Saturday, November 6, 2010

Medieval Spice

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<p>Our commercial for "The Bent Sword" musical.</p>

Our Show Featured in the Daily Herald

Read what the press is saying
about "The Bent Sword" musical. Our first two performances have gotten
fantastic reviews. Please come and be a part of the fun! Our show runs
through November 15th, every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday at
7:30 with matinees at 2:30 at the Provo Theater (100 N 100 E). For
tickets, visit

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Free tickets in exchange for your help

For The Bent Sword Musical, running from November 4th through
November 15th at the Provo Theater,
we're looking for many props and costumes that could work for a
medieval theme. If you have any of the following and would be willing to
lend them to our show (a non-profit, student-funded production that
really needs your help), please let us know, and if we can put your
item(s) to use, we will happily give you a free ticket to the opening
night of our show for each lended item. It's a great cause, a great
reward, and it will be great fun. Here's what we need:


  • swords
  • spears
  • helmets
  • shields
  • armor (chain, plate, leather, etc.)
  • rustic or shiny five-pointed stars
  • a bendable sword
  • large leathery book
  • medieval-looking books
  • wooden or leather box
  • parchment / old paper
  • quill and ink
  • golden comb
  • barrels
  • baskets
  • satchels or bags
  • fake rocks
  • plates
  • cups
  • stocks (you know, for torturing people)
  • shackles
  • fancy tablecloth
  • bow and arrows
  • money purses
  • crib
  • drapes
  • dice
  • flags / tapestries

  • medieval-looking trumpets or horns


  • wizard hats
  • nun robe
  • monk robes
  • male shirts / blouses
  • female shirts / blouses
  • tunics
  • dresses / skirts

  • crowns
  • aprons
  • boots
  • shawls
  • scarfs
  • sashes
  • vests
  • coats
  • kerchiefs
  • football shoulder pads

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Last Opportunity to Audition

Today's the last opportunity to audition for The Bent Sword musical at the Provo Theater, 100 N 100 E, from 4:30 - 6:30. Uncle Sam wants you there. Get more information.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Huge Signing Today at Barnes & Noble

Authorpalooza today at Barnes & Noble in Orem (over 40 authors) from 1 - 4. Be a friend and come visit me in the back of the store while everyone else waits in line to see Brandons Sanderson and Mull

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Fleece of Handsomeness RPG

Citizens of Earth,

Partly as a writing exercise, partly for kicks and giggles, I'm going to be hosting an online role playing game hosted on my blog, based in the medieval world of my novel The Bent Sword. My best ideas for stories have often come from role playing games, so who knows, if your character and story is good, they may end up in future novels. The format will be like this: I write a post establishing the story, then every character may make one comment describing their action. The next day, I update the story. More specific rules will be given in time.

To make the game more interesting, I'm going to send a free copy of The Bent Sword to the winner. The winner is the person who either completes the quest, survives the longest, or the last person who doesn't drop out from boredom. If you're interested, click on the link below, where you'll need to make a comment with the following information:
  1. Your character's name
  2. Any distinguishing attributes of your character
  3. Why your character isn't lame

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Salem Pond

This summer we filmed a screenplay I wrote called "Removed". The main character Derek wants to have a Walden experience, so he decides to "live deliberately" by giving up all his worldly possessions to his roommate and starting a new life in the nearby city park. Unfortunately for him, the city park fails to be the Walden fantasy that he's looking for as he confronts skateboarders and a girl who is constantly on her cell phone. As he seeks to learn from nature, he ends up learning what he didn't expect. The movie will be coming out within the next couple of months, so we'll keep you posted.

We chose to film it at the beautiful Salem Pond. I highly recommend it as a beautiful park to enjoy a lunch or dinner at with your family or friends. It's huge! It has a big beautiful pond with ducks to feed, a big field to run around on, picnic tables, a playground, and plenty of benches to ponder on.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Giveaway

Two (and a half) book reviewers are giving away a free copy of The Bent Sword. Read their review and enter to win.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book Signing Tonight

I'll be doing a book signing tonight from 5:00 to 9:00 PM at the BYU Bookstore in Provo. You (the ambiguous, statistical cloud of potential customers whom I nevertheless hold an endearing brotherly love for) should come.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Book Seller Conventions

Tuesday night was a dinner at Cedar Fort in Springville, where LDS booksellers from around the world (some as far as England and Switzerland), came to hear authors pitch their books. We only got two minutes to do so. I think I packed a good punch. It was fun to finally meet some of the people at Cedar Fort that I've been corresponding with for months.

