Olympic fever is catching on. In a matter of minutes the official torch will be lit. I'm a little upset I didn't make some plans to head to Vancouver for these events. I am a bigger fan of the Winter Olympics, plus I have a good number of friends up there that I would love to hang out with again.
And while I will not be physically be there to watch the events, my face will be looking down over Vancouver during the games. How is that you ask? Have I developed that top secret satellite I have been working on? No, not yet. But my face is one of over 13,000 on the Molson 2010 Mural. A wall of faces that help celebrate the spirit of the Olympics.
My face has coordinates 50,8 on the big wall, if you want to look it up. While it is not as cool as being on a wall at the Elsinore brewery, it is still an honor to be one of the many.
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Sure it is a great way to keep in touch with friends, especially when you have friends scattered all over the globe. At the same time, it is a little annoying being kept up to date with friends, especially when you have friends scattered all over the world. Some say there is a fine line between posting useless and useful information. I would say that line is that that narrow. Posting about big news like job promotions, major relationship status changes, interesting tales from an interesting life is cool. Posting the daily color of your child's poop, your weekly gripe with your ex, or your latest Farmville/Mafia War/Bejewled Blitz score is not cool.
I basically have a couple rules about my facebook viewing. I have hidden all major games and quizes. Also, I give most acquaintances two opportunities before they are hidden or droped altogether. If they start cluttering up my feed with stupidity, BOOM - the hide button. It is there, might as well use it for the good of humanity. Oh, and closer friends get a couple extra chances.
So to my friends on the Facebook, let this be your lesson. Before you copy and paste some status, think twice. The reason you might not be getting many comments could be that you have been blocked or hidden from most people's view.
Oh, and here is my favorite stupid comment of the week. It is almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or at least an "I'm with Stupid" t-shirt with the arrow pointing straight up.
It has been a while since I have posted. Mostly because my life has gone from one of world travel or wandering through the woods to one of a working every day for the man. And while I have a few interesting stories from between the punching of the time card, I do not think I can share too much, due to contractual obligations and privacy standards. You can read that as, "I'd tell you, but I would then have to kill you."
I'm hoping to toss stuff here a little more often than just the weekly photo, but I am not going to make any promises. In the world of Facebook status, Twitter overload, and the latest news on Tiger Woods, I wondered if my posts were just some more noise out there. But heck, it is my noise, and hopefully someone is reading and enjoying it. So the show must go on. Or at least stumble around now and then.
Today I give you this little gem I discovered on a cassette tape in my basement. It is the Christmas greetings from the radio station I could be heard on fifteen years ago. It made me laugh for many reasons when I discovered it. Some of my readers, if they are still coming back, might actually hear their own voices on the clip. And you might even recognize a few others, that is if you were into Christian contemporary music circa 1994. So, unless I post again in the next couple days, consider this my Christmas greeting to you all. In the words of Styper, "He is the reason for the season, He is the reason for today."
Last week I had the opportunity to spend a couple days in Washington D.C. My main reason for going was a job interview, but that didn't go so well. At least I got the chance to take in a baseball game, see some sights, and hang out with some former students. Plus I learned a few things along the way.
These include: 1. You can listen to Car Talk recordings at the Smithsonian. 2. I love public transit. Not only did I ride the metro more than I actually needed, but I found myself sitting on the replica of Chicago's "L" at the Smithsonian. 3. Someone had a really bad idea of putting the National Zoo on a hill. 4. Of all the records (those things before CDs for you young folk. And CDs are those things before MP3s for you really young folk.) that they could display in the American History museum they chose one by Elvis and one by Cheech and Chong. 5. Turning the light on when you enter the room at 1 am will make you the most hated person in the hostel. I seriously thought about fighting that dude. 6. If you are really lazy, you could take a tour of the Smithsonian museums by watching Night At The Museum 2 at the IMAX at the Air and Space museum. 7. The Nationals really do stink. Plus their fans really hate Manny Ramirez. 8. Inbreeding is not just a human problem. I guess locking grasshoppers up in a case can also cause some problems with their offspring down the line.
Not a total waste of a few days, even if I did not get a job offer.
On my long drive home, I decided to take a break in Metropolis, Illinois. Metropolis bills itself as the hometown of Superman, and have built a giant statue of him in the town square. At two hundred feet tall, it actually is an impressive piece of Americana. I spent a little time taking photos of the statue, and some of the other Superman related items in the area, before heading back out to the highway. Before I got there, I was sidelined by a historical marker pointing towards Fort Massac State Park. Not too excited about the next five hours of driving, I decided to do some wandering around.
As I entered the fort, I encountered four youth throwing rocks at the wall of the fort. I advised them that they might not want to be doing that, which they told me they were trying to knock a wasp nest down. Because of that information, I stressed even more the importance of not throwing rocks in that area. I then continued on wandering around the park and taking photos.
