Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Last Popcorn...

It's been a strange spring, so much so, I missed the apricot blossoms.

And I never miss the blossoms.

For the past several years, I've either taken pictures of the blossoms and used them for my Pic Of The Day, or written blog posts about the apricots. The trees and the blossoms are part of my childhood, part of the experience that is growing up on my street.

Where my house sits and where the home I grew up in sits was once an orchard. The trees--cherry and apricot. Of that grove, only one original apricot tree remains and it now belongs to those who bought the home of my youth after my mother passed away. It still yields fruit. Several years ago, we planted an apricot tree as well. It's smaller (obviously...), but we do get apricots most years. They're fickle fruit, especially in our climate. We normally get a late frost which many times kills the harvest.

Will it happen again this year? I'm not sure--time will tell. 

I've seen many trees in bloom, and more will follow. So why do I find the apricot trees so interesting? Maybe it's because nothing's guaranteed. When the apple or pear trees bloom, it's later in the spring. Rarely do those trees not bear fruit. But the apricot--it's a mystery that's not known until those buds grow and turn from small fuzzy green ovals to bigger orange spheres. When I see the apricots mature it means the system worked, the fruit beat the odds.

It sort of gives me hope.

This morning, I saw a single blossom still hanging on. I'm not sure if it will turn into delicious fruit. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, March 30, 2018

I Heard The Phrase, "Toys Were Us" More Today Than I've Ever Heard In My Life...

A few weeks ago one of our sons asked if we could go to to Toys R Us to check it out and see what things would be on sale. Today I took boys #2 and #4 to see what there was to see.

We are not a big Toys R Us family. The nineteen-year old said as we walked in he may have been in the store maybe once in his life. It's possible he's been there a couple more times, but not many. And the thirteen-year old didn't remember going at all. Maybe that's why the place is closing--not enough kids have been in the store with their parents. I wish we could have contributed to the store's continued success, but sorry--just wasn't meant to be.

I think I expected something different when I went inside. I envisioned nearly empty shelves, perhaps down-in-the-mouth employees. I didn't see that. In fact, it looked like it normally did whenever I went inside in the past. Except for fewer than normal selection of video games, the shelves looked to be well-stocked. Also, there were several employees in blue shirts who were courteous and helpful and I didn't get that "about to close the doors" vibe I thought I'd feel.

I did feel something while inside. I felt bad the store was closing. I wondered what the employees will be doing for work in the coming weeks and months. I hope they will land on their feet and find something else to replace their current job. I felt bad that this option--of being able to walk into a store and pick up that favorite toy for a son or daughter--will be unavailable from one particular store. Sure, there's the big stores, Target, Wal*Mart, etc., that have toys, but going to a place dedicated to one thing was fun. And, of course, there's the on-line shopping that's still available. It's probably the on-line shopping that helped do in Toys R Us in the first place.

As we approached the store, I heard one of the boys say something about how the store is now "Toys Were Us." I heard the same thing a few more times before we left. I watched an episode of The Goldbergs recently where the father and Adam were banned from their local video store. Memories of strolling through aisles and aisles of videos at Blockbuster came back to me. In years to come, I wonder if my kids will say they remember going to Toys R Us. I suppose time will tell.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Random Things...In A Car...In A Picture

Sunday I posted a picture of some random things in a car. It wasn't the greatest picture, by any means, just a few items that sat shotgun as I drove home from Idaho Falls. In the picture, I have:

An unfinished 20 oz bottle of Vanilla Coke

A wrapper to an eaten Midnight Dark Milky Way candy bar

The CD jacket to Electric Light Orchestra's Greatest Hits: All Over The World

A disgarded tie purchased from the newly-opened Deseret Industries in Ammon, Idaho

These served as my traveling companions and that that's what I called them in the picture I posted. Like I said, not the greatest picture, but interesting in a weird kind of way.

