Monday, June 30, 2014

He Works Hard For The...Fun

My son bought a new toy last week and it arrived today.

And there was much rejoicing.

I know what you may be thinking. It's a video gaming system. There are other things, perhaps better things a teenager could spend his hard-earned money on. When I was just a little older than him, I spent just over double of what he spent on this system and bought my first car. I must say, however, this new toy is so much more advanced than my first car, and I'm sure it works a heck of a lot better than that first car, too.

But I'm proud of him because he paid for the whole thing himself. My son has a lawn mowing job that he does twice a week. He saved his money and he bought a refurbished game console. He didn't even pay for the express shipping--too much money.

Last year he purchased a similar item with his money and he saved up for that too. He's gotten a lot of use out of it in this last year and I suspect he'll do the same with this new toy. Like I said, there are other things he could have bought, but I think if I was his age and had that kind of money I earned, I might have done the same thing, too.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ghosts Of Ragnar...

I ran into a friend at church today and I asked him how he was doing. He told me he had just slept from 10pm to 10am.

The reason for such a long sleep?

In a word: Ragnar. He, along with his friends, ran the Wasatch Back Ragnar race that was held this weekend, and he was tired.

The one and only time I participated in a Ragnar race was in 2012. It was an amazing experience and even though I was given the almost nine mile, uphill the entire time (and that's not "old people" speak given to young whippersnappers...) leg of the race, I had a great time.

But, I've not returned.

There's a couple of reasons for this. I can always blame the cost of the event as the main reason for not doing another Ragnar race. However, an equally-sized stumbling block is I don't exercise on a regular basis, and to do Ragnar right, you should be prepared. Any race you run you want to do your best, to push yourself more than even you thought possible. 

My friend's comment at church today as well as seeing posts on Facebook of other friends successfully completing this weekend's Ragnar race brought back good memories, memories that came with little sleep, sore muscles and tough runs. So now, as the sun continues to erase the evidence that I completed a Ragnar race from the back window of my car, I wonder if I will again join eleven other people and spend a weekend pushing ourselves to the limit.

Maybe one day...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

If You Like Ford GT40s...You'll LOVE This Place!

A week ago I visited a very cool place, a museum of priceless cars, cars that would make Jay Leno jealous.

I took pictures mostly of the GT40s, but the building is full of Ford Mustangs, Cobras, as well. It's located at Miller Sports Park and you can get details of its hours of operation at their website: HERE.

In addition to looking at amazing cars, I had the opportunity to visit the Larry Miller Museum with someone who used to work at the racetrack. He filled me in on a lot of facts, which made the experience that much better.

One interesting fact is, this GT40, #1, is the same car that won the 1966 24 Hours at Le Mans. It's pictured in the black and white photo below--it's the very same car.

And this car, the #40 was the GT that was used in Steve McQueen's move Le Mans

The museum that is named after Larry Miller has more Cobras than any other place on the planet and it's the only place you'll find the GT40 Mark I, II, III, IV, and V all in one place.

I've got a brother-in-law that's a gearhead and next time he visits, I'm going to suggest we go out there and check out the Mustangs and Cobras. 

But when I was there last week, I couldn't take my eyes of those beautiful GT40s.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Some Good Pics Of The Week...

If you follow this blog at all you've most likely seen a "Pic Of The Day" section that presents a new picture...well, everyday. 

Hence the name.

I've been posting a new picture everyday for over three years. The first camera I used as a 10 megapixel point-and-shoot shoot Kodak. Good camera, but it had it's limitations. When I got my iPhone I used that for a while, but when I bought my DSLR, I tried to pick up my game.

I've tried panoramic shots, sunsets, close ups of flowers and animals. And everyone knows my kids are fair game for a pic of the day. 

There are days when the pictures mean more to me than others. In other words, they're not the greatest of quality. But this week I think I've taken some good ones, ones that I like and hopefully you do too. So, here's my best pics of the week!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Watching Soccer At The ESA...

Today I, along with several Americans, watched the World Cup match-up between the United States Men's Soccer team verses Germany. And I watched it at a basketball arena. There were several soccer fans taking advantage of the awesome jumbotrons.

Of course, there's another reason they opened up the building...

