Monday, July 15, 2019

Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game"--Ready For The Next Generation Of Readers...And Writers

The book sat on a table at SpikeCon. It lay among other books available for whomever wished to have one. There were several, many of which I'd never heard of.

But I had heard of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game.

I picked up the book and put it in my bag.

Hours later, after returning home, I unpacked it and gave it to my son.

He's fourteen, almost fifteen.

It was time.

Every genre has books that everyone interested in that genre must read. There are books people should read even if they're not necessarily interested in that genre. Ender's Game is one of those books. In fact, if you want to understand both today's authors of science fiction, and the books they're writing now in the genre, a good place to start is by reading Ender's Game. The reason why is simple--most authors in that genre have read the book.

When I asked my son what book he wanted me to write almost three year ago, he said he wanted to read a science fiction story. That's what I wrote. Chaser came about because of his answer. When I saw Card's book on the table, I wondered if he would like it. Turns out, the next day he was already several chapters in--and we didn't have to "remind him" to read it.

I have no idea if my son will turn out to be a writer--it's possible he may be. More likely, he'll be a reader and I'll be completely overjoyed if that's the case. But if he does turn into an author and he writes science fiction, I'm sure Ender's Game will have had an impact on him. I know it did on me and thousands of other writers out there.

It's that good.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Taking Advantage Of All The Accessories...

Tonight we grilled. I retrieved the Expert Grill, fired up the coals, and slapped down prepared meats. We hadn't barbecued in a while and it sounded good. We're still breaking in the grill--it's only months old. I'm still learning the intricacies of the cooker. So far, I've been impressed. I think it'll be a good one.

I remember putting the thing together. The last thing I added was the bottle opener. I loved that it included one, like an Expert Griller using an Expert Grill must have quick access to a bottle opener. I've admitted that I'm no expert when it comes to grilling, so I'm not sure if I must have a bottle in my hand as the meat turns from raw and poisonous to cooked and delicious.

To me, a bottle opener seems old fashioned. Like the scene from Back to the Future, where Marty can't twist the cap off his bottle of pop. He needs his father George to do it for him, and George completes the task like it's the easiest thing in the world to do.

As I put the grill together and I attached the small bottle opener to the side, I wondered if I would ever use it. Turns out, I did--nice attachment to have after all.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Little Known Fact...Cuisinart = Dutch For Delicious!

Okay, okay. I know Cuisinart is not Dutch for delicious. I've studied Danish and German and I know a few Dutch words.

Cuisinart is not one of them.

Last week we were given a wonderful gift--the gift of quick and easy-making ice cream, yogurt, and sorbet. Sure, we've had ice cream makers in the past, and I believe I once participated in using a hand-cranked ice cream making machine. Glad technology has pretty much eliminated those relics of the past.

We still have an ice cream maker that requires ice and salt. It's buried in the pantry, and it works, but it's a pain--not as much a pain as the hand-cranked model, but...well, you know what I mean.

Back when my wife and I got married, one of our wedding gifts was an ice cream maker. It was small, but it worked great. Instead of using ice and salt, you freeze a canister then add the ice cream ingredients into the canister while the maker churns it.

Looks like Cuisinart has improved the process. The maker included two canisters instead of one, and the canisters are bigger. You can keep one frozen in the fridge while making delicious sweet frozen treats in the other. And, we can make slushies. We've successfully made limeade slushies and lemonade slushies--we even tried Coca Cola slushies (they were not as good as the citrus ones...).

Yes, we've already used this thing a lot in the short time we've acquired it (thanks Carol for the fantastic gift!), and we don't plan on slowing down anytime soon. After all, is there a better time to make homemade desserts than when it's over 100 degrees outside?


Friday, July 12, 2019

Come See OMT's Peter Pan...It's A Fantastic Show!

I've been posting pictures from Ogden lately. There's a reason for this, and it's not just because the valley is full of amazingly photogenic locations and sights.

It's because my daughter and I are in a play that opens in just a few weeks.

