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."

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Autumn Is A Time For Battles..

I love autumn. It's hands down my favorite season. The killer heat starts to subside, football seasons start, the trees become colorful displays of art, and the year's best holidays are on their way.

There is one big problem, though...a problem that actually gets bigger as the season goes on. And that problem is all the good things there are to eat. You turn around, there's something yummy begging you to eat it. I especially noticed it this last week. 

I started my part-time gig--Lagoon's Frightmares. You'd think a job where I'm doing a lot of walking and being active would help my situation, but you'd think wrong. The issue with Frightmares is they give out a lot of candy down there, which means, there's a lot of candy all over. It's so easy to just grab a mini candy bar here, some Skittles there. It adds up, people!

Then comes my day job. There's always a co-worker or two who has sweets at their desk, but come October, things get out of control. Tuesday doughnuts were brought in. By Day 2 several tasty selections remained, and still more on day three. That's three days where the doughnuts lay there, practically throwing themselves onto my desk, and by extension, into my gut. Even my Coca-Cola bears wanted me to share a Coke with them.

Yes, sometimes the biggest battles are the ones that take place inside ourselves. Here's to hoping I win more battles than I lose!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Our "Why Do We Love All Things Disney?" Panel...Went Swimmingly!

As days separate today from the last day of the most resent Salt Lake Comic Con, I see fewer pictures on social media and less talk about what an amazing experience it was. It's as if the experiences are little by little put away, stored like so many cosplay costumes in drawers, boxes, or disassembled all together.

But some memories remain, both good and bad. I remember for this year's con, I was exhausted much of the time (that's happening more and more as I get older...). I remember having to leave early to go to a side job. But what I remember most was the last event I attended on the con's last day, a panel I submitted entitled, Why Do We Love All Things Disney?

And it went great!

When a panel idea is submitted, you never know if it's going to actually take place. There are many great panel ideas that don't make it. When I found out, not only was it chosen, but I would be a part of it--that's a good feeling. Better still, when I researched who else would be on the panel, I became more excited.

I knew Jim Christian and I knew how great he'd be on the panel--if you know Jim you know he's Mr. Disney. I also knew of another panelist, Holly Frey, a nationally-recognized podcaster and self-admitted Disney fanatic. One of the best parts of doing panels is getting to know those with whom you share a stage. I met for the first time Saturday afternoon fellow panelists Valerie Cameron-Walker, Aaron Evans, and Scott Renshaw. We had writers, filmmakers, podcasters, directors, actors all represented. It was a great line-up.

Usually when I moderate a panel I count on getting through about 1/2 hour of discussion, then the audience helps bail me out. On this particular panel, I didn't think we'd get to the audience. I knew Jim could speak for hours on Disney without breaking a sweat. Turns out I was right. The panelists had enough amazing stories about all things Disney, we filled the fifty minutes with home run-worthy Disney content.

I'm hoping the others felt good about our panel. And I hope those attending left the room feeling like they learned about not only us on the panel, but more about themselves as well.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

One-Way Conversation Overheard When I Took In My Pontiac To Get Inspected...

Me: I walk into the service station. My car needs inspecting. Employee is on the phone talking to a customer. I only hear the employee already deep into his one-way conversation.

Employee: "Yeah, I called around and the only part I can find is $850.00."

Me: I wait until the conversation ends so I can tell him what I need.

Employee: "I checked to see if I could find an after-market part, but I couldn't find one."

Me: I continue waiting.

Employee: "Apparently Lexus hasn't given permission for another company to make that part so the only one I could find is from Lexus and it's $850.00."

Me: I look at the clock in the small customer area.

Employee: "Well, that's the best I could do, so if you can find a part somewhere else, more power to you, but there's not another part out there that I could find."

Me: I begin wondering how many times this employee needs to tell this customer the same thing.

Employee: "Yeah, it only costs $60 to put the part in, but the only part I can get is from Lexus directly and they're charging $850.00 for it."