Last weekend we started out from Idaho Falls just before 10am, Sunday morning. All the cars and vans were loaded up with kids and food. All the cars and vans, except for mine. All the kids picked the places they wanted to sit on their way home. And when everyone was in a car, mine was empty.

It took me a few minutes on the open road to realize not having anyone with me wasn't necessarily a bad thing because that's when I put in the ELO disk, cranked the volume, and sang at the top of my lungs.

If you don't know already, ELO is some fantastic traveling music. I know if my daughter was with me, she would have put up with it. If any of her friends were with us, I'm sure we would have listened to something else.

The drive from southeast Idaho to northern Utah is usually uneventful, but on this particular trip, there was much to see. We had sun between Pocatello and Malad, encroaching clouds in Tremonton, and by the time I hit Ogden, I drove through snow. At no time were the roads crowded which always helps make a road trip better.

I don't travel much, by car or otherwise. And I wouldn't want to travel alone often--I'd rather make the journey with family or friends. But on a spring Sunday afternoon last weekend, traveling by myself with Vanilla Coke, Midnight Dark Milky Way, and ELO as my companions was great.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

"Jumanji"...Caught Lightning In A Bottle Four Times

I'm usually late to any party when it comes to new films. There's a few people who still ask me if I've seen the latest film, and I almost always say, "I'll see it on RedBox." It's not that I'm not interested--I do track how films do and it was hard not to notice last year's monster hit, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. It crushed at the box office. I heard nothing but great things so when we rented the film yesterday from RedBox, it did not disappoint.

But what struck me the most was the absolute perfect casting found in this film. It happens occasionally when a film has two wonderful leads--a good rom com almost relies on this formula to be successful. Getting two perfect casting choices is great for a film. Finding more perfect casting choices grows exponentially harder the more you have in a film. 

The new Jumanji has four.

The four main actors, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan were spectacular. Each character had to react to the obvious difference in their transformed physical appearance to what they were before being transported into the game. The nerdy one becomes the near perfect physical specimen. The shy girl becomes--literally--a man killer and dance fighting champion. The jock loses his muscles and becomes a brain. And the high school beauty becomes a "fat ugly middle-aged man." The way the four actors portray the characters in flux is a wonder to behold.

Though each actor was amazing portraying each teenager's alter-ego, the one that impressed me the most was not Dwayne Johnson's convincing "nerd-to-stud" change, or Kevin Hart's "how-do-I-survive-without-my-once-powerful-body" hilarious transition, or Jack Black's adorable "now-I'm-a-man" realization. It was Karen Gillan's "now-I'm-beautiful-and-powerful" reactions I found the most entertaining. When she had to learn how to flirt and then found out she was a master dance fighter, for me, she won the award.

The show was good--the box office results prove that. People loved it and so did we. They got the casting right. In fact, they caught lightning in a bottle and they did it four times.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

How To Get Cast In Community Theater...A Few Suggestions

A friend asked me yesterday for some advice. He wants to start doing theater again. He attended a couple of auditions and was not picked. Granted, he swung for the fences and tried out for two shows I don't think I would have made. Not that I'm the greatest actor, but I've been doing community theater shows for almost twenty years.

During that time, I've learned a thing or two.

I started answering his questions and I realized I began rambling on and on. Turns out I had more advice than I thought I did. I decided to put down those ideas in this blog post, just in case anyone else might have the same questions.

Of course, these are my own opinions based on my experiences. They are in no way definite or exclusive...just how I see things.

I started off with this:

I would try for a show at one of the local theaters that needs men. Shows like 1776, or Oklahoma, or something with a big cast. The best way to help yourself is the way you handle yourself once you’re in a show. I know it doesn’t help much to say “first, get in a show, then you can really help yourself.” It’s just that once you’re in a show, you can do the little things directors and theaters love, like show up on time and always work hard.

Those two things go a LONG way to making sure you can do shows in the future.

