Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Big Huge Ball Game...Of Frustration!

My daughter works P/T in a game store. It's a charming store with games, puzzles, t-shirts, books, and even music. But the thing I find the most fun is a huge ball located in the middle of the floor, a giant marble game.

And it's frustrating me to no end.

I've been picking up my daughter at the end of her shifts--something I'm glad to do. There's a lot of fun games in the store, even a couple on the counter you can try out yourself. They're fun, but I have more fun trying to get the that little steel ball though the various traps.

There's three choices to begin the journey. I've mastered the first track. The second track is currently giving me fits. I can get about halfway through and then it falls apart. I know if I had more time--like if I had the thing in my house, or if I worked at the store and had some down time when no one was there--I could complete the puzzle. I usually only have a few minutes of practice time before the store closes.

I thought about how much games and puzzles have changed in such a short period of time. When I was my daughter's age, almost no one had a personal computer so video games were a luxury of arcades. We had board games and puzzles--much like the ones in the store. Now, when I think of games, my mind goes to the electronic versions. I'll bet somewhere there's an electronic version of the big ball of frustration puzzle available to download.

Still, it's not like the real thing. I'm hoping I'll be able to complete the puzzle one of these days. Time will tell.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Rustmonster "Clockman: A Steampunk Rock Opera"...Awesome!

Last week I picked up a new CD. Not a lot of steampunk-themed albums out there.

Too bad.

Rustmonster's Clockman: A Steampunk Rock Opera does the musical genre proud.

A few years ago I attended the Gangrene Music Festival. That year's theme: Steampunk. Rustmonster recorded the songs and released the songs from that festival on CD.

If you're not familiar with Steampunk, it's a literary genre, a fashion movement, an art style, and there's even music. There's some discussion about what can be and what shouldn't be classified as "steampunk," but I can say with certainty, that if you want to know what Steampunk music sounds like, listen to this CD.

The first song, March of the Fools, reminded me of Pat Metheny Group's Forward March, the first song on their amazing First Circle album. But Rustmonster plays their song better. All the songs on the CD are raw, industrial, real. They're like a steak meal that's delicious, but a little tough. The meal, however, stays with you. Gives you courage and strength all day long.

In addition to some gritty songs, there's a bonus audiobook in three parts, a story called, Coke, Steel, and Oil. It's worth the price of admission right there.

I liked these songs. I'm partial to all things Steampunk so that helps. I also love the fact that the musicians are local, and they're talented. Do a "Rustmonster" search on iTunes or Google Play. It's there. I admit, this music may not be for everyone. You may not like it, but I guarantee, if you do like it, you'll really like it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Six Years Ago I Took A Picture Of A Wish...Today that Wish Came True

Today was exciting for the Taylor household. My book Chaser went on sale on Amazon--the digital copy. I spent much of the day doing a little self-promotion, but hopefully, not too much. I received well-wishes from friends and family and even got a review posted on the Chaser Amazon page (you can access that page: HERE for yourself...).

But it wasn't until I did a little Facebook reminiscing that I found something that totally blew me away. You see, six years ago to the day I was in a Barnes & Noble bookstore imaging a book written by me in their store. I took a picture of the exact place a novel written by Scott William Taylor would be shelved. I used it as my Pic Of The Day. I know I was in Barnes & Noble on January 16th because one of my Pic Of The Day rules is I can only post a picture that I took the same day.

To an aspiring author, Barnes & Noble is like a pinnacle, a place that proves you are a real author. Since 2012 I've learned a lot about publishing. The publishing world is multi-faceted and complicated. Back then, I thought all you did was write a fantastic book and the world rushes to your door with cash and accolades. 

Sorry--didn't happen then; doesn't happen now.

I'm excited about my book, but I'm not unrealistic. And it may never actually be wedged between Patrick Taylor's An Irish Country Village, and Terence Taylor's Bite Marks--especially since mine is a middle-grade novel and the two Taylor novels appear to be written for readers not necessarily in jr. high school. But something made me search a bookstore exactly six years ago today, make a little gap between two books, take a picture, then post that picture on social media with the caption, "Mmmm...I think something's missing." It's taken six years, but today, on a digital shelf somewhere, it finally happened.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Ida Aldridge...A Fascinating Man

Last night my wife and I watched an episode of Victoria. Good show, but there was one issue with the program I had trouble getting over. I kept wondering what parts of the show were real and what were embellished. I don't know the history well enough to know.

But one character fascinated me. Ida Aldridge. In the episode they only called him Mr. Aldridge, a black man who performed a scene from Othello. A google search later and I found this link: HERE. I thought it interesting I found out about this man the day before our country celebrates the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Ida Aldridge was born in New York in 1807, according to the article. At a young age he spent time at the theater and watched other black actors perform. It became something he chose to do with his life. Ida attended college in America and eventually moved to England where he continued his education and continued performing. He became famous and even had the opportunity to meet the queen, hence his appearance in the episode of Victoria.

