Thursday, April 30, 2015

Photobooth...It's Been A While

When I'm home I spend a lot of time on my laptop. As a writer/blogger/photographer, it's a given. And, truth be told, I probably should spend more time on it writing (that's the plan....

So, my youngest son would love to jump up on the bed while I was writing and have me open the Photobooth program on my MacBook.

And, I loved it too.

He loved to choose the different filters and see how the pictures turned out, be they distorted or altered, a la Andy Warhol. 

Then, we just sort of stopped. I was looking at the pictures the other day and I noticed it's been years since he asked to have our picture taken. I took the next opportunity to take some pictures of us together. 

I don't know exactly how old he will be when "hey son, do you want to take some pictures with me?" no longer sounds either fun or interesting to him. But even if that day is tomorrow, I've got these pictures of my youngest son and me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fadels...A Sign Of The Times

It was a normal drive to the next town south, but this time something was different, something had changed, something was gone.

The Fadels sign is no more.

The sign that's been in the same location for decades (I don't exactly how long...) has been taken down, though nature itself helped the crew assigned to dismantle the aging sign, a sign some called "an eyesore."

The billboard was literally a sign of the times, and it never fit in to its environment, nor did it make much sense. Before those in the Salt Lake Valley discovered what a great place Davis County was to live and raise a family, the Fadels sign stood alone in a field of weeds.

And it stayed that way for years. It wasn't until much later that I found out that Fadels was a furniture store in Salt Lake City. How or why they decided to put up a large sign, I don't know. What made things more confusing is the sign--at least to best of my recollection--never had anything but "Fadels" on it, no Fadels Furniture, no other details, just the singular word.

As time passed, the area was developed and homes began popping up around the sign. The city then put up a sound wall hiding the sign from the freeway effectively destroying the its usefulness. However, I believe the store closed years ago so it really didn't matter if anyone saw the sign or not.

In August, 2012, I stopped by and took pictures of the dilapidated sign, a sign in such disrepair that a tree--a big tree--was growing through the middle of it. I can only imagine those living in the neighborhood hated it and wanted it gone. To them it was just a big pile of rotting wood. To me, it was more.

As progress continues in my little town (not so little anymore...), it's another thing that's forever gone, another building, another landmark that my kids will not identify as being part of the town where they live. Us old-timers can no longer sit at the counter at the drug store on the corner of state and main, or in the seats at the Tom Boy Cafe or play on the big rocks at Farmington Elementary. Nor can we shop at the Farmington AG or buy pastries at the bakery across from the cemetery or go to Lagoon via the back gate or swim in the million-gallon pool with water fit to drink.

No, our kids live in a different world, and even though they play on streets paved and re-paved over and over again, they also ride their bikes over new roads to new homes for new families. And the kids growing up in those new homes will see us old-timers talk about the way the little town used to be and wonder what in the world is "a Fadels sign?"

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

So...What Kind Of Bird Is This?

Yesterday as I drove home from work I noticed some neighbors congregating in front of their homes talking and looking up at the mountain. I waved as I drove by (which is what we do in our neighborhood...) and after I parked my car at my house, I too looked up at the mountain to see if I could spot what they were looking at.

I saw them--four huge birds.

I am in no way an expert on birds, but I know what a crow, magpie, robin, pigeon and dove looks like when they fly around the house. We've even seen bald eagles from time to time. Last summer a family of kestrel falcons nested in our roof--that was SO cool!

But, I have no idea what these things were. I know they were big, but they never flew close enough to get a very good picture of them. However, I'm pretty sure someone out there will recognize the shape of these birds and hopefully they'll let me know.

They flew around for thirty or so minutes. My family even came outside and saw them. We could not answer the question of what they were. Maybe one day in the future I'll be outside and I'll see them soaring overhead. And if I do, I just might know what I'm seeing.

Monday, April 27, 2015

To Maw...Or Not To Maw?


This afternoon I posted a simple question on Facebook, and it has to do with the word: Maw. And before I get any further in this post, I need to thank the people at Twisted Pixel Games LLC for creating (and hopefully allowing me to use...) the above visual. Their game is called The Maw and you can get information on it: HERE.

Needless to say, I received several responses to my simple question, which was: Has there ever been a speculative fiction work that doesn't include the word "maw?"

Now, I know it's a perfectly good word, however, like almost anything in life, too much of a good things is anything but. I've read SO many stories in speculative fiction over the past couple of years and almost every time, the word maw can be found within the text.

I got a lot of great responses. One of my FB friends, Justin posted a link to a similar blog post he penned a couple of years ago. I'm glad he did that because I wondered if I'm the only one thinking that. I recommend you read his post: HERE.

