Hiking Today

Recently, I discovered the joys of hiking.

Today, after embarking on an adventure (starting my novel), I went for an hour long hike along Bonneville Shoreline Trail.  The sun was setting; it was completely lovely.

In other news: I have an astigmatism and have to wear glasses now.  Thumbs down! 🙁

Here are some pics.

Salt Lake Valley pic

Salt Lake Sunset

Sean at 5120
me at 5,120 ft.

Hello Spring + Other Things

Spring in Utah is like this:

spring in utah

And then it’s like this:

Snow In Utah

From mid 60’s to snowing and freezing.  The weather is kind of like an adventure with superheroes.

In other news, I had a pretty fantastic birthday last weekend.  Beth and I went out to breakfast, got some gluten free cupcakes from a local bakery, and later that night, had dinner out at the delicious and dive-y Red Iguana.  Fantastic!

Due to trying to be healthy, I don’t drink chocolate milk EVERY SING MORNING like I used to, but I miss.  So I let myself have a treat on St. Patrick’s Day a.k.a. my birthday, and had one.  It was big, and it looked like this:

Delicious Chocolate MilkBIG.

For my birthday present, the coolest, most awesome wife ever rented a lovely ground floor apartment in a Victorian style house in Salt Lake for the weekend, and we are going to go have our own mini writing retreat.  What a creative, fun present.  Lucky me!

Speaking of writing, I recently sold a reprint to the too-cool Toasted Cake Podcast.  The story, “Shatter Shatter,” first appeared in a recently closed-down online zine.  I’m glad this little story gets another chance to be seen (and heard!).  I’ll post when there’s something else to say about it.  In the mean time, go check out Toasted Cake and enjoy good fiction!

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Finally, here is a picture of a very stoic cat in a box.

Kitty in the box

 

this post is brought to you by Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain DressCouple of interesting things related to Kurt Cobain popped up recently, so I figured three things make a post.

I’m not a huge fan of Nirvana… I guess I’m not a medium fan either.  I’m more interested in Kurt Cobain himself than his music (though I do enjoy a few songs).

 I Found it Hard, Was Hard to Find…

Would people say he changed the entire face of music if he hadn’t died?

Probably.

Would he have ended up pissing a bunch of people off and not have had the huge following of posthumously adoring fans?

Also probably.

His disdain for fame and for the music that pushed him into the spotlight is fascinating.  To read his suicide letter, you get the impression he had a ocean’s worth of passion hidden somewhere inside himself, but he had no idea how to tap into it.  You can hear him trying though; it’s kind of painful to read.

For example when we’re back stage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins., it doesn’t affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seemed to love, relish in the the love and adoration from the crowd which is something I totally admire and envy. The fact is, I can’t fool you, any one of you. It simply isn’t fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of would be to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I’m having 100% fun.

If you want to read his suicide not, though, you can do that here.  [I’m not going to really get into all of the controversy surrounding the note.  Doesn’t everything have its own conspiracy theory now?].

Top of the Pops

I guess the UK t.v. show Top of the Pops likes to use a soundtrack when having their guests play “live,” but with live vocals.  This has caused a bit of conflict in the past for other artists.  However, when Nirvana was the guest on Top of the Pops, they protested the requirement to sing live to a backing track by CLEARLY NOT PLAYING THEIR INSTRUMENTS, and by Kurt Cobain dropping his voice to Morrisey-esque octaves and changing the lyrics for hilarious results.  I kind of love this a lot:

A Capella

And finally, here is a studio track of just vocals from “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Enjoy.

How To Water Your Cat

Our cat, Abby, loves water.  In the summer she sleeps in the cool sink and waits for one of us to turn on the water.

If we walk into the room with a water bottle, and the water bottle makes a sloshing sound, she runs up and paws at the water bottle.

It’s quite ridiculous.

So naturally, we had to get it on video.

Enjoy this footage of our cat BEGGING for water, and then getting sprayed.

Simple Desks

For some reason, looking at other people’s workspaces fascinates me.  Though I fail to keep my own desktop simple and clutter free, I strive to.  Sometimes it’s the desks location that is interesting, sometimes it’s the view it overlooks, sometimes it’s the arrangement of items on the desk.

It is surprisingly interesting.

Apparently I’m not the only one, as there is a website called Simple Desks that has a lot of readers, and receives a lot of submissions.  As you can imagine, this site is relevant to my interests.

While I am rearranging my office at home, and working to simplify my life by becoming uncluttered and streamlining the amount of things in my office (and my ability to keep things organized and under control), I will not submit my own desks at home.

