29 December 2010
17 December 2010
11 December 2010
I know this is late, but gack the loss two weeks ago got to me.
26 November 2010
It's been an interesting year for both BYU and Utah fans. While each team feels like they're at roughly the same spot, talent-wise, Utah got here by falling fast from a #5 national ranking, and BYU arrived where they are after firing defensive coordinator Jaime Hill and winning five of their next six games.
13 November 2010
This feature was published in the 2010 Fall issue of Pontoon & Deck Boat magazine.
Access for the Disabled
Ex-firefighter seeks take boating to everyone
By Brandon Barrus
Tom Smurthwaite was once a firefighter in Rochester, New York. A backdraft explosion blew him down a set of stairs and crushed his back, giving him spinal nerve damage, and leaving him in constant pain. He’s unable to sit, and such an injury has limited many people to a life staring at the ceiling from bed.
However, Smurthwaite is not like most people. He decided that his injuries would not keep him from doing the things he loved, and with the help of friends, he designed and his friends modified two garden tractors, for doing yard chores. He also modified a station wagon so he could drive while in a prone position.
Smurthwaite lives almost directly on Lake Ontario in New York, and became interested in what it would take for him to start boating. His research led him to Custom Pontoon Boats and owner Jeff Collier. Collier had just completed a pontoon boat for a customer in a wheelchair, and had displayed the results on the company website (www.custompontoonboatkitsetc.com).
“It was a great size, and the twin Lenco electric DC motors were perfect,” Smurthwaite said.
Tragically, the original owner of the boat passed away just a short while after Custom Pontoon Boats delivered the finished product. The late owner’s sister contacted Collier to see if anyone might be interested in buying the boat, and Collier immediately thought of Smurthwaite.
“Jeff asked if I wanted to buy it and have him make the changes I needed,” Smurthwaite said. “It was a little odd at first, but the sister had heard of my modified tractors and car and was hoping I’d buy the boat.”
Smurthwaite decided to purchase the boat, and Collier went to work on the modifications required for the former firefighter to get out on the lake.
A bridge on the waterway from his home to Lake Ontario requires that the whole boat be no higher than the top of the 25hp Mercury engine in the down position.
The in-deck area was already designed to accommodate someone who is disabled, so Collier added a platform for Smurthwaite to lie on while driving the boat.
The finished product is quite a sight. The low profile allows Smurthwaite access to Lake Ontario, while the twin Lenco electric DC motors are controlled by a joystick at the helm; the motors can propel the boat at 3.5 miles per hour and allow him to maneuver the boat at the dock like he’s in a car.
“You can turn on a dime,” Smurthwaite said.
The 25hp four-stroke Mercury gas engine can reach a top speed of 13 miles per hour. It is steered with a stick steer controller, so there is not wheel at all on the boat.
Today, Smurthwaite enjoys motoring along Lake Ontario on calm sunny days, or just taking the pontoon out to the third-mile-long pond in his backyard.
Smurthwaite’s vision extends beyond himself; he hopes he can inspire others to follow his example.
“I’m just trying to get the idea of driving in the prone position out there, so if there’s anyone out there who doesn’t know this is possible, they can design it and run with it,” he said.
For more information on Custom Pontoon Boats, visit their website or call 937-323-2770.
02 November 2010
19 October 2010
As you can probably guess, I'm anxiously awaiting the NBA's regular season opening night next week. This summer has been filled with trades and signings and draft picks that promise big things, but nothing has been proven yet.
10 October 2010
08 October 2010
When I first decided to go to this home game against San Diego State, I thought to myself, "Hmm a boring game to attend, but that's okay." I fully expected BYU to stomp the Aztecs into the ground.
07 October 2010
Can you imagine Howard's body with Hakeem Olajuwan's game? I don't think I exaggerate when I say an individual with that pairing would average 40 points and 15 boards a game over and entire season. Easily.
06 October 2010
Let's be generous and say half of those balls were uncatchable; that's still seven catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns, which would have made Heaps' stat line:
05 October 2010
In highlighting the DOS game Terminal Velocity back in July, I have now realized I was in error. While Terminal Velocity is a good game, the truly great action flight sim of that era was Descent.
04 October 2010
Utah State's complete domination of the BYU Cougars on Friday stripped away all the rationalizations. Brigham Young does not have a good football team this year. Not even close.
30 September 2010
This is an odd one. For the vast majority of my life, Utah State has been a blip on BYU's radar. It's nice of them to schedule the Cougars on the Friday before General Conference every year so as to avoid conflicts with meeting times, but I can't recall ever being even remotely worried the Aggies would win that game.
