Friday, May 31, 2013

Story Submission Time...

Late last night, or early this morning, I submitted a short story to Xchyler Publishing's latest anthology, Extreme Makeover, Paranormal Anthology. I had pretty good success with the last submission I tried.

It's a strange thing, submitting something you've written, or created for judgement. When I was writing it, I went through a spectrum of emotions. I thought the writing was exceptional at times, and then--just like that--I thought it was not good at all.

I have no idea if my story will be chosen. Hopefully the publisher has many many stories to choose from; it makes the novel stronger. When I hit "Send" last night, or early this morning, I felt good about it. I felt good because with some help from a friend, I put together a coherent, well-paced little tale. 

We'll know in a few days whether or not I made the cut. Now the waiting begins...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Finally Got My Own Cubicle...

Today we were given the news that our new office spaces were ready. After three months of sharing a cubicle space, I finally have my own.

When we first arrived to do our new jobs, we shared a space where two cubicles were made into one large space. There were four of us in that space. A few weeks later, we were moved into a smaller space and there were two of us sharing. They were going to remove the wall so that four of us would sit in a large space, like the last situation we had. They never got around to removing the wall.

It really wasn't a big deal. Rarely did sharing cause a problem. We worked on the project and each had our own space. However, today we moved and we kept thinking of how much space we actually have. It was nice.

Of course, with the way things are going on the floor, the current situation may change at any time. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Very Important Meeting...

I attended a meeting today and the room was full of important people. The decisions made by these people will effect almost every single person in the state where I live.

We have these meetings about every six weeks or so. Of course, we have daily meetings with smaller groups, and weekly (mostly...) meetings with more people. We all have a huge assignment that must be finished this year. 

No one in the room is a household name, nor will they likely be after our tasks are done. We used today's meeting to discuss our strengths and weaknesses, the progress we've made and the goals we need to reach for our next meeting.

I signed up for this temporary assignment because I wanted a challenge, because I wanted a change, and because I wanted to get to know and work with others who felt the same way. So far, I've gotten what I was looking for out of the deal. Now, we've got to finish the job. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Summer Of Cousins...

Yesterday my parent's grandkids (all but two...) gathered at their graves to honor them. A few short weeks ago we gathered again, this time all the cousins on my side of the family were together. This time for a wedding.

Growing up I spent a lot of time with the cousins on my mom's side of the family. My mom's two brothers lived near each other and were relatively close to my family. We saw them multiple times each year.

The cousins on my dad's side were more spread out. I had uncles that were born near the turn of the twentieth century and so their children were born before my father was born in the 1920's. It's hard to believe I have first cousins that old.

My cousins on my side of the family all live close. The cousins on my wife's side of the family are spread out all over the country. I wish we could see them more.

We'll have another family gathering in a few weeks for another wedding. So far the Summer of Cousins has gotten off to a good start.

Monday, May 27, 2013

My Son, The Film Creator...

Since I got my computer last year, I began making little movie trailer videos with some of the home videos I shot. They've been fun, but my son has taken an interest in making trailers himself. He's made a few, but the Mac and the iMovie program makes it so easy.

Tonight for an activity, we decided to make another trailer, this time for the Shakespeare play three of my children were in earlier this month. Their show was called, Shakespeare, Homeschool Style. We picked the trailer and downloaded the videos I took of the show. He did the rest.

So, here's his video. Hope you like it!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Thanks, Dad..

We visited the cemetery tonight and placed flowers atop the grave of my parents. For some reason, the city does not have my father listed as a veteran. This is a mistake. Our neighbor is a member of the local American Legion and he asked me last week if I had notified the city of this error. I've been so busy I have not been able to do this.

We went today and there was an American flag posted for him. I think our neighbor remembered and had it placed on his grave. I've written about my father several times in the past. I sure look forward to getting to know him. But, not right away. I can wait...


Thanks dad for the service you and your brothers gave, and to all the other veterans, thank you.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Close Up Shots Aroound the Yard...

The lighting was much better today when I went outside to snap a few close up photos of the flowers currently blooming on our yard--it was much better than when I tried to do the same thing yesterday. Dusk doesn't work too well for talking these kinds of pictures.

Looking at these pictures, you'd think we live in a place surrounded by flowers. We really don't, but when you use a micro lens, small flowers look enormous!

I have no idea what type of flowers most of these are. I can identify the cactus and the pansy. And I think there's a chives plant out there as well.

In any case, I thought I'd post some of the pictures I took this afternoon. Imagine what the world looks like to an ant...

Friday, May 24, 2013

How To Photograph A Cat...

We went to a pet store today, not to get a cat, but to return an item. I just had to snap a couple of pictures of the adoptable cats making sure the lens of the iPhone was positioned so it could see through the holes in the plexiglass behind which were the cats.

This is probably the easiest way to photograph cats. Another way is to try and get a cat to be interested enough in what you're doing to have them remain in a fixed position long enough for you to snap a picture or three. 

Tonight as I tried to get some close up pictures of flowers, one of our cats decided to hang out with me. Since I was already lying down on the ground I just set the camera down and started snapping pictures.

