Saturday, June 30, 2012

An Old Fashoined Summer Car Wash...


Back in the day, we used to wash our cars ourselves. We'd pull the car up on the lawn or the driveway, get a bucket of water and some old towels (some car wax if we were extra motivated...), some Windex and the ol' Armor All and go to town. Before I turned 16 I don't think I washed a lot of cars, but once I got my own car--that incredibly cool lime green 1965 VW Beetle. I remember washing that car, or my mom's when I had a date and that's the way we washed the cars.


Of course, now days we're not supposed to wash cars that way. There's the wasting of the water, the chemicals are bad for the lawns and I'm sure other reasons yet unestablished. But this morning, before it got too hot, I lured the kids outside to help me (mostly they like helping wash the car because they end up getting soaked...) and we washed my little car.


The kids ended up having a water fight later in the afternoon when the temperatures were at their highest. Watching my kids wash a car brought back memories. I really don't think my '65 bug looked that much better after it was washed, but boy...that Armor All produced amazing results.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Rico Pollo Restaurant...Good Stuff!


Rico Rollo Restaurant

"Oh, there's a lot of good places to eat--some you've probably never heard of," Kent said as he and I talked at girls' camp a week ago tonight. The dutch oven cobber he was making took a little longer to set. "There's a place in Bountiful--where that little Mexican restaurant that went under was. You know, by the Office Max. It's a Peruvian place and they have good chicken."


"So, where do you want to go eat," I asked my wife tonight as we went out for date night. "I don't know," she said as we pushed the car from our small town to the larger hamlet to the south. "Hey, Kent said he ate at a Peruvian restaurant that took over the great little Mexican place that was by the Office Max in Bountiful. He said they had really good chicken." 

 

"Sure," she said as my little Japanese import with the Pontiac nameplate on it remained a steady 71 m.p.h. on I-15 heading south. "Let's try it out."

 

We pulled up and entered, doubling the people in the front of the restaurant. The waiter/owner approached and through his limited English helped us choose dinner. The result? Rico Pollo. The chicken was tender, moist, and delicious. The salad and fries complimented the chicken excellently. All in all, a wonderful meal. As my wife and I left the restaurant she said, "We'll be back."


Thursday, June 28, 2012

China Daze...The Full (Short) Story.


Last month I began a little story about China and student loans (of all things...). I decided to include the full story today. It's kind of an odd thought, being forced to work off your student loans in a Chinese factory. But the way things are going these days, it wouldn't be the strangest thing that's happened... So, in honor of current events, I present:

