Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Family Reunion '13, The Video...

A few weeks back we drove to Idaho and attended a family reunion. Of course, I blogged about it at the time.

One of the great things about modern technology is that with some software (compliments of Apple...) and videos taken from an iPhone (also, compliments of Apple...), a fairly coherent video can be made. I've made a few of these and maybe I should have used a different template this time, but it shows some of the people I love in a place that's one of my most favorite places on earth.

To the family...enjoy!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Well, There's Your Problem Right There...

As I drove my car home tonight, the driver's side window fell. It's not an everyday occurrence. There's history between this window and me, history going back over two years.

A few months after I got the car back from repairs after the Deer Kill of '11, I was up in the mountains with the scouts. It was winter and we had just had an overnighter. Just after the event we were gathered to come home. With the window down, I tried closing the door and it wouldn't close. I applied some pressure to close it and the window shattered inside the door. My boys and I had an interesting drive on the way home from the mountains in winter with a window missing. I wrote about it in one of my earliest blogs and you can read that blog: HERE.

I tried having it fixed several times, but each time it kept breaking. It got to the point where we rolled up the window and kept it there and that worked okay. Then today happened. I spent a couple of hours tonight fixing it and when I took the door panel off, I realized what the problem's been all along. The good news--I know how to fix it. The bad news--it will have to wait a while. But for now, we'll just keep the window up and the A/C slash Heat on.

Monday, July 29, 2013

And So It Begins...Again

The meeting was slated for 6:30pm tonight, which isn't normally a problem if traffic on I-15 is light. My friend sent a photo of an overturned semi traveling northbound. Must have happened after our bus drove by.

I remember last winter when the same meeting was held for another anthology and I was one of the authors gathered to receive instruction from the powers that be. I was nervous that I didn't understand what was going on the way everyone else seemed to be. It took a while, but eventually all the edits and revisions and proofs were done and the book was shipped.

So, tonight the process begins again. Time flew as the two-hour meeting came to a close. During the meeting we communicated through instant messages, and most comments stayed true to the goal of staying on track--focusing on the task at hand. Of course, you gather a bunch of writers in one place, and who knows what can happen?

Nine stories, nine authors, nine vulnerable artists inviting those who read the stories to enjoy their journey with them. Hopefully, we'll create a body of work worth the effort. Time to get to work!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

At The Corner Of Sycamore And Main...A Short Story


The Weekly Wednesday Blog Hop

This story required I do a little editing. The first draft was almost 600 words. I had to do some cutting. It's been a while since I had to do that, but it was fun. Here are the rules:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up your story at these sites: Nicole, or Carrie
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

 Here are the (randomly generated) mandatory words:



At The Corner Of Sycamore And Main

"And so, unless there is any further business to come before the council, I move to adjourn this meeting." The city councilman looked at the previous meeting's notes as he raised the gavel expecting to hear the inevitable "Second" from another bored council member. Instead only silence filled the half-empty hall.

"Bill," another councilman said. "A citizen appears to have a question, or concern." Bill looked up and saw the small hand elevated above the sparse crowd.

"Ma'am? Do you have something to add before we conclude this meeting and go home?" All heads turned to see a diminutive woman slowly stand.

"Excuse me, sirs." She cleared her throat. "I would like to comment on Item #15 on tonight's agenda."

"Number 15? I believe we we addressed that earlier."

"Yes," the woman said with a hardness to her voice it previously lacked. "But you only spent a total of thirty seconds discussing that item."

Bill exhaled and hoped the Advil he dry swallowed ten minutes earlier would kick in soon. "Let's see...Item 15, what was Item 15 anyway?"

"Um..." a fellow councilman said as he searched the agenda sheet. "It was that one issue about..."

"I'll tell you what Item 15 is," the woman interrupted, this time her anger evident. "It's about that statue of the two children who died when that drunk driver ran that red light and killed them."

Slowly everyone in the room realized the woman's identity. Bill recognized her, too. The woman standing defiant in their presence was Lori Parker, the mother of the two children who died on that fateful day twelve years earlier. The terrible accident left the young couple childless, a nightmare that proved too painful for her husband who committed suicide the following year. 

"Mrs. Parker," Bill said, his embarrassment showing. "I'm sorry, but as you can see, the time has passed for this meeting. We can table this item for next month's..."

"Bill Stewart!" Lori yelled from the middle row of metal folding chairs. "It took me years to get that item on the agenda. I'm not waiting another minute. You're going to vote on this issue tonight."

"Fine," Bill said. "We will now hear public comments on Item 15: Building a monument at the corner of Sycamore and Main in honor of Steve and Mary Parker."

