Sunday, March 31, 2013

A New Camera...Do I Dare?


A friend and neighbor (same person...) bought a new camera and I asked her about her old one. "You want to buy it?" She asked. The question is simple enough, but unfortunately, the answer is not. Today I spoke with her again and she suggested I take the camera and give it a test drive. What a perfect day to have a camera...


The lens that intrigued me most was a macro and I quickly went outside to find fauna and wildlife. I found daffodils, spiders, rope and trees. It was fascinating!






 Today was Easter and we invited my father-in-law over. I took advantage of my loaner and snapped several pictures of the fam.

 







So, my answer to my friends question has remained the same since she asked. Will it eventually happen? That's the real question.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Aroma Of Cookies...


I've raved in the past about my oldest son and his baking/cooking skills. I probably haven't said as much as I should about his younger brother. He's been bit by the baking bug. Today he made a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

There's something amazing about walking into a room where cookies are baking. The sensation is similar to the smell of fresh bread baking, but not as much (at least, for me...). The smell of baked cookies reminds me of the many times my mom made chocolate chip cookies for us kids. One of my brother's best friends still talks about eating cookies in the kitchen of our old house.

 

My son will make lots of things...he's helped make dinner several times, but he's gravitating toward desserts, something my wife and I are not dissuading him from doing. I mean, come on! Who's going to hinder a son from making delicious cookies and brownies? Not us, would be our answer.

And so the cookies are silently resting on the kitchen counter waiting for their turn to be devoured. They won't have to wait long...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Kind Of Cool...

http://www.xchylerpublishing.com/assets/images/bg-header.jpg

A few weeks ago Penny at Xchyler Publishing asked if we wanted a page in their company blog, a page to introduce ourselves, or basically include anything we wanted to.

I digitally raised my hand. Today my page was included on their post.

Here's the link: Xchyler Publishing Blog. 

I've got the same page on my author blog page. Here's that link: My Author Blog.

It's very cool to have this kind of exposure out there on the interwebs. I have no idea how many people will get to see these blog posts--maybe millions. The potential is enormous!. 

Still, even if few check out the posts, it's still kind of cool.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Signs Of The City...


At noon today I took a walk downtown and snapped a few pictures along the way. After I returned to work I noticed that almost all the pictures I took were of signs.


Whenever I see this Scottish Imports store it makes me wish I were Scottish, and not just Scott.


There's a new theater being built downtown. A building where several of my friends work is being demolished to accommodate it. It's supposed to be a nice theater.


The rest of the pictures kind of speak for themselves. It was a beautiful day for a photowalk.




I love the PLAY GOLF HERE NOW sign...I still don't know what they're talking about. I'm going to have to do this again.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Color Red...


I love the color red. When my youngest asks me what my favorite color is, I always say, "Red." He doesn't really ask any more--he knows the answer. Red--it's one of the three primary colors. It's one of the three colors of the American flag. Red is awesome!

Flag of Denmark.svg*

I don't know if I had a favorite color before I moved to Denmark at age 19. The Danish flag has two colors, red and white, a red field with a white cross on it. If you've ever traveled to Denmark you know they're proud of their flag--red and white are everywhere! There's a legend that God sent a white cross down from Heaven and it fell on a blood-stained sheet when the Danes were fighting somebody (being Vikings, they were always fighting somebody...). I know my history is very lacking as far as facts are concerned, and I apologize to any Danes, or anyone else familiar with Danish history... I remember seeing a painting in Denmark once where the flag is descending from Heaven and it looked like that.

University of Utah Logo

So when I returned from Europe, I decided to attend college at the University of Utah. The U of U colors are crimson and white, but for me, it's red and white...colors I like together. Many of my friends and neighbors (and, yes, even family members...) like other colors, like green and yellow and blue. To quote Ralphie Parker (taking some liberties, of course...), "I don't think blue is a very good color."

Red, the color of passion, the color of life. Red emotes power and justice (to me, at least...). You can gather together all the colors of the spectrum you want and I'll take Red every time...


* Photo used without permission from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Denmark
◊ Photo used without permission from: http://www.picturesdepot.com/football/9707/university+of+utah+logo.html

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I Present: Chris Shawbell, Author, Gentleman...

 
 Almost every week for the past six months or so, I've participated in a weekly writing exercise. The rules are simple. A picture is posted on a website along with five randomly-chosen words. The goal is to create a story using the photo and the five words. There's a one-week deadline and a 500 word limit. It's been a lot of fun and I'm glad Randy Lindsay wrote about it in his blog.

Since I began writing these little stories, there have been a few of us who write almost every week. Occasionally someone will join us, but it's evident the flash fiction writing prompt is not everyone's cup o' tea. I think things changed when author Chris Shawbell found the site and wrote his first entry.

I was blown away...

