Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Swinging in my Sleep

Ever since I was a little kid I have wanted to have a swinging bed which would hang from the ceiling. I thought that it was a great idea because it saves space underneath and it would be pretty cool.

So last week I was finally like, "I'm just going to do it!" So I went to the hardware store, bought some plywood, some 2 by 4's and built a bedframe. Then my Dad and I put some I bolts through the rafters in my ceiling and hung my bed on them. It's cool! I feel like a baby getting rocked to sleep at night now. It's like all the joy of a swinging hammock in the comfort of a real bed. It takes some getting used to though! Every time I roll over in the night I wake up swinging all over my room! It's so comfortable and nice though... all the terrifying wake ups will be worth it soon.

Ps. I am burning demos and assembeling press kits for getting shows as I write this post. Is there anywhere that you would like to hear us play?

Jump into the Flood

Yesterday was a significant day for me. I sadly packed up my stuff and left my office for the last time. My parents had invited us over to mark the occassion. It rained a tremendous amount yesterday, flooding their normally small tranquil stream into a gush of whitewater that you couldn't stand in. How do I know? Because I jumped in in my work cloths. That's right. First my daughter was playing in the shallow flooded field around the stream, and having a great time. Then my sister's fiance jumped in in his shorts. Then my youngest sister got in too.

This was just too much, I had to get in too. So then I took a running start and jumped into the swirling maelstrom. It was fantastic, symbolic of what I'm doing in life. . . even down to me still wearing my work cloths and just taking a leap of faith. It was just a real good time, my parents there laughing and enjoying the spectacle, my children and Darby running in the water. Boogie boards soon appeared, and we were watersurfing the flooded stream. We played there long enough for the waters to almost completely recede while we were down there. Just another one of those gifts that one should treasure. . .

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Blessed are the peacemakers

OK, to borrow a phrase from Mynym and turn it around a little -- if you want to have peace, you need to make peace.

Hey everyone, not that I can tell you what to do, but I think we ought to lay off Mynym. I'm not going to delete anything unless it's way over the line (or a redundant post), but I would ask that we not personally attack him here any longer.

I do believe that a time will come when all amends will be made -- mynynm has made a large number of harsh accusations that simply are not true -- but vengeance is not ours, so let's not try to take any. Perhaps more insults will occur as a result of this post -- to me, the band, to you. . . But if peace were easy to make, then war wouldn't be so constant. So withstand the temptation to respond in kind. Again, healthy debate is a good thing, and if you feel like you can do that with mynym, that's great. But let's not personally attack him.

The Beach

You know, I love the beach. There is just something about standing in the waves, being knocked over again and again, looking as far as you can see to where it looks like the sky and the water meet. I feel so small (which is something I rarely feel). It really inspires my imagination to swim in the ocean. I'm always thinking things like "I'm swimming with every wild shark that's alive" and "I'm in the same water as the bones of every shipwrecked pirate who couldn't swim well." So much has happened in the ocean! It's fun to swim around and think about it.

When you are in a car you tend to think that the oceans seperate all of the continents, but when you are swimming or boating, you start to think that in a funny way, the oceans connect everything.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Side Projects and a Solo Career

As I said in an earlier post, I have been away for quite some time now! I really miss rocking out with the machine, but I have not been idle! I just got home from playing solo at an acoustic show at the Barn (yet another benefit, all of us are always playing benefits... maybe one day we'll get beneffitted.) It went pretty well. It's pretty lonely playing alone though, and with no Jason to crack jokes while I'm changing tunings things kind of drag.

I spent several weeks living in an orphanage in Nepal. Several of the staff there play guitar, and about 5 or 6 of the boys are learning right now. All the boys meet twice a day and sing worship songs to God and study the Bible. Well, one night after they were done, they handed me a guitar and asked to me play.

You have to understand that things aren't the same in nepal as they are here. They had what was a very nice guitar for over there... it was an old beat up Sigma. The head was broken off and glued back on, some of the pegs were missing and replaced with whittled down twigs. So i picked up this guitar, tuned it as best as I could, (tuning is kind optional over there) and played the best concert of my life.

We were in a mostly bare concrete room that echoed every sound, and forty two boys were crowded around me, gaping open mouthed. There is something special about showing a person something they have never seen. I showed all those kids what acoustic finger style is, and they loved it.

