Sunday, October 22, 2017

Blowin' In The Wind...

We live in a seasonal climate, which means we have all the seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. We also live in in a desert. Because of ingenious and hard-working settlers (and those who've come after...), irrigation waters our lawns, gardens, and trees. Many of those trees shed their leaves in the fall and the scene is beautiful.

But, there's always a downside. Many of my friends think cold temperatures and snow are the downsides of autumn. For me, the downside of fall is the beauty of the season is fleeting--one big storm can wipe it out.

In fact, last Friday my wife and I were driving around town and I said to her that just as the leaves appear to become their most colorful, a big storm blows in and robs the trees of their leaves.

A few hours after our conversation, it happened.

And I got some videos.


The storm wasn't all that big, but big enough to take down a lot of leaves. The weather is turning, getting colder, and we'll most likely have snow and wind and more wind. But then, the world will be covered with a blanket of virgin snow and the world will be beautiful again. 


I can't wait!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Looks Like The Wall Street Journal Knows What We've Known For A Long Time...

Back when I worked with a computer developer, my friend told me about the Wall Street Journal. Of course, I'd heard of the newspaper (it was only a paper back then, there was no "on-line" anything...). He told me that I could get so much of what was really going on in not only the business world, and in the world in general by just reading the front page of the journal.

It's been almost thirty years since he told me that and I haven't forgotten it. For a while I would read the first page of the journal because the business subscribed. It's been a long time since I picked up the newspaper and read that front page. And, honestly, it's been a long time since I've even checked out the digital version, but I did check it out this past week. It's because they spotlighted a comedy troupe from Utah, BYUtv's Studio C

It's something those of us around here have known about for a long time.

The WSJ article is interesting. It's main point is that the comedians are succeeding even without using vulgarity or off-color jokes to do it, Maybe in their world that is newsworthy. Those of us who seek out and watch "clean" comedy know it can not only be successful, but good, as in quality as well. The article goes on to say even Conan O'Brian has been impressed with what they do.

If you've not heard of Studio C, or if you've followed them for years, check out the article. You can read it by clicking: HERE. Hopefully, because of the Wall Street Journal, more and more people will find out what we've known for a long time, that Studio C is dang funny!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Congratulations Betsy!

The other day at our Christmas show rehearsal I sat next to my friend Betsy. We were not in that particular scene so we were both on our phones (and no, Jim, we didn't have all our lines, choreography and blocking down cold--I apologize...). Casually, she showed me her phone.

"Look," she said and I saw an announcement for the 2017 KSL Voter's Choice winners. "I won."

She explained that she had won Best Wedding Gown in KSL's contest. If you know Betsy at all, it really came as no surprise.

I first me Betsy when we did Beauty and the Beast at Rodger's Memorial Theatre in the mid-2000s. We got to know each other a little. A lot of time passed before we did another show together. I've always enjoyed her spirit--she's fun, but fierce, and she's a woman that would do anything for her family.

When I first met Betsy, I didn't know she made wedding gowns. I asked her about it a few years ago. Back when we first met, she didn't make wedding dresses, at least that's how I remember the conversation going. She went from not making them to being one of the best around.

Having done several shows in the past almost twenty years, you meet a lot of people. The theater community isn't very big in reality. You'll see them at auditions--some you just did a show with a few months ago, others you haven't seen in years. Betsy's the kind of person that when you see her at auditions, or at a first cast meeting, you know the show's automatically going to be better because she's in it.

If you're not familiar with Betsy's work, you can go to her website: HERE, or you can check out her Facebook site: HERE. If you're in the market for a beautiful dress, or even if you're not and you just want to check out incredible works of art, you'll find something wonderful that she's made.

No, it doesn't surprise me she won. It's what she's been doing all her life. And I'm proud to call her my friend.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thanks Salt Lake Magazine For The Beautiful Edition, But...

It arrived in the mail last week--it was one of the more surprising things to show up in our mailbox in some time. Was it junk mail? Hardly. This thing was beautiful and full of information.

But was it needed?

That's a much tougher question to answer.

Growing up we had no internet or even computers. Our substitutes to obtain information was newspapers, TV, and radio for "up to date" information, and we checked out magazines to get our specialized and in depth fix on various topics. I'm reminded of scenes showing a crusty old store owner yelling at kids to not hang out by the magazines. And, though my memory is a little fuzzy, at the local drug store in my hometown, there were signs by the magazines that discouraged--if not all out banned--kids from loitering around the magazines.