CHINA DAZE (COMPLETE)
By Scott Taylor

            “I’ll never get used to that smell,” Max said to himself as he made his way from the darkened bedroom to the small bathroom he and his wife shared with another American couple employed by the Chin Do Corporation. Max and his wife had only been in China for three weeks but already the stench of the city they shared with 10 million other humans was proving the toughest thing for the 28-year old former computer programmer from Boise, Idaho. And considering his situation, that’s saying a lot.
            As Max entered the bathroom he hit his head on the low doorframe. A dull thud echoed in the musty air. Max swore through gritted teeth being careful not to wake his sleeping wife. Lisa Thompson, Max’s wife, worked the swing shift at Chin Do and Max was assigned graves. The couple had hoped they would at least get to work together on the same shift when their contracts were called up three months ago. They knew working together would be a pipe dream, but they still hoped, that is, until they arrived in China and were given their assignments, the work schedules they were guaranteed to work for the next six months with no chance of any change.
            Max entered the bathroom and turned on the small, yellow incandescent bulb that hung under the stained and faded ceiling tiles while he rubbed the rapidly rising bump forming on his forehead. He quickly looked in the mirror to see the extent of the damage caused by the low frame. With any luck his hair would cover up any bruises. One of Max’s co-workers showed up the week before with a black eye and the company cut his pay almost in half. Any signs of violence—no matter the reason—were highly discouraged by management. And though they almost never fired an employee, the company could make working for the Chin Do Corporation so bad, an employee would welcome immediate dismissal. Luckily Max’s thick black hair hid well the mark on his head.
            The lukewarm shower failed to lift Max’s spirits as he looked into the mirror and wondered how on earth he ended up in China. Life back in Boise seemed like decades ago, but really it was only months. He and Lisa were living the American dream since they got married three years earlier. Neither of them followed the news and if someone told them that America’s dependence on foreign investment was undermining the foundation of the country’s economy, they wouldn’t have cared. What did it have to do with them? They each had college degrees and good jobs (and student loans in the hundreds of thousands…). So what if China was owed literally trillions of American dollars? Max stared at his tired face, his blue eyes piercing his soul and wondered if he had to do it all over again, would he have done anything different? Probably not, Max admitted to himself, and this knowledge hurt worst than the throbbing pain in his head caused by the low doorframe in the dank bathroom on the 15th floor apartment he and his wife shared with two other helpless debtors and 10 million other people all trapped in the city of Chongqing, China.
            Dressed, Max opened the door to the apartment and ventured into the ill-lighted hallway. A small window near the elevators gave Max a view to the outside world. The lights of the city were dimmed by a blanket of pollution that hovered over the city like a specter, choking (literally) the city’s inhabitants. The corrupted air attacked Max’s healthy lungs from the day he exited the airplane that brought him and his wife to the world’s most populist country. He knew the pollution was killing him, but what could he do, wear one of the ridiculous-looking surgical masks like many of the locals? No, he wouldn’t do that—at least, not yet. The elevator door dinged and Max entered the aging and rickety space. The door slowly closed behind him.
            As the elevator car descended Max reflected on his situation, something he tried not to do. His surroundings demand he do otherwise. Student loans, all this over those stupid student loans. It was only a month after Max was laid off after the company where he worked was sold (ironically to a different Chinese corporation) that Max received the notice that his student loan was called in—all thanks to a new law which gave the U.S. government (the holder of the loan) the right to call due all loans at their discretion, which meant whenever they wanted. Lisa had not yet found full-time employment after graduation and even though Max’s income was good, paying back Lisa’s loans payments were taking their toll. Once Max lost his job, it was evident the couple had no way to pay on any of their loans. They were given the choice—either pay the loan immediately or enter the country’s newly instigated student loan recovery program. Since neither family could raise enough cash to cover the debts, the Thompson’s had no choice. A cousin of one of Lisa’s friends worked for the federal government and when they received the notice, they contacted him in D.C. On the record they were told that couples in their situation were picked at random and the Thompsons were just unlucky. Off the record, the friend’s cousin told them that they were chosen due to their age and their medical records—information also held by the government. The Thompsons were health nuts who regarded exercise and physical fitness as a religion. They were told the Chinese government had increase their demand for young healthy married couples and when they asked him why, they were told that since China’s one child policy had been in place for almost two generations, China was in desperate need for workers to replace the aging Chinese citizens too old to continue working—the younger and healthier the better. Being married was a bonus. They were also told that they had no legal recourse for the government’s decision and if they refused to either pay the loan or work in China, they would be reprimanded to the Chinese authorities to begin a prison sentence not in America, but in China. No one ever chose prison…no one.
            The elevator car stopped its descent and the doors opened to the building’s main floor. It was time for Max to leave the tall beige apartment building he now called home and wait for the bus to transport him to Building J at Chin Do Corporation’s main campus. The cool October air hit Max in the face and he doubted his decision to leave his heavy jacket back in the apartment. He knew the winter would bring temperatures as cold as his hometown of Boise but he wanted to wait a little longer until he broke out his winter clothes. Plus, he was told American clothing fetched big ¥ on the black market and he was worried his ski jacket would be stolen. If so, he’d be issued a Chinese coat. He had seen several Chinese coats and he questioned their effectiveness to keep out any cold weather. The thought made him shudder as he patiently waited for the bus to arrive. On this particular night he stood alone. Usually a few unfortunate souls, co-workers at the Chin Do Corporation, joined him on his personal trail of tears, but not tonight. If they were calling in sick, they had better have a physician’s note or they would not be allowed back until they got one from the Chinese physician who also worked for Chin Do. If any American thought their own healthcare was bad, they had no idea what bad was.
            Cars, motorcycles and even bicycles passed the solitary American as he waited for the bus. The smells of mechanical and human propulsion filled Max’s nostrils. Many drivers and riders looked at the once proud American and smiled to see how far he had fallen. Max looked at no one. Only five years, Max thought hoping the words would add comfort to his tormented mind. He unconsciously lifted his hand to his head and rubbed the spot where his head hit the doorframe. Good, he thought. The swelling had receded. Only five more years…

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Caffeine Cure...A Story


Wednesday Writing Blog Hop!