Tonight was a similar event at the South Town Expo Center in Sandy, where there was a large mingle with booksellers and authors. It was fun to see how many people were in my same camp ... first time authors that were more or less clueless but gun-ho nonetheless. One bookseller from Montana was very insistent that I needed to come and do a signing at her store. I smiled and nodded, but I can't imagine at this point how that could be economical. Some other booksellers from Idaho told me that they already had my book. That was a pleasant surprise. On top of all the other contacts I made, I tried to bond a little with famous fantasy author James Dashner, but in the end I realized that I hadn't read any of his books and I frankly had nothing to say to him. I became friends with the uncle of another famous fantasy author, Brandom Mull. He promised to buy my book.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Teresa's Birthday in Space

For Teresa's birthday party last Friday, I turned our basement into the bridge of a Star-Trek-esque spaceship. I accomplished this by creating cool hexagonal shaped architecture with our recording studio soundboards, setting up our laptop computers at a desk with cool screen savers that mimicked Star Trek computers, shutting out the light of the windows with multiple layers of garbage bags, setting up a large flat panel, wide screen TV with my computer, which ran a realistic space simulation program, and by playing a continuous soundtrack I created of spaceship engine hums, futuristic computer noises and all manner of spacey sounds.

Teresa is by no means a Star Trek fan, but in trying to think of something fun and original to do for her (if you're unaware, we have a longstanding tradition of trying to outdo each other with "surprise" birthday parties twice a year), the thought of this was irresistible. I'd hosted a similar party in high school, though with much cruder resources. And frankly, creating amazing space simulations has always been a dream of mine. To get Teresa and myself psyched for the event, we checked out and watched the new movie Star Trek the night before. Unfortunately, neither of us liked it. Though we're just haters.

Of course, when I picked up Teresa, whom I'd sent off to her parents' house, she was under the impression that we had some date plans in Salt Lake City. Though she was no doubt suspicious, as her mom had slightly leaked some information. When she entered our basement, many friends and family members, dressed in Star Trek outfits, soluted her as captain and escorted her to the captain's chair. She didn't known any Star Trek jargon, and as her first mate, I wasn't very good at it either. But our crew improvised well enough to get us launched deep into space, when, not long after, there was a transmission from an enemy ship (friends in the basement bedroom who communicated with us through a multiple camera setup and a TV of their own). Enemies boarded our ship, violent struggles ensued, engines were deactivated, victims were hurled into the vacuum of space, the captain was kidnapped, rescue missions were sent, etc., and it was good fun ... though short-lived. It was short-lived because our basement, in the heat of July, with nothing to cool it but a single fan, was so unbearably hot, especially in the super-insulated spaceship, that no one could take much of it before having to go outside and cool down.

Tragically, we forgot to take a picture of the spaceship.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Message From Lord Bore

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Last chance to win a free book

Less than a day left to win a copy of The Bent Sword. Enter now before
bees come down and eat your bones!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Giveaway

We'll be giving away a copy of The Bent Sword one week from today to a randomly selected person from our email list, so if you haven't subscribed to our email list yet, now's the time!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Contest Winner

Winner of the Box of Boredom Busters:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Launch Party for The Bent Sword tonight

Reminder: The official launch party for The Bent Sword is tonight, starting at 7:00 at 2102 N 80 E in Provo. There will be shish kabobs, swordfighting, books and signings, and all manner of fake British accents! Your attendance is highly desired. And medieval garb is highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A sketch of Lord Bore

If you've wondered what Lord Bore looks like, the amazing Dallin Blankenship rendered this very accurate depiction:

Lord Bore, the dark wizard of boredom

Monday, July 12, 2010

Box of Boredom Busters revealed

For those of you who haven't entered our contest for The Box of Boredom Busters yet, there's only a few days left! As promised, we're now going to reveal what's inside of the prized box for the winner, which is a fantastic book entitled "Fun on the Run!" by Cynthia L. Copeland:

This book, having gotten great reviews, is described as "The perfect antidote to boooring car rides, waits at the doctor's office, restaurant fidgetiness, supermarket meltdowns -- hundreds of super-quick games and activities to roll out at a moment's notice. And no props required!