Soccer fans are an interesting lot. During the second half, after Germany scored the game's only goal (I hope I'm not giving away any spoilers...), the crowd settled in and waited--hoped--the boys in white would get a goal, or at least, not allow any other scores. As long as the score stayed the same, the Americans would live to play another day.

Even though the Americans lost, they are moving on...such is the strangeness of soccer.

I would have loved to catch the feeling in the arena had USA scored, but maybe next time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

So, Am I A Bestselling Author? Could Be...

So, if you go to Amazon right now and click: Any Department, Kindle Store, Kindle Books, Literature & Fiction, Anthologies & Literature Collections, and you look under Short Stories, you'll see a couple of books, included is one titled Shades And Shadows: A Paranormal Anthology, and another is Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology.

According to Amazon these books are Top Rated.

That makes me very happy, especially since I have short stories in both these fine books.

I know that my name is one of several fine authors included in these anthologies. And thankfully Xchyler Publishing allowed my words to be included with theirs.

So, thank you Xchyler! Thank you Amazon! But more importantly, thank you readers! Glad you've decided to let a bit of us become part of your lives!

Amazon website for Shades And Shadows: HERE.

Amazon website for Mechanized Masterpieces: HERE

Website for Xchyler Publishing: HERE

Give them a click and check out what's inside!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Little Off-Road Racing...

My neighbor: "Hey, you want to go to the Lucas Oil Off Road races at Miller Sports Park this Saturday?"

Me: "Um...Yeah!"

"My neighbor: "Great! I've got tickets for you and your son."

Me: "Um...Yeah!"

Sometimes I don't say much.

And so on Saturday last, my son and I (and my neighbor, interestingly enough...) climbed in my non-off-road vehicle and we drove past one Oquirrh Mountain range and found ourselves west of Tooele, Utah, at Miller Sports Park for some off-road racing.

If you've never gone, I highly recommend it! It was a blast!

So much engine noise and flying flecks of dirt and engine noise--and being really close to flying vehicles was a rush! I even got high-fives from the podium racers.

We stayed for three races, saw one truck roll over, saw one catch on fire and saw many damaged fiberglass body panels. Best part, I had a fantastic afternoon with my son. Thanks My neighbor!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ever Been Buzzed By A Red-Tailed Hawk? One Thing Off My List Of Things To Do...

Yesterday I was out on my back deck waiting for a hummingbird to stop by and get a drink from our little hummingbird feeder. I wanted to try and get a good close up shot using my good camera.

It was another bird that got my attention.

My neighbors have a huge tree in their backyard and in that tree were a couple of hawks. As I waited for the hummingbird to show up, the hawks started making a ruckus. I saw our cat waiting below the deck so I thought the hawks were making a fuss over him. After the birds began acting up, the cat shimmied up the post and stood by me. As he was climbing up, one of the birds began diving at us and hovering above our heads and it continued to cry out. The cat and I went inside and once we were inside, the bird stopped crying out and flew back to the tree.

I thought I had missed a chance to get some great shots of the hawk, especially as it basically flew in one spot in the sky (between bombing drives...). I went back outside to see if the bird was still there, I'd try and get a shot of that bird.

Turns out the hawks weren't worried about the cat at all.

They didn't like me.

For some reason, I've upset a pair of what looks to be red-tailed hawks. They're not too big or colorful, but they don't like me on my back deck. Tonight I went out and filmed one of the bird's flights on my phone. I don't know how long this is going to last. It's kind of strange, and a little Hitchcock-ian.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

It's A Cat, Not A Piranha...A Short Story


It's Another Weekly Writing Prompt!

Last week I did not participate in the weekly writing challenge. It was Father's Day and I wanted to write something about that. But I do enjoy writing these sometimes challenging little stories. They're fun and I believe, improve my skills as a writer.

Of course, if you'd like to join the fun, here are the rules:

1) Use both photos in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday night to link up your post.
4) Add your story to (Blue Link) at Leanne's, Debb's or Tena's websites.
5) Have fun, don't stress, let those creative juices flow!

Let's give it a go!

It's A Cat, Not A Piranha

"What? A cat person? You gotta be kidding me!" Sgt. Ty Lockwood said to his C.O. as the two waited for a change in orders from command. The men sat under the hot Afghani sun having lunch.

