Monday, March 18, 2019

Finding...A Really Old Book

I used to commute to work four times a week. Now I commute to a different room in my house. I used to take public transportation. Now I walk. The point is, write writing a daily blog, you draw from experiences near and far. Before they moved me home, I had the opportunity to talk to different people, take walks, see things.

Now that I'm home, some of my "inspiration" is gone.

But then we decided to clean out the basement, and "boom!" I've got a ton of things that interest me, and because they interest me, I find myself blogging about them. The latest item is a book, a really old book, a book I've known about, but never really looked at...

Until now.

We have a copy of the White House Cook Book. It's beat up, but I've seen worse. My mom's not around to ask about it. She kept it--don't know if she ever made any meals from the recipes found inside. The first picture in the book is of Ida Saxton McKinley. I looked for a publication date and didn't readily see it so I'm assuming one can date the book based on that picture.

Of course, the first thing you do when you come across something really old--you check its worth on ebay. It's hard to tell if its worth anything because of the condition. Our looks okay, on the outside, and I'm sure most--if not all--the pages are there, but it needs help. 

On ebay there were several copies for sale, but very few that had the same cover. Checking out its worth on Ebay doesn't necessarily mean we're going to part with it. More than likely--if we have the room--we'll find a place for it and one day (hopefully, a long time in the future...) one of our kids or even grandkids will come across the book.

Will they wonder why we kept it? Will they wonder if we ever used any recipes from it? And perhaps the most important question, will they immediately go to ebay (or whatever place one will access that far out into the future...) and see how much it's worth?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Return Of Three-Hour Church...At Least, This One Time

The e-mail asked whether or not we wanted to meet before church, or after. In reality, it didn't matter. What it meant was my Sunday worship would last a total of three hours.

I know I'm not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to religions that are not my own. I have no idea if three hours of worship on a Sunday is a little or a lot. I do know that up until last year, the average time for Sunday services in my religion was three hours. Three hours = three meetings.

In January, the three hours changed to two.

And there was much rejoicing.

I'm old enough to know that thinking two hours of worship is much better than three is all an illusion. It's a mind trick. We think that we'll never reach a point where two hours is too long, that it should be cut down even more until we're only meeting for sixty minutes, or even thirty. But, because we're humans, in time some will wish we only met for an hour or less.

How long is too long? I'll bet that question has existed as long as people have been required to do stuff that takes time. It's only natural. We complain about how hard we have it, no matter where or when we live. I'll bet hundreds of years ago parents told their kids that the kids "nowadays" had it too soft because the younger generation only had to work in the fields twelve hours a day instead of eighteen like the parents did.

Then again, maybe not.

I've taken no formal surveys or quizzes but I'll bet most members of our congregation (including me...) like the change. In all honesty, three-hour church has technically not changed. We're supposed to have two hours of church in the building and the other hour we're to have church study at home, with the family.

Today, I was in the church building for three hours. Three hours = three meetings. It's something we did all the time. And we should still be doing now.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

A Utah (State) Man Was Dad...

Utah State University, located in Logan, Utah, is the home of the Utah State Aggies. My father, the first in my family to graduate from college, attended this fine institution of higher learning in the 1950s.

Next came my brother, who followed in my dad's large footsteps (he was a tall man...) and attended Utah State University in the 1980s. He graduated as well, but not as quickly as my dad who earned his four-year bachelor's degree in three years. Not an easy thing to do.

But my dad was an amazing man.

He graduated in Tool Engineering. It's my understanding this is no longer a degree offered at any university. Tool Engineering evolved into Mechanical Engineering--a tough field, lots of math.

Today I found a couple of my father's university yearbooks. I guess they did that back then. They had pictures of him and others in his program. The pictures are how I remember him, tall, little hair. Of course, no kids remember their dads when their dads were in their twenties, unless they had use of a time machine and could go back and see your father in his younger years.

Most kids have the opportunity to see their father age, to see him grow old, see his hair turn gray, hear him tell about what life was like when he was your age, to worry about him when he forgets things, to wonder if it's time to talk to him about him driving not so much. Kids get to see the circle of life through their fathers. It helps the kids better understand and appreciate what it means to be a father to their own children.