That was over forty years ago. The drugstore, including the lunch counter, ice cream bar with barstools, and the magazine rack are long gone.

And so, I thought, were magazines.

I know they're still there. At Barnes and Noble and at our local grocery store, there's still magazines you can buy. Since I haven't been around the magazine stands lately, I wonder if any signs discouraging loitering anymore. I wouldn't know because I no longer hang out there. That's why receiving the Salt Lake magazine in our mail was interesting to me.

Just thumbing through the pages, I felt the magazine wasn't something for me. I'm not planning on visiting St. Petersburg anytime soon. I don't find myself in Park City either to sample some of the best food and drinks in the state. Sure, I suppose doing either of those things sounds fun (in moderation, of course...), but it's just not me. It surprised me that they'd send this to me.

I admit, I have not read through the entire thing. But as I snapped these pictures I found myself on the last page, a commentary penned by John Shuff called Miracles at Work. The author didn't write about miracles we experience while working, but how miracles work in our l ives. It's a short article, a heart-felt collection of thoughts about how the hand of God affects us, changes us, makes us who we are.

After reading John's thoughts I looked at the collection of beautiful pictures and glossy ads differently. And I'm glad they sent it. I still won't be booking my plane ticket to St. Petersburg (either Florida or Russia...) and we probably won't be heading up to Park City, either. But I will take take the time and check out the whole magazine--something I used to do decades ago.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Evolution Of A Halloween Display...

We all have different cultures. There's cultures we have at home, at church, on our down time, and especially at work. And each of these cultures can be further broken down into sub-cultures. Case in point, the way my co-workers decorate our building at Halloween.

Last year was my first Halloween in this building. I had no idea how these people celebrated the holiday--it never entered my mind, but as October 31st drew near, it became abundantly clear that the sub-Halloween culture here was "go big, or go home." I blogged about last year's decorations and you can visit that site by clicking: HERE.

This year things are a little subdued as compared to last year. Then again, we're fourteen days out until the big day. A year ago, at this time I didn't think things could get much bigger than they were, but as the holiday approached, things got crazier and crazier. And, I was told since I wasn't there, more and more things were added Halloween day.

When people have the opportunity to get creative, it's amazing what they will do. This is just one section of the building. Everything that's been made and put up was done on their own time--either on breaks or before/after work.

I won't show my Halloween display--it's not very impressive. And our section of the building doesn't go all out as others do. Still, I'm glad others do. It makes for awesome things to see!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Check Out John Olson's "Crystal Servants" Story...Something I Worked On

Last week I was asked to help edit an audio file, a short story from author, and all-around good guy John M. Olsen. The short is titled, Crystal Servants, and it's from his soon-to-be released novel, Crystal King. You can learn more about the short and the novel by clicking: HERE.

Back in the day, I worked as a computer sound technician. My job was to clean up narration for a computer program. It was a cool, if not tiring (at times...) job. But since the late 1980s, I haven't had many opportunities to edit sound files. Immortal Works had me do a Flash Fiction Friday story a few months back, but I think that ended up being less than ten minutes. This one was over an hour when I got it.

I thought, "Sure. I can get that thing cranked out in no time.

Turns out, it took longer than I had anticipated.

This didn't worry me--I had a weekend coming up and it wasn't due until today. Still, last Friday I worked on it for several hours and only got the first 15-20 minutes done. I'm a bit hampered by the software I'm using to edit. It's called Audacity. It's not that bad, especially since it's free. Actually, since it's free and I couldn't have done the project without it, it's really good.

Another reason it took a while is because I'm a little picky. At first I was eliminating every breath. That takes time. After a while I kept many of the breaths in. I did try and remove as many pops and clicks as I could. It's amazing how much we pop and click when we talk.

I was able to finish up the project and I sent it over. Today Immortal Works is promoting it, and unbeknownst to me, they credited me as the Editor. They didn't need to do that--I'm appreciative that they did.

Give Crystal Servants a listen. It's free and it's good. And those are two pluses in my book.

Monday, October 16, 2017

When Facebook Thinks You're Someone Else...

