Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bear Lake with the Fam

This past weekend, my parents traded their time share for a condo at Bear Lake.  They invited us to come up and join them.  Clearly we weren't going to turn down a free lake adventure.

My sister, Mellen, and her daughter, Adalyn joined us for the car ride up.  Adalyn wasn't super excited bout riding in the car for three hours, but we discovered that she doesn't cry as long as I'm singing.  I mean, who could do anything but smile when they hear my golden voice?

We got to the condo fairly late on Friday night, so Friday mostly consisted of hanging with the fam in the condo.

Saturday morning, Robyn and I made breakfast for everyone.  We made epic breakfast burritos.  We cooked more sausage than you can possibly imagine.  The deliciousness was off the charts.

After a lazy morning, we all went down to the beach.  Here are some highlights of our adventures.

Dad wore Adalyn's hat.  I don't really know why.  I don't ask questions, I just take pictures.

I really wanted to get a picture of a pokemon under water.  There were no pokemon at the lake.  But at least that gym back there is blue because it has my vaporeon in it.
Mellen and Adalyn hogged all of the preciousness.
Adalyn and I ate our hats to show family unity.
Mom and dad were just eating up the opportunity to be grandparents at the beach.
Meanwhile, Robyn was the only one who could compete with Adalyn in cuteness.

It was a fun weekend.   We headed home after a fun Saturday and got to sleep in our own bed.  All in all, the trip was a success.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

2016/1941 Hugo Votes

This year the Hugo committee decided to do another Retro Hugo Award.  The year they are retroactively awarding is 75 years ago in 1941.  Unfortunately, I was not a very good reader this year.  Normally, I would try to vote in every category for both 1941 and 2016.  But I didn't do all the homework.  So here are all the categories that I voted in.  There were some very good works this year.

1941 Best Novel

Slan was a lot of fun.  A little bit dated, but it was basically X-Men.  How could I not love it?

1               Slan by A.E. Van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction, Dec 1940)
2               Kallocain by Karin Boye (Bonnier)
3               Gray Lensman by E.E. "Doc" Smith (Astounding Science-Fiction, Jan 1940)
4               The Ill-Made Knight by T.H. White (Collins)
5               The Reign of Wizardry by Jack Williamson (Unknown, Mar 1940)

1941 Best Novelette

Does my bias for Heinlein show?  Probably.   This was a really fun story about a neat technology.  I agree.  The roads must roll.

1               The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, June 1940)
2               Blowups Happen by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, Sept 1940)
3               Vault of the Beast by A.E. Van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1940)
4               It! by Theodore Sturgeon (Unknown, Aug 1940)
5               Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates (Astounding Science-Fiction, Oct 1940)

1941 Best Short Story

My bias for Asimov is even greater than my bias for Heinlein.  But Robbie is his first robot story.  That's some serious history.  

1               Robbie by Isaac Asimov (Super Science Stories, Sept 1940)
2               Requiem by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, Jan 1940)
3               Martian Quest by Leigh Brackett (Astounding Science-Fiction, Feb 1940)
4               The Stellar Legion by Leigh Brackett (Planet Stories, Winter 1940)
5               Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Jorge Luis Borges (Sur, 1940)

2016 Novelette
This was a hard one.  But I really liked Stephen King's story.  It was pretty unique, and a bit frightening.

1               Obits by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner)
2               Folding Beijing by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
3               Flashpoint: Titan by CHEAH Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
4               What Price Humanity? by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
5               And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, Feb 2015)

2016 Short Story

I really liked this story.  Stories about artificial intelligence are always a lot of fun.

1               Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer ( Clarkesworld, January 2015)
2               Seven Kill Tiger by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
3               Asymmetrical Warfare by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015)
4               No Award

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Helicopter over Kauai

Another fun adventure that we had on Kauai was riding the helicopter.  Remember that time we rode a helicopter to get out of Havasupai?  This was way, way better than that.

That ride lasted about 6 minutes.  This one lasted about an hour.  That was to get us to our destination as fast as possible.  This was to enjoy the ride and the scenery.

When we got there, they had a little briefing on how to use the life jackets and everything.  It was kind of like every time you get on a plane, only they did it before we boarded.  They also explained to us that the rotors are way above our heads and we didn't need to duck down.  But when it came time to get on the helicopter, there was still a little 5 foot tall lady who was bending way down so that her head wouldn't get chopped off.  It was funny to watch her stooping way low, when the rotors were a good ten feet above her head.