The picture to this week's Wednesday Short Story Blog Hop was a doozie! Creepy, but a doozie. Once again it's Wednesday and I'm writing a little story. Here's the link to Nicole Pyles' Site: HERE .

500 word minimum, a week to complete the story, must post to Nicole's website, must use the picture (above) and must use five randomly chosen words. The five words for this week's picture are:

Zip
Hymn
Computer
False Teeth
 Peacock

Caffeine Cure...

    The drone from Larry’s bald tires on the lonely road created an automotive hypnotic hymn as the tired entertainer drove to his next gig 100 miles away. His last show in Studderville, a town so small it lacked even its own zip code, proved less than stellar. Something in his act was broken and had been for a while. He’d fix it if he knew what was wrong, but he didn’t know what was wrong, and that was the worst part.
    His aging Chevy continued through the darkened back roads under a waning moon. Larry’s head began to dip…once, then twice as fatigue seeped into the car from the warm summer night.
    “Hey! Idiot! Keep your eyes on the road!” Larry’s head snapped to attention as a rush of adrenalin coursed through his veins. “What the…?” Larry said to himself as he turned to look at the interior of the car to find the source of the phantom voice. His gaze confirmed what he already knew. He was alone, except for Jack and Jill, the two mannequins he used for his ventriloquist act. Their expressionless faces continued staring straight ahead, their painted black eyes and whitened false teeth remained fixed, immobile, dead as the light from the car’s dashboard illuminated their features in a ghostly macabre hue.
    “What was that?” Larry asked himself. “Must be the fact I haven’t slept in 2 days—no wonder I’m hearing things…I need caffeine.” Larry scanned the winding road and saw nothing but aging tarmac. “Maybe I can make it to Peacock Falls before…”
    “You’ll never make it! You’re going to kill us all!”
    Larry slammed on the breaks causing two tons of steal, rubber, and plastic to screech to a halt. A half-eaten hamburger, his cell phone, and Larry’s laptop computer flew from the passenger front seat
and landed in a heap on the floor. With a jolt the car came to rest diagonally in the empty road. Larry’s knuckles turned white as he gripped the car’s steering wheel. Crickets lazily chirped outside the car while inside a petrified man heard neither the crickets nor the purring of the car’s engine as the deafening sound of his own rapid heartbeat pounded in his ears. That voice, it was different. It came
from someone—something—else…it was a girl’s voice. Not daring to turn around Larry glanced into the rearview mirror. Jack and Jill were gone.
    The trembling began in Larry’s shoulders and continued down his arms until they reached his hands causing his still clutching fingers to finally release the steering wheel. His left hand still shook
as he clumsily grasped the door handle and opened the driver’s side door. Larry began to walk, then run down the street, screaming at the top of his lungs as he frantically ran away, leaving the diminished moonlight to filter through the car’s rear window and fall upon two wooden dummies that had slumped onto the backseat floor of the car.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I'm A You Tube Sensation! (Kind Of...)


Almost 4 years ago my boss at the time (who has since ascended to the upper echelons of state government...) talked me and another co-worker into participating in his employee motivational skit. We performed the skit, and it was uploaded to YouTube. I remember telling people about it, and then I forgot all about it.

Today at work someone I worked with back then sent me an instant message and he also sent along the link to the video. I could not believe that the little video had been viewed over 20,000 times. Now I know in the world of viral videos, 20K is nothing, but the number was impressive to me.

If you want to watch it, just click: HERE. It is corny and silly and I still wear that shirt to work occasionally. It's one of my favorites. I can't believe it's been four years since we did that. How time flies...

Monday, June 25, 2012

How Did Orrin Hatch Get On My Blog?



How Did Orrin Hatch Get On My Blog?

Tomorrow there is a primary election in our state and we have been inundated by phone calls and junk mail and other forms of communication for the past several weeks. We have Caller I.D. and so most of the time we have not been answering the phone calls. I might actually answer if I knew the politician were on the other end and not a recording of the politician calling to get my vote.

I pulled up my blog today and who did I see staring back at me? Orrin Hatch. Now, someone paid to have a picture of Orrin on my blog. Apparently it was the Hatch Election Committee Inc. that paid to have his picture on my blog. In addition to the question that is the title of this blog post, I have another question.

Why don't I get paid to have Orrin's picture on my blog?

