Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mr Winston Pickles III

(and Charly and Sam)

(Mr Pickles - the TPP Quality Control Pug)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ooohh yeah...

Always finding that there are no pics of us out there.. so, here's one of us getting married:

And here's one of us running the local 5k - The Dirty Dash.  Corissa's wearing the Bathulu Tshir and I'm standing behind her grinning like a crazy person..

Sunday, July 15, 2012

O World of Media

(did I really never post this.. found this today in my drafts..)

How much is too much? I'm sitting here listening to Pandora on my Kindle, playing Vanguard on my laptop and surfing Twitter on my PC. Earlier I was watching Firefly on the Kindle while playing TWO characters in Vanguard (this is no accomplishment, I know folks who do three with ease..)

So, back to my question, how much is too much?

In the year that I have the absolute most I have ever had, I am trying to shift my focus back to more important things. Health, family, friends, my critters and my professional life. How hard is it to do all of this when I have so much information and media and sensation at my fingertips? I hope to find out.

In 2012 I plan to move closer to my life's goal with Touch Paper Press. I plan to lose weight and keep it off. I plan to be a better dog owner (more walks etc..), spend more time with friends and family and help the people who are important to me that I work with advance and prosper.

Piece of cake. ;)

Why so quiet?


Wow is my life busy.  I now effectively have two jobs - my day job and Touch Paper Press!  Add into that taking care of 3 dogs and 2 cats, spending time with my lovely wife, trying to be outdoors and active and cleaning up our huge house and blammo - every day is full!

Corissa has been pretty busy too - we just bought a piano (yes, a piano - one of the most bizarre purchases of my adult life), a new drawing tablet, and new golf clubs.  She's also discovered a new love for wine, a deeper love of anime and even tried her hand at sculpting.  wow.

As for me, I have rekindled my love of beer and have found the best "in store" beer in Utah, Uintah Brewing's:  Wyld, Extra Pale Ale.  (mm!)  I, too, have new golf clubs and know just enough to be dangerous on the course.  Along with Trevor, we have designed almost 11 different games, and have prototyped about 7 of them.  Further, we're getting ready for a 2013 trip to Greece, and I'm learning a little Greek to get ready.

I love blogging and I love podcasting, I wish I had more time for both because I would do both all of the time.  Wonder if there are podcasts that I can jump in on and guest star - would that fix my need?  More importantly - what about me would be interesting enough to podcast about?

I've been at Harland Clarke for 3 years now.  It's a great company and I work with amazing people each day.  Ultimately, I'm just happy that I have a steady job and that I can contribute so much.  Do you know, faithful reader(s?) that I am in charge of the Employee Events at my center this year?  It's quite the honor, but a lot of work.  It's worth it knowing that I am helping folks enjoy their job just a little bit better.

If you're interested in keeping up with me, I've spent a bit more time blogging on the official Touch Paper Press bloggy - checkit:


That's all for now.. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Some Suessical Junk

It's been a bit, so I thought I'd post a few tidbits that I whipped up for a company "fun week". Done, hopefully, in the classical style of Dr Suess - I tried to make each of them specific to the book it was paying homage to:

(part I - week overview)

And To Think That It Happened On Ol' Gatty Drive!

Hey you, yes you, in the back of the row!
Are you thinking and wondering about the places you'll go?
Are you counting your fishies, are you hopping on pop?
Are you thinking the good times may never stop?
Are you wishing you could stand up and slap a high-five?
Well.. All that will happen on Ol' Gatty Drive!

On Monday, O Monday, it's never the best
So the Grinch stole it and hid it in a crunkula chest!
He wasn't done yet, that grunch of a Grinch!
He traded Monday for Friday - every last inch!

Then Tuesday became Thursday, we went back in time!
(the Grinch nodded and winked "Now is that such a crime?")
What treat waits on Thursday, you're dying to know!
Formal dress up attire - OH the Places You'll Go!

Wednesday stayed Wednesday, "I can't fix them all!"
Said that grunchtrastic Grinch when he answered our call.
What happens on Wednesday, besides this and that..
Wearing bambobulous headwear with the Cat in the Hat!

Thursday became Tuesday, and Tuesday's fun too!
With special guest stars from the finkle-fish zoo!
(it's red fish and blue fish, numbered just one and two!)
(and you can join too, long as we're not code blue..)
(tell all of your friends! Tell all your crew!)
(dress down on Thur-Tuesday, that's what you'll do!)
(it's important you show up, so don't catch the flu!)
(I could go on forever, for really, it's true..)
(this is getting quite old now! It's no longer new!)

