Jason's Random Musings

6 Things You Didn’t Know About My High School Years

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I was listed in the yearbook as an example of a fashion trend setter. Anyone who knows me knows how hilarious this is. I had the good fortune of being a senior right when the Seattle grunge scene was emerging, which is to say flannel and jeans found me. Although the flannel is in the closet, I still listen to Pearl Jam.

Speaking of yearbooks; you know those awards they give to seniors, like Best Eyes, Class Clown, Most Likely to Be President? They had one for best artist, but I did not win it. That honor went to Mike Beenenga, who was (and still is) super talented and super nice guy. Damn you, Mike.

I was, however, voted co-captain of the conference champion varsity baseball team. It remains one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. I was not the best anything on the team. But, as the second baseman, I was a decent contact hitter, a dependable fielder, and pretty scrappy. The fact that my teammates saw something in me that warranted me being named co-captain still means a lot.

Whatever the opposite of “ladies man” is, I was it. Granted, I was not helped by the fact that I wore these glasses my entire sophomore year. Plus I was painfully shy. My best plan for seducing women was drawing cartoon teddy bears for them. This ended up being a wonderful plan for getting my art displayed in their lockers and get me branded as an eternal “brother.” My skills with the ladies improved some as I got older (and started wearing contacts), but to this day, if Kim had not kissed me first, she might still be waiting.

The worst trouble I ever got into was when I got my Sports Illustrated taken away for talking in Humanities class. I remember following it up with some sort of smart aleck comment to save face from the humiliation. Clearly I was quite the rebel.

I got a C in speech class. Considering I now get paid good money to give speeches for a living, I guess the joke’s on you Mr. Quick.

The Most Rewarding (and Humbling) Day of My Career

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Back in May, I was in Washington D.C. to give the closing keynote of the C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors) Annual Conference. It was quite possibly the most rewarding (and humbling) day of my career.

This event, which has been going on for 30 years, is all about helping people who have lost loved ones in the line of duty to rebuild their shattered lives. Moms, dads, sons, daughters, spouses, siblings, children, you name it. They offer grief counseling and support from others who have walked a similar road.

Now, I have never experienced any kind of a loss like this, and there is no way I could even pretend to know what the attendees are going though. Which meant I felt unbelievably unworthy to be on that stage. I was terrified of saying something really stupid or trite or presumptuous. But I knew I was there for a reason, and I spent a lot of time thinking and praying about what I should say. I figured I had no choice but to be honest. [Read more...]

Trying To Get Home

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We recently shifted our brand from “Kim & Jason” to “Escape Adulthood” because this mission has grown to be MUCH bigger than just Kim and me. Plus, it’s a much better description of what we’re all about: Escaping Adulthood.

While this makes more sense from a marketing perspective, in that it’s short, descriptive, and more likely to be remembered than two random people’s names, there is also a danger in it. You see, it’s easy for people to discount all of us as irresponsible, immature, cotton-headed ninny noggins who are avoiding the responsibilities of adulthood and trying to escape the pressures of the “real world.”

As a pragmatist, I guess I might be tempted to think the same way if I didn’t know any better.

It gives me solace to know that we are not alone. J. R. R. Tolkien, author of those little-known books The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, was often accused of writing fairy tales that were nothing more than the escapist’s way out of this so-called real world. His reply was simple and brilliant. He proposed that everything was dependent on that from which one is escaping. “We view the flight of the deserter and the escape of a prisoner very differently. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home?”

Exactly.

Paying bills, upholding responsibility, and making hard decisions; these are important and necessary hallmarks of adult life. But the deep down person we were when we were kids is much closer to the real us than the stilted version we often present to the world around us. Cynicism, common knowledge, and the rules that don’t exist have imprisoned us from being our true selves: passionate, playful and curious creatures who dream big dreams and are filled with faith, hope, and love.

So no, we’re not about shirking responsibilities or ignoring reality.

We’re just trying to get back home.

What’s your favorite way to escape adulthood these days?



[ About the Art: Sometimes I find a quote I like and have to work to think of an image that fits. Other times, I sketch a neat image and wait for a good quote or title to come along. Once in a while, they both materialize in an instant. I saw this quote somewhere — might have been the babymoon in Newport — and I instantly knew what I wanted to do with it. I love working with the theme of freedom.

I originally planned on incorporating some clouds near the horizon to contribute to the idea of the dog flying, but it ended up being too busy. Ultimately, I like the minimal look with the carefully-placed paint splots behind him.

The little blur came at the very end. That’s what I love most about painting digitally: you can experiment without fear of ruining the whole piece. Don’t like it? Hit undo.

