Friday Flix: Iron Man 3

friday flix jae scribblesOh, you knew this one was coming! Tony Stark strikes again in Iron Man 3, which some could call Iron Man 4 since Avengers was in some ways Iron Man 3, but I digress.

If you haven’t seen this in the theater yet, I’m going to warn you now of potential SPOILERS coming in the next several paragraphs. And I want to state up front right now that I thought Iron Man 3 was a solid A movie. It’s really, really good. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take issue with some of it. And since many of us are storytellers or at least appreciate good storytelling, it’s good to learn from the stories we hear.

But back to Iron Man 3. The description from

When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

Okay, so there we have it. Iron Man faces terrorist. And go!


The best part of this movie for me was the interaction between Tony and this kid Harley. Tony escapes certain destruction via the Mandarin and ends up in the middle of Tennessee where he meets a boy named Harley who helps him recover and keep his malfunctioning Iron Man suit safe.

Harley also plays the role of audience, asking Tony all the questions about New York we’d like to ask him. I think this worked really well for the story because Tony needed a different kind of reminder of what he’s doing this all for. There were the personal reminders of protecting his friends and his love, but there’s something so perfect about the innocence of this kid that helps Tony see what he needs to do to find healing. Kids are honest in ways adults just can’t be anymore.

Plus it worked great as a contrast for Tony’s ego to see this little kid has got it together better than he does. If you go for anything, even if you haven’t liked Iron Man, I think you’ll enjoy the back and forth between Tony and Harley.

Continue reading

Back from Christmas


My sister and I have become quite fond of doing finger foods for Christmas. I guess to sound more posh I could call them tapas. The primary focus of the photo is of course on the lil smokies. Then of course we have bacon wrapped water chestnuts, cucumber sandwiches, something we call cold cuts (meats and cheeses) lots of veg, and sweet potato fries. Oooh, don’t forget the cranberry salsa. I brought some for lunch today. Mmmmm…

Christmas was actually decently productive. I finished 1 of my 4 holiday book read books, I’m 3/4 of the way through #2. And ladies and gentlemen, please applaud, I finally finished Story by Robert McKee! Woot! Yeah, that thick textbook, while filled to the brim with good info, just takes a long while to get through. I created myself a little worksheet from my notes which I plan on filling out tonight to get SHADE in proper order.

And speaking of SHADE, I got feedback from my mentor Marieke over the holiday. It was very good and thorough and encouraging. However… (there’s always a however, isn’t there?) Well, she makes a very convincing case that I need to climb another mountain. Not Everest, though. Just maybe that Tablerock hike I love. It’s hard and I usually end up with blisters on my toes, but the view makes it all worthwhile.

Continue reading

Utah – We Do Christmas Right

I was fairly certain the world wouldn’t end today, and here we are. Sorry Mayans, you can join the ranks of the rest wrong in predicting the end of the world.

Once again, I’m pushing Friday Flix to another time. Christmastime is a little hectic and finding enough time to watch a movie just hasn’t happened. True, I could review one I’ve already seen, but I like to watch or re-watch the movie to pick up on the subtleties and storytelling elements they did well (or poorly).

On to the topic at hand. Christmas! There are lots of cities that celebrate Christmas in unique and fantastic ways. I’d love to visit New York sometime during the Christmas season and see all the fabulous displays. I’d especially love to visit FAO Schwartz. I can only imagine what awesomeness would be on display there.

Utah Christmas

But I’m talking about my own backyard. I’m talking about Christmas here in good ol’ Salt Lake City.


If you come at Christmastime and ask your hotel concierge about things to do, they’re more than likely going to suggest a visit to Temple Square. This area is one of the original sites built by Mormon pioneers, home to the Salt Lake Temple (the castle-looking building) the tabernacle of Mormon Tabernacle Choir fame, as well as a few visitors centers, and an old cathedral-looking building called the Assembly Hall (boring name, I know…).

This whole area is enclosed by walls on a square block of the city, but there are also sights to be seen surrounding the block. Nearby the Mormon Church History Museum often displays nativities from around the world. I believe many of these nativities are sent in by Mormons from many foreign countries.

