Thursday, January 19, 2017

What We Will And Won't See Tomorrow...

Since January 2011 I've blogged about many things, many topics, but one I've stayed away from is politics. Though important, I've never wanted to "take sides" on this blog--even "taking sides" sounds a little silly. It's not about sides, it's about people with differing opinions trying to live and work together without killing each other.

But I'm someone who pays attention to political discourse. I remember the way things were eight years ago. I remember what people said, how they acted, what they did. I watched as people spoke almost daily about how many Americans were killed in foreign wars. I remember the stories of unemployed Americans were relayed on the nightly news. I remember how things were different, the country was in such trouble, much of the blame fell squarely on the president at the time.

Then things changed. A new man took control, and it's strange how many of those problems seemed to disappear. No one talked about soldiers dying, or single parents raising children on assistance, or the homeless. In many people's eyes, everything was great, or at least, going to get better.

I fully admit that this is my opinion only. I'm sure there were stories of those we continued to lose in war and how hard it was to find a good job or to raise kids in a single-parent home. But, to me at least, it felt like those stories ended.

I don't know what the future will bring, but to me, it feels like beginning tomorrow we're going to hear about how many homeless are living on the streets (even though there are just as many homeless out there tonight as there will be tomorrow...). We'll be reminded of the wars, the deaths that continue, and stories of the soldier's families will once again be shown. We'll also hear about how one man shouldn't have the amount of power that's been bestowed him, even though it was perfectly fine for a single person to have that same power only twenty-four hours earlier. We'll also be reminded about how important the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence is to our country. And those buying and storing extra food will no longer be considered extremists. Funny how we see things we want to see, ignore things we don't. We selectively highlight, accept, and interpret facts to strengthen our already formed opinions of what's right and what's not.

Like I said, I've shied away from political topics, political discourse, and political blog posts. And one could argue this post isn't necessarily political. I'm just relaying my observations...more of a human nature blog post, really.

The sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning. It will also set. And if you think things suddenly have improved or gotten worse, think about the things you're deciding not to see, not to acknowledge, and not to accept. May God bless us all to allow us to have open minds and giving hearts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

On A Gloomy Thursday Morning...

Last week I was given a temporary assignment at work that took me back to a building where I worked for a decade. It's located downtown Salt Lake City near the famous City County Building and the Salt Lake City Library. The last day of my temporary assignment I went to get a quick bit of breakfast and brought my camera with me.

A few years back, there was a morning in which fog engulfed the downtown buildings. It was like being inside a cloud (because that's exactly what had happened...). I took my camera out with me that morning, too, and I got a lot of really cool pictures. When I went out last week, the fog wasn't so thick, but it did create a somewhat creepy vibe. I especially liked how the central section of the City County Building looked all spooky and Scooby-Doo-esk. The clock adds a great touch, too.

I'm not a professional photographer, but if I were, I'd be looking, actively seeking out locations and situations where things look not as they always do. Talk to any photographer--especially professional ones--and they'll tell you stories of staying up all night, being out in elements in poor conditions, waiting sometimes for hours, all to get that perfect shot. Sometimes it pays off, many times, it doesn't, but the fun is in the journey.

There are times when I wish I could be a professional photographer, but things didn't turn out that way. It's a great hobby and thankfully my wife has supported me in it (photography can be a brutally expensive pursuit...). For now, I haul my big Nikon around almost everywhere I go, because you just never know what you're going to see. Last Thursday, I saw the morning cityscape  in a new way.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What A Difference Six Years Can Make...

Social media is much maligned these days and for good reason. But there's some things social media does very well, especially Facebook. It's a digital scrapbook. It's a calendar, a place to post congratulatory birthday wishes, anniversary wishes, baby notices.

It's also a place to post photos.

And to remember events in the past.

Today, when I checked Facebook this picture showed up in my "You Have Memories" section and it took me back. It's from a show we did back in 2009 at Rodger's Memorial Theatre. The Show, Evita, the picture, some of the cast.

And I thought about how much has changed in just six short years.

You see, many in this picture have experienced a lot of changes. Three of these people, when the photo was taken, were not married. Now they are, and some even have little ones blessing their lives. I met some amazing people in that show. I've kept in tough with many (through social media...), and with some I've done other shows.

Funny how six years in the future seems so far away, but six years ago sometimes feels like it was like yesterday. Time, as in all things, is relative.

Monday, January 16, 2017

0 And 4...

0 and 4. What does that mean? It could mean a lot of things, but in this case, it's how NFL teams I would have liked to see win this last weekend did. Four loses, zero wins.

