Monday, October 30, 2006

The Great Salt Lake Book Festival

On my first visit to the Book Festival in Salt Lake City, I had such a good time. First, the Salt Lake City Library is amazing. (See the head mobile at right) What a great setting to talk and learn about books and the people who create them, and to share it with my mom, sister, daughter and two nieces. I know my sister and niece have both mentioned this event on their blogs, but maybe I can add another perspective. Here are the sessions that I attended:
Ken Jennings Ken really does look like what he calls himself, a trivia nerd. But he has an amazing set of facts at his command in that boyish head, and he is truly funny. I enjoyed his stories about Jeopardy, appearing on QVC, and the research for his book, "Brainiac." I loved some terms he used: trivia nerds are loserish, British quizaholics, and game show contestanthood. He signed his book, "Who is . . . Ken Jennings?"
Peter Brown Peter is 27 but looks and acts younger. He's an incredibly talented illustrator. He told great stories of how he grew up drawing. I didn't buy his books and regret that. They would be great additions to my childrens shelf. If you want to learn more about him, his website is
Lawrence Yep Even though this was my least favorite session, Lawrence was still entertaining. He read excerpts from several of his stories, while I would have preferred to hear him discuss his writing and feelings. Still, I bought his book, Dragon's Gate, and he was very gracious when he signed it, "To _______, another person with wings." He included a small drawing of a dragon.
Peter Rock and Walter Kern This session was moderated by Doug Fabrizzio, a very good-looking local radio personality which really excited my daughter. She got his autograph, I got Peter Rock's. I really liked the format of prepared questions which drew out some interesting answers from both authors. They were both extremely interesting and humorous. Walter talked about the trance an author can go into when he's really into writing his book, and for the reader when he reads it . . . you forget you're writing or reading. I've experienced that with a good book. I hope I like Rock's book, "The Ambidextrist." "He signed it, With all joy! May this reward you."
Ivan Doig This author's current book, "The Whistling Season", is on my TBR list. However, I purchased "English Creek" since it was a paperback, my definite preference. Ivan discussed how important libraries are to all of us. A couple of things he said that I really liked, "There's always the chance online, that ignorance could be shared." and "Childhood is the one story that stands by itself in every soul."
Karl and Anne Fleming This married couple are journalists with such a wide range of experiences. He is 79, I believe, and has covered the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement in the south and the riots in Watts. Anne is 22 years younger, has interviewed Truman Capote, and covered the women's movement. Again, this was the question format that I found most informative and interesting.
Shannon Hale Shannon is so young and funny. She has very strong opinions about reading for enjoyment (why else would you read?) and why secondary schools should assign books for students to read that will encourage and stimulate them instead of those boring and depressing classics. I know when I was in high school I enjoyed reading everything including classics, but I know so many that hated reading because the books didn't interest them. I was able to get Shannon to sign two of her books, "The Princess Academy" (signed, "I hope you climb to the top of your own mountain") and "The Goose Girl", my next read (signed, "I hope you fall in love with many stories").
This was quite the book-buying weekend. At the Festival, I purchase five books (I already owned The Goose Girl). I also received a free copy of "The Christmas Box" just for answering a survey. We went to Barnes and Noble before Ken Jennings and I bought two books: "The Time Traveler's Wife" and "Blessings". My daughter gave me the cutest Halloween book, "Sheep Trick or Treat", that she got free at the Festival. Then when I got home, I found a box from Deseret Book that had three more books in it: "1776", "Leven Thumbs and the Whispered Secret" and "Christmas in Haggerty." THAT'S 12 BOOKS!!!!! I must be crazy. And just how do those authors sign so many books and write as much as they do? or draw? That is just phenomenal. My hands hurt in sympathy. Besides, they were all so gracious and visited with you while they signed. I was so impressed.
I look forward to attenting the Festival next year. Maybe I could travel to similar festivals in other areas. Wow, two pleasures in one. Rating: 10