What better way to defeat the dark Lord of Boredom? To win this awesome book, just tell us about a time you defeated the Lord of Boredom.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Interview With Cedar Fort Publishing

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I am great. Frankly I don’t know anyone greater than me.

Q: Where are you from?

A: You may not believe this, but I’m actually from outer space. I know a
lot of eccentric people make that claim, but I’m telling the truth. And
rest assured, I was telling the truth about telling the truth. I may,
however, be lying about that last sentence, but the odds are that I’m
not. Currently I’m residing in Orem, Utah.

Q: What did you study at college?

A: I have no formal education. In fact I was raised by wolves. And yes, I
did roam around the forest in a red speedo. Though I like to tell
people that I got my bachelors degree in Digital Media from Utah Valley

Q: Marriage?

A: No thanks, I’m already spoken for.

Q: Kids?

A: I’d say that my one-year-old daughter’s cuter than yours, but I don’t
like to boast. You can judge for yourself whether the foregoing
sentence counts as boasting or not.

Q: All the works…

A: Yes, and with anchovies if possible. I prize myself in my
appreciation for all things rare and exotic. Like that Mexican sausage
made out of beef salivary glands I bought a few weeks ago at the grocery

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: Country dancing, watching TV, chatting with my friends on Facebook,
listening to popular music, shopping for clothes, staying up with the
latest trends, eating spicy curry. Only minus everything but the curry.

Q: What is your favorite book, why?

A: The Book of Mormon. Because I pride myself in flaunting my
died-in-the-wool-true-blue-through-and-through-Mormonness. Beyond that,
the most influential novel in my life was probably that dilapidated book
from my parents book shelf entitled “Robin Hood”. I don’t think it even
listed the author. But reading it made me who I am. To this day, I am
Robin Hood.

Q: Do you have an author who inspires you? Who and why?

A: My wife can attest that every time I pick up any sort of literature
by Daniel Pinkwater, I giggle like a schoolgirl until my eyes are red
with tears. He has a knack for non-conventional, left-fielded, totally
innocent young adult comedy with a heavy dose of mind-bending coolness. I
want to write stuff like that.

Q: When did you start writing, or what inspired you to start writing The
Bent Sword?

A: I first learned about the Lord of Boredom while in fifth grade in
Sandy, Utah. He was the dark spirit of all things … school. As a way of
showing off my eccentricities to the girls at recess, I engaged in
imaginary light saber battles with Lord Bore, but just before I sealed
my triumph, the aid would always blow her whistle, and I once again
found myself a prisoner. Soon I realized that it would take a great deal
of dream magic to oppose the dark lord, so one recess I invited all of
my friends to join me in a holy quest, one that would inevitably be full
of adventure, filling us with dream and giving us the power to free
ourselves from our fifth grade oppression. All sorts of invisible
oracles spoke to me and informed us that our final object was to
“conquer the Tupperware”, a phrase that randomly entered my mind.

After battling myriads of invisible skeleton warriors, outrunning title
waves, and surviving the booby traps of ancient temples, the invisible
spirits of improvisation revealed to me that the Tupperware was the
domed monkey bars on the playground. To conquer it, every member of our
fellowship (there were six or seven of us), had to stand on the highest
bars with our hands in the air at the same time. It was a cold and
blustery day, and my friends were antsy to end the quest. I watched
their hands carefully, and though, to appease them, I told them that the
Tupperware was conquered, I knew in my heart that we never quite
achieved our goal.

