Sunday, September 30, 2012

Just An Average (End Of The Month...) Evening In The Neighborhood

In my neighborhood the final day of the month is sometimes more than just the last day of the month. Tonight me and another neighbor visited yet another family. 

We do this, in our little neighborhood, as do the people in the neighborhood to the north, south and west of us. In fact, people all over my state head out and try to visit their neighbors, just to see how they're doing and, sometimes, deliver a little message--at least, we're supposed to...

The gnats and mosquitoes were out in force as we made our way to their front porch and enjoyed the cool autumn evening. To combat the bugs, tiki torches were lit and appreciated. We saw a set of twins, a school under construction, and an unapproachable cat.

We sat and chatted while the kids scooted and biked on the driveway. It was such a nice time...I wonder why we wait until the last day of the month to go. Then again, that is sometimes a difficult question to answer.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Post Conference Gatherings...

"Sure," I said to my wife. I'll just drop by Café Zupas and pick up some dinner. She wasn't feeling all that well so both of us delayed eating dinner until just before 8pm. I thought, the dinner rush will be over--I'll just pop in and out, no time at all.


You see, I failed to remember that tonight is a conference night and people attending said conference like to congregate after the religious meeting is over. And since tonight's conference was for women only and many (many...) of these women decided to have an after-conference meal at Café Zupas, I was surrounded by hungry skirt-wearing patrons.

Next Saturday night where I live, the hungry patrons will not be wearing skirts, but ties. It will be time for the men's conference meeting. I don't know if the men will be lining up for delicious salads with the choice of either soup or a sandwich, for the men attack--with veracity--the sweet shops. I believe every ice cream and/or dessert joint will be calling in extra workers for the invasion. For nothing shows our dedication to our religious beliefs than pigging out on unhealthy and delicious food! It's a tradition that many a dad passes on to his son, or sons. It's how we roll...

The wait was longer than usual, but I eventually picked up our dinners and headed home a little wiser.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Vertical Challenge! Preparations Have Begun...Again!

Back in January 2011 I began my little blog. The next month my friend put on his Vertical Challenge for charity. Since I've been writing this blog, I've dedicated several posts and quite a few pictures to this event. Today, preparations begin again.

For me, it's only natural to think about snow when I see the leaves turn in the mountains. I know many people curse the cooler temperatures and wish it could stay summer all year long. By the time September hits, I've had enough of the high temperatures and welcome the crisp evenings and early sunsets. My sun-loving friends cannot understand this, which is only fair...I have a hard time understanding them sometimes.

It's only a few short months until February 2013. If you're like me, the days between Halloween and Christmas fly by. Then, it's January and the event will only be a few weeks away. By then, we'd better have things in place or getting in place. I'm sure we will.

If you're new to my blog, Bob's Vertical Challenge benefits ScoutReach, the charity arm of the Boy Scouts of America. ScoutReach does some amazing things for kids, truly a worthy cause. We're updating our event website. You can find out more about Bob's Vertical Challenge: HERE. Mark your calendars--Tuesday, February 26, 2013 and plan on attending. It's going to be a blast!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Galaxy Quest & The Big Bang Theory...Pure Genius!

The first time I saw "Galaxy Quest" I was blown away, not because of the brilliant writing, or the incredible casting (inspired, I think...), but because David Howard, one of my writing heroes, found a previously unexplored topic and found pay dirt. His story involved the same Star Trek fans that Saturday Night Live and William Shatner lampooned years before, but Howard expanded on the SNL joke and even used some of the same scientific theories found in Carl Sagan's "Contact."


Fast forward several years and genius strikes again, this time for the small screen. There are very few network shows we watch and even fewer situation comedies. One night we came across "The Big Bang Theory," and after one episode, we were hooked. There are some episodes not suitable for children, and that's a bit disappointing, but we watch still. The creators of the show have found a group to parody that have never been taken seriously as the subject of a show, and not just the butt of many a joke.

Galaxy Quest and The Big Bang Theory...two creative projects tapping into the same inspirational well. They show what can be done when someone looks at things just a little bit differently.

*Picture used without permission from:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Changing 'O' The Colors...

"We really should take a drive up the canyon and see the fall colors," my wife said to me as the colors began to change on the mountain. "I agree," I said. Some said this year's display would be not as colorful this year because of the lack of water we received in the spring and summer. Personally, I don't know what they're talking about.

We found time last weekend and we loaded up the kids (and the dog...) and headed up to Snowbasin. For many, Snowbasin is known for skiing, but skiing has nothing on what we saw. It was beautiful!

Of course, we had to take pictures of the kids with dog, and I had to shift my picture taking location due to the sun in my kid's eyes (I heard no complaints from the dog...).

