Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 354

the morning has exploded into cloudless blues and vivid greens. someone's mowing the lawn and the cool air carries the scent on golden gusts to the center grass of the roundabouts where people are scattered reading or sleeping or playing with their dog.

cole and i hopped on bikes to go to the grocery store. this trader joes in the southeast neighborhood of portland is the very one across the street from my friends from last fall. remember that? here is yet another cool little connection of old and new people and places.

i'm not sure i tell you about the trouble i get into every once in a while. it's nothing serious and things have always worked out, but there are some side affects to traveling and living without a cell phone. i've embraced and enjoyed it so far, but there are times when i find myself 'up a creek and without a paddle' as today's gas station employee suggested.

it happened before in vancouver when tyler's number was a digit off in my notepad and he wasn't in the phonebook and i had to research maps and memories to hitch back. it happened in seattle last week when the pay phones wouldn't dial parker's cell number and it took forty minutes of store hopping to be granted a phone call to plan our reuniting before the noah concert. and it happened again today when my bike's rear wheel stopped turning altogether because of some broken hub and cole and i were separated. i hopped on a bus and offered my total of twenty-seven cents to which the driver casually accepted. the gas station couldn't call cole's long distance, california cell number and only after visiting a diner a few blocks down did i place the call. the waitress had told me to pick a seat and i asked about the phone. i told her i'd try to make it back some other time for food.

these events aren't too serious at all but they make me realize that having a working phone and my own car back home at such a young age was really an incredible privilege. i don't think i ever would have seen those two things in this way before.

but my bike wheel was toast and i spent the rest of the trip under an aluminum-crucifix plod. on the walk back to the house, though, i found i was perfectly happy. there was fresh air and sun and this new place. i don't know how to explain the following other than by saying that i've found it to be exponentially (big word) satisfying to consciously 'give'- and that's where i mean i can't explain it- these moments and feelings of contentment or unbridled happiness or inspiration to God, or at least let him know that i'm thankful for them and that i'm trying to relate them back.

and as i walked the sidewalk under the blossoming trees i mulled over the comment of a friend who had said that they thought i had done more with a year than anyone else they know. that meant a lot and today, with the bike across my back, i thought about the past near year in total and the continually intersecting paths and friends and clutch earning opportunities and although i don't have an impressive amount of money, i have enough coin to survive and to start paying back my parents. and if it's a parent's goal to see their kid happy and successful wherever they're at then i hope that the context of the past three fifty-four days lends these daily, last minute posts for the telling and finding all this kind of adventure and learning and happiness and growth that i never imagined could happen in a life. it's almost become a flexible, pseudo self-support lifestyle of its own that, in its own concentrated genre, i would guess to be as exciting and rewarding than if i had never left illinois and had just plowed through another year of college and future planning and retail working.

for all this i am thankful. and in these ways and in the closing line i want to here acknowledge Jesus as my trust and director of paths.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day 353

hey, remember last week when we went to the noah gundersen show and got to sing onstage? these people did. check the second picture and the guy directly next to noah gundersen.

lately i've been all over the place with words that get strung and tossed night after night on this blog. sometimes i really want to tell more of a story or give details for other things but that hasn't happening too much lately. other times i just mirror a few actions and steps and places. for instance some recent conversations with people and friends back home have been really inspiring and more than complementing. thanks for that. it's cool to be able to share vibes on life through the different kinds we have been living. i wish the whole scene could be shared.

but i'm glad to be getting a groove in portland. there are so many past places now that have become familiar and even more people who have become like floating third and fourth and seventeenth homes.

if you're in the greater chicago area i have some great news for you. noah gundersen is playing one show at north park university. no joke. he only really plays the pacific northwest but he's got a connection there. tomorrow night (thursday) at 7:30 at anderson chapel. a friend from home is going to be there and these small connecting factors are just another of the many that have been alive and growing during all this.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 352

flowers. blossoms. moss. humidity. rain. damp wood. pavement. grass.

these are the smells of an overcast and rainy portland afternoon.

so get this. i'm back at palios coffee sitting by the window. there's at least seven other people a glance away doing the same. wait, i can count six. and we're all here being really quiet except for our little taps and clicks. i just moved to a table where an older gentleman had claimed one of the only existing power outlets left in this establishment but he's willing to share the space. i'd just checked the back rooms but it's too awkward to bend near others' tables to see if they're near a power source. there's another dozen back there and nobody looks up.

i was making headway into a few borrowed books when the rain suddenly stopped so i hurried back to the house to grab my bike before the sunshine disappeared again. i got directions from parker and headed solo into the streams of traffic for downtown. after a stop at the buffalo clothes exchange and an hour or so reading other books at powell's on burnside, i unlocked the bike and headed with traffic to wander around the north face store and to whole foods for the classic banana lunch. 'earth bananas, man,' i answered the cashier when he asked if these were from the organic, fair trade, or regular earth category.

tonight is poker night at the house. in the end it came down to me and andy after the other four had been eliminated. we laid our cards down to to the luck of the draw so that the game didn't have to go too long. his cards won, i guess, even though we were both ready for the rewardless game to be over.

finally, the middle roof is a sweet place to chill and the overhanging top eve provides shelters from the rain. both parker's bedroom windows open to this little area and i've found another sweet place to chill during the afternoon. some of the passing cars and bikes on the street below and honk or wave acknowledgments.

edit addition: we just went out searching for food and i knocked on the doors of a dominoes at eight minutes past midnight. turns out they did have extra and hooked us up with a hot box of deep dish. i love this place.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day 351

the shriek of the stiff wooden stairs blends in with the other groans of this old house and with the howls of nearby trains. heavy sleeping habits overwrite any permanent distraction and only does the sharp noon sun raise my awareness to notice a housemate coming down to wish everyone good morning. i got up from my makeshift yet comfortable bed on the couch. about an hour later parker and i are leaving the house on our bikes for my first official day as a temporary resident of oregon.

riding a bike in this town is just as efficient, if not better than, a car. it was only a few minutes until we'd crossed the river into downtown and pulled off at stumptown coffee. most everyone inside had a beanie perched like hipster yamakas atop their exposed foreheads. below the neck hang cardigan sweaters and most of these people are hunched over computers as they bang away without breaking eye contact with the screen. i wonder what they're working on as parker and i walk outside to a table on the sidewalk near our bikes.