But I was out today working at my favorite coffee shop, Nobrow (in Salt Lake City), and thought I would take a picture of my work space.  it’s simple and it just feels nice to sit here facing the old brick wall with my coffee, my mac air, and the weird alien-like plant on the table.  I have noticed on the Simple Desks site that there is a lack of mobile workspaces, so I thought I’d submit mine.

simple desks

 

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Shimmer Issue 14 – On Kindle

Shimmer Issue 14 Kindle

It has been kind of a stupid day for me so far, but it just got completely fabulous.

After many many many months of trying, Beth and I finally got a copy of Shimmer Magazine converted and uploaded for sale on the kindle store.

Personally, I love reading books on my iPad, and kindle is my go-to app for reading.  I’m super excited to have made this happen.

For those of you who don’t know, Shimmer Magazine is a speculative fiction (think science fiction and fantasy) magazine of amazing short stories.  My wife, Beth, is the editor in chief and founder of the magazine.  I am the slush distributor and perform other odd jobs to help out.

To celebrate Shimmer’s presence on Kindle, the current issue (issue 14) is only $0.99.  Great fiction for under a buck, make sure you pick up a copy now.

Unexpected Goodbyes

Adam lawtonLast weekend, one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met passed away.

Adam L. worked on the experiential education team at the therapeutic boarding school where I teach.  He was in charge of taking the students to camp in the wilderness on weekends during Summer and Fall.  These trips helped them relax while surrounded by the gorgeous Utah wilderness, taught them to appreciate nature, and facilitated the students building relationships with each other that would help them through their day to day struggles as they progressed through our therapeutic program.

That was a long paragraph that tried to capture the important role that Adam played at our school.

As a teacher, and someone just generally happy to observe nature through a window or a computer monitor, I wasn’t particularly close to Adam.  He had more energy than me.  He took in more of the world than I did, and we had interests outside of work that ran in opposite directions.  But I would frequently see him around the campus, attend meetings with him, and of course, Christmas and Summer work parties.  Hell, I once spent a whole weekend with him, the weekend team, and the students in lovely and desolate Southern Utah.  It was the coldest, sorest, most challenging thing I’ve experienced since I was in a drum corp 10 years ago.

So while Adam and I weren’t fast friends, we were colleagues.

There’s something about him that just doesn’t come through on paper.  He was genuine.  He cared about EVERYTHING.  He saw the best in every situation and raised the attitude and mood of those around him because he was just so GENUINE, and had such a contagious passion for life.  I know it’s easy to worship the deceased and forget their faults, to reduce them to sound bites and selective memories.  Unless you knew him, you’ll have to take my word for it that I am being straight up about this.

In the wake of his death it’s easy to see the respect he commanded, and the love he earned from everyone around him.  Stories are shared; we laugh and we cry.  We try to carry on, because that’s the way death works.

Adam was just 30 years old.  His passing shakes the illusions that we as humans build for ourselves–that we are safe and that everything is okay.  But if we live in fear of what might happen, are we really getting all we should from life?  Here is what I take from the short time I knew Adam:

Consume life with an insatiable appetite.  Be the best person you can be.  Love those around you without reservation, and hold nothing back in the pursuit of these things.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – 14th Dalai Lama

Farewell, Adam.  Safe journey.

The New Years Post 2012

Beth and I had a really great New Year’s celebration this year.

We had sparklers, some fireworks, and made a fantastic homemade lasagna dinner.  We watched the fireworks at midnight from the parking structure near our house.  We had a perfect view, but DAMN it was cold.

One important part of our celebration was writing down the things that stood out for us each month last year, and then compiling a list of all the good things that happened and all the bad things that happened.

Let me tell you, it was TOUGH to write down all the bad things that happened.  It brings up things you don’t realize you pushed down.  For example, last year, my grandfather passed away.  That was pretty tough.  Even closer to home, my most favorite thing ever, my cat, was diagnosed with Feline Leukemia.  It was HARD.  It’s hard to write about it right now.

But that’s the way it goes, I guess.

Don’t get me wrong though, there were some awesome bits in 2011.

I finally started my own business (which is still in the starting phase–but I made the switch in thinking, which is what’s important).  I went on two trips with my wife.  I got to see my family in March (though for sad circumstances).

Anyway, where I was going with that was–on New Year’s Eve, Beth and I started a fire, and tossed our list of all the bad things in.  We sat in silence and watched it burn, turn to ash, and disintegrate.  We made our goals for 2012 and have resolved to check in once a month, during our made-up holiday, Meristem, and evaluate the goals for the past month, how we met them, and our goals going forward.

 

So here’s to your SHIT list in 2012 being infinitely smaller than your AWESOME list.