After tomorrow the primary election will be over and the general election will come in just a few short months. I wonder if we're going to get mail, phone calls, e-mails and other politically motivated interruptions in our lives between June 27th and November 5th. Time will tell...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Where Are The Marshmallows?


Missing Marshmallows...

Around lunchtime I was meandering in the kitchen when I came across a half-eaten bowl of cereal one of our kids left over for breakfast. Upon closer inspection I noticed something was missing...the marshmallows.

I wonder if that's what the younger generation is trying to tell us...that they just want the marshmallows. They crave the sugary goodness and avoid the whole grain realities of life. Of course, aren't we all like that?

"For dinner, you're going to eat that cereal along with the rest of your dinner," we told the offender when we sat down for Sunday dinner. "You can't just eat the marshmallows. You've got to eat all of it or we won't be buying it anymore."

"Okay," he said. "So, is making him eat the cereal with dinner his punishment?" a sibling asked. "No," I said. "It's nutrition."

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Girls' Camp...

*

Girls' Camp, 2012 Edition

My daughter spend the last few days at girls' camp--her first one. When they asked for volunteers to help out, I pretty much needed to sign my name on the piece of paper. I went up to the camp yesterday afternoon and returned this morning. The girls had been there since Wednesday. I had a fun time. It was beautiful in the hills above Kamas. The leaders did a wonderful job.

My daughter, one of the "First Years," had a blast! And if they made a movie of their experience, the trailer might look something like this:

video

I love these pictures of the way girls' camps used to be. If you have a moment, check out the website: HERE. The pictures are great! Maybe in a hundred years someone may find out pictures and think the same things..

*

*Photos used without permission from: http://www.keepapitchinin.org/2009/03/22/beehive-girls-just-wanna-have-fun-1916/

Friday, June 22, 2012

20K, And Counting...


20K

Wednesday night, probably around 10 p.m., someone clicked on a link to my blog and the ticker clicked over to the 20,000th visit. I snapped a screen shot to "preserve the moment in pictures" (quote from H.I. McDunnough...).

I remember getting the 5,000th visit and I thought that was pretty cool. Things have picked up since I began participating in the Wednesday Writing prompts. I find when I write a blog about the family, or a blog like this one, I get maybe a dozen visits. And that's okay by me, because I usually know who those people are--they're mostly family.

I hope, if you're reading this, that if you have clicked on this site once, or several times, that it has been worth your while. If not, I'm sorry. If so, then I guess I've done my job. It took me just under 17 months to hit 20K. I wonder how long it will take me to get to 40K...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I'm A Podcaster!


A Page Or Two Podcast Is Here!

I am please to announce the creation of a new podcast. It's called the "A Page Or Two Podcast" and the first edition is ready for your listening enjoyment. Here's the link to my blog: The Bald Chronicler. And my first guest is none other than the talented Chas Hathaway! Just go to the website and click on the link. The podcast takes about 20 minutes. My goal is to record a new author each week (or every other week...). The setup is simple. I ask the author a few questions, then they read a page or two of their works.

Where did I get the idea for the website? Everyone says that if you want to be a good writer, or a better writer, you need to read and read a lot. I have a difficult time reading--not that I don't love to read, but I rarely find myself sitting with nothing to do. I'm either at work and I can't read there, and when I'm home there are things to do that keep me from reading. Then there's the writing. When can I read if I'm supposed to write?


My solution? I listen to audiobooks. It began when I was getting my masters that I began listening to audiobooks. Being an English major means much of my homework required I read the classics and the classics are downloadable. 

My goal with this project is to help give some of those great authors out there some exposure and to get to know them a little better as well. If any of you authors out there would like to participate in my project, please let me know. Hopefully this will be something that can keep going.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Clothesline Stories...


Two Stories (Again...)

It's Wednesday! And that means time for Nicole Pyle's Wednesday Weekly Writing Prompt. Her site is found: HERE.

Again, the rules: 500 word maximum, incorporate the above picture in the story, use the five words found below in the story, must be done in a week, and must be linked to Nicole's website. This week, like I did a few weeks ago, I wrote two stories. Hope you like them!

