Monday, June 30, 2008


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Clouds are coming in this evening. I love the clouds and I hope that it rains tomorrow. There is just something about it which makes me feel new and alive. It makes me want to run and laugh…and, if I’m in a particularly bad mood, the rain has a way of making it worse, and then better. I really look forward to the rain.

Not too long ago I was standing in the rain with a friend of mine; I was thinking at first that she’d want to go in. However, I was dead wrong. It was so much fun to stand there and talk in the rain while people drove past, probably wondering just what we were doing outside when a dry house was only yards away.

I’m hoping for the rain.

Friday, June 27, 2008

There was a boy named Ryan

Pin It Ryan was given his whole allowance for the week, and he was very excited to spend it. However, before he could make it to the store, his brother asked to “borrow” a part of it. Ryan was more than happy to help his brother out, and gave up a bit of his allowance. As he walked down the street, his friend, Sabrina, told him that she needed some money in order to get something she wanted. She asked Ryan for some of his allowance too, which he happily gave to her. He was only able to make it a few more houses down the block before Mark, his best friend, told him that he really needed some money. Ryan gave him a few dollars of his allowance.

This patterned continued until Ryan finally arrived at the store some time later. When he did get there, he reached into his pocket and found that he had none of his allowance remaining.

Now, I ask. Was Ryan wrong in giving away all of his money, which wouldn’t be repaid by the people he’d met along the way?

I don’t want an answer.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Playing on the radio

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Summer’s here and I’m drivin’ this road
Leaving the past behind me
I’m seeing all of these new horizons
The things I’ve been too blind to see (because I’m)

A lover in love
A child’s heart that’s broken
A person lost and not found
So I’m…

Turning the dials, scanning the stations
And I’m searching high and low
I’m trying to find, hoping to hear
This song, that song, my song
Playing on the radio

I step on the gas and the miles fall away
They drop away like autumn’s leaves
I’m leaving behind my yesterday self
My new life I’m trying hard to seize

And with the change and these new roads
Always seems to come a time I’m lost
But I’m done with the map, away with the charts,
I’ll follow on the wind and yet not be tossed

Won’t somebody help me please (because I’m)
A lover in love
A child’s heart that’s broken
A person lost and not found
So I’m…

Turning the dials, scanning the stations
And I’m searching high and low
I’m trying to find, hoping to hear
This song, that song, my song
Playing on the radio

A ship to be safe needs a harbor
A soul to find rest it needs peace
A ship to be moored needs an anchor
And a soul it requires release

So I turn up the sound and let it all go
I let the wind it all carry away
I live my life, I live each moment
Not just for tomorrow but for today

And I’m
A lover in love
A child’s heart that’s broken
A person lost and not found
So I’m…

Turning the dials, scanning the stations
And I’m searching high and low
I’m trying to find, hoping to hear
This song, that song, my song
Playing on the radio

No tune other than that which plays incessantly in my head.
This, my friends, is a hit.

By the way, the photo was by somebody else...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Pin It I went to a ball game yesterday for an old student. Well, not an OLD student as he is only 12. As I sat at the game, I suddenly began to notice that the group around me at large was all eating snow cones. Now, I happen to love snow cones. I remember looking forward to getting them every time my family and I went to Chataqua each year or the country fair.

Feeling this definite need, I strode to the concessions stand where I unfortunately had to wait behind a group of prepubescent, giggly girls. After a millennia of deciding what it was that they wanted, the kid behind the counter promptly went off to get their various and sundry items. I have a distinct feeling that he felt he needed to make the cheese for their nachos himself and freeze the ice especially for these girls, I felt this as I realized that I was aging as I stood there…waiting.

Yet the incessant beckon of the snow cone was relentless.

I waited.

After a few major holidays had passed—as well as a few birthdays—the girls finally left the stand talking a bit louder and acting a bit more goofy than necessary. Ah, the inhibitions of youth (or perhaps idiocy). It became my turn at the window.

“Once snow cone, please…lime.”

The boy nodded to show his comprehension and, this time heading off to Antarctica to get the ice, finally returned with my frozen delight sometime between then and the millennium. However, this did not matter; I just knew it would be worth the wait in the end. Already my palette was watering for a taste of that syrupy-sweetened icy goodness.

I returned to the game and discovered that an entire inning has lapsed in my absence. Curse those giggly girls! Ah well, it mattered not. I had my snow cone and I was ready to enjoy it.