Upon walking back through the fort, my spidey-senses were set off. I noticed several of the glass windows had been shattered. I then recalled that one of the kids appeared to be using his shirt to carry a bunch of rocks. They were in one of the rooms of the fort and didn't hear me, as I passed by. I quickly looked in a couple of the other rooms, and noticed that there was glass on the floor near the broken windows, showing that they had been recently shattered.
Not having my phone, I approached a few adults in the area. I informed them that there might be some youth up to no good in the fort. I explained what I saw, and suggested that they might want to contact the local authorities. Before I could finish explaining, one of the adults got up and headed over to take care of business. I was informed that he was part of the local authorities, and would be able to handle it.
As I headed back to my car, I laughed a little, as I knew that I had helped stop some vandalism in Metropolis. Sure, Superman could have done it, but he was too busy posing for photos downtown. I guess some heroes wear their underwear under their pants. I drove off into the sunset feeling a bit like Reno Raines. Who knows where me and my crime fighting ways will end up next?
Tonight I was wandering around Toys R Us. Before you alert the local authorities, I was there with my nephew, who is almost a year. But as I was saying, I was wandering up and down the aisles checking out all the cool toys. I think it has been at least ten years since I last was in a Toys R Us, so some things have changed for sure. As I wandered past the toy pianos something caught my eye. There it was, the Little Tikes PopTunes Melody Beads Piano. Forget the toy pianos that play annoying kid's songs all the time. This my friends, is targeted towards people my age who have reproduced or obtained a child from someone who has. This piano plays three pop songs over and over. And when I say pop songs, I mean Wide Open Spaces by the Dixie Chicks, Message In A Bottle by the Police, and my favorite, The Final Countdown by Europe.
Sure these songs might get just as annoying to parents, but this is a step in a new direction. And I am not sure a song about a girl needing to go off on her own, a song about loneliness, and a song inspired by space travel might not be the best songs for a child's first songs. At least it is not another toy cranking out the Farmer and the Dell. Heck, if there were more toys like this, I might consider getting a kid of my own so I can play with these toys. Until that happens, I will just have to keep hanging out with my nephew.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a live taping of Whad'Ya Know, a comedy and quiz radio show. As a fan of the show, it was interesting to see how the show works, as well as to put faces to the voices I have listened to for years. But the best part was being selected from the audience to take part in the quiz. Sure, it meant that I was made fun of a little, including a short discussion about how I lack a middle name, but hey, I got the chance to go for the Mother Lode of prizes.
Thanks to the power of the internet, you can listen to the show, if you failed to catch it live. Download the June 13, 2009 episode or listen online if you prefer. I can be heard during the last fifteen minutes of the show, if you don't want to listen to the whole show. Enjoy.
The Bloomington Extreme, one of the local indoor football teams, is having a promotion tonight that I was very tempting, or at least interesting. After tonight's game there is a free concert by Remedy Drive, a Christian rock band from Omaha, Nebraska.
But the odd thing is that is also Deaf Night for the Bloomington Extreme. I find some humor in the fact that a band has been booked to play the same evening they are having a outreach towards the deaf population. Don't get me wrong, I think both are great promotions. I wonder if it would be better to separate the events.
Can you imagine the band members discuss the concert on the ride to the hotel? "Man, a large part of the crowd just did not appear to be into what we were singing. Like when I told them to put their hands together, they just stood there." I guess at least they won't get too many complaints of being too loud.
Here is a snapshot of their promotional schedule, to prove I am not making this up.
I know many parents do not want to hear a single childless guy tell them how to raise their kids. But take into consideration that this guy has helped raise hundred of kids who were dropped of at boarding schools around the world, and hopefully you will heed the following advice.
This is a very important tip for those of you with young boys. When teaching them how to use a urinal, please instruct them that talking is limited to very close friends and family. In those two situations talking should only be limited. But in no situation known to man should a child start a conversation with an adult while both are using urinals.
I give this advice today after an awkward situation I was in today. I stopped at one of those large everything including the groceries stores. As I had been on the road for a couple hours, I made my first stop the bathroom. As I walked through the door, there were a couple small children blocking the entry. Their father asked them to move so I could pass by, and I thought nothing of it. Unfortunately, a minute later as I was taking care of business, when I heard a voice coming from the urinal next to me. "That was my dad out there," he began. I, not knowing exactly what was going on, just kept to my business and didn't say anything. But the little kid kept talking, as kids often are prone to do. So I finished up, zipped up, washed up and headed to the door. I think the kid still might have been talking to me as I exited the door. I was tempted to say something to the father about proper urinal etiquette or even about supervising your children in the restroom. I figured it might be more of a hassle, so I just went about my shopping.
But for you my readers, please do me a favor and have a talk with your sons tonight. Tell them that when you use the restroom the only things other than air exiting your body should be from below the belt.
As a bonus, you should also tell them that talking to guys with creepy mustaches is usually not a good idea, especially in light of the above tip. I am not saying all guys who have mustaches are creepy, but as a general rule of thumb...
Unemployment has a few perks. Tax forms are easier to fill out, your lunch break is not limited to a half hour, and it give a person time to work on his break dancing moves. Some of my time has been spent filling out applications online, although I can easily be distracted. Hey look shiny things!