As I've said many times while writing this blog, my camera just doesn't do justice to the scene unfolded before us. Trust me, it was wonderful. The colors should be around for a little while, at least. If you get a chance, load up your kids (and dog, if you have one...) and head for the hills. It's definitely worth the trip!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Spinach Café Display...A Short Story


I'm back. I took a couple of weeks off on the weekly writing prompt (things have gotten a little crazy around here...), but today I thought I'd jump back in. Here's my little story from the prompt that can be found at this website: HERE

The rules again, 500 word max, must be done before Wednesday. Five words must be used in the story. This week's words are: 


So, here it is!

The Spinach Café Display

     Jimmy loved autumn, even though, as a seven-year old, he called it fall. “Jimmy,” his teacher would say. “The correct term is, autumn, not fall. “That’s a dictionary word,” Jimmy would tell her. “I like fall better,” to which the teacher would say nothing.
    The season arrived early for Jimmy, which filled his heart with innocent delight. The leaves, the friends talking about Halloween, even putting on a jacket to go to school didn’t bother the child. At this time of the year, kids are kings.
    “Did you see this year’s display in front of the Spinach Café?” Jimmy’s best friend Bobby said in school eight hours earlier.
    “No, not yet. Is it cool?”
    “It’s really scary,” Bobby told his excited classmate. Like Macy’s at Christmas, The Spinach Café just west of the city library prided itself on a Halloween display unrivaled in at least three counties. “The best part is a big full-sized ghost guy all in black! You gotta go see it!” Jimmy agreed and thought of nothing else as the torturous time clicked slowly on until the bell rang announcing the end
of the school day and freedom to 357 trapped souls.
    “Mom!” Jimmy yelled as he burst open his front door.
    “It’s nice to see you too,” Jimmy’s mother said as her son raced into the kitchen.
    “Mom! We gotta go to the Spinach Café and see the Halloween display! Can we go now? Can we? Please? Please!”
     “Oh, Jimmy,” his mother said with a fallen heart. “Mrs. Miller is coming over right now. I promised her I’d show her how to make a proper pecan pie. She’s coming over right now.”
    “No! Not Mrs. Miller,” Jimmy cried. The name of his prattling neighbor translated to a four or five hour visit.
    “Maybe after we could go for a drive.”
    “Okay,” the dejected youth said as he left the room, head bowed. Moments later the doorbell rang. The neighbor had arrived. As Jimmy entered his bedroom, a light of inspiration hit the boy and clouds of despair immediately disappeared. With Mrs. Miller over, his mom would be busy for the next couple of hours, at least. If he could just get his scooter out of the garage without anyone knowing, he could ride the 10 blocks, see the display, and be back before she’d even know he was gone. It was perfect!
    Stealthily, Jimmy tiptoed down the hall and out the front door. He entered the garage from the side door, being careful to climb over the ladder his father had used to clear the fallen leaves from the rain gutters. He retrieved his scooter and closed the door behind him.
    As Jimmy fastened his helmet atop his head, he saw on the ground a dead sparrow, its decaying body being consumed by ants. “This is going to be the best day ever!” the boy said to himself as he began his quest to the unholy shrine.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wendover Wings And Wheels Air Show, 2012 Edition...

We went to Wendover last weekend to see a concert and to celebrate our anniversary. We didn't expect to happen upon a fantastic event, the Wendover Air and Auto Show. We're so glad we did.

Here's Tom. He's a friend and basically in charge of the air show. His official title is: Director of Operations. If I had to guess, I'd say the air show would not happen if it weren't for him. He might say otherwise. He does so much work behind the scenes.

I'm sure it's not the biggest air show in the country, but there's something about standing on an historical airfield looking at historic planes and imagining the stories those planes could tell. There was everything from a Corsair to a F-18, many trainers, some experimentals, and even a refueler from Hill Air Force Base. We got to go inside it.




The car show was an added bonus. There were a lot of mustangs and corvettes, which I personally like. I would have loved to see an old VW among the beautiful cars. However, it might not have gone over so well with all the Detroit-built machines.

The air show has a Facebook Fan page and you can find it: HERE. Check it out and "like" it to see better pictures than I've taken.

I bought a mini-B-17 plane at the museum gift shop. It's my dad's plane. My wife asked me as we walked and saw the planes and cars and jeeps and motorcycles, if I thought my dad would enjoy the air show. I can't think of many things he would have enjoyed more...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Page Or Two Podcast: Braden Bell...


 Braden Bell Reads On The A Page Or Two Podcast

Last week I interviewed Braden Bell as he read from his book, The Kindling. You can see my review of the book: HERE. I just finished editing the audio and uploaded it to my other blog, The Bald Chronicler! Please, if you've got about 11 minutes and 10 seconds of free time, drop by and listen to Braden read the first few pages of his great book. Here's the Link:

The Bald Chronicler: Braden Bell
Not only was Braden a gentleman in letting me review his book, he was also nice enough to take time out of his busy day and record with me. Check him out.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

20 Years...

We all got together, twenty years ago today, and had a little party.

