Monday, September 29, 2008

If Nobody Speaks

    He says my daughter, and all the love he has is wrapped up in the tone of his voice when he says those two words, he says my daughter you must always look with both of your eyes and listen with both of your ears. He says this is a very big world and there are many many things you could miss if you are not careful. He says there are remarkable things all the time, right in front of us, but our eyes have like the clouds over the sun and our lives are paler and poorer if we do not see them for what they are.
    He says, if nobody speaks of remarkable things, how can they be called remarkable?
    He looks at her and he knows she doesn't understand, he doesn't think she'll even remember it to understand when she is older. But he tells her these things all the same, it is good to say them outloud, they are things people do not think and he wants to place them into the air.
~Jon McGregor, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

of Remarkable Things

     Upstairs at number twenty, in the kitchen, the old man is looking for his hat, he's talking over his shoulder to his wife, he's saying I'm sure I left it on the side have you seen it, he can't hear her reply so he raises his voice, calling through to wherever she is, in the bedroom, the bathroom.
    She says I've got it right here, and he turns and she's holding his hat out to him.
    She says there's no need to shout, and they catch each other's eyes, the day she first said those words to him flashing clear again in both of their minds.
    The day he'd come back to her, a husband to his wife, the rain had fallen from the sky like it was God's own washday. His kitbag was sodden and heavy, his uniform chafing wetly against his skin. The water streamed off his hair, sending thick dribbles of grease down the back of his neck, and his cigarette hung smokelessly from his lips. All the way home he'd been thinking about comfort and warmth, a pot of tea by the fire, a hot bath, a night's sleep in sheets and blankets, but when he'd turned the last corner into this street he could only stand and look.
    He'd looked at the houses, their front-room curtains all drawn and their doors all closed. He'd looked at the gardens, their small hedges all neatly trimmed, their rows of vegetables and herbs all protected from the birds by pegged lines of string. He'd seen a furl of faded bunting tangled in the top branches of the tree opposite his house, a car parked outside number seven, the railings all cut down to stumps. But there'd been no people in the street. There'd not been a crowd of cheering children waiting to meet him, waving the Union Jack and jostling round him while he handed out sweets and stockings and gum. That was not the way it was. People had not been leaning out of windows to welcome him home. There was not even a brass band marching down the middle of the street with a fat man playing a rousing tuba.
    There was quiet, closed doors, a gray sky, pouring rain.
    He'd stood there, on that day, and he'd called his new wife's name. Dropped his kitbag to the floor, filled his lungs with the cold damp air, and called out her name. He'd wanted to meet her in the street, not knock on the door like a delivery boy, he'd wanted to see her running excitedly towards him. There were faces appearing at windows, but he couldn't see her face and so he flung her name into the rain. Doors had opened, and people had hovered in their hallways, looking at him, but the door of number twenty had stayed closed and so he cupped his hands around his mouth and called and called her name, not caring what people thought, relishing the syllables of it, sending them echoing down the street.
    And it had only been when he'd stopped for a long breath that she'd put her shopping bag down and said there's no need to shout I'm right behind you and he'd turned, and they'd held each other, and it was the closest fiercest embrace they have ever had, knocking the breath out of both of them and leaving them unsteady on their feet.
    They still say it to each other now, sometimes making each other laugh, there's no need to shout I'm right behind you they'll say, sneaking around the other's back, slipping a pair of arms around a waist, I'm right behind you they'll say.
~Jon McGregor, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

Friday, September 26, 2008

What if

The other day I was changing my socks
and I thought about changing the world.

and I thought.
and I thought.

and I'm still thinking

used gear

I'm going to the REI used gear sale tomorrow morning in Fresno.
I'm pretty excited about it.

Middle Class Homelessness

"I don't care how strong you are, it's a breakdown of the human psyche when you start to lose everything you have."

An interesting article from the BBC on the latest impact of our current economic turn, as experienced in Santa Barbra.

It does beg several questions about family, community, and lifestyle choices.
I can almost hear a lawyer from two thousand years ago asking, "Who is my neighbor?"

