Monday, December 28, 2009

The Fight is Ever Tougher

Well, dear reader, I have returned. What has caused my return? I have found something worth writing about.....


Some of you reading this knew I made the last minute decision to come. Many of you helped me to actually get here. What follows are my thoughts after day one....

....this world is jacked. Seriously. Evil has a stronghold in this world, and it is employing devious and deadly tricks to grasp desperately at its power. And when one looks at it as a whole, one can get discouraged. One can begin to believe the lie that there is too much to be done, that this Hydra cannot be killed. That as soon as you cut one head off, stop one brothel, shut down one sweat shop, three more will rise up.

One can look at the growing darkness and begin to become afraid of what is out there.

Today, I sat and spoke with an awesome woman who has been serving the cause for child justice in Cambodia. Her organization had been centered in the main cities there, but had found that they were in competition for the kids with other aid and justice organizations. They decided that they would leave the cities and head into the rural villages. They thought they would walk in, tell these villagers that they were there to love them in the name of Christ, and that they would be accepted.

This is when they discovered that Satan had a new ploy, one so devious it made them weep tears of frustration (and nearly me as she told me). What they discovered was that the slave traders had beat them to the towns. And what they had done there was deplorable. They walked in, set up a "mission" and stated they were missionaries. They stated they were there in the name of Christ, and that they were there to teach the children. They then had the kids come in for Sunday school. They earned the family's trust. They then took the kids on a retreat....where they abused them, sold them into slavery, and used them up.

Villagers were being warned to not trust Christians, that Christians would steal their children. That Christians would destroy their children.

And rage built in me. And I could feel Christ's rage. His name, His church, His reputation has been tarnished so that evil can better succeed in its destruction.

The woman I spoke with explained that her initial reaction was that she was crushed. That she felt absolutely defeated. That she felt that this was a blow that she did not know how to overcome.

But she kept working at it, The only answer was to keep loving. To love stronger, harder, better. To commit to staying in each community until the real love of Christ showed through. Her answer was to strap in, put on her big-girl pants, and get down and dirty in the fight against evil. Evil wanted to present itself as Christ, and tarnish the name while doing it. She fought back by letting the truth of who Christ is shine through.

What a humbling moment. She looked at me and said, "You cannot give up. People with our hearts cannot give up. These children need to be heard." She had been faced with the devil's terrifyingly brilliant scheme, and she chose to follow through. The road was longer, harder, and much more dangerous than she had expected. The earning of trust, the attaining of the goal, the saving of the children, was not immediate, was not obtained in a month, or two months. It took considerable time and effort.

And that is what I am learning thus far. I have always known that following God can be hard. I have known that to follow the Lord requires a commitment of high and demanding standards. but what I am seeing at this Urbana thus far is that evil is trying to outwit, out do, out think the kingdom of God. I have no doubt that God will win. I have no doubt that the evil in this world will be brought to justice. I don't even doubt that some of that justice can be accomplished by men and women on this earth. But it will be a hard go. The commitment level is unbelievably demanding. Jesus told me it would be this way. He is not surprised that evil is getting smarter, that it is masking itself in a prettier package so that more will be sucked in. He is not surprised, and he is not scared, but he knows what it means. He knows that in order to see justice done, all other desires must be abandoned. He warned me I would not have a hole to live in. he warned me I would not have a family. He warned me I would not find my joy here, and that death to myself would be the price.

But he made in me a heart that yearns for His justice, and therefore, He has given me His family. Within that, thankfully, I have my own blood family, for they support my heart, and encourage my passions. But He has also given me an extended family in Him. He has provided those who have gone before, those who can encourage and call out. Those who can tell me that it has been difficult, but also that it has been worth it.

That is Urbana folks. Darkness is identified. Darkness is recognized. Darkness is given the degree of seriousness it demands. BUT, those who have gone before stand proudly and say they have looked into the eyes, the heart, the terrifying mass of darkness, and they have seen that there is one thing it cannot overcome. It can overcome man. It can overcome theological debates. It can overcome missionaries intending good. But it cannot overcome The Light. The Light which came into the world, which headed straight for the darkness, but the darkness could not overcome it.

And when the darkening world begins to look a bit to powerful, too terrifying, too grand. When my strength gives out, and it is easier to stay in my job and live my simple life than struggle against the darkness. When I want to run and hide and pretend that darkness cannot catch me, has not begun to creep into my bones, my mind, my heart. When all this is true, the Light rushes out, screaming at the darkness, terrifying IT with the strength of the one true God. And I am reminded that my puny strength is not what will hold back the darkness. That was taken care of on a cross many years ago.

I am not called to fight of my own strength, but to fight with the Light of the World. And to be in it for the long hall. Evil has some fancy moves, but my team has the stamina to stay in the game and wear evil out. They can use every trick play in the book, my team will run them down with solid play and truth at the forefront.

So far what I hear Urbana saying to me is, don't watch the world and shake your head. Don't wait for the easy time to plunge in.Don't fear the growing darkness, for it already fears the name you carry.

So, here I go, to spend my week looking into what that means.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer Gone By

Well, the summer is finished. Not the actual summer. Just mine. My summer employment with YouthWorks! Inc. has finished. I left West Virginia on Sunday, was in Philedelphia by Sunday night, Angola, Indiana on Tuesday night, St. Louis, Missouri on Thursday night, and back in my house in ole OP on Friday....what a trip.

God and I got along grand this summer. He taught me a great deal about leading people, about what real passion for serving in His kingdom is, and about how I am best motivated and able to serve.

He also taught me that my passion for Him must be a constant yearning. That I cannot sustain myself on a summer long sojourn into God's kingdom and then coast for 9 months waiting for Jesus Lightning to strike. Jesus Lightning is, for those unfamiliar, the brilliant flash of passion and motivation to love and serve the world that comes from nowhere unbidden. I won't say it doesn't exist, just that it is not something to sit around and wait for.

It is funny how I can spend an entire summer in West Virginia, have so many stories, memories, and fantastic moments that Haley and I can talk for 9 hours straight from Philly to Angola, and yet when I sit down here, it all seems to blur together.

So I guess you are going to have to ask me for specific details, because this broadstroke writing is not going to happen. I am discovering how much I hate sitting here at this thing.

So I will close out with this:


So come Monday, you will find me beating the asphalt down as I try to find someone who wants to hire this spectacular employee to be. Those of you looking to had better call quick!

I will let you, dear reader, know how it goes.

Monday, August 3, 2009

At the End

So last week was Lincoln County's last week of programming. I know, I have failed you, dear reader. I have not updated. I have not posted pictures. I have not shared the many deep thoughts and movements of heart that God has been giving me.

I am tired. That is all the excuse I have. Shameful, I know. But when I come to the end of the day, or a brief break, forgive me beloved, but in front of a computing machine is not where I want to be. So perhaps when I get home I will write about my amazing staff, how God used each of them to change Lincoln County, youths' lives, and me. How I am going to miss them a great deal, and how they have touched my world. Perhaps I will write about the youth groups I saw, about those that were fired up for Christ, and serving His people. Or those with a lack of passion for a life radically changed by God, the "thrill seeking" churches as I have decided to call them. Perhaps I will write about a new project that I think is growing on my heart, a way to meet and love the people of our fair land. Perhaps I will write about West Virginia, her beauty, her anger, her need.

I will certainly write about the funny experiences. I will most definitely write about God and all that He did. I will write, I promise, life upon my return home.