Sunday, October 29, 2006

On October 12 through October 15, my mother, sister, brother and I drove through beautiful Colorado. We met in Grand Junction, which is a wonderful smallish city near the western border of Colorado. This picture was taken of the Colorado River from Rifle as we drove up I-70 to Glenwood Springs and then down to Aspen. Everyone knows Aspen. We spent some time there looking in very fancy shops and admiring the mountain scenery. It is very much the tourist town. What I remember best is the smell of the fallen leaves as we walked through the tree-lined plazas in the shopping area. From Aspen we drove to Independence Pass on a narrow (sometimes only one lane) winding, sheer-drop to the side road. While the trees are gorgeous between Grand Junction and Rifle; they've mostly fallen as you travel north. Independence Pass is just snow covered. And it is windy and soooooo cold. It's the highest pass in the country and where we crossed the Continental Divide. Down from the Divide is the old mining town of Leadville. The Miners Museum was of great interest to my brother, the history teacher. Soon we reached Denver and checked into a very scary motel. Needless to say, my sister forgo her early morning walks the two days we spent in this neighborhood. The plus was that it was close to downtown. That next morning in Denver found us lined up to go into the Denver Mint. I was disappointed that they no longer show the gold bars (damn terrorists are ruining everything) but it was fascinating to watch them put the unminted discs into the machines and turn out real money. A short walk from the Mint led us to the State Capitol building. Close by is the architectural wonder, the Denver Art Museum. Unfortunately, we did not get to spend as much time there as we would have liked. We also visited Molly Brown's house before traveling south to Littleton to see the LDS Temple. We were not sad to leave our motel the next morning to head west again. First stop was the Coors factory in Golden. The process of brewing beer was incredible to watch. Our bus tour guide was hilarious. Golden is a great town and we enjoyed shopping an old-time variety store there. Then we started back over the Rockies just in time to hit a snow storm. Luckily the roads weren't too bad and it soon turned to rain. Along the way, we stopped in Georgetown, another charming mining town and Vail, a typical ski resort. Things warmed up as we got closer to Grand Junction. Right now, we are planning our next year's trip to the area around Grand Junction and Moab, Utah. But that's a year away. I was glad to visit Denver but don't feel a need to go there again. But the mountains of Colorado are beautiful. There are more sights to be seen there. It was just fun to spend time enjoying each other's company and the gorgeous views and interesting sites.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I was away from my computer for four days last week. Four!!!! "What can happen in four days?", you ask. Good question. Whenever I get on the computer, first thing I check is my e-mail. The link is listed on my favorites. Only, this time, the usual site didn't come up. I got an error message. Over and over again. I finally found a home page for my provider completely different from the one I was used to. Then I had to figure out how to get to my e-mail. But I got there and it wanted my user name and password. Huh??? I have been with this provider for six years and have never needed this information before. The computer remembers all this whenever I connect to the internet. So I had to find where I had hidden that information. Of course, it was in the most logical place in the world, at least it was logical six years ago. Finally, my e-mail was up. But the whole page has been re-designed. It looks like the page where my suspicious e-mail used to be sent waiting for my thumbs-up or down. But there were my messages. At least my messages sent after Thursday. All my previous messages are gone, gone, gone to some unfathomable and dark abyss. I read what I could and found an interesting one to forward to others (Not something I do very often). But what the H*&^%**ck! MY ADDRESS BOOK IS GONE. Oh, the agony. The horror. The violation. They've gone too far. I've been a model customer up to this point, but a person can only take so much. Tomorrow, I will be on the phone threatening chaos and disorder until my address book is released. Maybe I'll get lucky and get those saved messages also. I'm sure they were important or why would I be saving them? Wish me luck, folks. I'll need it as I'm really very polite. I just don't know how much chaos and disorder I can create with common courtesy. In the back of my mind runs the thought that I've done something dumb and created the whole mess myself. In that case, my provider is wonderful and can fix any mess I create.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bankers Retreat to Moab