I wish life was like that. (Buy the print!) ]

My New Red Shoes

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When it comes to fashion, I’m pretty plain. My daily uniform is usually jeans and a t-shirt. When I speak, I gussy up the jeans and t-shirt with a sport coat. Throughout my entire life, my shoes have typically been one color (black or white) with no more than one accent color. To me, fashion is all about two things: comfort, and not looking like an idiot. Since I’ll never be mistaken as a New York City fashionista, the “looking like an idiot” part is avoided by keeping things plain and simple.

And then I started thinking about getting red shoes. [Read more...]

The World Would Be Better if We Had More Giant Rubber Duckies Floating Around

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I’ll just state the obvious, because we’ve all thought it: We need more giant rubber duckies floating around in our lakes, rivers, and harbors. We also need more artists to think of ideas like this.

The giant yellow ambassador of fun pictured above is the work of conceptual artist Florentijin Hofman, who states: [Read more...]

What Are The Chances?

we-just-clickI can’t imagine having a better business partner, wife, or friend than Kim. When I slow down enough to pay attention, it’s really quite amazing how well we fit together. And it boggles my mind how many things had to go right in order for me to meet her. A whole lot of dominoes had to fall just so in order for us to end up at that Oogie’s restaurant in that small Illinois town on the same December night with the purpose of singing Christmas carols. (Even though our reasons for being there were quite different.) I mean seriously, winning the lottery might be more mathematically likely.

Is there such thing as fate? Many people think life is just random series of unrelated events, coincidences, and dumb luck.

I don’t know. Perhaps fate is an outdated and silly romantic notion.

Perhaps not.

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Hat tip to Jenna for sharing the awesome Oscar Nominated short film, Paperman.

Vote for Mushrooms

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So I submitted my first shirt to Threadless.com. It’s all about mushrooms.

It cleared the first hurdle of acceptance, and now it is up for scoring on the web site. If the scores are high enough and the comments prevalent enough, apparently they will consider printing it and offering it for sale on their site. It would be a pretty neat honor for me, and nice exposure for my work.

Voting ends on Thursday. If you think it is worthy, I would so very much appreciate it if you’d give it a high score and leave a comment here.

Thanks!

Happy 40th Jenna!

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If you have ever ordered anything from the Kim & Jason Lemonade Stand, chances are quite high that my friend Jenna was the one to lovingly pack it up and send it to you (along with the fun free prizes she adds to each order.)

Jenna has been with Kim and I since the beginning of our little business. We met in college and spent many hours dreaming, laughing and serving together. She was one of the people who encouraged me when I was feeling the bug to start drawing comics about two little kids named Kim and Jason. [Read more...]

Star Wars Action Figures Inducted Into Toy Hall of Fame


I always suspected I had excellent taste in toys. This suspicion was confirmed upon learning that Star Wars action figures had been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame this year. Huzzah! (I can now say that I knew them when…)

I claim as a badge of honor that not one of the figures in my collection are in good enough condition to fetch more than a few pennies on eBay. They are a much-loved relic of my childhood.

I will not pretend to have had all of them, although I had pretty close to most of them. This was thanks in large part to my parents, who bravely navigated the rows and rows of tightly-packed toy store shelves, looking for ones I didn’t own. Scanning each row of blister packs was a real pain. You had to sneak your arm between the rows of figures and use your fingers to flick each box just enough to reveal the contents of the one behind it. Repeat with each one on the peg hook until you get to the end, preparing yourself for cleaning up the boxes that had inevitably fallen off the hook, regardless of how careful you had been.

Like I said, a real pain.

And this, more than anything else, is how I know my parents loved me.

Sweet Star Wars action figure portrait is from ratherchildish.

Plaid States vs. Polka Dot States

What expert decided that states that lean Republican should be red while the Democratic ones are designated as blue? Sometimes I wonder if mixing it up might contribute a little bit of levity to the whole process of choosing our nation’s leader. Because there sure is a lot of Adultitis involved as it is.

How ’bout some plaid? Polka dots? Or maybe some periwinkle?

Today’s election is an important one. But may we always remember that while we should always take our duties and the direction of our country seriously, we do not have to take ourselves seriously.

Living in the purple state of Wisconsin for more than a decade now has taught me that, by and large, most people sincerely want what’s best for our country. Sometimes, we just happen to have different ideas on how to go about it. While it’s easy to disagree with each other on issues, it’s hard to demonize someone when you keep in mind that deep down, their intent is the same as yours.

Now go vote. And let’s promise to all still be friends tomorrow.

How My Dad Told Us He Had Cancer

Minutes after a speaking program in northern Wisconsin, I got a call from Kim, telling me that my Dad wanted to arrange an urgent family meeting for the next day. We wondered aloud about the true importance of this meeting (my Dad has a bit of a history of overhyping things), especially since the day of the proposed meeting was the only one in which I’d be home in the span of a week. That free day was gold.