But for now my mind is worn down. I have no more deep thoughts in me.

So I ask, instead, for prayer. I have $900 in my checking account. By the weekend, that will be down to $300. By next Wednesday....maybe $100.....

I need a job. I need to decide if I move again. I need to decide if I can stay in Kansas City and try to find work, or if I should look in other states where a chance of work is offered. I felt like God led me to YouthWorks....but I have no idea what the next step should be. And I am getting a little nervous.

So pray for me, my friends. And if anyone is looking to hire an excellent History degree holding ex-Habitat homebuilder/Maintenance man/Site Director....let me know:)

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Life in Pictures

I am too tired to write much, so I thought I would share some pictures from my world. For more, check out facebook AND go to the Lincoln Journal (local paper) website to check out more pictures from my weeks! Just look for the YouthWorks! link!

Prep Week in Philly
My Crew32 Crew

Early Bird in Logan, WV
The view from Logan's site
Square dancing in Delbarton


Linds and I share a birthday dinner

Michael Midkiff

Where I live

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Note From The Furnace Closet

Good News: I found an internet access

Bad News: It is in a furnace closet, where I must cram myself between a table and a toolbox to plug in.

But here I am.

We have our first week of kids. I remembering why I love YouthWorks. I am remembering how hard YouthWorks can be.

I am learning a great deal as the leader of my small ragtag staff of God-warriors. I will write more about it later...perhaps this weekend.

First, a more pressing issue. You have all (except Kelly and Cassidy- who are amazing) let me down. I made one simple request. 


And I have received......


Because my Dad and Momma are also awesome.

The rest of you, dear readers, I shall give you my address again, give you a second chance:

John Creagar
c/o YouthWorks
P.O. Box 612
Hamlin, WV 25523

In all seriousness though, me friends, I am blessed by your prayers. I have needed them the past few weeks, and I thank you for praying for me. Your prayers are worth more than pictures, and I am humbled by those who pray for me. Thank you.

And send pictures:P

Well, I have to cook breakfast in the morning. 120 frozen waffles.

Can't wait.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Clifford Ellis Welcomed Me Home

Well, dear friends, here I sit in Logan, West Virginia, on the eve of Early Bird week. Early Bird is a week when multiple sites come together to run a YouthWorks week as one giant unit. It gives new staffers a chance to see a week in action, and alumni to get their feet wet again. We, the Lincoln County Crew have come to Logan. We will be here until Friday, then head back to Hamlin, West Virginia, where we will do one more week of prep, and then will have youth of our own arrive.

A great deal has occurred in the last few weeks, but I will try to summarize in a brief rundown.

I left my dog, my truck, my family, and my friends behind in Kansas City and Manhattan. no matter how many times I leave a place....and I tend to do that is always a difficult thing to do. I truly enjoy my friends and family, and sometimes my transient life wears me down. Sometimes, just as the plane takes off, I think about how nice it would be if I could just settle in someplace for 3 or 4 years. Maybe put down some roots, meet a girl, start a family, have barbeques and Toasting Tuesdays.....

.....then the plane takes off and I am onto the next adventure, and I see new stories forming to tell old friends, new friends coming at me, new cultures to immerse myself in. And suddenly, I know that this wanderer's life is the only thing I can do....for now.

Back to YouthWorks

My training week was awesome. I got to catch up with old YW friends, to meet my amazing staff, and to remember why it was that I quit my job and abandoned reason to come serve God in West Virginia this summer.

My staff. They are truly wonderful. Each brings gifts to the table that make our site run like a well oiled machine. Each brings a work ethic and desire to serve the Lord that will carry us all through the summer. Each knows how to smile and seek God in both the mundane and the trying times. Each is a blessing to West Virginia, YouthWorks, and myself.

Their names are Haley Church (Program), Mark Cooper (Work Projects), and Lindsay Holmes (Kids Club). If you are praying for me this summer, I would ask that you add them to that time as well. If you want to know more about them, just let me know.

We left Philly, and began our trip to Hamlin. Along the way we saw some beautiful countryside, ate at an excellent Mexican Restaurant, discovered that out F-150 two-tone pickup (named Tony) has no radio, and got to know each other much better.

Upon our arrival in Hamlin, we walked into the Fire Hall in the middle of Bingo Night. Every Thursday and Saturday night the building we stay in, which was a brassiere factory, then a junior high, and now is owned by the Fire Fighters of Hamlin, houses community bingo. It is pretty amazing, and a greta chance to catch up on local goings on.

Anywho, we arrived mid-bingo and mid-rainstorm. There was water in our sleeping rooms. There was dirt. There were bugs. It was a bit overwhelming.

But there was air conditioning. There were mattresses. There were amazing people who told us over and over that they wanted us there, that they were honored to have us, whom they had never met, staying with them. There was God. The love was....a bit overwhelming.

We found a dry, safe place to sleep, and slept through the evening. We awoke, we cleaned, and we began our adventure. We are starting to love our home.

It is always cold. The A/C works very well, and is always on. It is always filled with scanner chatter. As one person put it, we always know who to pray for, because we hear about every accident in Lincoln County. It is often filled with firefighters and EMT's and their families.

The community in Hamlin is extremely loving towards us. They look after us. They have already invited us to dinner (twice), given us gifts (amazing ones), told us they were our mothers, and gone out of their way to give us anything we even mention needing/wanting. We have been invited to every community event available, and have been invited to every church in town- and there are many.


I have reunited with the Elswicks and the Ellis's. I have not had much chance to hang out with either, we have been busy getting the site ready, but they have welcomed me back with open arms. Clifford Ellis told me he and his wife Pinky had been praying hard that I would "come home".

Clifford is the pastor of the Ferrelsburg Church of God. On Wednesday I got to go to his church and take part in a good old fashioned West Virginia prayer service. I snuck in the back while they were watching a video about experiencing God. When they lights came on, Clifford came up to wrap up, and he saw me. Immediately he called me up, and had the entire congregation come up and pray for me. It was humbling, honoring, terrifying, and beautiful. Then I got to sit and just catch up with this amazing man and woman for about an hour.

Now, as I said before, I love everyone I left behind. I miss each of you everyday, trust me I do. But it was a special kind of sweetness to sit in the Ferrelsburg Church of God with an intense man of the Lord and his wife, and just feel a real, Godly, pure love oured out in my direction. As I drove through the scary West Virginia night, I couldn't help but feel like with people like that praying for and watching out for me, the summer could never get too off course.

Well, this update has already been too long. I will close it down. I do want to say that I love you all, and look forward to seeing you at the end of the summer. Or when you send me your pictures. DO IT.

AND stayed tuned, dear reader. Coming soon: John goes clogging.

There may even be pictures.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Have Arrived

Well, dear readers, I have arrived in Hamlin, West Virginia.

We are busy, and I do not have time to update for real, but this is a shameless ploy for mail.

You see, usually when I head out for a YouthWorks summer, I bring with me a collection of pictures of friends and family so that I will not be too lonely over the summer.

This summer I forgot.

So the call is going out my friends! Send me your pictures! Join me in my adventure!

Make them funny, serious, anything will be awesome! Bainy....I expect sweet pictures from your travels.

And don't just send pictures. I would love to hear about how your summer is going as well. Write to me, and I will write you back. We can be pen pals. It it will rock.

All righty, I am going to go sit at the Post Office and wait.....

