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.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle In Time"...A Book Review

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Yesterday I finished Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time. Boy, I wish I had read this in Jr. High, or High School like everyone else!

I don't know why I didn't read it earlier. Then again, there's about a million books I should have read earlier, but didn't. In doing a little research, I can understand why it took the author several tries and multiple rejections before it was published. It is a different book. But I can also understand why it's never been out of print.

What I think I enjoyed most about the book is its innocence. Many of the main characters seem mature even though they're younger, if somewhat simple. I think some modern authors feel their characters have to be quirky to make an impact. I know I've feel the pressure to write middle grade characters to be extra funny or possessing the ability to speak in a manner that overwhelms with their intellect. I loved the conversations in this book. They basically told it like it was.

Then again. I wonder if this book would be published if it were introduced today. Would it be rejected because of a bias against the modern reader? Would publishers believe it could find an audience now? Good things to think about.

I would imagine most of you have read this book, maybe read it ten, twenty or more years ago. It took me almost fifty years. I'm glad I finally got to it.

* Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18131.A_Wrinkle_in_Time?from_search=true

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kid Cooks...Love it!


It began with our oldest taking an interest in food preparation. He became so good at it that he has considered making this a focus of his career. Of course, a lot of things can happen (and will happen...) between now and when he finds his career, but I think there's a good chance  he may end up in the food industry.

Next up--the siblings! The next two kids have found a place in the kitchen, too, except where the oldest made mostly dinners, these two have focused on desserts.

And I'm 100% okay with that!


It's been so fun to have kids just make desserts for no other reason than they want to. My son's speciality is brownies and cookies--they're fantastic! My daughter has been a little more experimental making from scratch cakes, sweet rolls, and as of this week, cheesecake cupcakes complete with homemade graham cracker crusts.

I consider myself a very lucky papa, even if the kiddies didn't make these delicious treats! The desserts are just icing on the cake!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Orson Scott Card's "Shadow Of The Hegemon," And "Shadow Puppets"...Getting Lost In The Enderverse

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Today I finished Shadow Puppets, Book 3 in the Shadow Saga Series.

And I’m getting lost in the world.

A few months ago a friend and I were discussing all the Ender Wiggin's books written by Orson Scott Card. It's been years since I read the Ender's Series (Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, and Xenocide...) and we talked about how much we liked those books.

"Have you read the Bean series?" he asked.

"You mean, Ender's Shadow?"

"Yeah," he said. "The Bean books are my favorite books he's written."

I decided then to give those books another try. And I'm glad I did! I don't know if I can say I like this series more than the Ender's Series, but I do like them. I like getting lost in that world. I'm also reading the Formic Wars Series which starts the Enderverse.

The two books, Shadow of the Hegemon, and Shadow Puppets follow the lives of Bean, Petra (two soldiers who helped Ender Wiggin defeat the buggers...), Ender's brother Peter, and Peter's parents as they participate in a deadly game with Achilles, a truly despicable person bent on world domination and personal revenge. In the first book Bean saves the kidnapped Petra (I apologize for any spoilers...), and in the second book, the Bean and Petra get married and then are threatened once again by Achilles. An author's note at the end of Shadow of the Hegemon explains some of the thinking that went into the story, namely the political posturing of nations for control. Card mentions his love of the game RISK as a child. I can definitely see the influence of that game in these stories.

I'm not done--I've got a few more of the Ender's Shadow Series books on hold at the library and will hopefully be getting them soon. I can say, like J.R.R. Tolkien, had Card only created this one world, he would have been considered an amazing visionary writer (my opinion...), but if you're a fan of his other works, you know his abilities stretch far beyond the Enderverse.

On to the next! I've got to see how this thing ends.



* Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/234724.Shadow_Puppets?ac=1

¶ Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/234724.Shadow_Puppets?ac=1

Monday, October 20, 2014

How To Keep A Cat From Going Under The Bed...


Twice a year, a ritual occurs in the Taylor household...the changing of the clothes. In our basement we have several plastic containers full of clothes. In the winter the containers are full of summer clothes and in the summer the long-sleeve shirts, sweats, and sweaters are stored.