And so the dark lord lived on. And at the close of my sixth grade year,
he revealed his terrible power, whisking me away from my friends forever
and, along with my family, planting me in the strange land of Provo,
Utah. There I faced a lonely summer, surrounded by mists of boredom,
soon to confront the horror of middle school as a lone adventurer. It
was a world where people were starting to lose their childlike virtues,
allured by the evils of pop culture. I hated it all. But by the time
eighth grade rolled around, I had found new brothers in life and death,
outcasts and weirdos like me, who shared my aversion to all things
grownup. It was during this Renaissance that I remembered my unfinished
quest, of the unconquered Tupperware. I realized that it was none other
than my old nemesis that was poisoning the minds of my middle school
peers, and I had to defy him.

Thus a second quest was born, and this time we could not fail. Each man
took on a new name, giving birth to Steffin of Peaville, Jimbob the
wizard, Mammoth the friendly giant, Sir Him and Garrick, Sir Percivel
Flowermander, and others. To defy the kids around us, who were
preoccupied with sitting around and being cool, trying to forget that
they had ever played pretend, we wandered and ran about the school,
speaking in fake British accents, filling our minds with dream, and
improvising the tales that were destined to become The Bent Sword.

The following summer, I realized that my friends and I had come up with
so many great characters and stories that they needed to be written
down. Other friends had similar ideas, and there was a birth of
TupperWar literature. But in my story, the Tupperware evolved into the
container for the dark lord’s power. The pathetic, cardboard sword
wrapped in duct tape made by my friend Patrick (Percivel), became the
symbol of our satirical, postmodern adventures, and, to avoid trademark
violation, the new name of our epic. And one night, while gazing at the
heavens, I realized just how important our story was. It was written in
the stars!

Many drafts, many years, and many rejection notices later, my dream
became a reality through Cedar Fort. Of course, having become a wizard
of dream magic through my adventures, I always knew that this time would
come. I’m just glad that it came before I was sixty. My hope is that
through reading the book, others will be inspired to join me in my
quest, which is far from finished. And I hope to sell lots of books so
that I can pump out the sequels and have a swimming pool.

Q: What did you enjoy the most about writing The Bent Sword?

A: Creating characters, then watching them come alive before my eyes. As
described in the book, storytelling is a highly magical art and good

Q: What made you choose Cedar Fort to publish your book?

A: Everyone else rejected me ;-). I learned that my home teaching
companion’s wife Jennifer Boss worked at Cedar Fort, and she offered to
personally put my manuscript onto Cedar Fort’s acquisitions desk. Alas,
it’s true what they say about life revolving around who you know. That
being said, I really like Cedar Fort’s values-driven media. And I just
found out that my uncle, Ted Gashler, was also published through Cedar
Fort, so I guess it’s a family loyalty now.

Invitation to Launch Party

Everyone and his dog is hereby formally invited to a spectacular
launch party for The Bent Sword on Saturday the 17th. There will be fun
medieval atmosphere, free food (like shish kabobs), book signings,
games, sword fighting and more! Here’s the official invitation:

Invitation to Launch Party

Friday, July 9, 2010

My experience getting published

I've had friends ask me about my experience getting published, so here's my response:

Getting published was hard, as expected. I tried once to submit my manuscript directly to a publisher but was rejected. Knowing that most publishers don't accept unsolicited manuscripts anymore, early last year I focused on sending my works to agencies that looked for Young Adult Fantasy, as listed on the Writers Market website, which I subscribed to temporarily. I was told by everyone in the business that agents are a necessary evil. Though I sent my query (cover letter, synopsis, first three chapters) to every agency listed, all of them either ignored me or rejected me. Then I learned that a lady in my church congregation worked at a publishing company (Cedar Fort). I talked to her, and she was happy to put my query on the desk of the lady who does acquisitions. This act made all the difference, and Cedar Fort told me that they wanted the full manuscript. So either everyone else hated my stuff, or more likely, they never even looked at it.

To finally read something besides a rejection letter was pretty exciting. I wanted to make sure that my manuscript was polished, so I sent it to some family members who helped me with some edits. But I was naive and was more concerned with expanding the story than polishing what I already had. Not wanting to let too much time go by, I ended up sending a 500+ page manuscript that was so large that it had to be carried in a box, and the story wasn't even finished. Months went by before Cedar Fort gave me their rejection letter, due to the length. Apparently a long novel isn't a good idea for a first time author. Though they told me that if I trimmed it down, they'd reconsider it. So basically I chopped my novel in half (creating a sequel), tied up some loose ends, and resubmitted it. Weeks later, Cedar Fort told me that they wanted to publish my book. Cool.