Continue reading

The Candy Bomber

There’s not much to update with Row80, except one thing. Last night at my writer’s group I won an award. My group is the local chapter of a larger organization called the League of Utah Writers and we decided to have a chapter writing contest for short stories, articles, and poems, and have them judged by other chapters’ members—so there wouldn’t be any bias. I entered my short story TRICK OR TREE, and tonight I found out I won first place. 🙂 Granted, it’s only against the other members of my chapter, but it’s still nice to find out people thought my short story ranked first. Plus as an added bonus first place winners of each category get a $50 credit to spend toward future contests, writing conferences, or other writing career related things. Woot! I’m hoping this is a sign of further good things to come, like winning the final round of Pitch Wars (results won’t come until late January at the earliest) and the other two contests I’ve entered (results for these, not until late February). I was certainly all smiles last night. I am today as well.

And I guess that’s the end of this round of Row80. I think I’m going to take a break from Row80 and I may change up the blog schedule. But aside from all that, I’ve decided to take a break from my regularly scheduled programming to tell you about something you may love.

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to go to the annual Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas program. It’s kind of a big deal around here. We’ve seen the likes of Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jane Seymour, and Natalie Cole to name a few come and participate as guests during the program. This year it featured Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

You can go Thursday through Sunday when it’s running. Tickets are free, but if you want some you have to enter a sort of lottery and hope they select you for tickets. Or you can standby and hope you get in. Some years and days are easier than others.

Anyways, this year they featured the story of the Candy Bomber, a man Tom Brokaw wrote about in his book The Greatest Generation. Here’s the story.

Continue reading

Row80 Check-In Dec 5th

Salt Lake Christmas

It rained a lot recently, but no snow, so no winter wonderland pics. When it does snow I’ll have to take a lot of pics to keep in stock. Fortunately I was downtown Monday night and was able to snap this little gem. If Salt Lake does one thing right, it’s Christmas decor. In one particular area of the city called Temple Square, there are likely more than a million lights to be seen as well as nativities from different countries, luminaries with seasonal greetings in dozens of different languages, and even an area where you can watch the story of the nativity unfold (though these days it’s a bit campy and outdated, it’s still fun to watch). The lights are first turned on the day after Thanksgiving and remain up until New Year’s Day.

The rest of the downtown area too, it seems, tries to compensate for Temple Square’s million+ lights. Fortunately most of the city and Temple Square have switched to LED lights, so our city’s power bill is likely more manageable. It’s a tourist draw for us, however, so it’s money well spent.

Okay, enough of that holiday cheer, onto the goals:

  • Write at least 3 short stories intended for publication.  I’ll probably try my hand at several more than three, but the hope is to find three gemstones among the rocks.
    On hiatus.
  • Read the helpful books to prepare me for the editing fest that will be late November early December on SHADE.
    Got a little more Story read on Monday and tweeted a couple good quotes, but not much more progress than that. Pitch Wars has really shaken things up for me. And though I’ve submitted my materials, I’m still working on polishing SHADE so that if I gain a mentor I’m presenting her with my best.
  • Have read all 201 available Anton Chekhov’s short stories, sprinkled with Hemingway and Bradbury.
    I’ve read 50 of 201 Chekhov short stories. No new progress.
  • Polish SHADE to pure awesomeness.  Lots of excellent progress to report. I’ve been doing the whole switch fonts and edit backward and I’ve found a good chunk of typos and strengthened a lot of sentences. I’m more than 3/4 through the whole book. I didn’t love the ending I had originally, but now having gone through it again I’ve got new ideas to make it better. Plus so far I’ve been able to cut nearly 2,000 words, bringing it down to the 96,000 word range. 95,000 would be better, but I’ll settle with 96K. I just want it to stay under 100K. Apparently that’s when it gets too risky for an agent with a new author. Not that you won’t get published, just that it’s riskier. Read this blog post by agent Jennifer Laughran for a more in-depth explanation.
  • Don’t Dessert December. It’s hit or miss. I won’t lie, the holidays are the hardest, especially when one of your co-workers brings in the most delicious fudge chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever tasted! Ack! But I have Kung Fu tonight, so hopefully I can burn a little of the cookies off. I think I’ll be happy if I can just maintain through January 1st.
  • The Holiday Book Read! Like I said, Pitch Wars is overtaking my life. Once I have SHADE polished up this round, I’ll head over to the library and grab some books. Have any recommendations for me? I’m especially interested in any stories along the same vein as the one I’m writing. I’d like to study the professionals and see if I can’t improve. For those unfamiliar with SHADE’s plot, check out this blog post for more info.

How about you? Are you participating in Pitch Wars and how do you think your chances are? Have you learned a lot? How are you doing with December desserts? Trying hard or giving up? Let me know in the comments below.