Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Any time something ends, another thing begins.

On April 21st, the blinds descended on my Winter semester at BYU. At the time I had been in school for 16 straight months (sans the breaks and holidays) since I returned to college post mission. I am taking Spring and Summer terms off to live in Los Angeles and take part in an internship at BermanBraun, a media company based in Santa Monica.

With the end of a semester comes a vile tradition: cleaning checks. The night of April 22nd and the morning of April 23rd were wild hours. My three roommates and I were up; none of us got more than a couple hours of sleep as we packed and/or performed our cleaning assignments. Depriving ourselves of sleep proved to be a natural form of highness (or perhaps there were fumes about). We sang improv songs, shouted whatnots, and teetered around our apartment like unthreatening zombies. Somehow I got checked out (an action that immediately brings bliss and liberation) that Saturday morning, having passed my cleaning check. Thanks be to my roommate Nathan who helped with some of my tasks after he had finished his. Thanks also be to my father who came that morning and aided me in the moving of my abundant chattels while I tackled the bathroom (my cleaning assignment).

After my release, I drove my Accord (full of said belongings), with Nancy aboard, to West Jordan where the Kearl Kastle stands. We stopped at the hospital near their house where Tara and Bryson were, my sister having just given birth earlier that week.

Photo by Tara Kearl

On April 21st, my first nephew was born. His arrival was welcome in a time when the men-women ratio in my family was largely in favor to the latter (and not just because Tara was pregnant). We had been  outnumbered for about two years. I held the infant for a bit, during which occasion the artful Nancy Zhou took this picture:

Photo by Nancy Zhou

It was a particularly tender experience when Nancy held Jameson, for she had never before held a baby so young.

On Sunday, April 24th, I headed South in my crammed car with Nancy and my father. We stopped in Provo where I walked Nancy to her apartment and we said our "later"s. I was to leave for California (after spending five nights at Home Base in Southern Utah), she was to stay in Provo (attending Spring and Summer semesters at BYU). We have been dating over a year, during most of which time we were practically neighbors. It was an emotional parting, a farewell until we meet again.

Then it was off to Ivins (just outside St. George), where the red cliffs are our majesties. It was a beautiful drive down I-15. Utah was arguably at its most green, having just emerged through a particularly wet winter. I fell in love with a field of trees around mile marker 127 and made a mental note to shoot a fantasy film there someday. We passed through the lands that were badly burned in recent years. Trees grayed and blacked, never to sprout leaves again. Images right out of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" (a novel I am currently and sloth-ly poring). My father and I took advantage of the hours to have a "father-son talk." That acted as the majority of the audio during the ride. When our vocal chords enervated we listened to Stephen Tobolowsky, yet another treasure I have discovered in the form of a podcast.

Sunday night through Friday morning were spent at Home Base (Kayenta / Ivins, Utah / Southern Utah). Sleeping back in my own bed was a comfortable comfort. There were several items of business to get done: prepare for my internship, unpack and repack, among other tasks. I relished in some hours of playing "Red Dead Redemption" on Xbox Live where I could act out my Wild West reveries. I formed posses with other players and we galloped through the open world, stopping bandits and grabbing lands. Xbox has/had a slogan: "It's good to play together." I concur. You just have to find time to disconnect.

My father and I watched a few films together ("127 Hours," "The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan," and "The Village"), had some fine meals together (steak, eggs, and somehow always potatoes) and even played some 1-on-1 basketball together in the late afternoon on two of the days. I love spending time with my dad.

Soonest, the day came: Friday, April 29th. And it was back to the highway. That morning I changed my Facebook status (as well as Tweeted), "California, here I come."

Friday, April 8, 2011


Photo & Film

Photos are remarkable. They freeze a particular moment in life, a point in time that you can never return to (whether you would like to or not). While film can portray so very much, a picture has captured and paused life. Likewise, it makes us pause and consider the still. Film, in all its moving glory, is simply a manner of pictures. Photo & film: The mediums are forever happily married, never capable of cheating or divorce. We want both and we need both and we have both... so why not use both? Well, we do.

iPhone Memories

Months ago I began an album on Facebook called "iPhone Memories." It was a place for me to post the pictures taken on my iPhone that I most prized. Today I have deleted that album and will henceforth post their likes here, on my life's blog. I do not want another place one might look to find them.

