Monday, April 30, 2012

My New Toy...The Silver Ghost


Back in September 2007 I bought a laptop, the very one I'm using to write this post. I bought it after one semester of graduate school and I've used it literally everyday since. Like all of us the computer has, as it's aged, has gotten slower, fuller (as in used memory...) and dinged up. However, it's still kicking.

Today, thanks to a project I helped with last year and this year, I had the means to walk confidently into a store and I buy my laptop's replacement. And it's beautiful!

 

My neighbor, if he's reading this, is shaking his head. You see, he's not a fan of the products dreamt from the brilliant mind of Steve Jobs. I understand how he feels. There are brands I would not purchase, even if I had the means. And Mac owners are notoriously famous for being snobs. I accept this criticism and title without shame or regret because it's the price I'll gladly pay.

My old trusty white computer helped create some amazing projects, many of which I am proud to call mine. Let's see what the silver ghost comes up with, shall we?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Joy Of Helicopter Seeds...


Helicopter Seeds


I went for a walk this morning and spotted some maple seeds on the sidewalk. I came home and grabbed my 7-year old. "Let's go for a walk," I told him. Without even asking why, he put on his shoes and we were headed down the street.


"Helicopter seeds!" he yelled once he saw them. We scooped up a couple of dozen and brought them home. We found the highest spot where helicopter seeds can do their thing and let them drop.


It took me a couple of times to get pictures of the seeds in flight (or in descent...). Fortunately, my son was game to go up and down the stairs several times so I could take more pictures. He even went down the street for more.


There's something magical about watching the seeds spin as gravity grabs them and gently pulls them to earth. We have one maple tree on our lot. It's small, but growing. I wonder if we still live in this house in the future, will faces light up like they did this morning as they watch these delightful helicopter seeds twirl and twist as they fall? I sure hope so...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Jeff & Jenica...


I arrived late to my friend's reception tonight, but I'm glad I stopped by. Today my friend Jeff married his best friend Jenica. I've only known Jeff for a few years, but it feels longer, and not in a bad way. It's like I've known him since high school.

Jeff and I worked together until he escaped ;) and found a new job. Unfortunately, I have not been able to talk to him as much as we once did. I guess switching jobs, getting engaged and planning a wedding can take a lot of someone's time...

Before I left, I watched the couple dance together to a Michael Buble' song. They looked beautiful together. I am so happy for my friend. Congratulations to the newly married couple! May your lives together be as one as you face this wonderful adventure called life. Take care, my friend.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Writing As A Cathartic Exercise...


I have a work schedule where I do not work on Fridays. I have the hold-over schedule from the famous (or infamous depending on your opinion of state government...) 4-Day work schedule enacted by the former governor and former presidential candidate (and former GOP member from what I've read...) Jon Huntsman. I was one of the lucky workers able to keep the original Monday-Thursday schedule.

Why am I telling you all this? Good question. It's a long way of letting you know that I have Fridays off and I usually use the day to write, or run errands or attend writer's conferences. Because of news I received yesterday while at work, I wasn't in the writing mood today. Flat out, it wasn't in me. I'm no psychologist, but I think most, if not all, writers experience the same thing. It's not writers block, per se, but writer's delay may be a better description.

Which brings me to my point (finally!). I realized this morning that I wasn't going to feel any better if I dwelt on yesterday's events so I began writing. I did the same thing yesterday with the April 27, 2012 blog post. Last night I wrote for someone else. Today I wrote for me. Both times I found the exercise to be such a cathartic experience. I was able to lose myself in the words.

Tonight a friend thanked me for some of those words and there's few better feelings in the world. Now, if I could get this darn novel finished and into the hands of readers everywhere, well, that would make me feel really good and I'd forget all about what happened yesterday at work. Heck--it would make me forget about that job forever!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cloudy Skies; Cloudy Days...


I read a friend's blog today and her words transported me back in time--about 20 years back in time... Her name is Angela. Her blog is titled: Just As I Am (great title...) and here's the link to her blog post: The One Where Nothing Is Wrong.

Angela is 25-years old (this information is in her blog so I'm not giving away any secrets...) and she writes about her life and her passions and her experiences. I first met Angela in 2009 when I was lucky enough to share the stage with her as we did a show together. In short, the girl is wicked talented--simply amazing!