The week ends on Friday, that's the best day done twice!
Grinchy smiled awfully smugly, he felt very nice.
Reset you calendar, reset all your clocks..
We close the week out with our friend Fox in Socks!

So what does all of this mean, you're dying to know?
To get ready for fun-ness, to get on with the show!
For all the best answers, just read down below..

(part II - How the Grinch Grinched Monday)

All of you here in you-ville like Fridays a lot
But who of you likes a Monday....
..........yes, just as I thought!

That's it! No discussion! Your Monday's been grinched!
.. I thought it'd be tougher, but it was easily pinched!

I took it and squeezed it and scrunched it up small
a little pink weekday the size of a ball..
.. that I stuck in a chest that I kept down the hall!

Now what to do with that Monday sized hole?
I couldn't ungrinch the bad weekday I stole..

But.... maybe replace it with something much nicer,
Maybe Wednesday, maybe ... Thursday.. I had to think twice (er..)

Of course, it's so simple, too simple by half!
Trade Friday for Monday, how's that for a laugh?

Who doesn't love a Friday, the best of the days
(bringing the weekend and oodles of pay!)

(part III - OH the Places You'll Go!)

OH! The Places You'll Go!

Tomorrow's your day!
For getting to dress up,
For getting to play!

Fancy hats on your head
Shiny shoes on your feet
Tuxedos and cummerbunds looking quite sweet!

This wouldn't work on a Tuesday,
Not one little bit
But dress up on Tue-Thursday
Will be such a hit!

As if all this fanciness wasn't nearly enough
(not that looking this elegant is terribly tough!)
You can make glamtabulous jewelry to show off your stuff!
You'll be such a superstar - such a gem in the rough!

The places you'll go!

And will you do fine?
Yes! I've seen all the signs!
(up from 98 percent awesome to 99 point 9!!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dance Machine, Watch Me Get Down...

I now present to you, after many long months, one of the most embarrassing nights of my life!

My dear friend Ben met a couple of girls, and had promised to meet them at a dance club later on that evening. The only problem was that I didn't like going to dance clubs, and wasn't a great dancer. Meeting cute girls in strange places doing things I wasn't great at made me nervous as hell!

Ben's response to this was simple: Liquid Courage!

We rushed out to purchase a fifth of Southern Comfort, with the plan to get me just a little tipsy and less nervous. Who knows, maybe even more comfortable dancing!

Operation: 'Dance Machine' hit one nasty snag however, Ben almost killed me! Instead of mixing the SoCo into a drink, we were just doing shot after shot in rapid succession. SoCo isn't the strongest drink out there, but I was young, and not used to drinking much.

Five shots and about twenty minutes later, I swore I didn't feel anything. I complained to Ben that it wasn't working and he upped the ante. We started taking pulls directly off the bottle, and faster.

Finally, with over half the fifth gone, it hit me all at once. I was drunk drunk and sick sick. Still, Ben was determined that we would meet these girls, and he pushed, pulled and carried me out to his truck to drive downtown. He brought the SoCo, for good measure.. Thank goodness.

The second we hit the parking lot, I opened up the door and puked my guts out. After a few gross minutes of that, I stumbled out of the truck. Somehow, I had puked on my shirt, pants and shoes. Luckily, I didn't have any real food in my stomach, so it pretty much smelled exactly like Southern Comfort. (yum) I mumbled something about bad breath to Ben and he whipped out the bottle again, and poured in a liter bottle of Mountain Dew. I drank deeply, rinsing my mouth, and stood up as straight as I could, ready to face the girls.

I staggered up to the door of the club, Ben supporting me with an arm whenever I couldn't make it on my own. When we hit the door, the doorman looked me up and down. With watery drunken eyes, and the the funk of vomit and booze thick on my clothes, I met his eyes.

Him: "Are you drunk? I can't let you in if you're drunk!"
Me: "No way, I'm great!!"
Him: "Ok, head on in."

The second I walked into the club and the music crashed into me I was transformed into a dance machine. I boogied and shimmied my way across the dance floor, tossing Isaac points at each cute young girl that I passed. So great was my abandon that I even stopped to drunkenly grind against a few hapless victims!