I just spent two days at a conference at the Red Cliffs Lodge near Moab, Utah. An associate and I drove down early Wednesday morning leaving Vernal headed the east. The sights differed so widely on this trip. Let's just say the area around Rangely, Colorado is pretty bland and desolate. Then we headed up Douglas Pass which I'm sure was breathtaking a few weeks ago. Now the autumn colors have faded greatly but the view is still wonderful even if the drive is a little treacherous. Once you hit I-70, it became pretty bland and desolate again. We turned off 70 south for Moab and it wasn't long before we saw the famous red cliffs which make this area so breathtaking. This is the third time, the bank has treated the managers to a fall retreat at the Red Cliffs and I still haven't had a chance to explore the rest of the area. Someday. But what a setting for a business conference. Actually, it's almost torture being surrounded by the Colorado River and red cliffs all around, and we're stuck inside discussing banking. The first two years, my room's patio opened right onto the river looking east. I loved going out and taking a walk just as the sun was rising over those red rocks. Fabulous. This year I was in the west wing and could walk out to a little babbling brook with a small water fall. Not quite as spectacular but very, very, very nice. If you go to Moab and can afford it, this is the place to stay. They are now growing grape vines and the lodge is surrounded by them. As for the conference, it was banking business, do you really want to know?? The food was great and I will put in a plug for the entertainer last evening. His name is Ryan Harrington and he looks like a cross between Howdy Doody and Jerry Seinfeld. Absolutely hilarious. He lives in Salt Lake and recently won a national comedian award. I'd share a joke or two but without the timing and his facial expressions, what would be the use? So my resolution is to return someday and visit the Arches National Monument (or is it a park and what's the difference?) and Monument Valley. The Lodge has a small museum dedicated to movies that have been filmed in the area. Maybe that will entice my daughter to visit with me even if we have to stay somewhere closer to my price range. Maybe we can lunch there and sit on the verando overlooking the river.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

People I Really Admire: Segment One

affectionately known as Honest Abe, the Great Emancipator, and Father Abraham. I just finished reading his biography and it reinforced my feelings of how great this man was. He is ranked as one of our three greatest presidents. It was interesting to read how this man rose from such lowly beginnings to become so politically astute, intellectually superior, and able to understand human nature so well. I wonder how the reconstruction of the South would have been different if he had lived to finish his second term. He certainly was committed to bringing the rebellious states back into the fold with as little recriminations as possible. I like these quotes about Lincoln from some his contemporaries and the author of the biography:
Charles A Dana: "Lincoln was a supreme politician. He understood politics because he understood human nature . . . There was no flabby philanthropy about Abraham Lincoln. He was all solid, hard, keen intelligence combined with goodness."
Horace Greely, no admirer of Lincoln in his lifetime: "He was not a born king of men . . . but a child of the people, who made himself a great persuader, therefore a leader, by dint of firm reolve, patient effort and dogged perseverance. He slowly won his way to eminence and fame by doing the work that lay next to him--doing it with all his growing might--doing it as well as he could, and learning by his failure, when failure was encountered, how to do it better. There was probably no year of his life when he was not a wiser, cooler and better man that he had been the year preceding."
Benjamin P. Thomas: "Essentially he had embodied the easygoing, sentimental, kindly spirit of America, which revolts at extreme measures, but moves steadily, if sometimes haltingly, toward lofty goals. Success had come to him, and to the nation that he served, because he had lived and governed according to its ideals."
I would like to share some of his sayings that struck a chord in me.
From a political speech given in New York in 1859: "Let us have faith that right makes makes might, and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."
From the Gettysburg Address: "But in a larger sense we can not dedicate--we can not consecrate-- we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion --that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain;"
Found online: “Things may come to those who wait, but only those things left behind by those who hustle.”
My personal favorite: "When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will."
Any quotes that you especially like?