Monday, January 31, 2011


My most common prayer is this:

"I don't understand."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Summer Like Friday

I played outside on Friday. It was much needed. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pick Me Up

I've been reading other people's blogs. It's a good way to pass the time. Sometimes, I find things on their blogs I wish to steal. Such was the instance recently when reading my friend Jeffery's blog. Posted there were eight rules for picking up women at a bookstore, written by someone other than Jeffery. Oh. M.J.Mewes. That's the fellow.
Here are his rules:

1. Go at night or in the evening, rather than during the day. There is a higher concentration of eligible females during the evening hours at a bookstore. Plus, if you are successful, you can segue into grabbing a quick dinner date with her.
2. Keep your eyes peeled for rings on the left hand. You’ll be more efficient if you skip the married/engaged ladies.
3. When looking for nice women to pick up, visit the literature, video, travel, cooking, and home improvement sections. Avoid the self-help, dieting, and exercise sections. You want a girl who is confident and likes to do fun stuff.
4. If there is a coffee shop in-store, check it for ladies.
5. Next, when approaching a woman, have a visible cooking or home improvement in your hands. Women like a man who can fix stuff, and make a decent meal.
6. Approach the women with whatever pick-up techniques that work best for you. If you’re cute and charming enough, canned lines can pique a woman’s interest. If you do better with a pre-established connection, strike up a conversation about the books each of you are browsing. If you’ve got balls, hand her the cook book you’ve been carrying and point out the meal you’d like her to cook for you.
7. Don’t forget to compliment her looks and taste in books. Flattery will get you everywhere.
8. Don’t flirt obviously with every pretty girl in the store. Women can easily spot a guy who appears to be making pick-up rounds in every aisle. Make the woman feel special by setting your sights on only a couple women, or better, just one.
As a female who spends a more than adequate amount of time a book store, I thought it my duty to weigh in on the rules. Especially since the occasional time is spent day dreaming of a handsome, well read gentleman making himself known to a certain well read single female, say perhaps in the travel section.

1. Obviously go in the evening, unless you're intent on picking up soccer moms and retirees.
2. The ring thing is true. Don't be a bastard.
3. Props to Mewes who looks for confident girls. It might also go well the other way when said maiden sees that you also are confident and intelligent and not just looking for the next big diet fad or get rich quick scheme.
4. It would do well for you if the coffee shop was rather full, so that you might need to ask fair maiden to share a table. She drinks light roast with just a bit of room for creme.
5. Cooking or home improvement books are a little too obvious. A current events, travel, or outdoor magazine would do fine, as would any well respected novel or book of essays.
6. Don't be an idiot. Translation: Don't used canned pick up lines. You're in a book store. Talk about books. (Unless you're in the music section, then you have the liberty of speaking of music.) If you want to be "that guy," show her the meal in the cook book you'll make for her.
7. Yup. And don't forget the coffee.
8. What are you, on the prowl? Chill out.

But the BEST way to pick up a girl at the book store is if you happen to be there doing a signing and you're not Tony Robbins. It would do you really well if you were this guy or this guy. If you're not, figure out what these guys are writing about, then come back and buy the girl a cup of coffee and talk about those guys' words along with your traveling adventures, humanitarian aid work, music collection, and your dog,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sunshine Fashion

Yesterday, I bought a new orange coat
to replace the sun who went away
and forgot us here on the frozen prairied tundra

I must have made him jealous, because
look who came out to see me today?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Help My Friend!

Hey Friends,
I think it would be really cool if you helped support my friend Vanessa's project on Kickstarter. I met Vanessa while we were both teaching English in Korea, and she became a much cherished friend. I was even fortunate enough to see her play her songs a time or two. Her lyrics are as real as they get. I see myself in many of the songs she pens. Her voice can move from sweet and cool to down right sultry, as I think the second video demonstrates. She's a great singer/songwriter and she deserves to be able to record an album!! You can help her do that! Here, I'll let her tell you about it. And then you can listen to one of her songs. And then you can support her?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Distraction Of Words While Cleaning My Room

To my passport,
Cleaning, I tuck you away safely beneath folded cotton
in the far corner of my room.
You are so neglected these days, my love.
Forgive me.
It is a parting neither of us desire,
but a necessary evil in these days,
the days of interim.
In this time of quiet,
I pray that you keep well,
and dream of better days ahead.
Days filled with ink for your pages,
and the breath of life for me.
A life that for now,
is stilled in dream,
as you are stilled,
safely beneath folded cotton,
in the far corner of my room.

Some day, my dear one,
the far corners of the Earth.
For now, rest well, until for us both,
the time of resurrection uplifts us,
if only in coach.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

For the Interim Time

My friend showed me this poem this morning. I didn't write it, but was moved by it. It is by a late Irish poet, John Donohue, from his book To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings.

For the Interim Time
When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,

No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.

In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems to believe the relief of darkness.

You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.

The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.

"The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born."

You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk,
Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.

Everyone else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.

As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.

What is being transfigured here in your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn. 