I took my first bite.

It didn’t taste…right. What had happened to that wonderful arctic goodness? To that sickly-sweet flavor? To the wintry-sugary taste?

Something was definitely amiss. This was not the same delightful treat I’d enjoyed as a kid. This was not what I’d envisioned as I stood at the counter…feeling my lifetime draining away..

I did eat about half of the snow cone, more out of duty than enjoyment. Finally, I decided that it wasn’t worth it in the end and threw the remainder in the trash.

The game soon ended, and the team I’d been supporting was victorious. However, I still felt unfilled. I drove home and made a batch of cookie dough. I haven’t eaten any yet, but it’s in the freezer, waiting…thank goodness for that doughy-cookie goodness.

Who needs snow cones anyway?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Searching for Bobby Fischer

Pin It Have you ever had a movie which, after watching, you just wanted to stand up and start cheering?

While I admit, these movies are very far and few in-between, there are a few which have made their way into the annals of my mind. I was recently contemplating which, if any, movies I’d recommend for anyone and everyone; there was one movie which came to my mind which I would recommend without any hesitation whatsoever:

Searching for Bobby Fischer.

Never heard of it?

It’s odd to me that most people have never heard of this truly amazing film. Whenever I watch it, I find myself totally blown away; not only from the brilliant cinematography and the wonderful score, but from the fantastic acting. Ben Kingsley (as Bruce Pandolfini) and Joan Allen (as Josh’s mom) both play their roles well, and I always find myself amazed at their deliveries. Additionally, Laurence Fishburne (Josh’s “potzer” friend and mentor, Vinnie) does a great job and is very likable. However, the most surprising is the unbelievable performance from Max Pomeranc AKA: Josh Waitzkin.

A brief synopsis of this movie could be written as thus:

Josh Waitzkin is an average boy. He loves baseball, pizza, and playing in the park. Also, he’s 7 year-old chess prodigy, only nobody realizes it. When Josh’s newfound ability is discovered, his father immediately thrusts him into an unfamiliar world of competitions where winning is everything. Though Josh’s instructor tries to get him to be as aggressive as Bobby Fischer, and to win at any price, Josh is determined to not succumb and lose himself in the process of becoming the best.

There are many scenes which I love in this film, but there is one which really stands out where Josh is having a lesson with his instructor, Bruce Pandolfini:

Bruce: Do you know what the word contempt means? It's to think of others as being beneath you, to be unworthy of being in the same room with you.

Josh: I don't feel that.

Bruce: Well, you better start. Because if you don't think it's a part of winning, you're wrong. You have to have contempt for your opponents. You have to hate them.

Josh: But I don't.

Bruce: They hate you...They hate you, Josh.

Josh: I don't hate them.

Bruce: Bobby Fischer held the world in contempt.

Josh: I'm not him.

Though this film contains many thoughtful scenes, as well as those of humor, it is not about chess. Well, it is, but not really. It’s more about the lesson of decency, family, and doing what is right, no matter the consequence. I could go on for pages about this extraordinary movie, however, the best thing you could do is to watch it yourself. In this I can make you a promise…you won’t be sorry you saw it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tonight I was at Comedysportz.

Pin It I never feel like going when I am supposed to be there. Yet, something incredible happens when I arrive and the show starts…It’s like a whole new person seems to take over and suddenly, I’m so glad that I am there.

Tonight’s shows were good. I had friends come, which made it so much better than it might have been they not been there. When somebody comes to the shows I feel like I’m doing the show specifically for them. It makes all the difference.

Tonight’s show was fraught with those things which make me laugh out loud…of course it always helps when there are people playing whom you enjoy watching.

I’ve had several folks ask me why I don’t perform on stage anymore. I wanted to respond to this…there isn’t any deep reason; I stopped simply because I felt that I wasn’t so funny anymore.

Let me explain...

When I am standing before a group of kids (say, in a classroom) I can say things which they’ll take home to their parents, “You’ll never guess what Mr. Z said today...” This is usually followed by laughter or comments of, “It was so cool!”

Yet, with adults you don’t always get the same results.

Not that I can’t be witty, eloquent, or entertaining. It’s just more of a challenge when somebody points at you and says, “Okay, be funny...ready? Now!” It’s just more pressure than I felt I really wanted.

