Monday, May 22, 2017

My Fyrecon Schedule--Something For Everyone...Well, Almost

In just a couple of weeks several will gather in Davis County for an event where creativity is key. It's called Fyrecon, and it's going to be great!

I feel honored, and a little bit humbled, to be one of the presenters. Now, since the schedule's been published online, I can let everyone know the classes I'll be teaching. So, if any of these strike your fancy, sign up and check out the con, my classes, everyone else's classes, and all the other fantastic stuff planned for our first-ever event.

The convention runs Thursday through Saturday, June 8 through 10. On Thursday the classes and panels run from 12:30pm to 5:30pm. Friday and Saturday, they run 9:30am to 7:30pm.

My schedule is:

Friday, 3:30-4:20pm, Building D3, Room 204

Heroes That Wheeze

Heroes mean different things in different eras. What possibly is the most interesting aspect of any hero is their weakness. In this class, we'll discuss what makes a hero and what can bring them down.

This is set for Teens, but anyone can attend.

Friday, 5:30-6:20pm, Building D3, Room 203

Creating Another Wizard That Isn't Another Gandalf, Dumbledore, Etc.

An in-depth discussion of the wonderful world of wizard, what they are/aren't, should/shouldn't be, and just how far can you go with the character?

Again, a teen class, but feel free to check it out.

Friday, 6:30-7:20pm, Building D3, Room 206

 Are Critique Groups Worth It?

Writing Critique Groups--some swear by them, others swear at them. But are they worth the work and effort it takes to create a successful, sustainable group? In this class we'll discuss what works, and what doesn't. And above all, will it make you a batter writer?

Friday will be a busy day for me, but I can't wait! Please let me know if you have any questions for me--I'll be glad to help out any way I can. Or, you can click: HERE to access the Fyrecon website directly. Writer, editor, or just someone who loves literature, consider attending. I'd love to see you there!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hiking With A Kid...And A Cat

My youngest and I were outside this afternoon and I spotted a small sign up on the mountain, not high up, but high enough I couldn't tell what the sign said. We decided to take a break and hike up to it to see what it said.

Turns out it had but a single work:


Due to some recent construction, the trailhead to Flag Rock has moved. Due to the signs, we all know now where to start.

On our little excursion, we had an additional family member join us--one of our cats. I know many a kid who has hiked the mountain with their trusty dog by their side. In all my years living on the hill, I've never seen a cat join anyone for a hike. My son asked if our cat would follow us when we started up. I told him he probably would because the cat's followed me before.

We've had incredible skies of late so I snapped a few pictures, and if cats could take selfies, he'd probably like how the above picture turned out.

It's not everyday we head up on the hill. I suppose we should go more. And if we do and our cat's on the prowl, there's a good chance we'll once again have another team member join us on our hike.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Waiting At The Airport...

I work near the Salt Lake City International Airport, but unfortunately, from where I sit in my cubicle can't see any of the planes land or take off. Probably a good thing--that way I can focus more on my work and keep my job. When I take a break and walk around outside, that's when I see them. There's something about seeing one of those massive machines race into the sky that's mesmerizing. It's almost hypnotic.

I don't have many memories of my father, but I think there were times when we used to drive out to the airport and watch the planes take off and land. Back then, you could get closer, or even park your car by the side of the road and watch. I'm not sure you can even do that anymore. Like I said, these memories with my father might not have even happened, but I think they did--I'd like to think they did.

Even though I work close to the airport, I don't find myself at the airport very often. It's been years since I've been on a plane. I have, however, been asked to pick up people when they fly into town--something I'm happy to do. 

Such was the case earlier this week. We had family fly in from California. Luckily, I was able to work my full shift then afterwards, pick them up. I arrived a few minutes early and so I waited for them to deplane. When you wait, you do certain things, at least I do. I listened to the radio, memorized more of Frank Sinatra's My Way, and took a few pictures of the beautiful sky that sounded both fliers and non-fliers alike. Spring storms have been rolling into the valley as of late which makes for incredible cloud formations and amazing skies. My simple pictures don't even come close to doing them justice.

Tomorrow I'll return to the place where people can be transported to virtually every destination on the planet. And because I'm dropping off, I won't have an excuse to look at the sky and watch the planes. Of course, I could do it anyway, which would be a pretty good excuse, if you ask me.

Friday, May 19, 2017

I Found What I Want For My Birthday...

I knew these things existed, but I'd never seen one up close, let alone held one in my hand. That changed today when I picked up, turned on, and checked out the Osmo Mobile Gimbal Stabilizer from DJI.

The thing rocks! To quote Ralphie, it was " cool and deadly a piece of weaponry as I had ever laid eyes on."

