Excluding my non-bylined commercial writing, here’s what I’ve written for news media lately:
Thanks for reading and sharing.
I know I’m a good writer and author. But then I read something masterful by Laura Hillenbrand, David Foster Wallace, Norman Maclean, Bill Bryson, Mark Twain, Gay Talese, Alexander Dumas, Leo Tolstoy, or H. G. Bissinger and I begin to doubt myself.
After finishing Riders of the Purple Sage this week, I would add Zane Grey to that honorable list, especially since he was a dentist by trade, a semi-professional baseball player, and only wrote his popular adventure novels on the side!
But not only is Grey a great writer, he was also a pioneer. In fact, Riders invented the Western genre of storytelling when it was first published in 1912. Gun fights, southwestern backdrops, life and death on the American frontier.
But don’t let that genre or any misconceptions of it deter you. Riders is really two love stories in one, starring both a heroine and two heroes. It’s fantastically descriptive and emotionally engaged. I only dock it one star because there were a few times where Grey’s prose goes confusingly off trail, which forced me to re-read and decipher some paragraphs for clarity.
Nevertheless, it is a wonderful read. ★★★★☆
These were my favorite passages: Continue reading…
Courtesy Paramount Pictures
You are bound to encounter a noticeable number of people in life who don’t watch TV, avoid books, or ignore performance art and sports altogether. But you’ll probably never encounter someone who doesn’t watch movies—they’re that universal.
Because of this, film tourism (or “location vacations”) are a big deal. Indeed, an untold number of scenic or otherwise interesting places might not have entered our collective radars had some movie director chose to shoot somewhere else.
Of those immortalized backdrops, few trips are more iconic or deserving than to one of these. Continue reading…
Courtesy Clay Wood
I just published my first story for Frommers, the storied travel guide magazine that changed the way Americans traveled in 1957 after Arthur Frommer published his seminal Europe on 5 Dollars a Day.
My story isn’t that big nor will it make nearly as many waves, but I’m still proud of it and the friends that made it possible by joining me recently on a weekend backpacking trip into the High Uinta Wilderness, which I deem “the best western wilderness you’ve never heard of.”
Hope you enjoy it.
From the “we live in incredible times” file comes… “When I was your age, we rode jetpacks at the lake!”
Locals and tourists only—Metropolitan Utah welcomed two large museums this year: The re-located and significantly expanded Living Planet Aquarium and the all-new Museum of Natural Curiosity. Although both have their heart in the right place, only one is worth your family’s time and money.
To find out, I tapped the most imaginative minds I could find: my kids. Within a four day period last month, my wife and I took the children to both museums for the first time. Upon visiting, we didn’t coax, herd, or otherwise rush them to any exhibits. Rather, we let them set the pace and decide the order of exhibits. Here’s how it went. Continue reading…
Since moving to the Western United States 11 years ago, I’ve hiked many majestic trails. All are proof the area is still very wild and as breathtaking as ever.
Last week, I hiked the most impressive trail of them all: The Narrows, which I was unable to do the first time I visited Zion. In short, The Narrows is like a taller and deeper Little Wild Horse Canyon — my second favorite hike — with a river running through it. It’s so beautiful, I think it’s all I’ll do next time I visit Zion. I need that canyon in my life.
Readers: What’s the best hike you’ve ever been on?
2013 might be to the ’10s what 1991 was to the ’90s — a monstrous year for name brand music.
Phoenix already released their 4-star keeper. Vampire Weekend releases their third album next week to rave reviews (and another really great song). An all analog Daft Punk album follows a week later, which is also garnering favorable reviews and has a catchy summer single.
Then, Empire of the Sun, makers of one of my favorite albums of 2008, releases their second album in June. The first single is good stuff (and shot, by the way, in Bryce Canyon, Utah). And if the first five months are any indication, even more good vibes could crop up in the second half of the year.
As someone who likes to sing, dance, and play air guitar, I’m excited by the prospects. Calendar years are more memorable with good music.
Just watching this reminds me of Turk Malloy’s comment, “I think you’d dig Provo. You could do well there.”
It’s been 10 years since I moved to Provo. After seeing it from almost every angle, it still stops me in its tracks. This short video is no different.
I think that’s what happens when you find a place you truly fall in love with, wherever that may be.
Thanks to Frontier’s new route “with service to Provo,” Lindsey and I haven’t had to use Salt Lake Airport—nor make the 80 minute round trip drive to it—at all this summer. Since June, the savvy airliner has been flying into my backyard. A quick 50-minute connection to Denver, and we’re off.
While I normally prefer flying direct, the connection actually takes less time than driving to and enduring Salt Lake security lines. I can show up to Provo Regional Airport 30 minutes before departure and still make it to my gate with more than 20 minutes to spare. Security takes less than five minutes, if that. Admittedly, with two flights I’m still exposed to more cancelation, but so far, so good. As a bonus, the flight is significantly cheaper.
What’s more, the route is operating at 90% capacity, enough to justify a westbound flight to either Vegas or LA, officials say. Party on, Provo.
As seen near my house in Utah. Beautifully tall. Natural barrier-like trees. Love ’em. What kind are they?
If there’s one thing I don’t like about BYU fans, it’s that some of them actually cheer for Utah when the latter are playing abroad “because it’s good for the Mountain West Conference.”
Sickos. (Didn’t anyone teach them that the enemy of my enemy is my friend?)
Thankfully, this lame behavior by Cougar fans should finally die as Utah this week became the newest member of the PAC-10 conference. So from now on, I expect Cougar Nation to root for the everlasting demise of the Utes.
In other words: Go, Washington. Go, Washington State. Go, Oregon. Go, Oregon State. Go, Cal. Go, Stanford. Go, USC. Go, UCLA. Go, Arizona. Go, Arizona State. Go, Colorado.
