Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 143

happy birthday johnny.

i worked today. outside. the landscaping project is coming along, but i am tired now.

tonight, for the youth group that parker's dad does at the house, parker and i did music. he played guitar and sang and i played piano. we all gathered in the living room and it went well.

time to read. then sleep.

Day 142

monday, september 29, 2008

i was ready to post up hours ago but i procrastinated. then my computer froze. then i forgot. now i missed monday, officially, according to blogger. oh well. this is for monday, even tho it's early tuesday morning.

after doing some work outside and showering tonight, i hopped on the computer and was kind of overwhelmed with the sudden rush of people that started chatting. still it's good to talk to people back home and from everywhere else around the world.

someone asked what my favorite part of these travels have been so far.

my beard. it's finally full.

i was just kidding, sort of, but i hadn't really thought about the 'favorites' of the past one-fourty-two.

- meeting hundreds of new friends from around the world is definitely at the top of this progressing list. liking them and being liked back.
- experiencing the life i'd been wanting to live in an area i'd been long desiring to visit is also up there on the list as well.
- the coolest thing in all this so far, i'm sure, is the way each leg of the journey has been slightly anticipated but miraculously presented. right now i'm living with willing friends of whom i did not know more than just over a month ago.
- visiting downtown seattle and portland and seeing places i'd read about and admired was sweet.
- finally viewing the big mountains, sometimes several in the same gaze, is a solid realization of the rhymed lines at the top of this blog site that had been written early in the spring.
- visiting several different churches and starting to get involved in college groups and helping with youth groups is sweet.
- finally using couchsurfing.com, both for a place to stay while in portland and as a networking tool for future work in fernie.
- i'm finding and pursuing a deeper desire and motivation for living right and working hard to get there that couldn't quite be achieved before.

as of this fall, i'm officially and finally able to look back a year from an achieved position of fulfilled musings and tracings left on that road atlas, now able to actually breathe the realization of their inspirations.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 141

i almost feel like there should be a second part to last night's post. here's a little extra.

we wandered around the clean streets and surprisingly tame night life of portland after i posted up last night. i went to a bookstore that don miller mentions frequenting in his books. i bought an awesome music book, a compilation of artist and film maker interviews about music and what it takes to get into the business, at powell's, the bookstore, for only a few, tax-free dollars. oregon has no tax, yet the prices are the same for everything as they are anywhere else. its wonderful. one dollar double-cheeseburgers mean one dollar.

from there went to one of the coffee shops, common ground, where miller talks about going to write books. while there, we found an entertainment publication and followed its leadings to a tea shop where there was a jazz band playing so we hit that up as well.

this morning we went to imago dei church, which also happened to conveniently be located only a couple miles from our couchsurf location. we went to two of their three services to get a perspective of the overall vibe of their flow. this church was the big reasons we'd come down to portland for the weekend. the church meets in a cool, old high school auditorium where vintage wooden stadium-style seats are anchored in straight, parallel lines to fill the floor of the tall maroonish room. the music and sermon were both relevant and interesting and, at the end of the first service, they ended with a banjo, violin, guitar, etc contemporary version of 'i'll fly away.' people all around were animated and, after the service, i went up to the music leader and introduced myself and we talked for a bit before i showed him my harmonica, the one that's always in my left pocket. i asked if i could play with them at the close of the next service we would be coming back to re-attend. the music was that good and i liked it, so i felt it didn't hurt to ask. they had some policy, he confessed, but he seemed willing enough to regret that i wouldn't be around next week so that we could practice something first. oh well. it really doesn't hurt to ask. i'm learning that in many, many ways this summer. little risks.

it's dark now and we're back at parker's house in washington after two nights exploring portland. we're both pretty tired, but i'm happy with the places, people, and things encountered this weekend.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 140

happy birthday dad.

deep blue skies and a warm sun made me rethink long pants today. i only brought pants with to portland, but there was no evidence of fall weather in air today.