Me: I still wait, and my previous question is still unanswered.

Employee: "I agree--that's a lot of money for that part, but I checked around and no one makes that part--only Lexus and they're charging $850.00 for it."

Me: After waiting about ten minutes the one-way question ends. I tell the employee what I need, toss him my keys, and take a picture of a beautiful older German automobile as I leave. I'm pretty sure you can get lots of parts for the Porsche, and if Porsche doesn't make it, Volkswagen most likely does.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Two Roses...One Red, One Pink

Last week I bought two roses, one red, one pink. I bought them from the same store a day apart. I bought them for different reasons.

My son designed my brand last year and ever since, I've dressed in a black suit and white shirt when appearing as Scott William Taylor, the author. 

Sometimes, when I go to conventions, people ask me if I'm dressed as some character. I take out my author card and shown them my son's art. Then they understand. The rose I bought first--the red one--held up well, but it's pretty beat now. Sort of how I felt after the weekend.

The second rose I picked up on Friday. I was rushing between convention and my weekend gig to get some dinner. Just as I was about to check out, I saw all the pretty plants and flowers. And since I had not bought anything for our anniversary, I picked up a beautiful single rose and gave it to my wife after my shift ended.

I'm not a big buyer of flowers. I've done it occasionally, but it's something I usually don't think about doing. But for this past weekend, I bought red for the crowds and pink for my sweetie. Of the two, the pink was the most important.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Couple Of My Favorite Cosplayers I Saw/Didn't See This Weekend...

Me, and a hundred-thousand others, got together over the weekend. We met up downtown Salt Lake City, milled about, spent more money than we should, did more standing than sitting, and met amazing people.

People attend these events for different reasons. Some show up to see/meet famous people. Fewer go for the panels. Some just love watching people. And many many go to give those people something to see. They're cosplayers, and many are definitely worth the price of admission.

I've only attended Salt Lake's Comic Con, but photos from other conventions across the country and world show pretty much the same thing, cosplayers have a desire to pretend, pretend to be someone else, feel something different, or just get the respect of fellow attendees. After attending these events since 2013, I've seen a few great cosplays. This year's con (that ended yesterday...) didn't disappoint. In fact, there were two examples I especially loved--one I saw, and another I didn't.

On Thursday, Day 1 of Salt Lake Comic Con, I saw Bob Ross (not the original...). I told him he looked great, asked if I could take his picture, which he agreed. He then, in a move that the original Bob Ross would have approved, surprised me by asking me if I wanted to paint. That was cool. I didn't do much to the painting--I only added a small smiley face. Not only did I get his picture, but of the painting as well.

The second picture, my personal favorite actually, is one I was unable to see in person. My friend Kannon Survoss decided to go with his little brother as Calvin and Hobbs. Kannon made the costume himself. We tried finding them--we looked and looked all day Thursday but he eluded us. Too bad. Thankfully, someone connected to Comic Con snapped his picture. I would include it here, but it's not mine--it's the conventions. You can access it: HERE, on their Facebook page. If you haven't seen it, it's definitely worth seeing.

I've talked to several cosplayers over the years and one thing they love to do is to top whatever it was they did previously. I know they will, but it's hard to imagine topping these. I guess we'll just have to wait to see what amazing things they come up with next time.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Note On Our Fridge At Work...

Right after Hurricane Irma hit, a note showed up at work. As I put my leftovers in the fridge before work began, I saw it and I took a picture of what I saw. It was to remind me of things.

Most of my immediate family live either in Utah or the western United States, so none of them were affected by the recent storms. That still doesn't lessen the impact of the devastation on those hit. It's just that when you don't personally know those affected, it doesn't feel as bad.

As stated earlier, I took a picture of the family to remind me of things. Fortunately, I've never experienced anything close to losing everything you have due to a disaster. As I write this, I look around my room and see a house we built for our family. I see a row of journals I've spent the last forty-plus years writing. I know, when these things happen, we see people say the most important thing is that they survived.