The “big cast that needs men” is a great way to get in the door
Centerpoint is a good place to go. There’s a smaller theater in Farmington/Kaysville called Hope Box. I’ve never done a show there, but I know many who have and they have enjoyed that theater experience.

There’s also a theater in Ogden and a couple more in SLC that I’ve heard of. The theater community isn’t really that big--everyone gets to know everyone else and what you want to do is get a reputation as being dependable and hard working. If the people who choose know this about you, or have heard this about you, they’ll put you in shows.

But I think [getting involved in community theater] is a good thing to get into. On a whole, there are good people involved who like to so something than just stay home and play video games. And I do know they need guys because I’ve been asked to be in shows when people drop out or they didn’t get enough fill a cast. And they do that because they know what they’re going to get. That’s a few ideas I have about how to get in shows. Basically, work your butt off once you get in and keep trying until you do get in a show.

He then asked about trying for a lead role or being in the ensemble. Here's my response:

I think it’s okay to say you’d like to be considered for a lead role. You want to be confident in an audition. Of course, they’re going to look at you with more scrutiny. And I think Centerpoint gets leads that can be leads anywhere (Hale, Pioneer Memorial). I usually write “Any Part” on the paperwork. They are looking for something for various parts and you might fit into those. Actually, being an ensemble member is a great way to exceed their expectations and make yourself look better by comparison than some of the other ensemble people who just want to have fun with their friends.

Sorry--I’m rambling, but I’ve been doing shows for almost 20 years. Even though you might not get leads right away, starting small can lead to getting the good parts.

It’s like a club and you’re on the outside wanting to be part of the club. And, in my opinion, the way you act, the things you say, the way you treat other people (respect/just being a good guy) like fellow cast members, directors, anyone associated with the theater, does more to help you get in shows than how you are on stage. It’s community theater and you’re not getting paid so if you treat it like a job and respect it, you’ll get in show after show. Because if they know you act that way and they then find out if you can act/dance/sing, you’ll get the bigger parts.
Like I said, these are just some things that raced around in my mind yesterday. Maybe they'll help you if you're trying to get in a show. And if so, I hope they do.

Monday, March 26, 2018

What A Difference Time Makes...

If you're on Facebook at all, you may get those "Memories From the Past" posts on your timeline. I get them all the time. That happens, I suppose, if you've posted at least one thing every day since January, 2011. This morning a picture I posted on this day seven years ago showed up.

What a difference a few years can make.

In Centerville, a town just to the south of us, there's a pizza place called Zeponie's. The food is fantastic. Unfortunately, because of food sensitivities, we can't eat there anymore, but I remember the food with fondness. It was good.

The atmosphere inside it kitchie, too. When we visited, March 26, 2011, they had album jackets covering the walls. At one end, they had an entire section dedicated to the comedian, Bill Cosby. I remember looking at the body of work he created over the decades in awe. It was impressive. It still is, considering how tough it is not only to get into the business, but to remain at the level he achieved for so long. I believe, at one time, he was the highest paid male entertainer in the world. I could be wrong on that--I'm typing from the hip here--but if not the highest paid in the world, definitely one of the highest paid.

I haven't been in the restaurant in a long time. I don't know if they still have album covers adorning the walls. If so, I wonder if they still have Mr. Cosby's album covers up.

My guess is, there's no way they're still there. 

I know little about the Cosby situation, other than what's been reported in the news. I haven't researched it or dug deeper. The information's most likely out there--I just don't want to know about it. Growing up when I did, comedy albums were one of the only ways to experience the genius of comedians, and Bill Cosby's stuff was unbelievable. I also watched the animated Fat Albert TV series Saturday mornings. The show taught important messages. It all seems so hallow, now, but at the time, I'm sure those messages changed lives.