Cedar Fort requested that I send it to my own editor prior to it being reviewed by their own editor. I asked a friend, and she was happy to take on the assignment. What surprised me the most about both editors was how few comments they had. They fixed a lot of grammar issues, sure, but I was expecting a lot more critical feedback. This still has me a little worried. Though, I guess, perhaps the novel's just really ready to go. Seems too good to be true.

And there you have it. Now my wife and I are working on all the fun promotion stuff. We just set up my first book signing at Borders, which was surprisingly easy to do. Throughout it all, there's the looming dread that my book won't be received that well. I'm reminded of George Lucas throwing up in the bathroom while Star Wars was premiered for the first time :). I guess we just need to have a little faith in ourselves and push our work as if it's the greatest work ever written, because that's how the business succeeds. Hope that helps.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Bent Sword released!

Steve's novel The Bent Sword hits stores today, so hopefully you’ll be able to find a
copy. If not, let your local merchants and librarians know that you
demand this book, followed by a slap in the face and the line “Pull
yourself together, man!” Because haven’t you always wanted to do that?

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Bent Sword Cover Art

We have Tanya Quinlan, Melissa Caldwell, and all the folks at Cedarfort to thank for this beautiful cover art. We're having a party first week of July to celebrate it's release, so we'll make sure to have the details for you soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Bent Sword in print

The Bent Sword was sent to the press yesterday. It will be released in the first week of July, preceded by a fabulous party, still to be announced. In the mean time, you can read the first three chapters at The Bent Sword the Musical has currently undergone two workshops with New Play Project, and plans are under way for a production in Provo, Utah in August. If you haven’t yet, now’s a great time to enter your email address at the website for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Life is Fragile, Episode 8

Play / Download MP3

As Vinny, Foster and the Goblin continue on their quest, strange things begin to occur in night.Could the vampires be behind it?


Book signing today!

I'll be signing books today at Borders in the Riverwoods mall in Provo from 7:00 - 9:00 PM. I hear there will likely be live music. I'm also going to try my hand at some ventriloquism. It will be fun. So join the Facebook event and come.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Bent Sword Proof and Illustrations

I've finished reviewing the proof of The Bent Sword, and after two long days of non-stop drawing (followed by a much needed dinner at a Greek Restaurant), I've completed the chapter illustrations as well. See them at

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Some good news

1)We've been trying to buy a house for the past 7 ish months, and while we haven't been completely successful yet, there's still hope that we can buy within the next 2 months. Actually, if it doesn't work out within the next 2 months, then we're going to have to stick with renting for a little bit. But we have a lot of hope that it will work out, which is good news.

2)On those lines, we are currently renting the house that we want to buy. It's a happy cozy house that we've fallen in love with. I have to admit that I had negative feelings towards the neighborhood at first, but as we have seen and talked to people, they are good people just trying to get by. I really hope we get this house!

3)For fall and winter semesters, I got a 3.95 GPA!!! Before that I wasn't doing so well in school, so I've had to do some attitude adjusting and study habit adjusting as well. It has paid off.

4)It's a little less than a year until I graduate!

5)I get more time with Ariah! The bad news is, I had to quit the library because of school conflicts. We'll have to make up for the extra income that is lost from that, but I know we can do that. I am so excited to be with her more, and I really can't wait until I can do mommy full time!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Bent Sword the Musical

I've had a musical version of The Bent Sword in the works for a good few years now. The musical usually evolved as I wrote the stories or worked them out in my mind, and I found myself humming a score for the particular character or episode in mind. Now with the release date of the first book set for July, I realized this was the perfect opportunity to finish and produce the musical as a promotional work. I've been workshopping the script with New Play Project, which organization is also going to help me produce it. It's going to be a lot of fun. Stay tuned for updates, auditions, recordings, pictures and more as this behemoth of a project comes into fruition.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Let There Be No Mistake