Robyn and I paid extra to get the good seats next to the pilot.  That was soooo worth it.  They loaded everyone else into the back, and then it was our turn to get up front.  I was next to the window, so I got in last.
Robyn putting her headgear on.

Cutie Robyn and the pilot, Trevor.


Our shadow on the fields.

Jurassic Falls
The above waterfall is very important.  That's actually the waterfall that they show in Jurassic Park when the helicopter comes in.  The helicopter pad that is in the movie was destroyed by a storm like 10 years ago.  But the important thing is that I actually flew over Jurassic Park.
Na Pali coast

Na Pali Coast

Tunnels Beach  (Where we went scuba diving)
Flying into the volcano

Little waterfalls inside the volcano

I know you think my caption on the above 2 pictures is a lie.  Kauai is the oldest hawaiian island, which means its volcano has been extinct the longest.  It's had 4 bajillion years (that's an exact number) for nature to take its toll.  One side of the volcano has completely eroded away.  That's the side we flew in to.  Inside the volcano has been completely taken over by vegetation.  The waterfalls aren't normally there, but it had rained the night before.  (Trevor told us we were very lucky to get all the waterfalls, and yet have it be clear enough to have such good visibility.)

Overall, it was a great experience.  There were a few spots when the helicopter would bank to one side or the other where my tummy was not too happy about it.  I do tend to have problems with motion sickness.  But it was no worse than flying in an airplane.  (In fact, it was much better than flying in an airplane, because the chair I was sitting in was comfortable and the views were much better.)

When it was all over, I jumped out first and turned around just in time to snag a cute picture of Robyn.
I call this masterpiece, "Disembarking Robyn"
The moral of the story:  Helicopter = Awesome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hiking Kauai

The majority of our time in Hawaii was spent in and around the ocean.  However, Hawaii also has pretty fantastic mountains, so we had to do a bit of hiking.

Kauai has a massive canyon called Waimea Canyon.  It is affectionately called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

Naturally, we couldn't go to Kauai without exploring some of that massive canyon.

The first thing we did was head to the Waimea Canyon overlook.  This part didn't require any hiking.  (Well, it was about a 30 foot climb from the parking lot to the overlook.  I'll let you decide if that is hiking.)

But it had some great views of the canyon.

Selfies with a canyon are the best kind of selfies.

I had to do a panoramic shot, obviously.

After the overlook we headed to the Canyon trail. This trail ends at a massive waterfall, but we were more about the overlooks and views of the canyon.

This hike was a little bit different than your normal hike.  Usually, you're starting at the bottom of a mountain and climbing up.  We were climbing down into the canyon, so we were hiking downward.  As we got lower, we got more into a jungle setting.

Isn't she cute in the jungle?
It was raining on and off while we hiked.  Robyn liked to stop and enjoy the rain on her face.

There were some ancient carvings made by the ancestors of Steve Jobs.
The trail kept going down, and we were starting to get nervous about how difficult the climb back out would be.  I think we were probably pretty close to the waterfall, but when we got to this view below, we decided that would be a good destination and turned around.
My watch said we did about 4 miles round trip, and we climbed around 1000 feet.  That climb on the way back was plenty to get us good and tired.

Also on the way back we got to have a good discussion about parenting.  There was a mom who was terrified of heights and was really struggling.  She was doing her very best to convince their child that he should be terrified.  The dad was getting cranky about it and making the whole situation worse.

We like to be hypothetical parents, because in hypothetical situations we handle everything perfectly.  In this hypothetical situation, neither of us fed our children a phobia, and neither of us got cranky.  It was great.

This excursion ended up being our only hiking on this trip.  We had planned on hiking the Na Pali coast, but our legs were a little sore and on the day we had planned to hike, we just decided it would be more fun to spend the day at the beach.  We didn't want to do it just to cross it off a list, so that just means we'll have to go back.  Next time on Kauai:  Hike the Na Pali Coast.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Scuba Diving Kauai

One of my favorite adventures on Kauai was scuba diving.  We decided to do our scuba dive at Tunnels Beach.  It's famous for a a barrier reef with tunnels that go through it.  That sounded fun and exciting, so how could I pass it up?

