Thursday, August 31, 2017

Can State Government Have A Sense Of Humor...?

I take public transportation to work. It't no secret. I'm not ashamed. It probably save our family thousands of dollars over my twenty-year career with my company. Last week I noticed something that seemed a bit out of the ordinary.

Which was exactly the point.

The transit service wants users of their fine trains and buses to notice stuff that's out of the ordinary. They also want us to report the things we've seen. Everyone can understand the point--it's important to report issues, I suppose, except there's a bit of "spying on your neighbor" aspect to it. Can't be helped, I guess.

Seeing these colorful and creative ads reminded me of other creative things the state has done lately. Someone at the Utah Department of Transportation is in charge of creating funny sayings on the huge signs spanning the freeways. I don't have any pictures of them--not usually safe to take a picture of a funny sign while driving between 70-80 m.p.h. Someone, however, did get pictures of some of these signs and put them on a website. You can access the site: HERE.

When I think of state government, I usually don't think about creativity. Then again, maybe I should. Hopefully, there will be more of this kind of thing out there in the future. And then maybe it won't be something out of the ordinary.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


There is beauty in the world before the pre-dawn sun converts night to morning. As the earth circles the sun, darkness creeps deeper and deeper into the early hours. Without light, black envelopes everything, surrounds the world, masks colors, hides life.

Those awake in the early-morning hours shuffle about thanks to artificial light, substitutes mimicking the sun's natural illumination. We travel from place to place, lacking a celestial direction, making our way to work, home, airports, jails, hospitals, convenience stores.

A quick look out the bus window, a couple of pictures taken that can in no way do the scene of clouds and approaching light justice. Walking to my building as the bus drove away the beauty in the sky shifted, the clouds no longer hung like drapes awaiting the dawn. They disappeared into the morning air.

The sun crested the mountain eliminating dawn and ushering in morning's beginning. By that time I sat at my desk, surrounded by cubicle walls and computer monitors. Tomorrow, I'll be on the same bus, the morning coming seconds later than it did today. I hope to look outside the bus window and see a pre-dawn world, one full of oncoming light and promise. We shall see.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Attending The Company Summer Party...

If you work for an organization, any organization, it's likely you had a summer company party. And it's also likely that you--like me--were required to go.

Maybe "Required" is too strong a word. We were "encouraged" to go. And in company language, encouraged means required. Last year I did not attend. I can't remember why I missed the party--I'm sure something came up, but I wasn't there. This year I saw no reasonable way to get out of it so I went.

We have a party committee and they did a good job organizing and pulling off the party. The theme was:

The 1980s.

I didn't get a lot of pictures of people (didn't want to be creepy photographer of co-workers I don't really know dressed in their 80s best and not on the party committee...). But I did take pictures of some of the decorations. Even though I didn't get any shots of the costumes, some looked pretty good--so good, you'd think they actually lived and remembered the 1980s, not just got their inspiration from watching The Wedding Singer

Since I don't go to a lot of company parties, I'm a poor judge when it comes to the food. I will say, however, that the food was really good. Two thumbs up from this guy to whomever chose and delivered the eats!

There was a photo booth, volleyball, bingo, and word jumbles to keep us entertained. Thankfully, there was no karaoke. The last thing I want is to remember are those images whenever I walked by them in the halls at work. No, the 1980s classics blasted from the speakers was great.

Yes, I went this year. And I'll probably go next year, too.

Unless I can find a way to get out of it.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Having To Say...No

The trouble with posting 365 blog posts a year is that sometimes--many times--you write about the same things again and again. This isn't so much an excuse, more of an observation. Last Saturday I stopped by a pet store that had the "Adoptions Today" sign out front. I took a few pictures and thought it might be a good subject for a blog post.

Turns out, last year--almost to the day--I wrote about visiting a pet store when they had animals up for adoption. I scanned the post and much of what I wanted to say today I said then. Such is the downside to a daily blog.

But still, I think there's value in posting pictures of animals that need homes. Even if it might not help these particular pets, maybe someone out there might want to help an animal in need after reading these posts.

We keep thinking there's an animal out there that might one day join our family. If so it would have to be hypoallergenic, and many of the dogs up for adoption are not. I'm all for adopting animals from shelters--in fact, I prefer it. But many of the hypoallergenic dogs are usually pure breeds, and they cost big bucks. If we could take the mix-breeds, we would. There's just too many people with allergies in our house to have it any other way. So, we'll probably keep looking. If it's meant to be, it'll happen.