This Week's Five Required Words:

Task 
Digging 
Flea 
Price 
Legend

A Child's Path

     Mark Tomlinson hoisted his 3-year old son onto his shoulders as he stepped outside the home of his grandmother. The child screamed in delight as his dad ran around the backyard, his firm hands holding the youngster’s feet secure as the boy spread his arms and like wings, cut the pollinated air.
     “Run faster, dad! Faster!” The father obeyed as the sun and a warm summer breeze kissed the child’s perfect skin. “Yeeeaahhh!” The words oozing pure joy filled the yard and sang to the father’s heart. Eventually age and the price Mark paid for lack of exercise forced him to stop. He gently lowered his son to the earth then lowered himself onto the deep green grass. Not wanting to stop, the child continued running around the yard choosing the poles of a clothesline to become axis for
his elliptical footpath. Mark watched his son race around the poles. He then rolled onto his back to stare into the brilliantly blue Idaho sky. Mark smiled—he had ran around the same poles in the same yard when he was his son’s age.
     As Mark gazed into the infinite blue a flood of memories poured over him. He remembered the trips his family took in his youth. He remembered the stories—many reaching legend-status—of his mother and her two brothers as they grew up in this rural area. He remembered them speaking of the fun, but also the task it was growing up poor on a small family dairy farm. He remembered his grandfather, now gone, and how the quiet, humble man took him to the small town’s flea market each Saturday they visited. Oh, the treasures they found together…
     Mark’s attention turned to his son who continued racing around the poles, a path of smashed grass a result of his son’s bare feet digging into the lush lawn with each pass. A single sheet on the clothesline fluttered in the wind, its fabric tentacles lovingly reached for the scampering boy as he ran passed. The man looked at his progeny and hoped with everything in him that his son would one day feel the way he now felt.

 Escape

     The woman looked to the east where a court of mountaintops rose above the valley floor like royal sentinels towering over their subjects. Would today be the day? the woman thought to herself as she
unconsciously attached a white sheet to the clothesline. The morning was unseasonably warm and in an effort to avoid thinking of her husband away in Europe, she turned to yet another never-ending daily task required of all women raising children while their spouses were away at war. No, she
thought. It won’t be today. If Frank were killed or injured, the news wouldn’t come today.
     The basket of wet laundry beckoned and the woman responded. Digging into the pocket on her apron she withdrew several clothespins and attached an embroidered pillowcase to the thin metal line, a pillowcase she received from her mother on her wedding day. The colors on the pillowcase had faded since that day seven years earlier when Frank drove her to the county courthouse and married her, a woman barely 17-years old. The lonely woman remembered the day as if it had just happened, she in her worn but best dress, Frank in his tattered suit. They wore the best clothes they could afford during the early days of the depression.
     The woman’s memories were interrupted by the cat racing around the corner of the house in search of a flea-ridden mouse. She hoped the usually reliable cat would earn its keep, kill the vermin and thus justify the price of the feline when the family bartered a bushel of radishes for the cat last year. He was such a good cat.
     The sun rose higher in the spring sky and a gentle wind wisped through the yard. With all the wet garments hanging on the line the woman bent and retrieved the now empty basket. As she did, the thought of Frank permeated her reluctant mind. She fought the unwanted feelings, but lost allowing his spirit back into her thoughts. Would he die today? Tomorrow? Would his life become legend with tales of a heroic death, or even due to some mindless accident? No, she thought. Even if it happens
today, the news won’t come today. The woman entered the home built by her loving husband in search for an activity—any activity—that would require she think of something other than her absent husband.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

So, Do YOU Know What Cubicle Courtesy Is?


Everyday we get e-mails at work, and sometimes those e-mails come from management. The other day, I received an interesting little e-mail and the subject of the e-mail was something I rarely--if ever--think about, Cubicle Courtesy. I really didn't know there was such a thing as "cubicle courtesy." I just assumed we were supposed to show "regular courtesy" at work.

So what is cubicle courtesy, anyway? The e-mail identified 11 guidelines us cubicle dwellers should follow while we're cubicle dwelling. And they were:

Be a courteous guest
Use a quiet voice
Curb casual conversation
Stay home with the sniffles
Have good scents
Hit the right tune
Avoid phone faux pas
Customer confidentiality is required
Children in cubes (guidelines...)
Employee confidentiality

That's 10. The 11th is that we all need reminders sometimes. I can understand why someone felt the need to go to the trouble of typing up the paper and sending it out. I guess someone is having issues with their cubicle neighbors. Maybe it's me...

Dealing with others, whether at work or elsewhere, can be difficult. We all understand that. I suppose some workers needed the message.