We invited families...

And friends...

And when it was all said and done, two became one.

Two decades, four kids, ten cars, six addresses, a dog, and four cats later, I can't imagine my life being any different. Thanks, honey, for 20 incredible years.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Toto's Not In Kansas, Well, At Least, Not Tonight...

Now, I admit that I don't know all the songs Toto's produced over their 35 year period. I know a few, like almost everyone my age (or 5 years either younger or older than me...), but the Mrs. and I wanted to get away this weekend and we found a concert...Toto. We booked the tickets and we went.

 But even though I didn't know all the songs they sang, the concert was GREAT!!

I've never seen an act at this particular location before. It was an intimate setting, maybe room for 1000 or so concert goers. Most of the time, when I went to concerts back in the day, I saw bands perform in venues ill-suited for acoustics. It was nice to be in a place designed for music.

The band played. We boogied, and a drunk guy in white (see  center guy with arms raised...) ran up and down the aisles...well, technically it was dancing. He was VERY entertaining.

I've never seen Toto perform before. They were a tight group live. I highly recommend attending any show they do.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Ghosts of Christmas Plays Past...

The memories flood back as I enter a rehearsal room with dozens of other performers. We're this season's cast (or casts...) for the annual Christmas show at the local community theater. It's somewhat unfair to call it "community theater" because in my opinion, the talent that finds its way to the stage is almost as good as any professional production on a stage 15 miles to the south. I enter with the others and my mind drifts back, to years before when I and others chosen for other Christmas show casts sat and learned the music.

How things have changed since then.

Back then, there were certain things you could always count on with the Christmas shows. Big casts, lots of kids, entire families taking part in the festive tradition, and the same props being used each year. This year, minimal casts, enough children, and a more professional feel. The feel matches the surroundings perfectly.

We meet in a new, beautiful building, a building that took years to plan and construct. Its presence is an answer to many people's prayers. The old theatre (before expansion...) was basically two rooms, and a green room that doubled as a kitchen, painting bay, and storage space. The new theatre gives us incredible space everywhere. Everything's new and shiny.

"No Dave?" I asked a theatre executive while on a break. He said Dave wouldn't be doing the show this year. I've never done a Christmas show without Dave. I think of all the memories of past shows...the big casts, the families, the old and wonderfully cozy theatre, I think I'll miss Dave most of all. He will be my Ghost of Christmas Past this year. It's a new part for him, and he'll play it perfectly, like he always does.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Message On The Windshield...

So, you leave work, or the store, and you're all ready to drive away when you see it--a note on your windshield. If it hasn't happened to you, keep driving and it will. After a full day's work, this is the note that greeted me as I prepared to come home today.

My first thought? Confusion. Now, I admit that there have been times in my 30 year history of driving (and parking...) when I have made contact with another car. The minor door dings, the gentle bumper bumps...I think we've all done it. My mind thought back to this morning when I pulled into the parking space. For the life of me I could not think of any car that my car touched as I did this. I didn't move the car during the day so it had to have happened in the morning. I remember pulling in close to the car in front of me, but I don't recall touching it.

And, of course, the hit vehicle was nowhere to be seen. Mine was the last car in the immediate location when I left work. My only solace is that if I did tap the car in front of me, that it was so gentle I didn't even feel it. And if that's the case, it couldn't have done any damage (I have a feeling that if I did do any discoverable damage, there would have been more words on my little note...).

Lesson for me? Be more aware, I guess. I don't know who wrote the note so I can't apologize in person. I suppose I'll just have to follow the wise council on the message I found on my windshield: be careful next time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What I Saw In The Middle Of The Night...

The first time a coughing fit woke me up was at 12:56 a.m. I know this because I noticed the time on the alarm clock as I entered the bathroom. It took a few minutes, but I was eventually able to get back to sleep.
The next time I woke up was at 1:58 a.m. Roughly 10 hours earlier I decided to leave work early because my episodes of coughing generated some uncomfortable looks from my co-workers. I can't blame them--it sounded pretty bad.
Next fit, 3:21 a.m. I came home after work and felt terrible. I knew it was coming, my kids were sick last week. I tried to fight the viruses, but I succumbed. My defenses were not up to the task.
I entered the bathroom again at 4:43 a.m. quite surprised that I was actually getting any sleep at all. Considering how I felt and how my nose was running, I didn't think I'd be able to go back to sleep, but each time, I did.
Once the time clicks past 7 a.m. it's officially morning. The clock read 7:34 a.m. and I tried one last time to go back to sleep. Some of my kids were already up and had begun their day. I returned to the confines of my down comforter which is aptly named.
The last time I entered the bathroom was at 8:26 a.m. I was up for good, or at least, until I took several naps in the afternoon. It's been quite a ride!