John Creagar
C/O YouthWorks!
P.O. Box 612
Hamlin, WV 25523

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Bags Are Packed, I'm Ready To Go.....

So this is it for a while. After I post this I am packing my computer and turning off my cable/internet. On Monday I am flying to Philly, then driving to West Virginia.

I may have some internet access this summer, so stay with me, dear reader. Don't abandon me. We will still share the summer, if only at a distance.

Catch you on the flip side....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thank You Travelocity

One week from Monday I leave for my Youthworks summer. In order to get to my training, I needed to purchase a plane ticket. To be a wise consumer, I did some research, tried several different packages, and finally went with the Travelocity website one-way ticket to Philly. I found that if I fly one way out, and in a few weeks grab another one way back home for the end of the summer, I save about ten bucks. Go me.

So I click click click, and have my ticket purchased. Then, like any good employee, I proceed to inform my employer of these plans, as per their request.

That is when I discovered that I, in my infinite wisdom, had somehow managed to reserve a round trip flight from Kansas City to Philly and back for August 11 (depart) and August 12 (return). Needless to say, this was a useless ticket for me, as I need to be in Philly on May 25, and leave Philly on August 11.

First I cursed.

Then I yelled.

Then I punched my desk.

Then I remembered that earlier this week I had bruised my knuckle punching through sheet rock for fun.

Then I looked into fixing my error.

Luckily, Travelocity plans for morons like myself. They have a refund policy for those of us who cannot get it right the first time. The airlines wanted to charge me $150 to change my flight date. Travelocity simply cancelled my plans, then allowed me to reschedule as needed.

So now I am set. And my dreams of cheap travel are nearly within reach.

Now I just have to get my house packed up.....yikers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Last night I played the game BANG! with several of my friends. I had never played it before, but had heard it was awesome.

All reports were true.

I am, generally, not a strategy, interactive game person. I get distracted too easily, follow through on ridiculous whims, and generally mess up my game, and usually others who I am playing with.

But BANG! is different, and here is how:

1. It is about gunfighters and the old west. Instantly awesome.

2. While strategy dictates that you should be careful who you kill, it is possible to kill or at leats attack on a whim...such as when I shot Tiffany purely because I told her I would shoot her first or attacked Chris as vengence for putting me in jail.

3. You can be underhanded, and your character can actually play the way s/he might have to in real life. Thus, the sheriff fights a losing battle because s/he is exposed the whole game, the deputy fights to save the sheriff without making him/herself a target, the renegade can seem to help the sheriff, but then quickly turns on him/her, and the outlaws are just out for blood. I love it.

4. I have been reading a bit about game theory lately, and this game was interesting from that standpoint as well.

5. The game is short enough that I stay engaged.

So I now have a new favorite game. Anybody want to play? I own the game (ask Sam and Luke why), so up to 6 of you lucky readers can join me. More if we invite Luke and his game.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ain't Life Funny

So, a funny thing happened this weekend.

I quit my job.

Well, I gave my notice, I won't actually quit until the 15th.

I am returning to my first love of working: YouthWorks.

This summer, I will be moving to Lincoln County, West Virginia and to be the Site Director for a ministry site.

I will be leaving behind my dog, my steady income, my security, and perhaps my rational mind.

I will not be leaving behind my truck payment, tax payment, credit card payment, and eventual need for long-term employment.

But I am excited. This came about very quickly, and very unexpectedly. I was not planning on working for YouthWorks this summer, but suddenly find myself doing so.

I was not planning on putting my well being directly into the Lord's hands with no way to turn but to Him, but suddenly, I find myself doing so.

It is going to be awesome. It is going to be terrifying. It is going to be brilliant. It is going to be a foolish move. It is going to be serving the Lord above my own sense of what is "right".

And there I let it stay.

So pray for me folks. I may have just made a huge mistake, but it is a mistake of the heart. The kind of mistake this romantic fool likes to make.

Oh, and my current job asked me to write up a pro/con for hiring a full time replacement versus a part time replacement. This is what I wrote:

In the fast paced and often dangerous world of property management maintenance, it is sometimes, nay often necessary to call upon a full time maintenance man. In the wild urbanized jungle of rented houses, apartments, and lofts, a man can get lost. Some have gone into these homes, and come out changed, frightened, useless. Others, they’ve never come back at all. Though property maintenance looks tame from the outside, only the strongest, bravest, and most dedicated can survive the grueling day to day horrors that must be approached, assessed, and diffused. No mere part timer has the stamina for such work. No mere on-call worker could sift through the retched filth that humanity leaves in its wake and scrubs out a diamond from the refuge. Nay my friend, only one who has heard the calling, who has looked into the abyss, who has seen what the darkness holds and has screamed in defiance back to it, can stand such a daunting task. To find such a hero, one may have to search out Arthur’s sword or Beowulf’s shield. A Herculean mission may be the only way to find the character who can complete the deadly and heart-wrenching tasks which will be laid at the maintenance worker’s feet. A part timer would merely quake, so says I.

So hire the hero you wish to see. Remember that Galahad stayed pure, and Lancelot fell. Choose wisely, and see all prosper. Choose poorly, and see all dreams of man fall to the belly of the beast of Hell.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Pirate Crew (With Pictures!)

Well, I put out the call, and some of you responded. There were a few I thought would jump at the opportunity that refrained, but the crew I have is dedicated, fierce, and ready for action.

The Crew

Captain Halfbeard

They say that The Dread Captain Halfbeard lost his facial hair in a deal with the devil gone terribly wrong. He is a fierce and frightening man, who lost his eye in a duel with the Kraken, and nearly lost the other one from not listening to his mother's advice about running with scissors. No one knows how he lost his left hand, but he has never allowed a disposal to be installed in the galley. His constant companion is a monkey named Cooper, known for his pickpocket and blackjack skills.

First Mate Red Beard

When the Great Pirate Red Beard first left home at age 7, his dream was to be the greatest sand volleyball player ever to come out of the Midwest. Alas, during a high stakes game two years later, Red Beard (as he was already know, for his beard began to grow at birth) was double crossed by a team of rich British sailors. They took the trophy, but Red Beard later took their hearts. In his pursuit, he found that he loved the sea, and stealing. He stands strong beside Captain Halfbeard, knowing is ever his captain should fall, it will take a great beard to carry the fight on.

Lookout: TK "Crazy Eye" Henry

She was born to a family of Russian acrobats, and has always loved to be high above. From the Crow's Nest, she is always the first to spot enemies on the horizon. Some say that her crazy red eye allows her to see into the future. Others say she just needs to learn how to maintain her contacts. She is not just an observer of danger, my friends. Her scars, and they are many, have all been earned in hard fought battle with the most dangerous dregs of the earth. Except the one on her face. She got that one the night she tripped on Cooper's banana peel and fell Scurvy's sword. She has never liked the monkey since....

Physician: Scurvy

A citrus allergy led to Dr. Wade "Scurvy" Greening's unfortunate condition. Not his disease, his leg. In a battle with some of the most heartless creatures ever to roam the waters, Scurvy was attacked by orange wielding enemies who knew of his weakness. He was forced to jump ship, and the sharks soon took liberties with his limb. Un-deterred, Scurvy quickly sewed his own leg up, rejoined the fight, and slaughtered his enemies to a man. The only survivor was a parrot named Dammit. Though the mono-lexemetic bird can be a bit awkward, he never fails to make Scurvy laugh.