I haven't looked into the stories of what's happening now because I don't want to know. It's like part of my childhood's been ripped from me, or worse yet, as if it was a fraud all along and I never saw it. Funny how the advantages of maturing don't seem like advantages sometimes. Yes, I'm sure the pictures have been removed. I can definitely understand the decision to remove them, and I don't blame the Zeponie's for doing it. It's just too bad those amazing memories couldn't have just stayed that way.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Those Beautiful Idaho Skies...

I've visited the neighboring state to the north more times than any other save my home state. As a child, every summer (and many times fall, winter, and spring...) my family would travel to the Gem State. It was a logical destination--both my mother and father lived most of their lives in Idaho and we had family there.

There's no way I could appreciate the state as a child--I was too young. We'd travel first in the big Buick Electra 225s that were my dad's favorites. After he passed away, we traveled in many different cars that my mom picked up here and there. As I grew up, I drove back and forth in the cars I chose, and finally, in the cars and vans my wife and I bought. As a kid, the scenery was just that--stuff to see until you reached the place you were going.

Maybe it's because I drove from Idaho Falls alone today that I looked up and noticed just how amazing the skies above the road and plains were. Then again, it could have been the sunroof that allowed me to see above the traveling car.

I was unable to check out a lot of the skies this last weekend. I spent most of the time in the gymnasium of Skyview High School on Idaho Fall's east side. I attended my daughter's last ballroom dance competition as a high school student. If you've never attended, these are the types of events where you go inside the gym in the morning, and sometimes leave long past the sun has set. Friday night, I took a break and looked up.

I'm glad I did.

It was beautiful.

I snapped a few pictures, trying to capture what I was seeing. On the building's west side, I stepped outside and saw a group of dancers taking in some fresh crisp Idaho spring air. Their colorful costumes proved a stark difference to the colors of Mother Nature. I didn't get their permission to take their pictures. I tried to make them unrecognizable. You might, if you know these dancers, recognize them. There's more than a good chance the dancers in the pictures will never see this post.

I hope when the opportunity to return to the Gem State occurs, I'll take more time to notice, not just the agrarian landscape, the long-cooled lava rocks, the sagebrush, the majestic Snake River, and the towering Teton Range, but the incredible umbrella of blue and white above.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Apparently, Thrift Stores In Idaho Falls Are A Good Place To Find Allen Edmond Shoes...Who Knew?

Our Idaho adventure wraps up tomorrow. Before the trip, I failed to carefully read the e-mail letting us know the entire group of kids--and chaperones, of which, I am one--will be attending church on the way home. Since I'm traveling with kids in addition to my daughter I will be attending, too. That means, I needed to get some suitable church clothes.

And where's the best place to find inexpensive clothing?

No, not Old Navy (although, that can be considered...), but a thrift store. And luckily, I knew where two thrift stores were located in Idaho Falls. When I arrived, the larger of the two was closed. I went to the other thrift store--located directly across the street--and asked when the Deseret Industries (D.I.) closed. I missed it by a week.

At the smaller store, I found a pair of Allen Edmonds dress shoes. They were pretty beat up. I might send them in to get refurbished. I'm told they do that at Allen Edmonds. Even if I don't do that, picking them up was okay. They were only two dollars.

I asked if the worker knew where the new D.I. was built. I assumed they built a new one--this thrift store chain is important to the Mormon communities. Turns out I was right--they did build a new one. The worker told me the new store was in a section of town I'd be visiting later tonight. What luck! After dinner I went inside the new D.I. and bought a shirt, tie, belt, and another pair of Allen Edmonds. These are in much better shape.

Ever since I found out about this brand of footwear, I've been looking for Allen Edmonds for years. Today I found two pair. They may be the only used Allen Edmonds in the city, or maybe even all of Idaho, for all I know.

What I do know is, had I read the e-mail more carefully a few week's back, I'd have had no reason to even step inside a store.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Leaving Home...A Flash Fiction Story

She killed the engine. The already packed car sat idling for several minutes before she turned the key. The aging Toyota sputtered, then died. She thought she should say a prayer—she’d definitely need any help she could get.