We had to be at Tunnels Beach at 8 AM on Wednesday.  It turns out Tunnels Beach is really hard to find.  There are no signs for it at all.  There is a little road that goes to the beach, but it isn't marked, and it's not anywhere near where Google says the entrance to the beach is. We eventually pulled up to that little road and I walked down it.  I found the people we were Scuba diving with, and they told us to park at Haena Beach which was a quarter mile down the road.

Robyn was stressing out (like she does) but we got there and got suited up without any problems.  They gave us wetsuits and put all the gear on us.  We got in the water and had to swim out to where we actually began the dive.  It took us a a minute to get back into the groove of how to move with all the gear and everything.  But once I was back in the water, everything went super smooth and it was great.

We saw some really cool things while diving.  Here are a few of them.

Swimming underneath a turtle
A sleeping turtle
Seeing an eel
Swimming through a tunnel

We did a two tank dive, which means you do one dive and then come back and get another tank to go out for more.  In between dives, they gave us snacks and our dive masters acted as sherpas, hauling the empty tanks from where we left them in the water and replacing them with full tanks, so that we could put them on in the water and not have to haul them down ourselves.

It turns out I breathe way more than Robyn.  Near the end of our first dive, I told the dive master I was down to 200 PSI in my tank, so he told me to go to the surface.  At that point, I took the regulator out of my mouth and put in the snorkel.  I snorkeled directly above Robyn.  She didn't see me go up, so she continued to follow the group.  She said she was a little concerned that she couldn't find me, but she trusted that the dive master was taking care of me. She didn't realize that I was snorkeling directly above her.  I just continued to follow her until she was ready to surface.  I never lost sight of my dive buddy, even if she didn't know where I was.

All in all, it was super fun.  It was a little more work than a boat dive, because we had to swim out from the shore, but it was still really cool.  We had planned to snorkel at Tunnels Beach after our dive was over, but we were much more tired than we had anticipated, and we realized we wouldn't see anything snorkeling that we hadn't already seen diving.

So instead of snorkeling after diving, we went back to the condo and took a nap.

Naps are a great part of Hawaii too.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Getting to Kauai

Well, we're home from our trip to the beautiful Hawaiian island of Kauai.  That means it's time to share all of my experiences.  I'll get to the good stuff in a future post, but first I thought I'd share the difficult time we had in getting there.  (Don't be confused.  I'm not asking for pity.  This story still ends with me in Hawaii.  Nothing that ends in Hawaii is bad.)

The day started much too early.  I set my alarm for 3 AM.  (I set my alarm.  That's generally against everything I believe in.)

I randomly woke up at 2:45, and wondered whether I should just get up.  The next thing I remember my alarm went off, so I guess that was my decision.

We had planned to leave at 3:30, but we got off a little late at 3:40.  That was fine, though.  We still had plenty of time to grab breakfast and get to our flight.  Especially since our flight was delayed a good 30 minutes.  The reason for the delay?  They said they were changing a light bulb in the lavatory.  I'm no handy man, but I could have changed that light bulb in under 30 minutes.  I mean, I get that it takes a few minutes sometimes.  If it's anything like my house, you have to find a chair to stand on, and then climb up on the chair, and then realize you shouldn't have picked a chair with wheels, and then you find a different chair.  That whole process can take a good 5 minutes, but 30 is definitely pushing it.

Anyway, we finally got on the plane and got in the air.  Our first layover was in Seattle.  I'm not sure how much closer that is to Hawaii, because for every mile you go west, you go north almost just as much.  Our plane landed, and we only had about 20 minutes until they started boarding.  We had to go from the A gates to the S gates.  Robyn was super stressed out because we had to take a train to get there.  I thought a train sounded perfect, because it dropped us off where we needed to be.  I think she was imagining it being like taking a train from Lehi to Salt Lake.

She kept saying, "We'll never make it.  We have to get on a TRAIN!"

The train got us there in just a couple minutes, so we had time to spare while we sat and waited to board.  They got us on the plane, and then we sat on the plane for about an hour.  There's nothing like rushing to get somewhere only to just sit forever.

After about an hour of sitting on the plane, they announced that they couldn't find our pilot so we were all going to deplane.  The words they used were, "We don't know where the pilot is."  I find myself wondering, how do you lose a pilot?  I mean, they didn't say, "Our pilot called in sick" or "Our pilot was in a car accident on the way in."  They said they don't know where he is.

So we had to get off the plane and wait for them to find a pilot.