I learned a little about how this exceptional performer came to Utah when we did the show. She's got a great story. When I read her blog today my heart ached because I know, that not only is she a quality person, but also what she's feeling (not exactly what she's feeling, but close...). I was unmarried and 25 and living in Utah and it was impossible to see what lie in store for me. It's so hard to see beyond the clouds and the rain and the gloom, but the sun's out there behind it all. It always is.


Of course, it's hard to make someone feel better. Only they can do that, and I'm confident she will. She said herself that it was just one of those times when she was feeling the way she was feeling. Tonight the clouds darken our world and bring the rain all life needs to survive. Eventually the warmth of day will kiss our cheeks and fill our hearts and we'll once again feel joy. Angela...hang in there, because I for one, know you're worth it. Take care.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The 1980 VW Rabbit Convertible...A Great Car!

*

One Of My Favorite Cars

Back in my single days, I bought VWs. It was the only brand of car I would buy and this continued until I got married and I needed to rely more on my transportation than I did as a single man. Of course, VWs can be very reliable, but not the cars I bought...they were inexpensive, or cheap may be a better word...

Tonight I rode in a convertible again, my friend Todd's Sebring. It's been a long time since I've ridden in a convertible, and to be honest, I've missed it. What you see in the above picture is the car I owned many years ago. I bought a 1980 VW Rabbit Convertible, silver with red pinstripes. It was a Wolfsburg edition, made in Germany and it was the first year they ever made the car. I bought it from a co-ed from California who was going to the U and I loved that car. 

Now, I did, in no way, resemble any of the guys you see pictured with the car. I rarely (if ever...) played tennis while I owned the car. Any gal who happened to be with me while I drove the car did not look like the girls in the picture and I'm pretty sure any girl that ever rode with me never had a tennis racket with her nor did I ever take the car to a tennis court or pose by said court.

I used to say that I needed the convertible to get the full cranial tan, and, I believe during the summers that I owned the car, I got a nice tan on the top of my head. And so, if you can't read the copy from the ad, I'm going to include a portion of what they wrote about their wonderful car. VW knows what they're talking about:

Car makers don't generally tell people how much they like their own cars. 
But this one's an exception.
The Volkswagen Rabbit Convertible.
We made it just for the love of it.

Amen, Volkswagen...Amen!


VW Ad Photo used without permission from the following website: http://www.a2resource.com/brochures/1980/ads/photos/rabbitconvertible.jpg 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hanging Out With Filmwriters...


The Utah Film Writers Facebook Group has 242 members of which I am one. Several weeks ago I attended a writer's conference in Utah County and one of the classes I attended dealt with screenwriting. It was in that class I met Blake Casselman and after the class he said the Utah Film Writers Facebook Group meets twice a month in SLC. Tonight was the first time I attended one of these meetings.

Tonight we met in a coffee shop on State Street. I usually don't frequent such establishments. I used to drop by a Starbucks now and then when I worked downtown. I enjoyed a hot chocolate a time or two--it's good stuff. As a consumer of such convenience shops, I'm not a big spender. Let's put it this way--the economy won't recover any time soon if everyone's counting on me to spend, spend, spend.

A couple of thoughts concerning our script discussion... I did not read the 8-page screenplay we discussed. Too bad--it sounded like a pretty wild read. I think by the end of the discussion I had an idea of what was in the script, or at least had a general idea. I must say, there were a LOT of things to talk about for such a short script.

I didn't say much tonight--having not read the script can hinder a person in such a situation. Hopefully next time I'll be more prepared. I did have fun, though. It's amazing what several minds thinking creatively can come up with...

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Little Girl...


"I am so tired," my daughter said with a sigh. "But I can't wait until tomorrow." I looked at my daughter's tired face. She did have a busy day and I'm sure she's going to sleep well tonight.

 

"Why can't you wait until tomorrow?" her younger sibling asked. "Because it's my birthday!" came the reply. "Just think," I said. "This is your last night being the age you are now. Tomorrow you'll be a year older. How do you like that?" "I can't wait," she said. "Actually, I won't officially be older until around 2pm--that's when I was born."


 And so my daughter turns another year older tomorrow. I can't imagine my life without her. She brightens up any room she's in. She makes every day better and I love her more than I can adequately say. Happy birthday, you little daughter of mine!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Neighbor's Car...


"Hey," I said to my neighbor as he was leaving church between meetings. "Yeah? What's up?"he said. "I was wondering if I could take a picture of your car."