But, the best response I got was from another friend, Jay (who is an author AND a video game designer...). Here's what he had to say:

JAY: Gonna suggests titles for Scott's next story:

"A Maw Too Far"

"A Maw for Emily"
"The Lord of the Maws"
"Rendezvous with Maw"
"The Maw of Time"
"The Mawing"
"Pet Maw"
"Black Maw"
"The Tell-Tale Maw"
"Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Maw"
"The Maw Whisperer"
"The Maw of the Wild"
"Star Maw"
"Papa Married a Maw" (Well, yeah...)
"If You Were a Maw, My Love"
"Old Maw's War"
"Maw and Empire"
"War of the Maws"
"Around the Maw in Eighty Days"
"Maw Hunters International"
"A Song of Fire and Maws"
"A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Maw"
"What the Maw Saw"

And of course... duh, DUM! duh, DUM!!!!


And if I could, I'd add one of my own to this fantastic list--in honor of Jay's short story in Mechanized Masterpieces 2: An American Anthology:

The Maw-Less Horsemen.

To Maw...or not to Maw? Turns out that's a pretty good question!

* Artwork used without permission from:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pioneer Village's Wild West Shootout...My First SOPIK

Last week one of my blog posts stood out from the others. It was the one with my friend from college who passed away almost twenty years ago. For me, it was a special post--I didn't realize until after I posted it that it touched others as well.

Back in ancient times (before digital photography...), when you took a picture you had to wait to until the photos were developed to see exactly what transferred on film. One upside to using film is that once the pictures are developed, you have something you can hold in your hand. 

When I wrote my post about Deron I had to go the basement and look through the box full of old pictures until I found the one I needed. In that box there were a lot of other pictures, some from my mission, before my mission, from different places I worked and from university choir tours. They brought back so many memories, memories I want to share.

Several months ago I started the POLAIK blog posts. POLAIK stands fro Profiles Of Local Authors/Artists I Know. And, since I write every day, writing about such talented authors and artists helped fill the daily requirement and a way to let others know about how amazing those people are.

Today I'm going to start a new blog thread called SOPIK, which stands for Some Old Photos I've Kept. And I'm starting with one of the best jobs I've ever had: A Stuntman in the Wild West Shootout at Lagoon.

I don't have a lot of pictures of the years I  did that job with great friends. These were all from the same season, though I don't remember which one. And they could have all been taken on the same day. We rotated half a dozen different shows--not high drama you understand, but the patrons didn't expect impeccable acting or ultra-realistic fights. They came to have a good time and watch guys falls off rooftops and towers.

And that's what they got. And I got memories I hope to keep with me forever. I was part of the last stuntman team to perform at Pioneer Village. It's been more than twenty years since anyone's strapped on 22s, cowboy hats and colored scarves. Maybe one day new generations of amusement park guests can watch men pretend to fight, tell corny jokes and fall from dizzying heights. I sure hope so.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The "Happy Birthday" Paint Party...

Yesterday two of my most favorite people celebrated birthdays and they just happened to be grandmother and granddaughter. I know my mother-in-law was tickled pink when my daughter was born on her birthday. Now if only my daughter was left-handed...

To celebrate my mother-in-law suggested we go to Hands On Art Art and Ceramic Studio. 

What a blast!

We each chose an item to paint. We then went into a little room and painted it. Once it's finished, we leave it there where the store will fire it. We'll have our finished product. I cannot wait to see how ours turned out. I'm sure I'll be blogging about them once they're done.

But the reason we gathered was not to paint ceramic cups and cute animals, it was to spend time with family and to wish these two amazing women happy birthday.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Robert Heinlein's "Starship Troopers"...A Book Review

Cover of Starship Troopers

I've known about this book for literally decades, but it took me until this week for me to actually read it. What a great book!

Back in the 1970s when Dungeons & Dragons hit some other games hit the market in hopes of repeating their success. One game company made games based on books. I actually purchased the board game of Starship Troopers and I think I even played it once. I tried looking for it once in my mom's basement, but it got tossed years ago. Too bad--it's probably a collector's item now.

The next time I heard of the story was when the film came out. Yes, I watched it--it was gory, campy and gratuitous--definitely over the top. So when the book came available at the library, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what the story was about.

I was wrong.

I'm glad I was wrong.

Yes, the book had some elements that were in the movie, but the book was so much better! What I liked most about the book was the way it focused mostly on the soldier and what someone fighting aliens in the future would go through. Yes, there were the battles with the bugs, but that mostly came about near the end of the book. I appreciated the way Heinlein crafted his world first, then put us in the battles. It added perspective so when the troops went to war, the reader was educated to the environment. 

Heinlein's one of the pioneers in science fiction writing. And since there's such a dust up concerning the Hugo Awards this year (and a little last year, too...), I was excited to read this book. Much has been written about Robert Heinlein and hypothetical questions have been asked such as, "If Robert A. Heinlein were alive to day, would he have won a Hugo Award, or the other awards he won?"

To me, it really doesn't matter, especially after reading Starship Troopers. An award is given after a great work is produced. Some argue Heinlein would not have won awards if he lived and wrote today. Be that as it may, he hit a home run with this one.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mr. DeMille...I'm Not Quite Ready For My Close-Up

I saw the call and almost didn't pick it up. I needed to finish my lunch so I could go downstairs to where they were going to be filming in just over thirty minutes.

