Big thumbs down on Utah’s more restrictive driver’s license requirements.
After going through the requisite, but metaphorical, anal exam to renew my license today, I wondering if the legislators who passed the law are more concerned with people’s citizenship then keeping unsafe drivers off the road.
In the past renewing a Utah driver’s license, providing you had no points or citations on your record, was easy. You filled out a form, wrote a check, and mailed it in or do the entire process online. Two weeks later you’d get a renewal sticker. Only once every 10 years did you actually have to show up in person to renew. And aside from the requisite long line to stand it, getting a new one was pretty straight forward.
Now, it seems, the Utah Department of Public Safety is more concerned with applicants’ citizenship status than whether or not they can actually drive. Whether you’re renewing your driver’s license or getting a new one, you have to provide proof of citizenship along with a host of other proof of residence documents. (For a full list of what’s required, click here.)
So when I showed up this morning, I came with a birth certificate, social security card, a bank and utility statement (dated within the last 60 days). All of my documents were examined twice. After the second examination, my birth certificate and social security cared were scanned into their computer. (I assume they’re now part of some Big Brother database.) Amazingly they didn’t ask for a DNA or blood sample.
Don’t misunderstand. I have no problem ensuring driver license applicants are Utah residents before issuing them a Utah driver’s license. However, I’d rather see more concern for keeping unsafe drivers off the roads than non-U.S citizens from driving. I’d rather share the road with 10 non-U.S. residents who know how to drive then one citizen of this great country who can’t. (And based on my daily commute to work, there are plenty Utah residents/US Citizens who can’t.)
Instead of worrying about citizenship, a smarter way to go would be to have every non-citizen or non-Utah resident applying for a driver’s license take a driving test. If you don’t pass you don’t get a driver’s license. Apply for a State ID card instead. All the new rules will accomplish is discouraging non-U.S. citizens from applying for a driver’s license.
Sadly, having safe drivers behind the wheel seems to be the last thing on the minds of the wise, all-knowing elected officials in Salt Lake and the bureaucrats at Utah Department of Public Safety.
I see opportunity written all over the news of that closing. Especially when you learn that the B. Dalton store that was closed was making money.
Barnes & Noble says it closed the Laredo store as part of an overall strategy to shut down the chain of mall-based bookstores. Even though the Laredo store was profitable, the overall chain was losing money, according to company officials.
I’m not going to completely fault Barnes & Noble for their decision. Mall stores like B. Dalton are going the way of the Dodo bird. Bigger stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders offer more selection and a better shopping atmosphere.
But as the town’s only bookstore it was making a profit!
What businessperson in his or her right mind would close a profitable store—especially when you have a monopoly in your city?
Unless there are some plans by B&N or some other store to open a big store, I’m really scratching my head at this decision. (Are the demographics of Laredo such that they couldn’t support a bigger store? Maybe a Texas native like ChicagoJo could chime in.)
It’s not like Laredo residents won’t be able to buy books. (There’s always Amazon.com.) And instead of complaining about the store closing, I’d start finding investors that would be interested in opening a better bookstore—one that had so many books and was so fun to shop at that people would drive from San Antonio to buy their books. Local and national authors would be knocking down the doors to do book signings because of the store’s popularity.
Most nights before my kids go to bed, I tell them a story. Usually the stories involve the kids on some wild adventure where they fight dragons or exploring a distant jungle or mountain with all the adventure that comes with an Indiana Jones movie. Sometimes the stories involve recapping something they did that day (e.g., sledding or swimming) only with a monster thrown in to make it more interesting.
Though I love telling them stories, there are nights when it’s hard to come up with an original story every night. I know, I know. As a writer you’d think I’d have an endless supply of stories in my head. While it’s true I have a dozen novels floating around there at any given time and a few other stories to tell my kids, there are times when the well runs dry and I need a break.
So for the next few weeks I’ve decided to read the first Harry Potter book to them. I hope it’s something they’ll enjoy as much as me since I’ve never ready any of the Harry Potter books. (Yes, somehow I managed to avoid reading them despite the glowing reviews from Marathon Girl and everyone else who has read them.) I think the two boys are old enough to enjoy them. Not sure about the 3 year old, however. If she gets bored maybe I’ll just summarize the story for her before tucking her in. As long as she feels she got a story from Dad, she’s happy.