"You want to take a picture of my car? Okay, I guess."

"I can't believe you drive this car." I told him as we walked from the building to the Ford Mustang convertible that sat gleaming in the sun. "Well," my neighbor said somewhat embarrassed. "It's not my car..." He and I had discussed the topic several times. And if you know my neighbor and the kind of person he is, you would know this car fits him like a turtleneck on a dolphin.

The car is, of course, not his, which means he does not own the title. That belongs to his employer--a company almost every guy would love to work for...well, most guys, anyway. Still, he continues to drive this muscle car to and from work. I'm sure the car attracts attention from all genders (as is its purpose...).

I snapped a couple of pictures. Then my neighbor said, "You should see the one I'm going to get."

"Really," I said wondering if he was joking. "Yeah, it's a Boss 302," he said. And I thought he looked out of place in this car...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

WAL*Mart & Tattoos...


We shop at Wal*Mart. It's true. I know there are entire websites dedicated to the people who shop at Wal*Mart. I try to not frequent those sites. I don't think it's fair. Of course, I have my own observations when I go shopping at Wal*Mart. I had one today.

Today while I walked around at Wal*Mart, I felt like I was the only guy in the store without a tattoo, even though I know I'm not. Many people have tattoos. I'm not judging. Like I said, It's just an observation I had--most likely helped due to the spring and summer temperatures. As they rise, more skin is visible. Tattoos have become a part of our society. I guess there was a time when only military guys or bikers had tattoos. Those days are gone. 

I have friends who have tattoos and many say that once they get a tattoo, they can't wait to get another one. Just looking at some peoples arms, legs (necks and faces...) it adds validity to this opinion--can't stop at one tattoo.

So far, I'm ink-free and I'll most likely stay that way. It's too bad, because I have so much advertising space on my head...it's a shame not to use it, but I guess that's just how things so sometimes. And so when I'm back shopping next week, or when I go shopping again at Wal*Mart, I'll probably be thinking the same thing...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Our Littlest Actor...



The kids were young and the acoustics in the hall were less than optimum and many of the lines were unheard by many, but tonight siblings, parents and grandparents gathered in a community church in Clearfield and watched our children perform a very condensed version of William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew." 


And so Mom, Dad, and all the Taylor children have gone through the process of being chosen for a part, rehearing together with a cast, memorizing lines, and finally, performing a show on a stage in front of an audience. We're officially a performing family!

video

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Little Of My Latest W.I.P...


The following is an excerpt from my latest W.I.P. Enjoy!

            After church children reunited with their parents and families left the building and returned to their homes, the Templetons among them. The twins were unusually quiet as John drove the minivan.
            “How was your class?” Rebecca asked the silent void.
            “Okay,” Cameron said.
            “Yeah? Did you do anything fun?” This time neither child said anything. Rebecca turned in her seat to look at the kids. Rebecca never tired of seeing her three boys all in their child seats. Things definitely changed since she was a kid and children could pretty much sit anywhere in a moving vehicle.


            “Hey guys, you doing okay?” The boys looked at their mother and the twins nodded at her question. “Okay…I was just checking.” Rebecca turned back and looked at John. He met her look by raising his shoulders signifying to his wife that he didn’t know what was going on with the children either. The Templetons concluded their commute without the ambient sound of children droning on. The experience was foreign to the parents—too bad they couldn’t enjoy it.
            Once again Sunday afternoon brought a sense of melancholy to Rebecca as she wished she could spend time with Wanda, but as the days passed, the feeling began to ebb, and this realization made her feel even worse.
            Once her blog post was written and posted, Rebecca and John relaxed in their bedroom. The twins had been put down 30 minutes earlier. Rebecca looked in the doorframe of their room and saw Dillon standing in his pajamas. The boy had as serious a look on his face as a child under four years old could have.
            “Dillon, honey…what’s wrong?” Dillon said nothing but slowly walked to the bed. Rebecca’s question caused John to sit up and see what his son wanted. Both parents could tell as Dillon walked into the dimming light that their son had been crying.
            “Oh, come here,” Rebecca said as she wrapped her loving arms around her son and he melted into her embrace. Almost instantly Rebecca could feel the child’s shoulders shudder as the tears began again to fall.