Peter Pan

This is a show of firsts for me. It's the first show I've done in Ogden, unless you count my birth in Ogden over five decades ago. It's the first show I've down that wasn't in Centerville or Farmington. What it isn't, is the first time I've done this show. Years ago, I was fortunate enough to be part of a Peter Pan production at Centerpoint Legacy Theatre.

This time, I'm Jukes the pirate, not Cecco. I'm the pirate who gets killed first by Peter in Act III (sorry for the spoiler...).

I have had an amazing time learning the show all over again with an entirely new cast (but not director or choreographer...). Doing a show in a new theater in a new city gives us the opportunity to get to know more people.

So, if you're in the area and want to see first-rate entertainment, chick: HERE for more details on the show, ticket prices, and performances. Come on--check out the show! You won't be sorry!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Anticipation...Even Dogs Feel It

When you have a house with two dogs and two cats, and almost none can be in the same room at the same time and your house is not very big. Well, what you have there is a houseful of trouble.

With a capital "T" and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for "Pet."

It also rhymes with the "T" sound in kitty and puppy and doggie.

We've got one old dog and one young dog, one old cat and a kitten. Only the two dogs can be together in the same room, and that's a recent development. The old dog is most likely not long for this earth and then we'll only have three pets. Things may get easier by a factor of one.

But two of these animals we hope will become friends. The problem is, the big one could eat the little one...literally. We're waiting for the kitten to get a little bigger before he meets the poodle. Right now, the kitten stays sometimes in our bedroom and the dog knows where the kitten is. The dog spends hours sitting in front of the door and when the kitten comes close to the door, the dog really freaks out.

We're hoping the kitten can come out and play with the dog to save our sanity (and the door..). We know it'll happen. It's just a matter of time.

And patience.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I Can Deny It No More...Our "Little" Town Is No Longer Little

"I noticed when I came home that traffic was building up through town. There must be an accident on the interstate."

These were the words my wife told my daughter as we snarfed down our dinner. We had planned on leaving early for tonight's rehearsal.

Turns out we needed to leave a lot earlier.

Except for three years, I've lived all my fifty-three and a half years in Utah. I think the population of the planet, when I was born, was about half of what it is today. And I know the population of our state has more than quadrupled in that time. When my parents bought a beautiful plot of land on a mountain back in the late 1960s, our little town was just that...little. I think there were only a few thousand people who called Farmington home.

Funny thing--if you provide food, water, jobs to people, they end up marrying and producing kids, which, in turn, produce kids of their own. And those kids want to live where they grew up, many of them anyway. I know our town has been growing. Fields where we once wandered and played as kids are long gone, replaced by homes, schools, stores, and movie theaters Most of the time the growth hasn't affected us too much. I no longer commute and we don't travel very much as a general rule.

So, when times comes to hit the road during rush hour or if there's an accident on the main roads, I keep thinking to myself, "Where did all these people come from?" The truth is, Most have been here a long time and more are joining them every day.

We made to to our destination only a few minutes late, which, considering the circumstances, was amazing. And next time, as I'm sitting in my home, away from busy roads, I need to think--there's more people out there than I realize. Once I hit the road, I end up joining them. I wonder if anyone else asks themselves where I came from?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Beau Peterson's "Slayer Of The Sea"...A Book Review

Slayer of the Sea

There was a time when I listened to audiobooks, a lot of audiobooks, like averaging "a book or two a week" lot of audiobooks. It's been so long since I read/listened to anything, I can't remember the last book I read/listened to.

Until today.

Today I began and finished a book, and I remember why I used to go through so many books--it's because I love taking that story and making it a part of me, seeing the scenes in my mind, allowing the voice and words of strangers to become part of me, to fulfill me. What an honor it is to be part of the creative process.

The book I read was Beau Peterson's Slayer of the Sea, from Immortal Works.

What a fantastic little story!