Two sites I have stumbled across lately have instantly found a spot in my bookmark folder. The first site is Sexy People. It is a collection of classic Olan Mills style photographs. Here is one of my favorites from their collection.
The other site is called Pets Who Want To Kill Themselves. Forget all the cute pet photos. At PWWTKT you will find some of the more depressing, yet hilarious, pet photos. Call it animal cruelty, call it pure comedy, either way it is worth a visit. While this is one of my favorites, you will need to find the one involving a World's Best Dad shirt for an extra laugh.
I am not sure which one site I like more, perhaps you can decide for me.
The big craze sweeping through my friend list on Facebook is to post 25 random facts about oneself. You are then to tag 25 friends, who are to do the same. It is like a friendship knowledge Ponzi scheme. I figured I should post the list here as well, since some of my readers here are not my facebook friends. Yeah I'm talking to you, Fox's dad. So here are twenty-five random facts about myself that you may or may not have known. I know I have posted about a few of these. Enjoy.
1. I have three different valid drivers licenses in my wallet. 2. I have been to as many countries as years spent on this planet. 3. While I started my musical career on the French horn, I quickly switched to the tuba partially because I thought it would be more impressive to the ladies. 4. There have been few days in the last fifteen years when my face was completely shaved. 5. I am a big fan of the judge shows, especially People's Court, Judge Judy and Judge Mathis. 6. My name appeared in a list of thanks in a nationally released album. 7. I am a bit of a pistachio snob. If they are not Turkish, I will probably pass them up. 8. My minor in college was camping. 9. CNN has broadcast my face on at least two separate occasions. 10. I drive a twenty year old car that a friend gave to me. And I love it. 11. The last free car I owned, I totaled in Italy about a mile from the Mediterranean Sea. Bon Jovi was on the radio at the time. 12. Speaking of Bon Jovi, if you watch their Crush DVD close enough, you might see me in the crowd. 13. According to iTunes, you can listen to my music collection for one hundred days. That doesn't include the cassettes and records that have not be converted to mp3s. 14. I have consumed balut, dinuguan, and kimchi, yet still find banana to be the most disgusting taste I have encountered. 15. One of my favorite ways to sightsee is to wander around cities in the middle of night. 16. I have an amazing sense of direction. Sense of style still lacking. 17. When I travel, I like to read appropriate books. Romans in Rome, Ephesians in Ephesus, Dostoyevsky in Russia, Moby Dick while out at sea, etc. 18. Scuba Advanced Open Water certified 19. I am a sucker for street musicians. I have a collection of cds from some of my favorites. 20. I own the Marvin the Martian t-shirt and cape that Steve Zahn wore in Daddy Day Care. 21. I was picked up by the Chinese military near the Russian and North Korean borders with China. 22. Because of stories like that, some I know thought I wasn't really a missionary, but a spy. 23. I messed up some psychology tests because I love the solitude as much as the center of attention. 24. I had to talk to a counselor about those messed up tests. He looked just like Dr. Leo Marvin. 25. Someday I am going to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
Sometimes I am amazed at the things people announce to the world. A few months ago I posted about the lady at the Grand Canyon who couldn't wait to see what her photos would look like on the computer. I honestly thought it would be a while before I had something as golden to pass along.
Well, tonight it happened again. I overheard another phrase that made me wonder if there are too many chemicals in the foods we consume. This evening I had a ticket to see Spamalot. As a fan of both Monty Python and tolerator of musical theater, I figured I was in for a good time. I was not disappointed. It is a funny show, so funny I think the guy a couple seats over laughed to the point of wetting one's self. But the line that made me laugh the most was not from the show, but the couple behind me. At intermission, one turned to the other and said,
"I did not know this was a comedy"
Think about this for a second. A couple paid money for seats to a musical written by a comedian based on a comedic movie that he and other members of his very famous comedy troupe wrote and stared in. Even the title sounds humorous. Spamalot! Or were they expecting a sad tale about someone's email inbox and while they did find cheap drugs, ways to increase their size, and helped a widow transfer her late husband's great fortune out of the country that killed him, they could never find true love?
And if that wasn't bad enough, I heard a similar sentiment from someone else near me as well. This made me wonder if these people have extra money laying around and will go to see anything playing at the local civic center. Is it that hard to use the Google to find out if Spamalot is a comedy? But most of all, did they need to announce to the people in the cheap seats that they probably should have stayed home and watched American Idol? Really people, sometimes it is best to not verbalize all your thoughts. But I guess I have to thank those who do give me a good laugh once in a while with their clueless comments. So there you go.
Many of you know that I am currently in between jobs. Or at least I really hope I am, as I do not have enough saved up to call this retirement. So, I am casually looking around at various job opportunities to see what I might like to do next.
The other day, while I was watching my judge shows, I noticed two jobs that are on opposite ends of the job desirability scale. On the side of jobs that I would love to have for at least a little bit is bailiff on one of the judge shows. I would prefer to serve with the honorable Judge Mathis, Judy or Milian, but I am not too picky.
