Monday, April 21, 2008

THE PAST pictures

Okay, I realize I've been going to town with this blog thing, but after this, my plan is to do a short blog entry once a week. But before that, my affectionate family has been badgering me for Alabama pictures. So here goes. The past year of my life in pictures.

It was bittersweet. I wish Mom could've been there (and perhaps she was), but Dad, Tim, and my grandparents came to cheer me on, only to find themselves in a three-hour reading of names. I brought two Harry Potter books to pass the time.

In Southern Utah (one of my favorite places; gorgeous!). From hikes to natural spring swims to talent shows and visits to The Tuacahn Theatre. Good times. Love this family.

CTU PROVO PRODUCTION (download the movie free at
Basically how I spent my summer. Man, this was a blast to make (but that's probably because I only had to worry about acting and fight choreography. Ask Alan if he had fun as director/producer/actor/co-writer/editor).

The final fight sequence is one that I'm immensely proud of. Poor Jenna. She was barefoot in that disgusting parking lot. We shot it over two days, and it was freaking exhausting.

Yes, that is a green screen in the background. Filming a three-person fight in the confined space of a moving van was too impractical. What IS real is when I'm hanging from the van door at 40 mph with no safety cables or nets. We did a lot of really fun, daring stunts in this movie. I jumped from a moving vehicle, Alan got hit by a car, I got pulled down a flight of concrete stairs, he spent a day freezing and wet in the snow with nothing on but a t-shirt and jeans, I did a jump from 12 feet up onto cement (twice), he had his head smashed through a window (the window actually explodes milliseconds before his head connects, but the glass does really burst and shatter all around his head), and I walked on a narrow stip of concrete 20 feet above the ground with no safety net.

This was the first day of filming for me. Tim is so funny.

Honoring what turned out to be Mom's final wish, we all took a trip to Nauvoo together. It was truly special to be in the City of Joseph, to go to Carthage and to the temple, just my siblings, their spouses, and my dad. We even managed to find sitters for the nieces and nephews for a few days! So much fun.

This was built for four people. We crammed nine of us into there!

I guess we were mocking that statue.

The House of the Lord. Holiness to the Lord.

My very last act in Provo was a DC show. Literally! I performed Saturday night, and I left for Alabama on Sunday morning. We did a special all-musical show, gathering cast members from as far back as 13 years for an unprecedented event. All four shows sold out; I can't think of a better way to end my time in Utah.

Dad and I drove across the country. It was disgusting humid when I got here, and bugs were everywhere. But Alabama soon grew on me. For one, football is religion here. Like you wouldn't believe!

On game day, tens of thousands of people flock to Auburn, set up their tents on any patch of grass they can find (lining the streets, covering the campus), and start grilling meat! These were the best ribs I have ever had.

Southern hospitality is very real. Friends are made quickly and easily among a genuine, open, social people. I roll basically with two crowds. The YSA's from Church and the friends I've made at work/school (I'm employed by the University).

I work for the Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative, a government-sponsored program designed to lower divorce rates. We also work to increase statewide awareness of how to have healthy marriages and families through free relationship education courses, ad campaigns, electronic and print media, and initiatives with youth. ACHMI rules. We're a pilot program, and our template will likely soon be adopted by other states. We had an essay contest where 8th-graders wrote about "The Healthiest Marriage I Know." Winning essayists from across the state, and the couples they wrote about, were invited to a banquet at the governor's mansion (where we all hid from a tornado. True story).
We have about 70 active members in a mixed single/family branch (we're all university students). Our building is gorgeous, and it's brand new. Before last year, the branch met above a bar! We had a great Christmas choir concert, and two weeks ago we had a really fun campout. I teach Sunday School and love it.

Went to Arizona for Dad and Carol's temple wedding. My family size just doubled. Carol is my mom's cousin, so her kids are my second cousins. After the ceremony, I put my foot in my mouth when I said to my stepsiblings: "Well, I guess we're family," to which they responded: "Dude, we were already family." I'm not the sharpest guy.

My buddy's dog. I once saw him run headfirst, full-speed, into the side of a moving vehicle. He just shook it off and kept bounding around!

The Marriage and Family Therapy students and the Human Development/Family Science students had a class party. Graduate school became elementary school for one glorious day. I was Rocky Balboa. My bud Alyssa (next to me) was a "Deviled Egg." Brian (kneeling) had the day's best costume.

This is a gorgeous city. The school flew us to an amazing conference for the National Council of Family Relations. We stayed at a posh place, ate well, and had some cake at a Greek place that Jacquelynn Kennedy Onasis called the best cake in the nation!

200 acres of Christmas lights. You ride a tram, drink hot cocoa or wassal, listen to carols (and sing them). Great times.

Highlights included dirtbiking with family in Arizona and snowboarding up at Sundance, Utah.

Not much, but it almost never happens, so it was a fun day.

Went to a rockin' church service at the Dexter Avenue church, where MLK was a pastor. Followed by a sobering visit to the Civil Rights Memorial, dedicated to those who stood up for equality and were killed by the Klan during the movement.

Spent a couple of days in Florida, hit the beach, saw real human bodies on display at a Mobile museum (no photography allowed), went for a hike with Alyssa, celebrated Easter with a big dinner at my buddy's family's farm/ranch.

In preparation for The Forbidden Kingdom, my buddy (and fellow martial-arts enthusiast) Tiffany and I threw a party at my apartment, cooking Chinese food, eating fortune cookies and Chinese candy, decorating the place Asian-style, and watching a Jackie Chan/Jet Li double feature! We actually had about nine people crammed into my one-man apartment for the event, but she and I were the only ones who dressed up (hence the photo).

And there you have it! You're now caught up, and I can go week to week. I'm actually doing therapy now, and I absolutely love it. Thanks for reading!



The Driggs said...

Jono, my favorite pic would have to be you dead as the cougar's fresh kill. (And although it was a little sacreligious, I loved our ring-around-the-rosies well as the jacuzzi). Good times! Oh, and I love the Alabama snowman.

laura said...

Aside from being a little affronted at not being included in your life summary a few posts back (really, where would you be today without your Crimson Desire?), I am quite excited to be able to add a Jono blog to my Google Reader. This is a truly momentous day.

gs said...

WAAHOO! Jono delight......I love that you're a blogging man. It's great seeing your Alabam pictures. I've missed seeing your happening face. You look you kid.

Tiffany said...

Actually, it's not true that we were the only ones who dressed up for the Shi-Shi-Shindig. Ivy changed halfway through, but her authentic Chinese jacket looked too normal. Don't worry, though, I think our status as uber-awesome-hottie dorks is still safe.

The Scotts said...

I have made your blog! Pregnant but I still made it. I will send you a cuter picture of me when I am smoking hot and you can then blog about me, your favorite sister. That was a fun update and thanks for finally showing pictures of Alabama and your apartment. We are excited to see you soon!

The Driggs said...

Why the heck does Shanon keep calling herself your favorite sister? Is that true?

bauerpowerhour said...

As Mom used to say "You're ALL my favorite!" or "Summer, you're my favorite sister named 'Summer.'"

gs said...

Shanon---are you prego? YOWZERS...

Kayz said...

I love the pix! =) Cool blog, j!