I wonder if, next August, I'll stop by a pet store or shelter and take a look. Maybe we'll find that pet who needs to be brought home.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Happy One-Year Birthday Immortal Works...Here's To Many Many More!

Last Friday night, a few of us involved in Immortal Works Press gathered at a park in Salt Lake City to celebrate a milestone.

It was a birthday party.

Immortal Works Press turned one and we got together to get to know each other better, to talk about books scheduled for release, and to basically have a good time. 

Mission accomplished.

My wife and I went for our Date Night. I think almost every author published, or waiting to be published was there. Better yet, almost all the authors are my friends. Not only am I excited about my own book being released, but also those of my friends. I'm honored to be included among such great writers and great people.

After catching up, running some business past the founder, and enjoying each other's company, my wife and I took off--we couldn't stay the whole time. As we left the park I thought about just what a huge undertaking it was to begin a new publishing company, what an accomplishment this party represented. There's risk, sure, but to have actually done it, that's something. People many times talk about doing something like this. Musician friends talk about starting a band, food lovers talk about opening a restaurant, and writers talk about starting their own publishing company, But they actually did it, not just talk about it.

Happy birthday, Immortal Works Press! I know you're new, but you're growing quickly. I sincerely hope that one day I'll be able to tell my grandchildren that I attended Immortal Works first birthday party and they will be impressed because those birthday parties will still be going on.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

First Time Watching Real Salt Lake Live...And What A Time We Had!

If you are on Facebook, you've probably seen a post that goes something like this:

"I have two tickets to see _______ and I can't use them. Who wants to go see _______."

For me, because I have so many theater FB friends, they usually have theater tickets, but when I checked FB while on a lunch break last Wednesday, I almost couldn't believe my eyes. My friend Bryce said he had to tickets to watch Real Salt Lake play San Jose that night in Sandy. The first thing I did was see if anyone had responded--nope. Then I saw was how long it had been since Bryce posted his note--not very long. I quickly responded and said I wanted to go.

And the tickets were mine!

Getting free MLS game tickets is great--I was one happy civil servant. But the more I learned about the tickets and the game, the more excited I got. These were not ordinary tickets--no sir-y! These were tickets that also included a pre-game buffet dinner. I've been to sporting events that include a pre-game meal (thanks to my good friend Jeff Lund...), so I thought this would be the same thing.

And it was.

Bryce said that I needed to make sure whomever I invited to go was over 21 since alcohol was served. Fortunately, my son was over 21 and not scheduled to work. We drove into the valley then caught the light-rail train to the stadium. It took a little bit of searching but we finally found the Audi Executive Club and were allowed in.

I've had good seats a few times at sporting events, but I've never had cushioned, leather seats before. Yes, they were nice. We had delicious food, watched Real beat their conference foes, and had a great time doing it. But the most impressive part of the evening was our host, Jeff.

The tickets were a raffle prize donated by a prominent law firm in town. You know how law firms sometimes are named after their a few of their partners, like Dillan, Johnson, and Phelps? Well, our host for the evening was Mr. Johnson of Dillan, Johnson, and Phelps. He was so great. We arrived about an hour before the game started and he stayed with us the whole time. We talked about what he did for work, his family, and such. We then talked about what my son and I did for work, our family, and such. It was fun getting to know him.

Wednesday night's game was the first MLS soccer game I saw in person. If you're going to go to a game, watching from the Audi Executive Club is a great way to start. Of course, this means I can never go to another game in person--kind of like the first time you fly first class. It ruins every non-first class seats from now on.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Michaelbrent Colling's War On Suicide...A Worthy Cause

A friend sent a request to get the word out about his new project. I said I'd help out. My friend is Michaelbrent Collings and I've tried to support many of his projects in the past--mostly they've been blogs about books he's written. Unfortunately, his latest project is more serious. Michaelbrent's tackling suicide prevention. In fact, he's declaring War on Suicide.

You can access his website: HERE

I first met Michaelbrent at LTUE Writing Symposium probably five years ago. He and Blake Casselman gave a class on screenwriting. I took their class because a few years earlier I had a screenplay made into a movie, but I hope I never forget the advice I got from Michaelbrent and Blake that day.