The pictures in the yearbooks reminded me of how I remember my dad. He died when I was eight years old, which means he passed away sixteen or so years after these pictures were taken. Though my dad wasn't around to teach me and council me and spoil my kids, his grandkids. Instead, I've come to glean his wisdom, his work ethic, the way he was--and would have been--a dad through his example. And a better example I personally don't know.

Today, the Utah State University men's basketball team secured a birth in the NCAA basketball tournament, more likely the only local team to do so. It reminded me of my college days. After I graduated from Davis High School (and yes, I sang that I would have fought for it...), I attended USU. I followed in my father's footsteps, walked the much bigger campus where he walked, lived in housing that existed long before either of us were Aggies. My dad stayed for three years; I stayed three months and never returned. Harry Taylor, Aggie alum, great dad.

Friday, March 15, 2019

I Don't Know...Maybe Someone Did Steal My Lug Nuts

The other day I walked passed my car and noticed something missing...two things, actually. The back passenger-side tire had three lug nuts holding the tire to the car.

There's supposed to be five.

It's an old car, over fifteen years old to be exact. Even though it's not supposed to happen, I suspect things fall off cars that are over fifteen years old frequently. 

But not lug nuts. They're only supposed to come off only when you take them off.

We've had some work done on the car tires recently. I thought maybe the guys (or gals...) at the tire place failed to put on all five lug nuts. It wasn't until I was at the auto parts store buying replacement lug nuts that a thought hit me.

Maybe someone stole them off my car.

Back when my wife and I were first married, I owned a 1976 VS Beetle. We lived in Salt Lake. It wasn't the worst part of town, but it wasn't the best, either. I woke up one morning and my car was not parked where I left it the night before. It was halfway down the block on the wrong side of the street. Turns out, someone broke into my bug and stole the back seat and the knobs off the original VW radio.

When I told people the story, they'd inevitably ask,"Why would someone steal the knobs off your radio?" I even asked myself the same question. Then I went about trying to replace those radio knobs and I became fully aware of why a person desperately wanting radio knobs for a classic 1976 VW Beetle would break into a stranger's (then again, maybe it was someone I knew...) car and steal the knobs off the radio. They were hard to replace. This was before Amazon or Ebay or the internet. There was no "one click to buy" option.

This was the thought I had while waiting for the parts guy to fetch my replacement parts. Turns out, not all lug nuts for a mid-2000s Pontiac are the same. Since I wasn't driving the car, I got two that turned out to not be the same as the others. 

Maybe someone needed replacement lug nuts so bad that they stole them off my car, so all of their lug nuts would match. I guess some people need everything to match. Not me--when one of the hubcaps flew off the car (when it was younger than fifteen years old...), I didn't mind. Eventually, the others came off, too. And my car has one door a different color than the other three. For me, having five lug nuts holding the tire to the car is what's most important.

Then again, I'm sure the tire guys/girls forgot to replace all five lug nuts when we got the tire serviced. Still, I like my alternate explanation. It's more fun.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

More Basement Treasures...One From Mom And One From Dad

Where we live, we're fortunate enough to have a lot of space. It's shrinking every year, of course, but when the pioneers settled the area in the mid 1800s, the one thing they didn't lack was space. Now, more than a century and a half later, the roads are wide. The homes are large. The space between towns (when you leave the metropolitan areas...) is immense. 

What has this got to do with finding hidden treasures in our basement?

A good question.

Growing up we lived in a huge house. My dad designed it and was in the middle of building it when he passed away from cancer. sucked. Because it was a huge house for a mother and three children, and because my parents grew up during The Great Depression, they saved things. They saved everything. I loved digging in old boxes, opening flies of papers, and looking through old photos. There was so much stuff there.

And we saved it because we had the room.

My house, which is right across the street from my childhood home, is not as big and we have almost double the people. We have one big room in which to store stuff. We haven't gone through that stuff in years--decades, even. Now, we're taking on the challenge of cleaning up. We hung on to the stuff all these years because we have the space, pure and simple. And in the west, we're used to having a lot of space.

Tonight I checked out a box that has yet to be assigned a spot. I found something from my mom and something from my dad. In my mom's wallet I found some real beauties--a Smith's Video Store rental card, and a KSL Blue Chip card. If you're not familiar with this item, it was Groupon before Groupon. KSL is a local TV and radio station. They sort of ruled the roost back in the day. They still might--I don't know because I don't really pay attention anymore. You could use the card for discounts at station advertisers. 

