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.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

I Thought It Was The Ol' 999...

As we waited to go on one of our favorite rides at Lagoon, I saw the beautifully preserved steam locomotive housed in a shelter in Pioneer Village at Lagoon Amusement Park.

When I saw it, I thought it was Engine 999, but when I got home and looked at a photo album, the train in the picture was much smaller than the one on display at the park. I'm sure Engine 999 is somewhere--perhaps in storage, but back in the 1970s when Pioneer Village was new, that little engine chugged around the buildings and other sights in the huge 1800s museum.

I had no idea until decades earlier that my mom's grandfather once worked on that same Engine 999 back when his other job was working on normal-sized trains in Ogden, Utah.

It's a cool legacy.

Yes, I thought it was the same train, but I was wrong. I'm wrong about a lot of things. Good thing we have photo evidence to keep some things from being forgotten. 

Since the 1980s, I've worked several seasons at Lagoon. I've picked up trash, planted flowers, dressed as a large raccoon, and even fallen thirty feet into a pile of straw as a wild west stuntman, but I never operated one of the many steam engines the park has operated over the years. Just as well--my great-grandfather did many years ago.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

When Your Doggie Goes Missing...

She barked as I left the house, lunch in hand, and made my way to work. She stood, like she usually does when we let her out at lunchtime, alone on the front lawn, barking at nothing, staring straight ahead, but seeing nothing.

Her name is Patch and she's fourteen years old.

She's also blind, as well as deaf.

I thought about picking her up and taking her inside, but I decided against it. After all, when she's ready, she'll find her way up the stairs and scratch at the door to be let in. Only today, she didn't go up the stairs...

And she stopped barking.

It was an hour or so later we discovered no one had brought her in. We began our search. We looked in the neighbor's yards--nothing. We looked where she has been ending up when she gets lost or confused. No sign of the fluffy puffball. Of course, calling out for her would do no good. That's when we got worried.

She's been known to wander into the next neighborhood, but the last time she did that was winter. Now, there's tall weeds blocking paths she would normally take. Because she's blind, tall weeds and other plants cause her to turn back. As I checked places a small dog might find herself, I began to think of all the possibilities of where she could be. The fact we could hear no barking caused me the most concern.

I came up with three options.

1. She could have been picked up by an animal control vehicle.
2. She could be resting in a shady area somewhere, tired from trying to find her way home.
3. Or, she could have graduated from this existence, her old and tired body having experienced too much.

Months ago, when we decided it was getting close to us having to put down our precious cat Gracie, we discussed Patch. Some days she's prancing about like a puppy. Other days, she'd sleep all day and not eat anything. It's actually a miracle she's still with us. That third option returned some of those thoughts to my mind.

A few hours later, my wife decided to drive to the neighborhood below ours. We heard someone saw a dog in a yard, but it was before lunch. We thought we ought to check there. As my wife walked between a couple of houses, she heard panting.

She knew.

Patch had been found.

She brought her home, sticker weeds throughout Patch's hair. She was exhausted. We set her before her water dish. She lay there lapping up water--it was all she could do. Patch isn't out of danger yet. She picked up a nasty cough that we hope will subside soon.

We have four animals in our house. The oldest is a farm cat that's around twelve years old. We then have a large dog that just turned one, a kitten that's a few months old, and Patch...the matriarch. It's like having a newborn, a teenager, a middle-ager, and a senior citizen, and we're dealing with the joys and the not-so-joys of each. Today, we had a scare. We're glad it turned out well.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Breaking Out The Drone...Again

It was years ago. We had just received some inheritance. We were at a hobby shop, I saw the drone, and I bought it. It's not a "top-of-the-line" model, but it's better than those twenty dollar versions. The problem isn't the drone, but my inexperience in operating it. I'd love to get good enough to take great pictures and videos with it.

Hopefully, time will tell.

Over the weekend, I visited another hobby shop. I had to pick up a battery for the drone (the two I had previously sort of blew up...). They found one in the back and I was off and running, or flying, as it were. Tonight was such a perfect night to dust off the drone and see if I still knew how to operate it.

Turns out, I'm about as good as I was before.

I took three videos of my flying attempts. I could only include the shortest video here because of size restraints. The drone made a rather abrupt landing, or I guess I made an abrupt landing and one of the landing supports fell off. In drone flying, landings are SO SO SO important--the same as flying close to power lines or large pine trees. Luckily the damage was easily repairable. I fixed the landing gear and hit the brilliant blue skies again. I did get some views of my neighborhood and house that I just don't get anywhere else--fifty feet straight up.

