Friday, September 19, 2014

Evan Bacon...Brix Master!

I saw a lot of things at this year's Salt Lake Comic Con--a lot of impressive things. But one of the most impressive things was seeing the art of the son of a high school buddy, a son who is, literally, building a name for himself.

Evan Bacon builds things out of Lego bricks, big things. I got to meet him and I snapped a few pictures. I also met his mom. I checked his website and it looks both cool and ambitious. And more information will be coming next month.

I don't know a lot about what's coming--I'll have to wait until October like everyone else--but based on the website information (you can access it: HERE...), you'll be able to build your own life-sized sculptures. 

The picture I took of the superhero sculptures at Comic Con doesn't do the art justice. It's so impressive. And I wish him and his new venture the very best!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just Cleaning The Company Fridge...

Many of you, like me, work in an office and one of the responsibilities of working in an office is a shared obligation to keep things tidy.

Which means, taking turns cleaning the kitchen area.

This month, it's my department's turn and last week my name was called. I've worked in several offices--some take the cleaning duties seriously, others not so much. Luckily, our floor does a pretty good job. 

We only have a few rules. We send out an e-mail notifying the floor and give everyone a chance to take care of their own stuff. We tell them that if the food's expired, it's gone. If something's not labeled, it's gone. We then take everything out of the two fridges on our floor, wipe down the shelves, then put back items where only the food's owners have followed the rules.

We didn't throw away much, but we did find one item that expired over a year ago. Apparently, those who cleaned before didn't follow the rules.

My turn is over, at least, for a little while.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Orson Scott Card's "Hidden Empire"...A Book Report


Today I finished Orson Scott Card's Hidden Empire, the sequel to Empire. Even though it's been a while since I read the first book--which I thoroughly enjoyed--I believe I liked this book better. 

The premise of the first book in the series, Empire, is to imagine a world where red states and blue states wage war for control of America. Instead of just throwing insults and facts that support their opinions, they use bullets and bombs. I'm forgetting many of the details due to the time that's passed since I read it, but I do recall that it was a story of political ideologies taken to the extreme and just how far things could go if people backed up their hatred of each other with weapons.

I thought it was a timely read.

Then I picked up Hidden Empire...

And realized what timely really means.

Hidden Empire begins with a village in Africa that falls victim to a deadly virus that kills almost all it infects. Have you checked any headlines coming from the African continent lately? Of course, the story expands to where governments battle, conspiracy theories rage and special forces are assembled to protect and serve.

It's a good read, quick, smart, and perhaps more so than the first book (because of some of the advanced technological weaponry...), more believable. But what I liked most is the book reminded me of all those Tom Clancy books I read decades ago. For me Card captured the heart of those books, the personal dilemmas the characters faced, and I'd recommend the book for that reason alone.

* Photo used without permission from:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Names On Cokes--Some Say Annoying...Some Say Dumb...I Say Brilliant Advertising!

I wonder what you thought when you first saw/heard about Coca Cola's marketing campaign where different names appear on the side of Coke cans and bottles. Maybe some of you thought it was dumb, or annoying, but personally, I thought it was genius.

And, as it continues, I've not changed my opinion. In fact, I'm more convinced now than I was then. I bought a 20 oz. Coke the other day and brought it home because I failed to drink it all. I put it in the fridge then forgot about it. My wife got home and asked me, "Who's Harriet?"

I had nothing.

I had no idea what she was talking about. My mind raced to think of an e-mail we might have gotten from someone named "Harriet." So, I asked her, "Who's Harriet?" She then told me it was the name on the bottle and she was just having a little fun.

But the above picture shows the true power of Coke's idea. I bought another bottle and it had the name "Blake" on it. First thing that came to my mind was all the people I know, or have known, named Blake. Then, because I have a friend on social media named Blake I took a picture of the two Blakes together. If I had a million followers and I showed them my picture, that's 100% free advertising for Coke. They don't have to pay a dime for that coverage. Now, my social media reach is no where near that, but it's my picture is still a free ad for Coke.

And every time anyone does the same thing, the result's the same, too--free ads.