Those kids were so amazing! They had nothing: no physical posessions, no families... they live in a war torn nation filled with people who have no hope, but these kids were so joyful, so happy! While I played I saw their eyes light up, they clapped to the rhythm and laughed out loud. I sat playing on the other side of the world, and for a moment we were all travelers together. We were all experiencing something exciting and new, something foriegn and beautiful.

Music somehow brings people together. For some reason there was such a sense of togetherness there in that room. Like we understood each other, like we were all brothers. I suppose that we all are brothers in a way! I was really overwhelmed by that.

After that I was invited to play in a school over there, which was fun, then I went to New York and started out my Rap carreer. Kanye West, Eminem, Look out here I come!

Friday, August 27, 2004

End of an era

A period of my life is pretty much over, officially over on Monday. I'm not longer going to be a corporate office worker. It's been a great ride. Started off horribly, placed into an office filled with bitter divorced women who hated men, me being their rallying cry for some reason. But I perservered, and refused to quit, because I had a baby on the way and responsibility to support my family. Then God sent a gift, my new manager, Kitty, and things turned around very quickly.

We made a great team, and quickly were blessed with all kinds of boring corporate success (which isn't so boring when you have to work on it every day). We survived our department being shut down, and all the backbiting that surrounds such nasty happenings. We always stayed optimistic and tried to be the people who got things done and did so glady. We ended up building one of the most successful online marketing departments in our industry (probably the most successful, I would wager). (props to the ebiz team!)

And it worked, we got promoted, got raises, and like a magnet wonderful people were added to our team. Erin, Heidi, Bri, Betty, Donna, Justin, Holly, Bryan, Tee. . .People that I will honestly count among my very best friends for the rest of my life. I feel like Joseph, once at the bottom of the pit, alone and sad, but now (what!?) in charge, a Vice President (me!? still cracks me up sometimes to think about it). And I've no doubt it's a blessing from God. While I've worked hard, I know firsthand that in a bad situation, hard work doesn't really do much (the beginning of my career for instance).

But it's time to move on. One day I just realized, "Unless I leave some day, I will always be here." Simplistic, yes, but profound. And things were never going to get bad enough to force me to leave, they really weren't. So I set a date by which I would leave. . . and Kitty negotiated with me. . . and now one full year later I actually am leaving.

And parting is such sweet sorrow.

No, I won't miss the cubicles. And I won't miss the blinking flourescent lights. I won't miss the slimy cafeteria pizza, the endless pointless spreadsheets, the meetings to prepare for meetings that will determine what meetings we should have the next time we meet, the politics, the opportunists, the slow talkers, the fast talkers, the close talkers. . . I won't miss rambling voice messages from pushy salesmen or the lame pep rallys that senior management put together to make us more productive. I won't miss "leveraging," "optimizing," "haircutting" (don't ask), "cleaning things up on the back end" (really don't ask!), "ideating," "descoping," "fungagating," and "coordinating all relevant variables so as to maximize all appropriate efficiencies." And I surely won't miss hearing people say, "At the end of the day. . ."

But I will miss the sparks amid the rubble. How you're talking about strategy and the prime rate and your eyes are about to glaze over. .. and then suddenly you're talking about someones' mother who isn't doing well, or someones' home life that isn't so easy, or someones' parents who are getting divorced, and then you realize that this isn't just your co-worker, this is one of your best friends. And this isn't an accident that you are here. It's all an elaborate ruse! Sure, you think you come in for the paycheck and the career, but the reason you're there is moments like this, God has used this to introduce you to the people he wants you to laugh with, to commiserate with, to be friends with. And the tapestry he weaves is a beautiful thing.

So thanks all for the last 5 YEARS of my life. You all made it a wonderful way to spend 50 hours a week (ok, for most of my career at least. . . lately it's been like 40. Ok, yeah, more like 30. 25? Let's just say it's less than. .. 15?). KIT (Keep in Touch). FF (Friends Forever). DEC (don't Ever Change).

Thanks!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Around the world in 40 Days

Man... this summer has really flown by! It's been a good summer. Crazy at times, but always pretty good. I crashed a car, went camping the next day, came back just in time to graduate, started working construction the next monday, went to the beach and west virginia for a while, worked full time for a few weeks, then headed to Nepal for about three weeks, came back and headed straight up to New York to counsel at a camp for foster kids from NYC.