Last week I snapped a picture of my daughter at her weekend job. She did what I did last year and the year before that, worked as part of the Hackenslash show at Lagoon's Frightmares. After our shifts ended I used the picture as my "Pic Of The Day," It was when I downloaded it to Facebook that things got interesting.

If you're unfamiliar with Facebook, you can download all sorts of things, pictures, videos, clips from movies, artwork. It's almost limitless. And the good people of Facebook have added another handy feature--they've set up a face-recognition feature so you can identify people in your photos. I imagine the reason for this is multi-fold. When a person "tags" another person in a photo, a message goes out to the tagged person as well as all their Facebook Friends. That way as many people as possible will then checkout the new picture, thus staying on their website and avoiding others. Like cars, you can only drive one at a time--you can only be on one website at a time.

I downloaded the picture and I got a familiar notice. Facebook asked if I wanted to "Tag" my son. The problem is, the picture wasn't of my son, but of my daughter. Except for two years when my son was on a church mission, I've lived with both these children all their lives. I guess there's a resemblance, but I don't think they look a like. In Facebook's defense, my daughter was not on Facebook at the time and my son was.

This changed today. My daughter now has her own Facebook account so I wondered if Facebook would recognize that the picture of my daughter I posted last week was not my son. I pulled up the picture and clicked the "Tag" option. Turns out the book of faces still didn't recognize the correct person. I'm not smart enough to understand Facebook's recognition software--I'm sure it's very technical. Just not this time...

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thank You DeLille Cellars Winery...For The Excellent Service!

Last month my family attending a wedding in Washington State. My nephew married his beautiful bride and we were invited to the event. They chose an incredible location, the DeLille Cellars Winery in Woodinville, Washington. We first attended the wedding, but it was reception where the winery shined, at least for me.

First, I should say, this has nothing to do with the product the winery sells. Even though alcohol was available to the guests, my family did not partake. So how did this company impress me so much while we spent time on their grounds?

Good question.

After the ceremony we all retreated to tables and waited for dinner. Because my nephew and his family wanted their guests to have as good a time as possible, they asked weeks beforehand what we wanted to eat. We responded and let them know what we wanted to eat. At the dinner, our table was on the periphery so we were served later. That's when our wonderful server bent close to my ear and admitted that my youngest's son's meal went to a different guest, a little girl at another table. She apologized more than once.

We broke the news to my son. He was understanding, but a little bummed. I can understand. He was one of the youngest people there. If it was me, I'd certainly feel a little out of place, barely a teenager at such an adult event. My son was given a different meal, one he would not have chosen on his own, but it was what they had.

He tried his food--it didn't suit him, but he gave it a go. The server noticed he was a little down so she did something she didn't need to do. She went and got him food similar to what he ordered. I don't know where she got it, but she did. When the meal was presented to him, his face lit up and he enjoyed his food the same as the rest of us. By the way, my steak was so, so, so delicious!

What our server did impressed me very much. She noticed the youngest at the table and made sure his experience was as good as possible. She made the night special for my son, which made it special for me. I can't remember her name, but she served us at Abe and Stephanie's wedding back in September. Thank you for the excellent service!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

David Grann's "Killers Of The Flower Moon"...A Book Review


Last week I finished David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon. I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but when I do, I've found the books I've read to be fantastic.

Killers of the Flower Moon is no exception.

It's a powerful story, one I knew nothing of.

The book deals with a lot of history, dark history of our country. The Osage Native American Tribe were moved to land in Oklahoma, land no one else wanted. And because of a provision in the treaty, the tribe were granted rights to all minerals found on and under the land. This was both a blessing and a curse for those tribe members. What the land yielded was oil. It made tribe members rich--very rich. And because of this, they were preyed upon by those who banished them to the land in the first place.

The crimes that were perpetrated on the Osage tribe were brutal, despicable, and cowardly. The story centers around one family that suffered because others wanted their money. It also ushered in a new way to seek justice. When local and state agencies could not solve the murders, the federal government stepped up and did what others failed to do.

When I finished the book, I felt I'd gained a glimpse into a world I never knew, a world where people persecuted others, took advantage, and killed using greed as an excuse. I wish it never happened. I wish it didn't continue today. I suppose it's not just a story of what happened to a tribe of people in America during the beginning of the twentieth century, but a story of how we've treat each other. Hopefully, we can learn from their story. And I hope what I've learned form their story stays with me for a long, long time.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Maybe I Should Start Making Friday The 13th Resolutions...