If you've followed this blog much, you know I dabble in photography, which includes shooting video. I've been fascinated by the improvements in camera technology just in the past decade. And since smartphone cameras are finally getting the respect they deserve, we're now seeing products that reflect that change. The Osmo stabilizer is one such product.

It adjusts to fit different phones and when accessing the DJI GO app, you can do other things, even customizing what it can do. 

Of course, with all cool stuff, the technology isn't cheap, so I won't be casually picking one up any time soon. I wish I had a way to make money with it so I could justify the cost. And, to be honest, I don't really expect anyone to casually pick one of these up for me for my birthday. I don't travel in those circles. Who knows? Maybe one day I will be able to casually enter my local Apple Store and tell the Mac Expert that I'd like to purchase the cool item in the big box. It could happen.


Apologies for the somewhat amateur shooting. It was my first time.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lost And Found...An LDS Chapel Staple

My daughter had a dance performance earlier this week and I attended (I provided transportation, but I still wanted to watch my daughter dance--you know, for support...). Like many of her performances, this one was held in a Latter-Day Saint chapel. We live in Utah, and there are places where LDS chapels can literally be across the street from each other--same religion, different congregations.

After a certain point in time, probably around the 1980s, most LDS chapels follow a similar design. Basically, the buildings are one big rectangle. Very smart. Take off the roof and you'll see the chapel on one half, and a basketball court (sometimes with a stage...) on the other half. Surrounding those two sections are classrooms and church offices. Once again, very smart.

There are things you'll find in every one of these church buildings. There's bishopric offices, a place for the nursery (or nurseries...), rooms for meetings of children, the men, and the women for their classes.

There's also a place--in every building, except this place is not found on any of the blueprints. It's a space for the Lost and Found. I snapped the above picture while the kids ballroom danced in the gym. What struck me--and why I took the picture--is I almost expected some of the Lost and Found stuff to be mine, as if things I misplaced at our church building magically appeared in this one thirteen miles away.

I thought that because the things in this particular Lost and Found were the same things found in all the other buildings. Scriptures, church manuals, water bottles, articles of clothing, eyeglasses--though I don't see any in this picture, there's usually small toys, Matchbox cars, or little action figures in the Lost and Founds.

As our kids have aged, fewer and fewer of our items have found their way into our Lost and Found. I don't know if any research has been done as to any direct correlation between age and forgetfulness. I imagine it's an inverse bell curve, high for the very young, and the perhaps the elderly. And if that's true, I guess we'll be searching in the Lost and Found more in the future.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Time To Pick Up "The Forgetting Moon" From Brian Lee Durfee...You Know You Want To!


One of the cool thing about social media is that, while you didn't know a book was on sale, one quick search on Facebook can change all that. Today I found out Brian Lee Durfee's The Forgetting Moon is on sale for $1.99 (Kindle edition...). 

So I bought it!

And I'm posting about this to spread the gospel according to Brian (I think there was a film with similar themes...).

I first met Brian at Salt Lake Comic Con FanX last March. I was fortunate enough to share a vendor booth with him and a half a dozen insanely talented authors. And Brian wrote a really big book. He puts the "Epic" in epic fantasy. Back in jr. high school, I credit those epic fantasy books with rekindling my love of reading.

If you too would like to purchase The Forgetting Moon, click: HERE. I'm excited to read a book I know nothing about, other than it's got a great cover and Brian's a cool guy. So join me on this journey! It'll be fun!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Centerville Utah LDS 1st Ward Church Building...

It's been several decades since I stepped foot in the historic Centerville LDS First Ward chapel. 

Almost three, to be exact.

Back in the late 1980s I was part of a group of church members known as Single Adults. Our religion places so much emphasis on marriage that those who aren't married are "officially" branded as such (as opposed to the unofficial titles we give ourselves...). And, in an attempt to change the unwed masses from Single to No Longer Single, the church created congregations of single people. They did this so we could worship together, but more importantly, be together. Depending on who you ask, these congregations are either successful, or not. And finding a spouse doesn't necessarily translate to successful.

We singles met in this church. A few days ago I posted a picture of the chapel as my Pic Of The Day on Facebook. One comment said this is the oldest LDS church building to continually be used for weekly meetings. That's interesting to me. But, what I found more interesting was the building itself.

It has a fireplace in one of rooms. I don't know if it's functioning or not, but it was cool nevertheless.

In the same room it has an original LeConte Stewart paining--beautiful!

The chapel itself is very unique. Immediately left and right of the podium are overflow areas so you can listen to the messages while watching the speaker(s) in profile.

I wanted to go see every room to see what other treasures it held, but I only saw a few rooms. Which begs the question--how could I have missed it's awesomeness back when I attending meetings as a Single Adult?

I guess I was concentrating on other things back then...