The iPhone in question is my current 3G (16 GB). When I returned home from my mission, my parents picked me up at the Las Vegas airport. It was there, waiting between baggage carousals, that my folks handed me a nicely wrapped parcel. A gift! As I held it in my hand the contents began to ring. The box (made of two incomplete boxes) slid open with ease. Within was this iPhone and Tara, my sister, was calling (I later learned that father or mother had texted her when the moment was right to give me a buzz). I had no idea how to answer the device, father had to demonstrate the sliding madness. Gone for just two years and the whole world has evolved, including my parents... they were texting!

We hear that "a picture is worth a thousand words." That is surely true, but I beseech that we do not stop there. I may not write a thousand words for each "iPhone Memory" entry, but if time allowed I would and could. Of course, it helps that I am posting and writing about pictures from my own phone and, more importantly, from my own life. Writing about a picture with no evident relation to you is still worth a thousand words, they just might not come as soon.

Why iPhone photos? Well, I do not always have a camera with me (I know, heresy!), but I usually keep my iPhone in my right pocket or otherwise close at hand. One never knows when a "Kodak moment" might arise. Besides it being the lone source of visual documentation at times, it is fast, cheap, and easy all around. The quality is nothing to write home about, but the subjects truly are. "iPhone Memories"... tis quaint.

The forewords are solely because this is the beginning of a new series. In future "iPhone Memories," I will get right to it. I shall resort to a simplistic format: write the photo's (un)official title, post the photo itself, supply the date and time and day the photo was taken (just underneath it), and then write. Come what may!

Nancy's Grace

August 22, 2010 at 7:28:13 PM (Sunday)

This is the gorgeous woman I have had the joy and blessing of calling my girlfriend for the past 13 months: Nancy Zhou. She plays the piano almost as beautifully as she is herself. Here she is playing on the piano that currently dwells in the Kearl residence (the surname of the man who took my sister unto himself - with my family's consent of course). (I like calling their home the Kearl Kastle.) 

This brute of a piano has been in and out of my life. He was in our home when I was young. He appears in my first short film, "Earthquake." My mother made me take piano lessons (as all mothers should). At home, I would practice on his teeth. I remember sticking pennies between the keys. Would they not fall within? I vaguely remember that sound. He could be a piano bank if you wanted him to. (So many objects can be used for other unintended purposes. Possibilities are untold.) I believe he has made a modest sum... one day we may break and collect.

He was well-worn. One day my father bought a baby grand piano for my mother. This old piano was spurned and left alone. When we moved down to St. George, he did not come with us. Like a foster child he went from one relative's home to another, only to end up with Tara when she longed for a place to play. And there he remains today.

Curious is what I learned today when talking to my mother on the phone. Turns out they had this piano in their home before they had any of us kids. Curiouser is that my father grew up with this piano in his house. Did he play on this piano as a boy like I did? Might there be some 1960s pennies within his chasms, put there when they were fresh by young hands of my father? Apparently, "Scott" is carved into that wooden soldier (where?). As a child, my father claimed it was not his doing (though it certainly was his name). What say you now father?

Back to Nancy. I believe she was playing Debussy's "Clair de Lune" at this instance. It is a pretty piece that we have all heard. It is well-regarded, known, and used in a different film every single year in recent memory (except 1994 for whatever phenomenal reason). I want a woman who can make music and she can. She does. Her slender fingers have practiced and she skillfully dances them off the ivory. I doubt she knew that grizzled piano's history. Heck, there's surely chapters of his existence that I am unaware of.  This much I know, when I was boy I would begrudgingly practice "Springtime Symphony" on that very instrument. I had no way of knowing then that years later the woman I love would press upon those same keys.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


February came and went. This blog just watched.

You know how rebellious teens often quote "rules are meant to be broken"? (Which they are!) I am starting to think that goals might be the same way. Is that terrible? Maybe, but we could also say rules are goals are meant to be kept and reached. That is true too. Contradictive? Life is.

On January 1st, I shared my goals for the year. Said I, "In 2011... I want to write in my journal each day, write a poem each day, do at least 50 push-ups daily Monday through Saturday (the least I could do for a healthier bod), and post on at least one of my several blogs each day." End quote. It is the evening of March and already I have failed to do each of these daily. Really? Yes. After all, it only takes one day to forsake. There are lessons here.

So, last month I decided I would strive to accomplish a specific achievement every day for one month. At that time I had already written a poem each day of January. Those can be read at euphrates. In February, I watched a film every day. That was grand. If I ever write more about that experience (or more importantly, about those films), it will be at The Film Tome. In March, I thought about it on the 1st and then in the days to follow I realized I had not picked something. Might it be the month I wonder each day what I want to do every day of the month? Or is that too jarring? Like a statue who realizes he is a statue. It is likely that I have made my bed every day this month... Will that count?