The last two stanzas really are what got me. A pleasant, yet some how bittersweet reminder, that what is now will not always be. Somehow, there is hope for more...even when that hope fades into the current dusk.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Still Ringing True

January 15,1929, Martin Luther King, Jr was born.
Happy Birthday, Mr. King.

in july...

I'm longing for the nights filled with prairie thunderstorms.  Instead, I'll watch the one I recorded in July, with a little help from Sigur Ros. (Unfortunately, I ran out of memory) :(

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gandhi, Obama, and the Body of Christ

While it will most likely be January 13 when this is published, it is currently January 12 at the time of writing. Normally not a notable detail, however what I am writing about this evening entails events which occurred on January 12...2011 and 1948.  At least, those events will be the jumping off point. (Stuff happened on some other days, too, but, you know...whatever) We'll see where this ends up.

(Um, that being said, it should be made known that pretty much everything on this blog is a rough draft. I don't really edit or revise much. One of my main points in keeping this blog is simply to get myself generating material, keeping my writing brushed up on and the creative juices flowing.)

On January 12, 1948 Gandhi began his "last successful fast" meant to persuade Muslim's and Hindu's in New Dehli to work with one another toward peace. Despite being Hindu, he seemed to get Jesus' meaning of loving folks and is even rumored to have read the Sermon on the Mount nearly every morning. 

On January 12, 2011, US President Barack Obama addressed the nation at the memorial of those whose lives were lost in Arizona this last Saturday. Obama said something that has been on my mind for quite some time. He said a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized; at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do, it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.
Whatever your views of President Obama may be, and I know they are varied, and whatever sincerity or insincerity you attribute to this statement, I'm going to take that statement at face value and run with it. Not because President Obama said it, but because it is true. 

It was the word "polarized" that caught my attention, and it isn't solely to politics that I used that word in reference. It's true that polarization finds a fitting home in politics, and that issue crossed my mind. However, polarization has found it's way into the one place it has absolutely no right to be, and that is in the Christian Church; what is supposed to be the united Body of Christ. In fact, it seems because polarization is so at home in politics, it has been allowed to ooze into the Body. Rather than "separation of church and state" we are simply ending up with "Separation of Church." (Church. Capital C. The one meaning every single one of us in the whole entire world who have professed faith in Jesus Christ.) 

Both the United States of America and the United Body of Christ are nearing the point in which "United" could simply be stricken from their names. Democrat. Republican. Fox News. CNN. Red. Blue. Beck. Cooper. Conservative. Liberal. Catholic. Protestant. Evangelical. Emergent. I could go on. These are the labels that we allow to rule our lives and in turn separate us from one another. So many of us are convinced that the other guy has it all wrong, when, whoa! Reality Check...
Wasn't that the point of needing a savior anyway? "For all have sinned..." Emphasis word "all." I'm sick of being in the middle of friends and family consistently bashing the other side. Through the course of conversations, had I taken what was being said and applied it to people I know personally,  I've heard my friends and loved ones be called "communists, bastards, assholes, naive, tree-huggers, biased, bigoted, uneducated, bible-thumpers, destined for hell, narrow-minded..." Well, you get the idea. And yeah, I've heard those pseudonym's come from professing Christians as well as professing atheists and humanists. I've been known to use a few of them myself, I suppose. 

I don't know. I wasn't there when he said it, but I'm pretty sure that's not what Christ meant when he said both "love your neighbor" and "love your enemy." 

So...I don't know where to go from here. People are set in their ways and will continue to watch one news channel over another, claiming the other is biased. Liberals will be liberals. Conservatives conservatives. Writing this has lead me to despair, the hope for unity perhaps too far to be grasped. It seems so simple to just say "get over it, love each other." I pray that our words as Christians become words of healing, no longer of wounding, for more often than not, it's only ourselves that we maim. I'm not really sure why that's hard. Are we that threatened by people who think differently than us that we either curse them or avoid them? Is there a place for conversation between two sides without one side getting offended or the other side getting riled?


I guess it's probably at the foot of the Cross.
But, I don't spend very much time there. 
Maybe we can all meet there? In humility? Political and Religious agendas aside? And find commonality in our human-ness and just love and be loved by a savior? 

But, how do we do that, in a real life setting? If you have any ideas of how we can take this polarization thing and send it packing to the darkest pits of hell and instead, work on this unity thing, either as Christians or Americans, (no, they don't go hand in hand) your suggestions are more than appreciated. Frankly, I'm at a loss. Idealism occasionally gets the best of me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Coffee Shop Imaginarium

My days off usually find me at Black Sheep Coffee, pen, books, etc in tow. I like Black Sheep because it's local, but also because there is always a group of Ethopian guys sitting around chatting in...Arabic, I think? I enjoy coming here because it's one of the few places in this small Dakota city which offers an environment populated with something other than white middle class suburbanites. So while I have no idea what these gentlemen are saying, simply sitting and listening to words I don't understand is kind of a treat.
Today, I walked to the coffee shop, which I do regularly. However, I'm fairly certain that today's temperature didn't crack zero degrees fahrenheit. While my muscles thawed out, I sat and imagined the conversation these guys might have been having. I watched as they came and as they went. When a new one arrived, he's smile his bright white teeth which stood out against his darkened skin, wave to his friends across the room. I understand "Salaam Aleikum (Peace to you)" then imagine the rest of the greeting to go something like this. (Young or easily offended readers avert your eyes)

"MOTHER FUCKER IT'S COLD OUTSIDE! My knee caps are frozen stiff and my car is an igloo. Curse the bastards who sent us here! Acclimate my ass!!"