also, it seems that a semi-beard is just as popular as any kind of full beard. maybe i'm looking too hard at these people, but most guys seem to dexterously manage a heavy five o'clock shadow without an all-out commitment to the lumberjack groove.

still, the coffee here is tops and these bikes are a good idea and i've adjusted to the road bike hunch. there are no mountains inside this city. parker continued to give me the tour and we pedaled in between cars and along the bike lane while keeping constant watch for the potentially devastating tram car grooves.

powell's is, i think, the world's biggest independent bookstore. there are different color-coded levels and we spent a good chunk of time wandering the warehouse of pale, wood shelves. there's a bob dylan scrapbook that i'd always seen for forty-five dollars. they had one for fifteen bones. and no sales tax. needless to say i bought it. and here again begins the impulsive purchasing of books.
after leaving the bookstore and riding the tram and walking around we chilled in a starbucks where one of parker's friends hooked us up with some free coffee. the imago dei college group was meeting at a house across the street in an hour and i explored the pockets and articles of dylan book and parker read the other one i'd bought. here's where i hope i start remembering more details about the night.

i was surprised how crowded the house was. luke and levi live there and seem to be either finishing up some sort of school or are working and i guess they're about five years older than i am. maybe twenty five people are scattered between the kitchen and living room and hallways. a row of bikes hang from one of the walls.

we watched a rob bell video called bullhorn where bell asks his christian viewers to stop using bullhorns on street corners to try to tell people about Jesus and hell and heaven and repenting and sin. he says that christians should focus on acts of love instead of announcing judgement through abrasive messages for repentance.

so we have group discussions and a surprising few seemed to believe that loving people is more important than having the name of Jesus being involved and acknowledged as the bottom line motive. they called it avoiding having an agenda. i told the story from the weekend about the guy chris and what he'd said when i asked him why he feeds the homeless and works charity. Jesus wasn't a factor for him and he does what he does just to help and love others, so do chris' actions parallel that of a christian who, some believed, should love for loves sake and not necessarily include the name of Jesus, even if it was in some minor presentation? some of the same earlier people answered that since God is love then anyone, anywhere can do something and have it involve Jesus without having to put him into the equation. i wondered back, then, what was the difference about letting people know then that what you've done for them is both out of love for Jesus and for that person, since it's all supposedly connected anyways by whoever does whatever in the name of love. several others agreed that this was indeed our responsibilities as christians.

i'm not making any judgement calls here. the small group tonight was really interesting and i'm glad to have met people who love Jesus and are the same age as me. still, i'm interested to see how things unfold further.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 350

i feel there needs to be mention of this morning's church and second consecutive afternoon feast cookout. this time a new group of friends gathered at the gohricks and ken somehow managed to produce another batch of gourmet speciality, oven stone pizzas. the sun was out and the low lawn held cut lines and a green smell and there were hammocks and talking and chilling. dozens of fishing boats bobbed in the backyard lake in celebration of opening season.

over lunch i met a musician who'd impressed me this morning at church and he told me about his professional career in various symphonies and bands around the states. his shiny, round forehead and long white beard and laugh were as jolly as santa. i guess mostly just his personality would have been jolly, but he told me stories about music and traveling and then said that when he reached the age of thirty or so he started to get tired of the moving around and constant uprooting of the adventurous life. he told me to enjoy it while i can. and i am.

i'm especially excited right now because i'm sitting in portland, oregon, at a coffee shop often cited by writer don miller as one of his favorite places to write his books. and i can see why. the place is big but not wide and single sections of tables and chairs border the windows. there are dozens of college students hunched with computers in the dim, yellow light and i'm really just happy to be here. i don't even think i'll be able to read my book here tonight. can't concentrate.

parker's house is only a five minute walk from this place but i think i got here in four. a full moon is cloaked in mist above downtown and patches of sky and moonlight hang a heavy blue between the branches of trees on these neighborhood sidewalks and streets. the air is warm and smells like flowers; i think tulips are popular here. several flashing cyclers whizz past on the asphalt and through shadows and past parked cars.

parker is experiencing his own community and renting experience, maybe somewhat like my fernie, and he's invited me to stay for a bit. the guys he lives with all seem cool so far and most of us had hung out over the weekend while riding bikes and going to the concert in seattle.

it's ten p.m. and palio doesn't close for another hour. i'm so stoked to be here right now. just over a year ago i'd bought a discounted road atlas from a borders bookstore in illinois and had reviewed and explored what highways would bring me from rockford to portland. i'd spent weeks looking for rooms for rent in the shared houses section on craigslist. i'd even talked to the manager at my sporting goods store and he said that a transfer to the new portland store could definitely happen. that was back in march 2008 and still it somehow didn't make sense then.

and i'm not saying that just because i'm here right now that an omnipotent understanding has suddenly arrived. to be honest, i've stopped looking back on the past 350 days as a lump sum and have grown to value each step and day and relationship and risk and success and failure and opportunity.

so tonight from edge of 16th and next to the massive roundabout circle outside the window i want to tell you that i'm stoked to be here for the next month. my new musician friend up north had asked me what i would do if i could do anything for the rest of my life. i told him i'd play music and write non-fiction books and do photography in whatever ministry or cause would be appropriate.

so here i am in portland for the next few weeks. then there's a reunion with some fernie and montana friends at the sasquatch music festival in eastern washington. and then to illinois.

and by then who knows what will have happened.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Day 349

we left downtown seattle this afternoon for parker's parents house at the lake. ken was having his big party for the business partners from their international trout lodge company and the air was thick with the sweetness of bbq ribs and stone oven pizza. the slushy and soft serve ice cream machines were running. the popcorn was ready. we helped to prepare what food we could and then mingled and most everyone of the men thought i was parker and kept telling me how much i've grown and that i was hairier than they remembered.

after everyone had gone home parker brought the karaoke machine out and the family and cole and i sat around and they sang and i played piano along to some of the songs.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day 348

everyone's coming back to the apartment and i've got a couple seconds to dump a couple things out before concentration slides away. i'll come back before tomorrow's post to edit and put some links in for the organizations and musicians mentioned below.

we rode road bikes today all around seattle. everywhere. our adventure started near the seattle pacific university campus where we met indie musician noah gundersen for lunch. he had a show tonight on campus with david bazan (pedro the lion, headphones, etc) that we'd all be back for.