"Oh, you bet!" Lt. Chad Morris told the sergeant who he had known since their last deployment to the Middle East. "Look, here's a picture my wife sent of one of the latest batch of kittens. The kids named this one Pumpkin," Morris showed the officer from St. Louis the adorable photo from his phone.

"Eh...cute, I guess," the 6'4", 210 lb. soldier said. "But if you want to see something really cute, check out Brutus." He retrieved his own phone and pulled up a picture of his Weimaraner/Lab mix.

"What's he dressed like, Sherlock Holmes?"

"No. This is from Mardi Gras last year. I'm originally from New Orleans. He had some bead necklaces on but he ate them before I could snap the picture." The men continued eating occasionally looking at the other men from Lockwood's company eating lunch as well.

"Why cats?" Lockwood asked after a moment of silence. "I mean, it's a cat! They poop in the house. The cough up hairballs, and I swear, behind those cat eyes, they're figuring out some way to kill you and pick your bones."

Morris laughed long and hard. "No way! It's a cat, not a piranha," Morris said. "Sure, they're temperamental and callous and don't give a crap about anything you do. And I know dogs love you unconditionally, but there's something that happens when a cat crawls up on your lap, paws around a few times, then lays down and starts to purr."

"You know, the cat's not doing that for your benefit--more for his," Lockwood said.

"Oh, I know. I know when a cat does that, I become a living pillow, but I don't care."

Lockwood started laughing as he finished up his meal.

"What's so funny?"

Lockwood pointed to his company of men spread out before them. "You'd better not let any of my men hear you say what you just told me."

"Oh," Morris said with a smile. "That's your job to keep it a secret."

"Is that a direct order?"

"You bet your butt, sergeant."

Word Count: 385

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Movie Marathon, A Rarity...

Saving Mr. Banks Theatrical Poster.jpg¥

Last night my wife and I had a movie marathon. You remember those...dedicating several hours to just watching movies. Unlike my parents, I grew up in an age where you could rent movies and watch multiple movies back-to-back. Luckily, by the time I got to high school, we could go to Blockbuster, or a local video store, and rent movies and stay up until the wee hours of the morning, or even watch until the sun rose the next day. Ah...those carefree days of our twenties.

Last night we rented a couple of movies from the Redbox and settled down for the marathon. We knew we needed to watch the two that we rented (hate paying for an extra Redbox day...), but the third movie was a bonus.

Delivery Man Poster.jpg*

We watched Saving Mr. Banks, Delivery Man and the first half of The Lego Movie. 

I have several friends who blog about new movies they see. Since we rarely watch movies in the theater, I don't blog about new movies. And I don't think I ever blog about watching newly released DVD movies that we see--probably because it's not a big deal to rent a movie that just came out on DVD.

A construction worker Lego figure running away from a bright light, with other Lego characters running alongside him.π

Neither my wife or I had seen Saving Mr. Banks or Delivery Man. In my opinion, both excellent films, though for different reasons. I recommend both of them, especially Delivery was an unexpected treat. We tried to finish the third film (exceptional, as well...), but it was too late and we were too tired so we stopped it halfway through.

I mean, we're not in our twenties anymore...

¥ Photo used without permission from:
* Photo used without permission from:
π Photo used without permission from:

Friday, June 20, 2014

What's The Danish Word For Love?

A friend of mine decided a few weeks back to fly to Seattle and buy some pastry. It was on a Friday. Now, I can count on one hand the number of times I've flown on a plane since 1987 so booking a trip for pastry seems a bit extravagant. 

And so I asked him, when I saw him the following evening, "You just flew to Seattle for pastry?" And he responded, "Sometimes I get bored on Fridays."

My friend bought several hundred dollars worth of treats and brought them back to for a party, for people he sees regularly and for others he hasn't seen in decades. As the party wound down, he announced to the group the pastry was for us. He wanted us to each take one, take it home to enjoy with our families. Or, I suppose, we could down it on the way home.

I snagged a smorkage, or smørkage, and it took me over a week to finish it. I wanted it to last as long as possible--without it going bad, that is. 

Google translates smørkage as "Butter Cake." To me, smorkage is now Danish for "love." Thanks Jeff. It was sweet.