I just got home today, and I should be home for a while now. I really miss playing music with the band, and I'm determined to get us hooked up with some shows now. I just want to rock!

I've got to say, I caught up on the last few weeks of weblog tonight, and it's very interesting. I'm happy to see that people (mostly Jason) are posting a lot, and I'm really happy to see that we have some new and faithful commenters. Welcome to the weblog ~b and N. It's good to hear from you! I'm sure we'll be debating something or other in no time!

Well, I wish that I could sum up a whole summer in one quick post, but that's just not possible. I'm sure that the thoughts and stories from the past few weeks will find their way onto here in due time! It's good to be home.

Ugly Bassmon

For those of you who appreciate good poetry, deep thoughts, and excellent photography, I'd like to point you to the uglybassmon.com. I check it out every once in a while, and it always has something worth seeing there. Of note right now for me -- I really like the poem "edge of the crowd" and the sunflower picture. Visit the site, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, August 23, 2004

A large sky overhead

In an earlier post, I mentioned I was going to write a song about the other clear night when Darby and I were stargazing. Here's a first draft of the lyrics. . .

Large sky overhead, large heart beside me, I’m comforted inside both.
Bright stars overhead, bright love beside me, illuminating who we are.
Lying still, barely a breath, as we let God’s glory fall on us.
And for once we are recognizing what it is.

Falling stars just for us, promises of a love unending.
Life depends on moments like this. Love renews on moments like these.
Eternity made of moments of love. Eternity made of your aching beauty.
Our whole life fits inside this sky. My whole world fits inside your love.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

New Music

Hey everyone, I was just wondering if anyone had come across any good new music lately. I've been getting a little bored with my cds but I don't know of any new stuff to buy. I was thinking of getting Yellowcard's cd. Has anyone heard it? I've heard like 3 songs by them that I like. The violin adds something new to it.

Well if you have discovered some great new band let us know. Maybe tell us what style the band is and some other info about them. Thanks guys.

Stargazing

Tonight my wife and I got my sister to babysit while the kids were sleeping and had a wonderful time watching the stars. We saw 3 shooting stars. Laying next to the love of your life, taking in the beautiful sky that is above us every night but rarely enjoyed as much as it should be. . . it's as if God is whispering in your ear. Very comforting. Very right.

Darby said exactly the things I needed to hear tonight. Situations aren't so easy these days, things have been stressful. Our mortgage broker got all screwed up, pushing settlement on the new house back 2 full days, angering everyone involved (and the anger was directed at us). I'm leaving a lot of great friends at my job, my last day rapidly approaching, a transition that is harder then I anticipated. And Darby provided the exact comfort I needed with her loving words. What a gift. Treasure small miracles, and then God will know he's not wasting the large miracles on you. (quote alert!)

I'm going to write a song about stargazing. It's a wonderful thing to do.

SIDE NOTE: There are some on the board who are attempting to "crush my thought patterns" (according to them), yet don't care enough to actually email me directly or introduce themselves in person when afforded the opportunity. I've tried discussing, defending, explaining, finding a meeting of the minds, only to be met with esculating curses. So obviously I've been going about this the wrong way. After prayer, I've decided that the only way I should respond to their comments from now on is with a blessing. And this is it:

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him. . .

Friday, August 20, 2004

Questions questions questions

One who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; one who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.


It's been stated on this weblog that only those who have all the answers should attempt to give any opinions or judgements or statements about the truth. Balderdash! This rule, if implemented, would mean that only the dishonest, the ignorant, and the insane would ever be able to give their opinion, judgmenets or statements. Because they are the only ones who truly believe that they know the truth about EVERYTHING.

I am a very confident guy. As it turns out, I am often right. That is to say, the things that I say, the things that I believe, they correspond to reality. But I've learned the hard way the damage that can be done when you leave no possibility in your mind that you could be wrong. Beautlfully logical, wonderfully constructed airtight arguments and opinions can be wrong. And terribly slapped together thoughts can be true (even a broken clock is correct twice a day). So if you are entirely sure of everything you believe, and you don't often examine it and start asking questions about it, you can stagnate in a pool of wrongness. So yes, I ask many many many questions. And guess what? I learn a whole lot by doing so. If you're sure that you're right about everything, you are definitely wrong. This is why Socrates said, "The only thing that I know is that I don't know." So yes, I have a whole lot of answers, but I also have more questions. . . which is a good thing. I enjoy getting them answered.