as is usual, i later split off from the group and locked my borrowed bike in front of a borders. finally an american bookstore. i would like nothing more than to one day have a chill place where i can have my own library of books and music and instruments. anyways, while wandering the sunny streets of the pike place market i ran into a new friend, chris, who i'd met a few hours earlier and who was a friend of parkers. he works for the charity children international and we got to know each other a bit on the street corner of pine and first. chris looks just like one of my baseball teammates from rock valley college except he has piercings of bone particles in his ear. i asked him why he does what he does and why he walks downtown and asks people to sponsor children for twenty dollars a month. he'd already tried to get me and i changed subjects.

his reasons were non spiritual and elementally human: contentment and the feeling of helping. the explanation was cut short by a homeless girl. "man, she would be so beautiful if she could kick her habit and get a shower. i can just see her walking the streets in a sundress and maybe a little bit of make up and enjoying her day instead of sitting and begging on the corner to aid her fix." chris and i walked across the street and he bought her a piece of pizza. after handing it over and him saying that he knows and wants to identify with these 'bum' friends, we saw the girl tearing her pizza in half to share with another bum across the street. a beautiful moment. i saw another homeless man drinking the last sips from a drink he scooped from the garbage. ten feet away from him were the shopping middle class husbands and wives and families. on the other side of this were luxury cars and shiny rims roaring over the downtown cobblestone. and nobody seemed to notice either of the others within their thirty foot radius. all these things connected in my mind and i agreed to sponsor a child and picked a boy in mexico because i'd been there a couple times before.

there was an awesome three piece bluegrass band outside the original starbucks and i leaned against a light pole for fifteen minutes. i was glad i had no backpack and didn't feel like a tourist during my wandering laps through the crowds of families and foreigners and shoppers. pike place market.

i rode along with traffic to meet back up with the other guys and we headed back to campus for the show. we chilled with noah backstage and the group of us took a walk around campus. we didn't even have to worry about seats cause we were all given reserved 4th row seats with him. awesome. before noah went up he asked four of us if we wanted to come on stage for part of the singalong for the last song. yes, that would be sweet.

the room was two hundred plus packed and when we got our cue we ran onto the stage to sing the melody. it was great. then the lights dimmed and david bazan clawed his acoustic guitar and thanked us for coming to see an 'old guy singing old songs.' his tone was milk and honey and the whole room was motionless for every tune. in between songs he'd interact and would answer any questions. at the end he told everyone to ''be sweet to each other if they really believe what the Bible says.''

dick's is a fast food, outdoor burger joint that hasn't changed prices in fifty-five years of business. that's incredible on so many levels and the high school kids in orange uniforms that work on the other side of the glass move so quick that it's almost unsettling to think that they're doing it for me. but the food is good and incredibly cheap and is also tonight's last reason to love seattle.

that's a quick summary. bikes, seattle, coffee, books, musicians, friends, homeless, charities, good people, food, and a somehow privileged life and journey. i'm so happy and so thankful to be alive.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 347

i think i have a normal sleep schedule. that's cool.

there's a big cookout at the house this weekend for ken's fellow partners of their trout farming business. i finished a big part of the berm yesterday and today started washing down the lawn furniture to help with preparation. we stained the deck at the job site too, finally, which was clutch because the sun and the waves of the boat wakes were both distant enough for the first coat to get done entirely. working with parker's dad ken has been really cool. our conversations have been pretty meaningful lately and it's cool to get some wisdom from a man like him. at the end of all this and after changing out of the stain-wreaked socks and jeans i finally met up with parker who was driving up from portland to pick me up on the way to seattle.

the downtown skyline was familiar and i found i was stoked to be approaching the night glow of safeco field and the needle and of the memories of last fall. music, places, etc.

parker, his friend cole from portland, and i are here for most of the weekend. there's a tiny diner by jeremy, parker's cousin, and after a long work day i got a most satisfying burger and a few cups of coffee. the waitress looked like clementine from 'eternal sunshine of the spotless mind' and there were hundreds if not thousands of pictures drawn on the walls by customers. an eclectic greasy spoon.

i think the most exciting part about being back in downtown seattle is that it's now at the forefront of this adventure. last fall it had fallen under the shadow of fernie plans and of winter but it's spring here and the night air is warm and mild and after a day of work and some good food and friends i find that i'm especially content and happy to be alive here.

by the way there's a new one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 346

my sleep schedule is finally normalized. today was the second day getting up at six thirty a.m. for work. it rained though and we couldn't complete staining the deck near mount rainier so i worked on the massive landscaping project around the house for seven solid hours. it's earth day i guess and i happened to be working the earth. i like the smell.

i had an idea earlier while working in the dirt and i've started formulating it into text. be expecting something kind of cool in the next few whiles as you'll probably be included in it. i might save it for one of the final posts, whenever that is, but i haven't decided. depends on how it comes along.

now i'm tired by ten o'clock and am ready to put my sore body to bed in preparation for another early one tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 345

special days have have appeared in different adventures and inspirations and relationships and today was one of the more cool kinds of them that i can remember.

i woke up early and parker's dad ken and i drove to a job site. he's finishing a deck on the back of a multi-million dollar home near tacoma and was able to offer me a day of work. the sun was out and shone like summer. we had some great discussion on the way there and back and filled each hour-plus commute with stories about places and business and talk about spirituality. it's really good to be back in this area with the gohricks. mount rainier loomed large and familiar in the blue horizon and was barely wholly visible in the window of the country club restaurant where we had burgers for lunch. at the end of the day we drove back and i heard jaw dropping stories of the lifestyles of some of the rich people who own these houses ken builds. it's nuts. those people waste enough money for someone like to me to live for the rest of mine.

ken has a youth group at the house on tuesday nights and he asked if i'd share tonight. during the drive home we outlined a few ideas and topics and i picked a verse to tie in with the tales of the adventure and faith and hope and love, community, adventure, provisions, and finding what i had been hoping for when while leaving i'd had that strange feeling that i might not be back to illinois right away. some of the kids remembered me from back in september/october. one girl wanted to know if i was religious and i was given words to answer her question while explaining this pursuit and adventure and discovery of deeper, real life faith and of Jesus. afterwards some of them told me they were stoked by the story of the adventure and spirituality and they were excited too. the biggest idea i wanted to give was encouraging their decisions for pursuing Jesus while still in high school before things get too crazy. the stories of traveling and faith and provisions were cool little additions. i don't know, it just came so clear to me then and i didn't even need the desperate outline i'd scribbled.

this was the first time telling the whole story in a group setting and it was exciting. i'm pretty tired from the labor in the hard sun and wish i could write more of what went down this evening but sometimes moments like that are better left in their place and time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 344

the trio of johnsons dropped me off at the ferry terminal in downtown victoria this morning. i am leaving the island. after pulling my cash from my canadian bank account i hopped on the ferry headed south for port angeles, washington, with no real way to get to where i needed to be after that. today was also my official leaving of canada and i turned in my work permit documentation upon boarding. i no longer belong here.

i was ready to test faith again today. maybe not test it, but i was ready to put faith in the forefront of my limited perspective and therefore be ready for anything to be revealed. this morning i was getting on a ferry in victoria, bc, bound for the olympic peninsula with no idea how to cover the additional 82 miles to port orchard, washington, where my friend parker's mom could pick me up. the 10 a.m. sun was bright and warm and i had my backpack and a yellow rolling duffle bag. all these things greatly excited me.