Everyone talks about making New Years Resolutions, but I don't know anyone who makes Friday the 13th Resolutions. Of course, New Years is a perfect time to make changes in ones life. It's a new year,  after all with new beginnings, fresh starts. Plus, where I live, it's usually the coldest time of the year so there's a built-in excuse for not doing many of those "get in shape" resolutions.

Today, however, my wife and I got up and went to Farmington City's newest gymnasium. It's a very large space with lots of basketball courts. There's also a nice running track on the upper level. It's not well stocked when it comes to exercise equipment, but there's some free weights, an elliptical machine, and other exercise devices here and there. This morning no one was using them, including us.

What people did do while she and I walked was play pickleball on one side of the building while others did aerobics on the other side. Personally, I'm glad people are using the facility. Hopefully our family will be part of those who use it because last week we got a six-month pass. I know I need to start exercising on a regular basis. We went today for the first time after signing up.

No, I don't know many--if any--who make Friday the 13th Resolutions. We just might be the first.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fredrik Backman's "A Man Called Ove"...A Book Review

My mother-in-law loaned me a book a few weeks ago. "Read it," she said. "It's good." My mother-in-law has pretty good taste in books so a recommendation from her goes a long way. I finished the book yesterday--I even read the book as I walked from the train to my car as I maneuvered flights of stairs and fellow commuters walking by me. I was so close and the book was so good.

Who'd have thought as story about a recently-unemployed widow who tried again and again to kill himself could be so delightful?

But it was!

I'd never hear do Fredrik Backman, a Swede who wrote A Man Called Ove, and other novels. I doubt I'll easily forget either him or his book anytime soon. A Man Called Ove centers around a man by the name of Ove. When I first saw the title, I thought it was a play on "Love" and how this man may be lacking something that keeps love from his reach. As I began reading I realized it's from Scandinavia and they have somewhat different names than we have in America.

However, as I read deep into the story, there's something to my original thought. Ove is completely original. A grumpy man, he faces a life without his wife and his job, things he's relied upon for decades. Perhaps it's because I'm closer to Ove's age than the twenty-somethings in the story, but I identified with Ove, rooted for him, understood him, felt his pain. Plus, you throw in a rescued cat and Ove becomes someone everyone champions. In short, there's a little Ove (and, in some cases, a lot of Ove...) in all of us.

The book's voice is conversational, personal, human. We're introduced to those who enters Ove's life at a comfortable pace, and we get to love them as well. It's amazing how Backman makes us care so much for someone who is so unlikable.

If you get an opportunity, give A Man Called Ove a chance. You'll be surprised at how much you like it, too.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Brie Gowen's Blog Post..."Is Satan Stealing Our Families?"

Yesterday my wife read me a blog post from last July. The author: Brie Gowen, the topic: how our modern society threatens families.

I'm glad she did.

The title, Is Satan Stealing Our Families? conjures images of a horned demon hiding in the shadows just waiting for the opportunity to abduct the family unit and drag them down to hell. That's not necessarily the author's point. No, her point is much more subtle, more unseen, and frankly, more scary.

Gowen looks at how we live, Americans primarily, but the message is universal. The way we're trained to look at success, the "normal" way of doing things, the American Dream, all conspire against us to undermine the foundations a strong family provides. I'm not going to go into too much detail (Gowen explains her point much better than I am...), but in short, she wonders if all the things we are killing ourselves to obtain--the cars, the vacations, the activities--steal time away from what's the most important thing, the thing we claim we're doing all those things for, our families.

If you get a second, check out her post. You can find it: HERE. After my wife read the post, I thanked her for sharing, asked that she send me the link because I wanted to share it, then I kissed her goodbye and left for a play rehearsal. Even if we consciously try and not let the world try and steal our family, it's hard to stop. It might be easier to avoid a shadow-hiding demon.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

As The Sunlight Spreads Across The Page...

The train decreased in speed as it took the gently turning corner. Sunlight filtered through the unwashed window and spread across the white page illuminating the words, allowing aging eyes to better see the script. As the train turned, the sun retreated leaving the book as it was before.