Ben, having finally caught up with me, guided me upstairs to meet the girls. He pointed to their table, where they sat staring at the two of us, with strange expressions on their faces. I paused, made strong eye contact with one of the girls, raising an eyebrow dramatically and mosied over to the table.

These tables were your typical tall, small and circular tables found in every dance club like this I've ever been at. Sitting in the middle of the table was a fresh pitcher of beer, sudsy and delicious. They had four glasses out, but hadn't poured yet, and waited expectantly for us.

The second my butt hit that chair, I leaned forward and puked everything(!!) else I had in my stomach (SoCo and Dew at this point) right into the pitcher of beer. I then fell out of my chair onto the ground at everyone's feet.

Ben heroically picked me up and carried me over to the bathrooms - luckily very close - and I staggered into the womens room.

Something about ending up in the land with no urinals was like a smack in the face! I sobered up enough to stand steady and walked right back outside to Ben, who was looking forlornly at the (now vacant) table.

Having puked all the poison out of my system I started feeling better almost immediately, but the night was shot. Coincidentally, my shoes and shirt were also both shot.

This is strangely one of the more memorable nights of my life. And I even think I learned a lesson in there somewhere...

..... nahhhhh

Monday, August 30, 2010

History Part One - Grandma

Over the past week I have been digging through my entire house looking for old (but ridiculously important) documents. While doing so I came across a bunch of stuff that really took me back a few years. Since I have moved so many times over my lifetime, I wanted to get this information someplace.... permanent, in case I lose the originals.

This first thing is very important to me. It's about my Grandma. It was about 6 or 7 years ago that she passed away and when she did, I was asked to prepare a fairly long 'talk' about her for her funeral.

When I got there and started talking, I made it about five minutes before I broke down crying like a wee baby. I spent the next fifteen minutes blubbering and stammering through my speech. Still, I am glad I was able to speak for her and about her - it meant a lot to me!

At the very end, I choked through a short poem I wrote about her. It isn't a great poem, but it's about a great lady. That kinda makes it great in its own way. So - without further adieu...


We have all come here today to show our deep respect and great love for Florence May Butterfield. I have been asked to speak on her behalf and I am honored. I only hope I have found the right words to display the love that I and everyone here has to feel for her.

She was our historian, our diplomat, our healer, our friend, our counselor, our accountant and most of all my grammy. She touched all of our lives with her kindness compassion and strength. She also played a mean game of solitaire and kicked most of our butts at cribbage. Except for Kenny, who grammy was very sure cheated morning noon and night.

She was also a packrat... aren't we all? You name it and she collected it. Most of the time she collected things more for us than for herself. She took these collections quite seriously and really knew her stuff, no matter who it was for. Who knew more about stamps than grammy? Who knew more about coins? She even shared in our interests and supported our hobbies. She shared Ellen's love of carousels. She shared Kenny's love of knives.

Well I am happy to say that I was able to share one of my hobbies and passions with grandma. I was able to introduce her to the world of computers. A world that, though foreign, she was intrigue with and sought to learn everything she could. She discovered the world of internet and e-mail and suddenly loved ones far away could send her cards and letters instantly. This consisted mostly of my mom sending her jokes and stories that grammy called junk, but there was always some piece of mail in there that said "I love you" from her family abroad. Looking at all of her hobbies, I am sure that there is nothing out there that she couldn't master and understand. I am certain of it.

I will speak now of her great strength. A strength that fought off cancer for over seven years. A strength that kicked the hardest habit there is to kick - smoking! How many here have tried to quit? Ahhhh, then you know what I mean by strength. A strength that kept the family together. A strength that she displayed at all times.... whether she felt it or not. I am not sure that I have ever met a stronger person in my life. I think my mom tries really hard to follow in my grandma's footsteps. And I have to say that she does a pretty darn good job.

She also battled against diabetes and won! She fought that battle a good many years now and never seemed intimidated by it. It was just one more chore that needed to be completed every day. A chore, like all of the other chores, that she did with a smile.

Ellen told me recently that grammy was the reason she came back here, back to Salt Lake City. I get the feeling that even though Ellen came to make sure grammy was doing good, that grammy was every bit as good for Ellen as Ellen was for grammy. Call it a hunch.

She also had the great strength it took to tame a fierce hound named Poopy, scourge of the grandchildren (myself included). If you doubt for one second what kind of fortitude it took to keep that howling hound of death in line, she must have never savagely mauled you!