Sunday, September 21, 2008


If you haven't yet, go to a Borders or Barnes and Noble and check out the cover of this month's Esquire Magazine.

It will blow your mind! 

It's the first publication of anything in print using eInk technology. It's pretty amazing.
It's thin, flexible, easily readable, clearer than an LCD screen without the backlight that makes your eyes tired.

I bought the magazine, just to tear off the cover. I'm excited about seeing more of this stuff.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Just do it.
Don't leave that smile inside your head.
Don't let the light be trapped, 
    or darkness even think that it 
    has found a shadowed head.

   both eyes. 
Try it.         See.

Now smile, just smile. 

If summer rain can come-
      in daylight, 
        deep steeped in fall,
if sun can somehow shine on shoulders
    while rain drips down my cheek,
if light can show the dark defeat 
    of all that death can offer,
then leave those darkest dreams 
    inside death's coffered chest
and so fling wide the shutters 

-break hinges- 
     never to be closed again.

remove the doors that barred the light inside-
       or so you thought.

Just smile.

Someone needs a home-

   your hand is on the door.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Adventures- to be landed in

A real friend just shared this with me out of very real, dificult circumstances. It was good to be reminded of it again.

"And we shouldn't be here at all, if we'd known more about it before we started.  But I suppose it's often that way.  The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them.  I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say.  But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind.  Folk seem to ave been just landed in them, usually- their paths were aid that way, as you put it.  But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't.  And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten.  We hear about those as just went on- and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end.  You know, coming home, and finding things all right, tough not quite right the same- like old Mr. Bilbo.  But those aren't always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in!  I wonder what sort of a tale we've fallen into?"  ~ Sam Gamgee

Friday, September 5, 2008

Josh Riebock

Last weekend, this guy named Josh came and spoke for our College camp up here at Hume. I got to go to two of the meetings. We hear a lot of speakers up here and, honestly, sometimes as a staff member it's hard hearing similar stuff over and over. This weekend was different; it was fresh and challenging. I thought I would pass it on.
This is from Sunday night.
Download it here.(42:09, 14.6MB) (Right-click, save target as)

or just listen here:

If you want to get the whole weekend, you can buy an MP3 disc here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Let It Shine

Thursday Night on Week 2 of HumeSD after 330 Plan finished a worship song, the lights would go out, and two little boys, Andrew and Ethan, came walking down the aisle holding candles.
Once they were on stage the light they were holding, the only light in the room, went out one candle at a time till it was dark again, bringing the song to an untimely end.
Then, David would come out and deliver this poem written by Kevin LanFlissi.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Collective

These guys are one of my favourite groups of filmmakers.

They have a brilliant eye for new and unconventional perspectives; the camera work and cinematography are amazing. You don't even need to have an interest in extreme mountain biking to appreciate the beauty of their work. They started as a group of guys from the Pacific Northwest who were kind of outdoorsy and really into innovative ways of making movies. Their other close friends were kind of outdoorsy and really into BMX and mountain biking.

These guys would build trails in the trees, but not on the ground, up in the air forty feet with little planks that they would ride and jump from tree to tree. The film guys decided to come up with a way to shoot it and strung up ziplines to follow the path of the bikes while holding the camera to get the shots.

That was just the start of their adventures.

Their second film, ROAM, follows several riders as they travel around the world attempting "lines" that have never been tried before. I saw ROAM at the Ken Theater down in Kensington, San Diego several years ago. The guys were all there and I got to hang out afterwards a bit and talk to them about what they had made. They've since moved on to another film, Seasons. I just ordered it and am very excited to see it. I think it looks to be even more amazing. I expect nothing less.

Click on any of the titles if you want to check out video teasers and other photos.

Good Reads

I just started using this site where I can keep track of books that I am reading and have read, reviewing and rating them. It's a pretty cool system that several of my friends have been using. I added some javascript to the lower right hand column of this blog so you can check out what I'm reading, and eventually be able to read my reviews of what I'm reading. I probably won't review everything, just what was really good or not worth reading. It's kind of cool just to see the books next to each other on a shelf, even if it's virtual, since I don't have a bookshelf right now.
Check out my 'currently-reading' shelf:
 my currently-reading shelf

The Contents of My Backpack

I found this photo today. It was still on my camera from when I was in Mexico.