On the far other end of the scale, the job I would not want for a minute is a personal incontinence consultant. I wish I was kidding about that title. Unfortunately, a commercial for ActivStyle interrupted the court proceedings. In it they mentioned that personal incontinence consultants are standing by for your call. I began to imagine what it would be like to explain your career to friends at a party. Heck, I bet they are the life of the party with all their incontinence talk. Do you think they have that listed on their business cards?
According to the ActivStyle website, they have "a highly trained staff of incontinence specialists," so I doubt I even have the training needed to make the cut. Oh well, you never know when it will happen. I'm talking about getting that next job of course.
I am trying to readjust to life back in the America, and am realizing that I have been gone too long. In the time I have been away Jewel, Jessica Simpson, Kid Rock and Hootie have all gone country, the Backstreet Boys reunited, and Cheerios added a twenty different flavors. Seriously, how many varieties of Cheerios does this world need? I am surprised that they have not come out with Cheeri-Holes, the round center bits that is left when the Cheerio is created.
If you think I am spending too much time in the cereal isle listening to Wallmart radio, it is because I was trying to figure out the difference between Quaker Oats Cinnamon Life and Quaker Oatmeal Squares - Cinnamon. They both are squares that contain oats, cinnamon, and have that smiling Quaker on the box cover.
And I do not know what concerns me more, that the Blowfish have let Darius go country, or that I am watching enough CMT and GAC to know that fact.
Today I purchased eggs at the grocery store. When I got home, I stumbled across this site. Coincidence, perhaps. Funny and odd, you betcha. And if that is not odd enough for your tastes, in Korea many people, myself included, would put soy sauce on their eggs.
Looking for something to do today? How about taking a little trip to The Ark, a cultural centre for children in Dublin, Ireland. Why? They are currently running an exhibition called Masks.
From their blog, "Masks have always held a fascination and a magic that everyone can relate to and the traditions and rituals associated with them are many and complex. The aim of this exhibition is to create an accessible way for children and their families to tap into some of that magic together."
Oh, and did I mention that my lion video from India is being used in the exhibit? So I've got that goin' for me, which is nice. Actually, I was excited when I was contacted about having it used. I only wish I could be back in Dublin to check it out. If any of you are passing near Temple Bar, stop in a check it out. Better hurry, as it ends August 17th.
Jeff Reimer, a former coworker and still cool guy, dropped a meme on me the other day. While I was ready to post stories of adventure on the high seas, I decided to take care of this. Here are the rules: 1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog. 2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. 3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. 4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
So the facts: 1. I have been to over thirty five countries, but have never crossed the equator. 2. Around the millennium, I won a Nokia cell phone of my choice from CNN. I picked the most expensive one they had. Only one or two calls were ever made from that phone. 3. I hate bananas more than any other food substance known to man. 4. The artist I have seen the most live is Bill Mallonee, with or without his Vigilantes of Love. I've attended two shows in Scotland, five in England, and over ten in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Before this current trip is over I will see him in California and Oregon. 5. I have three different valid drivers licenses. Oddly enough, I have also received a speeding ticket in three countries. 6. I have spent more time waiting in line for the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland than I have ever spent watching any of the Indiana Jones movies. 7. One Easter many years ago, I was employed by a greeting card store to wear an Easter Bunny costume and pose for photos with children.
I do not think would be able to get seven people to actually follow this, so I am going to tag Jim, Mickie and Dave.
A nap is defined as sleeping a short period of time. This is usually done to break up the day, and catch up on rest. So what do you call when you wake up for about ten to twenty minutes in the middle of the night for no reason? Is it the reverse nap? Cause I'm reverse napping right now.
Odds are I will remember there really is a word for this tomorrow when my brain is fully functioning.
Most people know Alyssa Milano from her days on Who's The Boss? Some might know that she is also a musician. (This blog entry's title comes from one of her songs.) She even has a blog covering her love of baseball, where she recently quoted Gandhi. Too bad she is a Dodger fan.
Well, I recently read that Alyssa has been named the ambassador for Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases? This raises so many questions in my head. Does not bringing attention to the neglected tropical diseases make them non-neglected? Would this not create a vicious circle where the current non-neglected tropical disease would then become the neglected ones that would need Alyssa's assistance to bring them to the world's attention? And by getting a former child star to be your ambassador does that help keep the neglected status intact?
Why did I devote a whole post to Alyssa? I did it to set up one of my favorite jokes. What are my favorite kind of cookies? Alyssa Milano Cookies. (Follow that link to the question about what her fan's don't know about her) If you do not get the joke, this might help.
During my surfing time last night, I came across a Yahoo page about the Annual Assembly About Aliens. I did not have to read too far until the flashbacks began. Do not worry, it is not that I was having flashbacks to a time I was abducted by aliens. Instead it is when I spent some time living in a foreign land known as Northwest Arkansas. During my senior year of college, I traveled up to Eureka Springs for an Easter celebration with my family. While we were there, the annual Ozark UFO Conference was going on. Being the curious one that I am, I decided to take some time and check it out. I was not too sure what to expect, although I had some ideas based on my viewing of the X-files. Interestingly there were people of all walks of life. There was not one specific "type" of person there.
