Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Is It Doodling At Church...Or Graffiti?

Last Sunday, while at church, I looked over and noticed a kid start to draw on a chalkboard next to where he sat. I didn't know what he was drawing, but I soon found out. When he took his hand away from his little doodle, I saw it was the logo for my alma mater. 

Bright kid.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the culture, to some this kid's drawing represents pure evil. Okay, maybe that's a little harsh. Then again, the way some people look at things, them, it's pure evil. You see, our religion has a church-owned university, several, in fact, but the biggest is Brigham Young University. 

This boy drew the drum and feather logo for the University of Utah.

Both school were founded by Brigham Young. Both schools have a majority of Mormon students. Both schools have good reputations as quality schools for higher education. There are other similarities, I'm sure, but for many, the two schools are very very different. They (sometimes...) compete for sport supremacy and bragging rights. And the fact that this kid drew the logo for the school not owned by the church during a church meeting makes someone watching either smile, or want to go over and erase the doodle forever. 

I'm probably oversimplifying things. It's likely most people were in neither camps and didn't even see the drawing. But to those of us who did notice and who have clearly chosen a side in this holy war, it was like seeing a gang sign, or a graffiti tag in your part of town.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Watching "Oliver," On My Daughter's Birthday, With Her On Stage...

Last night I had the opportunity to watch an excellent production of Oliver at Centerpoint Legacy Theatre. And to make the night even better, my daughter was in the show. And to improve things even more, it was her birthday.

The show marks an important milestone for my daughter. She was cast as an adult, or more specifically, she was cast as a non-child. My daughter looks younger than she actually is, and it made her day when she found out she would not be an orphan, or one of the street kids. They even gave her a solo, which she rocked (my bias is duly noted...).

The show was wonderful. The leads had amazing voices which were only matched by their acting abilities. It was a first-rate production. And I challenge you to find a meaner-looking/acting Bill Sikes than Silas Stott. Good luck, is all I have to say.

The show runs until May 13th and my daughter's in the Mon/Wed/Fri cast, but both casts are stacked with talent--a bad show you will not see.

Sharing the theatrical experience with my daughter was a blast. Since my birthday falls during the winter holidays and I've done a lot of Christmas shows, I've spent many a birthday on stage in front of an audience. At the theatre last night I told everyone I knew that it was my daughter's birthday. I don't know if it enriched their experience, but I didn't care. I was a proud papa.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Got To Admit...I'm With Stu J On This One

Okay, I admit it--I've been taking note of the NBA playoffs. In the past several years, I've casually watched the scores, and even caught part of a game or two. But things are different this year. There's a new kid in town, and he is woefully misnamed for his environment.

He's the Utah Jazz.

I haven't really followed the Jazz religiously since the days of Stockton, Malone, Hornacek, and Coach Sloan. The reason why is simple.

They broke my heart.

Yes, I was all in back in the day (it's hard to believe those NBA finals years were twenty years ago...). And why not? The team was spectacular. They were a joy to watch, and we in the smallest NBA market got spoiled. We thought our mountain men were so good, they could be world champions, not once, but twice. 

Too bad it didn't work out. Seems there was a team of city men who were even better.

As Game 4 of the best of seven series between the Jazz of Utah and the Clippers of Los Angeles, tom relieve some of the tension of watching the game, I occasionally check the social networks to see what others are saying, and I found a simple tweet by someone using the handle Stu J to perfectly sum up how I feel when it comes to my relationship to the Utah Jazz.


Getting emotionally attached to anything comes with a price, be it a partner, a pet, a favorite television show, and even a professional sports team. As this past basketball season progressed, the question for our local team would not be if they would make the playoffs, but would they get home court advantage. Not bad for a team shut out the past few years. I thought, "Good for them!" I considered making the playoff would translate to a successful year, even if they lose in the first round, or get swept.

Then, the Jazz go win Game 1.

And that changed everything.

Yes, even if they lose the series it will be a successful year, but this reminds me of a saying by Homer Simpson. He lamented, "Professional athletes, always wanting more." The same could be said for fans of those same athletes--we're always wanting more as well.

How will this conclude? What's the end game? It's simple--the team either wins a world championship, or they don't. If they do, the fan rejoice and all is right with the world. If they don't the true fans will hurt, but look forward to next year. Others will turn their back, vowing never to trust again. I wonder, when the season's over, what Stu J will do... 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fyrecon...What Are You Doing This June?

This summer, those in the Intermountain West will have the opportunity to attend a convention, something new, something exciting. This thing's got the potential to be epic. Introducing 

Fyrecon, Writing and Art Conference on Science Fiction and Fantasy

Each convention I've attended (and it hasn't been that many...) has been established. They've been around for years and the have the advantage of knowing what happened at their events the year before which helps them prepare for the one ahead. With Fyrecon, since it's the convention's first year, there's a big unknown.

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And I'd be worried about that if it weren't for the people organizing it and the people attending. The line-up for this event is first-rate. There will be New York Times Bestselling authors, editors, as well as incredibly talented artists, and experts on many different subjects.