Pilot: Sea Ranger

They say that Sea Ranger (SR for short) was not born, but rather sprung from the sea hungry for battle. There is no place on the ocean that he does not feel at home, and he can never be lost. Except that one time. But we don't EVER talk about it. His appetite for fighting is topped only by his appetite for fine cuisine. When on land- and that is rare- he can be found in only the finest dining establishments on the wharf. In battle, he uses only the weapons God gave him, his fists, Butch and Sundance. It is said that he can catch a bullet and throw it back at his attacker and never be harmed. His teeth are pure gold, gold taken while plundering enemy pirates. Each tooth tells a story, except the back molar. That is purely for grinding.

Battle Leader: Jenna "Parkie" Wilson

She began as a humble park ranger in Missouri, but a terrible storm and some bad directions left her stranded on a desert island. Picked up by Captian Halfbeard and his crew, she soon proved to be the most fearsome fighter and brilliant strategist the ship had ever seen. Around her neck she wears a string of gummy tongues, which her enemies mistake for real tongues. When she eats them, people really freak out. Her sword is always bloody, and her heart is always pure.

Cabin Boy: Stats Creagar

Even Halfbeard's brother is not exempt from the ships hierarchy. As the last to join the crew, and the youngest, Sam "Stats" Creagar has many responsibilities aboard ship. He is the cook, the swabby, the master of arms, and the latrine cleaner. He has proven himself in battle, losing an eye to a cruel, yet surprisingly apologetic pirate off the coast of Maine. While Stats is on the rise as a pirate star, his career has been slowed somewhat by his need to be put in port every weekend from late August until February, as he has not yet convinced Captain Halfbeard to subscribe to the NFL Channel.

The toughest pirate ever to walk on four legs...except SR when he has been in the grog....Grania does her namesake proud. She may seem sweet and jovial, but try to take her bones, and she will chase you right off the plank! She also has full use of both eyes, but loves the we let her keep it on.

And finally...

Keith the Pirate

Truthfully not the best in a fight, but he is useful in a bluff.

So that is the crew. And never has a finer one been formed. Now all we need is a ship and some financial backing. Who wants to help with this next, crucial, phase?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ruining the Pirate Name

Robert Louis Stevenson would be appalled my friends.

For those who have not been following the news, Somalian Pirates are out of control. They have been taking ships for years, but now have sworn to attack every American ship they can find. They are attacking ships of other nations too.

I am not going to debate whether Hillary Clinton can successfully come up with a plan to stop these rogues. Nor will I bring in other countries' solutions.

What I want to say here is that the good name of piracy has been attacked, and I for one am horrified.

The fact is, piracy has always been a terrible occurrence. Pirates of the 17th century were, as now, murderers, thieves, plunderers, and degenerates. They were truly feared, and those who encountered them rarely survived unharmed.


With the passage of time, and the help of fiction, we have managed to transform the terrors of the sea into lovable rogues who really want to be good, but their nature fights them at every turn. Jack Sparrow, The Dread Pirate Roberts, One Eyed Willie, even Captain Hook have carved out a place of affection in our hearts.

Now we dress up like them for Halloween. We have books, websites, even an entire day dedicated to how they talked.

I have an inflatable pirate named Keith who lives in my house.

Pirates are FUN!!!

Then these Somalian pirates start up. They are not fun. They are not Robin Hood-esque. They do not leave you smiling as you tut-tut them. They have returned piracy to something evil and wrong.

And I for one will not stand for it. Keith will not stand for it. And neither should you.

Hillary Clinton has her plan. I have mine. First, I need some money. Then I need to learn how to sail. Scratch that. I need to find someone who knows how to sail. Then I need 15 or so brave souls. We are going to become PIRATE HUNTING PIRATES.

We will dress the way pirates should, we will talk the way pirates talk, and we will be the lovable rogues that pirates should be.

And when pirates attack, they will suddenly find themselves in the shadow of the Black Dawn, our very own pirate fighting ship.

Every pirate will fear our name.

And the chicks will dig us.

Speaking of you lasses, do not be afraid to sign up to fight with me, Grainne Ni Mhaille (Grace O'Malley) proved that women can be awesome pirates too!

So who's with me? Who wants to fight the pirates? And bring back the lovable, laughable antics that make books like this so lovable.

Oh, and can anyone bankroll it for me?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Well Update

So six months ago I was diagnosed with Diabetes. I thought now would be a good time for an update.

At six months here are my stats:

Lost 100 lbs.
A1C: 5.6
Cholesteral: Tris are low and "good" chol. is up
Blood Pressure: Fantastic (nurse's actual statement)

The weight loss advantages are obvious. The A1C is exciting because an average diabetic's is 7.7. And average regular person's average is 4.4-5.8. I obviously fall into that range.

So I am doing pretty well. I am off insulin, and now take metphormin only. I do not even take my blood sugars anymore. I am needle free.

God has been good and so have all of my friends. The encouragement has been amazing. Whether you have gone to the gym with me, put up with my picky restaurant eating, and perhaps some frustration at times.

I still need to lose about 70 lbs, and by all reports this will be the toughest in the weight loss arena, because the easy weight has been worked off. But I am sticking to it.

So damn you diabetes....I win....damn you.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shameless Plea

So my dear friend put up a post about talk show hosts and their fame, and how they are famous for being tv hosts and how he wanted to have their job. (Run-on sentence complete)

He mentioned Pat Sajak.

Pat Sajak then commented on his blog. Or at least someone from Maryland who wanted him to believe that Pat Sajak commented on his blog.

This got me to thinking. Could I attract the famous people who are my "heroes" simply by writing about them? I don't know, but I know I must try. Famous ones reading this, I thank you in advance for your time.

Jessica Biel:

Ms. Biel, I have loved you for years. My friends mock me for my love, but I simply think you are great. I have seen your movies, even Summer Catch. When you auctioned a date with yourself, I seriously considered trying to raise the was for a good cause. However, I was only able to raise $10.73, and the winning bid was $30,000. I was close, oh, so close.

Bruce Willis:

I know that you are a busy man, so I won't waste your time with a list of things that make you more manly than any man on the planet, but it is long. It is my firm belief that any movie could be improved simply by having you in it. You are the man.

Salman Rushdie:

You are one of my favorite authors. Your book Midnight's Children is one I try to make all of my friends read. I would love to someday meet you and just listen to you tell stories. The way you weave history, fable, fantasy and fact make your creations stay alive in a reader's brain long after s/he has put down your book.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

As the first female Justice of the United States Supreme Court, I knew you had to be pretty cool. Then I saw you on The Daily Show. And you confirmed your coolness. Your intelligence and humor, as well as your drive to leave this country and world a better place than you found it was evident. I applaud your campaign to educate people about the government and judicial system which rules our country. I thank you for your service. I think you are a credit to Americans everywhere.

Norah Jones:

Ever since I first heard your album Come Away With Me I have scoured music stores for any and all music you have put out. I swear, you could read the phone book, and I would buy the album. Your smooth, wistful voice, which at times, like in the Little Willies album, can have a powerful edge to it, seems to invite the listener to sit down and relax, to partake in the joyous event that is your music. You are not just a singer or a performer, you are a musician. It seems to me that the music is a part of you.

Mike Rowe:

You know why you get the shout out. It isn't just Dirty Jobs. It isn't just Deadliest Catch. It is the fact that you are awesome. And cool. And that we all think that we know you just because we watch your shows. Way to be. Way to be.