I will tell you that I decided it was time to leave when I overheard a conversation which involved the thickness of the door of a spacecraft and what some of the aliens looked like. As curious as I might have been to see the video about the woman who gave birth to an alien halfbreed, I bolted to the door.
While I'm on the topic of aliens, space and entertainment, can you name the coolest person to ever pick up a lightsaber? While many of you might claim it is Samuel L. Jackson, I disagree. Here lies the answer.
I think I am becoming nocturnal. For more than a week, I have been getting very little sleep at night, and just a little more during the day. I am not sure why exactly, but I am hoping that at least it might help me adjust to the European time zone I'll be landing in this weekend.
Tonight during my sleeplessness, I have cleaned my entire bathroom. This would be a bigger task if it were not the size of many bathrooms found on recreational vehicles. I also created a new set of photos on my Flickr pages.
I figure this would be a good time to give you a few fun links I have come across lately. I bet you all missed the Swiss invasion of Lichtenstein. As I'll be in the area soon, if anyone would like to join me for a follow up invasion, email me!
It started as a joke. While riding around in Bangalore, I had noticed mustaches on many billboards and posters, as well as in real life. So I turned to one of the other leaders and said we should name March the Mustache Month. We would encourage all to join us in growing them. It would be a celebration. And I am pretty sure I wasn't serious about the concept.
But then we came across what could be one of the coolest 'staches I have personally seen.
The momentum of that mustache was monstrous, and the joke became a reality. Thus, we have declared March Mustache Celebration Month. So if you can grow it, show it! I was shocked and comforted to find out that we were not alone.
I leave you with a photo of three cool guys sporting mustaches for inspiration for your own. So join us in the celebration!
The calendar tells me it is time for another post for Valentine's Day, or Single Awareness Day as it is known in some parts. As February begins, I'm reminded of a few patterns in my routine regarding this holiday. The most recent one of those has been to link back to the classic lyrics I co-wrote back during my camp days. Which was far better than last year's attempt at creativity. But enough self linking, at least for now.
I told my students last night of another common pattern I once had around this Hallmark holiday. While I'm not proud of it, that pattern was to break up with a girl with in a couple days before or after Valentine's Day. I think this could be part of the reason I'm currently cursed to wander this earth alone. At least my solitary wandering isn't combined with being a zombie, as that would just stink. After much thought, I don't think I could gain an appreciation for the taste of brains. Plus I hear it is really tough to get a job as a zombie. But on the flip side, it would be cool to have Dolores O'Riordan sing about me. Wait a minute, that has been done. Now what was I talking about? Zombies, I mean Valentine's Day.
So here is my random thought for today. Why is it that Saint Valentine is the patron saint for lovers, bee keepers, and the plague?
I am so childish sometimes. Today at church I thought one of the fun things about Christmas is being able to use the word "ass" in church. The best part is that it was used in not just one, but two songs this morning. Like I said, sometimes I can be childish.
Speaking of being childish, I had a good laugh on the plane the other day. The flight from Norita to Chicago was having some difficulties with their entertainment system. At first it was just audio. While they were trying to fix it, they began flipping the video channels between the various movies. Unfortunately, they stopped on a shower scene from some movie. Total nakedness for all the passengers to see. (Well, not everyone, as the little kid two seats over was still crying because he couldn't see over the seat in front of him.) But for a minute or so everyone got an anatomy lesson. Very soon after that Christmas music began pouring out of the overhead speaker system. It was followed by an announcement that the system was now fixed. My friend sitting next to me said something about "Christmas music and porn," and the laughter began. Interestingly enough, this makes the second year in a row where adult oriented material has been on open display on my flights at Christmas.
I usually have some time to kill in the office during the weekends. Often I find myself surfing around the web to find interesting and strange stories to share with others. This weekend, in my clicking I found something I could not help but question. I guess Benny Hinn is in desperate need of a private jet to help him spread the gospel. In fact he is in such a need, they have already taken possession of the plane. Unfortunately, they didn't have the money to purchase it yet. So he just needs 6000 people to donate $1000 to help with the DOWN PAYMENT.
Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the spreading of the true Gospel. (Although there is some question in terms of Mr. Hinn's version) In fact, I have been involved in that line of work for years, AND I FLY COACH! Sure, my work has basically been in one location, with only the need to fly about once a year for work projects. But again, I fly coach. During the years when I had to travel across America speaking at churches, I drove from place to place. There was no multi-million dollar plane to whisk me to the next church.
I wonder if Benny knows how many economy tickets he could buy with that $6,000,000 down payment? My rough guess says around 5500 to 6000 international tickets. If these are the last days as he claims, I don't see him needing that many, even if he takes some friends along.