The scene made me think of watching a sporting event, namely a soccer match. Under a cloudless sky the unrelenting sun beams down on what appears to be an unblemished field of green. Unless the sun is directly overhead, shadows creep onto the pitch and if you're watching the event on television, the camera must adjust to the variant in lighting whenever action enters the darkened space.


But on the train, eyes--infinitely more advanced than any camera ever created by the hands of man--adjust automatically in nanoseconds, allowing the reader to continue learning more about a man called Ove without delay or interruption. It happens without fanfare and so quickly, it's almost unnoticeable. 

With the book stowed I stepped down from the train and made my way to the car and, thereafter, home. Since sitting on a train this afternoon reminded me of a soccer game, I wonder if, when I next watch a soccer game and the players wander into a darkened space and the camera needs to adjust, will I be reminded of reading on a train? Probably, unless the game's really really good.


Monday, October 9, 2017

When Worlds Collide...Author Daniel Swenson On The Legednarium Podcast

What happens when two great podcasts collide? A fantastic episode, that's what. Today, on The Legendraium Podcast, Daniel Swenson, author of The Shadow Above the Flames and creator/producer/all-around everything guy of Dungeon Crawlers Radio Podcast, joined Craig, Kyle, and Todd to discuss the Three Levels of Storytelling.

I learned of the two podcasts at about the same time. I'm not sure which one I found first, but I've been following both for years. Craig was gracious enough to invite me to participate with Todd on one episode. I found the experience a pleasure--no complaints. And, in fairness, Daniel has asked me to join him on his show a few times. Scheduling conflicts have prevented me from doing that--something I'd very much like to do.


Both shows have insightful content, knowledgable guests, and banter that goes from informed to witty very quickly. I've been steered toward many books and films I would not have otherwise known about had I not listened to these podcasts. Right now, The Legendarium Podcast set up a GoFundMe page to help build for the future. You can participate by accessing their page: HERE.

What this particular episode (Legendarium's 151st, in fact...) has is a great conversation about the levels of storytelling. There's so many things out there, so many stories, so many films, that they can all get lost in the haze. That's how I feel about it, sometimes. This episode helps to bring things into focus. So, if you're familiar with either or both of these podcasts, or if you've never heard of either of them, downloading and listening to this particular episdoe will give you a good feel for both.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Thanks Joey...For The Opportunity And The Bag Of Fun!

A few weeks ago I, along with three others, were given a bag full of Halloween goodies. The reason for the gift-giving was in appreciation for being in a show. The giver--the show's creator. The recipients--the cast.

The past couple of days I've been taking photographs of some of the items, chocolate skeletons, pencils, a skull mug. There are other goodies I haven't photographed--some really great stuff in that bag. A skull candle, a journal, Halloween magnets, a stress skull (instead of a stress ball...), a chocolate cat, and a skull masquerade mask, among other things were all inside.

But as cool as the stuff in the bag (even, the bag itself...), what was cooler was the gesture from the one who took time out of his day to go to the store, search for stuff, and put it all together for us. The man already gave me a great opportunity to earn a little extra cash and have a blast doing it. He didn't need to go the extra mile.

This simple act--whether intended or not--showed to me how much the show means to him. This realization requires me to show as much respect to him and to the production to make it as good as it can possibly be.

Thanks Joey and Whitney! We're doing our best to show everyone your best!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

What It Means To Be A Father...And A Son

Once in a while (much too seldom...) you run across something on social media that affects you, touches you, hopefully changes you. 

Occasionally, I do plays. It's a huge time commitment, but you meet people and get to know them in ways you wouldn't otherwise do. This morning I read a post from an actor I met almost a year ago. He spoke of his father who recently passed away. His words were beautifully painful as my friend poured out his soul and relayed the ache he felt on this crisp October morning. Without releasing his name (and without his permission...), I'm including his post here.

