Look Ma, I’m Versatile!

Friend and writer extraordinaire Paul Dail passed the torch of the Versatile Blogger Award (a great honor, by the way – you the man). When I first heard about the Versatile Blogger Award, I wasn’t entirely sure what the “versatile” meant. Maybe it meant that I could sing AND dance? …Some people would argue that.

But no, I read up on the award and learned that the “versatile” descriptor applied to the award itself, in that it was meant to be passed from one blog to another, serving as something of a self-selecting spider to highlight blogs that people find interesting and worthy. Just search for the award on Google and you’ll be rewarded with many quality blogs, some of which I would not have found otherwise.

The Rules

As with any award, of course, there are rules.

1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post (done!).
2. Share 7 things about yourself (incoming!).
3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading (uhhh…15 might be a bit much, but I’m going to do my best this week).
4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award (yep, that I can do).

The Facts

Whoopy. Let’s see what I can dig up.

  • I learned to read on my own. Not entirely, but the story that my parents tell is that, at the tender age of three, I sat down with a Muppets book and began to read off words. When they quizzed me on certain words, pointing, I was able to answer. I’m not sure I understood all of the context, but I had apparently pieced together what a number of different words looked like when written. I don’t know a lot about the development curve of children, so I have no idea if I was ahead of my time there, but I do know that by age 7 I was able to read The Hobbit, and within another year grasp The Lord of the Rings, at least on a superficial level. To this day I can’t keep all that history straight, but I could at least keep the action straight.
  • I have broken every single limb. Seriously. Some twice. I was an…uhm…”adventurous” kid.

  • I once lived in South Africa. I mentioned this in my interview with Paul, and this seems like a good time to expand upon it. In 1998, I was a complete mess. I mean, I still dreamed of becoming an author and slowly beat my way toward it by sheer brute of force, but my personal life was a total shambles. I lived in Blacksburg, Virginia at the time, thanks to a friend who had been kind enough to take me in and help me take my first real steps into the adult world. While writing one night, I received a random message from a South African woman on ICQ (remember that one?). My ego had taken a beating over the previous few years, and I was still in mourning for an engagement that had ended in 1996 (much more on that soon), so it sure seemed like I could be in love with this woman, at least if I convinced myself enough.  So I proposed to her. After a few weeks. Yeah. Did I mention I was a mess? Of course, once you “fall in love” with someone from another country, you have to face the question of where you live. At that time, life had thoroughly convinced me that there was nothing left for me in the USA, so I moved back in with my folks, saved up some money, and left for SA in December, 1998. Unfortunately, we failed to do the proper research on immigration laws in South Africa, so we moved back here. Still, I lived there for four months, from December to March 1999.
  • I got engaged at age 19. Yes. This was another online engagement. It also ties into the next fact, that I was raised in the Mormon Church. Coming out of yet another bad relationship online, I met what I thought was a nice, wholesome Mormon girl on IRC toward the end of 1995. Convinced that we were made for one another, I popped the question, as expected, right before New Years. In retrospect, this was likely a way to get back at our exes, both of whom hung out in the same online community. Keep in mind that I was also a virgin with almost zero real love experience. I flew out there and, of course, things went disastrously and the engagement fell apart. I would go on to spend two years adrift, leading to the afore-mentioned move out of country. I could write a book about this period of my life…maybe I will. One day.

  • I was raised Mormon. At least, for the most part. Problems with family finances during my early childhood ended with us moving to another town and a falling-out with the church, though we continued to go off-and-on for the next few years. We started going again regularly in 1985, the point at which they baptized me properly. Again, up until my teen years, we drifted in and out of the church. This probably should have served as a sign, but you often just go with what you know. These days…well, I’m pretty far from being a Mormon. Let’s leave it at that.
  • I played baseball. Yes! Love baseball. I’m a die-hard Nationals fan (though I grew up an Orioles fan). Something of a late bloomer, I only came to the sport as a teenager, and struggled to catch up to the other kids. Still, I think I did all right playing first base and pitching. I wish I could still play.
  • I met George Takei when I was eight years old. Not much more to say about this, really. My mother took me to a science fiction convention that my uncle was helping to run and I got to meet George Takei. Dude was awesome. To this day I remember his kindness. As an adult, I recognize how busy he must have been, but he not only took the time to sign my program (away from the signing table) and asked a few questions. Just a great guy.
So there we go. Seven facts. Not as painful as I thought it could be. It has made me consider someday writing the epic of my late teenage years. Not now. But someday.
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  1. Congrats on the award. Great sharing. Now I’ll think of you when the Nationals play my poor Cubbies!


    • Well they might not be the poor Cubbies much longer. I have a pretty good feeling about that team in the next few years. Hang in there!

  2. Good job on finding the rules. I guess I should’ve posted them. I had actually heard up to 15 people, not necessarily all 15, so I decided I would just do one. You were the first person to come to mind.

    So how the hell have we known each other this long without knowing you were raised Mormon? You know I’m in southern Utah, right? Besides Provo, we’re LDS central (of course, in college, it was LSD central 🙂 ). Not Mormon myself, but my wife was a member of the church through most of her younger years, and even though her parents don’t attend, they still pay their tithe.

    And wow, I had forgotten about ICQ. Some other great details here. As always, great to get to know you better.

    Paul D. Dail
    http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

    • I’m definitely not doing 15 myself – that’s chain-letter level spam. I’ll probably do 5. One wasn’t a bad choice, either.

      Hah! Well I don’t talk too much about that part of my life because my opinions about the church aren’t exactly positive. I knew you lived in Utah, but I wasn’t sure if you were in the church or not – though Jeremy in Imaginings gave me a pretty good idea 😉

  3. Congrats!

    Ha! What a great story Jonathan (in Tommy Wiseau voice). With all of those life experiences, maybe you should think about writing an autobiography ;D

    Also, I apologize for not commenting on your previous posts. Although I can say I have been reading them. It’s just that I haven’t had the time yet with my now hectic schedule. BTW, with your Christmas post, you forgot to mention Batman Returns.

    • Oh hiiiiiii Andrew *flips hair*

      No worries about being busy, I’ve barely had time to keep up with people leaving comments. Feel pretty guilty about it! But things are crazy. Thanks for the support!


  5. Congratulations! Well-deserved, and it’s true–you are indeed versatile. 😉

  6. Great going Jonathan! Congrats!

  7. Pingback: Awards! All these Awards, my goodness! | Shaggin the Muse

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