
Blabbermouth – Dan Savage and friends discuss/yell about politics.
Under the Skin w/ Russell Brand – Brand discusses deep topics like slavery and identity with experts in those fields.
More Perfect – Jad Abumrad of Radiolab examines Supreme Court cases in depth.


I could go on, but I’ll stop there. Besides helping to pass the time on the road and feeling like I learn things from podcasts they also often recommend documentaries, books, or other podcasts that further delve into topics I want to continue learning about. It sometimes turns into an endless list of things I’ll never get to, but it’s a great resource to start on a topic. These are just my favorites, but if you search I guarantee you can find a podcast suited to whatever niche topic you might want to hear about!



Success is Not Final; Failure is Not Fatal

While watching a movie tonight I heard a quote that caught my attention. That led me to another quote. Both are attributed to, but most certainly not actually said by, Winston Churchill. Regardless of who said them, the words hold meaning:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

“Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Philadelphia Water Works 1.7.18

Welcome to 2018. People make resolutions and break resolutions because they are, in my opinion, fleeting optimistic traditions, fundamental miscalculations of time, and overestimations of willpower. That might be a bit reductionist, but that’s how I see it. I could say “I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year!” but this can of root beer and half a vegan reuben sandwich next to my laptop would beg to differ. I think there is something to be said for optimism, but I also believe in a heavy dose of self-awareness.

I’m not anti-resolution. In fact, I really enjoy making lofty goals for myself that I almost always fall short of. Falling short isn’t the part I enjoy; I believe that making plans alone is enough motivation to actually follow through on a lot of things. In my experience the key to staying motivated and excited about something is to always have something to be working towards. Something to look forward to. Having something on the horizon towards which you can steer your ship is crucial to making even a little headway. Otherwise you’re just drifting out to sea, and that makes it very easy to lose interest and forget your initial goals.

I do prefer to use the word goals instead of resolution, just to keep myself from feeling like I’m doing this for someone else. Thus, my GOALS for this year are:

  1. To be honest with myself. This is something of a general goal that bleeds into my other goals. It seems prudent to be genuine, but also to take stock about the real reasons for my motivations. Why do I choose to eat or drink the things I do? Why am I choosing a TV show over exercise or reading? What do I really want out of life? That got a bit existential at the end, but you see the point.
  2. To commit to making better art. At the end of the day, I really enjoy creating. Whether that means taking photos, making videos, writing poetry, or playing music, it all comes down to making something from nothing. I love the process as much as the finished product, but I find my enthusiasm waning at times. This goes back to taking stock and being honest, but I know that once I get started on something the desire is there, and I am committing to remember that and start things!
  3. To travel to a new country! This is cliché, but what would a New Years Resolution Goal be without one? Even though I find myself traveling often for one reason or another, I also make vague plans each year to finally get to Switzerland or Iceland or Thailand. All the while I take no steps toward actually doing it, thereby putting it off for another year. Not this time. I fully intend to step foot in (at least) one new country in 2018. I need some content for this blog after all..

I’m leaving it at 3 because anything further seems like asking to fail. I will, however, add a 3b: finally get to Alaska. I want to travel more of Canada this year and also cross the 50th state off my list once and for all. I’ve had conversations debating the legitimacy of crossing things off lists in this manner, but, as I argued, this is not at all arbitrary, and I have no intention of sitting in the Anchorage airport and glibly checking the last box off the list on some Facebook quiz. I want to experience Alaska just like I want to experience so many other places. I have lists of hikes and sights I’d like to see, and I also have a couple of friends there, so I have high hopes that it will be a memorable visit!