I woke up with an aching heart just moments ago. I miss my Dad. As I pondered this new hole in my heart, I realized it was Saturday morning. For over 40 years that meant basketball or tennis with one of the toughest competitors I ever knew. For a good portion of that experience, it was just the two of us. But, over the years we had so many good friends join us. Everyone was welcome. So many wonderful lessons along the way. Some not so pleasant, but there was always the companionship and inclusion. You see, my dad was also my big brother. I am blessed to have four wonderful, loving, caring, and beautiful sisters. And an amazing Mom. But no brother. Because I don't know anything different, I can't say if I missed out by not having a brother, I can say I didn't notice, I had my Dad. My favorite, and most consistent memory, is the post game breakfast. Bacon, eggs, and toast. Sitting on the counter when I was younger, and standing by his side as I got older, I was skilled in the delicate art of an over easy egg and crispy bacon. Then casual conversation about life. I love him. I miss him. He was tough. Expected top performance, or better said best, consistent, honest effort. Go full tilt or stay home.
A few years ago I decided to try my hand at community theater. It's been a riot. Generally, it's been much easier on the knees. In doing so, I learned of another side of myDad...his love of the performing arts. I knew he was a singer, dabbled at the piano, and played the harmonica. I didn't realize he loved to act. His eyes lit up as we talked about my new adventures, and as he shared his memories. I'm glad I have those moments to remember.
Dad, I love you, I am grateful for you. I miss you my dear friend. I miss our talks, discussions, competitive banter. I miss your presence and embrace. I'll see you again when the time is right. Until then, I will hold you in my heart and hope these memories will fill this hole.😥😏

There's the obvious, a son missing his father, and in a bit of selfishness, I thought of my father and how I missed out on so many things. Then I thought about how wonderful it was for my friend to have had his father with him all his life--something I did not have.

But after that, I thought about all those children growing up without a father, some--like me--because their father's died or some with fathers imprisoned, and others because their fathers left. Reading these words today made me realize the joy, the hard work, the rewards that come from choosing to stay, to live up to one's responsibilities, to be a father to your children. There are millions of men who will never know what that's like, millions of children who will never have those opportunities. I know I haven't been the best father at times, but I thank God for the time I've had and hope to have in the future.

Once in a while you read something on social media that's worth sharing. And so I am.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Twenty Years Ago Today I began My Job...And I've Been There Ever Since

I still remember the day. My neighbor Randy told me about the job. I interviewed and I got it.

And I've been there ever since.

Twenty years ago today I began working for the organization I still go to each workday. It's weird to think it's been that long. And in those two decades, I've switched departments six times, held numerous positions, and had many ups and downs. I suppose anyone working in a place for that long has experienced the same type of things. I'm no different.

Back then I didn't know what I was in for. To me I was so grateful to have a steady job--I had bounced around the summer before doing this and that, even working on an excavation crew. Going to work, having my own cubicle, having regulated temperatures--those were all good things.

And they still are. I'm still grateful for my job. It's provided security and many other things for me and my family. I've been blessed in many ways.

Sure, there are days when I really don't want to go back, or when things get bad, I wonder why I continue to work for the same company. Then I hear of others who have horror stories about losing jobs, having unbearable bosses, and other unfortunate events. Life is more about perspective than what actually happens to us.

Next week I'll return to the cubicle that has my name attached. Sometime in the future I'll be awarded a framed piece of paper that acknowledges twenty years, 7,300 days, 41,600 hours as an employee.

And I'm still blessed.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Inklings Press "Tales From The Underground"...A Collection Of Hidden Gems

A friend asked if I would review an anthology in which one of the stories is hers. It's called Tales From the Underground, Twelve tales of hidden legends. The anthology deals with things that come from below. It also is available through Amazon beginning Saturday, October 6, 2017. You can order it from the Amazon's website: HERE.

Reading this new collection reminded me of why I like anthologies. They hold a special spot in my heart--until I published my collection of short stories, all my publish successes came from having stories released in anthologies. Tales From the Underground follows a formula I really like--start with a topic (in this case, a location, a cave...) and let author's imaginations run wild. That's what you get with this collection.

The varied stories keep you guessing. You're never quite sure what the next story will be about. The titles alone give away the collection's diversity: The Thing Inside The Cave, Forgotten, Tongueless Caverns, Underground Scratching, Buried Sins, Granddad's Bunker, The Beasts Above, Ogon, The Lords of Negative Space, The Angeles of Mestora, Shadows of the Deep, Professor Algernon Whitlock's Exotic and Fabulous Grand Tour of the Underworld.