That's 100% true, but still, to lose all your physical possessions--it can't be easy. The picture reminds me that things can be replaced, people can't. Also, it is good to give. This past month has been tough on so many people, and that's just in one part of the world. People have endured disasters, personal issues, and other things that make life a challenge. What makes humanity so great is that we'll survive this, too, and like the muscle constantly used and tested, we'll be stronger because of it. God bless those hit hard by nature the past couple of weeks. And may we remember to do what we can to help them out as well.

Friday, September 22, 2017

25 Years Equals Silver...But It's Golden For Me

Today marks a quarter of a century that my wife and I have been married. I know for some 25 years isn't long and for others it seems like forever. The older I get, two and a half decades doesn't seem long at all. 

A couple of things kept us from celebrating the big day like other silver anniversary couples do, a part-time job, a comic con, things like that. Sure I would love to have taken a trip to distant lands or some other equally impressive way to honor the day, but it didn't work out.

And, in the grand scheme of things, that's okay. Because I have been the luckiest person I know. I've been with my friend, a person who supports me in so many ways, a person who sees beyond my faults, my quirks, my issues. I've almost been with her as long as I was not with her--that happens in a couple of years.

As I think back on the past 25 years, it's hard to express how I feel. And my words can't possibly do justice to the emotions, the feelings we've shared together. Lynda--thanks for believing in me. Thanks for trusting me. I will work forever to try and repay that love. Thanks for the best half century any husband could ever have and thanks for saying "yes" allowing us to take this journey together. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

John Olsen's New Book..."Crystal King" Is Coming Soon!

I met John because I met Jay and Jay works with John and so I met John. 

And I'm glad I did.

There's a few of us who, because of Xchyler Publishing, have gone from published short-story authors to published novel authors. John's the first. My novel comes out early next year, and Jay Barnson's novel should come out shortly after that.

But today it's John's turn and his book looks amazing! It's called Crystal King, Riland Throne, Book 1. I have not had the opportunity to read it--it's something I plan on doing and something I'm excited to do. You can access the book's Amazon website and pre-order: HERE. Of course, if you go to Salt Lake Comic Con tomorrow or Saturday, you can get a copy now!

From that website, here's a brief description of Crystal King:

An army has overrun and destroyed the royal council and much of the kingdom of Riland's leadership. Now, Gavin Stoutheart’s father the baron is missing, along with Gavin’s brother the heir- both presumed dead. After tormenting his instructors and father for years with his rebellious antics, Gavin must step up to lead his people as they flee before an invading army, one that can outpace his motley collection of castle staff, peasants, and children. Gavin’s only hope for survival is the forbidden animal magic wielded by his closest friends combined with his gift for strategy as he searches for allies along their trail. Will it be enough to keep them alive as they desperately trek through a fractured, leaderless kingdom? For the army of human and animal predators will show no mercy.

Will it be enough? Will they survive? How does this thing turn out?

On October 17th, you'll have to check out Crystal King to find out!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

If You're At The Con...Check Out The "Steam, Gears, And Bygone Years" Panel Tomorrow!

I think I'll always love steampunk--the art, the clothes, the literature, the decor. It's like when you see someone wearing clothes from the 1980s. You instantly know the time period. When I see people at conventions (or, even in general public...) clad in steampunk gear, I know I've found a kindred spirit. 

Either that, or they just like the way steampunk clothing accentuates certain parts of their body. For me, I'll imagine it's the former.

Tomorrow, from 4pm to 5pm mountain time at this year's Salt Lake Comic Con in Room 255C, a group of steampunk fans/authors will gather and participate on a panel to discuss all things steampunk. I love the panel's name:

Steam, Gears, and Bygone Years

Joining me on the panel are Cindy Grigg, Sean Hoard, Angie Lofthouse, Aaron Michael Ritchey, and Dan Wills. The great thing about being part of the Salt Lake Comic Con panel family is I've done panels with several of these wonderful people and participated in other projects with even more.