'there's no easy way,' said the direction man at the information booth on the ferry. 'there aren't any buses that go straight to where you need to go. if you hop these county transit buses you might be able to make it by seven.' i wrote down the series of departure times and bus numbers on a page of my green, back pocket notebook: port angeles to sequim to port townsend to poulsbo to silverdale to bremerton to port orchard. 'most people just cut across the puget sound on a ferry if they're on the way to seattle,' he said. 'and most people are on there way to seattle from port angeles.'

he gave me a white sheet of paper with washington's major highways crudely copied on one side. i thanked him and returned to my seat and memorized the highway routes and tucked it in my pocket as a backup plan.

i was faced with a familiar situation after disembarking, breezing through customs, and stepping back onto american soil- do i go left, straight, or right? i went right for a bit but stopped. i went back and started going straight from my origin. 'hey, my bank.' i was halfway down the block to deposit my canadian money when i stopped. no- back again. i went back to the curb across from the stream of vehicles now streaming off the ferry through customs and unfolded the white map of paper from my pocket. i'd written 'seattle?' in black marker on the blank backside. cars drove off, mostly elderly vacationers in their nice cars and straw hats. i tucked my long hair under the green coal beanie and continued to hold the sign out and tried to look friendly enough. suddenly a small, four door audi quattro pulled up and i recognized the young couple as passengers from the ferry. 'we live in seattle,' they said. 'get in.'

their names were glen and andrea and work as an artistic glass blower and in an office, respectively. they're probably in their late twenties, i guessed, and glen's blue eyes reflected in the driver's mirror and between his thick black hair and an equally dark beard. andrea was in the passenger seat and had blonde, long hair. of course i wasn't heading to seattle, but i'd written it on my paper because to get to that turnoff point would mean getting through the little trickling highways of the olympic peninsula. we talked about mountains and music and alaska and other places any of us had been during the drive that went by surprisingly fast. sixty-two miles later they dropped me at a bus stop in poulsbro, washington, before their turnoff for the ferry and puget sound and seattle. 'there's a little mexican restaurant a block up if you have to wait,' glen said as he shook my hand. i thanked the two of them and they refused money saying that it was on the way and that they always pick up hitchers. i let them know that i'd been praying for the right hitch hike to happen and that they were a literal answer to prayer and had become a clutch part of the story of the adventure. they thanked me back. i thanked them again. then we parted.

i had a forty minute wait and went to the mexican restaurant where eight dollars bought a satisfying and surprisingly large meal that was even complemented by my two good winter friends rice and beans. hey guys, good to see you again down there. so glad you're not alone this time.

from poulsbro i hopped a series of city transit buses. the first ride cost two dollars and they gave transfer tickets at each stop so i wouldn't have to buy another.

after few buses and one more short ferry ride over to port orchard i was in contact with parker's mom as planned. all in all this disconnected journey only cost about twenty eight dollars including lunch. not bad for having left canada that morning with a little bit of faith, even less money, and no plans. i don't know what else to say but i'm always thankful and amazed.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day 343

i've been back at camp for four days now and initially only knew a couple of the kaleo students. besides eric, there's a guy who was on the cambodia team during the summer of 2007 when i led the australia outback team and both our teams were often together at meals, the challenge course, and then at debrief in malaysia. you guys from aussie air who read this will no doubt remember ben. he's here, too. isn't that nuts?

last night ended between five and six a.m. this morning.

and i don't know how to explain it but even after four days i've experienced some deep sadness as these good people left. i never tried to join the group but things clicked so well with the people here. it was awesome. real. these are good people and i regret not having had the chance to have known them more. i mean it.

and so this morning people are hugging and crying and praying and i'm saying goodbye to people as well and i mean it more than even back in august when camp wrapped up and adventures were fresh and there were feelings that i'd see many of those people again soon. but today it was their eight-month, solid community breaking apart and in a very small way that shouldn't be under or overrated i felt like i'd known them for so much longer.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 342

do you ever wonder why this silly blog has been posted daily for nearly a year?

i do.

and i've been re-asking and rethinking this question again the past few days. it has almost been a year. maybe you've entertained possible explanations such as reckless narcissism. maybe loneliness. i wonder this even because never did i expect the adventure to go this far and last this long. but it has and its been so good. and through it i have an answer for why this silly blog has been posted daily for nearly a year.

one minor explanation can be summed by the words of my most favorite person that i've never met.

"happiness only real when shared" christopher mccandless

but that's only a small part of it.

bits of this feeling were only an early prequel for the rest of this day. when i jotted those first lines after getting inside from camping last night i had no idea that so much more would happen. it was a graduation for twenty-seven, full-time Bible college/adventuresome students here. my friend eric is one of them. i'm just here for the last couple days but you feel the momentum in this place by the way the people speak and be. their knowledge is their life. and they're already living it well.

one of their profs spoke at the ceremony. in his native polish accent he described his discontent with the church and the 'what can your church do for me attitude.' he talked about wal mart and their world wide factories that employ the poor and then increase demand and lower wages so that while we in north america save a quarter on a price rollback the poor workers are left in a catch twenty-two they must continue to fulfill in order to feed their families.

in the books the cult of the amateur, keen carries the same approach of increasing consumerism and the self destruction of economy through the massive growth and disruption of a professional world through its cheapened, online nemesis's. he says too many people will read some blog for news instead of relying on some trained journalist. read the book. i can't explain it well at all. what did stick in my mind strongest were his points regarding the incessant increase of a generation seeking 'self expression.' 'self expression about what?' i wondered as i turned through the pages of the first two chapters of the little orange book. what do twenty-somethings have to be self-expressive about? chuck klosterman summarizes this kind of consumer-oriented black hole as people who trying harder to be cool than they are at anything else. and these people often slack on pursuing something of meaning. vision. the internet and consumeristic philosophy allows us to write countless, unchecked wikipedia entries and order nearly anything we desire in a few second's time via and the like.