I had my favorites, as we all do when we read collections. Not everything is for everyone. And my favorite story is Jaleta Clegg's The Angels of Mestora. Clegg transports us to a world where the beautiful and deadly siren song doesn't attract sailors to a watery grave, but just the opposite, to a world of sand and death. Great, great story!

Other stories like Rob Edward's The Lords of Negative Space, Lawrence Harding's The Beasts Above, and Jeff Provine's The Thing Inside The Cave I especially liked.

But that's the great thing about anthologies--if a story's not your thing, there's always another one just after it, another chance to visit a new world and experience new things. Until the last story comes to an end and then there's not. Check out Tales From the Underground. I'm sure there's something in it you'll enjoy.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

It Was "Hat Day" At Work...Who Does That?

This week at work we're having an employee appreciation exercise each day. It's "Employee Appreciation Week," hence the daily exercise.

Today was "Hat Day."

Hat Day. Who does that? We let everyone know they could wear hats at work today. Each division would have a winner picked from those wearing hats. What did the winners win? A big chocolate bar.

I'm not knocking "Hat Day" even though it may sound like I am. It's actually kind of creative. Not everyone wears hats. I think, in the hat-wearing arena, I'm unusual. I have a hat with me at all times. I wear a hat in the winter to keep my head warm, and I wear a hat in the summer to keep my head from getting too warm. And I wear a hat in the spring and fall because I do. Baseball hats are my "hat of choice." I have a couple of berets I wore about a decade ago. They were in fashion at one time, and will, I believe, return to their former glory one day.

In the afternoon Nikki walked around the floor checking the different divisions to distribute chocolate bars to the winners of Hat Day. Everyone in each division who wore a hat received a ticket. The tickets were put in a bowl and a winning ticket drawn. When Nikki came to our part of the floor she asked who had worn hats. I was the sole hatted worker in our division, and therefore, I got a a large chocolate bar to nosh and nibble. Yet another tasty treat to entice.

Tomorrow there'll be a new event to celebrate the workforce. And I'll have to wait until next year to see if wearing a hat results in free chocolate.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Slice 'O Life...A Train Ride Home

I closed my book--with only a few minutes until my stop, why start a new chapter? That's when I looked up and noticed the view through the small window in the door connecting our train car to the car behind. I watched as the car behind bobbed and bounced as if it weren't attached to ours at all.

I travel only two stops from where I board. This leaves me only time to read a chapter or two in a book, hardly time to fire up the computer, connect to the wi-fi, or do much else. Sometime I wish I lived farther away so I could enjoy the trip more. Of course, that wish is fleeting and short-lived.

The train car continues to jump and weave in the small window as we near my stop. I pull out my phone and snap a few pictures. In the corner of my eye I notice two men sitting across the aisle. I more sense their reaction than see it. They wonder why I would take a picture of half of a train car in transit. I don't know exactly myself, other than what I'm watching teases my mind in a somewhat creative way. I understand the men wondering why I'm taking pictures of nothing worthy of one picture, let alone three. We live in a world worthy of suspicion...sometimes.

As I step from the train after it arrives at my stop, my work week is half over. In two days I'll have an even longer weekend than normal--always something to look forward to. I don't always take the train. I don't always take pictures of that train while taking the train. But I did today. And I blogged about the small slice of life event of me and my fellow commuters sitting, not speaking to each other as we all traveled home.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Monday Morning...

Some days are just plain crappy. There are bad days, where you get a flat tire or you catch a cold. Then there are other days where you'd pray to have those problems. And when the country has a bad day, where the lives of thousands are literally destroyed, it's sometimes hard to find something to write about.

I usually don't mention current events in this blog. With social media and the internet, everyone can spew their opinions--and most do. Another viewpoint just gets lost in the haze. 

So, how do I approach a blog post after such a terrible day? Do I try to be funny? That seems disrespectful. Should I be contemplative and discuss the larger issues of right vs. wrong, good vs. evil? Even those opinions don't make sense when people act in a senseless manner.

I've been thinking about what to write and I decided to include a picture of my alarm clock almost 12 hours after it became the first thing I saw this morning. For many, 6:29am (or, 6:24am--the actual time I woke up...) is early enough. My problem this morning was that's almost one hour after I usually get up, almost one hour after my alarm usually goes off.