So, that's probably not what they said, but I often find myself wondering what refugees and immigrants from warm climates must think of South Dakota in January, when even us tough northerners flee if at all possible. Consider: a climate quite similar to our own, Siberia, is a god-forsaken land to which criminals were sent to live out their days in frozen isolation. So, while I suppose that finding refuge in the safety and peace of South Dakota is more desirable than bullets flying past one's head and their house being burned down, my heart still goes out to those who once knew warmer Januarys but find themselves here instead.
On the bright side, I saw some pretty berries poking out of the snow on the walk home. They seemed hopeful.

Monday, January 10, 2011

From Sledding to Sudan

So, while I was posting videos of sliding down sheets of ice while inadvertently yelping like PeeWee Herman, I realized that today the people of Sudan were voting on whether or not to split their nation in two. Today was day one of a week long period in which Sudanese will vote on whether or not the Christian south will separate itself from the Arab north. It's perhaps one of the most important weeks in Sudanese history; concerning geographical and political upheavals that have the vague inklings of hope attached. In my naive and childish (though I prefer to call it idealistic) way of viewing the world, it's a lovely thought to entertain that the separating of Africa's largest nation would result in an immediate ceasing of four decades full of civil wars and genocide. However, I fear that a fury of further war will be the result no matter which decision is elected. Should the South and the North chose to separate, wars over oil, grazing land, and the precious commodity of water will continue to plague the land even after official boundaries are drawn. If Sudan remains intact, the continued atrocities continue to unnecessarily end, maim, and/or displace thousands of lives. However, hopefully, today could be the day when steps to peace in Sudan finally begin, however slow the process to reaching that peace may be.
There's so much more that could be said about issues affecting Sudan, but there are far better resources than this little blog which is relatively uninformed anyway. Please, read this book, What is the What.
Also, purchase it. 100% of the profits go to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation. Deng is the real life main character of the book which chronicles his life as one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan." It's too cold out to do much outside anyway, so snuggle up with a cozy blanket, hot cup of coffee, and a good book.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Occasionally. my job really isn't that boring. 

We took the boys at work sledding yesterday. They're not in the video because if they were I'd probably get fired. :(
Also, please disregard the Peewee Herman type yelp. Not really sure how that came out, other than the hill was super fast (sheerice basically) and rather bumpy. Wee!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

By the Power of Grey Skull!!

Now that I live in the basement of my friends house, I have pretty much unlimited channels on that silly little box known as the television. Between that and Netflix, I spend far more time staring at screens than I ought. But how can I resist seeing which house the California couple will choose in Madrid on House Hunter's International? (It always cracks me up to watch Americans on that show, as they generally have outlandish housing expectations.)

Anyway, the other night, I made an amazing discovery while channel surfing. It seems with such an extraordinary number of channels, they have enough space to spare time slots for several of my favorite childhood shows. I have to tell you I kinda of geeked out when I discovered He-Man and She-Ra were on the other night. (Just a few clicks away was a channel home to both Doogie Howser and The Wonder Years....further geeking ensued.) Of course, I had to watch and relive my childhood. Sadly, I had no cereal to enjoy during these epic cartoons. As I was watching, I remembered in high school there was an article in the school paper that really aggravated me about these wonderful childhood cartoons. It's author, whoever (s)he was, had the audacity to suggest that He-Man and She-Ra should have "hooked up." I understand now that they were just following in the footsteps of the countless other irresponsible journalists. Who needs fact checking any how? But still, a decade too late, to that author I reply:
Um, HELLLOOOO?! He-Man and She-Ra hooking up?! That's so illegal. They're brother and sister!!! Twins, no less! Really, where were you during the 80's? Yes, we were children, but even children aren't dumb as rocks! I say, if you feel the need to write about such cherished memories of mine, please be careful to do them proper justice.
Thank You.
And in case you need proof, here's the fabulous (most like cocaine induced) intro to one of the greatest cartoons of all time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Winter Light

Sometimes, the ugliness of winter fades
into beauty.
Thanks, Friend.

++Photo taken 1-1-11 McCrory Gardens, Brookings, SD

A New Year

So then, a new year has arrived at last. It is most welcome.
Five days gone already, in fact.
The time...she goes! So quickly!

Quite often, I'd reflect on the last year, but my desire to revisit 2010 is so slim it would fall through the hairline cracks of the sidewalk.
Instead, here is a picture encompassing my hopes for 2011. (including the foreshadowing of lots and lots of time spent in one of my favoritest of places...a book store)

With a new year comes new hope....and new words.
So many words.
To be read.
To be written.
To describe and define, and maybe even to share

Blessings in 2011. :)

Feel free to peruse my photo documentation of the first 5 days of 2011 here.