Friday, March 16, 2018

When It's The Middle Of The Night...And Your Clock Is Telling You To Lie

Sometimes, getting a good night's sleep isn't a given. It's actually never a given, considering all the things that can happen to a person, but in our modern society, we usually get a good night's sleep (unless, of course, you have a newborn in the house...).

We do not have a newborn or multiple newborns in the house, so that excuse for finding myself awake in the middle of the night isn't valid. We do have a cat that likes to go in and out at various times--and we don't have a cat door. 

So, last night was a tough one for me. And I blame my inability to sleep partially on a writing deadline that arrives tomorrow night. Each time I woke up, thoughts about the assignment went though my head again and again. 

Makes sleeping tough.

On those occasions when I can't sleep I actually don't want to look over at my illuminated alarm clock. Thankfully, I did not have work this morning--that's the worst, knowing exactly how much time you don't have until you need to leave the bed and go to work. No, I try and avoid knowing how much sleep I'm missing. But this morning, I did glance over and I saw it was exactly 3:17am.

Interesting thing about that, because rarely am I looking directly at clock the proper angle while I'm lying down. My head is sideways on the pillow and so I see the numbers more vertical than horizontal. I could not, however, prevent my mind from seeing the numbers upside-down and so my alarm clock was telling me to lie.

I can take this a couple of ways. It can be reminding me to lie down, and stay that way. After all, it's more difficult to fall asleep if I'm not lying down.

Then, the alarm clock may be telling me to be untruthful. That's an interesting thought. Exactly who am I supposed to lie to? My wife who's asleep next to me? The dog that's snoring on a pillow at the foot of our bed? Myself? Sorry, alarm clock. I don't think I can carry that one out.

Yes, there's other words upside-down numbers make on my alarm clock. Perhaps if I wake up at those times, my mind will give me a more practical command. We'll see.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Nature's Path Love Crunch Granola...Um...YUM!

I don't feel like I'm a food snob. I very much may be a food snob, but I don't think I am. Because of allergies, there are foods I can't eat. Plus, because of religious choices, there are things I choose not to drink. I don't believe I would do well in the big cities where there are fancy restaurants--even if I could afford to eat there. We do try and feed our family the healthiest food we can afford. We're always trying to do better.

Last week, I visited a friends house and he brought out a bag of Nature's Way Love Crunch Premium Organic Cereal. The variety they had--Dark Chocolate & Red Berries.

I mean, come on!

It was delicious!

"You can get it at Costco," he said when I remarked on how much I liked the food. When I got home from my visit, my son just happened to be at Costco so we texted him to be on the look out for the bag of breakfast nirvana. He didn't spot it.


Fortunately, I found a smaller package of the cereal at my local grocery store (Costco's items are so much bigger--buying in bulk, and all that...). I bought it. I've eaten it. It's still just as good, just not as much.

I learned a lot at my friends house, mostly about my writing and about the writing industry in general. But I also learned that I have a soft spot for some hardened cereal with dark chocolate and red berries. If it makes me a breakfast food snob, so be it. It's a cross I'll just have to bear.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Vanity Plates And Fancy Cars...

Last week I drove home from Salt Lake. Around 21st South heading north, I noticed a low sports traveling in the same direction.

It was a Ferrari.

It was red.

It was beautiful.

I'd like to be a fan of the most expensive and exotic cars in the world. I know I have friends who can identify this car and know exactly the model, and possibly the year it was made. There was a time, back in high school, I could identify a few of the Lamborghini models and a few of the Ferraris, especially the one Tom Selleck drove in Glen L. Larson's Magnum P.I.

Those days are long gone. Now there's hundreds of amazing cars out there and more and more produced all the time. There's no way I can keep up with them all. My level of interest is satisfied by watching Top Gear and Grand Tour episodes, but I've even stopped watching those lately.

My little Pontiac sped up (but was still obeying traffic laws, kind of...). I thought it would be cool to see it up close. It got boxed in by slower vehicles and I caught up. I just wanted to drive by it. You know, make it look even better by comparison.

But when I got close, I noticed something, something interesting. The Ferrari had a vanity plate, not a special word or number plate, but it had a University of Utah sticker on the plate.

Would I have thought less of the car if it weren't red, or a Ferrari, or had a Y sticker on the plate? I guess I'll never know.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Today's The Day For Jay To Say..."Blood Creek Witch" Is HERE!

Today Immortal Work's latest book, Jay Barnson's Blood Creek Witch, is available to the public. Jay posted a picture of himself holding his creation. And not only is Jay wearing an amazing Commodore 64 shirt, he's wearing a smile.

I know that smile.

I've worn that smile.

It comes when you receive that box of books for the first time.

It's an incredible feeling holding a book that exists because you wrote it.

I have not read Jay's latest, but I have read things he has written. In fact, Jay has a boatload of things published. You can check out his Amazon author page: HERE. You can also order your copy of Blood Creek Witch from Amazon: HERE.

I can't help but be excited for my friend. He's worked hard getting his book published. He's worked hard getting his short stories published, too. And he has a job (unlike me...) where sometimes putting in forty hours a week means he's just getting started. I can learn a lot from him about writing, putting in the time, and finishing projects.

