Saturday, August 31, 2013

Let The Games Begin!

It seemed to take forever to get here, but now that college football has begun, I wonder if it really was that long after all. I don't know why, but there's something about college football that I love.

I have the same feeling for national soccer teams. I think it's because they're playing for more than just a paycheck, like the pro teams do. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy pro football and soccer, and basketball because of how talented the athletes are. They can do amazing things.

But I think that's why I like the college game--for that same reason. The athletes are not as talented, but they play with heart.

In my state of Utah, all home teams were not guaranteed to win, because two played each other. My son came into the room Thursday night and saw the Utah/USU game on TV. "Who's playing?" he asked. "Utah and Utah State." I said. Then he said, "That's good that Utah will win." He's 9 and what he meant was it's good that a Utah team will win, and one did. But one lost, too.

I am a Utah Man sir, and I live across the green. However, I love to watch the Aggies play and win. I was an Aggie, albeit for a short time. My dad was an Aggie, my brother, my uncle, and many, many friends are Aggies (whether or not they're "true Aggies," you'll have to ask them...). Go Aggies!

Tonight the other major football power in the state played, and they did not prevail, even though when I left to go shopping with five minutes left in the game, they pretty much had the thing won. I guess not.

Be you red, blue, purple, green, brown, or black, if you're a college football fan you'll have to agree--you're glad the game is back!

Friday, August 30, 2013

It Probably Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time...

I glanced about as I drove south on I-15 around 3:55pm this afternoon. I occasionally glance about when I drive, but that's not what this blog entry's about.

And that's when I saw it...the colorful Hummer traveling in the same direction as us at approximately the same rate of speed. I think I've seen this particular vehicle before. I mean, how many of these things can be on the road? When I saw it last time I had the same thought rolling around in my brain as when I saw it today...would I want this guy to sell my house?

We're not in the market to sell our house or buy a new one, but if we were, I don't believe I'd call him, even though he's probably a nice guy. Then again, he might be a complete jerk. I don't know.

When I saw this thing on the road today, his traveling billboard told me that the guy is confident--I mean, you'd have to be to drive this, wouldn't you? He's most likely very successful at what he does. He's put on the side of his car that he'll sell our house in two months or less--bold words, indeed! And he chose a vehicle known for it's machismo, even though that lacks a certain caché that it once had.

Still, and maybe it's just me, but I think I'd use someone else, maybe someone who drives an Accord, or better yet, a Volkswagen.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Just Hangin' With My Son...

Today I had one of those great days when I could spend all day with my son. He's the youngest, youngest of four, and I can't remember the last time just he and I hung out together.

The first child...well, we had so many times when he and I got to be together. When he was six-years old, he and I appeared in several community theater productions. We did that for many years, mostly in the Christmas shows. It's amazing how fast those 12 years have flown by. I know parents always say things like that, but they do for a reason--because it's true.

My second son, he wasn't one for the theater, at least, when he was younger. He does theater now, and does very well performing in front of audiences, but doing a show when he was younger didn't interest him. I didn't know if he'd ever get into performing, but he loves doing Shakespeare plays with his friends. I'm glad.


Then came our daughter. Like our oldest, she loves performing and even had a solo in the first show she did. She was six. She and I have done many shows together, but I'm taking some time off this year because of my job and my writing.

When I do a show with my kids, we end up spending a lot of time together, just them and me, not so much when we get to the theater, but all the time driving to and from. They're great opportunities to spend time with your kids. If you're looking for a way to do this, I recommend it. 

But today, it was just me and the kid. We did a little shopping, bought some lunch that doubled as dinner, and watched the Utes beat the Aggies. He's now asleep on an air mattress in the front room. We let them do that on special occasions.

For me, today was a special occasion, but I'm sleeping in my bed.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nicole's Story...


We met in a theater years ago. We were cast in a show. We met again in a different theater this year--same show. Since we did the show the first time so much has happened to Nicole, marriage, job changes, and the latest news...she and her husband are expecting. Seeing her with the kids in the cast, we all knew, she'll be a wonderful mother.

Nicole created a blog and shared the wonderful news with friends and family. The first time I read her blog she explained in detail the situation with their pregnancy. The news was not good and the young first-time parents were given information as to their "choices." 

It's easy to be noble when times are good. A truer measure of a person's character can be found in the decisions they make when life ebbs to the low end of the curve, when the adage we tell children that "life is fair" no longer applies and is, in reality, a lie.

Not to go into detail of the situation, but the decisions they are making and the reason they're making them have been an inspiration for me. They're showing incredible strength and courage. I wonder if I could be that strong.

This could be a post about politics and the state of healthcare in our country, but it's not. It's about a couple who are guaranteed pain and heartache and trials no couple should ever have to bear. Yes, they know how bad it can be and accept it anyway. They're willing to sacrifice their own lives to give something to their child that only they can provide. They will answer the question, what is the cost of a human life? To the brave family, God bless.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The 2013 6th Floor Tailgate Party...