They gave me free chips to eat while we waited for a pilot.  So there's that.
Eventually, they found a different pilot and let us get back on the plane.  He came over the intercom and let us know that he wasn't the one who didn't show up for work.  They got him out of bed on his day off to fly us to Hawaii.
When we got back on the plane I had to take a selfie with some of my plane mates.  These are the people that will form our society when we crash on an island in the middle of the ocean.
By the time we arrived in Honolulu, they were already boarding our connection to Kauai.  We were supposed to have a 3 hour layover.  It was going to be great.  We would grab a bite to eat and wander around the airport.  (It's a beautiful airport.)

We had to take a shuttle across the airport to find our gate.  We also had to get our boarding pass printed, because this flight was with Hawaiian Airlines, and Delta didn't give us a boarding pass when I printed the others.  No one was working at any of the service desks, so we went and asked the ladies at the gate.  They eventually got them printed, but their computer apparently had no idea who we were.  They asked questions like, "Do you have any infants with you?"  Or "Where did you fly in from?"

But we got it printed and got on the plane.  We sat down with me on the aisle seat and Robyn in the middle.  There was no one in the window seat.  The plane seemed to be completely boarded.  Maybe we would get lucky and have some space to spread out.

No.  There would be no luck today.  I saw a giant man walking down the aisle.  I looked around and realized there were no other seats.  He came to our row and pointed to the window seat.  Robyn and I got to snuggle real close to make room for the giant in the window seat.

But, hey, it was our last flight of the day.  Only 40 minutes to Kauai and then all of our travelling troubles would be over.

Not so.

Our plane landed on Kauai.  We got off the plane and could finally relax knowing we arrived safely and nothing else could go wrong in getting us to our destination.

We went to pick up our bags at the baggage claim, and they weren't there.  What?

It turns out that our short layover where we rushed to the plane was too short for our luggage to make it.  We went to talk to the baggage claim guru, and she said it was very likely that it would be on the next flight in, that came an hour later.  There was a nice family who had also been on the Seattle flight and they had the same problem.  It gave me a little comfort to know that they were in the same boat.  To me that meant it really was an issue of not making the flight, and not an issue of the luggage being lost.

We went and picked up our rental car.  I thought we would be back in 20 minutes or so and have to wait a long time to see if our luggage was there.  Luckily, it was the least efficient rental car facility I've ever seen.  It took about 90 minutes to get our car.  By that time, we drove back to the terminal and our bags were there waiting for us.  The baggage claim guru that we spoke to had gathered them all together, so I just had to thank her and roll them out to the car.  We were on our way.

We grabbed some dinner and drove to our condo.  It took about 40 minutes to get to the north shore.  The first thing I did after bringing everything in was plop on the couch and just look out the window.
The ocean view was beautiful, and I stayed awake just long enough to see the sunset.  Then it was time for sleep because I was more tired than you can possibly imagine.

It was a rough day but it ended in Hawaii, so it was great.

Stay tuned and I'll share some of the adventures we had while we were there.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Geeking out about Marvel's Civil War

It's been a few weeks since Captain America: Civil War hit theaters.  I purposefully waited a little while before writing about it.  I figure it's been long enough that if you're worried about spoilers you've already seen it.   This post will actually have more spoilers for the comic book than the movie, but be warned that if you are worried about spoilers for either medium then you should close your browser now.

Okay, I warned you.

So I probably need to write a couple more paragraphs before diving in, just in case anyone is super concerned about spoilers.  In those couple paragraphs I'll explain what this post is and what it isn't.

This post isn't a review of the movie.  I loved it.  That's my review.

Now there are things that I really would have loved to see in the movie that weren't there.  But that doesn't change the fact that I loved it.  The comic book storyline consisted of over 100 comic books with dozens of characters with different motivations, different backstories and allegiances.  It makes for a very complex and interesting story but there just isn't time to introduce all of those characters and cover all of their different nuances, so I liked the movie for what it was.  It's a different medium and it executed the story beautifully in my opinion.

That being said, I wanted to compare and contrast the movie with the comics. Of course, as I mentioned above, there are lots of things I would have liked to see in the movie.  But there are actually some things I was glad I didn't see.  Let's start with those first.

(By the way, if you'd like to take a closer look at any of these comic panels, just click on the image to enlarge.)