I've never met Mr. Peterson so I don't know how he would pitch his book. If someone asked me, I'd stay it's a story reminiscent of Melville or Verne. A tale of man vs. monster on the high seas. You can order it by clicking: HERE. The books title comes from the name of the ship, Slayer of the Sea. Rowan Donchaad is obsessed with hunting, not whales or sharks, but leviathans, creatures so nasty--and so well described--you can almost smell their stench from the printed/audible words. Peterson puts you on the ship as well as in the minds of the characters. There's battles and blood, pride and humility, victory and defeat.

I am not a water person. Sure, I spent every single summer day at an enormous swimming pool in my hometown, but I also live in the second driest state (not talking about alcohol here, but I could be...) in the country. I watch shows and read books about men, women, and children who live on the sea or make their living on the water. It's a world I don't understand. Peterson put me in that world, showed me a glimpse of the adventure that is the sea. Any book that can do that is a successful one.

The audiobook is a mere three hours and forty minutes. It is narrated wonderfully by Montgomery Que. Pick up the book, or download the audiobook if you'd like an action-filled story of a world full of imagination. 

Yes, today I returned to a life of reading. Why did I stay away so long?

Monday, July 8, 2019

We Are Not Amused...

After work this evening, I thought I'd break out the drone. I saw one of our cats sitting lazily close by. I thought the drone might be a way to generate interest for our oldest animal, the stately cat, Teewinot. I mean, a big black thing that hovers in the air, swishing and swaying in a light breeze. What else could a cat want?

Apparently, not the drone.

Inside the house, behind closed doors is our other cat--technically, a kitten. Now I know he'd like the drone. He would be instantly fascinated by it and if it bobbed up and down in front of him, he would do all he could to try and reach it, to bat it out of the air.

Ah...the tale of two kitties.

Sorry (not so sorry...).

Of course it could be my amateur flying skills that proved to be my downfall. It was a little breezy when I took out the drone and I have trouble keeping the thing steady on a windless day, let alone one with a slight breeze. When I reviewed the footage after, I knew the cat saw the drone, even looked at it once. He knew it was there and flat-out, didn't care.

While watching his expression, a television phrase from my childhood came to mind, a segue from the old Monty Python comedies when Queen Victoria would appear and proclaim, "We are not amused." I guess on a cloudy, semi-humid, early July evening in Utah, one particular cat did not care in the slightest that a drone was trying to elicit a response, any response from the stoic feline.

That's the way of it, I suppose.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Another Con Calls It A Day...

Well, I survived another one. Another con is in the books. Each are different--this one's no exception. 

SpikeCon, also WesterCon 72, NASFIC 2019, 1632 Minicon, and ManticCon 2019, began (unofficially...) Wednesday, July 3rd. It closed today, Sunday, July 7th. That's a five-day event. Most cons I've attended last two or three days, tops. I went to four of the five days, between Thursday and today. I'm not as tired as I usually am after attending a convention, mostly because I didn't spend all day there--it was hit-and-miss.

That isn't to say it wasn't good. 

I actually enjoyed myself very much. All the conventions I've attended have been in my home state. When you attend up to a half dozen cons a year in the same state, you start to recognize people, and because you recognize them, there's a good possibility, they recognize you. If they didn't want your book the first seven times you talked to them, they're probably not going to want it now.

Almost all the attendees at this convention were from out-of-state.

I had a great time getting to know new people and welcoming them here. I even sold a book.

What this con did for me that few others do was generate a desire to have my stories be looked at and considered on a bigger stage. The last couple of years, self-publishing seemed a fine choice--and it still is, but I think I'm going to aim higher, or at least, start to think that way.

I participated on two panels and I left those panel rooms with more knowledge than I had when I entered. I also met some wonderful artists, vendors, and fellow authors. If there was a negative, it's that there weren't more people there to enjoy the con. They could have doubled the number and have been fine, at least, that's the opinion of a humble panelist.

SpikeCon is no more. The convention center's closed and people are preparing to fly/drive home. I hope they enjoyed their stay. I know I enjoyed having them.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

My First Garden In Like...Almost Forever

If you know me at all, you know I'm not a fan of yard work. I'm allergic to almost every plant out there. When I mow our lawn, I need to set aside at least a couple of hours afterward to try and cool down so I don't suffer too much. It's a struggle, but it's a necessary one.