Last week a co-worker asked if I could make a flyer for an upcoming floor office party. "Sure." I like doing that kind of thing.

He then asked if I could make the sign-up sheet. Again, no problem.

This morning--the day of the party--he asked if I could make first and last place badges for the trophies (impressive trophies, I thought...). 

 Those were fun.

We had food and games. The trophy went to the best-built contraption as voted upon by the floor.  There were several imaginative "things" built.



Robert's Ringers took first place. Next year, we'll be better prepared...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Welcome To Night Vale, A New Podcast...Genius!


Anyone who knows me knows I love podcasts. Every once in a while I'll try out a new one--several I've tried lately have not been keepers, however...

I came across a new podcast today.

It's a keeper.

It's called Welcome To Night Vale and it's amazing.

I'm not one who is always hip to the latest trends. Apparently this podcast, that debuted June 15, 2012, has been around a while and its popularity is skyrocketing. I decided to give it a shot.

If you know of the podcast, you know what it's about. If not, basically a lone man reads the news over the radio for an imaginary town in the American southwest.

Benign, you might think. Boring comes to mind. Perish the thought--it's anything but! I'm about 1/2 way through the entire podcast library and each episode presents a chance to experience something completely new. My brain has so many thoughts rushing through it when I think of this podcast, I can't even begin to list them because if I start, I won't be able to stop. Needless to say, it has inspired me.

Just so you know, if you want to start listening, it's very weird, but it is genius writing. I'm enjoying it so far. And if you've got a twisted sense of humor, you just might like it, too.

* Picture used without permission from:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It's Going To Be Okay...A Short Story

 Flash Fiction Photo Prompt

First of all, the prompt's picture for this week can inspire so many different stories! Inspiration for my little story came from a post from a blog I follow, plus my story from last week dealt specifically with jail. I wanted to try something different. Still, my story is just one direction to take a bit of fiction. If you'd like to try it yourself, 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, Carrie, Tena, or Leanne
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.
Mandatory words:
I think the story kind of goes with the picture. What say you?

It's Going To Be Okay

He slammed the door so hard it shook the frame of the small two bedroom rambler. "Real mature," Susan said to no one. She was sure if her soon-to-be ex-husband's profanity-laced tirade didn't wake the baby, the sheer force of the door crashing against its frame would. By some miracle, only silence came from her daughter's room.

This was the part Susan hated most, sitting alone after a fight. Damn him, she thought. Damn him for making her feel like everything were her fault. Guilt not even a bulldozer could keep at bay rushed in as she looked up and could almost see the hate-filled words collecting at the ceiling, unable to escape. It was then the tears began to fall for the first time all day

Officially he'd moved out--or rather--she kicked him out the week before. As much as she feared the title of "single parent," she feared a future with him even more. She didn't care where he went as long as he was gone. Of course, until everything was deemed official by a bunch of blood-sucking leeches posing as lawyers, he could drop by whenever he wanted, no uniform schedule for him, no sir.

They say bad news always occurs in threes...father passing away last month. Well, that was one. Divorce, two, and news Susan received just the day earlier that her job as an accountant at the jail could soon end completed the trifecta. Apparently, a large corporation glad-handed some local politician and convinced them that privatization of the state's largest jail would be the answer to everyone's prayers, everyone's but Susan's and her co-workers. They knew of no one who would actually pray for a reduction of wages and a decimation of benefits.

But she'll worry about that later. Right now, her only priority was her daughter. She willed her tired body to rise from the kitchen table and walked to the front door. After locking it, she turned off the porch light letting everyone know the time for visitors was over for the day. She then carried her tired frame into the room where Lara slept.

"Hey, Sweetie," Susan cooed as the precious bundle gently stirred under the blanket her father gave his only granddaughter. She looked at the tartan colors, her family's centuries old pattern and wished her father were there--wished more than anytime since he died that she could talk to him, if only for five minutes. She wrapped her daughter in the blanket, picked her up and carried her into the front room.

"It's going to be okay," she said, hoping her words proved true. "It's going to be okay," Susan said through sobs that refused to stop.

Word Count: 456

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Ad? It Caused One Response, But Not Another...

There's millions of things to see in a modern American grocery story (okay, maybe not millions...), but you get what I'm saying. Walk into any store and everything is screaming for your attention.

Earlier in the week my wife and I were telling my kids about the complexity that is marketing inside a store. Not only do Walmart and Target vie for customers (we have both stores right across the street from each other in our community...), Ragu and Prego also battle for shoppers within the same store.

We told the kids that each aisle is full of stores. Each section, the bread section, the ice cream section, the toothpaste section, is its own store. As far as what specific things vendors do for the store to increase their visibility on the shelf, I really don't know the details, but I'm sure deals are made. It's capitalism, pretty much.

So, when we were in the cereal aisle, one box was facing the wrong way. It followed its command.