I'd like to think my stories were engaging and imaginative. Then Chris kicked up the writing to a whole new level. To be honest, after reading his first attempt I didn't know if I could continue writing a weekly story. I didn't know if what I wrote was good enough (a silly notion, I know, especially since one of the rules is to not take the challenge too seriously...). But authors are kind of weird ducks at times. I'm happy to say the moment of insecurity passed quickly and I found myself digging deeper and trying harder to write better. Thanks to Chris, I feel I've done that.

But, Chris's talent in forming words to create incredible stories pales in comparison to what he writes to each of the other participants by way of comments on their own stories. The guy can make an author feel like a million bucks! Just as an example, here's a comment to one of my blog posts:

Is that your poem? It's incredible!
Great piece. I usual read out loud, like I do with my own work, but I realized when I was on the last paragraph I had been holding my breath. I was intensely waiting to see what was going to happen with her. I LOVE that about the written word—how I can be captured! Good work, Scott. The poem was key! It took me from the moment. This allowed me to be shocked and surprised.

~Christopher 

Like I said, authors are kind of weird ducks at times and a comment like that means so much. So, here's to you Chris Shawbell, author, gentleman. I look forward to another week and another story!


Monday, March 25, 2013

A Span Of Sorrow...A Short Story

Inangahua Junction bridge after the 1968 earthquake

 The Weekly Flash Fiction Photo Prompt

I usually get right on these little writing exercises. Especially this week because the photo is such a great one. But, it's been a crazy week so I'm writing my story with one day to spare.

Here's 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) Copy the link to your blog and enter it under the "Add you link" button at Nicole, Carrie, Tena, and/or Leanne's websites. 
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.
Photo information can be found: HERE.

Here are this week's five words:
Train
Tsunami
Tower
Snake
Carpet

Here's my attempt. Enjoy!

A Span Of Sorrow

Margret parked the car just before the road left its earthly foundation and ventured across the lazy river below. She had a thing about parking on bridges...unfounded and irrational, she knew. She began walking over the bridge as gravity gently pulled the azure carpet of liquid away from the span leaving the water to slowly snake through the lower valleys. It was April 16th, day the she returns...

'It's always colder on the bridge,' Margret thought as she gathered her jacket around her frail shoulders in an attempt to retain as much body heat as possible. Today proved cooler than most April 16th's. Like her spirits the depressing pale of winter lingered. Farmers worried about their crops. Residents cursed the cold and wished for the comfort only an accommodating sun can provide.

She slowed as she approached the exact spot of the accident. Her feet turned to lead but the need to reach the same section of bridge drove her forward. Finally, she stopped and a tsunami of emotions flooded her brain with painful memories she had tried for decades to train her mind to block. Sometimes she overcame the demons...sometimes not. 

The solitary figure stood at the edge of the road as cars, trucks and semis whizzed past. On more than one occasion well-wishing citizen stopped to ask the downhearted woman if everything was okay, the concerned motorists hoping her standing on a bridge did not signal the prelude to a disaster. Little did they know the disaster happened 27 years ago.

27 years. Had it been that long? Margret couldn't believe it. That meant her son would be...she did the math in her head...34-years old in three weeks. She fought the urge to dwell on the memory of the tired but kind police officer knocking on her door those many years ago. She tried to block the sound in his voice as he calmly, but with true compassion, told her of the accident when her son's car slid on a patch of black ice covering the bridge (it's always colder on the bridge...) and how he apparently over-corrected and sent his car over the guardrail and into the cold water below.

'No!' she thought. Not this year. This year she would think of her son, not as she saw him, a soulless form in the morgue, but as a handsome man. Would he tower over her petite frame the way her ex-husband did? He was still growing when he died. Would he continue telling his stupid puns that only he seemed to fully appreciate? Would he find a nice local girl and marry early, or would he have gone away to college like he talked about?  If so, would he move away and see her only once or twice a year? The silent water moving below her feet failed to answer her questions. Only a pain remained, a pain she would again bury, at least, for another year.

Word Count:494

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Latest Little Movie Trailer...


I've made a few of these little films before and I wanted to make one for the latest show. Last Friday I spent the night backstage using my little iPhone to video as many moments as possible. Utilizing the MacBook's iMovie feature, I put this together today. As always, it was a lot of fun. Of course, if you know the people, it's an even more enjoyable film.

And the picture above? Before the show a cast member's niece was filming us as we screamed. It's for a university photography project. It really has nothing to do with my movie trailer, but it was fun.

video

Saturday, March 23, 2013

March 23rd--What A Day...


March 23rd...You know how there are some days when everything seems to converge at once? Today was one of those days for us. Luckily, we survived.