Thanks

Fun show tonight, thanks to all who were there, you were a great audience. Great music from the others that played there too. Thanks again!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Jaws in 30 seconds

Re-enacted by Bunnies
Click Here

Moving

My life is packed boxes these days. Boxes everywhere. Stacked wall to wall. We're moving out of this fine town house where we've been living for the last 4 years. In this house, our children have been babies. Lots of love here. Kind of sad to be leaving.

But also, very exciting. We're moving into a 104 year old stone house with a big back yard. It just seems perfect for us. We are unexpressably thankful for this new house, it's such a gift. A peaceful refuge. And I know there are many great memories to be built in this new home.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Reason

I'm preparing an essay on Reason, here are some great quotes from an author I quite admire: CS Lewis.

"Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. "

"A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride. "

Monday, August 16, 2004

Death

I've been thinking lately about death. I know, it sounds morbid. But really, I don't think that we think about death enough.

We have a culture of death avoidance, which makes sense considering we're obsessed with youth. One of the earmarks of youth is the fable of immortality -- believing that nothing bad can never happen to you, you're superman.

But sadly, superman is now in a wheelchair.

Death is sad. I don't think you can be honest and not admit this. Even Jesus, upon seeing Lazarus dead, cried. And he was going to raise him from the dead shortly, too. But still, he wept, because Death is intrinsically sad, especially to those left behind.

Yet at the same time, I truly believe that death will be a portal into paradise for me. I love the last scene in CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, where they enter True Narnia (after they all die), and they exuberantly ride further up and further in, pointing out familiar sites, but really only truly seeing them for the first time. I love how Lewis characterizes Heaven as everything that was wonderful about Earth (narnia), but more real and permanent. Sometimes my heart aches when a see what was once a beatiful forest razed to make way for shopping centers. It brings me great hope to think that in Heaven this forest will exist as it was meant to be, unspoiled and radiant.

I believe that heaven will be an incredible place. Not boring at all, no clouds and harps and sitting around with nothing to do. Where people will continue to work, to achieve, to learn, to create, but they will do so as complete people, without sin or weaknesses. Where the proper hierarchy of God and creation and humanity is finally, gloriously restored. People are worshiping what they should. Everyones' heart, mind and body in perfect alignment. Wow, I look forward to this. To reunions with loved ones, family, friends. . .

And I know the accusation. Wish fulfillment. Wishful thinking. Of course you believe in paradise, because you want a paradise. No, some will say, in fact, all that happens after death is eternal sleep, you cease to exist, you end. It's over. Poof. Your flame is extinquished. You "live on" in the memories of your loved ones. And that's it. Come on, face reality.

But you know what? The aforementioned argument is wishful thinking also. Because those people don't know anything about the afterlife, they are merely projected what they hope to be true. This is the end that they want. This is the paradise that they desire.

And honestly, lack of existence post death is pretty appealing, especially if you don't find the idea of a God who is worthy of your utter devotion very palatable. Absolved of all consequence, all pain, all suffering. Just nothingness. In many ways, it's what Hindus and Buddhists strive to achieve (very roughly speaking). It's what they suffer through centuries of atonement in order to earn. And yet, the athiest, materialistic wants me to accept as a matter of fact that it is granted to all humanity -- regardless of their behavior in life, regardless of anything. Hitler dies -- poof eternal rest. No accounting for his millions of murders. Mother Theresa dies -- poof eternal rest. No rewards for her years of selfless service to Bombay's untouchables. Jesus dies -- poof eternal rest. No rewards for his sacrifice. Stalin dies -- poof eternal rest. What's an atrocity here or there anyway. Hitler, Mother Theresa, Jesus, Stalin. . . file them all into the same cosmic file cabinet once they die. And stuff us all in there too. Nothingness.

So there we have it, my wish versus theirs. I believe that an observation of the nature of the universe backs mine up more. Actions have consequences. Things do not merely end. Matter is neither created nor destroyed. Things transfer into other states, from one stage to another. Energy is transferred. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Nowhere can you observe much evidence for anything just ending. Poof. Gone. For Good.