One thing I haven't done in years, many many years, is plant a garden.

That changed last week. Last week we visited my friend's nursery business and we left with flowers, and vegetables plants. We ended up racing the sun to get them planted. The next couple of days, I would check my little plants to see how they were doing. A couple of the plants closest to the driveway needed more water than the rest.

I have to say, seeing those little plants alive after a week or so is exciting. Four of the six vegetable plants are tomato plants. The others are a squash and a pepper plant. Years ago we planted tomato plants and the results were mixed. We used to get bumper crops, but then each time we tried growing tomatoes, we couldn't get any to grow. The last time we tried, we planted cherry-type plants. I think the number of tomatoes we actually harvested could be counted on two hands.

I'm hoping this time is different. I can't recall if we used this particular area for tomatoes before. It's possible we did, but then again, the lack of yard work limits my memory. I do know if we are successful in raising actual fruit and vegetables, I'll be sure to include a post or two on this blog. And if we're unsuccessful, I'll probably write about that as well.

So, here's to all the backyard farmers out there. May your plants always be watered and may the snails ignore your garden.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Being Handed A Business Card...Such A Simple Act

There were a couple of dozen people in front of the table, and five of us behind it. We sat in a conference room for an hour, the five of us talking, the others listening--a mutual agreement between both parties. We spoke and offered opinions. They listened and hopefully the time they spent was worth their time.

Five strangers.

The panel ended. I quickly said a few words to the other panelists--the ones closest to me--before those in the audience came and asked them a question or three. I would love to have gone into another room and just chatted over coffee (or perhaps another beverage...). Like those on the other side of the table, there were things I would love to glean from the fellow panelists, too.

"Let me give you my card," the panelist closest to me said as we stood and prepared to leave. "Thank you," I responded. And I meant it. This person has decades of experience in the industry. She's a star, someone us beginners and semi-beginners dream of one day meeting, let alone having a conversation.

I leave with a small piece of paper, printed on both sides. I slip it into my pocket, a memento? A promise? Maybe both...maybe neither.

After the panel, I left the conference for the day, answering the calls of other responsibilities. But when I got home, I took out the card. It's like getting a signature of a celebrity. There are people that have reached the upper echelons of the publishing industry. And those not living in that world surround them like moths to a flame, for they possess (or, we believe they possess...) something we want. They have power (or, we believe they do...).

The card is a symbol of that perceived power. If, in the future, we have a chance to work on a project, hopefully, we'll both remember the hour spent in a conference room discussing novels, marketing, agents, and other things in that world. And even if that doesn't happen, hopefully those behind the table felt being in that room together was worth our time as well.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Sound Of Freedom...

This morning, after breakfast, I opened the back door and waited for the yearly Independence Day tradition of hearing jets fly over our home as they fly from Hill Air Force Base to parade routes around the state. It's a sound I love to hear, the sound of jets screaming overhead. I loved that sound when I attended jr. high school/high school in Kaysville and again when I worked in Layton, just a few miles from the base.

But today, I heard another sound, and to me, it sounded like freedom.

It was the sound of an ice cream maker creating deliciousness. Check out the video--is that, or is that not a true sound of freedom?

I'm sure you'll agree, it is.

Oh, and the ice cream tasted divine.

Now, I know it's not a real sound of freedom, but if you think about it, the appliance and its purpose does represent a sort of freedom. My father passed away in the mid-1970s. He would have been constantly amazed at the life we live today. Having access to all the world's information our phones with us at all times is only one example. And we can make ice cream in a matter of minutes.

If that's not a type of freedom, then I don't know what is.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

What It Takes...To Fly The Flag At Night

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I pulled up to the house after a late rehearsal. Earlier that day, I had hung a newly purchased flag on a beam above our front porch. When I saw it flying when we pulled up, I loved the way it looked at night backlit from our house lights.