And finally....

Frank White:

You have always been my favorite Royal. Growing up I always wanted to see you play when I came to the ball park. I am sadly too young to remember the 1985 World Series, but have seen highlights. Whenever people want to talk about that team, you are the first player that comes to my mind. I would love to someday shake your hand.

So that is all I have, my famous friends. Leave comments as you feel. C'mon, you know you want to. If Pat Sajak will do it, I know you will too.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gary Sinise, Words of Wisdom

This is an editorial written by Gary Sinise for CNN. I thought it held some great thoughts about our soldiers and our duty to them. I encourage you to read it.

(CNN) --
A while back, a friend of mine suggested that I take a look at a film that a buddy of his had made about his two brothers serving in Iraq.

Having spent some time there myself, I was eager to see it. Once I did, I wanted to do all I could to help the filmmakers find a distributor and get this wonderful film into the theaters.
I was honored to be asked to come on board as executive producer of the film, "Brothers at War," an honest and inside look at our military service members. It's told through the point of view of one brother who is in search of answers as to why his two younger brothers are serving in Iraq and what they and their families are doing during these long deployments.
I got involved with the film "Brothers at War" because I believe it shows a side of our military that is rarely seen. The call to duty that many of our military members share is depicted in the film through Isaac and Joe Rademacher.

They are the two brothers who Jake Rademacher, the filmmaker, travels to Iraq to see in order to experience for himself why they serve and what they are doing while deployed away from their families in this dangerous environment.

It makes me proud to know we have such men and women willing to give so much in defense of our nation.

I felt compelled to support this film because, on the many tours I have been on in support of our troops, I have met so many service members like the two Rademacher brothers in the film.
Isaac and Joe are military men. They are both called to serve their country and have endured great hardship. Yet they continue to serve and to serve honorably. And through them, Jake is introduced to other members of the service -- soldiers serving on the Syrian border and Marines training an Iraqi platoon.

Jake takes his camera into the middle of a firefight where the Iraqi troops are ambushed and fight back. This footage is unlike anything we have ever seen -- an Iraqi unit fighting back and standing up to a terrorist attack and the pride that their Marine mentors have in them. It is quite moving, and Jake Rademacher captures it all.

Several members of my family have served our country. My father, Robert, served in the Navy in the early 1950s. My Uncle Jack was a navigator on a B17 Flying Fortress during WWII. My Uncle Jerry served in the Pacific during WWII and my grandfather Daniel Sinise was in the Army in WWI.

My wife's two brothers served in Vietnam and my wife's sister served for 10 years in the Army. Her husband, Jack, served as a medic in Vietnam. While serving there he wore his dog tags on a rosary with a St. Christopher medal. I wore that same rosary and dog tags as my character, "Lt. Dan," in the movie "Forrest Gump."

I remember all too well what it was like for our returning military members during the Vietnam conflict. They were caught in the middle of a very divided nation and not only did they have to endure the scars of battle, but upon their return they also were spit on and shamed and ridiculed for their service.

Some decided to take off their uniforms in the airport bathrooms when they arrived home so as not to be identified with serving in Vietnam. We can never let that happen again to these men and women who serve this country. They should be able to wear their uniforms proudly. They fight and sacrifice in ways that very few of us can imagine.

Many years ago I got involved with Vietnam veteran support groups in the Chicago, Illinois, area. After September 11, 2001, once we started deploying our troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, I began a mission to let them know that they are supported and that there are people out there who are grateful for their service.

For over 35 years, we have had an all-volunteer military. This is a good thing. We want people to serve this country who want to be there and who do it of their own free will -- not because they are drafted and forced into it.

We are lucky we have such people. What would we do if no one wanted to serve to defend the freedoms we all enjoy? And so, I feel the need to do what I can to thank them for that service in order to help keep them strong in tough times. You would be amazed at what a simple thank you will do.

I have been to Iraq four times now, Afghanistan once, and many many other places as well, all to show support of our troops. My goal is always to cover as many miles as possible and to take pictures, sign autographs and shake hands with as many troops as I can in the time I have. Trips have included bases in Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain and in Iraq -- Al Asad, Al Qaim, Ramadi , Habbaniyah, TQ airbase, Mosul, Balad, Tikrit and Baghdad.

Over the last six years, I have traveled around the world and all over the United States with the USO to visit and perform with my band, The Lt. Dan band, for our troops. I have supported many grassroots troop support efforts as well, and visited our wounded in the hospitals several times. I could not be more honored to play a small part in helping our troops and their families. We can never do enough for our veterans who have sacrificed so much to keep this nation free.

But we can always try to do more.

It is my goal to continue to visit our troops, wherever they may serve. It is the least I can do for the men and women who continue to do so much for our country.

God bless America.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Damn Fridays

For a long time Fridays have been terrible days for me. It is horrible to say that, I know, but it is true. Fridays inevitably hold the most difficult tasks at work, the strangest bad luck falls my way, personal issues seem to come into play, and I am always just wanting the day to be over.

Usually I combat this day with two very awesome events. Friday lunch and Lotto Friday. Friday lunch is fairly easy to figure out....I go to lunch with every Friday. Usually with Ranger. Lotto Friday is held every Friday when either Ranger or myself, on alternate weeks, purchase anywhere from one to three scratch off lotto tickets. We then split any winnings. The largest we have won so far was $50. That was $25 a piece, and was spent wisely on movies (me) and a nerf gun (Ranger).

That is what I usually do. But today, Ranger was gone. Took the day off. I was alone. Here are some highlights of the day:

Boss sick.....move-in on me
Grandmother in hospital
Drunk resident kicks in his own door....then lies...we fought...only verbal
Sink broken,....two hours to fix because of age
Hurt hand....never punch a tree

Overall, not good. The drunk resident was a doosy. Had it not been for a fellow co-worker, I really might have punched him. But I was saved from my own temper by a very good man, who called later to make sure I was calmed and was not going to let this ruin my weekend.

I should have gone to lunch today, but was too busy with ridiculousness. And no Lotto Friday because Ranger was gone. I could have been $10,000 richer, and money solves all problems....right?

Anyway, Whine Fest Friday is over. Weekend, I love ya, lets have a ball.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

St. Patty's Day Quiz Results

The answers were:

1. New York City on March 17, 1762.
2. Church
3. Chicago, although Savannah claims to have been the first, in 1961
4. 1759
5. James Joyce, Thomas Moore, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde...there are more
6. No Irish need Apply
7. Ireland Forever
8. Blarney, County Cork
9. Green, White, Orange
10. Used by monks to hide gold from plundering Vikings

Bonus: There are 4 places in the United States named Shamrock. Mount Gay-Shamrock, W.Va., and Shamrock, TX, Shamrock Lakes, Ind., and Shamrock, OK.

The winner is.....Kristen! She answered 2.5 questions correctly, but recieved an extra point for flattery on the Irish Authors question. Grand total: 3.5

Second place goes to Karlie, who correctly answered 2 questions, but had actually kissed the Blarney stone, giving her a full bonus point. Grand total: 3

And last, but certainly not least: Miss Tiffany. She actually only answered one question correctly, but the combination of a sweet story for the monk tower, having actually seen Chicago's green waters, and complimenting the post gave her an extra point and a half. Grand total: 2.5

Thanks for playing!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Top o' the mornin to ya!