I decided to pick up the call.

I'm glad I did.

It was my boss asking me where I was. You see, the filming that was going to begin in thirty-two minutes was going to actually begin in two.

Amazing how the details on those e-mails (and flyers...) can be missed sometimes.

So after shoving the remainder of my lunch in my face, I rushed downstairs. When I reached the room they had just begun and there was a chair waiting for me.

I know it was just an interdepartmental video, but it's still a little strange to be on camera. I've always said I've got a face for radio and a voice for newspapers, so seeing myself on the couple of times the camera swung over to our table is weird. Good thing it's not my main gig.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Veronica Roth's "Allegiant"...A Book Review

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)*

Last week I finished Veronica's trilogy by reading the last book in the series, Allegiant. I'm glad I read the books. Many times I wish there were more books to read in a world created by the author. With this one, I'm not so sure--I'm kind of glad it's over.

The final installment differs from the previous two books by having two narrators, Tris and Tobias take turns continuing the story, which was effective, but I wondered why that decision was made. The reason for the two points of view becomes obvious as the story unfolds.

If there's one thread that made reading these books tough for me is that there were so many different factions in the story, I kind of lost track. Perhaps if I had read the hard copy instead of listening to the books as audiobooks. I think this happens a lot to me and audiobooks. Because I don't actually see the words, I get lost at times. This isn't necessarily the author's fault. Of course, since I can't go back and read the hard copy when I experience the characters and the story for the first time, I'll never know if I read the books instead of listening to them would make my experience different.

Before I read this book I watched the movie based on the first installment, Divergent. I believe it helped put me in the world and did help me understand the gravity behind the story. Once again, there's that visual sensation helping me enjoy Roth's story.

A lot of people are tired of dystopian storylines. I'm not at that point, yet. Dystopia reminds me how no matter how we live, humans act in certain ways--always have, always will. One could argue that we live in a dystopian society now, even with all the luxuries and technological advancements we enjoy. For me, dystopia is a mindset, it's how we treat each other. I think most of us are basically good to each other. We help others in need when we can. Others see our world is full of evil where selfish people are out for no one but themselves. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Once again, I'm glad I read these books. They're definitely engaging and suspenseful. Roth did a fantastic job creating a believable world in which the physical distinctions of all its citizens are assigned, definite and socially acceptable. And because they are, we find out what horrors can exist in a world like that.

* Photo used without permission from:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Your Anniversary's In June...What's Wrong With That? Ah...Playoffs

The other day a co-worker and I were having a conversation. He's one of my sport's friends. That isn't to say he and I participate in sports, but it seems whenever we talk (which is a couple of times a month...), we inevitably discuss sports.

I used to be into sports--my wife would say I still am--but I don't think so, at least not the was I once was. Sports used to affected me and not always in a positive way. I made the conscience decision to reduce my sports intake. I know I'm much more at peace than I used to be.

So, my friend and I were talking. Somehow we got on the topic of marriages and weddings. I remembered a mutual friend of ours that was going to get married soon, so I asked him how he was doing and when was he going to get married. He said our friend was doing fine and the wedding was in June. 

Then my friend said something that I wasn't quite sure I heard correctly. 

He said, "Yeah, that's when I got married, but I kind of wish I had gotten married a little later in the month." I asked, why, and he said, "Because, had I waited a little bit, my anniversary wouldn't interfere with the NBA playoffs."

I was a little taken back. Our local pro team, the Utah Jazz hadn't made the playoffs in several years and the last time they did, they were swept in the first round. I asked what that meant since no local team was playing this year and he said that it kind of interfered with his anniversary, not in a major way, but the games sometimes did.

I guess removing myself from the world of sports has made me think about things differently. I would imagine the two could exist harmoniously together. Of course, my anniversary is in September, arguably the best time for sports. With college and NFL games in full swing, baseball pennant races going on, preseason NBA games and major league soccer matches--it's a sports junky nirvana. So, when we decided to get married in September, what was I thinking?

All photos used without permission from the NBA

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Few Flowers At My Mother-In-Law's House...

Photography, for me, is a hobby. There was a time when I wanted it to be a profession, but things didn't turn out that way. Thankfully, in our day and age a person can do a lot in the field of photography for not a lot of money.

Since early 2011 I've been taking pictures every day. I know this because I've posted a daily picture on my blog (and on Facebook and Google +...) every day since then.

It's been a lot of fun, but it's also a challenge to find something at least mildly interesting every day. I take my Nikon with me to work and other places. I would like to say I go for little photowalks daily while at work for my Pic Of The Day.

Unfortunately, that doesn't happen. 

So, many times I'm rushed to get a daily picture as the day ends and I run outside and try to find something interesting. Yesterday my wife and I went over to my in-law's and I took my camera because I knew she'd have beautiful things to photograph.

I've blogged about her yard before. It's simply stunning. We got there at dusk and so I didn't have a lot of time to get many pictures, but I got my Pic Of The Day and one other. If I'm ever in need of a beautiful subject to shoot, I know where to go.