 

            After a few moments where no one spoke, Dillon composed himself enough to talk. When he did, his parents were now very concerned.
            “Mom?” the feeble question escaped Dillon’s quivering lips.
            “Yes, dear?”
            “Is dad going to go away?”
            A Shock of confusion hit Rebecca with as much force as if someone had literally slapped her across her face.
            “No. What made you ask a question like that?” Rebecca asked. Dillon said nothing.
            “Dillon,” John said. “Dillon…I’m not going anywhere.” Still Dillon remained silent.
            Confusion turned to worry for Rebecca. “Come sit up here with us.” Rebecca lifted the youngster up and placed him in the space between herself and her husband, a spot both twins loved to occupy and a source of many sibling rivalries between the growing boys. A moment of joy flashed in Dillon’s face as he sat between his parents.
            “Now, Dillon. I want you to know I’m not mad at you, and neither is dad…” Rebecca said as she looked up at John who sat and towered over his son on the bed. Dillon nodded. “We just want to know why you asked that question, that’s all. Okay?” Again Dillon nodded.
            Rebecca adjusted her position on the bed to allow her to fully face her son. “Did you have a bad dream that daddy was going to go away?”
            Dillon shook his head.
            “Did someone tell you that daddy was going to go away?”


            Dillon nodded his head and a chill raced up the spines of both parents as if the room suddenly lost all heat and was replaced by a winter wind. Rebecca wasn’t sure how to proceed.
            “Dillon, who told you daddy was going to go away?” This time Dillon didn’t move. Rebecca wondered if they would ever find out what happened.
            “Okay, son,” Rebecca smiled into her son’s sad and worried eyes. “Did the person say how daddy was going to leave?” Dillon shook his head. This relieved Rebecca, but only just.
            “Was the person who told you this one of your friends at church?” The question offered Rebecca a glimpse of hope. She thought maybe one of Dillon’s classmates at church may have said something Dillon misunderstood or maybe a child said trying to hurt him. Dillon furrowed his eyebrows at his mother’s latest question and hiccuped as an after effect of his previous crying. It was obvious he was confused and didn’t know how to answer.
            “Did the person who told you this one of your classmates at church?” Dillon shook his head.
            “But it was at church, right?” Dillon nodded.
            “Was it your teacher?” Rebecca heard herself ask, her volume just above a whisper. A thousand terrible thoughts raced through her mind as she considered the gravity of what was happening to her family and a sense of panic began in her gut and rose up her throat. When Dillon slowly nodded his head, Rebecca stopped breathing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ever Heard Of An Aelurus?


 ae.lur.us - Greek for cat

 

A few weeks ago I received a post card. It was from Weber State University and it wasn't a alumni "request for money" notice. It was an invitation to attend a reception and reading of the inaugural edition of Œlurus, which is Greek for cat, in honor of Weber's mascot the wildcat.

 

The project was the brainchild of Ryan Evans, Founding Editor/Editor -in-Chief and soon to be receiving a Weber State Masters of English diploma. Ryan was the event's M.C. and he did not hide his excitement to graduate. I don't blame him--it's such a great feeling.


What Ryan and the other graduate English students and faculty advisers did was create an in-house publication of excellent writing as those of us in attendance can attest. We heard several excerpts read by the authors.


I wasn't sure what to expect tonight. I didn't think I would know too many people. It's been a few years since I graduated. I did have the opportunity to spend time with an educator I feel has been an academic mentor to me, Dr. Merlin Cheney, who is retiring after 50 years of teaching.


I was unaware that graduate students can submit works for consideration. I'm thinking next year they just might get something from me. Well done Weber State grad students! You did good!

For more information about the Œlurus Project, Click: ŒLURUS

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shake, Rattle & Roll (Without The Rattle)...


Can anyone ever be prepared for an earthquake?

Today I participated (because I was at work...) in Utah's Great Shakeout. Basically, it was a statewide exercise to see how prepared we are as a state. Now that it's over, I'm sure those in charge will have oodles and oodles of data (or what I call, job security...) to go over to see just how prepared we are.

 

The alarm at my office went off at 10:15am. They had already shut down the phones so that wasn't going to be a problem. We were instructed to get under our desks in our cubicles. I first stood under a door frame, but there was glass above the door so I couldn't stay there.

After a few minutes, we climbed out from under our desks and headed outside. We gathered at predetermined spots and made cellphone calls--two calls to see if we could overload the cellphone system. Everyone I saw was happily talking into their phones. Maybe if they had each of us only call people with cellphones, it may have been more effective.