there's a blue tarp that is pulled out for larger meals. the group of us sat on the floor, crosslegged because there isn't much furniture, and ate banana pancakes made by one of the girls next door. there's a trader joe's grocery and produce store across the street so i went to buy and supply maple syrup in appreciation for their hospitality when i head that there was none left in the kitchen. after pancakes and jack johnson in the background, we went two doors down and had some very good fried eggs with another group of friends. sharing.

parker and i wanted to see portland today and a couple of the people we're staying with, who are also new to the area although they now live here, came along as well. we drove to the top of a smaller mountain where, in the crispness of the day, we could see mnt saint helen, mnt adams, and mt rainier all in the same skyline. amazing. mnt hood is here as well, but we didn't see that until the way back.

now, tonight, after a dinner of salad, large chucks of olive bread, and cheese, i sit very content and looking forward to tomorrow.

Day 139

friday, september 26, 2008

i missed the post by an hour, but i'm in portland right now staying with people through couchsurfing.com. i didn't want to put that out there until it was a done deal, and now it is and they're cool people. there's a group of people living at an apartment complex that looks like a renovated motel in the south east part of the town.

in conversations and introductions we met chuck, twenty years old and moved here from minnesota. there are about five or six other people in the group, also mostly from minnesota, who are all in their early twenties and who joked about taking over the apartment complex, which they are well on their way on accomplishing.

out of nowhere, one guy started playing a third day song on the guitar and, although they gave no previous spiritual hints, he said he likes the song. this lead to further discussions and we've invited them all to church with us on sunday when we will attend imago dei. a couple are already have said yes and we discussed spirituality vs christianity in the later hours of the night. they have a strong community and, out of human kindness mostly, share everything they have with each other- including strangers like me and parker.

not a bad start for a 'random' couchsurfing encounter. we plan to stay two nights here with these people and they are very kind, generous, and interesting.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 138

i got some work in today before some rain came.

tonight, we went to the college group bible study at a house and parker had volunteered me to play guitar. it went well and, although there were only nine or ten, i was readily accepted and was comfortable with these people.

tomorrow, after some work, we're heading to portland for the weekend. plans include attending imago dei church where parker has messaged pastor and author rick mckinley in hopes to meet him and i plan on trying to meet don miller.

i'm not bringing my computer for the weekend. postings may become minimal for the next few days.

also, by the way, i've been working on editing many pictures of the summer and some of them will soon be available as limited edition posters on wallblank.com. coming soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 137

grey rain filtered from the sky as i woke up and made a bend in aluminum blinds. they snapped back into place and i continued to see that fall is all about the heavy drizzle here. no work outside today.

as i checked emails throughout today, i was surprised at the mass of personal messages. from real people. sent just to me. i've never had so many emails in one day that weren't just newsletters and subscriptions.

i don't know how to put it out there, but i want to. the whole canada work permit situation and ideas for direction has been on my mind much lately. with no real work to do and a quiet morning, i turned from the fridge and put back the last burger i'd eyed. for the first real time in my life, i've started a fast. i'd decided to commence last night and, after the confirming cheeseburger denial at breakfast, i spent the morning reading and praying and such about the future and next steps and life and people. this site helped me get started, as i was kind of new to the whole big picture. i'm a very hungry person, it should be known, and now with an hour left before midnight, i am almost finished with my first twenty-four hour fast.

throughout the day, i tried to stay off the computer and did a lot of reading and praying, but i did check back on a correspondence i'd started with someone in fernie. she'd talked to two employers for me and i have their email addresses now for contacting them directly for work. this was encouraging. also, i heard back from a speaker/magazine editor/teacher i'd met over the summer at camp and who, nearly out of the blue, shared "i do know that when you trust Christ entirely in each situation that you will end up in the exact place that He wants you to be regardless of where (geographically) that place is." good timing.

then tonight, parker and i went to help at the high school youth group. afterwards, we chilled with the youth pastor in his office and the guy gave us some cool books about prayer and sharing faith in everyday conversation we'd been looking and talking about. the david crowder book i'm currently reading that i'd linked in a post the other day is ironically based on the death of the pastor and author of that prayer book.

as much as stuff didn't happen today, much has happened indeed. and there are plenty of links to explore now if you so desire.