i don't think i've ever gone this serious before and there's good reason. it all hasn't connected until today.

it had started too a while back and i stopped buying from wal mart months ago. same for starbucks, although i don't know what they're up to. i just don't like the prices.

on thursday night eric and i stood in the porch light of the lodge here and talked about the past eight or so months we've had. we didn't have to go too deep. there isn't a rush for that. but he talked about being in india and experiencing the mutual human feeling and their interactions with the poor villagers who are both actively rejecting and seeking a Greater aspect. i could identify with that in a polar parallel kind of way. i've found perspective and even inspiration to be most muddled when i've had more than enough comfort or outer influences. distractions. t.v. a generation seeking cool. they're all around. consumerism.

and the polish professor that talked tonight kept going and after he was finished nobody clapped. nobody moved except for the kaleo leader who was meant to give the next address. even she couldn't, and didn't speak. i think the idea of modern day super church life and consumerism and regulated and selfish spirituality had cut into every heart in the room. in a way i wish the words were literal, like a scratch, so that i could look back down at it and remember its turns and see its depth. but they were just words and people were moved in their souls and i can only imagine what it would have felt like to be a graduate at the point of his charge.

there were some awards for the class. eric got the christian leadership one. everyone, everywhere likes this guy and for such good reason. because of this i know that i'm only one of many who consider him as one of my best friends. i was proud of him.

so do you ever wonder why this silly blog has been posted daily for nearly a year? it's because of today. it's taken three hundred and fourty-two days to get here where all these silly thoughts and self described actions have crumbled because of the uniting of visions and words and feelings and choices during all this. i'm sorry that i can't do a better job to explain. there's so much to be summed up. but i've found a vision that's suddenly grown whole in my mind. it's more than sharing happiness and adventure and it's so much less than trying to find these things in an own-everything lifestyle.

it's because of these adventures and delights and inspirations that i've come to see and hear today the massive effect of the places and people i know and have passed through and can in my heart better understand in a way that is stoking my faith and desire for proper spirituality and life.

so thanks again for reading this. even today some qwanoes staff have come up and told me that they still read this and i'm blown away. i'm thankful. thank you. man, i just did a re-read and i hope this makes sense. by the way we leave camp tomorrow.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 341

a little more of the same. plus more.

eric and i went to go pick up his parents at the victoria airport. we're all here at camp now. kind of weird. and still, surreal and familiar.

there are year round staff to say hey to and chill with. catch up. etc. the kaleo kids went out for their last supper outing deal and the parents are at a parental assembly/open house. after dinner i walked the familiar salty beach with a book and some tea. what a full circle.

i've got my new sleeping bag and solo tent ready and am going camping as soon as i hit the publish post button. wait, here it comes. click.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 340

tyler and i took a morning bike ride and caught a short ferry across the river to meet up with a friend from camp. we chilled with josh outside of the bistro that our friend kirk worked at before heading to england and eventually getting robbed. however he's back on track, i believe, since his dad has visited him there.

tyler and i caught a ferry to the island later in the afternoon and now everything's coming back in a strange and familiar and interesting way. the ferry. the terminal. the arrival. highway. trip. the camp. the dorms. eric from back home.

it was dark and i found eric and met a bunch of the other kaleo peep quickly. surprisingly some of them knew me before i knew them. everyone gathered on the porch for worship and a steady rain fell across the camp. everything was so familiar. it was a weird recognition. eric was playing guitar and singing but the woods here smelled distinctly wet and unique as they first were almost a year ago. this is a strange combination of familiars. i revisited the building with that familiar keyboard. it'd been nearly a month since touching any keys.

eric and i did a little bluegrass jam at the end with a violinist and people were dancing around and we talked a little about the past eight or so months but, once again, everything seemed so strangely familiar. i don't know how to explain it any other way. two familiar worlds connect in a not so familiar way. and it feels normal as if things haven't been different or distant. i don't know.

it's sweet meeting the other kaleo people. seamless, almost.

they're doing their big final group outing tomorrow so i'll wander camp and the island a bit. eric's parents arrive tomorrow night for the graduation so we'll probably hang out. like i said, this is an unexplainable combination of two worlds that, for lack of a better term, feels strangely familiar and in tune with the momentum of all this.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day 339

we left the house at eight. stu was taking his son to school and offered to drop me at the bus station on his way to work and i accepted. along the way i learned some crazy things about the construction business and the current state of the industry. we almost went to the top of one of his buildings but the body mover structure was being removed. he also gave some tips on where to go and what to see in town. 'if you ever get lost just remember that the mountains are north,' he advised.

the only plan i had to accomplish in vancouver was buying a new sleeping bag and i went back and forth between a few stores and became a member of the mountain equipment co-op before deciding to buy a sweet north face bag elsewhere.

to be honest, i'm feeling kind of bland about this blog at the moment but i still want to tell you about downtown vancouver on a sunny and warm spring day. the canucks hockey team home playoff game is tonight and the entire town is buzzing. fans are wearing apparel. i hear at least fifty people talk about the game as we sit on sky trains or stand on street corners or in line at a coffee shop. the sky train stops at stadium station and the massive logo banner hangs from the concrete stadium. ironically, a guy came up to me as i waited at the station and asked which direction north was. 'the mountains are north,' i said.

i've been through chinatown, gas town (that apparently famous and exciting steaming clock), the shipping yard, downtown and chapters twice, the mountain equipment co-op store down past broadway and main, the waterfront station, and to random places in between. my legs are tired.

stu recommended i take the train home and that i sit on the left side to get the good view of the water and shipping yard and mountains. i boarded the purple west coast express ready to chill. had a playlist and everything. a couple girls joined the little four seat compartment and began talking so constantly and noisily that i'm sure half the train car could hear them. one guy moved away and i thought of doing the same. sometimes you just want to ask people, even if they are complete strangers, to just be quiet. i almost did but then i moved too.