Let There Be No Mistake

This is a draft of a song conceived by my brother Eric that he made for his birthday.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Life is Fragile, Episode 5

Play / Download MP3

Foster and Vinny set forth on their quest to find the goblin's long-lost lover, while Brant and Vinny teach each other the arts of jockhood and nerdiness.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Health Care Debate

Monte Emerson referred this video to me that quoted the many controversial parts of the proposed new health care bill (though a few months outdated), and I passed it on through social networking, and it generated no small amount of flack:

Hours of my day were sucked into debate.  I'd say it was fruitless, but that would imply that I was absolutely right and trying to convert others.  I honestly tried to consider their arguments, but I failed to see much true logic in their debates, though with some stirring exceptions.  On the other hand, I think it's fair to say that my arguments were generally overlooked and reduced to absurdity or responded to with suppressed anger.  It all makes open debate seem so pointless, and yet I feel that it has to be done.  It seems to be one of the more difficult duties of being a thinking human.  That is, I'll say that open social-networking debate is fruitless.  A public but limited debate would make a lot more sense.  When everyone is tempted to throw in their input, the result is a hodgepodge of conflicting opinions, like a team of rowers each paddling in a different direction.  The boat goes nowhere.  Or it goes with the majority.  But that certainly doesn't imply a correct direction.

Here's a selection of the thoughts I made:

Socialism in any degree has and will always be founded on the religion that the ends justify the means, fuelled by good intentions but only possible through fascist control, the mentality that everyone must submit to the "right" way or be damned. It is the very antithesis of freedom. Almost without exception in world history, this failed experiment has produced massive poverty, massive bureaucracy and massive corruption. Until everyone is willing to put in as much as they're willing to take out, forced redistribution will always be a worthless pursuit. True charity and true altruism are only possible when founded by personal volition, from the bottom up, never compulsion from the top down. I cannot understand how these truths can seem less than self evident.

I find it somewhat telling that so many of your criticisms are directed toward the messenger and not the message. I find the blanket assessment that conservatives operate out of hate as ignorant as imaginable. Anyone who makes such claims obviously has no idea what's really going on with the tea party movement throughout the nation but hypocritically dismisses their opposition based on outward appearances.

About a month ago, Mr. Obama publicly admitted that the original bill, despite prior claims, would in fact rule out the option of choosing another insurance provider:

"...if you want to keep the health insurance you got, you can keep it, that you’re not going to have anybody getting in between you and your doctor in your decision making. And I think that some of the provisions that got snuck in might have violated that pledge.” (President Obama at the GOP retreat in Baltimore, MD, 1/29/10). Those words cannot be misconstrued. It's a downplayed, forced confession. He stated, de facto, that something was "snuck" into the bill that would have prevented all citizens from keeping their current health insurance and doctor. That is hugely significant.

Whether or not this law has been removed from the current bill, the President's intentions for total control are transparent enough to me, and I'm confident that it will only be a matter of time before the "public" option makes it impossible for private insurers to exist.  Come on guys, we know this political game.

Of course insurance companies have to assess their demographics to determine coverage and rates. The difference between a private-owned and a government-owned insurance model is, once again, freedom. If I don't like my provider, I have the option of finding a new one. If I don't like my government insurance, my only option is bribery. I'm sure that never happens in Canada. You can dismiss the points of the video to absurdity, but the facts remain that the bill will force rationing on many levels (how could it not?), and the government will have the final say on who gets it and who doesn't, who lives and who dies. It will drastically stunt medical progress, innovation and the quality of care, as all financial incentives are removed, and all doctors, no matter of what discipline, will receive the same compensation.  If you don't believe me (or the bill), take a look at this, and see for yourself what healthcare is like in Canada:

Does a monopoly better serve the public than competition? It is simply wishful thinking to believe that taking out financial incentives will somehow create lower rates and better quality. The public's volitional support of a service as well as competition with other service providers are the ultimate checks and balances to ensure quality. Take that away, and you have a monopoly that is only accountable to its superiors, not the people it serves. (What would Mr. Marx say?) You have an immortal bureaucracy, notorious for inefficiency. Anyone ever been to the DMV? Aren't you excited for such quick and fantastic customer service to work its way into our hospitals? Teresa and I are buying a home right now with a government-ensured FHA loan, and we're required to have an FHA inspector look at the home. If we were to hire a private inspector, the average rate is $150, and he would usually show up within 24 hours. The FHA inspector costs $450 and takes about a week to show up. But we have no choice. This is what happens when you take away competition. It is true that the government will have no profit motive to routinely deny benefits. Supply and demand will give the government no choice but to routinely deny benefits.

