Category Archives: very random thoughts

Foot of the Undead: 2

Voodoo DollThe zombie foot is returning from the realms of the undead, but not without a fight. Sure it’s no longer attempting to trip me with my own toes in an effort to kill me, but the sensory nerves in my lower back and right leg are hyper-sensitive. To the point that sold water feels like my leg is burning, and my efforts to scratch the random itching on my back result in me feeling as though my skin is peeling off under my nails.

But it’s not all bad. Because my foot was part of the undead, I got to experience a MRI and discover 2 very important facts about myself for life. 1.) I am not claustrophobic, though I prefer to have escape routes. 2.) I’m not allergic to the contrast they use to highlight nerves in MRIs, though as it is injected, I still bruise severely for a long time.

So all of me may, in fact, have to endure the final zombie apocalypse. Later in the week I visit the neurologist who will interpret the images the magnets picked up. That doctor will be the one to let me know how to finish reviving my undead foot. I’m just happy that, at least for now, my foot seems to have been made a zombie in the very traditional way – through Voodoo. I shall try to avoid Voodoo Doughnuts the next time I’m in Portland, OR, so as to avoid a relapse of zombie foot.

Fruit of the Loom Dune Commerical

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd_hSJ0GipI]

I’m not sure who the target market is for this commercial. Men would be the obvious answer, but what type of men? I’ve seen this specific ad on channels like G4 and Spike, which carry programming that seems targeted to the macho men demo. But the style and tone of the ad doesn’t seem as though its target audience matches the channels’.

So what do you think about this ad and the channels it’s playing on?

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Wandering along the road

Road to Masii, KenyaPerhaps you’re like me, and you frequently find yourself wandering along pathways you never knew existed.The journey may be pleasant, or perilous, or a blending of all possibilities.

But regardless of the road conditions, you continue on. Not because you’re promised that the next bend will bring you your life dreams, or your life nightmares, but precisely because the next bend reveals what is unknown in the moment – the future.

This picture comes from a trip to a very small village in Kenya. 2 hours away from Nairobi, over a rutted, occasionally washed out, giraffe-lined road.  The trip was challenging, but what I learned continues to be priceless.

I would cross that road, or others worse, to meet the kids who smiled and played and laughed with us, despite the death of their parents and the poverty of their families. We went with Tumaini International, an organization that gets people from the U.S. to sponsor orphans who have had one or both parents die from AIDS, so that they can continue to live with their families and go to school, eat, get medical care.

Before I met the students, and laughed with them, and saw their joy at being able to attend school, I was hesitant about the trip. It was filled with many possibilities, and some of them, like malaria and yellow fever, were a little frightening. In the end, though, the risks were insignificant to the lessons I learned: how to laugh, not despite the pain of life, but because the pain makes the tiny joys of running freely, playing with friends, and teaching others what you know stand out, because the small joys are what make life enjoyable in the midst of our circumstances.

If we could always know what awaited us around the next curve or over the next hill, good or ill, would we really want to know? Would you willingly walk into the den of a dragon if your path guaranteed your entrance? Would any amount of treasure really be worth facing a foe most likely to kill you? You may even see your dreams in the valley from the mountain top, but you still have to climb down to get them. The path through the forest is dark and treacherous, are you willing to risk the journey to gain your heart?

The road may be pleasant, or perilous, or some mixture of each part; are you willing to walk it with eyes opened to see what it holds?

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House secrets

old farm gear in front of house
Frequently I find myself caring for the house of another while they are off on adventures far away. Sometimes I merely visit their house to affirm that it has not been abandoned to the elements, assuring that the owner will come back to care for the house. Sometimes I masquerade as the resident, filling food bowls, washing dishes, sleeping in beds, all to keep the appearance for others that the party has not died, and there really is nothing to see in this boring house.
But no matter how much contact I have with the houses in my care, they all whisper secrets.

Houses, when their true owners are away, reveal the casual secrets everyone entrusts to their home. Whether it’s the bedroom curtains telling how dark the owners need the room in order to sleep, or the hidden corners revealing the frequency of hands-and-knee scrubbing, the house shares these secrets while the owners gallivant across the country.

Some secrets reveal more of the heart of the owners, and those are the secrets that astound me. We work so hard to keep secrets from each other, but our houses give our secrets away so easily when we let others in. To be entrusted with a secret intentionally is an honor; to obtain the secret inadvertently is disconcerting.

These secrets are not life-altering, you-killed-the-next-door-neighbor types of secrets; they are everyday, casual kind of secrets. They are secrets that you don’t realize you want kept secret until other people know about them. Most of the time, when other people are in your house, so are you, and your presence keeps the house from highlighting the secrets lying around. Letting another person into your house without your presence keeping the house silent opens the door for potentially unintended connections.

Watching someone else’s house, or entrusting your house to another, can reveal reality in a different light. And that can be a very helpful insight into your quirks and oddities. Much like David Sedaris’ “Nuit of the Living Dead”, the experience of trading house secrets allows you to see through another’s eyes in a way that is difficult to achieve through other methods. If you ever get the chance, take it and be open to the view from a different seat.