I'm always excited to see the finished product, but as I watched the videos I realized I've got a long way to go. I need to be much smoother. Watching what I captured can give a person a headache, or make them seasick--sort of like watching The Blair Witch Project, or Cloverfield.

No, drone operation/photography is a work in progress. Like anything, you get better with practice. Now, if I can just keep the drone it in one piece long enough to learn, I'll be fine.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Man...I Miss Football

I miss football.

Pure and simple.

I miss it.

It's like when you drive passed a high school or jr. high school around lunchtime in April. Kids are outside enjoying the warmer temperatures and you know they're so close to having their school year be over, they can almost taste it. It's killing them, because they still have a couple of months to go until school's out.

Yeah, it's kind of like that.

Oh, sure--there's other sports on TV right now. There are two national team soccer tournaments going on right now. For the men, the Gold Cup, and the women, the granddaddy of them all, the women's World Cup. Yes, they're entertaining and I am following the tournaments, but it's not the same as football.

And since basketball and hockey seasons are over, there's always the boys of summer playing more games than I could ever take in, but I usually only take interest in baseball during a pennant race and the playoffs. Then there's golf and tennis and racing.

But they're not football, good ol' American football.

Because we no longer have professional football in our area, I root for the University of Utah Utes. I also follow and watch Utah State University's and Weber State University's football programs (because I attended those schools...), as well as BYU's. There's something about the intensity of the college game that is hard to beat.

The Utah season opens up against BYU two months and six days from today. Just like the kids catching rays outside the jr. high on a sunny afternoon in April, it's so close you can almost taste it, yet, so far away.

I miss football.

Pure and simple.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Ordering Books...Part Of The Process

As a writer, it's bad to attend a writing convention without books to sell. I should know--I seem to find myself doing it all the time.

The latest--this past weekend at Fyrecon.

But, I should say, I wasn't completely without product. I had one copy of my novel Chaser. One.

My last one.

This past weekend I attended Fyrecon 3 for two of the three days. I sat at our publisher's table for a majority of the time I was there. I talked to several people about the company and the books we sell. The company has grown so much recently that not all our titles we've published were there, including mine. 

For years I attended these events with another publisher, Xchyler Publishing. I had short stories in three of their anthologies. I usually didn't bring any books to those events, either, because other authors brought large amounts of the same books I would sell if I brought my own. Needless to say, I haven't made a killing selling my own books.

Maybe things will change now. I've got a couple of cons coming up so tonight, I logged on to my publisher's site and placed an order...not as many as I would have liked to order, but more than I had this past weekend. 

Yes, it's bad to attend a writing convention without books to sell. Hopefully, that won't happen again.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Day 3 Of Fyrecon 3...Is Tomorrow--You Should Stop In And Check It Out!

Fyrecon 3 is alive and well and tomorrow is its final day. 

It's located in Layton, Utah, on the Weber State University Davis Campus--click: HERE for a map. The website for Fyrecon can be found: HERE.

For me, attending this conference is like attending a family reunion. I don't know everyone involved in the event, of course, but I do know many of the presenters and organizers. We see each other at events throughout the year and over the years we've become good friends. 

You can see tomorrow's schedule by clicking: HERE. There's classes by great writers like Kevin L. Nielsen, James Wymore, Julie Frost, Ryan Decaria, Candice Thomas, and So many more. Plus, there's the vendor room where I'll most likely be hanging out answering questions about Immortal Works. If you've got a book to pitch, come on over and let us know. We're all ears.

For those of us who have chosen to dedicate their free time, their full time, or both, to the pursuit of telling a story through literature or art, we use these events to re-charge, to re-focus, to re-connect with others who share our passion. Please, if you're in the area, stop in and check out the final day of Fyrecon 3. I know there'll be something to interest you, and who knows, it could be the beginning of a whole new passion. Fyrecon 3--Burn Through Barriers.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Future...Is Here

My wife and I were talking the other day about our town's newest resident, only this newcomer has no birth certificate, no social security card, no fingerprints. It does have a VIN and a license plate. It's our very own autonomous shuttle.

We were discussing one simple question:


What purpose does this automaton have anyway, I mean, other than the obvious? According to a story in our town's monthly newsletter, it goes slow and travels a route around the shopping center. If you're familiar with the place, the last thing we need is another slow-moving vehicle puttering around the streets. 