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Father's Day Card...


Though yesterday had been warmer than it needed to be, it was still a wonderful Father's Day. The kids were in their rooms and the Mrs. and I were kicking back getting ready to say goodbye to the weekend and hello to another week of responsibilities.

My son came in and he had a card, a Father's Day, card he made himself. I know Hallmark spends millions (probably...) on R & D to come up with new cards. They hire poets and maybe comedians to create snappy or heart-felt, or sincere saying to put into their cards. 

But the best card I could have received for Father's Day didn't come from a store. It came from my 13-year old son who created his card in his room as the day quietly bid all the fathers, mothers, and their children goodnight. I sure love that kid! It was a perfect way to end a pretty good day.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wearing Sandals To Church...


Maybe where you live, a man wearing sandals to church is no big deal. I'm sure for some places wearing sandals is the norm (probably places many would like to live...). I live in a place that's quite conservative--some might call boring--and when the men go to church, the men wear bonafide, Hush Puppy-esque church shoes.

The reason I wore the sandals today was a direct result of my actions during the previous 48 hours. In short, Ragnar did a number on my feet. I earned a couple of blisters--not major ones--but ones large enough to let me know they were there. The worst pain I have can be found under my toenails. I think my running shoes don't give my toes enough room. Today when I put on shoes, the toenails hurt. They even hurt (but not as much...) when I put on socks. I'm thinking I may need to continue the sandal wearing when I go to work tomorrow. We'll see how they feel then.

At church today no one said anything to me about my sandal-clad feet. Maybe no one really cares.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Confessions Of A Ragnar Virgin...


There's a lot I didn't now about Ragnar. Sure, I'd seen the stickers, that freaky mirrored "R" that looks a little like a flying wasp, or a medieval weapon. My interest was first piqued several years ago when I saw a van completely decked out in Ragnar orange and sporting that logo.


In time I came to find out Ragnar is a running race, or a running event that's held each year (hence, the Ragnar 2006, Ragnar 2007 stickers...). Growing up, I ran races. I ran track and cross country in high school. I pretty much understood the concept of a running race. Of course, for those of you who have experienced Ragnar, I had no idea what it was. Ragnar was like nothing I have ever experienced.

 

Our start time was early, 5:45 a.m. The runners gathered under a huge inflated orange arch and we began. The vans--I didn't realize how important the team vans were. They are the covered wagons for the modern day runners crossing the plains (and mountains...). They are the horses for the Pony Express or the Apple Computers for Pixar. The van is like the 7th member of the team (and they are equally beat up by the end of the race...). Simply put, the event would not exist without the vans. I didn't realize they were so important.

 

 

Another misconception I had was the type of participant would be attending the event. I knew going in what type of shape I was in, and I was surprised to find that not everyone was the ultra-marathoner, runs about as much time as they sleep, goes through a pair of running shoes in a few months, runner. Don't get me wrong...I saw a lot of those runners there, but I wasn't alone in being not like that. It was nice to see the event could include almost everyone.



Like I stated earlier, I thought I knew a little about the race, but now, after having experienced it, I can understand how this little event that began with 22 teams 9 years ago has grown into a nationwide (and hopefully, worldwide...) sensation. After sleeping about 4 hours in the last 32, after running approximately 13 miles in that time, eating only 2 "official" meals, and spending every minute with the five other individuals in our van, I have a whole new appreciation for, not only Ragnar, but the incredible scenery that is found literally in our own back yard. Thank you Ragnar (and Bob...) for an incredible weekend, I weekend I hope I never forget.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Time To Race...


In order to keep a daily blog, I'm writing this the night before. I'll keep this as a draft, then after I wake up at the time listed on my alarm clock above, I'll post it. We're supposed to be done Saturday afternoon so that will give me time to write a blog post for Saturday.

What lies in store for me? I'm not sure, but I guess it's just all part of the adventure. Let the adventure begin!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Preparing For Ragnar....


Tonight we gathered at Bob's house. Of the 12 people in our group supposedly running tomorrow's race, we were seven. One van we know will have six runners, the other one...we're not sure yet. After we had some great food, we sat around the table and went over some of the details that both teams needed to know to make the Ragnar Wasatch Back Race more successful. There were two of us who had never run the race before. I don't know about the other one, but a lot of what they were saying sounded Greek to me.