Union Lake, Millville, NJ 1.6.18

So far this year I have been skiing in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, seen more snow in New Jersey than anytime I can remember even when I lived here, and had my camera out most days trying to capture a unique shot of the day. I hope to continue this trend of being present, while also continuing to travel to new places, meet new people, and learn new things on a regular basis. It sounds like I’m making a whole new list, so I’m going to quit while I’m ahead! Happy New Year and may you achieve all of your Goals this year! Even if you don’t, just remember:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

“Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”





Day 2: Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon

Besides having a comfortable bed, the best part of waking up at a hotel is the free breakfast. The Page Quality Inn was really cheap, had a great room and king bed, and has a big hot breakfast spread. There were the usual eggs and breakfast meat, and everyone’s favorite: the waffle maker. We opted for the potatoes with hot sauce and I attempted the “blue mush,” which was described as a Native American version of grits. It was not good. The potatoes and OJ were a filling meal and the view was fantastic!

After some brief research we headed just down the road to the famous Horseshoe Bend. The trailhead was full of cars from all over the US, and people flooded up the short, steep embankment leading to the overlook. The trail was only about a half mile on a wide path so it was hardly a hike, and the edge was crowded with so many people that they were the most challenging obstacle to get around. Once at the edge the view is breathtaking. The river seems to whip around this massive tower of rock in an inexplicable curve. The scope of what you’re looking at is hard to comprehend until you see a tiny structure on the bank below and then everything feels ten times larger. To escape the crowd (and just to see if I could do it) I climbed out on a small rock outcropping and stood there for quite a while as Becca and lots of other tourists took my photo hanging above the thousand-foot drop. After getting all the photos I scrambled back onto solid ground and we made our way back to the parking lot.

Most people have seen photos of Antelope Canyon even if they don’t know that’s what it was. The picturesque slot canyon with sinuous red walls and shafts of light beaming in through the sand in the air is one of the most photographed places in southern Utah, and it has been featured in countless magazines, default backgrounds, and wonderful WordPress travel blogs. The popularity of this place has always kept me from visiting. You have to book a tour with a large group and pay an entrance fee. Even though National Parks charge fees to get in, I feel like those fees go toward park improvements and places like this are more for-profit. My thinking could be flawed, but nevertheless we decided to give it a try!

First off, there’s a waiting room. We only had to wait about 45 minutes from the time we arrived to start our tour, but the whole commercial aspect was amusing. Once our tour guide, Rihanna, introduced herself we took the short walk to the corral above the canyon entrance where about a hundred people from different tour groups were in queue. Here we waited for the better part of a half hour as people slowly filed down a narrow stairway to get into the canyon. Our guide pleasantly chatted with us about other hikes in the area and where we came from which helped pass the time. As we descended the stairs, guides from below yelled up at people taking photos down into the canyon. It was explained to us that they have had incidents of people dropping cell phones and water bottles from above so they have instituted a “no photos on the stairs” policy. This is a phrase we would hear repeatedly throughout the tour. The long climb down the stairs ended on the sandy wash floor of Antelope Canyon and we got our first views of the slots.

Someone in an online review described this tour as “waiting in line at Magic Mountain” and that description was perfect. The hordes of tourists snaked through the narrow corridors slowly, which ended up being great for getting the shots I wanted. Avoiding the people meant I had to shoot aiming upward most of the time, but that’s where the best views seem to be anyway. A few times I was able to wait out the people in front of us to get a clear shot of the full, open canyon. Our guide actually held me back and told me to shoot with the photography tour and then catch up to them when I’m done. The canyon felt longer than I expected, and I came out the other side with a smile on my face, lots of good photos, and a new, less-jaded opinion of Antelope Canyon tours. It was well-worth the money, and the guides really made the experience better among the flocks of people and their children bumping into one another. I highly recommend checking it out and using Ken’s Tours!

We felt good about our day in Page so we hit the road to Flagstaff, where we attempted to find a park or overlook for sunset. We ended up wandering at the Observatory, but found out it closes early on Sunday so we couldn’t explore too much. We settled on a little pull-off above town where the late-day sun washed over it as the shadow of the mountain behind us overtook the rest. Then we were ready for a beer. Dark Sky Brewing is right down the road from the observatory, and it’s a cute little space with string lights and Brewing tanks in full view. We got a flight of beers that included a great IPA, a rye sour, an amazing coffee vanilla pale ale, and a coconut coffee stout that may as well have been a candy bar. We had a really nice time there looking at photos from the day and talking about our big Grand Canyon hike for tomorrow.