A call back to my Dad confirmed that the situation was serious, and he was adamant that he did not want to tell us about it by phone.

* Gulp * [Read more...]

The Pumpkin Patch: A Perfect Family Tradition

Last year we missed out on going to the pumpkin patch because I didn’t have any free weekends in October due to my speaking schedule. The new tradition had quickly become a favorite one, so the fact that we weren’t able to go last year was a real disappointment. Never again, Kim and I promised ourselves. This year we marked the calendar months in advance.

Further proof that in today’s busy culture, if you really want something to happen — especially when it comes to creating scenes with the people you love — you have to schedule it. [Read more...]

The Story Behind the Golden Tickets

When Kim and I were in Alaska last fall, we had a lot of time to talk. (And very little time since then :) One of the things we talked about was regret. We wondered: If something happened to one of us and our time together was cut short, would there be anything we wish we would have done that we hadn’t? [Read more...]

My Comic-Con Experience (in Words & Pictures)


Attending the San Diego Comic-Con has been on my bucket list for some time now. Not anymore.

After spending time in Portland for the World Domination Summit and down time with friends, I flew down to San Diego for the world’s largest celebration of the popular arts.

It was massive. [Read more...]

Is Cam from Modern Family One of the Green Lanterns?

Perhaps only geeks know that there’s more than one Green Lantern. But even I was surprised to discover that it appears Cameron from Modern Family may be among them.

Am I wrong?

Lessons from Children’s Letters to Santa

Earlier this year, while Kim and I were in Alaska, we had the unique opportunity to visit the North Pole. Technically, it was not the geographic version, but rather a small town near Fairbanks known as North Pole, Alaska. [Read more...]

My Little Old Rental Car


This is the rental car they gave me for a recent run of speaking gigs in Minnesota.

A 2011 Dodge Freaking Charger.

It makes me feel like I’m driving the Batmobile.

Yes, I know it’s white. But I’m talking about the special Batmobile that Batman takes to weddings. [Read more...]

Boringly Normal? Pffft. You Just Might Be Extraordinary.


I recently wrote a post about why normal sucks. In almost every single instance, it really does. [Read more...]

Possibly My Earliest Drawing of Santa Claus (Unconfirmed)

When I was in third grade, my teacher asked me to draw a picture of Santa Claus for the school newsletter. I distinctly remember Mrs. Smith saying that I was the perfect man for the job because I could draw him better than her.

I don’t remember a lot of things about third grade, but I remember how that compliment made me feel. [Read more...]

Lucy Lives in an Art Gallery


This summer is one of big transitions in our household. With the new baby coming in December and a slight reprieve from a busy speaking schedule, we’ve been working like mad to get a lot of projects checked off the holy to-do list.

One of the big steps was transitioning Lucy to a “big girl bed” in her new “big girl room.” (Next up, potty training — heaven help us!) This required purchasing a “big girl mattress” and some redecorating. It went much more smoothly than I anticipated, and the items we’d collected over the last year or so really tied together well.

Among the highlights is the focal point of the room, a series of original paintings I did featuring the beloved Fisher Price Little People. Kim rescued them from her basement a while back, and they’ve become one of Lucy’s favorite toys. I had to share! [Read more...]

Sometimes Being Introverted Makes Me Feel Broken


When I go to conferences, I always feel like I’m doing them wrong.

You see, I’m an introvert. And since 75% of the population is extroverted, the world is pretty much geared towards extroverts. Conferences included. [Read more...]

Return from Portland (and World Domination)

“In the face of overwhelming pressure to conform, how do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?”

That was the question at the heart of the first ever World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon, at which Kim and I were able to attend and present. [Read more...]

The Pancakes Strike Back

Kim and I have had a blast seeing all the contributions to Project Pancake, our first officially organized small rebellion. Check out the stories and photos here (and feel free to add your own!)

I didn’t know exactly what we would do in our household, but I did know that it would include the new Star Wars pancake molds I got for Christmas. That would be unique!

Well, I thought it would be, until I saw the pancake picture posted by Mark Tipperreiter a few days earlier. Apparently, Santa visits other houses besides just mine. Here’s Mark’s picture, featuring a Stormtrooper, Darth Vader, and Yoda. (Notice how you can actually tell what they are.) Clearly, the Force is strong with him. I assumed it would be with me as well.

[Read more...]

The Day the Wagon Queen Family Truckster Pulled Into My Driveway


I love my job. A few years ago, Kim and I got a behind-the-scenes tour of a 27-foot-long hot dog on wheels, aka the Wienermobile. This summer, we were able to take a spin in another classic vehicle — an exact replica of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster that Chevy Chase drove in National Lampoon’s Vacation. [Read more...]

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