i've got one more solid hour left.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 136

i'm coming to a new crossroad. here's why.

in a few weeks, i'm headed back into canada to move in with five other guys into our house in fernie to live for the winter. that's the plan. it still is. i just need to get a work permit from canada upon entering and can do this either north of here or from the point by fernie. i do need a job confirmed in fernie first for a permit. i've sent some resumes and have been talking to a person on couchsurfing.com who lives in fernie and says she some work hookups and is talking to people for me, which is huge. couchsurfing.com people are usually really cool. this situation has been no exception. fernie is used to this kind of traffic- international young adults coming to work and live for a season in the town. i'm finding that it's a pretty popular thing and we have housing confirmed, which i've heard is the biggest part

if, for whatever reason, canada won't let me in or the work permit situation doesn't work out, i've been praying about the next step. portland is alive and well and ready as a backup. just the thought of natural citizenship and a cool place to be is a much more stress-free alternative. not to mention the realization of those late night road atlas moments.

i'm not making any changes in plans right now. i've been so blessed and confirmed in each step of this journey so far that i'm excited to see what will unfold, either way, in just over two weeks.

a man who owns a multi million dollar home and a bunch of assets was telling me today about how concerned he is about the economy. he explained some of the housing situation and the mess that it's caused for the market today and the people on the news couldn't stop talking about it either because it could turn even more serious. another guy from australia team was catching up and telling me about college life at texas a&m. the conversation eventually fell to money and time and life. everyone's feeling it.

for now, i've been doing some reading and continue to pray about these situations and futures as i continue to landscape outside in the bright and cooling weather.

i just thought i'd throw that entire update out there. hmmhm

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 135

clear skies and the open sun paled in the crisp cool of the breeze though the leaves. autumn is coming. a west coast fall. i like it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 134

there were nights when, after getting home from work at the sporting good store, i would sit in my front room 'office' and fold through the border's bargain road atlas i'd impulsively bought and plotted a path west to oregon.

this coming weekend, my friend and i are planning on going down to portland to visit a church called imago dei. don miller talks about it in a couple of his books and goes there himself.

today, this morning, we both went to his parent's church. i followed the scent of itchy perfume into the building to find that both the style of music and format of service compared to church back home in patterns of choir songs and overall style and flow.

a couple days ago, one of the guys from the australia team said hi after getting back from a conference. before he left, he shared a verse in encouragement.

church happens all the time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 133

rain today. the grey skies popped for a little this morning and i still went out to mow the lawn. i wore the north face rain jacket- the coffee sleeve still in the pocket. the rain stopped soon and there were some people who came over. parker's dad has a stone pizza oven from italy in the backyard and we made pizza. i even made one. bbq sauce instead of tomato sauce, then chicken, cheese, hard pepperoni and some bacon. it was amazing. since it was wet outside and overcast and there were people over, we didn't do much work today and it was nice to have a chill day after i'd worked so hard to get the mulching done before the first rain.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 132

there has been a lack of focus on this blog the past few days. i apologize for this. i've been putting in some extra work outside on the landscaping job because it's suppose to rain soon. most of the posts of the past couple days have come just after a shower or minutes before passing out for the night while fully clothed in jeans and a fresh tshirt. i've been doing that a lot lately- sleeping in pants because of weariness.

i've been talking to some fernie locals via couchsurfing.com and one person has offered help in finding some work. couchsurfing.com people are good.

during today's hours of sweating and riding the tractor up and down the steep hill to get loads of mulch, i thought about burgers. bbq burgers. to my delight, as i spent my last ounces of energy spreading one last load, my friend's dad, who's an awesome cook, asked from the porch if i wanted burgers tonight.

after a fulfilling dirty, i'm a good tired and contentedly full.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 131

the northwest is supposed to be rainy and dismal, but today was really the first full day of overcast skies that i've seen in since the beginning of the month when i came to the seattle area.

i remember the first days at camp on vancouver island when advance crew had just started rolling and i went to some coffee shop with some people i was just meeting. i still have the coffee cup sleeve from that day in the pocket of the red northface rain jacket i wore on the misty walk back to camp. i don't know why, it's just still there.