And there's only room for a couple of people in the thing. It can't be that efficient. 

Maybe it's the novelty aspect that fascinates people. Maybe it's a glimpse of the future that justifies having the thing around. I don't know--I'm not in charge of making such decision. I do know, if this is our future, there's no driver, steering wheel or pedals, it's low-speed that follows a fixed route and responds to obstacles in its way.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

To Buy, Or Not To Buy...That Is Her Question

Being a parent of adults is full of new experiences. I remember when I graduated from high school, got my first job, and bought my first car. 

I never thought about what it was like for my mom.

Not that you necessarily think about what your parents think when you go through these things, but I find myself doing just that. The latest adventure in Adult Parenting happened tonight when my daughter and I drove to a friends house so she could look at a car.

A car she might buy.

It reminded me that parenthood isn't just about a child's first words, first steps, first dates. It's about their first cars, jobs, day at college/first day on a new job. It's about watching them weigh the pros and cons about the big decisions, and like my friend Shane says, "seeing the people they're going to be."

I don't know what decision she'll make. I'd like to think I know what I would do if I were her, but she's better with money than I was at her age (or even my age, sometimes...). And the thought of getting a car to someone who has never had their own car is intoxicating. 

Today it's a car. Tomorrow it'll be bigger decisions--where to live, who to marry--stuff like that. And it will remind me that they're no longer kids, but adults. 

Like us.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Don't Take Too Much Stock In Good Reviews...

I've heard this piece of advice more than once and from people involved in many varied walks of life:

Don't take too much stock in good reviews.

I think I first heard it from my university choir professor. Occasionally, we would receive a review of a concert we did, or a specific piece of music we performed. I remember, when news of a good review appeared in the newspaper (how we received news back in the day...), our group was giddy, and when a critic wrote something less than flattering, we would discuss their point of view before and after (sometimes, during...) class. Dr. Thompson (an amazing man...) would caution, "Don't take too much stock in a good review," 

The reason being, because if you believe the good reviews, you'll have to believe the bad ones, too.

The older I get, the more I understand the wisdom behind the words.

Tonight, as I'm waiting for my daughter to finish up her rehearsal, I found myself pulling up my author pages from Amazon and Goodreads. I don't have page after page of published works, but I have more than a couple. Most of my listings come from anthologies. Reviews of anthologies can be hit/miss. If the reviewer especially liked your story, they'll single out your story and give comments. The same can be said if the reviewer did not like your story. You get the same treatment, only the words are the opposite of uplifting, inspiring, grin-provoking.

I remember, after a couple of my stories were printed, pulling up Amazon and Goodreads often to see if there were any new reviews. Most of the time, my name was not mentioned and I was never sure if I was one of the stories included in the "some of the stories were strong" category, or if they belonged in the "of course, not all stories were good" pile.

I should have heeded my professor's advice.

It's been a while since I've even checked for comments on my pages. The last book in which one of my stories is featured has only one review on Amazon, and it's pretty short:

I really enjoyed this anthology. The stories do not require any knowledge of Mormons or Mormon beliefs, which makes them accessible to anyone who enjoys steampunk, alternate history, fantasy, or science fiction. Check out the first anthology in the series, too!

I found myself wondering what people think of my story in Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel--it is, after all, the first one in the anthology (to order the book yourself, click: HERE--shameless self-promotion...). I suppose craving a good review is my way of seeking validation, of having someone tell me my stories deserves to be included with the other authors. Then I remind myself, if it wasn't, my story wouldn't have been chosen in the first place.

Though I don't have a lot of comments/reviews, one from Redneck Eldritch singled out my story. He said he couldn't get into the book because I wrote about counties in Louisiana, not parishes. This time, I took my dear teacher's advice and let it (mostly...) roll off my back.

All in all, most of the reviews/comments are positive, which means, mostly people who have read my stories have been pleased. And really, isn't that the most important thing? If not, it should be.

Monday, June 17, 2019

But...We Don't Even Have A RV!

I've blogged about this subject before. Big Brother is alive and well and listening in on our conversations.

And here's the proof.

And ad for RV insurance showed up on my Twitter feed and we're miles from ever owning an RV. The other day my wife and I were talking about RVs. I've been working for the same company for over two decades and since I'm in in my 50s, the "R" word (retirement...) is no longer one of those things that will never get here. Also, on occasion, I've checked out an ad for an RV or two. I find it interesting to see how much these things cost.