vancouver is officially discovered and out of my system. i don't care too much about hockey but i'll watch the game tonight with stu back home. when in rome.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 338

the ski hill in fernie closes in a couple days. it's been two weeks since leaving our house there and today as i stood halfway through the continually open sliding porch door tyler and i realized that this amount of time has passed surprisingly quickly. in a couple days we'll head to vancouver island and he'll come back home for just one more week before heading back to work at camp again for another entire summer. that's pretty intense.

i'm really thankful that tyler and his family are willing and used to having people over for little stays. there were a couple of swedes that were here for two months and their pictures are sprinkled around the house and their stories are recounted often. the couple weeks i've spent here have been a good debrief period from the winter and previous movements. this mindset led me to upload and imbed that slideshow for yesterday's post. it's almost been one year. and by the way i promise action here will pick up soon. some cool things seem to be appearing for the future.

right now i want to show you something else. it's something i did the other day with the same momentum mentioned above and i thought you might be interested to see it as well. here, it speaks for itself.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 337

day 1-337 in a photo slideshow under 50 pictures? yes. however a few of them were not taken by me as will soon become obvious.

click here to view same pictures with titles and/or descriptions on flickr

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 336

our friend bethany invited tyler and i to be part of her extra special easter sunday. she was getting baptized today in the bay. we agreed and went to her church near downtown that meets in a movie theater. after the service we exited the balcony and joined the progression outside and into the rain where people scattered to their cars to reassemble at the nearby coast. cool wind and steady drizzle made my rain jacket barely substantial and i wasn't even one of the seventeen who were getting dunked. there'd been a video cut together and shown in the service of their testimonies and even at the waterfront it was apparent that bad weather didn't make much of a difference to these people on this day.

the tide on kits beach this morning was at a twenty five year low and dozens of church clothed people tiptoed a few hundred feet across the shells and exposed seaweed to the edge of the water. half submerged in rain and grey waters and skies, each baptistee went out for their turn. massive boats and rigs floated in the not so distant horizon. i looked around and found i was kind of excited. here were a crowd of over a hundred people publicly watching a smaller group of seventeen shout their professions of faith from the cold ocean. what a special combination of days.

bethany's small group was having a party for her and another girl afterward and we'd been invited. little did we know that it was in vancouver's richest neighborhood and at the property of the owner of the vancouver canucks nhl team. the finely decorated farm house was adjacent to stables and some people were riding horses wearing jackets in the rain as we walked up the driveway. ol' francesco aquilini wasn't around or anything but it could have been cool if he was. still, the party was filled with fine cheeses and raw salmon and crackers and an endless omelet bar and everyone ate and dried off and met and conversed.

the combinations of the elements of going to an outdoor baptism on easter combined in a profound union. happy easter.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day 335

if i had to pick one day to not post today would be it. i just don't really have anything i want to work with at this moment. i've been learning about golf after watching the masters with tyler's step dad and we're gonna play nine holes in a few days.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Day 334

plans. although i'm not really that kind of person, i feel that i should at least share some options for the near future. these are all valid possibilities for the time right after visiting vancouver island in just a week's time where i'll see my friend eric from illinois. i choose a list format for presentation.

- go to noah gundersen concert in seattle, washington with friend parker. spend a couple days there and then head down to portland for a little bit with him in order to check out portland state university and look for potential jobs. he's got housing and says he might be able to get me a part-time job very soon.

- go back east through canada with eric and possibly right through fernie with eric and spend a couple days visiting friends there and playing piano in the resort where john cusack and mgm movie crew are staying while they shoot the highly anticipated 'hot tub time machine' movie. the world simply cannot wait for this film to come out.

- go with either of the two above options and then meet up with friends in montana for the sasquatch music festival in late may in eastern washington. i've been excited about this option ever since i first gazed upon the weekend's lineup, although we would only go to saturday. then melody, my montana friend, is driving straight to chicago for a wedding and we would road trip it.

- go with either of the first two options and then head to colorado to meet up with an old friend/mentor kind of guy and also see my cousin graduate the air force academy.

after these options are an extended list of potential things. i'll call it a dot-dot-dot list.

... commit to doing photography for a friend's wedding in canada and for anther doing music in illinois.

... pursue the california job for the latter half of the summer. still a buzz in the works.

... i watched college baseball on t.v. this afternoon. illinois vs michigan state. i decided i would like to play college baseball again at whatever level it may be.

i could be forgetting something but that's it for now. i'm doing this to hopefully relieve the questions in all of our minds.

hey look, we're only thirty-one days away from a whole year.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 333

here's an adventurous day.

after some eggs and bacon with ryan and his fiance [you can read about the day of their summer engagement post here on this ridiculously long link that is giving more and more reason to at least just check it out once since i'd gone through the trouble of hooking up the original story and day in this little post and subsequent link] i said goodbye to them at the sky train station under the grey skies of late morning. the only plan for the day was to meet up again with tyler at chapters so i bought a vancouver public transit day pass (nine bones) and began fulfilling a long desired, yet somehow now urbanized, mission of train jumping. actually there were hundreds of people doing this but they were all wearing black coats or office wear and were running down concrete stairs and holding the closing jaws of the beeping sky train and doing whatever it took to get to work. i just had a backpack and jeans.

i knew where i eventually had to get to and was starting to feel familiar with vancouver. i'd get on a sky train and glide above the city streets while a chorus of what seemed to be demons or some unfortunate thing would whir and scream through the floorboards as we moved towards the horizon across these cries of wheels and electricity and steel.

there's a mountain equipment co-op store in canada much alike to r.e.i. in the states. both offer very reasonably priced outdoor gear and in this way it is kind of like an ikea for hippy chicks and men with beards who live in this pacific northwest. i wandered the store and considered buying a new this-or-that or tiny camping oven or rock climbing harness but then left the store with nothing at all. i wouldn't have seriously bought anything, by the way.

there's a bookstore that caught my eye near the corner of broadway and main. they advertised used books and offered twenty percent off the canadian price of new titles. i spent over an hour there wandering the shelves and reviewing my back pocket notebook for titles that could be found here. at one point i had about six books in my hand and i was trying to convince myself that i could a) afford them and b) transport these indefinitely if i really wanted. i could do neither, however, and ended up putting them all back.

tyler and i met up on the street, incredibly enough, and joined the lunch rush at the cheap pizza shop. he'd accomplished his mission for the day and was tired of walking and of the city. i'd bought a day pass for transportation and was kind of eager to wander so i wrote down his home phone in my notebook and he said to call him when i got to the last bus stop nearest his house. cool, will do. cya later.