My dad's contribution to the box is more rare. I'm assuming it's from WWII. My dad was a tail gunner on a B-17 crew. Before there was a US Air Force, there was the Army Air Corp. The patch on the leather pouch says US Air Forces so I'm not sure where (or when...) my dad picked it up--it's wicked cool, though.

There's more stuff down there, but with each box, our stuff is dwindling. I guess with all that extra room, we have more space for more new things. Not sure my wife would agree...

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Kevin L. Nielsen's "Colonial Prime: Humanity"...A Book Review


Kevin's book, Colonial Prime: Hunanity and a book I wrote, came out within a few months of each other, if I remember correctly. They're both published by Immortal Works. They're both science fiction, and they both have a boy/young man as an integral part of the story. I know this book pretty well--I should, I edited the audiobook version...

Not once,

But twice.

That's yet another story.

I should say from the onset that I enjoyed the book very much. It's not long, I believe less than 50k. When the audiobook goes live, it'll be less than four hours long, and if you listen to it on double speed, it'll fly by.

But the short length isn't the best things about Colonial Prime, for me, there's a lot packed into its pages. It's like eating a snack that's really really good.

Colonial Prime is the name of a ship, one in a convoy on a decades-long journey across space to populate a new planet. They're leaving the troubles found on their home planet--political strife, wars, the bad side of humanity--behind. The problem is, because they're human, those failings don't stay behind on Earth, they're brought with them.

Captain Amara Corrin pilots the Colonial Prime. A single mother, her son Jaelyn accompanies her on the journey. Amara's not only has responsibility for her son, but for everyone else in the fleet. The trouble really begins after the ships have been out a year. They receive a transmission from Earth and then things really hit the fan. The middle and third acts center around what happens once that message in received and how it could doom the entire mission. Amara, Jaelyn, and others have a real (and literal...) fight on their hands.

This is the second Kevin L. Nielsen book I've read. Though completely different genres, I love Nielsen's writing style. It seems effortless, as if the words that make up the story were meant to go together. We know enough about the main characters to empathize with them without becoming bored by over-explanations or ramblings by the author. We care about the people in a short period of time. We can also relate to their situation, even though they're aboard a spaceship trying to save the human species and we're on Earth, trying to make our mortgage payments and understand fake news.

The book is labeled YA, but it's really for anyone. Younger readers who like science fiction will enjoy this. Though there are battles and death, Nielsen doesn't gore-it-up more than necessary. It's a book I recommend.

If you'd like to order the book yourself, click: HERE to access the Amazon page. And, once the double-edited audiobook version comes out, you can order that, too.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

So...I Didn't Get The Job

Last week I wrote a blog post explaining how I felt learning that a friend had passed away. In that post, I stated I had applied for a job--that's how I found out about my friend. The job was within the same company where I currently work--at no time was I without a job. So as to not leave anyone hanging, I did not get it.


I have applied for this particular job several times going back twenty years. When I first applied, interview, and was denied, hurt. I watched as others with less experience were hired and I was not. A million things go through your mind when that happens, at least, they do for me.

This time was different, though. Many times before I felt I had the job. I felt I did well enough in the interviews and I definitely had the experience. I also knew what they were looking for and, at least in my mind, I had everything they needed. This time around, I wasn't sure what they needed, even though I have years of experience--more than enough to cover whatever they're looking for.

Alas, it was not meant to be.

Now I take rejection better than I used to. I'm more mature than I once was and that helps me accept these things. When I found out who got the job, it made sense. The person had actually done the job for years before being re-assigned. I know how that feels--it's not fun. I was happy for the worker and even sent a congratulatory text--several, in fact--when I returned to work after hearing of the decision.

One thing I've tried to teach my children is that they have the choice when it comes to how they feel. I was bummed the day I heard the news, but the next morning, I felt a lot better. I knew I had done my best and a more qualified applicant got the job. I want my kids to know that they have the ability to decide how they're going to react to the good and bad things that will happen to them in this life. Life was never supposed to be easy, contrary to what politicians tell you. It's supposed to be hard at times. It's supposed to suck at times, and it's supposed to be wonderful at times. How we choose to view these events makes all the difference. 

No, I didn't get the job, but I'm okay with it. Sure, it would have been nice--I already knew where the raise in pay would be going. But since it's not meant to be, at least, this time around, I might as well look at all the good things.

Because there's so many of them out there.