We found a local pizza shop, Pizza Patio, that makes vegan pies and got one for the drive to our hotel. We got vegan buffalo cheese and sausage, which turned out to be wonderful. The man running the shop was super friendly and interested in my thoughts about vegan options so he could expand his menu. The drive to our hotel was short and the $33/night room was just perfect! Another great day on the books.



How to Beer Crawl Boise in 3 Easy Steps

Delicious and beautiful, the War Cry by Barbarian

Beer might not be the first thing you think of when you hear Idaho, but Boise has a vibrant beer community and some offerings that would make the mouth of any cicerone start to water. I’m going to highlight a few of my favorite places from my recent visit to the spud state, but I would highly recommend looking around for yourself as well. We all know how quickly craft breweries can pop up!

First things first: I know everyone has different tastes in beer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been belly up to the bar at some world-renowned craft brewery or local legend with the best imperial barrel-aged something-infused blah blah whatever beer and someone sidles up next to me and asks the bartender what they have that tastes like Blue Moon. And that’s fine. I used to react in astonishment and judge their horrible taste, but they are in the same brewery as I am, and that’s a good thing! Whichever friend, article, or pure flight of whimsy brought them there, they are now among great beers, and the bartender and patrons should be their guides to trying something new.

The tap list can be overwhelming sometimes

If you’re only going to stop at one brewery in Boise make it Barbarian Brewing. If you love sours this place is paradise. I don’t mean flavor-of-the-week raspberry Berliner weisse either, they have barrel-aged golden sours, sour reds, and I saw a sour porter listed somewhere. You have your pick, and they’re all fantastic. They age their beers in tequila barrels, wine barrels, whiskey/bourbon barrels, and of course the regular old oak barrel. The flavors run the gamut from sweet to tart and everywhere in between. My favorite on the sour side of the spectrum was the War Cry, a golden sour aged in bourbon barrels for a year and blended with white wine juice. If ever a description seemed like it was made just for me it’s this one. The Watermelon Sour and Beta Wolf 2.0 sour IPA are also wonderful.

Barbarian doesn’t stick to just sours, however amazing they may be. They extend their talents to IPAs as well, and the quality stays the same. They have a nice selection of east coast style IPAs to choose from. The Space Wolf was my favorite, with lots of big hop flavor and still crushable at 6.8%. The CryoWolf experiments with cryogenically freezing several hop varieties which, from what I’m told, preserves and presents more of the hop characteristics while also increasing the yield of the batch. The pièce de résistance, however, was a very intimidating triple IPA called Fenrir. Billed as a juicy east coast IPA and coming in at 11.5%, this is what we call a “dangerous beer.” Juicy barely does it justice, with sweet, citrusy goodness oozing out with every sip, the high alcohol content is hardly noticeable. It goes down smooth, so please be sure to get yourself an Uber or walk back to your hotel after a few of these.

The best looking cupcake tray I’ve seen

Just a short one-block walk from here is the second brewery I’d recommend: Woodland Empire. Much darker and less shiny than the bright taproom at Barbarian, this place just has a different vibe. It’s dog-friendly, and the bartenders were almost as eager to greet us as the pups under the table. Here you’ll find people playing darts while a long table hosts 4 serious chess games. The menu is a bit more eclectic, with some seemingly gimmicky beers like a celery mint collaboration that actually turned out to be delicious. The sours just couldn’t live up to Barbarian, but they did have some tasty IPAs and other offerings. The Big Sticky Red IPA was a nice full-flavored beer, and the Pineapple Weed Pilsner (infused with chamomile) was uniquely delicious. My favorite was a coffee stout featuring beans from local Neckar Coffee. It pepped me up for the 20 steps I had to take to get to my next stop.

Basically right next door to Woodland Empire is PreFunk Beer Bar. This is the place to squeeze in, find a seat in the small bar area or at the tables outside, and get comfortable to finish out your night. With beers on tap from all over the US and beyond you will definitely find what you’re looking for. My favorite of the night was the Phantom Bride IPA by Belching Beaver, but there were a lot of tempting taps from O’Dell, Victory, Firestone, and so many more. It got pretty crowded, but it was never too loud. It was a perfect way to finish out an evening of drinking before heading over to the Knitting Factory for a show.