To be clear, I wasn't too invested in any of the games. I used to be--I used to really get into the games, get up for them, get excited for them--especially the playoffs--and hope the teams I really wanted to win, did. I used to be more into sports than I am now. Maybe it's because I've grown up and realized that my life is not as impacted as I thought it was when a team I liked won or lost. I do know I don't spend as much time watching sports as I once did. I keep up with the scores, and because of the amazing technology we now have, I can have a game playing on my phone while I'm doing other things. But that deep-down, live-or-die attitude I once had, it's pretty much gone.

There were three games I really didn't care much about. The one team I would have liked to see win lost in a close game--bunner. My friends who love their teams and saw them win, were ecstatic. Of course, they'll face another test of their loyalty next week as the winners meet for a chance to go to the Superbowl. I was once there, hoping for just two more wins to become immortalized for all time, or at least, until all the records are destroyed in the apocalypse.

And when that time comes, no one will care either way if they went 0-4, 1-3, 2-2, 3-1, or 4-0 in NFL playoff games during the third weekend of January in the year 2017.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Star Wars...And Valentine's Day

I saw the item on the sales floor. It stood about three feet tall and was located near the antacids. I noticed a red banner around it, but I didn't know what it said so I went over, turned it around and read the writing.

BB My Valentine

I think everyone who participates in the exercise of commerce understands what's going on here. Take an insanely popular film franchise, and combine it with  a holiday based on something pure but sullied by commercialism, and you get what I saw on Saturday night, something that is either offensive, or funny, or something else.

I suppose there are many who find this item so amusing that they just have to purchase it, either for themselves, or for a loved one. There's probably many who would like to get the BB-8 with or without the sash. I would imagine the sash just lifts right off, and an unsuspecting kid (especially one that dislikes anything Valentine's...) would enjoy it all the same.

I snapped a quick picture and considered using it for my Pic Of The Day, but I didn't. The reason I chose another picture is because I didn't know what caption to use. I could have been snarky saying something about how the pun based on a beloved Star Wars character would be so bad that you'd want to pick up some Zantac at the same time. Or I could have said the pun was fun and light and cleaver. In the end, I went another way. 

When I see something like this for sale, something that I wouldn't necessarily want to buy, I wonder how many of the items they end up selling, how many people bought leftover Christmas inventory when introduced with a Valentine's Day theme. If it's a lot (or even if it's not a lot...), pretty sure, we'll see more things like this next year.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Editing...Like Writing A New Book

It's been a long time since I've done any work my NaNoWriMo manuscript. I've heard it's good after you finish the first draft to put it away for a month or so and then start working on it again after that. Of course, editing it right after the first draft is written gets the project done quicker, but whoever said publishing was a quick process?

Not me.

For the first time in a long time, I was able to attend my writing group. I submitted the first five pages of the story and I was anxious to hear how it would be received. And by the end of the night, I had my answer--everyone liked it. It was rough, naturally, but they all had very encouraging things to say and insightful recommendations.

And so, on Friday I began editing. It helps so much to have input that you don't or can't see when you write the words the first time. I spent much of the day editing and to be honest, I'm not sure if I spent more time editing those five pages or writing them in the first place.

I haven't had a lot of experience editing. It's something I want to do more, to get better at making a story the best it can be. I used to think editing was just tweaking something, fixing a typo, changing a punctuation, doing work without making major fixes. And maybe it is, for some. Not for me, not on this story. I found myself considering some big changes. It almost felt like I was writing a new book, mostly because when I originally wrote it, I was trying to get as many words down as possible.

The artwork in the above photo is compliments of Shanna, a writing group member. Through art, she offered some suggestions. It's the kind of personalized help you can get in a writing group. Don't know if I'll use it, but it's nice to have the option.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Real Time Capsule...

I spotted the large can on the kitchen table and I asked my son what it was.

"It's a time capsule that I made back in scouts."

"That's cool," I said. "It says to open it when you get to college. You opening it now that you're in college?"

"I'm going to open it up tonight."

My son began classes at a local college tonight. He found the time capsule in his room so he thought it was time to open it. I asked him before the grand opening if he remembered anything that he put in there. He said he remembered one thing--a small solarium. 

He put the capsule together in 2004. A lot's happened in the past thirteen years. We had our last child in 2004 so everything in that can was around before he was born. There were little things, a cufflink, a tooth, a magnifying glass, a green minute timer used in games, even a Beanie Baby coin. The coolest thing was a picture of his scout troop (in which he was not one of the scouts--not sure where he was when they took the picture...) and in that picture was his grandmother. He spotted her right off.

His grandmother passed away in 2007 and there's another person in that photo who is no longer with us. It's strange to see things that haven't been seen for more than a decade. I thought about the eclectic collection and wondered why he chose some of the things he put inside. No one knew back then that some things would mean so much while other things wouldn't mean much at all. I suppose that's the fun of a time capsule. It shows us a little about ourselves, or about who we used to be.