I have no idea if we'll ever get a RV. I mean, we don't go anywhere really right now. What makes us think we'll load up a mobile house and drive all over the place? Still, it sounds like fun, driving to interesting places, sleeping in a bed I'm familiar with instead of motel rooms, preparing meals in a a tiny kitchen...oh, how would it be?

No, I don't believe we'll be buying a RV anytime soon, but the good news is, if/when we do, we know Farmers ® offers specific options for our motor home. After all, it's not quite a home or a car.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Few Pictures From Inside The Farmington Rock Church...

Before everyone came in, I stood in the back of the chapel and took a few pictures. For members of my church, this room holds historical significance, but for a child recently moved to the small sleepy suburb in 1970, it was where we attended church.

It's not a big space, but it felt so much bigger when I was younger. As I sat and listened to the Sunday School lesson today, I felt the crisp air-conditioned air waft around me. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was no air conditioning--we all folded up our programs and turned them into fans to earn a small amount of comfort. 

The pioneers who built it sacrificed almost everything to relocate thousands of miles from their homes, and the building that remains stands as a testament to their commitment and faith.

The room with rock walls several feet thick remains a functioning chapel, and is not upstaged at all by its sibling chapel built decades later to the north. We use the newer chapel for our main services--soft seats and all, but the older one, that's the one with personality, with charm.

The older chapel is also where my father's funeral services were held.

Like most chapels, the building is unused a majority of the week. Thousands of cars pass by it day and night. Thousands of worshipers have sat on its benches. I don't know how long the building will stand, because eventually all things decay. It may take years or centuries, but one day, a solitary parishioner will no longer be able to stand at the back of the room and remember all that the building means to them. Such is life.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Tillykke Med Fødselsdagen, Dannebrog...800 Years And You Still Look Fantastic!

800 years old.

That's quite a feat. Not many man-made things survive for almost a millennium. Thanks to social media, I was notified that today, the national flag of Denmark turns eight-hundred years old. I didn't mean to write two blog posts about flags back-to-back, but it's not everyday a flag has an 800-year old birthday.

After reading the post about the flag's birthday, I did a little digging. I was looking for my Danish flag. When it came time for me to leave Denmark, I bought a flag. It wasn't a nice rectangular flag, but a long skinny one. It's called a Danish vimpel. They're cool, but it was too long to hang. I forgot that years ago I bought a regular-sized Danish flag, or Dannebrog. I hoped it was the same size as our American flag so I could fly it on our porch. Turns out, it was.

There's many things I remember about the Denmark of the mid-1980s. One was the country's love of their flag. They put it everywhere, like in every danish pastry in the bakery window. And when the national soccer team played--forget about it! That flag was everywhere! It was yet one more thing I loved about the country and the people. It even made me appreciate the American flag more when I returned home.

After I put up the Dannebrog flag, I took a few steps back, pulled out my phone and snapped a few pictures. It was definitely a different look for the house. For an instant, I could almost imagine our little A-frame home sitting on a quiet Danish street with cobblestone sidewalks and red mailboxes attached to each house. It was a lovely vision.

Happy birthday, Dannebrog! You don't look a day of 750.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Flag Day, 2019...Flying It A New Way

On June 6th, I put out the flag like I've done for years. 

Then, the wind hit.

Needless to say, we no longer have a pole on which to fly our American flag. I folded up the flag and put it in the basement. Until this morning. I had to fly the flag on Flag Day, or at least, I should. 

My mind went to work figuring out a way to fly it.

I knew I had a couple of cup hook screws so I thought I could maybe hang the flag without the pole. Years ago, when my son was serving a LDS mission in California, we hung a California state flag on our porch while he was away for two years. I rigged a system to hang the flag and it worked well enough. Our American Flag is heavier so I needed something better.

We have some timbers framing the front of our home. I thought maybe I could find a way to hang the flag and give it the proper respect it deserves. I considered hanging it horizontally, but the only grommets on the flag are down the side, not on top, so I could hang the flag horizontally, but I'd have to punch a hole in the top corner and I didn't want to do that.

Looking at the front of the house, there were two places, to the left and right of the front door, that would work. I chose the left side (looking at the house...) so the house number wouldn't be covered up. And, if I hung it incorrectly (stars to the left--again, looking at the house...), I apologize. Please let me know and I'll fix it next time.