But most of all, go, BYU!
I like golf, but I don’t like paying expensive green fees. So unless I get a freebie, it’s all public courses for me. And the “best value” I’ve ever played is Hobble Creek in Springville, Utah, which is $12 for nine holes or $24 for 18 (weekday walking). As you can see, it’s crazy green, physically attractive, and very well maintained. A must play for locals and visitors alike. What’s your favorite public golf course?
This granulated and dark photo taken with my Blackberry doesn’t do the course justice, but even public golf courses in Utah are something to look at. It’s enough to make me pick up golf again. Taken on hole seven at Cascade Golf Center in Orem.
Lindsey and I took the girls to a friend’s ranch in Heber City, Utah over the weekend (Many thanks, Jen and Morgan). In addition to a glut of food, college football, Liar’s Dice, Ticket to Ride, and Rock Band, we also went sledding. Here’s proof. (Most good-looking photos care of Quinn Gooch.) Continue reading…
Lindsey bought proper outerwear for the girls a couple months back and has been waiting for it to snow ever since. After much impatience, it came today. Here is proof.
Lindsey, the girls, and I drove the Alpine Loop for the first time yesterday. While the number of trees are admittedly more barren and less colorful than East coast foliage or the Appalachian Mountains, the scenic drive reminded me of my roots just the same, with some lovely mountain vistas not seen anywhere else. Screenshots or it didn’t happen. Continue reading…
Her Southeastern beauty may be unmatched, but Georgia has her share of irritants.
I moved to Utah from Georgia six years ago in pursuit of a degree from BYU (Go Cougars!). I came for the education (okay, not really), but stayed for the girl. It’s a place I call home and a state in which I’m happy to reside.
Earlier this month, Lindsey and I took a trip back to Georgia to see the family — something we hadn’t done in almost three years. Despite the laughs, good company, and unrivaled hospitality, I quickly recognized some things I don’t miss about Georgia. Here are seven of them: Continue reading…
Lindsey and I went ballooning this morning for our fifth anniversary. Here’s proof, not to mention more photogenic evidence that Utah is gorgeous.
Earlier this morning, I drove to the store to get gas for Lindsey — she was running late and still getting ready for an upcoming appointment with the girls. I walk outside, and I’m greeted with the warm blanket and smell of liberty that is summer weather. I love it.
Last weekend, I helped chaperone a youth camp in Eden, Utah for 10 boys and nine girls (a deflated tubeing ride pictured). Notice the contrast of the bluish lake, the rolling green hills, the snow-caped mountains, and clear sky in the background. Beautiful, not to mention the 85 degree weather the group enjoyed that day.
So if I had to rank my favorite seasons, they would be as follows: 1) Summer, by a long shot; 2) Fall; 3) Spring; and 4) Winter, a very distant fourth (I say “boo” to you, cold weather). What’s your favorite time of the year?
Locals only: A colleague took me to lunch last month to Yamato in Orem. It was my first time. From the outside, the place looks like a dump — definitly not a somewhere you’d want to eat, unless you like that fake soy-chicken garbage that cheap Chinese restaurants serve.
To my surprise, however, the inside is not only immaculate, but the decor “feels” authentic, and the atmosphere is soothing. More importantly, the Japanese cuisine is some of the finest I’ve ever had at a price that makes me wonder how the shop stays in business — it’s more than reasonable. Ask for the Orem lunch, which comes with soup, salad, 5-6 delicious dumplings, steamed rice, and succulent teriyaki chicken. Sushi is thankfully optional.
So for any Utah natives looking for any new place to eat, look no further. Yamato is Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto. That didn’t make any sense… suffice it to say the place is really good. Thanks, Eliot!
I could be wrong, but I believe Utah is one of the safest states in the nation.
So safe, in fact, that fellow coppers quickly get bored with their uneventful professions and back each other up on routine traffic violations, as depicted above (taken from my living room window).
I see this regularly; 2-3 patrol cars for every one perpetrator. Here’s an idea, Utah — reduce the number of cops and cut taxes! Yeah, I just went there.
Lindsey, Sadie, Maddie, and I took a three hour drive to Moab, Utah the day after Thanksgiving to do a little casual site seeing. In between Sadie’s public disturbances, we managed to take some pictures of the beautiful red rock country.
Arches National Park
Here’s Lindsey and Maddie about two thirds into the three mile Delicate Arch hike. Unfortunately for six week old Maddie, this is one of the few pictures of her as she opted for sleep in lieu of curiosity.
… While looking from my living room window (in Orem). Photo was taken with a point and click digital camera made by Canon that cost $119 when purchased three years ago. Don’t be fooled: It’s the beautiful surroundings — not the camera or camera man.
I love Utah.
Snarky headline aside, Seth Godin — marketing author extraordinaire — got clever with his upcoming book tour and will make a fortune from it (further solidifying his staunch marketing prowess). He’ll also avoid being stuck in Fargo, North Dakota sans book sales in the process.
Here’s how it works: if a state populace raises at least $25,000 in pre-purchased books (his new one), Seth will come and speak free of charge to local residents. Grass root ninjas Matt Reinbold, Phil Burns, and Jason Alba have put together an impressive local campaign that’s sure to bring the acclaimed author to Utah. If interested, click here for the salient details on how to participate, or pledge your $50 now.
See also: Seth at Google HQ discussing what I believe to be his best work, All Marketers Are Liars (It’s the storytelling, stupid.)
[Thanks to all who sent this in]
According to a recent study, 32% of the city’s households own a video game system, more than any other metropolitan area in the nation. That’s what happens when teetotalers don’t spend their money on booze, or at one of state’s million plus restaurants. Mormons have to do something with their spare time…