But my wish is built upon faith, so while I appreciate evidence, I freely admit that such evidence isn't incontrovertible and I do not fully rely on it. But the materialist, the athiest, they claim they do value evidence above all else. But what evidence do they have to back up their wish, which is equally built upon faith, just one of a different flavor? I don't think I've seen any. At least none that is very convincing.

So I'll take my charming faith, and temper it with just enough reason to make it strong. They can take their dreary logic, and pretend that it isn't dependant on a shaky faith. In the end, if they're right, it won't matter because I won't care because I won't exist to care. If I'm right. . . that's God's business, not mine. But really, we should all think about death a little more.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

I too have a thing for quotes

I confess, I am also one who loves a great quote. I love to read quote books, proverbs, sayings... whatever you like to call the cleverly and concicely phrases meant to teach and inspire. Here are some good ones...

"Whether you think you can oryou can't - you are right."...Henry Ford

"Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can only be felt if you don't set any condition."...Arthur Rubinstein

"Never try to teach a pig to sing: it wastes your time and annoys the pig."...Paul Dickson

Friday, August 13, 2004

Today's Quote


"Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do
doesn't mean it's useless."

- Thomas Edison

England Pt 2

And now for the Cornwall part of our trip. Cornwall is where many of many forebears are from. And I think the land calls to my spirit. It is an absolute jewel in this world. When you visit Cornwall and Devon, you begin to understand how such marvelous worlds such as 100 Acre Woods, Narnia, and Middle Earth could spring from the fertile imaginations of Englishmen.

Enjoy! I hope you like them. But remember, it's 30 times more breath-taking in person. If ever you have the chance to visit, do it. We're going back.


The weather can be suddenly very misty and foggy. Stories are told where people are walking in a beautiful sunny day one second and the next are overtaking by gloom. If this happens, you are warned to stay where you are -- many have fallen off the cliffs in their attempts to return home.


Will there be "bad weather" in heaven, or will it be perpetually sunny and 75 degrees? I personally believe that unique beauty that can be found in climates like this indicate that bad weather is not bad after all.


We stayed in Polperro, which is an ancient fishing village on the southern coast of Cornwall. This was a view from our window. This harbor was empty of water for much of the day, the boats just resting crookedly on a field of mud. There is something reassuring about staying in a town that has such noticeable patterns as the tide being in or out.


Another shot of the main town harbour. Polperro is still a working fishing village. In it's history, there only two kinds of people who lived there, fisherman or smugglers. Many were both.


I am not lying -- this is a "road" that people drove down. Unbelievable. As the village was built long before cars were invented, let's just say that automotive traffic is something of an afterthought. It was not uncommon to encounter an oncoming car and then have to drive in reverse for about a quarter mile to find a place where he could pass.


Another view of the harbour. Oh man I miss that beautiful sky.


Nearly every cottage had delightful flowers in their windowsills.


This is one of those shots that unfortunately I just couldn't come close to capturing how amazing the moment truly was -- mostly because I didn't have a tripod so these were taken trying to steady myself and the camera against a bench. Darby and I had a long walk and talk on top of an overlook, and this was the site we were treated to.


The cliffs' outcropping of rocks and stone were often covered in multicolored variations of lichen and moss. Darby had a theory that the lichen made the rocks harder and more resistent to erosion against the oceans' neverending assualt of waves. We haven't had a chance to confirm or deny her theory.


America gets a lot right -- ice in the drinks, free refills, showers everyday, freedom of speech and religion, etc. . . But the Cornish have made preservation of their lands such a priority that they have set aside 650 miles of coastland (in other words, the vast majority) for a unspoiled coastal walkway. It's hard to describe how beautiful this is, but it's basically posisble to walk along the entire coast of Corwall and see it basically as it's look for ages. Can you imagine how nice it would be to see American coasts this way? When the children are a little older, we're returning to walk much of this pathway.


The Cornish Coast -- One of the most beautiful places in the world.


On the night of the day we arrived, I went out by myself at dusk to take some pictures, and I found this seacave on the beach below our cottage. Here I am standing inside of the cave. I had a very difficult, irrationally scary time having my back to the depths of the cave to take this. What was I afraid of -- sea monsters? criminals? Yes, exactly.