As a result, I opted to try out for Mr. Voice—which I’ve now done for over four years. I like it a lot. I’m still a part of the show, but more of a “background” object. When the audience is watching a scene where the players are camping and the cricket chirps come in or the grunt of a large animal, it brings realism to the scene and makes the audience feel more so like what they are witnessing is real.

That’s what I do.

Am I still funny?

Just ask a 12 year-old.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Room 18

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I went out to my new school today.

I guess it’s official.

After all, when it is engraved in gold, it has to be real.


Thursday, June 19, 2008


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I went on a walk this evening…as I did I was overcome with the fragrant aroma of standing on summer’s threshold. I paused in my travel and stopped to embrace the odor of a flower I hadn’t smelled since childhood.

It took me back to playful days with my friends, of summers which seemed to last a lifetime with trails through the forest and secret rendezvous.

I thought I’d share a photo I’ve taken with my new camera. Nikon’s new S-Series allows you to capture not only sound and image, but smell as well.

I didn’t believe it either.

The image I’ve uploaded has the smell imbedded in the file. All you need to do is enlarge the image and very gently rub your screen in the section indicated with the circle (if you have a newer screen without a glass coating, rubbing gently with a soft cloth will work as well).

I love the smells around me and just wanted to share.

My sister

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I wanted to do a post today in honor of my sister.

My sister is amazing at times.

The week is one of those times.

I, at times, can take her for granted and the kind individual she is.

I left on Sunday for a camping trip and would be gone for 4 days. As I blazed out of my house I left it looking like the slob leprechaun had thrown up all over the place.

I came back last night. My house was clean. Everything was organized and put away. My sister even showed up around 5 to make me dinner.

I have a great sister.

I just wanted everyone to know.

But yes, she can still drive me crazy sometimes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Camping Trip

Pin It I wanted to do a post today.

Our Goblin Valley trip is amazing! There was a bit of trouble last night though…the wind started to pick up and blew down the Black family’s tent! It was quite humorous really…well, not really. I guess All-A-Boy thought it was necessary to come tell me all about it (at 2 am). I was able to help them get it back up and we all returned to sleep about fifteen minutes later. Of course, I was the hero the next morning because AAB felt he had to tell everyone about my heroic act.

The curses of being in a tent next door!

It was an absolutely glorious morning when we got up. I ended up getting up about an hour before the sunrise and decided to take a little hike by myself. It was so quiet and…how do I say it?


It was almost a shame when everybody else woke up a bit later and noise broke into my solace in the wilderness.

After a breakfast of French toast (Suki is amazing) and milk that was only slightly warm we headed out to Little Wildhorse Canyon. If you’ve never been there, you are missing out on one of those places God placed on the earth just so people would say, “Whoa…”

I was a bit worried about all of the adults enjoying themselves, and taking part in the “family” activities. However, I need not have worried, everybody was really involved in the activities and we had a great time. If you’ve never been to Wildhorse Canyon, you are sorely missing out on one of the wonderful things life has to offer. I HIGHLY recommend going and taking part in it!

Later tonight we are going to make S’mores—truly one of the best things about camping. In fact, I’d better go; I’m supposed to be playing guitar for campfire in just a few minutes.

Until next time…

By the way, you’re probably wondering how I am posting from the desert…the coolest thing here at the valley…some of the rangers and environmentalists realized that people out in the desert have often been stranded or died because of lack of ways to communicate. To help combat this they decided to breed a new cactus which actually transmits wireless service!

I know; crazy!

By the way, if you believe that, I’ve got some really great invisible stuff I’d like to sell you…and some shares of a new bridge they’re building across Utah Lake.

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's all I had

Pin It I’ve come to the conclusion that guys should never…I repeat, never have to wrap presents. Those of the feminine part of our species will only criticize us later, telling us about how the color was totally wrong for a wedding, or that the bow doesn’t match well enough for the thing to be taken out in public. But really, who cares if the paper is from Christmas?

Shouldn't we have Christmas in our hearts all year long?

However, girls should also realize this about guys and cut us just a little bit of slack…that, or just do it for us and save us all a lot of heartaches, headaches, earaches, and eyeaches.

Happy wedding, Kirsten…the present is much better than the wrapping.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Charge it to the card...

Pin It Today was such a beautiful day and I was able to spend a portion of it with a group of good friends. It is moments like this which make time truly a thing of value.