"Hey--look at that," I said to my daughter. She's not as excited about flags as I am, apparently. To me, the flag looked like it had sufficient light to be able to fly it all night. I liked the idea of not taking it down every night.

"Does the flag look like there's a spotlight on it?" I asked her.

"No," she said, in a very non-committal way.

I was deflated. I wanted to have it fly all night long.

Tonight, I again had a late rehearsal and I pulled up to the house and saw the flag gently flowing from a summer evening breeze. As I took the dog out for a end-of-the-day bathroom break, I DuckDuckGo'd a search on proper lighting of an American flag at night.

From Mr. Ed's Flagpole Company's website, I found the following information:

One of the most asked questions we receive at Mr. Ed’s Flagpole Co. is about displaying the U.S. Flag at night—specifically if the flag needs to be illuminated.
The short answer is ‘yes’. If you’re flying the U.S. Flag at night it should be lit. Illumination is out of respect to the Flag of the United States and to be able to view the stars and stripes in the dark from a distance.
You can access this site by clicking: HERE

So, after I put the dog inside, I went back out and snapped a couple of pictures. I decided that one shot could convince me to either keep the flag flying tonight, or climb up and take it down until tomorrow morning.

I walked across the street and looked at our home. Could I distinctly see the Stars and Stripes from a distance? You can decide for yourself, but for me (and my wife when I asked her...), you could definitely see the American flag clearly.

I know I've left the flag out all night before, and most likely, it was not lit, but tonight, our little American flag will be flying all night long, and as the sun rises on Independence Day, our flag will greet the new day. Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Hiding...In Plain Sight

It's happened to you, before. Even though I don't know when or where, but I'm fairly certain it's happened to you.

And the worst part is, it'll probably happen again.

You're looking for something, something you know you've seen recently, so recently in fact, you probably were the one who last saw it, last handled it. So, there's no one better qualified to know where the thing is. But, for the life of you, you can't remember where that particular thing is.

You look where it should be. When it's not there, you look where it might be. Then, when it's missing still, you look where it should be, then where it never is. And still, it's unfound. 

Then, the frustration kicks in.

So, I direct your attention to the above photograph and ask, what do you see? There are many things to see, actually. It's kind of like a junk drawer for us, but in cabinet form. The biggest item is an orange juicer. We inherited it from my mom when she passed, so it's decades-old, maybe even older than me.

In the back, there's a couple of vanilla beans in clear plastic tubes. There's also a bowl with a packet of something I can't quite tell. Buried under the juicer is a meat thermometer and the thing-a-magiggy pointy thing you use to test the temperature of whatever you need tested.

Do you see the tea ball?

"Of course," you say. It's the round egg-shaped thing closest to the camera. And if I told you that we looked everywhere for our tea ball, you might be asking, why? It's right there.

But, did you see the other tea ball, the one in the back, the one attached to the thing that looks like a huge safety pin.

I'm asking because neither me, my wife, and several of my kids saw the second tea ball. And because we didn't see the second tea ball, we ended up buying a new one, the egg-shaped one. It wasn't until I washed the new one and as I put it away, I spotted the assumed-lost one.

I could blame it on age, but my much-younger kids missed it, too. The rest of my family has an excuse that I don't have--I was the one who put it away. No, it's just one of those things that happens to us because we're human. We miss things that are literally right in front of our faces. It happens. It's life. And it'll happen again. Might as well enjoy the ride.

Monday, July 1, 2019

You've Never Seen Danish Clogs Like This Before..

Last night, while adjusting sprinklers, I saw a sack buried in a garage cabinet. I knew what was in the sack, because I was the one that filled it.

It's where I stowed a pair of Danish clogs I bought back in 1985.

Everyone, or almost everyone, knows about clogs. Older (or ægte...) clogs have wooden souls and leather uppers and cut strips of leather from automobile tires hammered on the bottom. You can buy a pair of new clogs made from leather, but without the wood and/or car tires. I know people who love them, but for me, they've got to be made of wood. In fact, the Danish word for clog is Træsko, which translated means, tree shoe.