From the presenters I know personally, I can tell you they love interacting with the public, answering questions about the craft, and offering advise whenever they can. I foresee this convention offering attendees an excellent chance to really interact with both the presenters and other convention-goers.

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You can get all the information: HERE including class schedules, a list of presenters, times, and costs with updates being added as new developments arise. If you're in the Intermountain West this June, I'll bet Fyrecon will be something you'll never forget!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Trying To Get A Simple Picture...Of Our Dog

Four days ago, I needed to post a picture for my Pic Of The Day. Since I hurt my calf muscle last week, I haven't done a lot of walking, and when I don't do a lot of walking, I don't find interesting things to photograph on those walks. And when that happens, I try to find something around the house to photograph.

Where's the dog?

Four days ago our dog got her hair cut. I thought I'd get a cute picture of the pup and post it. I take pictures all the times of our two cats. The difference between our cats and our dog is the cats many times just sit around being very photogenic. 

The dog, however, well...she has other plans. 


I tried again and again to get her picture, but every time she was looking at me and looking very cute, she'd turn away. I have proof. The iPhone has an interesting little feature. When you take a picture, it records a mini-video lasting maybe a second. The image you see when the video ends is what you're stuck with. I took a video of my iPhone pictures and you can see, the dog would not cooperate at all.

The most frustrating part wasn't that the dog kept looking away as soon as I pointed my camera at her. The most frustrating part was once she turned away from me, she would look at my son (engaged in a little video game playing...) and just stare at him. She'd stare at him for like ten seconds at a time. I'd call her name, she'd look at me for a split second, then turn and stare at something else, anything but my phone.

I've learned, with photography, patience is a valuable commodity. It took several tries, but eventually I got a picture that was good enough (i.e. in focus...) to use as my Pic Of The Day. As Pics Of The Day goes, I got a lot of feedback on my dog picture. People love pictures of dogs and cats.

Right now, as I type this, one of our cats is just staring at me. If the light were better, I could use either my phone or my Nikon and snap off several pictures of her--she wouldn't care at all, but if I tried photographing the dog, Heaven help me to get a good shot. Just one more difference between cats and dogs.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Seriously...When Was The Last Time You Bought A Landline Phone?

I'm old enough to remember when you couldn't go to a store and buy a phone. Every phone--every single one--had to be purchased through the phone company. And if you've ever walked into a cellphone store nowadays and thought their selection was "lacking," you have no idea how things used to be. The phone company--where we lived it was Mountain Bell--had maybe three phones to choose from, that was it.

So to see a store in the mall in the early 1980s selling telephones, different kinds of phones, it was amazing. You could get phones that sat on a desk/counter or ones that hung on the wall.  The possibilities were endless, or so we thought.

As time when on, you could buy phones anywhere, even convenience stores, hardware stores, and grocery stores.

Apparently, those days are pretty much gone.

We still have a landline. I know, it's kind of a dorky thing to have, but we do. We inherited the phone number from my mom when she passed away. It's the number I had since we moved to Farmington in 1969. I like having a landline and we'll probably keep it. The cordless phones we've used for a while are beginning to go--those batteries don't last forever. It was time to get a new phone.

Where to go to get one? That question is tougher to answer than you might think. My wife checked out Home Depot--they advertise phones on their website. When she asked if they sold phones at the store, the Home Depot employee gave her a strange look. He said he didn't know. He sent her to an area in the store where they night be. They had no phones. She next tried Kohls, I mean, they sell housewares. But they don't sell phones, either.

Tonight we checked out Costco, that huge megastore that has everything, including a lot of electronic gadgets. We found some landline phone, actually three models. We picked the the cheapest one. We have replaced our phone, but it seems we're back to only having three phones to choose from.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

And Then Someone At Work Springs For A Pizza Lunch...

As far as my work week goes, Thursdays are my favorite. When the unheard bell rings releasing me from my cubicle commitment, I'm done for the week, having done my forty. Maybe it was because on Thursdays I tend to think of other things, of what I need to get done during the upcoming weekend. Maybe it was me thinking about staying up late (possibly doing some writing...) and sleeping in tomorrow morning. 

But I wasn't thinking about doing something nice for someone else.

This morning, my co-worker Renee asked us all what type of doughnut we all wanted. She was going on a doughnut run. A few minutes later she asked us all what type of pizza everyone wanted. I guess treats changed to lunch. About an hour later our little group of eight were enjoying delicious Dominos pizza.

Why don't I ever think about treating my department to lunch? Of course, there's a financial cost to treating everyone for lunch. In the past (and currently...), that's always been my excuse for not doing something like this. But what crossed my mind today was that I never consider buying everyone pizzas. 

I think we all know people who seem to always be looking for opportunities to serve, and if you know someone like that, I'll bet they're always happy. Serving doesn't necessarily mean buying stuff. Serving can be as simple as a smile, or a kind word. Watching my co-worker buy us all lunch today reminded me of what more I can do. So, is that worth the price of five Dominos pizzas and a couple of bottles of pop?

Maybe so.