I have discovered there is an exciting feeling about walking up to a bank teller and sliding a piece of paper requesting a few million to be withdrawn from your account. Even better is when she does it without flinching. She asked me if I wanted it in cash or check. As I would be walking across town to another bank, I decided check, although I was really tempted with the feeling of walking out of the bank with a stash of bills. A few hours later, I got to enjoy dropping a few million on the desk when the teller asked me how much I wanted to transfer. Yeah kids, I'm a high roller. Before you start sending me requests for charity, remember I live in a country where a bag of chips costs a thousand.
Last night, I had dinner with some friends to celebrate the upcoming birthday of this guy. Two of us then went to see The Prestige. I'm telling you this has to be one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. I highly recommend, and that is all I am going to say about this film.
Speaking of entertainment. I discovered a good sign you have been living overseas too long is when you get excited that Who's The Boss is on television. And speaking of Who's the Boss, do you what my favorite kind of cookies are?
So last night I took a walk over to the local batting cages. On the way I saw a shooting star fly over campus. For a brief period of time all the lights of this city did not compare to a piece of rock burning up overhead. As I walked on several thoughts went through my head. I wondered how many others even saw it. I thought of my friend who claimed they have never seen one. I made a childish wish that I doubt will come true. I even began to compile a list of my favorite shooting stars I've witnessed.
As I arrived at the cages, there were seven college students in various stages of inebriation cheering on their friend in one cage. I stepped into the open cage, dropped the coinage in the slot, and grabbed the bat. As I started connecting batt to ball, the two guys in the cage next to me stopped and watched, as did the rest of their posse. They began to gasp, cheer, and yell out things like, "home run," "very good," "teach me," and "McGwire." (Funny thing is that my students in the states used to call me McGuire.) When my turn ran out, I turned to see three girls' faces pressed up against the fence, chanting "go again." I dropped another coin in, and put on another show. Sometimes a guy just needs a little boost to the ego.
The news is reporting that North Korea has tested their nukes today. According to the report, it created a tremor that has been confirmed. So I decided to see where this actually happened, so I checked out the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program. This is where I got this map, to show my family and fans how close I am.
For those who have not been keeping score at home, I am in Taejon. The little orange box is where the man with the crazy hair decided to flex his muscles today. I feel the need to go change my tin foil hat to lead based.
I've heard it said, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, if Amazon recommends lemons, make fun of it.
While I'm posting random stuff, a friend asked for a more personal update. So here are some random thoughts and items that you may or may not care about.
1. There once were several fish that had my attention, but now only one remains. I guess I might be responsible for most of them passing on, but one did commit suicide. I found it five feet from the bowl. Guess it did not consider the all the costs of trying to get away. 2. I need to improve my Connect Four game. 3. My year old passport already needs new pages added soon. This makes me happy. 4. Proverbs 30:18-19 gives me comfort, yet some despair. 5. I have come to understand if I were to write too personal of a post, I might either hurt or offend someone, scare others, or just leave too much of myself exposed for my own good. Often I think some of the events of my life are too funny, ironic, or just bazaar that I should share with the public. Yet, upon further thought, at least while I'm in such a small bubble, it is best to keep it vague and obscure. So if you really want to know more about my life, email me, call me, or invite me over to hang out. That includes you Dave!
I grew up in the Pumpkin Capital of the World. Every year as a child I waited with baited breath for the annual Pumpkin Festival, held the second week of September. As an elementary student I would marvel as they allowed carnies to assemble rides on our playground. Sure, it meant no kickball for a week, but the joy of the Scrambler and Tilt-O-Whirl far outweighed the costs.
Now you would think that anticipation of the festival would die with age. No, I tell you, it does not. For just today I got an email from my father which read...
A few chairs appeared near Mississippi and Jefferson late MONDAY morning; by 9 o'clock MONDAY NIGHT they are beginning to spread toward downtown. Don't fear--don't shed a tear---I shall surrender and be out Tuesday morning.
I do not know if this happens in other towns, but residents of Morton place chairs out along the parade route days in advance to mark their terrority in a socially acceptable way. When I was in college, it was usually a day or two before the parade, but now it is almost six days before the first Shriner climbs into his tiny little car.
It makes me wonder if there will come a time when people will just leave their chairs out year round. But I guess you got to do what you got to do to get the best candy grabbing locations.
And to my readers in Morton, good luck getting a spot. Let me know if there are choice spots left.
I did not get a minor in camping in college just to impress the ladies. No, I'm a big fan of summer camps and the impact on youth that they can have. And in my years of working at camps on three different continents, I have worked with some pretty amazing people. Although I have to admit, many of them are also slightly crazy.
Take for example this summer. After snack time there remained a large bowl full of liquid waste. It contained ramen, Oreo cereal, fruit loops, and various sodas that the young campers could not finish. Someone suggested that one of the staff stick their head in it for some cash. Before we knew it, a joke was becoming a reality.
Now you the home viewer can enjoy this brief moment in my summer, thanks to Google Video and Sweatshop.