Looking west out the passenger-side window she peered down a long back alleyway and a wave of nostalgia washed over her. That alley—it’s where she played hide-and-seek as a child, where she rode bikes as a tween, and where she snuck in after curfew as a teenager. The alley way knew her secrets, her dreams, her joys, her fears…it knew her.

And she was leaving the alleyway and the only life she’d ever known behind.

What if they hate me at college? she wondered. What if I don’t fit in? She was so excited when the letter came from Stanford. She screamed with excitement as shaking hands held the letter of acceptance, but now, the shy Idaho-born-and-bred girl of migrant farmers wondered if she could make the grade—literally.

I should call Mom—no, it’s time for the lunchtime rush. And, she thought, they’d said their goodbyes that morning before her mother left for work. Besides, sh remembered, she’ll be home for Thanksgiving—only three months away. Oh how she wished she could say goodbye to her father, but a drunk driver make that an impossibility.

Her dad…in all the excitement, she hadn’t even thought of him. All the preparations, the packing, getting the car ready for the trip—she had forgotten about her dad.
The girl glanced down the alleyway one more time, took a deep breath, and fired up the trusty engine. She’ll swing by the cemetery on the way out of town. After all, it’s only a few minutes out of her way.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Spending The Day With Dozens Of Teenagers...

Yes, I agreed to help chaperone several dozen teenagers as they participated in a ballroom dance competition in Idaho.

Yes, I was of sound mind when I agreed to do this.

Yes, I understood what would be involved in making such a decision. 

Actually, this isn't the first time I've attended this particular event. Last year I drove up with my daughter. Having never been, last year was draining. There's just And when you get hundreds and hundreds of teenager ballroom dancers in one place it

The difference between this year and last, last year I wasn't a chaperone. I was just a dad. So far, it's been about the same, except we had a pair of siblings riding up with us. They were well-behaved and pleasant company.

Come to think of it, every teenager I encountered today was well-behaved. That's the amazing thing--so many kids in one place, and they're respectful, kind to each other, and friendly. It's easy to condemn a generation. By looking at examples of poor choices, everyone can be labeled as such. And even though they were loud, that's about the worst of it.

Of course, we're only a few hours into our adventure. We've all got a few days to be together. Thankfully, I'm in a hotel room, away from the masses when I need sleep. I'm sure bunking with everyone would make things tougher. I don't anticipate the kids getting a lot of sleep the next few days.

Tonight my daughter dances. It's an honor watching her compete. She's brave like that--something I most likely wouldn't have dared to at her age. Then again, maybe I would. I know one thing, when I was a teenager, there were times I was very loud.

Yes, I agreed to help chaperone several dozen teenagers as they participated in a ballroom dance competition in Idaho.

Yes, I was of sound mind when I agreed to do this.

Yes, I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Folks At FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention...Are Good People

My work is having a fundraiser. There's a good chance you have them where you work, too. This time, it's an auction. You know the drill--several employees bring something on which others can bid and the proceeds go to a good cause.

Tomorrow, we're having an Easter Basket auction. Today I built a couple of baskets for the event. And most of the stuff I put in my baskets came from the people at FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention.

They're good people.

Of course, I've known they were good people for years. Any organization that allows me to participate, to rub shoulders with amazing authors, actors, artists, vendors, and geeks from all walks of life is a quality organization. I asked my friend Blake about our fundraiser. He referred me to Kelsey and she hooked me up with some great swag.

In the picture, you can see the FanX bag, the posters, and the patches. What you can't see are the FanX water bottles and shirts, and how the entire posters look (they're very cool, by the way...). I went to the dollar store and bought some candy to sweeten the deal--I thought putting the Nerds in the front was a nice touch.