This day, this fine Spring day is one of my favorites. Not because of the excuse to drink Guinness....who needs an excuse? Not because you get to pinch people not wearing green....but I will pinch you. No, St. Patrick's Day is a favorite of mine because it is a day when everyone you meet is could life get better than that?

And now, some St. Patty's history:

Saint Patrick was not Irish by birth. He was in fact from Britain. As a teenager (16 I believe) he was kidnapped by Irish slave traders who took him back to Ireland. There we was enslaved for 6 years before he escaped and made his way back to Britain. In his writings he wrote about God speaking to him and telling him it was time to leave Ireland. He traveled 200 miles to the Irish coast and hopped a ship back home.

No sooner had he returned to his homeland than God began to call him back to Ireland, but this time to spread God's love. He spent at least fifteen years becoming a priest, and then back to Ireland he went. There he began to introduce a mostly pagan people to Christianity. He was a very smart and capable teacher, and he used the belief system already in place in Ireland to explain the wonder of God. He used bonfires at Easter, because they were already a large part of the Spring Equinox celebration. He is credited with the "invention" of the Celtic Cross, imposing the sun, a pagan symbol, onto the cross.

The man's life was fantastic. He left a legacy of love and God's power that still holds much of Ireland today. Even the stories that are most likely not absolutely true show the power of God he portrayed. There is a legend that he, using God's power, ordered all of the snakes in Ireland to cast themselves into the sea. And, there are no snakes in Ireland to this day. While he gets the credit for coming up with running the snakes out, it is God who receives the glory for having the power to do so. There is also a legend that St. Patrick used the Shamrock to describe the trinity (3 leaves connected as one). Historians can show no evidence of this, but it highlights his ability to use the land and customs that the Irish people were used to to explain the wonder of God to them.

So this St. Patrick's day, while you are toasting the Luck of the Irish, reflect a bit on the actual man, and what we can truly learn from him. He was a man who was abused, but rather than hold a grudge against the people who entrapped him, he used the experience to better serve God. He was a man who listened to God's voice. Hearing God say to leave Ireland could not have been that difficult to stomach, but then being called back? And away he went. But it took fifteen years to reach that goal. I am struggling with the thought that I may have to go to school for three years to go where God wants me. From St. Patrick we can learn that in serving the Lord we are on His time, not ours, and it may be better to be prepared to serve fully than to just rush into a situation "In the name of the Lord".

So go, drink you Guinness- I know I will-, but remember today who we are actually celebrating, and send up a toast to him, and a thanks to God.

And now, a St. Patty's day quiz. No Cheating by looking up answers or looking at others' responses!:

1. Where and what year was the first St. Patrick's Day Parade held?

2. Up until the 1970s, where could you find most Irish on St. Patrick's Day?

3. Which American city is famous for dying its river green every year on St. Patrick's Day?

4. What year was Guinness first brewed?

5. Name three famous Irish authors

6. Today, we love the Irish, but what famous sign might an Irishman looking for work have found hanging in windows on the east coast in the mid 1800s?

7. What does the phrase "Erin Go Bragh" mean?

8. Where is the Blarney Stone found?

9. Name the three colors on the Irish Flag

10. What was the tower in the picture below used for?

Bonus: Name the four states in the United States with towns that have Shamrock in their name.

Alrighty my friends, enjoy the day!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

LSAT Practice Test 1

I am now officially practicing for the LSAT. I have been studying for a short while, now I am practicing. The difference? I took a test. It was long. My brain hurts. Concentrating for that long a period of time makes me want to smack my head into a wall.


75 out of 100 questions answered correctly. 25 misses. Raw score: 160

Median score is 152.

I am in the approximate 82 percentile rating.

If I can answer ten more correctly, I will be in the 93rd percentile.

10 more people. Let's do this.

This time around I did not time myself "officially". Unofficially I only went over on one section.

The next practice test will be timed. Anybody want to come watch a movie on my 40'' flat screen blu-ray set up and administer a timed test? Offers on the table.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009


My brother was hurt that he had no featured pictures in the photo post, so here are some of him. Enjoy Sam.
Sam went through a phase where he had to have the world's longest belt.
Family defender

Happy baby
Happy grade schooler

Happy inventor

Purple Pride from early on
He loves me
So that is Sam.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fake Patty's Day

I love being an Irish-American. I feel closer to my Irish heritage than any of the other "origins" in my bloodlines. Ireland is a land of rich culture, fantastic people, compelling stories, and mystical mythology. It has born some of the world's greatest authors, artists, engineers, pastors, innovators and inventors. The Irish have mixed music and passion to create some of the world's most beautiful music.

I am also proud of my alma mater, Kansas State University. I believe that Kansas State students are some of the hardest working and most brilliant minds available. I believe that the faculty and administration at Kansas State University works hard to maintain a valued, safe, and inspiring community for its students to grow. It is with pride that I announce I am a Kansas State University Graduate.

Lastly, I love Manhattan, KS. It is a beautiful place to live. It provides the excitement of a college town, and the feel of a small town community. It is at the edge of the Flint Hills and home to the Konza Prairie, a special piece of God's beauty. It is a town I could live in for the rest of my life...if such a thing is possible for me.


When my town Manhattan mixes my Irish heritage and my Kansas State University students, mixes it up with cheap, skeezy beer and a day or drunken revelry and has the gall to call it Fake Patty's Day.....grrrr.

Fake Patty's Day, when the town smells of beer and vomit by sundown. Where idiots who have been drinking from 8am on decide around 3pm the best way to spend their time is to play chicken with oncoming traffic. When thousands of supposedly academic collegiates leave their homes to trash their bodies and the streets of this fair city.

Tomorrow morning there will be so many headaches in this town that stock in Tylenol will be worth 2 points more on Monday. Aggieville will look like the trash removal services in town got lazy and dumped their trucks in the streets. People will be waking up in houses they have never seen before, and many will be waking up in a cell, trying to remember which antic got them there.

I am all for drinking. I am all for celebrating Saint Patrick's day with a fine Irish beverage.

But creating a day that excuses people from acting with any sort of self control or decency in order to make a buck (because as we all know, on Saint Patrick's Day our student body will mostly be out in the world breaking in Spring), that is not working for me.

Using this day as an excuse to drink oneself into a stupor and yell obsenities to all passers-by....also not cool.

Fake Patty's Day, how I loathe thee.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Photo Fun

The Zorn Barber Shop in Texas

I am working on a project for my family. I am scanning in all of the pictures that I could find from my grandmother's vast photo collection, so that we will have them preserved. Here are a few that I have scanned that I find humorous or cool. Enjoy.

My dad knows how to party.

So does his friend Richard.
Grandpa Payne had a wicked cool beard
On the left, my grandma and grandpa
Whose idea was this picture?
And the scariest ancestor award goes to....
The 'rents in high school

Dad and parents' first dog

A Royals fam from the start.

And to finish, a very suprised baby John.
Well, hope you enjoyed. Now go look through your families old pictures. I can almost guarantee you will find some treasures.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Entertainment Rundown for the Weekend

This weekend was for the most part spent indulging in entertainment, be it cinematic or literary. Save for a short stint of work involving disposing of paint and some much needed shopping, I fed the mind. Items and thoughts follow:

Thursday Night: Some say the weekend starts on Friday eve....not in my world

King of King: A Fistful of Quarters

This is an amazing documentary. You may think that you don't care about video games, but you are wrong. One evening with these characters and you will be sucked in. My application to Twin Galaxies is currently being reviewed. Down with Billy Mitchell.