The other week I asked the age of a coworker's child. I got some response like, "twelve months," which I said isn't that a year? Being the insensitive child disliking person that I am, I pondered when do people stop counting in months for a kid's age, and switch to the years. After further thought it dawned on me that on August 24, I would turn four hundred months. To me, that is freakin' cool. Don't know if I am going to switch over to referring to my age in months, but at least for this next month I will.
Speaking of time... I am ever amazed at the timing that happens in my life. Some call it coincidence, dumb luck, kismet, or a fluke. For me I think it is additional proof of a God that is in control of the universe, even the minuscule details.
Today's timing experience: I had met up with a friend for lunch and a trip to my favorite coffee shop. Afterwards we headed over to Costco, as I needed to pick up some bagels for my student's evening snack. Upon exiting the store, I jumped into a cab to head back to school. In the cab, I was selfishly thinking about how I was going to have to pay for a cab ride across town, even though the bagels were for the dorm. Not soon after that thought crossed my mind, we were at a red light. I looked out my window and noticed a large yellow and black bus next to me. No, Stryper wasn't in town, but it was one of our school's buses and at the wheel one of the coolest bus drivers I know. I quickly made some random hand gestures to try to see if we were both going back to campus. Seconds later, I'm handing over some money to the taxi driver, jumping out of the car with my box of snacks, and jumping into a bus. All this while wondering if the light was going to change in the process leaving me standing in the middle of traffic with bagels. But it all worked out, and I enjoyed a ride in style across town in my own private school bus. To me, that is some pretty sweet timing.
Now and then, I get emails from Amazon recommending various products. I had to laugh when while on my trip across Russia this was in the email from Amazon.
Now it was nice they recommended a guide to travel the rails of Siberia. But how very thoughtful Amazon is to recommend that I have some fresh fruit for the journey. They did not want a faithful customer to succumb to scurvy. Thank you Amazon.
Speaking of adventures, I'm already scouring the web for ideas for next summer. We joked on the trip that next summer we would journey to Hollow Earth to check out the monorail system. But I had such a great time in Mongolia, that when I came across the Mongol Rally, I began to salivate. That could also be a reaction from the smell of pistachios in my apartment.
But the big question is who wants to go for a rickshaw ride this Christmas? I have already been in one rickshaw chase in India, so why not another? Maybe it was really late when I found that page, but it has made it into my top considerations for Christmas break. So who is in?
I want to go on record that I had nothing to do with this report. When I left the Egyptian spice market today I left several kilos behind. I also left several bags on the shelves at Carrefour too. And I am pretty sure there were some left at that other store too. But what I am saying is that there were a few pistachios left today here in Turkey. The rest are in my carry on luggage.
This goes out to my great Istanbul guide Your phone number I lost I must confide Several times to find it I have anxiously tried I have searched my back pack on the inside At one point I almost sat down and cried. (Well not really, in that last line I just lied.) I have a ticket for a trans-Turkey bus ride. At ten a.m. it will arrive, if it does not collide Then to Carrefour by the ferries I did decide Where around eleven we can meet outside. Then I will buy the pistachios that they provide Perhaps buying until my credit card is denied.
This last week has been odd. I've done a lot of things that were so familiar to me, but yet distant as well. Swimming in the Rhine, dining at the Isle of Innisfree, listening to Klonakilty, driving on the autobahn with Radio Regenbogen cranked up, attending the Anglican Church of Basel, having lunch with a gal I had lunch with years ago, waiting for my spaghetti ice, and standing on the balcony in my old apartment were just a few of the things that took me back. A few times as I was driving around I began to wonder if the last two years were just a dream. Everything this week felt so normal, even when speaking my broken German. It really messed with my mind at times, as it did feel like I had just woken up from a long nap with the strangest dream. A dream about living in a country where I didn't know the language, let along the characters they use to make that language up. A dream with strange, interesting, and exciting characters.
But I am pretty sure that my time in Korea, my travels, my experiences, and the friends I have made along the way are real. At least I sure hope so. And if it turns out to be just a dream, it was a dang fine dream as it had some pretty interesting and complex story lines compared to the rest of my dreams.
Then again, I'm now feeling like the last week was just a dream. Either way, I am off to Turkey for a week. And in doing so, say farewell to a country that loves the Hoff. So if I don't see you soon, perhaps we will meet in my dreams...
Yesterday, we arrived at the orphanage to the cheering of about one hundred and forty kids. These kids appear to be some of the happiest kids I've seen, which is saying a lot for their circumstances. Last night Mike and I joined in the pre-dinner singing time. We listened as they sang song after song of praise from memory. Then they quoted Pslam 110 from memory. Then more singing... These kids really appear to love Jesus. Even wile swinging today, two of the kids were singing various songs of worship. So this is what the faith of a little child looks like...
So yesterday, I was swinging on the swing when this cute little girl wanted to sit on my lap and swing with me. I picked her up, and begun to swing for a little bit. Slowly, I began to notice that my leg was feeling damp. Not knowing what to do, I kept swinging. Figured it was too late already. Then one of the local missionaries stopped to take a photo, so I had to continue to smile and pretend all was well. Needless to say, I soon changed my shirt (as it was also soiled), yet left the jeans on the rest of the day.