Our start time is 5:45 a.m. which means we're going to be meeting at Bob's house tomorrow morning at 3:45 a.m. which means, I'll be waking up a little after 3 a.m. Some of the more experienced runners wondered how we ever got such an early time. Just lucky, I guess...

Tomorrow morning, while most people will be sleeping (that's an inaccurate statement...there are billions of Chinese and Indian citizens who will be awake...), I'll be in a Suburban with five other runners making our way toward the race. I have no idea how it's going to be. The other runners seemed relaxed and excited. I was nervous. Tomorrow, hopefully, I'll be too tired to be nervous. I guess there's nothing to do now but pack and get ready for tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Messages, A Little Story...

My Favorite Castle

Wednesday Weekly Writing Prompt!

It's Wednesday and so I'm writing another little tidbit of a story. Here's the link to Nicole Pyle's site: HERE.

This week's story must include the following words: 
Jet
Chuckle
Hour
Grandmother
Missed

Again, less than 500 words, the finished story must be linked to Nicole's site and there's a week to complete it. If you're thinking about giving it a try, do it! It's really fun.

Messages

    The moment Tom opened the door to his cramped apartment he knew she was gone. The realization of his loneliness descended upon him like a bomb. This time, he thought. She would not be coming back.
    The door closed, the familiar squeak of the aging hinges mixed with the sounds of humanity under stress came from the city street seven floors below. Tom looked around expecting to see her, but knowing the futility of his gaze would yield nothing. The apartment looked pretty much the same, Sarah never had a lot of physical possessions—only memories of her remained in the humid air.
     It was late. Tom had waited, even volunteered to close the coffee shop. He purposely missed the last bus and took a taxi, all in an effort to come home an hour later than normal. He did this because he was afraid to face the very reality that now engulfed the solitary man.
    Tom walked into the kitchen and spotted the answering machine that sat on the counter. One message, as proclaimed by a red blinking number "1" on the small device. Tom hoped it was Sarah that had called, but the pain of hearing her voice would prove worse than if he didn’t. Tom ran his fingers through his jet-black hair and dropped his keys on the counter as he listened to the voice-mail message. He let out a chuckle as the voice from the small white box came not from Sarah, the woman he once loved, but from his grandmother. He’d call her later.
    The easy chair in the apartment’s only room called to him and Tom answered its siren song. The faux leather offered as much comfort as any inanimate object could and Tom expelled spent air from his lungs as he welcomed and thanked the object for assuming the weight of, not only his body, but his soul.
    Tom wasn’t sure how long he slept. An ambulance at least 70 feet below woke him and he saw the pale light of morning filter through the window. He rose and saw something on the coffee table. On the table rested a postcard. Had it been there when he came in last night? Tom’s hazy mind didn’t know. He picked up the postcard and his eyes focused on the picture of a bright orange building. He knew all about that building and where it was. Sarah’s family used to vacation there when she was a child. He turned the card over. It was blank.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Clamshell Mac...Still Cool!


A couple of years ago one of the neighbor kids said he had an old Mac laptop for sale and he wondered if we were interested in buying it. "How much?" we asked. "$35." He brought it over and we bought it. It was a Clamshell Mac.


If you're wondering how old this particular computer is, rent Legally Blond. In the show the main character, Elle, buys a colorful computer--something matching her personality--to spice up the dull world of Harvard Law. I have a suspicion that there were probably a couple these Macs at Harvard Law back in the day. 


The computer has problems. The battery is all but shot so if you unplug the computer while it's operating, it shuts down and everything you were working on disappears. If you properly shut down the computer, it's good. I don't even dare guess the memory, ram and other specifications of this thing.


The Clamshell is lovingly claimed by our youngest. He's writing his own story on it. It's called, The Legend Of The Lost Gun. We finished reading Chapter 7 tonight. There's a lot of fighting, repetitive monsters, and magical teleportation. It's quite a tale. I don't know if we'll ever get rid of the Clamshell. It's like an old pet, and it's still pretty cool.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Day In The Life...




I don't know if I've ever written a post like this one. I do this all the time when I write in my daily journal, but not for the blog. However, it was such a crazy day, I think I'll make an exception.


Last night I had one of those nights when I kept waking up. No big deal, the alarm clock ran and I was up...showered, changed for work and out the door. I worked only half a day. I took the rest of the day off to get a physical. If I'm running Ragnar in just a few days, I'd like a professional opinion for a little back-up. I came home, changed, then went to the doctor's office.