people from work were on my mind for some reason today. i talked to one work friend online tonight and he's still at the store and said he'd give regards to the same manager i had worked most with who is still working there as well. apparently a bunch of new people are employed now and my friend misses the good old days of when we knew everyone and carried some clout. such is life sometimes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 130

i skeptically browsed the bookshelves of a goodwill today and ended up finding the most solid popular music history progression book i've ever seen or heard of. a professor at wiu wrote it. although i expected a cheap and worthless artist bio or something when i first saw the title 'the beat goes on', i've found that the information and style comes at a perfect intersection of present taste and knowledge and ties together blues and the beatles and folk and their similarities and collective history.

a morning of work ended after parker and i went out to meet a local youth pastor for lunch. we went to his youth group tonight to kind of help out, even though it was one of their first meetings.

i had more that i was planning on saying tonight but as usually happens when a draft is started in the mind, i end up here with nothing organized or remembered.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 129

i rode a tractor for most of the afternoon today. actually it was more like a lawn mower with a trailer and i shoveled and hauled the dirt piles i'd accumulated from weeding the massive berm. this first one is about sixty yards long and about twenty feet high up a hill. once i finish hauling and mulching this one, there's the next one down and it's bigger and weedier.

i talked with a millionaire who openly discussed that, no matter how much stuff there is, there's never enough free cash to feel safe. in the stillness and peace of the lake and warm and sunny afternoon, i was surprised to hear anxious and yet strangely similar forecasts of typical income concerns. i'm not worried, just observant in this fact of life.

i've gotten to the point over this entire summer where living life doesn't seem to feel as much as an escape or leaving from something as much as has become a pursuit of the inspiration and possibilities ahead. there's a big difference in this.

part of this pursuit overwhelms me when i go to a bookstore, which hasn't happened in a few weeks, and stand before isles and isles of music and books i'll never get to hear or read. even tonight i feel it when people are showing me photo and video editing tutorials and i'm finding new books i want to read and movies to learn from or observe. the other night i went to the gym, there's a basketball/volleyball court in this house, to play guitar in the acoustics of wood floors and carpeted walls. music.

i'm trying hard to be ready for whatever it is that is next. if nothing else, i'll be happy in the rest of these things. that's gotta count for something, right?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 128

where to start.. sometimes so many good things happen and it's hard to know where to begin.

we went downtown seattle for the afternoon yesterday with jeremy. my ipod freaked out again and erased itself so i stopped by an apple store for my 'ipod appointment' i'd booked. my name was on the booking list on the tv and everything and in the end, the mac fellow gave up trying to fix the hopeless cause and gave me a brand new one.

the three of us wandered around the pike place market and i practiced photography. they throw fish around and chant and i saw them drop one. i was right there and have a good picture to prove it. i'll add it to the list of promised pictures sometime. blogger has been bugging when it comes to putting pics in posts lately so i'll try to get that worked out. i'm thinking of creating a photography website cause i haven't put hardly any pictures on this blog or facebook yet and i have some good ones.

anyways, the headless fish slid between the feet of an older man. everyone got excited and the animated, tattooed worker chuckled with the cluster. the whole market scene was really busy and i couldn't imagine having to do regular grocery shopping as open mouthed and fanny pack toting yuppies slowly grazed through the seafood and fresh flowers. we soon met up with parker's cousin, another jeremy, and crashed for the night at his apartment nearby. before this, i'd happen to wander into a chill looking coffee shop, cliche for seattle but who cares, and spent my last crumpled bills on a coffee. there was a piano on a makeshift stage towards the back and after the counter girl asked if i'd gotten any good pictures, i asked the brown smiling eyes about what it takes to get to play one night. after shuffling some papers and confirming some quick facts with another barista, she handed me a paper with booking info. i might look into that. the gig.

we woke up at 6am this morning, day 128, to get jeremy, the australian, back to the ferry. afterwards, parker and i drove back up to the deserted market. denizen unloaded flowers from trucks and i ordered a coffee in the original, very first starbucks. we were the only ones in the place at the moment, but apparently after nine a.m., you have to fight to get your stuff. i found the process quite peaceful and, actually, got a free coffee after the barista screwed up my order. free coffee from the most original and demanded place in the city. good start.