"I would like to read this," Lori said as she opened a folded piece of paper. 
To my brother, Steve. I love you like a shark loves the ocean, like a wagon loves its wheels, like an orange loves its navel, like light loves a bulb, like a banana loves its peel.  I will always love my big brother.

Lori folded the paper and said, "My daughter Mary wrote this to her big brother the day before they died. That's all I have to say." She sat down and everyone in the room knew the intersection of Sycamore and Main would soon look a lot different.

Word Count: 499

Saturday, July 27, 2013

My Friend's Vicariously Lived Life...

I've written about his game before, and it really doesn't take up all my time. It is an occasional pleasure, I assure you. 

My friend used to play the game, but he stopped. That's too bad because he seems to enjoy when I send him pictures from the game.

This is my friend who is a huge Simpson's fan, and when I say huge, I'm talking his admiration of the cartoon. But, he only likes the older shows...he's not partial to the more recent seasons.

These short stories remind him of the way the show used to be. So, if anyone asks why I still play the game, I blame it on Steve.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Steaming And Festing...

I've been to a couple of conferences in my life, mostly writing conferences. And at those conferences, occasionally people would dress up--come in character. Today I attended a steampunk conference and I thought a few people might dress up. I left my house with this assumption. Little did I know how wrong I was.

It was Day One of the Salt City Steamfest Convention and almost everyone came in character. I saw so many incredibly imaginative things--it was a feast for the eyes.

I also got to meet for the first time, marketing manager for our publisher, Xchyler, Scott Talbert, another Mechanized Masterpieces author, and senior editor for Xchyler Publishers, McKenna Gardner. Great people representing a fantastic company!

We staffed the table and sold several copies of our book. I hope they read it. I also got to sign several copies of the book--a surreal experience, I must say. Here is just a small portion of the things I saw today.

Day One is done--bring on Day Two!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Leftie Desk--Kind Of Freakish...

I saw something tonight I had not seen before--a left-handed desk. Being left-handed, I notice these things, and I've noticed them for as long as I can remember.

The first thing I think everyone notices that are different for left-handed people are the scissors. Yes, I think we can all recall in grade school when they gave everyone scissors, there were those extra pair with the thick green plastic handles. They practically screamed, "FREAK!"

Maybe that's why I learned to cut paper and other cut-able things with the "normal" scissors. I trained my hand to apply pressure with my left hand that makes the right-handed scissors work. It's normal for me now to use any pair of scissors with my left hand.

I say all this because I went to college for four (okay, five...) years for my first degree and just over two years for my masters. Never in all those years did I see a left-handed desk. But come to think of it, I might not have chosen to sit in those desks--don't want to be considered a freak, or anything, if I chose to sit in the freak chair. However, anyone who watches me write with pen or pencil or paper, they KNOW I'm a freak...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Don Henley Said It Best..."Don't Look Back, You Can Never Look Back"

My first quarter at the U, my econ professor, Vrooman, explained the lyrics to Don Henley's song, The Boys Of Summer. I had never really thought about the lyrics. He told us that the song was about growing up and realizing things can never be the way they used to be. Today my family and I went to our local amusement park, Lagoon, and that song kept coming back to my mind.

The reason I kept thinking about that song was because of all the changes the place has endured since I last worked there. I worked at Lagoon for almost 10 years and before that, I went there almost every day of every summer growing up. When I say I knew the place, I really knew it, every imperfection in the pavement, every name of every ride, every game and the likelihood of success playing it.

Things have changed.

Here's where the east gate stood. That's going back decades.

They call this a shooting gallery? Come on! Where's the piano player? Where's the owl that bounces up and flaps its wings when the little red light on the rifle hits the target?

From this angle, all I can thing about is, "Get help quick! Bob's having a seizure!"
The shoe. Back in the day kids could climb all over it. I guess too many lawsuits--or potential lawsuits--ended that forever. This made me miss the Lion garbage can that actually sucked up the trash from your hand...ahead of it's time, if you ask me.
Remember "Yogi Bear-ing?" I know many of my friends easy target here.
Pioneer Village had not one, but two steam-driven trains carting patrons here and there. Now there are none, and this engine's scenery.

Here's where the Miniature Golf course once was, and I remember both courses.

This one was tough. I was lucky enough to be a stuntman for 4 years in Pioneer Village. The shows were a blast and something I think the park could really use. They should bring back those shows. That's me in the black hat.

This was perhaps the saddest picture I took all day. I spent so many nights working at Music USA and now the theater is closed and silent as people walk by having no idea just how much fun we had at that show in that theater.

New rides have come and others have gone. We left an exhausted family. As we walked away tonight, I didn't look back.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Photos From Downtown...


 Last week I took out my camera and took some random pictures. They're not gallery-worthy, but I think they're interesting. Enjoy!