I have no idea what kind of a life Ida Aldridge had. Life in the nineteenth century could not have been easy, but to think that a black man born in America was able to find success to the point where he met and performed for one of the most powerful people in the world is inspiring. Now, we don't have to grow up from humble beginnings to meet powerful and influential people to be successful. I would imagine that even if he hadn't met the queen, he'd feel his life was important, that he mattered.

Ida eventually became a British citizen and never returned to the nation of his birth. According to the article he was not a perfect man, but I found him fascinating. The BBC could do a show on his life, and I'm sure it would be interesting, too.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Voting For Art...I Don't Quite Understand

I'm getting older, but I'm not too old that I don't remember being a teenager, looking at my mom, and wondering if she and I lived in the same world.

Don't get me wrong--my mother was not clueless, far from it. She was sharp and competent and wise. But sometimes, when my friends and I would talk to her about things that interested us, she just had that look, a look of not quite understanding it all. And now, I know how she feels.

My son is a digital artist. For the past several years he's been making a name for himself in the world of social media. He's produced videos that have been seen hundreds of thousands of times. He's created art that--because of the internet--anyone from anywhere across the globe can order and display. He's still a teenagers, albeit in his last teenage year. It's getting to be a somewhat regular occurrence that he'll tell us of another milestone, another sale, another pinnacle reached.

Like last week, when he told us one of his original works of art is up on a website to be voted on. I checked out the site. I'm sure I had the same look my mom used to have. But I'm smart enough to know that there's an entire fandom out there who, when they see this picture, will think it's really cool. I do, and I don't understand most of it. I've checked out his other artwork and the response he gets from those "in the know" is very positive.

If you'd like to check out the voting site, click: HERE. Maybe you're one who, when they see the picture, know more about it, the character, and everything else. I admit, I just don't, even though I do try and keep up on what all the kids are into these days--there's just so much of it and I've got things to work and sleep.

Yes, I believe having the look of confusion when speaking with your children has arrived for me, as it did with my mother, and will no doubt, happen to my children when their time comes. And on that day, I wonder if the will remember the look I sometimes give them now. Time will tell.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Randy Hopkins...My Neighbor...Is Running For US Congress

The notice went out, a sign went up, a speech was given. It's official. My neighbor is running for congress.

If there's one topic I avoid on this blog, it's politics. It's a policy that's served me well for 2548 blog posts. And I'm not going to start now, at least, not going to have this post devolve into a "what about" fight. This is about the man running, not the race.

I've known Randy for decades. He moved into the neighborhood with his young family back when  a new street was carved into the mountain. I owe a lot to Randy. Because of him I got a job and I've been with the same employer for over twenty years. Back when he and I worked in the same building, we would occasionally carpool, and inevitably the discussions of how best to rule a large group of people came up. Randy retired a few years ago and him putting his hat in the ring for US congress is something that's as natural as water running downhill.

I've not personally spoken to him about this decision. It's too bad we no longer carpool because it would be fun to chew the fat, find out what he'd like to change, what he thinks his chances will be. Randy announced his candidacy today at the Salt Lake City Downtown Library. You can check out his Facebook page to see more about his announcement.

Politics is a dirty business. It takes either a brave man--or a crazy man--to enter the fight. Good luck, Randy! May the wind be always at your back!

Friday, January 12, 2018

"Hyggeligt" Night With Friends...

I got a text earlier this evening from a good friend. He and his family were in town and wondered if I wanted to come over to his sister's house and hang out.


Matt and family was here from the midwest. They're visiting family and friends. The get together was quickly assembled. It was, in a word, cozy. The Danes have a name for cozy. It's called "hygge" and a cozy evening is "hyggeligt." It's such a perfect word and there's really nothing that compares in English. If I had to describe hygge, imagine sitting in a room in the evening, lights lowered--not blaring or overpowering--perhaps a small fire in the fireplace, and with a winter wind blowing outside, you're sitting in a comfortable chair maybe engulfed in a warm blanket drinking tea or hot chocolate chatting with loved ones. That's hygge and it's a wonderful thing.

Of course, you don't have to have all those things to have a hyggeligt evening. We were missing a fire, a winter wind blowing outside, blankets, or warm beverages, but we did have the most important thing--spending time with loved ones, chatting about life, about jobs, family, movies, hobbies, books, and music. We did that tonight. It was great.

When you're young--high school, college-aged--you have a lot of time to just hang out. We would go to friends's homes and talk, or go to a restaurant, spend time with each other, and talk. All that time was not wasted; it was well spent. I think it would be hard to explain to me back then that in the future, doing that same thing--just hanging out--would be so seldom done, and so richly enjoyed. Thanks Matt, Melissa, Darin, Lisa, Amy, Chase, and the kids for a hyggeligt time.

And they even had a Danish chandelier.