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Oh look, it’s a new year

If there weren’t elventy-million Top Ten lists floating around the internet, I wouldn’t be very sure.

There isn’t very much that defines my life currently, which lends a montage perspective to the last few months. The days bleed into one another, not unlike poorly dyed material, making it rather difficult to differentiate when events occur.

And I’m sure I’m not the only one. Being part of a huge group of people all in various stages of the same state of joblessness makes the poorly finished cloth feel somewhat more complete. Not in a “misery loves company” sort of way, but in more of a “we’re all in this together” sort of way.

And that makes me hopeful for this new year.

I realize that there is no logic in my reasoning, but when I look back on the story we’ve constructed of events long over, I see the effect this communal attitude has. When people share suffering, they are more likely to reach out to people they would never interact with. Suffering reveals humanity. It is a constant. The particulars of each person’s suffering differs greatly, but the experience of suffering is shared. And this shared experience pushes unlikely connections that redefine a life, and sometimes the world.

So as I journey through this new year, suffering with others in my own way, I’m looking forward for those connections that will change our lives, hopefully for the better. I’m expecting a different future, and I’m hoping it’s brighter. I’m even a smidge excited.

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Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I cannot explain very well why I love this British holiday. Perhaps it’s because of the political nature of the holiday. Or it could be the really nifty poem that goes along with it. Or perhaps because it’s a random holiday for me to pick up from a country I’ve never visited.

Whatever the reason for my love of this holiday, celebrating it this year made it to the second spot.

Because this year, Guy Fawkes Day was also Christmas.

My parents are very kind, generous people, so when what I wanted was available for a good deal, they approved of an early Christmas. (I always know what I’m getting from them because I generally go shopping with my mom, and it’s difficult to hide the gifts in the cart no matter how many other gifts she’s getting. This is the first year that I’ve received the gift early.)

So this year, instead of plotting a party or heading to the beach for a bonfire, I watch V for Vendetta and set up my Christmas gift – an Asus Eee PC (a netbook [or as I call it, The Baby Computer]). It is pictured below with the big computer and the cousin BlackBerry.

And I love the new addition. It’s a lot of fun to set up, and it makes traveling and typing stories much easier. So thanks mom and dad! Best Christmas gift on Guy Fawkes Day ever!PB050260

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current favorite things

One Piece,                                                                                                                                                                                          J.C. Hutchins,                                                                             Big Bang Theory,                       Castle,                                                     Neil Gaiman,                                                                                                                                Amanda Palmer,                                                               CAPS LOCK,                                        Halloween costumes,                                                                                                                      Disneyland,                                                                            used books,                                                                   Hibbleton Gallery,                         7th Son,                                        With a Little Help,                                                                                    small publishing companies,                                                                                                                                 slam poetry

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Happy Birthday to me…

I’m in Kentucky for a week right now, and to get here I flew. And I took off on my birthday.

Some people might be sad about traveling for pretty much ever on their birthday. I am not one of those people. In fact, this year my birthday was abnormally eventful. Or at least I stopped and did a number of different activities.

My day started bright and early with a waffle breakfast with my mom. That was unexpectedly nice because there was a random rainbow accompanying the sunrise.

I left breakfast and traveled to Disneyland to participate in their Year of Celebration! I got caught in traffic (expected), but the traffic was in an unusual part and didn’t add much to my total drive. The line at the Disneyland ticket window was short enough that I was able to ride on The Haunted Mansion. Which was a very nice treat.

Until I was flying from Las Vegas to Louisville there wasn’t much un the unexpected category. But the flight was fantastic, primarily because I had a chance to watch a lightening storm from a very safe distance with the engines drowning out the thunder. That deserves a post of its own, which will hopefully happen soon.
My birthday ended with the exchanging of gifts with 2 of my favorite people that I haven’t seen in a long time. Which made this year one of the best birthdays I’ve had.

Echoes

Maybe it’s that I’m in a transitional phase in my life, but I’ve been noticing the echoes around me quite a bit recently.

No, I can’t see sound waves (though that would be pretty nifty).

I’ve been seeing the echoes of people that I have moved to the outer realms of my life. Yes, some of them are dead, but most of them have simply moved some distance away. Some have even moved to the other side of the world. And some are simply on vacation…

Yet each of the people that I once saw on a very regular basis (some were daily interactions), despite the physical distance, have left a very distinct echo in my life.

I’m often crap at recognizing the echoes on a regular basis, and some echoes I will miss for months, but each echo, when I see it, opens the wound of the distance. I pause to remember; I pause to celebrate; I occasionally pause to shed a tear.

And though these moments where I embrace the echoes cause me pain, I do not discourage them. Because these moments help me to connect again, for even the most fleeting of times, with people who have helped shape me into me. And these echoes provide a way for me to remember and in remembering express gratitude.

So if I once saw you frequently, if I once shared with you my dreams, if I will talk with you again, if you have passed beyond all means of contact, know this: I am grateful for the echo you have left because you resonated with me for a time, and, in that resonance, you helped me find my current tone.