Thursday, October 30, 2014

To Dress Up For Halloween At Work...Or Not

Chances are, where you work allows--to some degree--their employees to dress up on Halloween (or close to it if many of your workers won't be at work on Halloween day...). I've worked at several places and I've found it to be the case at every one of them.

But, it always begs the question...should we? I mean, we have a dress code at work that includes (among other things...) no wearing of jeans unless it's a Friday and unless you have purchased a shirt with an official work logo on it--nice way to generate a little revenue for the ol' corporate shirt manufacturers. But at my work they've never been too stingy to deny us the ability to dress up.

Some places go all out--some not so much. To be honest, I have no idea how people are going to dress at work tomorrow--I won't be there. For the past several years I've taken Halloween day off. It's a great day to be home and help out with all the pre-Halloween activities, the carvings of pumpkins, decorating the house, getting ready for a party if there's one to go to.

Today our department decided to have a party. We brought potluck for lunch and a couple of us dressed up. Actually, I just wore my homemade Charlie Brown sweatshirt. Interesting side story: I also wore it at rehearsal tonight and a girl about 12 or so asked me what was up with my orange shirt with the black stripes. What kind of a world do we live in when kids no longer recognize Charlie Brown? Not a good one, that's what.

After weighing the pros and cons, I say letting the employees dress up probably does more good than harm. Of course, that depends a lot on the costume and who's wearing it. And if you know what I'm talking about, then you know what I'm talking about. I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween day tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Marcus Luttrell's "Lone Survivor"...A Book Report


Every book has the potential to affect the reader on a personal level. I think most books are written for that purpose. Some fail disastrously. Some succeed beyond anyone's wildest expectations, and the rest fall in between.

I recently finished Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor, and you strip away the political discussion, the pros and cons of war, or more specifically, the reason of even building a fighting force in the first place, what you find in Luttrell's re-telling of the horror he met in Afghanistan is a story about survival and the will to live.

And, even if you disagree with everything he stands for as an American soldier, it's a story that remains with you and forces you to contemplate living and dying, good and evil.

Of course, I read the story after it's been out for several years and after a film of the event has been made (of which I haven't seen...). However, I don't believe the time that's passed makes a difference in the experience I had reading the book. The book's narrative mirror's that of another story I read about the Navy Seals, Mark Owen's No Easy Day, a detailed account of the capture of Osama Bin Laden. Luttrell describes his becoming a Navy Seal. And since the story is so well known, we know the physical and mental punishment he experiences prepare him for what lies ahead.

We then learn of his assignment and he brings us along into the Afghan mountains. We learn of decisions made and eventually the gunfight that ensues. As I read this story it made me think of my life, how I live, what would I do to protect something--anything, and what the term "sacrifice" means to the storyteller.

It also describes in agonizingly great detail the horrors of war. It's one man's story. It's a tough story to read, which, I believe, is why it was written. Books try to affect the reader. For me, this one succeeded.

* Photo used without permission from:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

CPT's "Jekyll And Hyde"...Simply Amazing!

Saturday afternoon my wife and I attended a production of Centerpoint Legacy Theatre's Jekyll & Hyde. It was dark, emotional, dramatic and simply amazing!

I didn't know the show at all, nor was I familiar with the music, but I believe I experienced as good a production as I could have seen. I was anticipating seeing the show. Ever since I did the show previously at the theater, I got a chance to see some of the sets as they were being built. When I finally got to see the show, I LOVED what they did with them! And to make the experience even better, the show had a definite steampunk vibe to it. I wished SO much I could take pictures during the show, but that's not allowed. I sneaked onstage after the final show and took a few pictures--too bad they don't do the set justice.

I had friends in both casts (for shows at this theater, they double-cast each show and the shows run for about a month, therefore no one has to do a solid month of shows--nice since we're all volunteer performers...), but somehow I had a majority of friends in one cast so that's the one we went and saw. 

Seeing only one cast makes me want to see the other casts, and I heard multiple times from friends who saw both that this was a show where you want to see both.

Unfortunately, that's not possible. We saw the show the second-to-last day of the run and now, it's over. The sets were struck before the patrons had even cleared the building.

So, well done Stan Babb, Darin Beardall, Kenn Johnson, Holly Jo Cushing, Jillian Joy, Silas Stott, Seth Jerome, Matt Moss and Mary Ann West. As well as Rob Child Zach Watts, Joshua Mitchell and Trent Brown who were in the other cast (sorry, I'm sure you guys kicked butt as well...). And everyone else involved in the show with whom I haven't done shows in the past. Very well done, indeed!