Reading books written by people you know is a pleasure. Reading great literature is wonderful by itself, but when you know the person who wrote it, it adds an extra dimension to the reading experience. I can't wait to read Jay's novel. Congrats Jay on the book! May it sell a million copies!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Lucy...I Hope She Gets Adopted

On the weekends, I drive down to the local grocery store. One of the places I pass on my way to the grocery store is a pet store. On the weekends there are signs outside letting the world know that inside the pet store there are animals that need homes.

I've made it part of my Saturday routine to stop by the store and go inside.

Last weekend, I met Lucy, a ten year old poodle.

I shouldn't go inside, really. We already have a dog. Sure, our dog is getting older, blinder, and deafer, She can no longer go downstairs and she never comes when you call her. But there is something about looking at the dogs, cats, even bunnies and gerbils at the pet store that makes me think, "what if...?"

When I'm there, I'm also wishing I could take every animal home with me. That can't happen, obviously. We've all seen stories about people who try and adopt as many pets as possible. It never ends well, for the adopter and the adoptees.

After I check out the animals and pet the dogs and look into their eyes and then leave, I wonder what happens to the dogs. I've asked the handlers who bring the animals to the store. They've said that almost every animal they've brought in gets adopted. That makes me feel good knowing that our community is providing homes for these animals.

Lucy, a sweet older poodle, has a lot of strikes against her. She's older. She's not spunky--at least, she didn't jump up and down at the visitors who walked by, myself included. She looked a little poofie because she hasn't had her hair cut in a while. She just looked tired. I wonder if she got adopted, or will get adopted. I hope so--I'm sure there's someone out there who would be a better match for this little dog. Maybe, when I resume my regular weekend routine, I'll see Lucy. Hopefully, I won't because she'll be spending the lazy Saturday morning in her new home.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Killer View...But Is It Worth Every Penny?

We've known about the project for years. It's caused discussions and arguments, but finally the road opening the hill to dozens of new building lots is open. Tonight, my wife and I decided to go for a drive.

What what a view!

(I recommend NOT having the sound on when playing these videos--there's an annoying buzz...)

There's an old saying that goes something like this, "Why do people climb mountains? Because they're there." So, why do people want to build on a hill. It's got to be for the view. I've been spoiled most of my life. We live on the same hill, just not as far up the hill. That's okay--I love seeing sunsets from our back porch and if we can do something about the quaking aspens, I'll be able to take more pictures of incredible sunsets for years to come.

But the views from the new road are spectacular! And those fortunate enough to build on those lots will be paying through the nose for the opportunity. That's the way of things, though. You've got to pay for nice things.

Many in our community have hated seeing the road go in. They have their reasons, and to them, they're valid. To be honest, the mountain is not all that picturesque. Sagebrush and scrub oak will be replaced by lawns, fences (most likely...), large homes, and multi-car garages. It will also allow families to live in our little town and become our neighbors.

It is interesting--when you drive up that street and look to the south, the north, the east, and the west, you want to be part of it, make it your view. I suppose it's human nature--we're always wanting more, grass is always greener and all that.

Yes, we climb mountains because they're there. But maybe--just maybe we climb them because of the views.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

I'm An Edward M. Kovel Winner...

This week I participated in a writing retreat. It ran from last Monday to yesterday, but I believe if people arrived on Sunday and stayed until tomorrow, no one would be upset. I missed last year, but attended the year before. That was the first time I went.

Spending a few days there this week became my second time at the retreat.

It's hard to explain how amazing spending time with a bunch of writers can be. Many of you--especially those who spend a lot of time with one writer--might think multiplying that experience sounds like a terrible idea. They'd be wrong, at least, the writers might thing you're wrong.

There's only a couple of rules. 1--you're expected to write, because when you're writing, you're not a distraction for the others who are expected to write. 2--you're responsible for at least one meal. It's like a weeklong potluck. A few years ago, I brought a meal for everyone. This year, there were so many participants already signed up for meals, I just paid each time, and boy--we ate good! 3--after dinner, you can continue writing, or play boardgames with the group. Two years ago, I played games (and had poor showings...). This time, I decided to keep writing.

Since I wrote Chaser back in 2016, I haven't dedicated a lot of time toward my writing, and that's a shame. Sure, we've had issues to deal with at work, at home--just like everyone else. It's amazing anyone who is not a writer full-time writes anything at all (and that can be said for some of the full-time writers as well...). In the 2 1/2 days I was at the retreat this week, I wrote just under 10,000 words. It's been a long time since I wrote that much, and it felt good.

Of course, the retreat wouldn't be possible with the amazing Butler family. They literally open up their home to a bunch of dudes. They put up with our corny jokes, our unusual places to write, our quirky personalities. And we're the better for it. At the conclusion of the event, awards are given out. They're named for Edward M. Kovel. I don't know who that is, but it doesn't really matter, like the awards. The important thing is not the particular award you get, but what you were able to accomplish, the things you learned, the friendships you made and strengthened that matter most.

This year, I got a hat--all of us winners did. I got 10K words. I got great advice about writing and the publishing world. I got to spend time with wonderful people. And I am a 2018 Edward M. Kovel winner. A very good week, indeed.