I believe, when I was living in Odense (birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen...), we lived next to a cobbler. We'd pass his shop everyday, and everyday I saw a pair of wooden souls hanging on his wall. One day, we went in to see if he could repair our walking around shoes (being an LDS missionary, you wear out a lot of shoes...). I asked him how much it would be for him to build me a pair using the wood souls he had.

He told me. I agreed, and a week or two later, I had my shoes.

It's been a while, but I believe there's an old Danish tradition of hanging a pair of clogs next to your front door. Not many did it so I may be wrong on the tradition part, but I think it was a thing. Since the shoes are not like regular clogs, I thought it would be cool to hang these shoes next to our front door once we had a house.

But when our house was finished, I put them in a red plastic bag and they ended up in the garage.

Sure, I could find a way to hang them on the outside wall next to our front door now, but I don't think I will. Maybe it's because I don't quite trust people and seeing something so unusual and unique, someone might want to see if those clogs fit them. Then they might want to see how different it is to walk in them. Then they might never come back.

I've never seen another pair of træsko like these before, and I may never seen another pair like them again. Who knows--maybe one day I'll start walking around with them. Then more people would see clogs they've never seen before.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Have Tickets...But I Won't Be Going

I had an amazing high school drama teacher, Sherrie Cole. I only took drama my senior year, but many of the things she taught us has stayed with me in the 35 years since I graduated. 

One story I distinctly remember one had to do with commitment. Mrs. Cole told us about a show she was in years earlier. In the cast was an elderly couple. Before a rehearsal the two shared a story--it was the couple's fiftieth wedding anniversary (if I remember correctly and I apologize if I get this wrong--it was over three decades since I heard it...).

My teacher was shocked and asked them why they weren't away somewhere (other than rehearsal...) celebrating. They told her that they couldn't because they were in a show and had rehearsal. Mrs. Cole told us students that when you're in a show, you're committed. Everyone else in the show is counting on you to be there.

The above story is sort of a long way to explain why I will not be attending San Diego Comic-Con next month, even though I have tickets. 

San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) is the pinnacle of geek culture. It's Mecca for nerds. Now, I've never attended myself. I'd like to say it's my dream to attend SDCC and that I've always wanted to go. This isn't exactly true. As I've gone to local shows, I've thought about SDCC, but I've not had the means to attend. This year, I did some contract work and I thought it would be fun to finally go, so I ordered the tickets.

Then came a show. My daughter wanted to audition for Peter Pan taking place this summer. Since I love doing shows with my daughter, I auditioned too. Because of the talent at auditions, I wondered if we would be cast. Turns out, we were. And SDCC happens the week before we open. If you've been involved in a production like this, you know you can't miss Tech Week and final rehearsals.

So, attending the Big Geek Dance is not like missing your 50th wedding anniversary, but the underlying message is the same. Instead of rubbing shoulders (literally...) with thousands and thousands of fellow nerds, I'll be playing Jukes the Pirate in Ogden, and having a blast doing it. Sure, I'm out the money, but I got a sweet pin.

Maybe next year. Time will tell.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Man...I Wish I Liked Yard Work

The way I see it, it's really Wayne Huber's fault. A friend since 1986, Wayne basically forced flowers and vegetables on us when we visited his business, Joe's Greenhouse, yesterday. "You need to take more," he said with that big Wayne Huber grin--if you know him, you've seen that grin.

Blast you, Wayne! (said with a raised and shaking fist...).

Because of early morning commitments we were unable to plant everything this morning, so tonight, around 9pm, I snapped a picture as we were winding up the evening planting.

Oh, how I would love to love yard work.

I know I've blogged about this before. Things would be so much better, not easier, but better, if I did. We have a strange lot. It's a third of an acre and because of the shape, our house had to have a small footprint. That means we've got a lot of land to oversee. And if what is growing is not planned and wanted, things you don't want growing take over. This spring's been tough for us as far as getting in the yard. Thanks to Joe's Greenhouse, we had to hustle to get the new vegetation in the ground before we ran out of daylight.