I have no idea how long the campaign will last, but Coca Cola has successfully created something for the 21st century. Well done!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bookbomb Time...Danyelle Leafty's "Saltwater Curiosities"


I was asked if I would help spread the word on Danyelle Leafty's latest work, Saltwater Curiosities. Sure! I said. I know nothing of the book, but I have met the author and her husband and--unlike my book promotion blog for John Brown last week, I've read one of Danyelle's books (I still need to get one of John's books and read it...).

Danyelle's like a lot of us who write. She's published a lot of titles, actually, and is trying to get people to pick up one of her books, or click on a link where a person can buy one of her books. Her husband should get an award for "Most Promotional Spouse."

Wait...that came out wrong.

Let's just say he's a huge supporter and her biggest (metaphorically speaking...) fan. I applaud that. He's supporting a person who I'm sure is overwhelmed with all the comes from being a mom, a wife, and a creative person.

So, go: HERE to order her book on Amazon, or check out her website: HERE for even more titles. And if you're on the fence, do it for the spouse!

* Photo used without permission from:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Monday Morning Blues...A Short Story

Monday Morning Blues

Peter cursed the snooze button as the bus carried him to his job. He knew the fault rested not on a snooze button, but on his own unwillingness to get up early which denied him the opportunity to catch an early bus. Now, because of he violated the deadly sin of sloth, he was forced to share a bench seat, and since he boarded at one of the last stops before the bus entered the city, prime seating locations were next to impossible to find.

The accountant silently cursed again as the large man with whom he shared his bench shifted his sizable weight resulting in a head resting on Peter's shoulders that wasn't Peter's. Had he not ignored the snooze button and got up in time to catch the early bus, he could have practically laid down on the bench and slept during the twenty-five minute commute. Could the Monday get any worse?

Without being too gentile (but with enough restraint so as not to draw attention...), Peter pushed this fellow capitalist away; the man's head rose until it teetered at its highest point and that's where it stopped moving. Peter held his breath as the man's muffled snoring continued, his open mouth showing the slightest hint of spittle about to descend upon his wrinkled suit coat.

Peter raised a finger to offer a small push when he noticed the man's head began to fall--thankfully away from Peter. The clank of the man's skull against the window caused more than a few riders to look in their direction. To escape their gaze (and honest judgement...), Peter pretended to be deeply involved in the Candy Crush game on his iPhone. Fortunately, Peter's gentle shove in one direction and the subsequent stop of motion in the other did not wake up the man who kept on snoring.

The accountant looked out the bus window beyond the stranger's head and saw the city skyline come into view. The weather matched Peter's mood, morose, cloudy, and raining. Dark clouds hovered over the buildings, giving the man-made skyscrapers the appearance of rectangular stalagmites, each floor deposited by the clouds above.

Peter checked his phone--he'd be an hour late. No big deal, really. It took people at least forty-five minutes of bull-shooting before any actual work got done, especially on Monday. He'd make it up, stay late, assume the persona of good employee, the golden son, the chosen. He wondered as the bus exited the freeway if he'd sleep in tomorrow as well.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Have You Been To Sears Lately...?

When was the last time you were in a Sears store? For us, it was about 3 1/2 years ago. Normally, I don't ask myself that kind of question when I enter a store, but I did yesterday when my wife and I visited the store to pick up a lawnmower part.

We drove along the road and in big letters the name "Sears Grand" welcomed us. Of course, we were seeing the back wall of the store, but the advertising was effective--and impressive. We had to drive to the end of the shopping development, get off the busy road, then drive to Sears.

On the way to Sears Grand was a Wal-Mart and a Sam's Club, but as we approached the behemoth that was the Sears Grand, the first thing we noticed is there were almost no cars in the Sears Grand parking lot.

We entered the store and saw first hand, there was hardly anyone in the store. There might have been as many or more employees in the store than patrons. As it turns out, we entered in the entrance furthest from where we needed to go so we decided to check out the store.

Now, I'm not one that keeps up on the financial stability of US Companies.* I believe I've heard of the troubles Sears has had and if this store was any indication, the rumors are true. It was sad walking the length of the store and seeing almost no one. What makes it especially sad is that the Sears organization has had such an important role in the building of our country. Then again, I think businesses should be allowed to fail. If they don't, they become corrupt (my opinion--see previous "*" for my lack of experience in the area...).

The last time we stepped foot inside a Sears was when we bought our mower. This time we needed a part for said mower. I wonder if the company will be there if something else breaks. I guess we'll see.