The color on this tidal pool at the base of the cliffs was enchanting, unlike any I had seen before. It beckoned me to dive in. But I checked the water and it was very cold and the spell was broken. This is a good time to mention that I believe that the Cornish are obsessed with dogs (stay with me, it will make sense soon). Nearly every restaurant had a sign that said "Dogs forbidden at tables" or "Dogs welcome" (one said they were especially welcome if the 'tipped well'). Countless signs reminded us that there was a one thousand dollar fine if you allowed your dog to "foul the pathway" along the coast. ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS??? And, we take a while to hike to this tidal pool, and on the cliff wall in scrawled in large type "DO NOT ALLOW YOUR DOG TO SWIM IN THE TIDAL POOL." It's as if all they think of is dogs.


Another shot of the amazing Cornish coastline. Now that I think about it, I think that Darby's theory of the lichen was actually that they broke down the rocks into thin layers of soil and that's how the green grass would start to grow on the cliffs. That's pretty much the exact opposite of the other theory I recounted, huh? Her actual theory about the hardness of the rocks was that the salt water somehow pressurized the rocks and made them tougher. She based this on the fact that the rocks in the water were very hard and very dark black in places. However, I disagreed with her Theory of Water making Rocks harder and my idea was that water had worn away the weaker rocks and that's why the rock that was left in the water was very tough -- it's all that could survive, it's all that was left over.


A tree on the cliff (after the length of my last couple "captions" I thought it best to keep this one short).


Did I mention how clear the water was? It looked almost carribean and tropical. Not like our slate grey Atlantic. Again, it calls you like a siren, "Jump in, jump in!"


A moment of togetherness worthy of recording. To record this particular moment, I had to shakily set up the camera on a random crag. Then I had 6 seconds to scamper across the uneven ground, sit down, settle in, and look relaxed and happy. I think I did pull it all off fairly well, but what you can't see here in that I'm sitting in a puddle. . .

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Famous Quotes

I love famous quotes, love reading them, try to memorize them. I turn them over, shake them, try to see if anything applies to me that I should hold onto. When a profound truth (or even a provoking idea, regardless of it's complete truth) can be neatly summed up in a perfectly crafted quote, the world just seems a letter better. I especially lean towards ones that can inspire.

For instance, here is one from Albert Einstein that I appreciate:
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition
from mediocre minds.
-Albert Einstein


Here's another, not sure who said it:
Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You
can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.


When I find really good ones, I save them in one long document that is called QUOTES. Ocassionally I will share them with you all.

I say all this as background to let you know that it is one of my ambitions to be a person who makes these quotes. I've been making a conscious effort to take observations of universal truth and boil them down to a gleemingly slick quote. It's not so easy, but here is one of the fruits of my labor:

It is a great fool indeed who insists upon making enemies out of those who would love to be his friend.


This way, someday when I'm in a conversation with a friend about a person who the friend has no problem with; however inexplicably the person continues to insult, act badly, and generally make himself out to be a cur I can say, "Well, you know what they say -- "It is a great fool indeed who insists upon making enemies out of those who would love to be his friend." And the friend could say, "So true, but I've never heard that before -- who said it?" And I could say, "Why, I did! I'm glad that you appreciated it." And the friend could say, "I'll have to add that to my QUOTES document."

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Pestilence

First it was car accidents, and now it's insects and other pests. I swear, life in the Look Machine is like a chapter in Revelation. You all know about Collin's battles with stinging creatures. Now my household has LICE. That's right, the scourge of all parents everywhere, we are now lepers. And it's an incredible amount of work and money to get rid of them.

Where did we get them, you ask? We have our suspicions, but in truth we don't know. . .

The tab so far is up to 2 full days of work -- gathering up everything that the critters could get into, clothes, blankets, cusions, rugs, mattresses, carseats, cars. . . vacuuming everything. Holding down the kids to use these fine toothed combs to get out the nits and eggs after using this expensive toxic shampoo and "kill gel," all while they scream as if being tortured. We've had to get our down comforters dry cleaned ($100), buy some new blankets and towels while they are being cleaned (another $100), buy that expensive toxic kill shampoo and gel ($100). And we still have to take all the clothes to the laundromat later today.