this energy lasted me the rest of the day. until right about now. we got back and i mowed the lawn and have been working on a landscaping project at this house for the last six hours. i've had some real food now and sit here, ready to continue to edit the hundreds of pictures of the seattle skyline at sunset and the market and everything else.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 127

in downtown seattle for the night. on an iphone. good day. more tomorrow. the streak alive.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day 126

mossy morning breath of mt. rainier ntl park pours through the sunroof and in from the open widows. our car weaves along the rising mountain paths and thick forest. the three of us are headed to the highest vehicle-accessible point of mt. rainer equipped with our respective canon hdv and dslr cameras.

crisp mountain air rushes down from the glaciers. i'm glad i wore jeans, even though the day was warm and cloudless. dozens of tourists in bright colors are easily distinguished from day tripping hikers in boots and mountain packs. senior citizens drift in cars, peering out from under plastic visors and goggle sunglasses.

steam, or some sort of smoke, is softly and noticeably present at the peak of the volcano. jeremy and i both mention it, but parker continues to dismiss this as a cloud- a cloud that doesn't move or become any less present as the day continues. i have one of the pictures on the top of the site right now. it might be hard to see cause of the letters, but i'll try to put some more pics up soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 125

6:30 a.m.

that's early for me.

groggy steam rises from the backyard lake and gold and red rays flood and chase the blur from the glassy surface.

we go to work for a few hours, laying and tying steel in another section of a driveway for the guest house being built next to a multi million dollar mansion. the man himself, the owner, is out in a grey polo held fast beneath stark blue jeans. he reminds me of the farmer from the movie babe, who says 'that'll do pig, that'll do' at the very end of the sheep herding competition or whatever, and he's holding some sort of mug. could it be a beatles mug, i quickly wonder, but do not stare because i am working.

for whatever reason, my mind wanders as i progress along the grid, twisting each intersection tight with a small, revolving metal hook and looped pieces of wire. i picture this guy coming up to me, randomly, and perhaps asking,"'what are you doing with your life son, because i have a lot of money and already have this house and don't know what to do with the rest." this didn't happen, it should be known, except in a small section on the tv screen of imagination. i just twist wire and he wanders the grounds, talking with the boss.

i would tell him that i'm living life. meeting people. pursuing inspiration. having adventure. earning money as i go. and finding a way that isn't grounded in forgotten perspectives or desperate circumstances.

i wonder what he would say to that as a drop of sweat falls and makes a trail down my dusty arm.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 124

he had a drawing of an ear tattooed on the inside of the forearm. this was at easy street records in downtown seattle where a plaid shirted worker was making recommendations to us in the local artists section. vinyls, both vintage and new releases, filled isles and isles of neat plywood shelves, which isn't as contradictory a description as may seem, along with thousands of cds and sections of music memorabilia. i had a beatles mug in my hand at one point, thinking of green tea and coffee and the times where i could use a good mug, but decided against trying to stuff one more thing into my already filled backpack. i have about a quarter of my belongings with me in washington. in a hiking backpack. the rest are in a duffle at a friend's in canada, waiting for the move to fernie.

before the record store, parker and i had picked up an australian friend from camp. the three of us chilled around seattle and at one point took some cool skyline pictures at a location where dozens of tripods and photographers were already at work. after hearing about some columbian coffee house, we drove a few blocks to visit el diablo, where i beat jeremy in checkers. twice. there was a good atmosphere and coffee and an all around good time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 123

more work outside today. i've come to enjoy weeding and raking while barefoot.


i've been compared
so people stare
secretly the secrets shared
that none are meant for me

the whistle sings
and all they bring
is the strife they put before the springs
of life they've dried and tossed in the sea. humanity.