27 September 2010
While my prediction of a fairly big Nevada win was correct, the way the Wolf Pack earned this W was a bit different than I expected.
24 September 2010
23 September 2010
Mendenhall said Nelson hurt his non-throwing shoulder during fall camp, but that injury wasn't discussed publicly. Early in the Florida State game, the injury worsened after Nelson absorbed a hard hit.
Team trainer Kevin Morris described it as "a severe injury to the shoulder" and that Nelson will undergo surgery as soon as possible. "We felt like it was necessary right now to get it done," he said.
04 September 2010
It's tough to predict what will happen in the first game of the season. There are new starters at many positions, and even if you return your quarterback, running back and tight ends (as BYU did last year), things can be very different than you expected.
03 September 2010
The stage was set, and the result was nothing less than epic.
02 September 2010
01 September 2010
We've been getting more and more information on BYU's decision to become an independent in football and move its other sports to the West Coast Conference. One of the more important bits is ESPN's new relationship with the Y. From the Seattle Times:
BYU and ESPN have reached an eight-year deal for the network or one of its affiliates broadcast the Cougars' home games, which at the moment are a lot of open dates.
(BYU athletic director Tom) Holmoe said scheduling as one of just four independents in major college football was an obvious risk that BYU considered, but felt the Cougars still have enough name recognition and a large fan base that should make building a schedule without eight conference games at least a little easier.
One of the future opponents will likely be Notre Dame, which Holmoe said is working with BYU to iron out the details on a six-game deal through 2020. Another is archrival Utah, which is also leaving the Mountain West after getting an invitation to join the Pac-10 next year.
Holmoe said he has been talking with Utah athletic director Chris Hill about ways to keep the annual clash going while no longer in the same conference.
"We both are in agreement in that it's an important game to continue," Holmoe said.
Not only will [the deal] vastly expand the potential audience for Cougar games — every home game will be televised nationally, on either an ESPN channel or the school’s BYU-TV network — but it also will help the Cougs fill their annual 12-game schedule by enlisting ESPN as a partner to help arrange match-ups.
31 August 2010
Thanks to Jennerstein for the video.
Utah's longest publishing daily newspaper said Tuesday it will cut nearly half of its staff and consolidate breaking news operations with affiliated television and radio operations.
The Deseret News announced that 85 newsroom positions are being eliminated, although some staffers will be enlisted for a transition period. The layoffs include 57 full-time and 28 part-time employees.
The move, which takes effect for the 2011-12 season, changes the face of major college sports in the western third of the country — at once weakening the Mountain West (BYU’s current home) and strengthening the WCC, whose members include three Bay Area schools: Santa Clara, St. Mary’s and USF.This is huge for BYU, though in what direction is still unclear. There has been talk that ESPN wants to give BYU its own TV deal, and I imagine that was a big part of BYU's decision to try and make it on its own.
30 August 2010
I'm amazed at how quickly the football season has arrived this year. Though considering all of the sports news we've had this summer: the World Cup, LeBron-O-Mania, Jefferson to the Jazz, BYU's independence rumors and quarterback controversy... I haven't had a lot of time to get bored and wish for September to hurry up and arrive already.
27 August 2010
Junior Riley Nelson will start for BYU when the Cougars open the 2010 season against Washington on Sept. 4.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall said Friday that Nelson will take the first snaps against the Huskies, but reiterated that true freshman Jake Heaps will also play.
Offensive coordinator Robert Anae said of the two-quarterback system: "We have two starters."
"I know this will give us an opportunity to have a highly successful season," Nelson said in the statement. "Jake and I both have the ability to lead our team and offer unique skills that will help us be successful as an offensive unit. I am excited about this opportunity and fully expect that we will carry on the great tradition and legacy of the quarterback position here at BYU."
"I am 100 percent behind this decision. I feel the coaches have made the right decision for both Riley and I and this football team. Riley is a great player and I'm excited to have the opportunity to contribute. This isn't about me or him; it's about us -- it's about doing what we can to help our team."
26 August 2010
This game is possibly the best shareware title for PC in the 1990's. Jazz Jackrabbit gave you fantastic music, great graphics and it was all around super fun to play. The game embodies the spirit of my gaming experience as a teenager; as I never had a console gaming system growing up, I mostly obtained free shareware titles and played them until my fingers bled (or my parents yelled at me to get off the computer).
Jazz Jackrabbit was released in 1994 by Epic MegaGames, one of many classics these guys created around the same time. I also played a lot of Jill of the Jungle, Epic Pinball, and Xargon, all from Epic. Today, the company is better known for games such as Batman: Arkham Asylum and Gears of War.