There are many cool reasons to like steampunk, but the main reason I love the genre and the art/decor/fashion is because the first time I had something published, it was a short story set in a steampunk world. Little Boiler Girl was included in a fantastic steampunk anthology, Mechanized Masterpieces, A Steampunk Anthology.

Having that little story included in such an amazing collection changed my life. So, I can honestly say steampunk changed my life. So, if you're at the con tomorrow (or, today if you're reading this on Thursday, September 21...), drop by. If you're a steampunk fan, you'll love it. If you're not, you'll hear about something we all love and maybe you'll become a fan, too.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

At Salt Lake Comic Con...You Buy My Book, I Give The Profits To Charity

It helps, when you write a daily blog, to store blog post ideas for later. It saves time when it comes to writing. I've got a few blog post ideas lined up. I've written recently about our Seattle trip, but I haven't highlighted the main reason we went--my nephew's wedding. I could write about that. On my commute this morning two cars crashed into each others right in front of me. That can be another blog post. And I even saw and videoed a small snake slithering in our back yard this after noon.

But with the terrible storms destroying lives and news of today's Mexico City earthquake, those topics just didn't seem appropriate. So, what to write about?

Earlier this month I placed an order of Speckled, my one and only book, for this week's Salt Lake Comic Con. The number of books I ordered was based on past cons, plus I added a couple more because the last thing you want to have happen at a con is to run out of books.

My family and I were kicking around an idea earlier--what if I donated all book sales from this year's con to disaster relief charities. After today, I've decided that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Now, before you think this is going to be a huge life-changing financial contribution, it probably won't be. I charge a little less for my collection of short stories than if it were a novel. It's shorter than most of the books sold at the convention as well. But, it's something. It's something I can do to help out in a small way. Plus, I get my book out to more people and hopefully those people will not only enjoy the collection, but will feel good about helping out as well.

So if you're at this weekend's Salt Lake Comic Con, 2017 edition, look for Booth #639 and check out mine and all the other books we have for your reading, and philanthropic needs. Hopefully, I'll see you there!

Monday, September 18, 2017

My Grandfather, William Knight...The Only Grandparent I Ever Knew

Tonight, while searching through some family stuff, and I came across a photo of my mother's father, my grandfather William Knight.

He's the only grandparent I ever knew.

My grandfather was born in 1900. I remember that, even as a kid because it made it easy to remember how old he was. After my dad passed away in 1974, my mom lost her father a few years after. There's a lot I don't know about him, but I do know when he was a a child the family moved into the home where my cousin now lives in Driggs, Idaho in 1906. I know Grandpa Knight had an accident when he was young where he was burned badly over much of his body. I only learned of this long after he passed away. Funny how that happens. We learn so much after there's a chance to learn even more.

There's another connection my grandfather and I share, his first name is my middle name. And we gave my first-born that middle name as well.

Growing up where I did, I was surrounded by kids who had all of their grandparents still alive. When Grandpa Knight died, most of my friends my age still have most of their great-grandparents living. I always felt a bit cheated. That's how kids think sometimes.

If my grandfather were still alive today, he'd be in the record books and I would have had half a century to get to know him. A decade is hardly enough time. Then again, you can know someone for a century and still learn more about them everyday. For example, you can learn that once, when they were little, someone took a picture of them with the only grandparent they ever knew in clothing that only a grandparent could appreciate. That would be something new to learn.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Up Next...Salt Lake Comic Con, 2017 Edition!

For those of us living in Utah with an "inner nerd" living inside, this is a big week. It's the week we look forward to all year, the week we make final adjustments to costumes, do a little extra research for panels, and order more books to hopefully sell to future fans.

This is the week Salt Lake Comic Con comes to town!

It's one of the best weeks of the year.

If you've followed this blog (or know me in person...), you know that since 2013 I've been fortunate enough to help put on Utah's best convention. Though I've met very few celebrities, and I've never dressed as my favorite superhero (unless that superhero is Scott William Taylor, the author...), I've had some amazing experiences at these events. 