Monday, October 27, 2014

My Pre-Halloween Tradition...Happy Birthday Mom

I think I've only missed a couple of years when she was with us and only one after she passed. It's a holiday tradition, except it's a month before Thanksgiving and two before Christmas. We pick out a pumpkin that we'll carve early and once done, place it atop a tombstone in a cemetery on a hill.

I've written about it before, to celebrate my mother's birthday instead of cake and ice cream, we carve a jack-o-lantern. 

Yesterday as the weekend came to a close was when I asked the kids what pattern they thought would be fun and we cut it up.

Autumn is my favorite time of year and it's not even close. I love the crisp air, the beautiful colors, the time when all children dream of Halloween as the unofficial beginning of the holiday season. 

But now, a sense of melancholy drifts into this time of year as we're reminded of a wonderful woman.

When I think of her, I want to be better. I want to do better. I want to make her proud. It seems the least I can do is carve a pumpkin and leave it on her grave.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Tie I Didn't Wear To Church Today...

Back on October 4, 2014, I wrote a blog post in which I expressed some thoughts concerning a local sports team. It was after a tough, tough home loss where they lost more than the game, they lost several key players. The link to that post can be found: HERE. That post generated a comment from a friend and fan of the team. I'm glad he wrote it. 

Turns out, it was just the beginning of a nightmare four-game losing streak. If you live in the local area and follow sports, you've heard all about it. When I wrote my post three weeks ago I had no idea things would turn so poorly for them. But, sports can be a fickle mistress. 

In other local sports news, another local team has fared much better in the month of October, which, for die-hard fans of BYU and who dislike the Utes, only adds to the agony--salt in the already painful wound. Last night around 11:50pm mountain daylight time, many happy fans stormed the home field as the boys from Utah defeated their counterparts from the University of Southern California. I was too worked up to go to sleep right after the game, but this morning as I dressed for church, I wondered if I should wear "the tie."

I was given my University of Utah football tie several years ago. Since then the team I follow and root for has been at times one of the best football teams in the country and one of the worst teams in their own conference. I've experienced the ups and downs that many of my friends who rise and shout are feeling now. Sometimes after a big Utah Utes win on a Saturday, I'll don my tie and wear it with pride while sitting among my neighbors.

Today, though, it just didn't seem like the thing to do. During the dark days of Utah football, it's not fun to be reminded of mediocrity. No, I'll wait for another day. The next several weeks are going to be brutal for my crimson soldiers. They might not win another game and I may have missed my chance to wear the victory tie, but that's okay. There's always next season. Yeah, we'll get 'em next year for sure!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Day In History...The Day The Twins Were Born

One advantage of writing in a journal everyday for the past thirty years (almost...) is you can find what you did on a certain day in history. Twenty-three years ago today our extended family welcomed two bundles of joy and I recorded the event in my journal.

But as I read about the rest of my day a little more than two decades ago, it's kind of confusing. I was a senior in college and at this time of year, I was busy with work and singing. We were getting ready for the Christmas season and the University of Utah A'cappella choir was singing like crazy trying to earn money for our European tour. 

I recorded that I saw the twins, then I partied with several choir friends, Alan, Stephanie (the two were married a month before my wife and I...), another Stephanie, Matt Bill, Russell, and Carrie. I have no idea where we partied but I always had fun handing out with those great people.

Then I apparently went home and did a little more partying with my roommate Matt, Julie and Megan. For the life of me, I can't remember who Julie and Megan were--Maybe Matt remembers. And, I believe I should clarify here, when I say "partied," or "partying" I'm not talking about an alcoholic rager where anything and everything could and did happen. No, my college partying consisted mostly hanging out, chatting, and maybe breaking open a Coca-Cola. Boring for some, I know, but we had great times, nonetheless.

In the past couple of months I've been referencing my old journals more and more. I should do it more often. Happy birthday, twins! Glad to have you here!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Meet Treion Muller, Author, Gentleman, All-Around Good Guy...

One of the benefits of participating in community theater is the people you meet. And almost every time, the people I meet surprise me with not only their incredible talents on stage, but the kind of people they are off stage.

When I first met Treion I couldn't quite understand what people were calling him. It took a while but I finally understood his name was Treion. As these things go, there's downtimes during rehearsals when we can chat and get to know the other cast members. Treion and I talked and I found out he's originally from South Africa and works for a company where I once worked, though it's been almost 20 years since I worked there.

It wasn't until tonight that I learned my friend is an author--a real, live published author. You can access his website: HERE. He wrote Reality Parenting: As NOT Seen on TV, and Dad Rules: A Simple Manual for a Complex Job. He's also co-written several other books. I learned also he was a university student body president, university mascot, professional dancer and motivational speaker.

I know a lot of people who can't understand giving up so much time to do a show and spend all that time doing something and not getting paid to do it. For me, there's a lot of reasons to do a show and meeting people like Treion helps make it all worth it.