It seems we live in such a cynical world, a place where all we hear about is how bad people are, how much we all hate each other, and how everyone's selfish, only looking after their own interests. Then you ask for a favor and they respond. Perhaps to them, it wasn't a big deal, find some surplus posters, shirts, bags, and badges. But to me, and hopefully to those who spend good money for the baskets, it means something special. Thanks Kelsey, Blake, and everyone involved in their fantastic organization. You're good people.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

I Could Have Flown To L.A. For The Time I Spent Today On The Train...

I got on a train this morning at 7:39am. I got off another train at 5:22pm. In between I spent three and a half hours on a train.

That's a bit much, and I like taking trains.

Today we had a meeting in Provo. It was an all day affair and the train goes from my hometown all the way to Provo. Another plus to train riding, the train has Wi-Fi. That means, I can spend that time working on an assignment. That's a win-win-win. Of course, trying to type on a train that occasionally bobbles along the tracks can produce more than an one mistake. Still, until self-driving cars, or chauffeured trips become reliable AND affordable, taking a train or bus is the only way I can make the twenty or so miles to work a working commute.

This afternoon, when the train pulled up to my stop, I pried my legs from the chair where I hadn't moved in two hours and made my way off the train. I thought about the day's trips. I could have flown to another state for the same time I spent on the bus. Maybe that's not entirely correct, but since I've only been on one flight since 1999, my mind believes it's right.

Watching the world go by from a train window is great. And I know many people have two to four hour commutes. I think I could do that, too, as long as someone else is doing the driving.

Monday, March 19, 2018

My Son's Selling His First Car...

Remember the first car you ever owned? I do. It's become part of Taylor family lore. It was a 1965 VW Beetle and we named it Greenie. I had the opportunity of owing it twice, once when I bought it as a sophomore in high school, and a second time when I bought it from a junkyard after the guy I sold it to drove it around illegally for a couple of years and left it at a parking spot downtown Salt Lake City. I ended up giving it away to a father and son team who wanted to fix it up. I hope they did revive it, but it could be rotting somewhere in another junkyard. I think about that car all the time.

The car was special, even though it stranded me more times than I can count. It almost got me killed by stalling while crossing busy streets. I never got it above 55 m.p.h. Still, it was my first car. It meant more to me than four tires, an engine, and seats.

My son is selling his 1999 Toyota Camry for $600. It's got high miles, a cracked windshield, and chipped paint. But it's also got tires with good tread (including a full-size spare...), a clean interior, and a cool compartment for your sunglasses. All in all, it's got more pluses than minuses. It's one color and the heater and A/C work.

My son, like me, has reservations about selling. The car has meant employment opportunities for him. He's been able to go to college, go on dates, and have the type of freedom available to a young man with his whole life ahead of him. It means more than four tires, an engine, and seats.

He's going to ask around to see if anyone's interested in it. Then he'll put it on the Facebook Marketplace and KSL cars (a local digital classified website...). If you're interested, let me know. He'll get another one, as did I. I wonder if the cars and vehicles that follow will ever take the place of his first car. I don't think mine ever did.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

"Gifted"...A Good Film

I think one of the more unappreciated aspects of watching a movie occurs when you choose a film to watch--something you know nothing about--and it turns out to be great. It's one of the trade-offs of not seeing movies in the theater. If the show's a dud, you just spent good money to watch something bad, or something sub-par. And if you see a great movie in the theater,'s supposed to be great, now, isn't it?

Last night, as I was finishing up a first draft, my wife turned on the movie, Gifted. Neither of us knew much about it. I knew it starred Chris Evans, but that's about it. Mr. Evans is one of the most famous and recognizable actors on the planet, having reached this level of success by playing superheroes.

He was a superhero in Gifted, too. Although, in this film, he's not a hero to billions, but to one extraordinary girl, his niece, Mary.

You can probably tell by the movie poster alone, this is not a big-budget/explosions/world-in-peril/ type show. It's a simple story of a fallen man doing everything he can to make the best life possible for his niece. His mother, his sister's ghost, and his past all work against him. The story details his struggles as he fights to keep Mary home with him.