But, it didn't make me buy.

So, a particle win for Cheerios.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Salt Lake Comic Con...It's Coming And I'm Going!


I got an e-mail late last night and in that e-mail, there contained a schedule, a schedule of events for the upcoming first annual Salt Lake Comic Con. The schedule listed topic after topic of amazing panels that will take place September 5-7, 2013 at the Salt Palace. We're only 12 days away...

The e-mail came from my friend, Blake Casselman, a person I met at a literary conference in 2012. He and author Michaelbrent Collings put on a screenwriting discussion and I was impressed--the guys knew their stuff! Blake talked about the sheer amount of writing he has been able to complete and when people asked him how he was able to write so much, he said, "I don't watch TV." Good answer.

Since that day I've been fortunate enough to become part of the Utah Filmwriters Facebook Group, a group Blake runs. They meet twice a month and discuss each other's scripts as well as the craft in general. Due to my schedule, I haven't attended as much as I would like, but the times I have gone have been well worth the time. There are some very creative people there.

So why did Blake e-mail me late last night? Blake is one of the producers of the Salt Lake Comic Con. He wanted to let those participating in the panel discussions know what their panel schedules would be. I scrolled down and saw that my name appeared three times, so that means...


Between then and now I'll post which panels I'll be on and when. So, if you're going, come up and say 'Hi!"

* Salt Lake Comic Con Logo used without permission from:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Award-Winning Photos, And A Thanks For Participating...

Three days ago I blogged about our little county fair. I took a lot of pictures while at the fair and posted some of them on the blog post. I've gone to the fair many times, but this year was the first time I entered a photography contest. Ever since I got a new camera, I've had so much fun taking pictures. And I thought, 'what the heck...might as well submit some pictures and see what happens.'

I submitted three shots. When we went to the fair I entered the Arts building and while the family was looking at unusually large examples of vegetables, I wandered over to the pictures. I noticed one thing immediately. All the photos were cropped to the edge. I remembered that my pictures had a white boarder. Needless to say, I didn't think my pictures would do well, especially when I submitted them earlier in the week, the guy at the fair said they had gotten in a lot of entries. And I entered my shots under the "Intermediate" class, not the "Beginner" class.

It took me a while, but I eventually saw my photos and to my surprise, each had a ribbon. I didn't get first place, or second, but I got a third place, a fourth place, and a participant ribbon (I guess, it's the equivalent of "every kid gets a trophy," but I'll take it... I like that picture a lot...). Next year I'm going to try and enter some more pictures. I'll crop them and mount them better and we'll see what happens.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I'm A Sucker For A Free Photography App...

A few weeks ago a friend told me about an app for my iPhone. "It's cool and free!" he said. Great! I thought...two things I love. What's the app? It's called Apps Gone Free. You can find the iTunes link: HERE.

I usually download a free app from the Apps Gone Free about once every three or four days. I've deleted some of the apps soon after I downloaded them...not what I was looking for, or I knew I'd never use it.

The photography apps, on the other hand. Well, turns out I'm a sucker for a free photography app. I've downloaded many and kept many. I saw one today that I added and tried out. What you see are the results. It's kind of like an intense version of Instagram. This one's called MinatureCam and it's free today.

It's supposed to give the allusion of making regular-sized objects look tiny, like toys. My attempts have not yet captured this desired look. I'll have to fiddle with it more.

But, tomorrow there's a good chance there'll be another free photography app. I might just have to check that one out, too.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Like To Write Fantasy? Check This Out!

Only A Few Days Left!

Xchyler Publishing, publishers of such fantastic anthologies as Forged In Flames, A Dragon Anthology, Mechanized Masterpieces Steampunk Anthology, A Dash Of Madness Thriller Anthology, and the to-be-released Halloween Day, 2013, Extreme Makeover Paranormal Anthology is doing it again!

This month Xchyler is accepting submissions for fantasy short stories and they'd LOVE to see what you've written, what you're working on, or what you have trapped in your brain screaming to come out and entertain us all!

If you have questions, please go to Xchyler's website: HERE, or their Facebook page: HERE and see what you need to do to take a little risk and see what happens. I can tell you from personal experience that the people at Xchyler are professional, smart, and want what you want--to publish great stories for us to read. 

Good luck and happy writing!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Some Things Seen At The County Fair...

Before the big fire broke out on the mountain, my family and I headed down to the county fair. Except for the blistering heat and distance between venues (where heat played a part...), it was a pretty good fair.

We saw lots of animals--kids love the animals. We even saw a duck in the chicken venue.

This poor turtle was desperately trying to get away from the kids at the petting zoo...poor turtle.

And some brave souls allowed themselves to become holders of snakes and spiders. The snakes I think I could handle...the spiders, not so much.

We saw dogs jumping in water,

And people walking between booths.

And, of course, the wisdom of TV reality stars sums things up perfectly. Good day at the fair!