A favorite talk of mine was given by Elder L. Tom Perry: "Raising the Bar." His son was into the sport of high jumping, a particular event I have never had a problem with because I have never subjected myself to its demands. The Perry boy had mastered 5 feet and 8 inches, the height he needed to clear in order to qualify for "state track meet." Elder Perry suggested raising the bar. His son was worried he would then miss. To which the father replied, "If you don't raise the bar, how will you ever know your potential?" It is for this reason goals are meant to be broken. It is for this reason goals are meant to be reached. 

During my time in the Missionary Training Center, a spiritual boot camp for young men and women before they embark on their respective callings, some speaker at some session encouraged us rookies to "have no regrets." With all due respect, I feel this advice was more thoughtless than thoughtful. It seems a lofty and admirable intention to actually have no regrets, but for learning and growing people, which we all are, it is unfeasible and can even prove to be detrimental. When the unregretful mess up, it can lead to forms of self-abuse and self-denial. Regret is part of repentance. Who can do without that?

Earl Partridge is a character in one of the greatest films ever made. He is on his deathbed. He is dying of cancer. In this state, so close to the closing of mortality's curtain, he confesses to Phil, his male nurse. Earl reveals he had cheated on his wife years before. He then delivers the following:

"I loved her so. And she knew what I did. She knew all the stupid things I'd done. But the love... was stronger than anything you can think of. The regret. The regret! Oh, and I'll die. Now I'll die, and I'll tell you what... the biggest regret of my life... I let my love go. What did I do? I'm sixty-five years old. And I'm ashamed. A million years ago... the regret and guilt, these things, don't ever let anyone ever say to you you shouldn't regret anything. Don't do that. Don't! You regret what you want! Use that. Use that. Use that regret for anything, any way you want. You can use it, OK? Oh, God. This is a long way to go with no punch. A little moral story, I say... Love. Love. Love. This life... oh, it's so hard. So long. Life ain't short, it's long. It's long. What did I do? What did I do? What did I do? What did I do? Phil. Phil, help me. What did I do?"

We will make mistakes: Break rules and goals and worse. What is important is that we learn our potential and then see what we can do about it. We take our regrets and we use it. We build experience out of it. We change out of it. No matter how seemingly insignificant or truly serious our shortcomings may be, the principle is the same: We make new goals.

March on.

Monday, January 24, 2011



It is still January. In fact, there is one week left.

It has been many days since I last made an entry in this blog. At least I did not let the month pass.


I couldn't tell you the day it started, but I think it was in November... I decided to make my bed before I left home for the day. You see, making my bed was not very high on my priority list then and it rarely (if ever) happened. I returned to my room later and noted the delightfully made bed. (I spent a summer being a housekeeper and learned the art of bed-making.) It was such a simple and nice touch that I decided to do it the next day. This has gone on through today. I look at my made bed now, cast with a blanket made by my grandmother, and appreciate it more. Honestly, it has had a positive effect on my room. A clean and orderly environment can make quite a difference. If you are currently a non-bed-maker, I invite you to try it for a week. Now that I have acquired this bed-making routine I will start developing another good habit.


In my first post I disclosed my goal to write in my journal, write a poem, and post on a blog every day. Luckily I have a blog for poems, so sometimes (like every day one week) writing a poem right in euphrates gets two of those done. I have written a poem for that blog every single day this month. I missed a day or two in my journal. Not entirely sure how that happened, but I am managing to stay on top of that responsibility as a whole. In fact, it is almost that magic hour that flips a page on calenders so I have to go write in my journal now! (Yes, I feel the need to always write in my journal before midnight due to the technical day change). Peace out.

Sunday, January 2, 2011



I was the last to leave the apartment during the break and it seems like I am the first to return. Still here alone as of right now. My roommate left his beta fish couple in my care. He flew home for the break; I was only driving. He did not expect me to take them with me (at least I hope not), but rather leave enough food for the ten days I would be gone. Over the ten days I thought about them a couple of times. I even joked to Nancy about finding them dead upon my return. Like I said, I was first to return (earlier this night) and what did I find? The two fish, each in a holding of brown water. The smell was as good as a well-used porta-potty. The blue beta was a lump of a carcass, laying in the bottom of the cup. The green and blue was somehow still miserably alive. Cleaning out the cup and tank was dreadful.