Some shots turned out...

Some didn't.

But if you're patient, and the cat is willing, sometimes you can get a great shot. Good luck with all your feline photography endeavors!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Brady Bunch, A New Appreciation...*

 The other day we came across a channel playing The Brady Bunch episodes. "What's that?" asked more than one of our children.

"It's The Brady Bunch," we told them. It was unlike any show they had ever seen, and to be honest, few shows--if any--have ever been on TV like it. We ended up not only telling them more about the show, but about how "when we were their age..." (we sounded like parents when we said that...) TV was quite different. 

We told them that back then there were really only three channels--three! (I guess public television didn't count) We told them that when school was out we would come home and turn on The Brady Bunch. And we watched it, every episode, over and over again. There was no cable, no satellite TV, no VCR's or DVR's or TIVO's. You missed the show--you missed it...end of story.

The kids watched the Brady's for a little while, noticed the pastel colors, the astroturf, and the hair and thought it silly. They returned to a different room where the latest in digital entertainment flashed before their entertainment-starved eyes.

We, however, continued to watch and have watched several episodes since. Funny, whenever its on, we see our kids stopping whatever they're doing and watching The Brady Bunch. Maybe parents and children are not so different after all...

* Photo used without permission from:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Holding The Book In My Hands...

I don't know this for sure, but I've talked to enough authors to think this is the case. And that is that every author thinks about the time when they'll go into a bookstore and see the book they wrote sitting on a shelf, waiting to be bought.


Or the feeling they get when they open a new book and with a Sharpie autograph a crisp, never before opened page and with a smile ask the owner, "and who should I make this out to?" Or wonder what its like actually holding an item of publication in their hands and their name is printed on the cover. Well, yesterday I was able to do one of those things.

I bought the e-book and I plan on purchasing the physical article at some point in the future so I had not actually held the book in my hands, but my co-worker bought it from Amazon and brought it in for me to see. I just had to take a few pictures, you know, to preserve the moment. My favorite picture is the one where it looks like lights are emanating from inside the book, lighting up my face and bringing hope to all the world. Well, that's what it looks like to me, anyway...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Today I took my camera outside and snapped a few pictures. I've included these buildings in my blogs before, but when I reviewed the pictures I took today, it appears I was drawn to spires. 

One's from a government building, two are from a religious building, one's an advertisement that doubles as a weather signal for the valley, and one's a picture of a gate.


I guess the gate picture isn't really a spire, but it's vertical.

The sky at this time of the year is so incredibly blue right now. It makes for an amazing backdrop. Looking at these spires, it reminds me of Copenhagen, least the spires do.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Happy Birthdays To Friends And Families...

I am on Facebook--it's no secret--and when you get over 350 or so Facebook friends, there's an opportunity to receive notifications of friend's birthdays everyday. Such is the case with me.

And on many days, I have multiple Facebook friends that share a birthday. I think today is an example of the most notifications I've received for one day...four birthdays.

Two of these people I didn't know six months ago. I met them both in plays I did over the winter. The other two, I've known (or been known by them...) all my life. They're my first cousins and they're both older than me.

Facebook is many things. Some love it; some hate it. For me, I'm glad it reminds me that these wonderful people were born on the same day. Happy birthday to Matt, Whitney, Brent, and JoEllyn! May the coming year be filled with love of family and friends, great health, and joy beyond measure. And I hope also to be able to tell you this all over again in one year's time. Take care.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

But Which Pic Of The Day?

Every day since early 2011 I've taken and chosen one photograph as my Pic Of The Day. Some are interesting, but most aren't memorable. In all that time, rarely have I had to actually choose between two (or sometimes, more...) photographs I've wanted to use for that one picture.


But today, I found two pictures that I considered as my Pic Of The Day. They're not fantastic shots, but I liked them both. I went back and forth as to which one I wanted to use--I ended up using more time on the decision that I should have.

Ultimately, I picked the shot of the Main Street that runs through our little town, even though I liked the shot of the church benches.

Of course, had I waited an hour I could have picked the shot of the sunset setting over the local amusement park. Then again, I've used a lot of sunset pictures in the past. Hopefully tomorrow my daily picture will be easier to choose.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

They Really Are Women Of Steel...

The text was simple, "Would you be interested in filming our race this weekend?"

In the first place, it's an honor to be asked to come take pictures and shoot video, especially since I'm not a professional photographer. To be honest, I had to think about it--not because I didn't want to help out a friend, but because it's been another crazy week.


In the end, I just couldn't say no. I'm glad I went.


Today was the first time I went to a triathlon. It was the Woman of Steel Triathlon and 5K held in American Fork. You can see a video I made of the race: HERE. It was a cold, rainy day--50ยบ when I pulled up at 7:15am. Luckily, we only got a little rain which was unusual because it appeared the entire rest of the valley was getting drenched.

It was fun to be with good friends and the women that competed in the event were truly inspirational. They kept going, even though I know many wanted to quit.


I tip my hat to you, women of steel, and I hope continue to do push yourselves and accomplish great things.