Fast forward to now. I've run into Michaelbrent at least a couple times each year since then--each time at a writing convention or Comic Con. I've also had the opportunity to meet and get to know members of his family (his parents are two of the greatest people I know...). During those times I've learned a little bit more about the writer and some of the demons he faces on a daily basis. The fact that he reached out to his friends asking for help is a brave thing to do.

Unfortunately, many don't...hence the problem.

If you know Michaelbrent, you know he's accomplished so much in the relatively short time he's been on the planet. Lawyer, martial arts expert, best-selling author and screenwriter--of course, he'd say those accomplishments pale to being a good father and husband. For someone--anyone--to ask for help of such a personal nature should not only be commended, but supported. Chances are you know someone affected by this, or maybe even you have faced these challenges yourself. If so, check out Michaelbrent's website. When we work together, miracles can happen. Once again, click: HERE to reach his site. Let's help him win the war!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Howie...AKA "Scooter Trash"

A few weeks back on a Friday night I ran an errand. The purpose was two-fold. We needed to get gas for the lawnmower so my daughter could mow the lawn the next morning, and I needed to take a picture of something.

I know that sounds weird, but it's true--not the "getting gas for the mower" part, the other part. I needed to take a picture to use for my Pic Of The Day. I try and take a picture during the day, no matter where I'm at. Sometimes it's an easy assignment--sometimes I have to find something around my house to make sure the Pic Of The Day continues uninterrupted. Turns out on that Friday night, my errand was successful on both fronts. My daughter mowed the lawn the next morning, and I met Howie, or as he admitted, sometimes known as Scooter Trash.

I think we've all seen them, older guys (and sometimes gals...) riding Harley Davidson motorcycles, leather jackets with patches upon patches. As I filled my little gas can, then my car, I noticed a one of those riders doing the same to his bike at the next set of pumps.

"Excuse me, can I ask you a question?" I asked, which, in reality, I already had.

"Sure," he said.

"Are you a veteran?" I've noticed that many of the riders wear military insignia and after fighting in various wars and facing death, riding a two-wheeled vehicle probably seems tame by comparison.

"Yeah, he said. He then told me the places he served in Vietnam. We ended up talking about what being a veteran means and other tings. He also asked for directions to a place in Ogden--he wasn't from here.

Finally, after we talked and wished each other well, I asked if I could get his picture. Fortunately, he agreed. As we parted I told him my name and he told me his. As I drove home I wondered if I would ever run into Howie again. If he lived here, perhaps, but since he doesn't, the odds are not good we'll cross paths. Of course, one of these days, when I'm traveling along the roads that criss-cross this amazing country, I might see him. Either way, I hope I never forget Howie, sometimes known as Scooter Trash.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bottle Rockets...Cub Scout Style

Last Wednesday our little cub scout troop got together for an uplifting experience. 

We shot off 2-liter bottle rockets.

We had a blast!

Okay, sorry about that (but not that sorry...). We did have a great time, though. One of the den leaders had done this before--he said it was pretty easy to build the rockets, especially since a bottle will launch and fly without any modifications, but it's fun for the kids to decorate them. And, yes, the leader who suggested the activity and did the most to pull it off, that is his BMW parked closed by. Only 2 rockets actually hit the car. I'm told it suffered no real damage.

And since this activity is more of a "must see in action," here are some videos of the event. All in all, fun was had by all.

And the highest flight of the night!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Field Of Beautiful German Cars...

My friend Bob texted me last Saturday morning telling me I needed to get my tail down to Kaysville. There was a car show going on and he was sure I'd enjoy what was on display.

My friend knows me very well.

Because I did go and I did enjoy it. Spread across the little league soccer field were dozens of classic Volkswagens. Beetles, vans, karrmann ghias, even a Thing. They were absolutely beautiful. This was a gathering of the Voodoo VW Club. Back when I owned VWs, I'm sure the clubs existed--I was more worried about my car working than getting in a club. But if I had one now, I'd look into joining.

Several years ago a man called and asked if I wouldn't mind donating my '65 bug to him and his son so they could work on in and see if it could be resurrected. I had no place to put the car and it was in pretty bad shape. I walked around wondering if one of these cars was my old high school ride. I didn't find any 1965 bugs that matched. It's too bad--I'd like to think it's out there somewhere, still going strong (or, at least, going...).

At the show I snapped as many pictures as I could and so I'm sharing them now. Yes, maybe one day I'll get another VW, but if not, walking around snapping pictures of other people's vintage vehicles is pretty cool, too.