crooked houses cannot make straight
the falling hammer on a metal plate
each looks at man, yet none are great
of life they've dented from made shiny

excuse my fist, it's no longer holy
righteousness rolled away on the king's most lowlies
anger's cry is no longer lovely
the crier's cries fall ever softly

so i punched the eyelids of their empty kind
he swallowed the tin whistle and killed the mastermind
now the common man, without his common grind
is sometimes extraordinary

but none of this is meant for me
they've dried up and tossed into the sea
the life they've dented from made shiny
now the crier's cries fall ever so softly

tears bubble and turn rusty


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Day 122

the days continue to be warm and sunny. we woke up early to do some steel tying work and then i spent the afternoon beginning a huge landscaping project. bare feet mingled with mulch and there are still a thousand tiny slivers still tingling in my fingers.

there are a few people from camp who are staying the night on their way back up to canada after their short roadtrip to america. its good fun and we had homemade stone oven baked pizza tonight.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day 121

today was weird, in a way. a friend from back home, in rockford, came through washington on his way to where i'd just come from on vancouver island. the most surreal moment in all this happened as i stood in a parking lot and gave eric final directions over the phone to the spot where we were meeting for lunch. soon, i could see the first familiar car that wasn't from here come into the lot and i was genuinely excited as worlds united.

i've been gone from 'home' for four months now, i think, but after this reuniting, i couldn't have been convinced either way that i was away from home or, had i been home, that this encounter and reuniting could have made me feel any different about where i was in life and time. comfortable in my own skin.

every detail of this summer and post summer arrangements and work have been fulfilled in such unique and inspiring ways. everything. the last week of camp, i had trouble sleeping at night because i didn't know where i was going for sure. i didn't know about temp work. i didn't know if i was brave enough to take this risk.

i'm starting to find that money is an issue for everyone. this moreso than the big picture of man and society and culture and obvious knowledge. i mean this in a way that makes me think differently about how criminals become criminals and how some very average people might make a choice in fear or desperation. not just crime, and i'm no where near this place if you're wondering, but since everything seems to so heavily revolve around money, i see these reactions and lives as similar- no matter what place in life they are.

i was stressed about money earlier this week because after camp, they would only give me travel reimbursement since the canadian government hadn't given me a work permit upon entrance and, as i tried to go back and get one, they wouldn't give me one because i was working for a non-salary, religious organization. i told camp to donate what else they wouldn't legally give to me to a specific homeless ministry in vancouver and also to supporting aids children in africa. either way, any donation was well appointed. thank you.

i've met many people living lives where, no matter their socioeconomic status, their lifestyle always seems to fall just short of the amount of money they have or think they need or whatever.

i've stood in the driveway of massive mansions and i've met and eaten with bums on the street this summer. there is more to this life for both people.

i'm finding that one big decision isn't going to make or break me. one big decision probably shouldn't do that, really, except for maybe salvation. steps matter, for sure, and so far each one has seemed to be guided and successful and i'm very grateful for this, and in this stressing to continue without money ruling the relationship of life and living it. simplify. if you don't have enough something, you have too much something else.

six months ago, i created two lists. 'i am' and 'i would' each respectively summed up the evaluations of my current perspective and life and also visualized hopes of what life would be like when it was lived properly. here are a couple examples, and i share these in encouragement to create your own.

'i am'

i am tired
i am happy to be alive
i am clipped-winged
i am not at ease

i am looking to take a risk
i am willing to start over
i am looking for a permanent perspective. vision.
i am scared to death that it all will fall apart for good (and maybe that i would decide that that would be okay)

'i would'

i would take advantage of the knowledge of those around me
invest more in those around me
build a new kind of life
make more music
make more, new friends
i would risk

all this is changing and moving for the better.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Day 120

work. church. concert. drumstick.

the first two happened in the morning. we woke up early to put a coat of paint before cleaning up and going to church. by the time the service had ended, it felt like it was five oclock. the church was cool, kind of modernish and met in a high school.

from there we headed into seattle, passing more weird roads like 'puyallup', for the tristan prettyman, john butler trio, and g.love and special sauce concert. the clear, warm afternoon rolled into a balmy darkness. perfect weather for an outdoor evening show.