Today I was in need of some excitement, and I excitement was provided. When a coworker inquired to activity this afternoon, I declared we needed to have a random adventure. We conned another friend to join us. It was decided that we would grab the first bus and get off at the sixteenth stop the bus made. Once on foot, we flipped a coin to determine which direction to head. All of this was to help search for food, while providing for a break from the regular trips to the same old places. After about eight flips of the coin, we declared it time to eat. We ended up having sweet meal in the most unrestaurant looking place. It looked more like someone's home, both inside and out.
After eating, we started walking towards Carrefour. At the corner we passed by one of the new entrances to the Daejeon Subway. As many of you might know, I'm quite excited about this soon to be opened subway system. I've been anxiously awaiting my first ride under this fine city. Well, the excitement couldn't control the urge to go down to look around, especially as the security gates that usually block the entrance were open.
Craig agreed to stay above ground as the look-out, as Chris and I descended down the well lit entry way. In stealth like fashion, we made it down one flight of stairs, then another. As we looked around this area, Craig suddenly appeared. (This proves Craig stinks as look out!) We started down the final staircase leading to the ticket windows, but midway down noticed three workers in said ticket area. So we quickly returned to the next level.
At this point, Chris decided to become the first panhandler in the subway.
Shortly after this photo, we started our ascent to the surface. One of us, noticed that the escalator was one of those fancy ones that only operate when one approaches it. As he wanted to be one of the first whities to ride the escalator, he moved towards it. While the escalator did start up, it was accompanied by a loud announcement that echoed throughout the empty cavern. Not knowing enough Korean to understand what was being said, and fearing the worst, our ascent to the surface was quickened. As we neared the surface, we made what could be considered a safety stop in a non-diving sense. We slowed our pace as to not cause any attention, at least no more attention that three white boys coming out of a unopened subway would warrant. Then we casually walked away from the subway opening and off across the park, laughing about what had just occurred.
Fifteen minutes later we passed the intersection that is above the section of subway we were in. The cab driver pointed out that the power was out to the traffic lights. Coincidence, perhaps?
Post number two in the "Stuck in Seoul" Series was suggested by Chris, a coworker and dive buddy of mine. He gave me a couple ideas, which might appear later in this short lived series, but for now the topic is MySpace. For those not in the know, MySpace is an online social networking thingy. According to the website, it is a place where you can "meet your friends' friends" To tell you the truth, if someone is my friend, I seriously question their taste in friends.
The funny thing about Myspace is that each person's site lists their "friends," but are they really friends? If this were so, Neil Diamond, Danny Elfman, and Chair would be my friends, as they are listed in my friends list. But last time I checked, I never had a conversation with any of them.
In fact, a couple days ago, I created a Myspace for an inatimate object. Initally, I asked eight or so other inatimate objects to be my friends. Now I have over 58 friends, and over half of them are real people. Come on people, you are asking an inatimate object to be your friend! What has our society become?
I need to get back to thinking of a new topic for my next lame post... Until then I leave you with two videos about Myspace. The first is about "The Angles." The second is a piece from the Daily Show on the whole social networking craze.
I'm in Seoul right now, as I missed the last train home. Luckily this country has what is called PC Bangs, which are places where you can use computers all night long. And when the option of hanging here or getting a hotel room was done, the cost of this won. So I will surf the web for the next few hours. I'll also be chatting with some friends. In the first little bit of my chatting, I decided I'd post a new post here every hour or so while I wait. This to give me something to do while I fight off the sleep or the desire to play hearts online. If you have any ideas of a post, please message me. I think the links to my message login are to the left.
Many of you know that I have a pretty strong anti-fast food policy when it comes to dining. Well, I'm adding another reason to the list of why I refuse to take my chances in the shadows of the Golden Arches.
In other odd news relating to disease, soon there will be a new way to fight the avian flu.... Kimchi Konditioners (I made up that name - so if it catches on, please give proper credit). Yes my friends, you can battle the heat and avian flu with one electrical device. It doesn't say it in the article, but rumor has it they are working on a sauerkraut version that will be marketed in Germany and other parts of Europe.
What has become of me? I've spent this morning cleaning my apartment. Don't get me wrong, it needed it. But I could have spent the day skiing in Korea with some of the students and staff. Sure I've read stories about Korean skiing which state they ski like they drive. And I assumed if the only bowling shoes I can rent in this country are two sizes too small, I would have no luck with ski boots. Or maybe it is that I'm spoiled, spending many days on the mountains of Switzerland. But as I was cleaning my tub, a voice in my head asked what in the world has happened to me. That voice told me that the high school version of Ryan, who thought skiing in Iowa was cool, would gladly kick the tub cleaning version of Ryan's gluteus maximus.
I'm reminded of the scene in The Kid where Rusty asks his older version of himself, "So ... I'm 40, I'm not married, I don't fly jets and I don't have a dog? I grow up to be a loser!"