Sunday, February 17, 2019

Watching A Little Football After The Big Game...The AAF


I've had as many birthdays as there have been Super Bowl games. I'm not a sports historian, but as long as I've been alive, when it comes to football, the National Football League, or NFL, has been king, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. 

Since I'm no sports historian (though an internet search could get me the info I'm looking for...) I believe two leagues formed before I was born and created the NFL. Because we live in a capitalistic society, people have tried several times over the years to create a product to give fans of football something to watch when the NLF is not in season. The first "other" league I remember was the old United States Football League, or USFL. I remember it being ambitious, and they had a lot of money behind it. I even watched some of the games.


It didn't last.

There was Arena football--not quite the same, but it was football, and the XFL. They even tried a league in Europe. I remember watching a lot of those games. The talent wasn't bad, either. Now, the latest kid in the corral is the Alliance of American Football, or AAF. This time, there's a hometown team to root for, the AAF Salt Lake Stallions.


They've only played for two weeks. I watched the Stallions's first game. There's a lot of local university talent on the Stallions's roster. They did not win. I did not watch their second game. They did not win that one, either. And I'm not knowledgable enough about the game to gage just how good these players are, or are not. I do know, there were a lot of dropped passes...a lot of dropped passes.

I'm going to keep watching. It's fun to root for a local team, especially a professional team. I hope it works out. Based on past programs, they've got an uphill fight, but that's what sports and competition is all about, doing tough things. Good luck Stallions! Good luck AAF!


* All photo/video is used without permission from the NFL Network, The Atlanta Legends, or the San Diego Fleet.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

LTUE 2019...Has Come And Gone


The rooms are cleared, the chairs are stacked, the volunteers have all gone home. The evening brings the closure of another LTUE convention. The organizers invited me to participate this year and I had an amazing time participating on panels, hanging out in the vendor room, getting to know authors and convention goers alike.

I had been blogging a couple of years when I when to my first LTUE event. I'm sure I took more pictures back then than I did this weekend. I took next to none. Anyone who knows me knows that's unusual. I think I was more focused on the panels and making sure I didn't embarrass myself. I don't believe I did. In fact, the panels I attended--the ones I was on--were amazing! We discussed science fiction on the modern stage, the film adaptations of Philip K. Dick, and the incredible world of steampunk. I strengthened existing friendships and met people I hadn't known before. 

It's always bittersweet when these things end. I only attended two out of the three days, but the conventions wear me out. I am getting older.

I did leave today with a renewed desire to write. I've let thing slip as of late, but I really want--and need--to dig into some of my unfinished projects, dust them off, and get to work. Any time you leave a writing conference excited about writing, that's a successful conference.

LTUE 2019 edition was wonderful. Now, we see what lasting effects it brings. Thank you Immortal Works for letting me hang out. Thank you to my brother's family for letting me crash at their place. Everyone at LTUE--drive safe and God bless.

Friday, February 15, 2019

"Mamma Mia"...What A Show!


Wednesday night my daughter and I went to the theatre. Usually, when she and I get in the car to go to a theatre, we're usually in the show, not watching, but she's now in college and I'm involved in other things, so being in a show together might not be something we do very often anymore.

But Wednesday night wasn't about us, it was about seeing friends Missy and Adam (and all the others...) perform in a show that had a dual purpose...entertainment and hope.

A few miles down the road form us is a building that houses The Hopebox Theatre. I believe it was originally built as a nursery. It then was transformed into a church, and now, it's a place for live performances. Interesting...it's always been a place where life is celebrated and encouraged.

The Hopebox Theatre's mission can be found on their website and you can access it by clicking: HERE. Having been involved in numerous community theater productions over the years, what they are doing is nothing short of a miracle. It's hard enough to put on a show and keep a theater open, but to voluntarily give away proceeds from the take, that's beyond selfless.


Mamma Mia...I don't know a lot of shows like it. I had only seen the movie so I had an understanding of what I was in for. The space inside the theatre was small, or to use a better word, intimate. It's a small-ish cast, but they filled the space and made the room come alive. Since I'm a child of the 1970s, the music was part of my youth, and I had to hold back from just singing along with them, as I'd do if the song came on the radio while I'm driving.

The performances were so honest. They really believe in the mission of the theatre, and it came through in what we saw. If I had to find a weakness, it had nothing to do with the performers or the theatre--it's in the musical itself. I can't imagine a harder thing to do than to write a story around world famous songs. Modern musicals are so good at creating the arc, each song building off each other, the story contributing until acting and dialogue and music come together, the synergy making each more effective. Mamma Mia just doesn't have it sometimes, at least, for me.

The show runs until February 23rd. If you want to have a great time at a reasonable price, check it out. I'll bet you'll be wanting to belt out the songs as well.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Then Your Friend Goes And Wins A Grammy...


The year was 1985, January. I moved from my home to Provo, Utah, to live for ten weeks at a missionary training center, known affectionately as the MTC. It's when and where I first met Lansing McLoskey. Sixteen months later he and I were paired up as missionaries in Copenhagen, Denmark.

I think I've seen him once since then.