We went back inside, fired up the computers and resumed taking calls. Was it successful? I don't know, but I hope if and/or when the big one hits and I'm at work, I will have the presence of mind to take out my camera and snap a few pictures...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Stay Home Sick Or Go To Work...(Sick)?


If a worker is sick or under the weather, there's a point that they all must ask themselves a question. And that question is; do I stay home from work sick or do I go to work? For me the time for that question to be asked is drawing closer.


I got hit with something on Saturday. Saturday morning I felt okay, but I knew this wouldn't last long because something was affecting others in the family so I knew I was going to be out of commission for a few days. I was right. Yesterday (Sunday) I didn't leave the house--not once. Today I stepped outside about an hour ago and took my camera with me. The picture of my shoes show my first steps outside the house in over 48 hours. I also took a picture of some flowers. Flowers and blooming plants are always fun to photograph. There's so much beauty in their simplicity.  


So, last night, about this same time, I had to ask myself if I was going to go to work today or not. The last thing I want to do is go to work and get someone else sick (no matter what I think about my co-workers...really, I work with wonderful people). I stayed home today, but whether or not I stay home tomorrow is still up in the air. I think the decision will rest on how well the night goes for me. Either way, I'll be writing another blog tomorrow night--probably right after that point comes when I would decide about going to work the next day...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Last Night's Sunset...


LAST NIGHT'S SUNSET

When a good sunset comes around, I go out to the back porch and snap away. I always take too many pictures and I download them all onto my computer. No wonder I never have any hard drive space left. 


 Of all the subjects I've written about on my blog, sunsets are by far the most--I think my kids take a back seat to sunset photographs and commentary. It's easy to write about sunsets. Each one is like a snowflake, they're never the same. I know I've included this before, but one of the biggest reasons I like living where I do (living where I grew up...) is the views we get in the western sky as the sun descends over a lake and behind an island. 

I took 12 pictures of last night's sunset. Tonight's showed promise, but didn't quite develop like it's sibling did the night before. Just like blog posts, some are better than others... ;)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Gift From Solvang...


Years ago several 19-year old boys, and an elderly couple boarded a plane bound for Europe. The first stop was Seattle. We then flew to Stockholm, then Malmø, then finally København (Copenhagen). The trip took longer than planned due to a worker's strike in Denmark's capital (darn socialist workers...) but it was an adventure. I was part of that traveling party.


When those eager and nervous people first stepped foot on Danish soil, the one thing everyone wanted to do was eat some of that famous Danish pastry (I Capitalize Danish because to me the word is not synonymous with pastry). I can't remember when we first tasted the world-famous treats, but I remember I loved it and enjoyed eating often. I believe most people remember the food they ate when they visit foreign countries. I can't think of a better memory than Danish pastry.


Fast forward almost 27 years. A fellow passenger on that plane (or planes...) came to my door baring a gift. This particular person is one of the best people I know and his act of stopping at a bakery in Solvang, California (pretty much the closest thing Americans can get to real Danish pastry...) is consistent with the kind of person he is. He's been such a help to our family over the years and his latest act is, for him, just a normal thing. How great is that? Thanks Jeff--it means a lot!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Grandpa, Grandson, And The Danish Language...


What's Danish For Grandfather?

The kids--almost all of them--visited grandma and grandpa today and my youngest joined his grandfather at his desk in his office. I snapped a couple of pictures.

My parents were older when they had me and my siblings, and I was older (by Utah standards...) when my first son was born. Subsequently, I only knew one of my grandparents, my mother's father (or morfar in Danish...), and I only knew him for 10 years. I do have fond memories of the man, a unassuming, quiet dairy farmer who lived in one of the prettiest (and coldest...) places on earth, Teton Valley, Idaho.


I never met my father's parents. In fact, my mom never met them. They had both died before she met my father. It's hard for me to imagine that my grandfather, my father's father (or farfar in Danish...) was born in the 1880's. He was gone long before I arrived.

My children knew my mother (my kid's farmor in Danish...), but my youngest was only three when she passed away and none of my kids ever met my father. Too bad. I'm sure we'd all like to know him better. My kids do have a grandfather and grandmother left and I'm so grateful that they have them in their lives. And today I was grateful a grandson got to spend some time with his grandfather (or his morfar in Danish...).