Because we have three sons, we take the term "hand-me down" very seriously. Luckily my boys are not so concerned with wearing the most up-to-date fashions. In fact, today I sent a picture that I took of my youngest son to my oldest son who is currently serving an LDS mission. He said he remembered wearing that same shirt. I didn't even remember that we had that shirt ten years ago (to me, it still looks in great shape...). Yes, we save stuff. The only downside is all those clothes take up a lot of storage space in the basement.


We usually wait until we're pretty sure the weather's turned for good before we go through the all day process (and sometimes it takes all day...) of swapping the clothes. Today was the day to make the change. Last year we bought some of those space bags and they've been great. This year my son had a fantastic idea.


Let's put some of the clothes under our bed so the cat can't go under the bed to avoid being put in her room. If we don't put Gracie in her room at night, the other cat will come in and they'll start fighting. The last sound you want to hear in the middle of the night is two cats fighting inside your house.

So, we swapped the clothes, freed up some storage space and denied our cat a hiding space--that's a pretty good day!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Value Of 99¢...

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What can you buy for 99¢?

An app.

Excluding tax and an extra penny, pretty much anything at the Dollar Store.

And, if you're lucky, a can of pop from certain vending machines.

But, for a limited time, you can buy...

Knowledge!

Entertainment!

Adventures into exciting new worlds!

Yes! For a limited time, you can buy published anthologies from Xchyler Publishing! And they're only NINETY-NINE CENTS!

Dive headlong into the magical world of Fantasy with Moments In Millennia, A Fantasy Antology. 


Explore the world of dragons with Forged In Flame, A Dragon Anthology.


If steampunk's your thing, there's two books for you! Mechanized Masterpieces, A Steampunk Anthology and Terra Mechanica, A Steampunk Anthology.


There's one for thriller fans: A Dash of Madness, A Thriller Anthology.


And one for those who like paranormal. Shades and Shadows, A Paranormal Anthology.


But you'd better hurry! I don't know how long these incredible deals will last! Seriously, if you've got a buck, just go to Amazon: HERE and download any or all of these books! They're full of great stories from some pretty talented authors. I'm sure you'll find something for you!

* Photo used without permission from: http://www.lettherebeneon.com/?page_id=381

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Reincarnation Of Thrift Store Items...


I don't know if you like to shop at thrift stores. If you've followed this blog for any length of time--especially when I first began the blog years ago--you'll know I love thrift stores. Give me a free afternoon and I would go and see what's available. 

The past couple of years, I've not visited the shop as much, mostly because our small house is running out of room to store all the stuff that others obviously didn't need and that we really don't need, either. Good stuff to have, mind you. I mean, we've already got an edger, but there's an even nicer edger than the one I bought at the thrift store just a year earlier. Heck--I might one day regret not getting the nicer edger. It could happen.

There's a very nice thrift store about five miles from my house and that's the one I shop at. The store is owned and operated by the LDS church and selling donated stuff is only part of its mission. It's really a fantastic operation considering all the good they do.

And since I go to the same store over and over again, I'll see the same stuff that went unsold. It's the same stuff I saw a week or two before. I've also seen stuff that we ourselves donated. After my mom passed away and we cleaned out her house, I went to the store a few weeks after and saw items we had donated (and I even thought about buying some of those...).

But yesterday I saw something I had never seen before--an item that I knew had been in that same thrift store years earlier. I knew this not because it had a previous price sticker on it. I knew this because the item--a drum kit--was the exact same item WE bought! My kids were younger and I bought it because I thought one of them might be interested in learning to play the drums.

Nope--they weren't.

Last year we ended up giving to our next-door neighbors because their son was interested in playing the drums. I don't know if it was them that donated it to the thrift store or if the drum set was donated, bought by someone else and then donated again.

So, if you live near me and you know someone interested in a non-complete drum kit, it was still there as of yesterday afternoon. Of course, it could be gone by now. I wonder if I'll see it back at the thrift store again. There's more than a good chance I will.