I’m crossing my fingers that all goes well. Tonight they get the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
When I mentioned that my novel, The Third, had found a home with a publisher last week, I failed to publicly thank Marathon Girl. Without her support, the book never would have found its way from my imagination to paper.
I feel extremely lucky to have such a wonderful wife. Marathon Girl understands that writing for me is like running for her and that we both need to do it. I know a lot of relationships where one or both spouses aren’t supportive of the other person’s goals and I’m grateful for a wife that does what she can to support me.
Between a fulltime job, four cute but very active kids, church responsibilities, spending quality alone time together, and everything else that comes with life, somehow we find time for her to train and run marathons and me to put out the occasional book. (I chalk it up to her superior organizational skills.) It’s not always easy and sometimes a stressful process but I want everyone to know that I’d probably still be stuck in a first draft somewhere if it wasn’t for giving me the hour or two I needed several nights a week to finish it.
And I’m looking forward to giving Marathon Girl the time and support she needs to run a marathon this summer. I can’t wait to see her cross the finish line with a smile on her face.
At least once a week I’m contacted by publishers, PR agencies, or authors asking if I’d like an advanced reader copy (ARC) of a book in exchange for a review on my blog. Because I’m extremely with a job, writing my next novel, and a father of four active kids, I turn down most requests. However, if a book piques my interest (read: it’s a genre that interests me and they make a good pitch) and I think have the time to read it, I’ll tell them to send it over.
However, ARCs in no way effect my review of books on this blog. My reviews consist of 1) whether or not the book fit my tastes, 2) the author accomplished his or her goal in writing it and 3) I would recommend the book to others. Aside from the free book, I am not compensated for posting a review.
I’m thrilled to announce that my new novel “The Third” has been picked up by Valor Publishing and will be coming to a bookstore near you. The tenative release date is May 4, 2010.
About The Third.
To avoid an ecological catastrophe, draconian environmental laws—including strict limits on family size—are passed to save the human race. As a recycler, Ransom Lawe does his part to protect the planet by breaking down old homes and turning them into new material to help build a more environmentally friendly city.
But when Ransom learns that his wife, Teya, is pregnant with an illegal third child, the love he feels for his wife and unborn child outweighs the risks that come with concealing the pregnancy. With the Census Bureau this close to discovering their secret, Ransom is forced to make a decision that could save his family or tear them apart forever.
More information coming soon including exclusive excerpts, book trailer, and book tour dates.
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My boys are getting more fun as they age. Not that they weren’t fun last year or the year before that or at any other time in their life. It’s just that as they’ve become older, we’ve been able to do things and activities that were harder or impossible to do when they were younger. A couple months ago, they sat through and enjoyed a college football game. Now that it’s snowy and cold, they enjoy sledding.
We have a good park for sledding across the street. The last three years every time I’ve attempted to take the two older boys (and Molly last year) sledding it’s gone something like this: they act excited about going when we leave the house, become terrified of sledding once we reach the park, won’t go down the hill unless they’re sitting on Dad’s lap, then complain about the cold after 10 minutes and want to go home.
Not this year. Sledding is (finally!) fun. I took the boys sledding with the usual trepidation that it was going to be a short trip. Instead, after one trip down the hill, they kept running to the top to go down again. The screamed with delight when I’d give them a push so they could go farther and faster. And when I was finally chilled to the bone an hour later, the boys didn’t want to leave. (I finally coaxed them away from the slopes with promises of big cups of hot chocolate.)
Back at home, the boys sat at the kitchen table, drank hot chocolate and told Marathon Girl about how much fun they had. As they talked, I realized that they aren’t little kids anymore. Kids, yes. Little kids, no. It seems like they’ve grown up overnight. They put their own dishes away after dinner. They don’t need me to help them get ready for bed. (Instead I supervise while getting the younger ones ready.) They can make their own beds and brush their teeth in the morning. And the oldest schools his dad on the Wii.
There’s a part of me that’s proud to watch them become more responsible and more independent. Another part of me, however, is a little sad that my two oldest boys aren’t the two small, cuddly boys that they’ve been since their birth. I know that part of being a parent is watching your kids grow up. As my kids age, new doors will open but others will close—sometimes forever.
I knew all this came with being a parent. However, no one told me all the mixed emotions I’d feel as it happens.