we split up and i started wandering again. i hopped off at one station that was near part of the bay and went to the large white railing and made sure i wasn't in the background of any of the multiple asian tourists taking pictures together.

breathe. the ocean. again. at last. i've been wanting this for months

i started the trek back to maple ridge where his house is. train. bus. bus. horrible traffic. then disaster. the phone number must have been off one digit cause i kept calling someone who wasn't him. nothing in the phone book. i looked at a map at a husky gas station and found the landmark i was looking for. it was the school that i'd taken tyler's little brother to play baseball at a few days back. i knew i could get back from there.

it was a couple miles walk and i was able to confirm past hitch hiking research that lexus and bmw and the upscale cars in this upscale neighborhood disallow a hitch hiker. obviously. eventually an old four door jetta downshifted and a construction worker or something like that came to the rescue. said he hitched south america when he was younger and that everyone there was cool like that. i hopped out at my turn off and walked another forty five minutes to the house.

i really enjoyed the experience though. the air was warm and daylight was falling behind the rows of similar looking houses with cement driveways and finely maintained lawns. a gradient of yellow to blue backdropped horizontal streaks of pink clouds in the sky. tyler and i were comparing stories just before darkness fell. they'd had dinner, of course, but had also very kindly left me a t-bone steak which turned out to be as big as my entire left hand. wow. and i have big hands.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Day 332

remember the video guys from the summer? there were three of us. nick, ryan, and me.

i began a bit of a solo mission this afternoon. tyler told me what buses to hop and i met up with ryan near vancouver. he's been living with nick, who wasn't currently around, since the summer ended and works as a freelancer for different churches and organizations including 'power to change,' the group formerly known as 'campus crusade for Christ.'

he picked me up at the bus/sky train station after five o'clock and the eight month gap since finishing our summer's work seemed quite insubstantial. it was definitely cool to hang again and reminisce a bit about the summer and to talk about what we've been doing and learning over the winter. more than that, ryan is a pretty eclectic and intellectual dude so conversations are always profound and valid. culture, art, spirituality, music, writing, books, more music, freelancing, and etc.

and he reads this blog, so i'll save him the trouble of looking up the parts about himself by just adding an additional thank you for the visit and chill time haha.

i'm meeting tyler back again tomorrow. he's coming into downtown to run some errands aand we're meant to meet at chapters, a borders book store canadian version, in the morning.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day 331

please press play. if you still feel like reading on then do so slowly, giving less thought to these words and adhering more to the melodious flow and prophetic echoing of the fleet foxes as they are the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon of reading and sun and talking with friends.

also, there's a slideshow of pictures down a bit on the right side of the page. if the music and pics get going together it could be good experience. i discovered this just a moment ago.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day 330

chilly skies and a surrounding of close mountains remained a reminder of winter just over a week ago in fernie. now, six hundred miles later, the sun is shining strongly on the west coast and shorts and t shirts and sun glasses are the perfect accompaniment for a day exploring a movie set in the forest and a crystal glacier lake. tyler and i met up with a couple of friends from last summer's camp and the four of us drove with the windows down through the thick, moist air of canopied roads in golden ears provincial park. there's some movie being shot there and after leaving the parking lot of trailers and crew trucks we came upon different locations that had been set up with keno flow lights or other scenes and props.

the icy lake water was freezing and we waded and threw rocks at dead log stumps poking out of the blue. we poured a little packet of raspberry flavored drink powder onto the clear surface and drank flavored glacier water straight from the source.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day 329

the sun has been out all day and the high is sixty three degrees fahrenheit. the cats are all on the porch under the glass table and the sliding door is open to the kitchen and breathing a lumber scented spring into the brown and classy interior of the house. tyler and i just got back from church where one of last summer's speakers is a pastor.

he and i had done the wrap up video work together and, as i did with all the speakers, we'd gone down one of the challenge course elements just after he'd finished giving his talk into my camera. charlotte mentioned yesterday that one of the other summer speakers that she works for sometimes mentions me in his talks.

all these little life details are growing in coherency in the days nearing one year's time and whose ultimate and sweet adventures are now starting to seemingly come around full circle.

finally, tyler's ten year old brother was hanging out this afternoon and we found a baseball glove. then a ball. then i agreed to take him and his neighbor friend to the schoolyard and the three of us played ball for over an hour. sunday afternoon and sun and baseball. pretty sweet.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day 328

we headed for downtown vancouver by noon with two plans: meet charlotte our friend from camp last sumer and get sushi.

one public transit ride connected with another and i remembered a childhood of riding the bus with my grandpa in chicago. the cold of fernie was forgotten here today and a rare spring sun warmed the bus and sidewalks. dozens of bums shuffled along buildings or sat on the sidewalks of intersections where no marginal busking musician had claimed and hundreds of ipod listening, fast paced walking and cell phone talking internationals and canadians alike moved like a river through the gaps and walkways of the face of vancouver. we met charlotte at the waterfront station a little later than expected- two different protest parades had stopped traffic and we'd hopped off the bus to walk the last few blocks.

there's no need to really point out the massive differences of a small mountain ski town and one of canada's biggest cities, but i felt a little uncomfortable among the hundreds of high end shops and gum spotted sidewalks and beer begging bums.

tyler and i had both brought our identical cameras for the day but somehow we never felt the urge to take pictures. instead he went on an errand to a few tattoo parlors and charlotte and i chilled on the third story of the chapters bookstore at a glass railing that overlooked the crawling streets of robson and howe. pedestrians and the synchronization of turning buses were the backdrop for music and design magazines and sparse conversation. it's cool to be able to chill with people and not have to speak much.

we wandered together some time more before parting ways near six p.m. the sky train ride turned interesting when a guy wandered on, sat down, and a few minutes later started spewing all over the place. everyone else moved to the other side of the train and he sat unconscious and alone on the other. a couple bus rides and an hour later brought us out of the jungle.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Day 327

man, i feel some pressure now that i'm outta fernie and the blog visitor indicator is rising. more people are reading. i already miss you guys back in fernie.

i was chilling around this afternoon and reading when some reminiscent thoughts sprung randomly. the spine of my book lowered and the cubs and yankees broadcast on t.v. faded away. fernie, from its layout to friends, was an unprecedented little existence. now i can understand how removed people didn't understand life in that place. it really doesn't fit with anything normal after leaving that little valley. now i could walk for an hour and not find a coffee shop. i don't even know how to start explaining and comparing all these ideas, but i can feel the entire philosophy of life start to shift back now that places like wal mart are no longer out of sight sores from the entities of that small ski town.