Friday Night: Feeling anti-social, time to catch up on my shows.

Criminal Minds
CSI: New York

That is the order I watched them in. CM was good, but not the best. Scrubs is always hilarious, except Todd Bosley. I am not a fan of Todd Bosley. It's personal. 24. Now that is a show that is picking up speed. I can't wait to see what happens on Monday.

Saturday Morning: Time for some humor.

Be Kind Rewind

Coop said it best. Very funny, but no wrap up. It left me feeling dissatisfied with my morning choice. The re-makes, however, were awesome.

Saturday Afternoon: Time to turn off the tube, and read a book.

Cross by James Patterson

In the brain candy department, this is a favorite. The series, starring Alex Cross, a street-smart and brain smart detective from Washington D.C., began with Along Came A Spider. I have followed it ever since. Does it change my world view? No. Does it relax my brain and let me have some fun. Yes. Is it about serial killers? Yes. Is it normal to "relax" while reading about serial killers? No.

Saturday Afternoon: Took time out for the K-State/KU game

It was an entertaining game, but I would have liked to see K-State win. I hate KU.

Saturday Evening: Some peeps came over, time for some culture

The Motorcycle Diaries

This is a favorite of mine. I had seen it before, but many (if not all) of the others had not. While it gives a very whimsical picture of Che Guevara's mid-twenties trip across South America, it is a beautiful story. On top of that, the cinematography is fantastic. The scenery as Guevara and Granado travel is breathtaking. It is enough to make a fella want to travel the world again.

Sunday Afternoon: My morning was my own. Mind your own business.


Monk was okay. Psych was grand. It spoofed Friday the 13th. And it showed on Friday the 13th. And it was hilarious. That show is brilliant.

Sunday Evening: Time for the reel thing. Haha. I went there. Reel thing. I am a genius.

The Strangers

After Psych, I knew I needed the real thing, so I grabbed one of my current Netflix movies and settled in for horror. I was somewhat impressed. It was a bit slow at first, and then traveled at break-neck speed through the end. Two big jumps for me, the rest was just good and creepy. Oh- and the "based on true events"? Well, if you believe Wikipedia, which I am hesitant to do, it was based on a series of break-in robberies in writer/director Bryan Bertino's home town. The killer profiles were influenced by Helter Skelter and the Manson murders. All in all, not a bad way to spend 1 hour and 26 minutes.

Born Into Brothels

I went in a completely different direction to end my entertainment weekend. I had never seen this film, and I must say, I was impressed. I felt that it did an excellent job of portraying the children without trying to play on their emotions to make the viewer connect. We did not have to see the children cry or tell us their horrible stories, we just had to look into their eyes, and listen to their responses about how their lives would turn out. And while some have said that this was a western propaganda movie showcasing India's problems and presenting the West as the only solution, I disagree. It was one woman's response to the pain she saw. She saw a problem, and she worked to fix it. And yes, that is a bit "western". We want to fix everything. That is how we roll, and it gets us into trouble. But I will take someone who acts first and fights hard to save a child over someone who wants to wait and see what will happen any day. So to those who think that solution must be thought over more, you are probably correct. But I will applaud those who move while you hash out the answer. Let me know when you are ready.

So that is the end. I have more movies to watch, more books to read. But I also need to get to Colorado, do some fishing, and hike the Konza. Perhaps soon I will have an "Active Weekend" to counteract my entertainment one.

Friday, February 13, 2009

There are many things in this life that I love. In fact, there are so many things that I have a strong desire to list them here.

However I won't. Not tonight.

Tonight I want to talk about a love of mine that is growing. With the proximity to V-Day, you might think that this will be a confession that there is a special lady out there that has stolen my heart.

Her name is....

But what I am really writing about is my growing love for two fine instruments.



And the

I have always appreciated these instruments. The ability of a piano to bring joy to any event astounds me, and I always watched with jealousy as friends who could play bellied up to the keyboard and pounded out a tune for all to appreciate. And I had a friend growing up who could play the violin very well, and I loved to listen to her. My great-grandfather could also play. He was a fiddler, and a damn fine one. I loved listening to him get out the fiddle and bow and knock out a tune.
But as late I have come to truly crave these two instruments' sounds. Perhaps it comes from listening to public radio. Perhaps it is because of the cd my friend Natarj gave me. Or perhaps it is just a time in my life where the value of these amazing instruments is starting to break through.
Whatever it is, I love it. I want more of it. I have begun looking up great performances on You Tube. I have one on right now.
They both speak to me differently, the piano and the violin.
The piano holds for me excitement. It seems to exude energy. Whether it is being used to liven up a dance hall or impress relatives, a piano being played immediately becomes the center of a room's attention. As fingers glide from key to key, it is as though entire stories are being told. The piano physically brings thoughts to life. The tales that a piano player can tell are endless, without ever opening his or her mouth, and I love it.
The violin is also full of energy, but for me, it is a smoother, more concentrated energy. It seems to envelope me in warmth. A violin, seems to draw me to it. it is as though all within the sound of its music are under its care. It ties the world around it to it as is smoothly caresses it with the haunting melodies that slip from its strings. While the piano livens a room, the violin seduces. It makes those listening want to feel the emotions coming forth purely to be on the same wavelength of the player, to be a part of the player's dream.

But I am "young" in my love for these instruments. I don't know who I want to listen to. I don't know who the greatest players of our time....or previous times...are. I know a few orchestra's, but I want to know who I should listen to, which composers, new and old.

Now, when my friend Luke posted about his love of sugar cookies, dozens of cookies suddenly appeared on his doorstep. While I do not expect classical music to suddenly appear at my door (or even better, an actual violinist...haha...that would rock) I do expect some input here. Who do ya'll love?

Who plays the best violin today? The best piano? Who is writing the best, most provocative music for these instruments?

Let me hear from ya.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Love Love Love Love Love

Today the negativity of the world began to encroach upon me. I awoke to discussions of troubles in Washington.

D.C. not the western state.

The stimulus issue was driving everyone crazy. Apparently the Democrats hate democracy and are lazy for just trying to apply a quick fix and the Republicans hate everyone who is poor...or maybe just everyone. Thus, we are supposed to hate them all.

This morning of bitterness left me thinking about the world I live in. Thinking about the anger and cynicism that abounds. Television shows, especially sitcoms, are fueled by angry people being funny. Songs are full of angry people plotting revenge on those who have wronged them. Movies are all about angry people getting even with their world.

The news highlights the evil in the world for 27 minutes and gives us three minutes of a local good deed.

Heck, this evening I even listened to a news piece about how a group of scientists is trying to keep other scientists from giving fun names to new genes found. Yup, you read right. I bet you didn't even know that some genes have fun names. Well go learn them fast because the joy killers want them renamed to sound professional.


As I pondered this angry world, I began to yearn for some love. And I decided that love has to start here. Not just here within me, but here within my community. I live in a community that is honestly very good at loving people. But I have decided we need more.

So I am issuing a challenge.

Find somebody to love. And no, I do not mean this in the formerly Jessica Biel, now Rosario Dawson, perhaps Freida Pinto, love that I have.

I mean really find someone in your world whose life you can change by loving them. This may be a co-worker. Or a classmate. Or a homeless man you pass on the street. Or a business exec you pass on the street.

Whoever it is, or if you don't have one in mind, start praying for a person to love. Unselfishly. Without reason. Just ask God to give you love to pour out. And together, let's see what that love can do.