This one should be no different. And I've been asked to help out on two panels, one I'm moderating. I'll blog about those later this week. It's been a crazy month so far and adding Comic Con only adds to the craziness.

People who have never attended these events ask me why they're so popular, why people go again and again, year after year. And I alway say the same thing. For three days (and even more, if you count FanX...), people come from all over, dress up in a way that's generally not acceptable most places, and interact with others just like them, all the while feeling safe and accepted. It's something that people yearn for, search for, pray for. Whenever I'm at a Comic Con, almost everyone is smiling, all the time.

And in just a few days, I'll be lucky enough to get to see those people again.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Seattle's Gas Works Park...

More Seattle Pictures.

And, why not? The place is amazing, and if the day is clear and the sun is shining, there's no end to what there is to see. And if it's cool to see, it's worth a picture or three.

Last week while on a visit my brother-in-law took us to another of Seattle's interesting sites, Gas Works Park. He said that it's really nice when the sun's out. He wasn't wrong. The park is built at the site of an old gas works concern (hence, the name...). They decided to leave some of the original structures to add character to the area. I'm glad they did. It's like huge art pieces right in the middle of everything. I could have taken pictures all day long of just the old gas works.

But there' so much more to see. In the lake there are two runways for seaplanes to take off and land. We were able to see several planes take off--very cool for land-locked people to witness.

And since it's a waterway, a myriad number of different boats criss-crossed the lake. There were people-powered craft, a desire to return to boats of old, even new boats I'd never seen before.

And since it's a public park, people want to express their opinions and so they do. Some were uplifting, others not so much. Of course, definition and meaning are in the eye of the graffiti law breaker.

There were huge yachts, Sleepless in Seattle homes on the water, and postcard-worthy views. I remember going to Disneyland years ago when it was one of the coldest April days on record. Near the end of the day, the park was almost empty, so much so, that my son and I were able to go on a ride and they let us just go again because no one else was waiting to ride. I remember thinking at the time that I'll probably never get that opportunity again. I almost feel like our visit to Gas Works Park last week was so good, I might not get that opportunity again.

Friday, September 15, 2017

It's The Little Things That Mean The Most...

Last weekend on our trip we stopped and spent the night in Pendleton, Oregon. It's a nice little town, from what we saw, nice people, too. In the motel lobby where we stayed there was a saddle. The town's big rodeo was taking place the same weekend we were there.

Not only was it a necessary piece of equipment to ride a horse, it was a beautiful work of art. As we passed I told my kids that their grandpa, my dad, made saddles. He was many things, a leatherwork expert was one of them. Today, while searching for something completely different, I came across one of the few remaining things my dad made out of leather, a child's leather belt.

Looking at it again, I noticed just how incredible it is.

Not only is the leather worked, but it's painted From the look of the belt, it didn't see a lot of wear so even the colors are bright. There's so much detail in the bear, the deer, the trees, mountains, and even the smoke coming from the cabin is an amazing addition.

Back when we used to search the home my father built after he died, I remembered seeing some of his old leatherwork tools. When I was old enough for scouts, we dabbled in some small leather projects. I remembered looking for my dad's tools again. I thought if I had access to all the things he had, maybe I could create some amazing things, too. Turns out, he really didn't all that many things. The man just knew how to work with what he had.

Maybe, had my dad lived, he could have made a belt that would fit me now. I hope I'd want to wear it so much I would wear it out and he'd have to make a new one. Back when he made these belts (mine, and at least one other for my brother...), there's no way we could have appreciated them--we were just too young. But now, even though I can in now way wear it, the small belt is one of my favorite things.

I wrote earlier that my belt was one of the few things left that he made out of leather. But I'll bet somewhere, there's an expertly crafted saddle that's still being used, its owner having no idea who made it, no idea just how good the craftsman was with leather and tools.

Then again, they probably know that last part.