But I've followed his career. In the age of digital stalking, you can follow almost anyone online. The fact that they're incredibly accomplished, makes it so much easier. Since Denmark, my friend's attended the most prestigious schools, become a professor of music, as well as one of the nation's leading experts on Danish classical music.

Oh, and he also designed his own longboard skateboard lines.

Before we met he was a punk rocker and surfer in California.

Now, he's a Grammy winner.

It's amazing how many people you meet when you've lived on the planet for more than half a century. Our connections scatter like leaves blown from a tree, each leaf travels its own path, taking it to destinations unknown. Lansing worked extremely hard to reach this point in his career and even if his work, Zealot Canticles hadn't won a Grammy, it would no less diminish his numerous accomplishments, nor would it stop all the amazing things that he has yet to do.

Well done, good sir! I bought your work and have been listening to its haunting melodies since I first heard the news. May this help inspire your next work and all those that follow. Well done.

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

Lansing, summer, 1986, Copenhagen, Denmark

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Getting Ready For "The Big Game," And I'm Not Talking About Football...


Last night I had to pick up a few things for dinner. I hopped in the van, drove a mile or so to the grocery store, parked, then walked in. I was immediately hit with sights and smells letting me know something big was coming, something the store was prepared for, a shopping rush that required the entire entrance to be shuffled about and re-organized.

No, it wasn't in preparation for the big football game--that happened ten days ago. It was all to prepare for Valentine's Day.

You'd think every single person needed to buy something in that store the way it was laid out.

And, considering they know their store and its customers better than I do, they're probably right.

I can't remember if I disliked Valentine's Day more when I was single or after I got married, and since I've been married for more than a quarter century, it's hard to remember. I've softened on the "holiday" since--kind of an anti-"get out of my yard" attitude. I hated Valentine's Day because it was completely made up to sell stuff. It's like a worldwide holiday the same way The Bachelor is a reality TV show (don't get me started on The Bachelor--that's a whole other issue...). I hated the way they wanted people to buy stuff to show their love for others when people should be showing that love all the other days that aren't February 14 as well. Of course, we can't all buy stuff everyday, and that was my point. You shouldn't have to buy stuff to show someone how you feel.


In the past couple of years, I've had a change of heart (in keeping with the day's theme...). We don't buy presents or do too much for the day so it wasn't a matter of having to get something. I guess having a day set aside to let the most important people in your life know how you feel about them isn't bad. 

Still, the way the store was decked-out. You'd think you were in Denmark if the Danes ever played in the World Cup Finals (okay--nothing this country could come up with could top that...). 

Is it a "big game?" For some, perhaps. I picked up my bread and chips and didn't even think about buying any of the flowers, stuff animals, chocolates, or inflated balloons. If it's a game, I choose not to play. Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I mean, if you do that sort of thing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

If Steampunk's Your Thing...Check Out Our LTUE Panel Saturday!


In some ways, it seems like forever ago when I sat on my first panel, yet it was just under six years ago. The convention of my first panelist experience no longer exists--it died a few years ago. It's too bad...it was a good event. Since then I've been fortunate enough to be on many many panels covering a myriad of topics, but it's the first panel at the Salt City Steamfest when a group of us gathered to talk about publishing in the fascinating genre of steampunk that is special.

And so, this Saturday at the latest edition of the Life, Universe, and Everything (LTUE) Writing Symposium, I'll once again sit with fellow authors and discuss steampunk.

The title of this panel is: The Science and Culture of Steampunk. The short write-up of the panel is interesting as well. What if steam-powered technology had remained the principle means of energy, instead of being replaced by electricity and fossil fuels? That's a great panel question.

Through the years as I've sat on steampunk panels, people have asked, "What exactly is steampunk?" There's many definitions, mostly because there's many manifestations of steampunk. It's a literary genre. It's a fashion definition. It's an art form. It's an interior design style. And to a smaller degree, there's steampunk music. 

I like steampunk for several reasons. My first published work was a steampunk short. I also like its plucky enduring attitude. If you attend any fan-driven conference, you'll see Marvel and DC characters. You'll see Star Wars and Star Trek cosplayers. You'll see anime and your favorite cartoon characters en masse. You'll also see people dressed in steampunk. They're not the most prominent, but they're always there, being unique, letting everyone know how much they love steampunk.

If you're in Provo this weekend attending LTUE, come check us out. There's some amazing authors as panelists, and I'll be there, too.

What would life be like today had not electricity and then fossil fuels taken over to power the world?

That's a great panel question.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Resetting A Password...Vicious Circle


I thought it would be an easy thing to do--you know, you forget your password, a couple of clicks later, you're in. I noticed one of my e-mails was down and I needed to reset the password.

Not so fast.

I tried a couple of passwords I've used in the past--no luck. No problem, I thought. I'll just reset the password from the website. I went to the site and followed the instructions.

1: enter your e-mail address

Done

2: enter your password or click the FORGOT PASSWORD

Done


Then I get the following message:

Please check your email.
We sent an email to ____________, which contains a link to reset your password.

One little problem.

I CAN'T GET INTO MY EMAIL!

Seems I've stumbled upon a Catch-22 situation. Thankfully, my friend is going to help me get into my email so I can reset the password. Of course, once I'm in I'll have no need to reset it. Such is life and the complicated world of technology!