It's a nice sentiment that healthcare is a basic human right. But it's a problematic way of thinking. If healthcare is a right, surely food and water are also rights. If food and water are also rights, shelter must also be a right. People need jobs, so jobs must be rights as well. Pretty soon you've equated the term "right" with "need". What's wrong with that? It implies that people's needs must be provided to them as surely as the right of freedom is provided to them, and only a government could provide so much. Government provide rights, and taking it one step further, government can take away rights. It places the people beneath the government, subordinate to a Big Brother that's obligated to micromanage their lives. But what's wrong with that? Governments have never been known to turn evil, have they?

It is wrong to suppose that only leftists want healthcare reform. I hate monopolies and back room deals as much as anyone. But to equate corporations as the problem and the biggest corporation of all--that little company that prints its own money, writes its own rules, determines its own pay and excuses itself from accountability--as the solution, is near-sided to say the least. The Obama Administration, without a single member from the private sector, let alone a real doctor, is perhaps the worst force there could be to enact healthcare reform. There are real solutions, but this evil, evil bill is not it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Life is Fragile, Episode 4

Play / Download MP3

The jocks and the nerds return a rescued puppy to Barry, the old sage. The tides turn, and friends become enemies and enemies become friends. Meanwhile Brant tries out for the football team while his girlfriend Jenny watches with admiration.

Listen to the whole series

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Treatment of a Quote by C.S. Lewis

"Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in" (C.S. Lewis, selection from last paragraph of Mere Christianity).

This is a beautiful quote, but if one dwells the surface implications, it can come across as contradictory, for example, the very notion of "losing your life and you will save it" or of "submit to death...and you will find eternal life."  However, this form of irony was not invented by Lewis.  Christ himself said "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it" (Luke 9:24).

The quote also seems to imply a kind of personal futility and self-loathing, for example, "Submit to death . . . of your ambitions and favourite wishes. . . . Look for yourself, and you will find . . . only hatred, loneliness, despair . . ."  But Lewis didn't invent this either.  Christ also said: If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Matthew 14:26, emphasis added).  Those are strong words!

Now I doubt that Christ was actually advocating forceful hatred towards family members, considering that he condemned Pharisees for failing to keep the fourth commandment of honoring their parents (Matthew 15:4-6) and that, according to him, the second greatest commandment is to "love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 22:39), which surely applies to family members.  While hanging on the cross, some of Christ's final words were in consideration for his mother's welfare (John 19:26-27).

But did Christ advocate a forsaking of personal ambition and self-loathing?  It's hard for me to imagine one who has no goals in life and who hates himself measuring up to Christ's admonish to "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).  Christ certainly didn't hate himself.  He loved life, waking up early, meditating in nature, making many friends, doing good wherever he went, lifting people's hearts, boldly declaring himself as the son of God, saying "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the father but by me" (John 14:6).  Could one with no self-esteem or personal ambition be so bold?  Considering that he said to the Nephites "What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am" (3 Nephi 27:27), it stands to reason that we must share in his sense of self-worth and personal ambition.  Furthermore, how can we love our neighbors as ourselves if we don't first love ourselves?

So is there contradiction between these opposite ends of Christ's message, between forsaking one's life and finding one's life?  Certainly not.  Christ spoke in the manner of the Jewish scholars and prophets of his time, quoting scriptures, using metaphors, teaching in parables, and certainly using hyperbole.  The fact that he himself coined the seeming paradoxes such as "whosoever will love his life . . . shall save it" proves that he openly spoke poetically, to the spiritually minded.