My current Facebook status includes "I regret to inform my roommate that I flushed one of his fish down the toilet." I figured it was the best place for the dead one to go. It was the male, which was undeniably more beautiful than the female. Clearly we humans are not crafted in like manner.

Rest in peace blue beta.


One of my New Year's resolutions was to do at least 50 push-ups each day (taking a break come the Sabbath). I figured it would do some good. I am not guilty of much physical misery ("exercise") these days and felt like that needed to change. Well, I failed to do any yesterday so I am off to a substantial start. Today is of rest. See how I feel tomorrow.

Yesterday (see preceding post) I shared about my most treasured Christmas gifts. I said, "I will start reading from each before I sleep again." Well, that did not happen. It slipped my mind. I truly will tonight though. In fact, I will place them on my pillow now. Done.

They both say "Volume 1" on them. I like that. My mother's is called "Reaching for Memories" My father's "Rocks, Cliffs, Mesas and Plateaus: A Life's Journey."

Good and night.

Saturday, January 1, 2011



This is the 23rd year I have been in. I am becoming more and more aware of the world around me. I have only seen a slice in my time. I have only made a tiny difference. The butterflies keep flapping their wings and I keep thinking. Effects.

This blog had its start last year. I left it alone for months and months. There were two posts until earlier today. Until I deleted them. I wanted something different out of this blog. I want it to be part of my life.


I have not always been a fan of New Year's resolutions. I think any given day of the year is just as good to set a goal and get your affairs in order, though perhaps none look and sound as good. Truth be told, I am taking full advantage of this New Year's Day to start anew (this blog for instance).

Mother said what I do today is indicative of what I will do for the rest for the rest of the year. Again, it is just as good a day as any, but why not take advantage of one that will forever be January 1, 2011? If it is a good enough day to raise up a whole new calendar, it ought to be a good enough day to raise up your life.

Thus, I give in to the mass In 2011... I want to write in my journal each day, write a poem each day, do at least 50 push-ups daily Monday through Saturday (the least I could do for a healthier bod), and post on at least one of my several blogs each day. I'm tempted to add "watch a movie each day" (myself and others know I want to) to that crowd, but I know it may not always be probable. As far as my cinephilia goes, I hope to increase the number of films I have seen to 1,000.

If tomorrow I wake up and think of something I want to do or make a habit of, I hope I act immediately. Because once I am there, it is still "today" and that is as good a day as any (even if it is not the first day of the year).


I remember a line from the Army's propagandous ads that would show between segments of Channel 1 News, which was really my only source of gathering reports (domestic and abroad) in middle school. To paraphrase the tough voice, "If someone were to write a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?" The question has oft led me to contemplation.

Perhaps we have a desire to read books about the people we know. For Christmas I received two bound publications, one written by my mother, the other by my father. They are memoirs from their lives. The startings of choice autobiographies. They are treasures and more valuable to me than any other gift. Actions speak louder than words... I will start reading from each before I sleep again.

Before these volumes fell into my hands I have enjoyed reading from Lewis Family Stories, a compilation of writings mainly about my father's ancestors, parents, and siblings. A story from my own life (written by mother) concludes the work.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are forfeited on single film projects all the time and yet one can get pen and paper for close to nothing. Both are mediums for telling tales and relating experiences. What was that I heard about J.K Rowling writing the beginnings of "Harry Potter" on napkin? An idea that was carefully cultivated and grew to be a series deemed worthy of adaptation into eight films costing over a billion dollars to make.

Film (or whatever vehicle you care to consider) is limited, but it is surely ever growing. However, I do not believe writing is the same. A pen and paper reach boundlessness in terms of what the holder is able to do with them. You cannot put a fence around one's imagination. The only element in the equation that is finite is our time. Ergo I want to create each and every day. I do not wish to unpack anything and everything from the boxes within my cerebrum, but I will carefully withdraw much.

I am special, you are too. I am rather strange, as are you. I am worth writing about, you are too. I am worth reading about and so are you.

Does that mean you will want to read The Tome of J.S. Lewis? To answer the question the Army asked myself and millions of other teenagers ("If someone were to write a book* about your life, would anyone want to read it?"): that is for anyone to decide. All I can do is write about my life and give them the option.

This blog is meant for me as much as anyone. Still, I aspire to let family and friends into my life some more with this undertaking.

Happy New Year.

*Clearly this is not a book, but a blog. I feel the terms are interchangeable in this case. About my life and built from words, that is what we are dealing with.