A couple of honorable mentions that are close as well: 10 Barrel Brewing, who expanded their reach by selling to Anheuser-Busch in 2014, has a pub nearby, and whatever you may think about big beer distribution this place puts out some pretty tasty IPAs. The local Payette Brewing, who are in the other direction geographically and otherwise, moved to a location closer to downtown last summer and the taproom is beautiful. Outside you can sit on the grass and watch people’s dogs chase each other as you sip on some decent IPAs and fun one-off beers probably brewed with maple syrup or gingerbread cookies.

Boise has managed to surprise me in many ways over the years. From the proximity to ski resorts and hiking trails to the beautiful parks and disc golf and now the excellent beer scene, I count Boise among the best cities I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. The 3 places I described are located downtown, so there’s plenty of access to food and entertainment as well. If you’re feeling like some caffeine and/or sugar after your beer crawl, Guru donuts is just a block away for coffee and treats (if you get there before they sell out.) Drink well, be merry, and get home safely! Enjoy Boise!







Save our Parks! Interviews from a SLC Impeachment March.


Utah has only been my official home for a short time, but it has been a place that I’ve loved and felt close to ever since the first time I visited ten years ago. The beauty and the grandeur of the landscapes in the national parks and national monuments fill me with awe each time I have the opportunity to experience them. Never have I visited one of the countless sites in this state without seeing others enjoying them as well. It’s the reason people come here, and it’s the reason people love it here.

I visited the Donald Trump Impeachment March at the Salt Lake City Capitol Building on Sunday, July 2 and spoke to some people about the current issues we are facing regarding the environment and some of our national monuments. The video is below and you can read on for how you can help:

Two of the designated protected lands, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, are currently under review along with dozens of others in the US. The American public has until July 9 to submit any thoughts or comments regarding the designation of these monuments. Please take the time to share your thoughts by going to this website.

This is the full URL: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001

A lot of times it feels like we can’t do anything to change what’s happening in our country. This is an opportunity to do just that. Sign the petition, call your local representatives, write letters, make videos, talk to your family and friends. Any little thing we can do to help preserve these lands is worth the time and effort. I attempt to share the beauty of these places through photography and videos in the hopes that it will inspire others to see it for themselves or at least allow them to enjoy images of a place they might not have the chance to see in person. I hope everyone can appreciate the seriousness of what is at stake.

Thank you for taking the time.



The Ear Canal: Make Your Voice Heard!

Ear Canal

Our National Monuments are under attack by a reckless regime in the United States government that sees no value beyond the bottom line. There is still time to make your voices heard. Visit this website before July 9, 2017 to leave a comment letting the government know that these designations are important for us and future generations! Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bears Ears in Utah are just two of many that are under review!

This is the full URL: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001

Outside the well-known National Parks of Utah, there are tons of slot canyons that have been carved into the landscape over millennia of wind, sand, and water rushing through them. Peek-a-Boo Canyon and Spooky Gulch in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are two of my favorite slot canyons and they happen to part of one loop hike. Whichever way you take it has some challenging parts, but overall it’s an easy slot for anyone willing to climb and crawl a little bit.

This view is from above after I climbed up, stemming and using counter-pressure techniques that are a big part of why I love these canyons so much. They are basically a huge playground in nature, and they are some of the most beautiful landforms I have ever seen. It’s addictive climbing through narrow spaces and getting different views. This one makes me think of an ear canal. I will sometimes get myself to a spot and just sit in awe of the natural creation that is these slots. I think this is something everyone should experience in their life.

It’s too easy to dismiss something you don’t understand, so let’s make sure the committees reviewing our most precious natural lands have all the facts straight from the people who appreciate them. We can make a difference by making our voices heard. Please take a moment and leave comment before July 9 and I will see you out in the canyons!

One last time the link is https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001