Who who was there to heal the heinous wounds inflicted on Poopy's prey? You guessed it - grammy.

As a side note it should be said that I don't think that Poopy had a mean bone in her. I am certain she was just misunderstood.

It is only recently, as I am old enough to want to know everything about our family that I started asking grammy about our family history. About where she grew up, how she grew up and who she grew up with. With a twinkle in her eyes she would tell me all about her youth. She still remembers the address she lived at as a child. She remembers then auntie that she would go over to every day after school. The auntie that always displayed great kindness and love.

She remembers how she got a library card and checked out as many books as she could and would rush to return them the very next day. She clearly recalled the surprised look on the librarian's face when so many books came back, read, the next day.

The librarian would say "You can keep these until you read them you know!" Grammy would just smile and say "I know." Pretty smart kid eh? And she DID read them all. That's the kicker. How she found the time I will never know.

She told me of her friends. She has shown me the pictures. All I had to do was ask and she took me there willingly. So we went there together, because I, too, was willing to go.

I have never met anyone with such a vivid recall of their youth as she had. An through her memories to my memories and the memories of others she has kept our family's past. I tell you, in turn, so that we may all remember.

This was taken from a recent letter my mom sent to me; "She used to like to take you for rides in her Subaru and let you sit in the front all strapped into the seat-belt so tight that I would always try to find a reason to loosen it. She would always say I am going shopping with my grandbaby, and he is riding up here so I can see him smile when I sing silly songs." It is said that getting there is half the fun, well with grandma I can tell you that it was well over half the fun!

Not too long ago I was finally able to take her for a spin in my car. I didn't sing any silly songs, but I played really bad music for her. I hope that counts. Now my car is no Subaru, but she seemed to like it well enough. It all started when I offered to take her to run a few errands on a Saturday. Well, we spent far longer than needed to get to where we were going, but that was ok in my book. We even stopped by Weinerschnitzel for a chili cheese dog or two. We talked and talked and made a mess and talked some more. I think she was more glad to have a good old fashioned non diet Dr Pepper more than anything, but once again - just a hunch.

While we were there wishing that they had given us even ONE napkin between us and eating, some guy came over and asked us if we knew how to get someplace. I had no clue, of course, but grammy somehow managed to give the guy detailed instructions as to how to get to his destination. (and also managed not to spill the aforementioned Dr Pepper while gesturing this way and that!) I asked her how the heck she knew that, but I think she was having too much fun playing the mysterious wise woman to reply. I suspect it may be that she has seen more of the city than most of us will ever be able to. Either way, I think that was the best chili-cheese dog I have ever had.

Grandma has also been my quality control person. She likes to meet my girlfriends and get a feel for what kind of person they are. She was an excellent judge of character and her suggestions and advice about them was never ignored. Needless to say that all of my girlfriends thought she was the best. That just shows me that they have good taste. (this became the Grandma test!) She always seemed to see something in them that would make or break them. I only wish I had that wisdom now, I bet we all do.

Come to think of it, I think I owe many of my successful dates to grammy. I can't think of all of the times I have called her in a pinch and said "Grandma, I need a cool recipe for a romantic dinner - FAST! Oh, and make it something I can't mess up too badly!". She was a meeeeeeeeeeeeeean cook that really seemed to know what was needed for every situation. And though Carl was the chef of the family, I bet he owes much of that to grammy's recipes and cooking tips. Not that I would ever squeal on grammy by saying that she ever splurged on her diet and had something tasty. Wild horses couldn't drag that out of me!

My mom made a request of me when she heard that I was doing this; try to keep things focused on the mellow and positive. She asked me this because that is what grandma believed in. She would not want us to dwell on her passing, she would want us to keep our chins held high and keep a positive outlook. If one woman could act as the glue for a family and balm for all of our souls then we must in turn do our part and smile when we think of her. Lift the sadness from your hearts and fill it with joy and love. Open your arms to your brothers and sisters and take them in. Not only did grandma show us this road, but she walked us halfway down it. It's only natural that she would want us to keep walking it. I don't remember that she ever said the road would be an easy one, she only ever said that it would be worth it.

Actually I am pretty sure she BUILT that road. No wonder she was able to show us the path so readily.

Many of you may not know that she was pretty dang hip to today's trends. She seemed to like some of my music quite a bit. She had her favorites though. I'd like to show you one. This is a song that she knew word for word and would sing all the time around the house. This is the crash test dummies doing a little ditty called 'God Shuffled His Feet'. I hope you like it.