I was taking some photos yesterday and I saw an elderly woman moving along the sidewalk with her walker. As I watched her I was suddenly taken with the thought that we need to enjoy each and every moment which we are given. It won’t be long before we’ll look back on these days and remember them with fondness—or possibly regret...I certainly hope that we won’t reflect on our lives thinking of the things we should have done, but didn’t.

As I sit here at my keyboard I find the lyrics to “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)” running through my mind. I would like to share a few of the lines of that song which reach to me…

· Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

· Do one thing every day that scares you.

· Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

· Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

· Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

· Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

· Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

· Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on…because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Tomorrow is yet another day, and you know what? I think I’ll charge it to my Golden Life Card. After all—for the time being—It has no limits.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Photography - I let the music carry me

Pin It I have been going out the past few days with my iPod playlists a-blazing and it’s interesting just how long I’ll take photos, or where I’ll go so long as I have my music to carry me.

I have spent several hours out taking the images you see below. I even stepped on a water hole cover and had it turn on me, plunging my leg all the way to my knee down a hole. I even have the scratches to prove that I escaped certain death (okay, so the hole was only 10 inches in diameter).

So, has this all been worth it? Well, I’ll let you decide…

For an entry today I decided not to bore you with various and sundry details of my life, but instead to show a few of the photos I’ve taken this week with my new camera. Granted, I’ve only used it a few times, but I really like the photos.

What’s the secret?

Let the camera do all of the work…

Locked Doors

One Alone

One Alone 2

Melancholy Rose

Rusty Trails

Wooden Windows


Cattail Leftovers

Afternoon Sun

The Hydrant

Red, Red, Red

Rusted Barbs

Gimmie a 'J'

Monday, June 9, 2008

Just read, okay?

Pin It It always amazes me what one can find when they are moving off of the main streets of Provo. The advice, nonetheless, is great.

Life updates

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I found a disk yesterday.

On this disk I had saved numerous programs for my computer should it one day find itself in need of replacement, repair, or death...I hadn’t seen this disk for quite some time, and wasn’t sure what was on it, I had simply named it, “Computer Programs.”

Quite catchy, eh?

Well, I began to peruse my files on said disk and suddenly realized just how outdated these programs were.

Cool Edit 2000 (Hello, it’s now 2008)
Music Match Jukebox (Who even uses this thing anymore?)
Winamp 2.8 (They are now on version 5.53)
DivX 2.0 alpha (6.8 is the new standard)
Nero 5.5 (Try 10 today)

Needless to say, I threw the disk away.

I think about my life and how it, like these programs, it can become “outdated.” That is, if I allow myself to become stagnant and make no progression. Like these software titles, life is a thing which could also use some serious updating, or just won’t quite be compatible with the world around us.

However, there was one program I salvaged from the disk…

Some things just never grow old…

My sister has a webcomic

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She recently had a contest for entries, asking what the two characters, Alice and Victor, were saying in a textless strip. The following comic is my entry (no, I didn’t draw it, just submitted the text, Miya did all of the magic).

As for the choice of language in the text, just be it forth known of the following:


1. foolish, unintelligent, or silly; stupid: It is surprising that supposedly intelligent people can make such asinine statements.

I am proud of my little sister…

...and her taste for good ideas.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My friend, Chris

Pin It I want to tell you about my friend.

I have a friend, Chris Heimerdinger. I first met Chris nearly 11 years ago, back when I was just driving through Utah to visit friends of mine in Missouri. I had called him up after reading A Return to Christmas and being moved by the story. When Chris heard that I’d be coming through Utah, he was more than happy to let me come by to visit. He even gave me directions to his home.

I remember driving there with my friend, Doug. We saw this guy jogging along the way. It was a hot summer day; I remember turning to my friend and saying, “Maybe we should offer that guy a ride. After all I would only run if I were being chased.”

Doug responded with, “Hey mister…who's chasing you?”


The windows were up, thankfully, and he didn’t hear the comment. As I pulled into the cul-de-sac the man ran up the house we’d just come to. It was Chris.

Even though he was sweating profusely, and was winded from his long run, Chris invited us inside and talked to us for nearly an hour. I couldn’t believe the graciousness of this man.

Since that time I’ve seen Chris about once a year. These ranged from book signings, visits to his home so he’d autograph stories for me. There was even a visit where I dropped off a “movie trailer” I had made for his book, Eddie Fantastic, to promote reading and quality literature responses in my class.