Christ gave us the key to this riddle when he said "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21).  Illustrating this point, he told the parable of the rich man who invested all his time and resources in material gain, only to die the night before he intended to enjoy his wealth (Luke 12:13-21).  If, on the other hand, our hearts are in building the kingdom of God, to "Go . . . into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15)--no small ambition--then surely our ambitions are God's ambitions, and they are righteous.  The fact that Christ commanded us to be like him means that we must be incredibly ambitious.  Infinitely ambitious!  For the smartest, strongest, most spiritual, most influential, most successful, wealthiest men on earth are still dwarfed beneath his godliness.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).  Christ wants us to be happy and to prosper, but the irony is that this is impossible unless our goals are eternal life and not wordly gain.  This is the heart of Christ's message as reiterated by C.S. Lewis.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Approximate Release Date for the Bent Sword

I found out from Cedar Fort today that The Bent Sword will be sent to the press on May 17th, and it will be officially released in July.  I’ll be hosting an awesome, very geeky party then.  The Bent

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Blog Home

Steve has been working on an awesome family website for us, and it's almost done. As much as I love blogger, it is silly for me to not use our family website for our blog. You can find it at . It's still under construction. If anyone is feeling bold, would you be willing to comment on your likes and dislikes of the site? Especially as a reader?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Beautiful snow, beautiful decorations

I need a macro lens. Don't you just love it when the snow can land and you can see the gorgeous shape?

My family is way into decorating. I'm a fan of the poinsettia tree, myself.

Tree decorating

When my family takes out the tree, we like to also take out our collection of ornaments and put them up together as a family. Ariah really got into getting ornaments from my mom and taking them to my dad to put on the tree.

I'm so glad that everyone is around. With the missions and grad schooling coming, it'll be a while until we have another Christmas together.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

3 years!

Three years? Really? These have been some amazingly fast, but awesome years.

Here are some of the highlights:

-Dec 06: Beautiful sealing and wonderful lunch and reception thanks to the sacrifice of family and friends.
-Dec 06-Jan 07: Amazing honeymoon to Pebble Beach, Carmel, Monterrey, and Disneyland, thanks to Steve's aunt Mavis and uncle Park.
-Jan-May 07: We both work at the Provo City library as Storytime performers. So fun!
-April 07: Steve graduates and gets his degree in Multimedia Communications Technology.
-May 07: Gashlermedia is born.
-May 07: We move into the batcave.
-Nov 07: Disneyland with Peavlers and Thanksgiving with Gashlers in Gilbert Arizona. Our car dies. More about that here, here, and here.
-Dec 07: Christmas with Peavlers, one year anniversary (what did we do for that?).
-Jan-Sept 08: Teresa is a preg. Already forgot what that was like. My favorite preg picture here.
-Mainly trying to survive in 2008...
-Sept 08: Ariah is born!
-November-December 08: Thanksgiving with Peavlers, Christmas with Gashlers. 2 year anniversary of going to La Vigna thanks to Sammie and being at home with babysitting from my parents. Thanks!
-March 09: Steve's 26th b-day Zelda adventure.
-April 09: We move out of the batcave into Mara Ledezma's home, generous on her side for sure!
-May 09: Ariah takes first place in a baby contest.
-July 09: My play The Man Who Cried Woof gets accepted in New Play Project's festival Mixed Up. Steve acts in it as Lenny. Steve directs Gotta Be Happy by Lyvia Martinez. I act in it. Gotta Be Happy gets first place, Man Who Cried Woof gets second. Steve performs song he wrote in honor of my birthday :)
-Sept 09: Teresa decides to do a Playwriting major. Graduation date is April 2011. Woo!
-Nov 09: Gashler's come up for Thanksgiving and we have a ridiculous amount of fun.
-Dec 09: Christmas with Peavlers, which is also a lot of fun.

And now to our 3rd anniversary. We thank my parents for babysitting (again). We went up Rock Canyon at night and chatted. We also went and ate dinner at Arby's and Outback and talked. And we saw Princess and the Frog. I know it sounds boring, but the talking is very big for us.

I will be with you always, Steve. I love you!