When you see an actor who is known for such an iconic role, it's easy to look past his/her basic acting skills. Not that we do this on purpose, it's just what happens when all of your senses are being bombarded with lights and sounds. In a project like this, the actor's stripped of his uniform. Evans is simply Frank Adler, boat mechanic, guardian. Evans does a terrific job portraying a vulnerable man trying to survive.

Another wonderful aspect of Gifted is the acting from the supporting cast. There's not a weak link among them. They create a world where everyone is either fighting or helping Frank Adler--either pushing him to what he wants, or pushing him away. And Frank's one-eyed cat named Fred serves as a reminder that even Frank's pet has a tough life.

Mary Adler, the niece, is a mathematical genius, which drives the storyline and creates additional drama to the situation. But I believe it could have been a wonderful and effective story without the little girl possessing this trait. People are removed from homes every day for reasons much more mundane.

Gifted came out last year. It cost (according to IBDb...) $7 million, and it made much more than that. Good for it. Good for Mr. Evans to be part of a movie that surprised us and made us appreciate the pure art of storytelling.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Freelance...How Do People Do It?

This week I was contact for a freelance writing job. I eagerly agreed thinking I would just throw myself into it.

I mean, what could go wrong?

Actually, not much went wrong. I spent hours on the project this week. Yesterday and today it encompassed all most of my time. The above scene of my computer screen I will probably haunt me my sleep tonight.

It's interesting, working on a freelance project for the first time. My contractor and I spoke for an hour Tuesday night. He provided me a template, e-mailed me a ton of help. He basically provided everything I needed to write my first draft.

I then went to work. 

In the past couple of years, I've begun projects I had never done before. I thought this might be similar. It wasn't. When you write a new story--one that's not formatted or plotted--you're jumping into the unknown. You make up stuff people ma or may not like. The difference with this project is there was another person out there who has an idea of what he wants or would like to see. My job was to read his mind--in a way--and produce content he wanted.

Tonight I submitted my first draft. I had no idea if he would like it or not. With a story or novel, the decision maker can give a thumbs up or thumbs down. I suppose my contractor could as well. It's just different. Thankfully, I've passed the first test and will continue working it.

I know many writers do freelance full time, and I suppose the more you do it, the better you get, but for the first time, it was a little tough. It's a much different proposition earning a living as a regular 40-hour a week than taking work as it comes. Will I do it again? Time will tell.

Friday, March 16, 2018

When It's The Middle Of The Night...And Your Clock Is Telling You To Lie

Sometimes, getting a good night's sleep isn't a given. It's actually never a given, considering all the things that can happen to a person, but in our modern society, we usually get a good night's sleep (unless, of course, you have a newborn in the house...).

We do not have a newborn or multiple newborns in the house, so that excuse for finding myself awake in the middle of the night isn't valid. We do have a cat that likes to go in and out at various times--and we don't have a cat door. 

So, last night was a tough one for me. And I blame my inability to sleep partially on a writing deadline that arrives tomorrow night. Each time I woke up, thoughts about the assignment went though my head again and again. 

Makes sleeping tough.

On those occasions when I can't sleep I actually don't want to look over at my illuminated alarm clock. Thankfully, I did not have work this morning--that's the worst, knowing exactly how much time you don't have until you need to leave the bed and go to work. No, I try and avoid knowing how much sleep I'm missing. But this morning, I did glance over and I saw it was exactly 3:17am.

Interesting thing about that, because rarely am I looking directly at clock the proper angle while I'm lying down. My head is sideways on the pillow and so I see the numbers more vertical than horizontal. I could not, however, prevent my mind from seeing the numbers upside-down and so my alarm clock was telling me to lie.

I can take this a couple of ways. It can be reminding me to lie down, and stay that way. After all, it's more difficult to fall asleep if I'm not lying down.