 

Mother Nature decided to make the day just a little bit more interesting. We knew we had limited time to complete my son's Eagle Project. Saturday, the 23rd would be perfect. The scouts were already having a food drive. We just made the morning a food/book drive. It took an hour to collected around 600 books.
 


While the family went through the books, I was called away to help us clear trees and twigs from around the neighborhood. Because, seriously, what can possibly go wrong when a bunch of guys get together armed with chainsaws and enthusiasm? I'm happy to say no one was injured.
 
video


Since we planned on helping out the neighborhood on the 23rd, we had other neighbors prepare a lunch for the volunteers and their families at noon. We gathered our family and enjoyed some good food.

 

An hour after lunch began, my daughter and I needed to be at the theater to do a matinee. All went well with the show. Unfortunately, one of the cast member's cars suffered not a "fender bender," but a "fender removal." We all felt bad.

 


Since our city will be picking up the trimmings beginning Monday (and the ALWAYS begin cleaning up on our street...), my wife and I borrowed my in-law's chainsaw and went to town on the dogwoods. Goodbye dogwoods. Our twig pile has grown.

 

It has been one of those days. I'm glad not every Saturday is like today.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Never Seen Arrested Development? The Horror...

File:Arrested Development.svg*

I met a friend yesterday for lunch. We got to talking about this and that. As with most conversations, we began discussing funny shows.

Something he said reminded me of a show, a show that lives as legend for a chosen few, a show unappreciated in its time, a show experiencing a resurrection...

"So," I asked, anxious to see whether or not he has experienced the comedic nirvana for himself. "Have you ever seen Arrested Development?" For if he had, oh, the quotes we could banter back and forth like an epic game of humorous verbal tennis.

"No."

I was stunned. "But, you have Netflix...?" I thought quickly. My friend had to be saved.

"No, I don't have Netflix or cable." I hung my head...it's all I could do.

I took a deep breath. "Listen, I don't know how you'll do it, but you've got to get a copy of Arrested Development and watch it. Believe me, you'll love it. It's the best comedy writing I've ever seen." Whether or not he heeds my recommendation, I cannot say. I can only hope.

We parted, still friends, but as I ascended the stairs to return to my work station, the full weight of the new knowledge I received hit me like a bomb. No Arrested Development...ever. Each step upward reminded me of the crime against humor, the pure joy my friend had not experienced. As I sat at my desk, I cried.

* Picture used without permission from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Arrested_Development.svg

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Want To Donate Books? We're Collecting!


This weekend we're collecting books for a book drive. My son is collecting books for his Boy Scout Eagle Project. He's going to donate the books to the county jail. Our neighbor volunteers as a spiritual adviser to the inmates on Sundays. He told us that the jail's library was lacking. My son wanted to do a book drive for his Eagle project. We're doing the drive Saturday.


I'm proud of him. I know many scouts do great projects to earn their Eagle Awards. They build things. They clean up things. They donate their time and talents to worthy endeavors. My son had a chance to do many things, but he kept coming back to book drives. It's what he wanted to do. Considering the potential one book can have on a person, the possibilities of the drive could be endless. Books can literally change a person's life.


When trying to find a place to donate the books, I talked to my neighbor who volunteers at the jail I told him my son would like to donate good books, preferably classics. He thought that would be a great idea. I said, "Of course, we may not want to donate any copies of The Count of Monte Cristo." Sometimes I crack myself up...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Clearfield Community Church Fire...


I got an I/M around 4pm yesterday from my wife. "Well, the Clearfield Community Church is on fire right now!! I'm watching the new for more info." Nothing like a fire to make your day interesting. Luckily no one was hurt in the fire.


I'm not a member of the Clearfield Community Church congregation, but the building is important to our family and many of our friends. Several years ago my family joined with other homeschool families and approached the church to ask if we could use their building for a homeschool co-op we were organizing. They allowed us access to their building and they have been wonderful hosts ever since, especially considering we have many children of all ages using the building one day a week.


The church has many classrooms and meeting spaces (we never needed to enter the chapel so we didn't go in there...), but one room that was wonderful for us to use was their multipurpose room where we put on our Shakespeare plays. I directed a show a few years ago and helped out on other shows through the years. 


Acoustically, the space was not the best, but it's not the church's fault. I think it made the kids project their voices better and speak with more precise diction (which, when doing Shakespeare, is never a bad thing...). It worked out so well for us for so many shows.


I haven't heard, but I believe the building's a total loss. They had just completed several renovations, especially in the multipurpose room. The fire is sad for many reasons. The congregation has lost their building. Ours and other groups have lost a school. The community has lost a place of sanctuary. 

 

We're not sure what we're going to do to replace our one-day-a-week school, but that pales in comparison to others coping with the disaster. One thing I do know, the people who were so kind to our group (when they didn't have to be...) should have some blessings coming their way.


Thanks to Traci Rothschild Eggleston for permission to use her photographs