tristan, a girl with a poppy jazzish voice, went first and, on our way out at the end of the night, parker and i met the others in her band, the two dudes who play drums and bass.

the john butler trio is from australia. their rockish, bluesy, reggae mix and wide variety of rhythms and beats was incredible. they were the most inspiring and talented display of music and skill i've ever seen. death cab was good last week and over the past week, i've really come to appreciate dcfc's unique sound based on listening to their bass lines, but the jbt was stellar. if you want an idea of what i mean about why tonight was so awesome, check out OCEAN. john butler played this for about six minutes. at the end of the set, one of the used drumsticks were tossed and fell just out of my reach. we were standing in the front of the crowd about ten feet from the musicians' feet. a security guard stood between the gap of the stage and the crowd and handed the stick up to me through the stretching and twitching grabs of everyone else along the front row. the stick has the drummer's sig on it and is filled with nicks and nacks of rhythm and performance splendor.

g.love and his band was a weird combo of blues and hip hop. he played guitar with a harmonica on the neck and broke into raps halfway through songs. i don't know how i felt about this because it all seemed showy and not flowing from musical inspiration like the others had. if i want to relive their songs, i guess i could because i snagged the set list that was taped on the floor of the stage for their set. another security guard hooked me up on that. i don't know how i got so lucky in such a huge concert.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Day 119

a coast guard boat floated in the ocean waters past the backyard. i noticed it the whole morning as i laid, cut, tied, and raised steel in preparation for pouring a back patio. the overcast skies broke just as i wrapped up at lunch time.

we finished the afternoon masking and spray painting too.

parker and i are going to a concert tomorrow. g. love and special sauce. don't let the name lead you to ideas of poor rapping and ghetto hip hop.

they have sweet harmonica.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Day 118

i woke up from a nap a while ago. before that, 6:30 am was the earliest i'd been up this whole summer. i think that's why i liked video and media so much- work late and sleep a little longer in the morning.

i feel comfortable in my own skin. i might have said that before, but i'll explain it more in a second.

our group of us guys from camp, who have since all split up for the next couple months across canada and the pacific northwest, got approved for the house in fernie that we'd been working on getting the entire summer. i don't know what we'd do if this house hadn't worked out. good work tyler. he's our band manager cause in the group of an american, two new zealanders, and an australian, he wrote and called the right people in canada to make it work.

since camp just ended and the couple hundred staff emptied out back across north america, there's always a bunch of friends popping up on the sketchy facebook chat. most everyone is back home, in school or career, and it seems that they find themselves suddenly looking forward to the end of what they've just begun.

i am twenty. there's been surprised people who think that that's young and others who've thought it old. it is what it is. this morning as daybreak sparkled in early morning mist, i hauled and spread gravel at a site and paused to wipe sweat and to acknowledge the distant mountains, rising above the horizon of the water. 'man, here i am. if i could have seen a year ago that i'd actually get to go to the west coast and live and work and make a bunch of new friends, i wouldn't have had the first idea of how to start. thank you God, this is good.'

don't follow the crowd.
make friends and get involved in communal websites like facebook, couchsurfing, craigslist, etc.
learn as much as you can in your spare time.
don't be afraid of the man, but don't blindly work for him either. corporate retail. cough.. cough...
take school for what it's worth, but don't take it as the entire source of information and perspective.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Day 117

i am trying something new. hard as it is to switch, i think this decision refreshes both word and process and thinking ability. i am speaking in present tense.

here we go.

there's a late afternoon light shining off the lake and through the blinds behind this bed. i stumble out to the hall and the two of us drive to the up and coming house to work. we continue to mask paper and tape along the doors and trim and windows in preparation for painting. the tape runs out so the project is paused and we meet parker's dad at home depot for pickup and a quick lunch at costco.

work is good.

i make a quick decision and go to a bank of america. inside, i wait in the chair and watch an employee, a middle aged lady in a purple blouse, nod her head and answer questions of her current client. she has a strong gaze and i imagine that this, along with her steady flow of words, is either a result of many years on the job or a small set of cue cards on the brim of the bearded fellows hat.