I know, even as I write this, that it sounds a little cheesy. But I think it could be a cool experiment. In a world driven my anger, fear, and uncertainty, I think that introducing pure love is a radical move.

For me, I think, it may be a resident who is a single dad in one of my buildings. He busts his hump to provide for him and his son. I see him nearly everyday, and he is a really neat guy. And today, as I was thinking about this love experiment, he came to mind.

So I am going to pray for him. I am going to ask God to give me opportunities to show him love. I will not tell him he is a project or an experiment, because while the radical love idea somewhat is, loving a person is not. I just want to pour God's love into this guy's life, even if he never knows it is coming directly from me.

Well, you have your challenge. Find somebody to love. We all need somebody. Don't you want somebody to love? Sorry.

But seriously. Start looking in your life for who you can intentionally love on that you are not already loving. And see where God takes that love.

And of course, let us all know what He does.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dream a Little Dream

I am, if I do say so myself, the greatest dreamer I know.

In this case I must point out that I do not mean daydreaming or future dreaming, though I am well accopmlished at those as well.

What I am referring to here is nocturnal brain cinema. I have the craziest, wildest, most vibrant and active dreams of anyone I know.

I have dreamed that I was a knight, fighting for a lady's honor. I have dreamed that I was a spy, in danger of being caught. I have dreamed that I was a murderer, and no one knew. I have dreamed that I was a bank robber, and a damn fine one at that.

I have had dreams where I can run faster than any human, and dreams where I try and try to run but get nowhere. I have had dreams where I have lived forever, and dreams where I have died almost instantly.

I rarely fly in my dreams, but often fall, and land.....hard.

I had a reoccuring dream for many years. I was in a house, and no one knew who I really was. Then one night, at dinner, a stranger came looking for me. I ran out the back of the house and jumped in an old truck. When I got in the truck I fumbled to get the right key in the ignition. I always failed, and would be shot and killed while trying to get away.

Then, one night, as I ran from the house, I had an inter-dream lucidity moment and knew what I must do to get out of the dream. I found the correct key as I ran to the truck. When I jumped in, I started it and got away. For the first time in years of having that dream I moved on in it. Several more things happened, and the dream actually was rather disturbing after that, but I have never had it again.

Once I dreamed that I saved a good friend from a very dangerous foe using a claymore sword. It was awesome.

And one special night I dreamed about the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Indeed, she was the most beautiful woman ever to grace the earth. She was Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Aphrodite, and Jessica Biel all in one. And for the life of me I cannot remember a single thing about her. I know she was there, but her beauty was so grand my mind cannot recreate her.

I dream about people I know and people I don't. I always find it interesting when I see people I don't actually know in my dreams. It is fascinating to see what my mind creates.

Some people think dreams have hidden meaning, and I think that is probably true, though I never really try to delve into mine.

When they are disturbing, like my dreams last night, I pray for the Lord to clear my mind. When they are hilarious and odd, like my dream the night before last, I relish them and try to remember every detail.

What about you? Do you dream? What do you dream of? C'mon, tell us. Maybe you can claim my title of best dreamer....but I doubt it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Seth Childs, I am proud

Today, as I made all important work phone calls, I meanered over to Seth Childs Theater's page to see what movies were showing. Gran Torino is still out, which I need to see. Taken looks interesting, I will probably check it out, especially if anybody else is going. The third Underworld is showing, and having loved the first and tolerated the second, I will probably see it against my better judgement. And I should see Benjamin Button because of the Oscar prowess.

But the most exciting news is that SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is showing at Seth Childs now! I know, we are all excited. If you haven't seen it, and you live in Manhattan, let's go see it. Tonight. Maybe even this afternoon. (This is a test to see if my boss ever reads my blog)

So, now you know what I need to see. If one of these is beckoning you in for some hours of entertainment, call me, let's all go to the movies.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'd Rather Be....

It is currently 33 degrees Fahrenheit in my fair city. The wind chill makes it feel like 27...according to

Yesterday it was colder than today, and the day before that, even colder.

And yet, I have been carrying in my truck since last weekend a tool which aids me in my pursuit of my absolute favorite way to spend my calculator.

Just kidding. I hate math. I know some say it is great, that it has been the lynch-pin of civilization and that I could not be typing this without it. I still say the bad outweighs the good in the math world. Case and point, my sophomore year pre-calc teacher. Only something based in pure evil could produce such a man.....

But I digress.

I have been carrying around my fishing pole.

Yes, many say it is too cold. And they are probably right. But that is not going to stop me. The first chance I get, that line is going in the water.

I love to fish. When I was a kid, I used to dream about being a professional fisherman. Then I learned that they have to be super competitive and work hard to catch fish all of the time. That dream was destroyed. Because for me, fishing is not about catching fish.

And at times that is a good thing.

No, while catching fish is important, for me it is all about the act of fishing.

It is about choosing the spot.
Right over there is a tree hanging over the water. The fish will believe my lure came from the tree. No, maybe there where the land juts out, and I can get the most access to the water. No, there, where I can see an old submerged tree, that is where the bass will be hanging out. No, I am fishing for catfish, I need to find where the water is moving. Wait, there is a shady spot with plenty of space to sit, lay back, spread out, take a nap....if I were a fish, I would be there.

It is about choosing a lure.
Maybe because this one is your favorite spinner. Maybe because this water looks murky and the coloring might show up better. Or topwater is going to work better. Or because you dad loves rubber worms and you feel that you should actually learn how to use one some day. Or you believe that this lure is your lucky lure that you always catch fish with and actually once dove into the water to recover it from a tree it was snagged on.

It is about the casting.
Choosing the spot you want. Factoring for wind. Getting the right grip on the line. Releasing at just the moment. Deciding the lure is just as good where it landed, perhaps better than where you planned.

It is about the retrieval.
Bring it in slow. Bring it in fast. Let all the circles disappear before bringing it in. Reel for a moment and then let it rise. Then get mad/bored/loose sight of it and just bring it on quick to cast it back where you *#$%ing wanted it in the first place.

It is about the strike.
My dad has this ability to walk a rubber worm along the bottom of a pond and talk the fish into taking it. He starts with whispering. He becomes friends with fish, earns their trust. Then he urges. He encourages them to try the tasty morsel he has placed before them. Then he orders. Then he begs. I have seen this work dozens of times. Me, I like to make the fish think I am not expecting in any way for them to strike. "What, is that a lure I put in the water? Huh. Did not even notice. I was just looking at that beautiful cloud up in the sk- HA! Got ya! You thought I wasn't really fishing and that was not my bait, but it was! Haha! I wi- oh, nevermind...just a stick...."

But really, it is about the time spent disengaging. When you are sitting on the water, everything and nothing rushes through your mind at the same time. You can solve all of the world's problems, or try to decide if you like turkey or ham the most. You can wrestle with God, or you can think about Mickey Rourke in his acting comeback The Wrestler. You can contemplate the beauty of the world around you, or you can contemplate the beauty of the girl you wish was around you. And if you actually catch a fish, you can tell it what you have decided. It will be so desperate to get back where it can breathe, it will agree with whatever you say.

I can stay out fishing for hours, get lost in the day. Many a time have I headed out some sunny afternoon, or even morning, and had my papa or my brother come looking for me at dinner time. For me, it is a timeless activity that only has the constraints of others' schedules.

So why this post about fishing? I donno, I just really, really want to go.