but this current change is exciting. i remember standing outside the greyhound station yesterday and realizing that i'm neither nervous or uncomfortable with this next step and corresponding change of scenery. the big city. the suburbs. rush hours and the evening news. tomorrow tyler, some friends from last summer, and i are hanging and exploring vancouver and there are plans to meet with the rest soon following.

tyler has a ten year old brother and we play games and hang out around the house. his dad and i played scrabble today after a sushi dinner. his mom is cool and they all tell stories about the two swedes they had stay with them for two months just a short while ago. i've yet again been presented with another accepting place with cool people and in a new place and and thankful and blessed.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day 326

a greyhound bus and grey rain and stale highway for five hours brought me from kelowna to maple ridge. tyler and i are hanging out until we head to vancouver island for the kaleo graduation.

i don't understand how riding a bus can be so mind draining.

Day 325

never has so many things happened in just one day of spreading distances. ever. come along for this day. i'm not going to do it justice and i apologize, also personally considering the following more of notes-via-sentences to preserve greater details. but here we go.

there was a light snow outside falling outside the snowboarder's for christ house at 8 a.m. i pulled the single, flannel sheet off the couch and walked two blocks to meet chris at mug shots for a final breakfast. a couple of hours later crystal came around to the sfc house and me, her, and one of her roommates all left town in her two door mazda for kelowna, bc. crystal is flying from kelowna to the caribbean tomorrow. her roommate is on her way to the vancouver area and so am i so we all road tripped together. perfect timing. i snapped a couple last second pictures of the morning mountains and we started moving, passing these more-than-familiar places in town and along the stretch of highway that leads to the ski hill. i've never discovered so much faith in a female driver before and there wasn't a car that crystal did not pass the rest of the way. within minutes the landscapes changed from snowy to warm and dry and then back to snow and then back again to dry. then some green. we made the drive in seven easy hours.

i'd arranged a stay for tonight but after checking the distance between the house and the bus station on google maps i realized that a three hour walk was way too long of a distance. crystal, who lived in kelowna before moving to fernie, immediately offered a closer alternative with her friends and i gratefully accepted. we drove through an apple orchard and pulled into a driveway as crystal began to tell me about how cool these people were. i was really ready for anything.

crystal was staying with old friends whom i was told were very kind. she calls this place her third favorite spot on earth and gave me a run down of the names of the people in the family and told me that the mother, karen, was in a wheel chair. that's not something you expect to hear, but i've never met a 'friend's mom' with such a knowing and kind and uplifting personality. crystal and karen talked nursing over dinner and i got roped into play piano 'in exchange for dinner.' terms for an extended contract were circulated and added to the banter of this introduction. i really want to recount and later, perhaps not even here, discuss and explain parts of the conversation that came from this christian lady's experience with church related faith healing attempts because the stories she told at dinner were incredibly unique and both heartbreaking and faith building. i don't know how to even start so i won't. not here. not yet.

there were a few bands playing at 'the habitat' tonight and crystal, me, and a few of her local friends went out. the habitat turned out to be a pretty sweet scene in a clean, sharp converted warehouse kind of building where most everyone was some sort of hipster wearing striped shirts or v-neck t shirts and sweaters and wearing diagonal emo hair cuts. i bought the c.d. from the second artist but they were all worthy. but here's the crazies thing about this place.

i looked across the room as i observed the scene and saw a freakishly familiar face. could it be? no, he lives over two hours away in salmon arm. no. well, i'll just walk by- mutter his name in passing and see what happens. it could be him... mel. reimer. camp qwanoes. DUDE!

it was mel reimer, one of our group's good summer pals from camp. we longboarded victoria together. no way, this is crazy man! we both asked each other what we were doing here and neither of us had too good of an answer. i happened to be in town for the night. he might be moving to kelowna. really man, this is crazy weird. we talked about the winter and he asked about the rest of the boys from the house.

by the end of the third act we'd said goodbye and crystal and i were following her best friend's volvo. the two of them are really pumped about their trip tomorrow and the friend was dropping off her car to another friend's for borrowing purposes. we made a sudden pit stop, signaling and stopping on the shoulder where we saw nicole roll her window to answer a homeless woman. next thing we know nicole is opening the passenger door and the woman is shuffling in. crystal said that her friend goes to a church downtown that has a lot of interaction with the homeless. she guessed that she knew this lady.

we sat listening to our c.d. from the night when two massively bright lights busted open behind us and shot off the rear and side view mirrors to fill both our car and the friend's car in front. cops. one, two, three squad cars. we were surrounded. what you kids doing here?

crystal calmly explained we were waiting for her friend. we looked up at the car in front and the two were leaning together in prayer.

don't you know that people only stop here for drug deals?

no, we didn't know that. we're just with her.

the cops then went up to the car in front and after a few minutes the situation was easily and flawlessly resolved. funny how less than normal things like letting a homeless woman warm her hands in your car and praying together seem strange to the cops. actually that makes plenty of sense to understand, but they were really chill and the entire roadside shoulder was vacated by all involved within five minutes.

altogether from today's physical activities was a social experiment. i'd changed my facebook birthday to april first over a week ago and today i was bombarded with happy birthday comments. a few friends (real life friends and not 'facebook friends') knew the joke and laughed about it amidst dozens of other, honest happy birthday wishes. i did this little deed for one reason.

the measuring of authenticity.

for both sides. most people only 'remember' a birthday because of some silly link on a homepage and write their once a year comment on a page of a 'friend' and somehow don't even happen to notice other's public humorous debunking of this silliness. thanks to you friends who made it more fun by laughing along and getting the joke. but seriously, here's the bottom line.

facebook is pretty worthless. this blog is pretty worthless.

but life is not worthless. people continue to show me incredible measures of their faith and purpose whether it involves contentment and fulfillment in a wheel chair or by stopping to help a homeless human being warm their hands while praying with them. one of my australia outback team members from the summer of 2007 tells me tonight about intentionally living in a shack on campus in the middle of honors classes in texas to raise money for habitat for humanity. i'm inspired. and now not just because of good times with friends driving through the mountains and heading into a new part of an already amazing adventure. i'm inspired because i'm meeting people who are choosing to live life seriously and genuinely and that is making all the difference in my life and in so many others.

this is why i write these things in this little box and click publish post every day.