Then, the alarm clock may be telling me to be untruthful. That's an interesting thought. Exactly who am I supposed to lie to? My wife who's asleep next to me? The dog that's snoring on a pillow at the foot of our bed? Myself? Sorry, alarm clock. I don't think I can carry that one out.

Yes, there's other words upside-down numbers make on my alarm clock. Perhaps if I wake up at those times, my mind will give me a more practical command. We'll see.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Nature's Path Love Crunch Granola...Um...YUM!

I don't feel like I'm a food snob. I very much may be a food snob, but I don't think I am. Because of allergies, there are foods I can't eat. Plus, because of religious choices, there are things I choose not to drink. I don't believe I would do well in the big cities where there are fancy restaurants--even if I could afford to eat there. We do try and feed our family the healthiest food we can afford. We're always trying to do better.

Last week, I visited a friends house and he brought out a bag of Nature's Way Love Crunch Premium Organic Cereal. The variety they had--Dark Chocolate & Red Berries.

I mean, come on!

It was delicious!

"You can get it at Costco," he said when I remarked on how much I liked the food. When I got home from my visit, my son just happened to be at Costco so we texted him to be on the look out for the bag of breakfast nirvana. He didn't spot it.


Fortunately, I found a smaller package of the cereal at my local grocery store (Costco's items are so much bigger--buying in bulk, and all that...). I bought it. I've eaten it. It's still just as good, just not as much.

I learned a lot at my friends house, mostly about my writing and about the writing industry in general. But I also learned that I have a soft spot for some hardened cereal with dark chocolate and red berries. If it makes me a breakfast food snob, so be it. It's a cross I'll just have to bear.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Vanity Plates And Fancy Cars...

Last week I drove home from Salt Lake. Around 21st South heading north, I noticed a low sports traveling in the same direction.

It was a Ferrari.

It was red.

It was beautiful.

I'd like to be a fan of the most expensive and exotic cars in the world. I know I have friends who can identify this car and know exactly the model, and possibly the year it was made. There was a time, back in high school, I could identify a few of the Lamborghini models and a few of the Ferraris, especially the one Tom Selleck drove in Glen L. Larson's Magnum P.I.

Those days are long gone. Now there's hundreds of amazing cars out there and more and more produced all the time. There's no way I can keep up with them all. My level of interest is satisfied by watching Top Gear and Grand Tour episodes, but I've even stopped watching those lately.

My little Pontiac sped up (but was still obeying traffic laws, kind of...). I thought it would be cool to see it up close. It got boxed in by slower vehicles and I caught up. I just wanted to drive by it. You know, make it look even better by comparison.

But when I got close, I noticed something, something interesting. The Ferrari had a vanity plate, not a special word or number plate, but it had a University of Utah sticker on the plate.

Would I have thought less of the car if it weren't red, or a Ferrari, or had a Y sticker on the plate? I guess I'll never know.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Today's The Day For Jay To Say..."Blood Creek Witch" Is HERE!

Today Immortal Work's latest book, Jay Barnson's Blood Creek Witch, is available to the public. Jay posted a picture of himself holding his creation. And not only is Jay wearing an amazing Commodore 64 shirt, he's wearing a smile.

I know that smile.

I've worn that smile.

It comes when you receive that box of books for the first time.

It's an incredible feeling holding a book that exists because you wrote it.

I have not read Jay's latest, but I have read things he has written. In fact, Jay has a boatload of things published. You can check out his Amazon author page: HERE. You can also order your copy of Blood Creek Witch from Amazon: HERE.

I can't help but be excited for my friend. He's worked hard getting his book published. He's worked hard getting his short stories published, too. And he has a job (unlike me...) where sometimes putting in forty hours a week means he's just getting started. I can learn a lot from him about writing, putting in the time, and finishing projects.

Reading books written by people you know is a pleasure. Reading great literature is wonderful by itself, but when you know the person who wrote it, it adds an extra dimension to the reading experience. I can't wait to read Jay's novel. Congrats Jay on the book! May it sell a million copies!