Monday, June 29, 2009

Freedom Festival

Performed with the Wasatch Winds last night at the Marriott Center in Provo. It was for the Freedom Festival. I played alto sax. This year, the keynote speaker was Matt Holland, the new president of UVU. He gave an interesting speech about Abraham Lincoln. I looked over and saw Jeffrey Holland, his father, only a few feet from me. On the stand behind me sat Sen. Orrin Hatch and several other local political figures. Alan Osmond was there as well, since his sons were the other musical entertainment.

As far as writing goes, I'm going back to book 1. I'm in the middle of writing book 2 and have some good momentum, but I feel a need to get started on book 1 again to fix several plot issues. I don't know why, but I decided to follow my gut instinct.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Finally in step

It's taken me a while to get back into a rhythm after going to Alaska. I just finished chapter eleven today for book 2. I've been able to write a chapter every day this week. I just finished the book Conflict, Action and Suspense by William Noble. Now, I want to go through The Da Vinci Code and analyze how Dan Brown creates and maintains his suspense.

I'm still not hitting on all cylinders musically, but I'm doing better. I'll be playing on Sunday for the Freedom Festival fireside at the Marriott Center again. I did it last year when Glenn Beck was the speaker. It's symphonic/patriotic music with a seat close to the action. Of course, I have to go in a couple hours early for sound check.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Review of Up

When I first saw the trailers for Disney/Pixar's Up, I thought that it didn't look very interesting. Some cranky old guy riding in a house carried by a bazillion balloons? But then, I thought, Pixar has yet to make anything but a good movie. In my opinion, Bugs Life, Wall-E, and Ratatouille, were good, but not great. But then the Toy Story movies, Monsters Inc., and (my all-time favorite) The Incredibles were all phenomenal. So I decided to give Up a chance.

I wasn't disappointed. One thing I realized is that Pixar is masterful at developing character. From the previews, I did not care too much about the old man. I had no way of connecting with him. The first five minutes of the movie created that connection and got you to really care about him, and even want to cry for him. This is the essence of a good story. A movie could have the greatest plot in the world, but if you don't connect with the character, it's boring. Because of their character development, Up was not boring.

I can't name them all, but there were many little things that happened that made you think, "I can relate to that." The humor was based on real life, even if some of the plot seemed incredible. All in all, I highly recommend this movie and it is well worth watching at the theater.

Recently, I found out Pixar is starting to work on their first live action movie, John Carter of Mars, based on the books by Edgar Rice Bourroughs. Since these were some of my favorite books when I was a kid, I hope they continue the same story excellence they've shown with their animation.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Alaska vacation

I had all sorts of grand plans for things I'd get read and written during my vacation. It's not happening. That's okay, I suppose it's allowed to enjoy a vacation, which I am. I've seen some old friends in the After 6 Orchestra (which I used to play in and direct) and friends in a group called Power of Ten, which is a Tower of Power cover band. Next weekend will be my 25th class reunion (go Chugiak!).

The problem I'm having is that I am sorely tempted to stay. It is so beautiful here; the weather is almost perfect (for now). It's hard to believe I ever left. This place feels so much like home. Utah is fine, but it's not home, yet.