After the appointment I came home and changed. I had to meet a friend at the Farmington City Municipal Pool. After that, I ran a 5K--wasn't my quickest, but it wasn't as slow as I thought it would be. I ran under a cool tree tunnel (almost as good as Salzburg's...).


I came home, showered and changed because at 6pm I needed to be in Kaysville for an audition. I sang MLK, the King's Singer's version. For a tenor it leaves the singer exposed. We'll see what happens.


At 7pm my wife and I needed to be at my daughter's gymnastic "End-Of-The-Season" dinner so after the audition I came home, changed, then we headed off to Bountiful. It was a fun night, and my daughter even received a "Most Improved" award (proud parent saying, yeah!).

 

On the way home, we saw a ring of fire. The hills above Centerville was ablaze. Tis the season, I guess. We came home, I changed and got ready for bed. So, let's see...six changes of clothes, two showers, a physical, a 5K, an audition, and a hillside fire for excitement. Just a typical day (sometimes...).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Danes! The Little Team That Could...

*

I am an unapologetic soccer fan. I'll even watch college games (when there are no other games on...). My home state has it's own championship team, RéAL SALT LAKE and I watch them whenever I can. But nothing, and I mean, nothing compares to watching the national teams play. It's like no other sporting event on earth. Think of it as a cross between the Olympics and the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament--but without all that pesky scoring.

Yesterday morning (our time...) I watched one of my favorite national teams, the Danish National team, play. Their opponent, the Dutch National Team. The tournament? Eurocup, 2012. In their group (a group dubbed, "The Group of Death"), the Danes are considered the weakest team. How tough is this group? The Danes are currently ranked 9th in the world. Which means, as the underdog, they have three teams ranked higher than them in their group.

In the game against the Dutch, the Danes did me proud. They scored in the 24th minute and prevented the Dutch--the World Cup runners up--from scoring. Many who watched the game commented on how many chances the Dutch blew (and they blew many...), and how lucky the Danes were in their first round win. But I don't care. It was a fantastic game. Let's see how the do against the Portuguese!

*Photo used without permission from: http://www.sporten.dk/fodbold/udenlandske-medier-hylder-dansk-chok-sejr

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Last 100 Yards...


I turned around and saw the road, the road I had just sprinted across to end my workout. Each year the small town where I live celebrates its existence by holding a celebration. Back in the day, we called the week-long event Farmington Fiesta Days. Due to the threat of being offensive, the name of the event was changed to, and remains to this day, Farmington Festival Days. Each year for Festival Days, the city holds a race. Back in the 1990's when I last ran the 5K, the race ended right where this picture was taken, at the end of this road.

Tonight I ran the 5K course twice. The first time, I ran/jogged the course. The second time, I jogged/walked the course. Each time I sprinted the last 100 yards as I turned the corner just before the elementary school, the school I used to attend. I sprinted passed my car, then passed the red car and stopped, exhausted both times.

It was a perfect night for a run. The wind kissed my back and the sun danced behind the clouds as I pushed my out-of-shape body up and down the sleepy roads of my hometown. The memories of my childhood returned to me as I jogged passed the city cemetery where a headstone with the names of my parents etched into the granite resides among hundreds of others. I ran passed the city park and saw little league baseball games where players and their parents dream of future glory, and I remember the days I wore a baseball uniform and tried to help my team win. Finally I reached the road where the race ends. I sprinted the last 100 yards then stopped to allow my body to recover from the workout. I looked back on the road, a road I've run many times before, and I snapped a picture before I got into my car and drove home.

Friday, June 8, 2012

How Great Is A Petting Zoo?


This morning I spotted a Facebook post from a friend, April Kimball letting everyone know that today was a free day where she works. She works at "This Is The Place Monument" in the hills above Salt Lake City. Free--we like free.


We loaded up the kids and spend an almost perfect spring day at the park. For my youngest, the best part of the trip was the petting zoo.


My son was in awe of all the animals. As we went from animal to animal one word escaped my son's mouth over and over again...the word adorable. Every animal at the petting zoo was adorable.


We left the zoo and meandered the amazing streets of the park for about an hour, but for my 7-year old, the best place was the petting zoo, a place where there were adorable ducks, adorable sheep, adorable goats, adorable cows, and especially, the adorable pig.