she finishes and greets me by name. i've just driven back to the bank after setting up an appointment and dropping of parker at his appointment nearby. she is kind and i feel that same intenseness firsthand from this side of the glass. several minutes later, i exchange and deposit some canadian currency and am on my way with a new account.

mount rainer dominates the clear afternoon sky. roads with the names such as 'youwood' and 'thatsnough' road flash past amidst tall trees and forests. there's a bible study we're headed to at a house along the waterfront facing the mountain. i'm introduced to a new group of people around a platter of crackers and meat, cheese, and salmon, and we watch and discuss a documentary about miracles and healing evidence and prayer and children. gold dust and gold teeth. jewels and restored hearing to strangers.

another interesting day. i may have some good news to deliver tomorrow.

that information will have to be anticipated in future tense for now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Day 116

woke up today and went to work. my friend and his dad are building a house and i helped with preparing the trim for painting by putting down tape and paper along the windows and floors. it felt really good to work. i was surprised, a little, to find such satisfaction and joy in this, but everything is looking good.

after this, we took brendan back to the ferry so he could get back to camp. on the way back, we met up with one of parker's friends and we went to get pizza in downtown tacoma. the city changes from block to block-ghetto, suburbish, ghetto, suburbish. interesting. the pizza was great. also, we got wind that there was a seven eleven that stocked arizona sweet tea. this had been an impossible commodity to come by in canadia. we found some. awesome.

i saw mt rainer today. very nice.

i'm starting to find it harder to keep up on posting. good things are happening though.

i've been editing several hundred pictures from the last few weeks. they'll start making appearances here and on facebook soon.

thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Day 115

for the first time in months, i slept in. actually, both parker and i slept til 2 p.m. exactly. brendan woke up a few hours earlier.

we went out to the backyard and gassed up the boat and got the wakeboard. brendan drove the boat and parker shredded across the lake. i started to learn but mostly got pulled and then thrown into the wake each time i was ready and in floating position.

after riding around the afternoon, we went back up to have thick ribs lathered in a special bbq sauce for dinner. parker's dad is an awesome cook. they have an ice cream machine with a root beet tap next to it on the back deck. we all sat on the porch and had an awesome time.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Day 114

after years of yearning, the wait is over.

the seattle skyline rose under rolling grey clouds.

the needle, petite and reserved, waited at the left side of the horizon. bulky and dark buildings of men formed a line, all waiting, it seemed, for their turn for a chance to win the heart of the white princess of seattle if she would happen to turn her face back from a quiet gaze across the puget sound. i never once saw her flinch.

the bumbershoot festival, based at and around the base of the needle, drew masses of people, most of which were distracting and interesting and unlike any that i'd ever seen in person. death cab for cutie wasn't until nine p.m. and we rolled in at eleven a.m. to guarantee tickets to the main stage, so we wandered around checking out the rest of the festival.

white cups gleefully bobbed in the fists of thousands of coffee sippers. the green lady with parted hair was everywhere and i wondered for a moment who's picture the starbucks logo was inspired by. she is everywhere, now, whoever she is. especially this morning in seattle.

extremists and radical hippies carried signature clipboards and posterboard signs amidst the crowd. before a part of the film festival, a staff member stood before the crowd to introduce the indie films and gave a plug for another organization where we should help cover up our carbon footprint for driving that day. the streets were noticeably clean, even in a carnival of thousands of pedestrians, white food tents, and traffic controlling fences.

paramore drew a large emo rocker crowd. not the best fit for a midday show, but satisfying enough.

we stumbled upon a stage, one of about seven that were filled with music throughout the day, that had a delicate and pretty native american girl. she sang songs about ferns and water and fire and wild grass. her voice and hollowed echoing resonation accompanied her dark hair and strange modern charm.

starbucks and clif bar booths presented tiny samples to the crowd and we stopped back several times in between walking to different stages and theaters.

we went back to the main stage to secure the closest position towards the front as we could without being in the extra-special section right below the stage. under the glow of the looming space needle, hippies and emos and musicians and everyone else stood in the warm, clear summer night to shed their summer skin on this labor day and last night of the festival.