Things I was glad weren't in the Captain America: Civil War movie

The Initiative
The Initiative was Iron Man's plan moving forward after he won the Civil War.  The Superhero Registration Act has passed and now he continues to hunt down heroes that have not registered.  It also includes superheroes who do register being forced to be trained as superheroes and ending up fighting Hydra and other villains.  It amounts to forced military service, and it depicts teenagers being killed because they followed the law and did what they were supposed to.  (And ended up being killed in the line of duty.)

Iron Man did some awful things during the Civil War, but in my opinion The Initiative was actually worse.  I like that movie Iron Man never did anything I couldn't forgive.  Comic Book Iron Man was essentially the villain of the story.  I'm glad movie Iron Man was still a hero, even if he was a little misguided.

The Unmasking of Spiderman
In the comics, Iron Man manipulates Peter Parker into joining his side.  He then asks him to unmask before the press, which has all sorts of terrible consequences and makes Spiderman one of the worst victims of the Civil War.  This is one of the many things that make me hate Iron Man.  (You'll notice a theme to all the things I'm glad weren't shown.  They basically all make Iron Man awful.)

The Death of Aunt May
One of the repercussions of Spiderman's unmasking is that Kingpin comes after him and his family.  He's able to protect Mary Jane but Aunt May gets shot.  There's some really cool stuff where he injects her with his radioactive blood in an attempt to save her, but it doesn't work and Aunt May dies.

The Death of Captain America
After the Civil War is over and Captain America surrenders, they take him into custody and put inhibitors on him that eliminate his super human abilities.  While in that weakened state (that stupid fat Iron Man put him in) Crossbones shoots him and he ends up dying.

After that the Winter Soldier dons the shield and becomes the new Captain America.  The first thing he does is hunts down and tries to kill Iron Man.

I honestly thought this was going to happen in the movie.  I knew they had cast Crossbones, and Cap's death is his entire role in the comics.  I also had seen trailers and the scene where Bucky and Tony are fighting hand to hand and Bucky tries to shoot him just totally seemed like it should come as a result of Cap's death.  (It turns out that he was under Hydra control in that scene.  I probably should have anticipated that.)

After the movie got over, Robyn asked me how I liked it, and I said with much relief, "I'm just so glad Cap is still alive."

Because of the things above, I actually think I liked the movie better than the Comic Book.  I rarely like the movie better than the source material, so this is a big deal.  Despite that, there were a few things I really loved from the comics that I would have liked to see.  Here are a few of them:

Things I wished were in the Captain America: Civil War movie

Cap's speech
This speech was one of those iconic moments that you just want to experience over and over.  Spiderman has just seen the prison where superheroes are being kept who refuse to register.  He realizes that a life sentence without a trial is a pretty terrible violation of human rights.  He seeks an audience with Captain America because he starts to feel he's on the wrong side.  Their discussion results in this epic speech.  The movie gave a small piece of this speech to Sharon Carter (who was quoting her aunt Peggy) and I appreciated the nod to the comic, but it would have been cool to see the speech in its entirety.

Spiderman switching sides
The panel above is basically right after the speech.  Spiderman is on the good team now.  His story arc was so interesting.  Spiderman is in many ways the point of view character through whom the reader gets to experience the civil war.  We get to see him struggle with the ethical dilemmas posed by both sides.  I totally get that his full story arc is much too complex for a 2 hour movie, but I would have loved to see it.

Black Panther vs War Machine
I know they were on the same team in the movie.  They weren't supposed to be.  This battle is epic for so many reasons.  War Machine is not in his normal suit for this battle.  He's actually piloting a sentinel.  When the sentinel attacks Black Panther he takes it down, which is super cool.  But what's even more cool is that when the crowd sees Jim Rhodes inside the sentinel, they start mobbing and trying to attack, which causes Black Panther to stand and defend Rhodey until Iron Man arrives to protect his friend.  It showed how much integrity the Black Panther had.  He fought those who were aggressive against him but still fought to preserve the lives of his enemies.  Sooo cool.

Iron Spider
When Spiderman joins Iron Man's team, he gets an upgrade.  Iron Man makes him a new suit with lots of sweet upgrades.  He has super cool spider legs and he can even fly.  Of course, unbeknownst to him, the suit is also running all sorts of biological tests on him so that when Spiderman ultimately changes sides Iron Man has intel on him and is able to mess with his spidey sense.  The whole story with this suit was just cool.

Storm vs Thor
Storm is one of the coolest X-Men and probably the coolest female superhero.  I know that Disney doesn't own the rights to her character, but when she and Thor go at it, it's pretty dang awesome that she can tangle directly with a god.