[we played this song, while I tried to regain control of myself..]

I have so many things that I wanted to say that there is simply not enough time or words to say them all. So I will try this tack instead. This is a poem that I wrote for her.

My Grandmother, My friend

One powerful woman, one passionate life.
A warm loving friend and a dutiful wife.
My grandmother my friend loved by all till the end.
All the lessons you taught me, all the bones you helped mend.
How can we now repay all the kindness you've shown?
How can I show you how much I have grown?
How can we prove that your words lit the sun?
How do we thank you for all that you've done?
How can we show you how much we care..
..how can this be done without you there?
I, for one, will never forget you then..
You will live on forever, my grandmother, my friend.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Gym

I'm at the gym, blowing off steam and getting my 'fit' on when the most hard core old gal walked past me.

She must have been 70 if she was a day, but this daring generation-bridging chica had tattoos, eyebrow piercings and even a nose ring.

Her eyes were the heavily lidded of the really old, but her legs - ye merry gods! They were the lithely muscled legs of an olympic sprinter.

I'm pretty sure she could have kicked half the gym's butt in a heartbeat, but luckily she had a rave or Facebook to get to, and didn't have time for the likes of me!

And thus begins Operation: HOLY CRAP! where I am going to smuggle my camera into the gym and wait for her next appearance. Stay tuned, gentle readers, I won't rest until we can ALL pay homage to her!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why I Love Her..

From "You Know I Love You... Don't You?" by Howard Jones

Now dont you worry when things get tough
Well stick together through the smooth and the rough
Your the steam engine and I am the tracks
Roll over me Ill be rolling right back cos

You know I love you
You know I love you...dont you

You know what I'm talking about, baby. ;)

Today my sweetheart had this to say about me. Out of the blue and completely at random:

April. Thirteenth.

No, no….that shouldn’t have been a statement. Ahem.


This is the last date you blogged?!

Where is my writer? My taunter, my titillator - my TOWN CRYER?! My mistah luuuuuuvs to share his bidness with the masses?

Muffin! Don’t let the passion die! It doesn’t matter if you’re writing to an audience of one (which I don’t think has been true ever) or one million – don’t stop, you mustn’t!

Pretty please?

Whew! I almost forgot to ask nicely ;)


She's right, of course. Writing is cathartic for me regardless of how interesting that writing is for others. Bad poems, song lyrics, blog posts and epic emails about virtually nothing - these are my calling cards! ..... so why am I not calling anymore?

I sit in the classic "thinker" pose and ponder this.. I come up with an excuse for every day of the week. They SEEM like good excuses as I consider them, and the great Zeus only knows I'm busy every night of the week.

I'm trying to learn how to play the Bass. I'm writing a board game with a good friend of mine. I am designing my own kitty condo for our cats (Hey, I didn't say they were all GREAT excuses..). I help my friend Hoffamunch out with whatever creative venture he's into at the time (http://undeadsoup.com/undead2/), I play with my two dogs, two cats, computer, ballroom dancing, XBox, go to the gym, hang out with friends and play games and spend time with my fiancee..

Good hell.

To top it all off I am working between 10 and 11 hours every day, and even if I'm not AT work, I'm thinking about the current configuration of this, that or the other thing. I get home from work, and I'm exhausted.. This has probably led to my nearly chronic sickness over the past SIX FREAKIN MONTHS!!


The editor would like to interject that he's damned glad he popped in the Best of Howard Jones while blogging today.. Day-to-the-am, that is some quality music!

Seriously, get it. Listen. Feel good! This is an order!

We now return you to the rest of the Blog already in progress.

***End Intermission***

To make matters even more exciting, our room-mate just moved out. I have mixed feelings about this. For one thing, he's been my friend for about half my life and has lived with me off and on for much of that time. We're as different as night and day, but I have a lot of respect for him, and can honestly say I miss him around.

Oh, and his rent never hurt my feelings either. ;)

On the other hand, now we have more room. What we are going to do with all this room (our house is freakin gargantuan) I have no idea. I suspect we'll fill it all up, and now we have privacy for our lusty nekked Tango sessions! PRE-YOWWW baby!

And on that somewhat disturbing note, O devoted reader, I bid you a fond adieu. That was more than enough catharsis for one night.

... what is Loooooovveeee, anyway? Whoa-oaaaa.. WHOOAAA OHHHHHHH!!!!!