There's advantages to loving yard work. Other than the time, it can be an inexpensive hobby. Heck, I could spend hours upon hours just pulling weeds, but even without direct sunlight, it still gave me a headache to be out there for even an hour and a half. I had to take a couple of Advil and hop in a cold shower just to get through it.

At the other end of the yard, we have a flower garden. This morning as I came home from rehearsal, I saw an explosion of yellow. The daylilies were blooming. I suppose for some, seeing that beauty, helping it come about makes everything worth it. I wish I was one of those people. Maybe one day. Probably not, though. We'll most likely end up in a condo.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Oh, Music U.S.A...Where Have You Gone?

I walked to a spot on the newly-opened road and snapped a single picture. Though not exact, I figured I was standing where the stage used to be, a stage that stood for more than thirty years, a stage that was more than a place for people to perform, a stage where friendships and memories were made.

It's where Music U.S.A. once was.

As a teenager, I began working at Lagoon Amusement Park. As a pre-teenager, I had visited the park almost every day it was opened for probably ten years. Back then, you could buy a family swimming pass for something like $35. And, Lagoon let all Farmington residents into the park for free. So, when the huge pool was opened for the summer, we were there, hitting the huge (and incredibly dangerous...) metal slide, and throwing ourselves off the diving boards.

That was a wonderful place, and I miss it, just like I miss hanging out with my friends, riding bikes along the uneven sidewalks, and hiking on the mountain. 

And I miss the days of Music U.S.A. I was fortunate enough to work as a tech for several seasons of the show. We got to know the performers, the musicians, the other techs. We spent time together, and since I was a teenager and really had no real responsibilities, I had a lot of disposable income. We would go out to eat after almost every show, tech, performers, musicians. Some of my most cherished memories growing up happened with those people.

The show shut down years ago. The stage fell into disrepair--the whole thing would need to be re-built if they ever decided to do a show there again. The park decided to go a different direction--restaurants, German restaurants. It's call the Lagoon Biergarten and it's amazing! The food is good and the buildings are beautiful. 

Tonight, I went to a rehearsal. As we learned and went over blocking for a scene, an actor not in that particular scene practiced dance moves in a corner of the room. I've known her for almost ten years. As she danced, I watched, and my mind returned to that Music U.S.A. stage. Why? Because the dancer is a daughter of a friend of mine, a performer who I could watch again and again on that stage. In fact, I did watch him over and over for several years. One of his solos--I remember it vividly because he was so good--was from Pippin. He told us all that he had magic to do. And when he was on the stage by himself, that's what he had, magic, and he left us way too soon.

The stage is gone, replaced by food, beer (imported and domestic...), and incredible details. But the magic...if you stand back and look around, you can almost hear the works, feel Mark's bass, Greg's drums, and Mike's keyboards. But all eyes were on Danny. He had magic for us, just for us.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

My Annual Reminder...That Our Van Is Never Really Fully Ours

We licensed the van today and after getting it inspected, I drove to the DMV and left with a little red sticker. It reminded me of something.

That I never really own our vehicle, at least, if I want to legally drive it on the road.

This isn't a "taxes suck" or "taxes aren't fair" post, but a simple observation. It's the same with your home--you don't pay your taxes, you don't get to stay in the house. Even if you've paid off the car or house entirely, you still have to pay the taxes every year.

Now, there's no rule that I must own a car or a home. I could take public transportation or bike to everywhere I need to go, and I could rent an apartment or a home and not pay the taxes (of course, you can argue the rent is paying the taxes for someone else--the difference is if you don't pay your rent, you get kicked out and you can go somewhere else; you don't lose equity in a house because of it...). 

The little red sticker signals to everyone--especially cops--that the taxes for the year are paid in full and I can operate the van on the roads for another year. Next year, I'll be back, inspection completed paperwork in hand, ready to fork out more $$ for another little sticker.

I wonder what color it will be. Whatever they chose it will cost green to be able to drive for another year.