Spiderman dominating Kingpin
Kingpin is one of my favorite Marvel villains.  Spiderman comes after him as revenge for what he did to Aunt May.  I'm glad Aunt May wasn't harmed in the movie, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this was one of Spiderman's coolest moments.

So there you have it.  That's everything I wished for and everything I was relieved not to see.  Was there anything from the comics you wished to see?  Was there anything you were glad wasn't there?

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Birthday Trip 2016

So I told Robyn that this year I wanted a trip for my birthday.  However, one of the funnest things about a trip is actually planning it.  So I also told her I wanted to plan my trip.

The trip began on my birthday, and I told her that my birthday was up to her to plan.  She did an excellent job.  She told me to get off at 3, and she bought us tickets to see the new X-Men movie.  So I got to hang out with my friends Jean, Cyclops, Wolverine, Mystique, and Professor X.  It was a fantastic way to kick off the trip.  That evening was spent in a hotel in Salt Lake to give us a head start in our travels.

For my trip, I decided that I wanted to see a few of the things in Utah that I had heard about but never actually experienced.

The first of those things was the Golden Spike National Historic Site.  Every child in Utah learned the song about how the transcontinental railroad was completed in Promontory, Utah.  It's a little site in the middle of the desert in the middle of nowhere.  But we drove out there and checked it out.
You have to get a picture next to a sign as proof you were there.
They had a whole reenactment where the train pulled up and people gave speeches and then drove in the final spikes.
Who doesn't love trains?

It was just like in 1869.  I bet back then everybody at their phones out taking pictures.

I made Robyn stand on the railroad for a picture.  She totally didn't get run over by a train.
The next location I took us to was the Spiral Jetty.  It's also in the desert in the middle of nowhere.  It sits on the shore of the Great Salt Lake.  It was made by a sculptor and depending on the level of the lake, sometimes it is below water and sometimes it is not (like right now).

Selfie with the jetty.
I made Robyn walk the whole spiral with me.  She tried to cut across, but I wouldn't let her cheat herself from the full experience.  We got to the center and had to take a precious pic.
Doesn't she make the spiral look precious?
The next event wasn't a place I'd heard about my whole life like the first two, but it was on my Utah bucket list.  We went to the Eccles Dinosaur Park in Ogden.
They had mosquitoes in amber, so I'm not sure what the holdup is.  They should clearly have clones some dinosaurs by now.

There were lots of bones to look at.
They had an indoor museum that was more of the traditional natural history museum, and then outside they had lots of dinosaur statues.  There were little signs that could teach you about the different dinosaurs, so it was fun.
Just hanging with the triceratops.

Look how calm she looks even though she's about to be eaten.

That concluded our Saturday activities, but fear not!  There was more fun to be had on Sunday.

We wanted to have some sort of church experience, and another thing on my Utah bucket list was to attend a taping of Music and the Spoken Word.  They were doing a memorial day special and it was really fun.  There was a TV that was showing the live broadcast, and I liked to watch the cameras move around and see how they achieved the shots that were being shown on the TV.

Before the broadcast they explained to us that it was live and that the acoustics in the tabernacle are very good, so we need to be very quiet.  I was totally reverent.

We didn't take any pictures inside the tabernacle (they weren't allowed during the broadcast and before and after there wasn't much to take a picture of.)  But naturally, we got a selfie in front of the temple on our way out.

The next Sunday event was to visit Gilgal garden.  It's a little garden tucked away in a residential neighborhood.  I had seen pictures of the Joseph Smith Sphinx and had wanted to check out the whole garden for a long time.

Pictures of signs: very important.

When I saw it I just started grinning and laughing.  I think Robyn was embarrassed to be with me.

I told Robyn I needed a picture of her in front of something.  She chose this arch and those giant books behind her.
At this point, it was about lunch time and Robyn wanted to be home.  I only had one more stop on my list and it was the Summum Pyramid.  It's a pyramid that actually performs mummifications.  (Who knew that was still a thing?)
Robyn didn't even get out of the car, so I had to take my selfie with the pyramid.  After seeing X-Men: Apocalypse, I was pretty sure Apocalypse was hiding inside and probably acquiring new powers he would use for world domination.  But I didn't see him.

Finally, we could head home and take a good afternoon nap in our own beds.  I'd say it was a successful birthday trip.
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