Oh man I hate those bugs. Such a feeling of helplessness, hoping that we got them all, praying they don't come back. . . If they did I'd be tempted to just give in and say, "You win you crafty bugs, you deserve to claim our children's hair as your prize."

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Action has been taken.

The title of this post pretty much says it all, but I will give you the details. Lindsay and I went to see "The Village" tonight (which was the best movie I have seen in the theatre in quite some time... it was fantastic) and when we got back, we stormed the hive. Revenge came in the form of a huge can of wasp and hornet spray. I am proud to say that our harvest was bountiful.

This beesnest was not your run of the mill hive, it was a lair. There were two entrances to the cave, one on the side and one in the top, so I had to use a little bit of strategy. Lindsay stood guard to keep me covered. I began with the side entrance. I soaked down the perimeter of the hole and then sent a steady stream right into the interior. I held steady with this action until the buzz from within became a roar and the jackets began to fly out of the top. I then shot the stragglers out of the air and sent a cascade of chemicals down into the heart of the nest. I continued to drench the ground until I emptied the can. By that time, a deathly hush had fallen upon the scene. Nothing stirred except a few twitching bees that had crawled out the side entrance during the attack. Victory was ours.

Swarmed!

Well, as you all know, Lindsay and I live in this really awesome little house out in the country for free because we are the caretakers of the large property where the house is located. This afternoon, Lindsay and I were outside doing some work in the flower gardens (I actually do work from time to time). I was weeding this one garden that is built up on a bunch of old railroad ties (it is pretty cool looking). I grabbed hold of one particularly huge weed in the corner of the bed and gave it a big tug. That is when it happened.

The root ststem of this huge weed went down into the dirt and rotten wood on the edge of the garden, and, unbeknownst to me... a huge yellow jacket nest. Pulling that weed was like popping the cork on a huge, shaken up bottle of poisonous champaign. Before I even knew what I had done, I felt the bees on my legs, up my shorts, on my arns, and in my shirt. I shouted obscenities at my attackers in a wounded rage, but that didn't accomplish much. I dropped the weeds and ran into the woods swatting and pealing off my clothes (I think that if I saw myself on video I wouldn't be able to contain my laughter. It must have been quite a sight).

Lindsay was really nice and made some sort of concoction to draw out the poison. That made the stings feel considerably better, but now they itch like nobody's business.

I have been thinking up a plan. Tonight, after all of the yellow jackets are bedded down on their little bee pillows, I will take my revenge. It will be swift... it will be cruel... and it will be thorough. By first light tomorrow, every last one of their poisonous little butts will be toast. None will be spared.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Off and Ahn... And a great rock show.

Lindsay and I recently realized something funny. The only guy that we knew in Thailand when we went there a year ago was named Ahn. He is a really great guy and it was fun to see him while we were there. We recently decided to host and ELI student who is here for the summer (he doesn't actually live with us, we just hang out with him from time to time). Our student is from Thailand, and his name is off. So the 2 people we know from Thailand are Off and Ahn.

Anyway, we have been having a lot of fun being a "host family." Off is 22 years old (the same age as Lindsay ad me), so I think it is funny that we are a host family. Really all we do is hang out and have fun. For instance, he came to our show at the Everrett, we took him horseback riding, he came over and cooked us Thai food for dinner, and a couple of days ago, we went to see Thursday, Muse, and the Cure in concert. We just take him with us when we are doing something fun. He seems to like it and I really enjoy hanging out with him, so I guess the Host Family thing is working out.

That concert a few days ago was just out of this world. If you were there, I am sure that you were as amazed as I was, but if you were not there, let me tell you, you should make it a priority to see Muse in concert. The cure was headlining, and I think that they are OK, but I really went to see Thursday and Muse. It was really cool because the whole thing was music fest with like 8 bands playing on 2 stages. The best part was that Thursday and Muse played the second stage so we were able to get right up by the band. I have never seen a band play like Muse. They were so tight... so energetic... so fun... and just so amazing. I really am at a loss for words. The guitist does things that break all the rules of guitar playing, but it sounds incredible. I won't ramble on and on about it, but if you ever get the chance to see them play, you should. My only regret from the show was that they didn't get to play longer. I could have stayed there listenng and watching in amazement forever.