Tonight, we had a beautiful sunset. Once again, the pictures I took don't do it justice. I'd like to shine a light on our little flag so I can hang it at night and I won't have to bring it in each time the sun sets. I'm glad I was able to re-hang our flag today. After all, today was its day.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Vape-Mobile...

We see it almost every week as we pick up groceries. We've come to know it as the Vape-Mobile. It's a car, two-tone (but most likely not by choice...). And for whatever reason, when we show up for our weekly trip, we happen to see the car's owner taking a break in the Vape-Mobile.

You can probably guess why we've dubbed the car what we did, so I guess I don't need to go into that. 

It's interesting to me how a car, maybe more than anything, can help define a person, at least, that's how we think about it in our own minds. How else would you convince a normally rational person to pay tens of thousands of dollars for much more of a vehicle than they need? Billions of dollars in advertising has made us believe that we are an extension of our cars, or better yet, they're an extension of us.

We really couldn't be more wrong. Sure, a car can say something about a person. A truck usually means the owner has a need for the abilities of the truck--construction worker, someone who needs to tow things, or maybe they just like to see above all the traffic. I've never really understood why a person would need to buy a car that can hit 200 m.p.h., other than the thrill of knowing it can be done.

I drive a car that has no hubcaps and the driver's-side door is a different color than the rest of the car. For a while it bugged me that it wasn't nicer (or not two-toned...). But, when I really think about it, it's been a fantastic car. It's been reliable and economical. And I really like it.

I've wondered if the owner of the Vape-Mobile likes his car. I'm sure he like the fact that it allows him to get to and from work, play, or wherever else he wants to go. Yes, a car can say a lot about a person, or it can say almost nothing.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

So...With An Expert Grill, Am I Now An Expert Griller?

After fifteen years, it was time to upgrade. It wasn't a car or new appliances--well, I guess it was an appliance, but one you don't permanently install in your kitchen. We picked up a new barbecue grill. 

It was needed.

Ol' Red served us well for a decade and a half, but Big Black...he's a good one. In fact, he's an Expert Grill. When I picked up Big Black, I didn't realize it was part of the expert class of grills. Now, I'm not well-versed in what elevates a grill to such a level. Sure--it could be the way the charcoal pan can be raised and lowered. It could be the door that opens in the front where more fuel can be added. It could be the shelf that can be lifted to a permanent locked location.

Or, it could be the bottle opener attached to the left side of the Expert Grill.

We've used the Expert Grill twice since we picked it up last month. Earlier this week, As I watched the temperature rise on the outside thermometer (most likely, another aspect of an expert grill...), I wondered if, now that I'm in possession of an expert grill, can I consider myself an expert griller? I suppose the verdict can be found in the grilled product. The family seemed to enjoy the various barbecued spread placed before them the other night. I know I did.

Currently, Big Black, the Expert Grill resides in the shed outside, waiting for its time to serve, sitting silent until it's called upon to fulfill its destiny and prove to the world yet again, that it is indeed, an Expert Grill. Happy BBQ everybody!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Whew...That Was Close!

It happens about every six months or so. My daily journal has fewer unused pages than used ones. I keep telling myself that I need to pick up another journal filler pack so I can keep writing a post everyday about me and all those things that happen to me on this grand adventure called life.

But, as time goes on, I think I can always pick up filler pages the next time I head into Bountiful. This last time, however, I cut it too close. I only had a few unused pages left this last weekend. I knew I had to get pages soon, or I'd be in real trouble. We went to one store, our closest Deseret Book, and they didn't have any. We drove to a store that usually has less options when it comes to this kind of thing, and they didn't have any, either.

That's when I knew things had changed.

I've been writing in a daily journal since 1985. I've used the same journal system since 1987, a 4" x 6" three-ring binger. Turns out, that particular journaling system isn't as popular as it once was. Back in the day, I could go into any store and there'd be ten or twelve packets of filler pages.

Those days seem to be gone for good.

Today was my last day to do something. I had one unused journal page left. If I didn't find something quick, I'd have to print out some pages, cut them in half, and use them until I found filler pages somewhere. This morning I got online, brought up Deseret Book's website, and found some filler pages at their West Valley Utah store. After a staff meeting, I drove down and picked up a filler packet and another journal, just to be sure.

Today, there's s many more options to record thoughts, feelings, events, and everyday occurrences. There's digital options, notebooks, bound books, even social media. For me, I'll take the old 4" x 6" three-ring binder and I'll keep doing it until I no longer can. Happy journaling, everyone!