Two years ago I invited Chris to come to my school and have an assembly, which he genially agreed to. After the assembly, he met with just my class for a question-and-answer session. My students loved meeting the author of A Return to Christmas and Eddie Fantastic. They still talk about it.

A few years ago I took the three boys I mentored up to meet Chris, and to have him autograph a book of their choice. Randall, not realizing that they had a dog, cut across the front lawn. Unbeknownst to him, he’d tread in some choice “items” the dog had left behind on the grass, and tracked it over the Heimerdingers’s front room carpet.

Even with this, Chris still talks to me.

Throughout the years Chris has been a great friend and a confidant. Though I only talk to him a few times a year, he has always been courteous and understanding…even with the many constraints on his limited amounts of time.

This is just another reason I admire this man so much.

Today I watched his movie, Passage to Zarahemla and felt that I needed to call him. I just needed some advice, and hadn’t talked to him for a while. It was great! We ended up talking about just about everything over the ensuing 40 minutes (though Shawna will probably be upset at me from taking him away from the writing on his next Tennis Shoes book).

I admire Chris even more now than I did before. He is an example to me of a person who tries his best and lets the consequence follow.

Thanks, Chris.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Writing update - Joining the group

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A vast chunk of my today was utilized in researching agents and publishers. I don’t know as if I made too much headway though to be honest; however, I did join a group of Utah Children’s Writers so as to be more “in the know.”

I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable with groups such as this, though I’ve never attended any of them; it just seems reminiscent of AA meetings or something along that nature. You know, stuff like standing in front of large gatherings...

“Hello, my name is Jason…I’m an unpublished author. I’ve been an unpublished author now for…well, my whole life.”

Of course, I could very well find myself surprised and wonder why I didn’t do this sooner.

Time will undoubtedly tell.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Writing update - There's a lot to do

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I just read over a BUNCH of information about becoming a published author, and there is a LOT more to it than I originally thought!

Author Rick Walton said: “If people really knew how much work it takes to be a successful writer, most people would never start.”

I must say that I am inclined to agree. Now, does this mean that I am giving up? Of course not! However, does it mean that I still have a lot to do?


I guess you could say that I am feeling a bit overwhelmed tonight, and wondering if it will ever really happen…if it does, great. If it doesn’t, it hasn’t happened yet, and I am still alive, right?

I think that I would be able to continually to survive this as well.

No more tonight…but thanks for reading.

All 8 of you.

Imaginary Friends

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Do we really ever get too old for our true friends?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I miss you

Pin It I thought of you today.

A song came on the radio, and it bought me back to the last time we were together.

I still remember every little detail about you; the way the wind would blow around you, the sweet-lingering smell, and the way the sunlight would glint from your beautiful features.

I miss you more than you’ll ever know.

I am planning to come and visit again soon. I promise. It won’t be long before we’re together again.

I miss the desert.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Summer Day 1

Pin It Schedule:

6:30 Get up, shower, & eat breakfast – Check

7:15 Begin writing – Check

10:20 Stop writing – check

10:20 Run to new school & drop off extra items, deliver stuff kids left at school, and run errands up to North Orem – Check

12:30 Get headache – Check

2:30 Get home from all errands and start making dinner – Check

2:31 Drink a Dr. Pepper (for medicinal purposes) & take two Excedrin Migraine pills – Check

5:00 Guests arrive and stay until 8:10 – Check

8:11 Work on camping trip stuff and pause to snap a few photos of a rainbow – Check

8:40 Break for a minute or two to read up on blogs – Check

8:42 Spend about 20 minutes researching and writing up Gerb’s comment – Check

9:02 Start calling people for trip – Check

9:50 Finish calls for the night – Check

10:14 Start to think up things I’d like to blog about – Check

10:14 Have lots of really lame ideas – Check

10:18 Start blogging about my schedule because I didn’t feel like doing anything else – Check

10:24 Post blog and go to bed – Check

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Drink it, Doctor's orders!

Pin It Remember when I said that Mt. Dew was the nectar of the gods? Well, it is clear now that I was mistaken…I’ve since discovered that the true nectar is really Dr. Pepper.

I should say that I only have it in my home for medicinal purposes, however, this would be a sordid lie as it has become a recreational beverage as well as a “doctor” of sorts.

In fact, about a week ago I had the same breakfast for about three days straight, and the doctor was a part of it.

I know, I’m wicked.

But who knew wicknessness tasted so good?

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