The day I took it had been a really long day, with a long night and morning of editing. We had already moved out and packed up most of the comforts of home from our "Program Office" (the hall way in the guys dorm building) I still had more editing and another long night in front of me. Basically, I had a long day ahead of me and there was no coffee to put in the coffee pot. But, no worries, I had my well stocked backpack that I take with me everywhere, ready for any emergency. (Okay, maybe not any emergency, but mostly any emergency that I might find myself needing to be prepared for. You can only macgyver so much and this helps me beyond that level of cleverness*.)

I opened up the front pocket and started digging, knowing exactly what I was looking for. You can see it in the lower right corner of the picture. Oh, what you can't read Hebrew? It's a single serving travel packet of instant coffee. But, not just any instant coffee. It's instant Turkish coffee from Israel. It's just about the nastiest stuff I've tasted, but, wow, does it pack a punch. It has better flavor than a packet of Nestle Instant from an "Instant Coffee Shop" in South Africa, but that's not really saying much. It's like making a shot of espresso and then just dumping the grinds back into the cup. In Israel, I usually drank it with two packs of sugar. Now, I was desperate. I was going to drink it straight.

I had dumped out the contents of my back pack on the tiled floor, when somebody came in and asked what I was doing. "Getting an emergency ration of caffeine," I replied. They informed me that I didn't need to take such drastic measures, "We took the coffee down the road to the dinning hall; there's some percolating in the kitchen." The emergency backup was saved for another day.

Before I packed everything back up I snapped a picture, struck by how odd my make-shift first-aid kit was. I've kept this stuff in my backpack, more or less, for over two years now. It's served me well. I've used everything in it at some time or another in many different situations. I'm sure any other adventure/traveler would recommend a different stash, but this is mine. It's changed a bit as supplies get used or new ones get added, but most of it has stayed the same, and there have been some upgrades. (I used to carry regular cheap plastic utensils, but then I got these Lexan short utensils from Singapore Airlines last October.) There hasn't been a whole lot of thought put into it; I just kept what I found to be useful and needed, most of it is probably here by accident.

Here's the list, roughly from left to right:
  • Lighter
  • Compass
  • Magnesium and Flint fire starter
  • Attaching chain
  • Lexan Utensils
  • Burt's Bees, Medicated Lip Balm with Clove Oil
  • Chemical Water purifier (MicroPur1, containing Sodium Chloride)
  • Crest Toothpaste (The tooth brush is in the Pen pocket of the backpack.)
  • USB Flash drive 512MB (badly needs to be upgraded, but it will do in a pinch.)
  • Pseudophedrine
  • Anti-diarrhea pills
  • Medicine Bottle with Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Tylenol, and Chlortrimaton (anti-histamine)
  • Phenylephrine (fake Pseudoephedrine, used as a decongestant instead of Sudafed, easier to buy because you can't make Crystal Meth out of it, or so I've heard.)
  • Lactaid Pills (I am Lactose intolerant, and it seems like I meet someone new everyday who just found out that they are too.)
  • United States Passport (The only time this isn't in my backpack is when it's in my front pocket because I am in another country, or it's at the Papua New Guinea Consulate in Washington, D.C. getting a temporary Visa for my next travel assignment.)
  • Record of Immunizations (I just about have all of them now, though I hear that there's a new one for Mono.)
  • A sewing kit with scissors. (This always seems to get through those TSA screening scans somehow.) But, just in case...
  • A sewing kit without scissors.
  • Blister treatment. (These are water proof, sticky as all get out, and can double as band-aids in pinch.)
  • Wet-Wipes Singles (Antibacterial)
  • Tide, single, just right for doing laundry in a sink.
  • Instant Turkish Coffee.

*As a side note, I've recently concluded that excellence in the game of Cribbage is merely based on luck and a certain level of cleverness.
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