Funny thing about alarms--they work great if they're set beforehand. That's right--I totally forgot to set my alarm. There's been times when I have inadvertently turned off my alarm in the middle of the night, for one reason or another. This time, I just didn't remember to do it last night.

Sleeping in, even an hour, means I miss my bus and so I drive. That means, because I leave later, the traffic is worse both going in, and driving home. Add to the fact that the building's security system reset over the weekend and didn't let me in made this particular Monday morning not the best.

Then, after logging into my computer at work, I read about what happened only a few hours earlier in Las Vegas. Oh, if we could all have such bad Monday mornings as what happened to me. God bless those who grieve, those who mourn, those involved. God bless us all to learn, to forgive, to love.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Little Piece Of Plastic...That I Was So Excited To Get

A few days ago I chose for my "Pic Of The Day" a picture of a small piece of plastic and metal. I included with the picture the caption that I was SO excited to get this particular piece. I know it didn't make much sense--I got a few likes and a comment on the picture ion my Facebook page. Since it was confusing, I thought I'd explain a little bit.

I've blogged about a new project I'm working at Lagoon's Frightmares this fall. It's called Seance and I act as a guide for the show. On the first day I attended rehearsals, the show's creator, Joey, gave me a piece of equipment I would need to do the job. What was the first thing I did when I picked up the object that cost several hundred of dollars?

I broke it.


That is not the way to begin a show. Actually, it's one of the worst ways to start a show.

Luckily, I was able to rig it so it would work, but every time I picked it up, I was worried it would break again. It actually did a few times so I had to keep fixing it. Still, I thought it would be best if I could try and find the piece I broke. I checked out the manufacturer's website and gave them a call. I placed the call on Monday. The next time we did the show was Friday.

On Friday, before I left for work, I checked the mail and there it was. I was so happy because I was able to fix the problem without bugging the show's creator. This weekend, as we did show after show, the piece worked swimmingly.

You maybe thinking about what this particular piece goes to, or what was the piece of equipment that cost hundreds of dollars. And I'm not going to tell you. Telling you would give away something about the show, and that's the last thing I want to do. But I will say, because of my stupid mistake and a company's great customer service, I did a weekend of shows with one less thing to worry about.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Having Fun With the iPhone Time-Lapse...

I LOVE the camera on my phone. Even if I never used my phone as an actual telephone, my iPhone SE is one of my favorite things and it's mostly due to the camera. I still haul around my Nikon D3300 with me most of the time, but when I'm going to the store, or picking up a kid from an activity, I usually just take the phone.

A few months ago I bought one of those phone bases for the car and the last couple of days I've been having fun utilizing the Time-Lapse feature on my phone.

Here's what I've come up with!

The first video I took was at this month's Salt Lake Comic Con, not in the car. I tried to get a shot of all the people coming into the event, but I chose a poor vantage point. Actually, I didn't think of doing it until they had already started coming in. Had I thought ahead, I could have made the video more interesting, but here's what I got.


The next video I took was yesterday as I drove from the store to our shift at Lagoon's Frightmares. I love watching these things! It still blows my mind that I can even capture stuff like this.


I wanted to include one other video, but it didn't turn out. I thought it did. I was sure that before I left McDonalds, I clicked on the Time-Lapse button, but when I was done, this was all that showed up.

Oh well, I guess they all don't work out. I'm not sure how long I'll be fascinated by the Time-Lapse feature, but until then, I'll keep loving my phone and its camera.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Lagoon Frightmares "Seance"...Like Nothing You've Seen Before!

A few weeks ago I wrote about Lagoon's newest Frightmares attraction, Seance. I didn't write much--we were right in the middle of rehearsals. Since then we've been doing shows Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

In short, it's the best show in the entire park.

And the scariest, too!

Today Lagoon released a promotional video on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. I've filmed it and included it, but you can see the better version by clicking: HERE. If you're on Facebook check out Lagoon's Facebook page. There's more than an hundred comments on Seance alone. It's the kind of show that generates a lot of buzz. You can find the comments: HERE

I'm sort of a guide for the show. I talk to people before they go in. Many times they ask me questions about what it's like. I don't say much. Most of the fun is not knowing what's going to happen. If you like to be scared, you'll love it. I guarantee you've never experienced anything like this before.

Check out Seance. It's, as more than one Frightmares guest told me after seeing the show, "worth every penny."