Music: "Going Back to Cali" -LL Cool J, "Sweet Home Alabama" -Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Home on the Range"
After 4 1/2 months of enjoying being a world citizen, Jen and Jim have returned to their homeland. Arriving at LAX after our 17 hour journey home (Bangkok to Taipai to LA) was wild. Dressed in our island clothes we shivered in the cool weather and rain (rain?) as we drove back to San Diego. Of course, we stopped along the way for Mexican food. Ah, it's good to be home.
We ended our trip by spending a few days in Bangkok and enjoying the colorful, pungent and frantic city that never slows down. We continued to eat incredible Thai food and got better and better at bargaining while shopping. We also learned what a difference it made once we learned how to say a few things (greetings, thank you) in Thai. People really appreciated this and often asked if Jen spoke Thai. And as long as our conversations never required more than a greeting or 'thank you', we were fluent.
We think it would be challenging to sum up all of the valuable experiences and lessons we've learned on this trip. (Although, Jim learned the value of speaking in the third person. Jim feels that it would be best for Jim to continue to speak about Jim in this manner) To put it briefly, it was truly a magical time in our lives. And, perhaps most importantly, we came back together! We made a great traveling team and felt extremely fortunate to have this time together. We also can't thank our friends and family enough for being so supportive. You all are amazing.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
Soon, we'll put up new pictures and send a link so you can view them if you'd like. Thanks for reading through our ramblings...
Love, J i m & J e n
FEB. 8 Life has been very good to us! We've been enjoying the Thai islands and beaches for the past two weeks. What a treat! While we're looking forward to seeing our family and friends soon, it will be tough to tear ourselves away from days of snorkeling, reading in the sun and reflecting on our trip. We are a fortunate pair.
Highlights -- Recommended music: "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and "Sun is Shining" by Bob Marley.
--Thailand, while a wonderful country, is not geographically ideal for our travel plans (not to worry, we've already submitted a letterto their govt to move Bangkok to a more convenient location). As a result, after Chiang Mai we were VERY north of the islands we wanted to visit. Here was our 17 hour/6 modes of transportation journey from Chiang Mai to he Krabi beach, Hat Ton Soi.
1. Tuk-Tuk (small moped-like cab) to Bus Station, 2. Bus trip to Bangkok (9 hours), 3. taxi to Bangkok airport, 4. flight to Phuket (1.5 hours), 5. taxi to bus stop, 6. local bus to Krabi (3 hours), 7. taxi to Krabi dock, 8. Long-tail boat to West Hat Rai Leh, 9. Walk along beach and through coral to Hat Ton Soi. AND IT WAS DEFINITELY WORTH IT!
--Ton Soi was a very chill and beautiful stop. All around are massive limestone cliffs that lend themselves well to the throngs of rock climbers that come here. We went on a 1/2 day climb and loved it! Jen did incredibly well and showed Jim (once again) that while she may be cute, she's still a bad-ass. We climbed with a great couple and really enjoyed the physical and mental challenge of the day.
--We have had some AMAZING snorkeling experiences on this trip and have had many in the past two weeks. The coral and fish in Thailand is much different from what we enjoyed in Australia (or Cook Islands) and we were mesmerized. We took a few snorkeling day-trips and enjoyed many different areas around where we stayed. Simply magnificent. Like living in the Rubio's aquarium (FYI: Rubio's is a fish taco restaurant... hmmm, fish tacos...).
--There's nothing like planning your schedule around splitting a Chang (a tasty Thai beer) at sunset. As you can imagine, our daybooks are jam-packed.
--After Jim's reference to Jen as a "body buffet" for the mosquitos, the local insects struck with a vengence. After one night, Jim was covered in about 50 bites. Lesson learned: Don't mess with Jen -- she has "an understanding" with the insect world.
--We spent quite a while in Ko Lanta, a long island along the west coast of southern Thailand. With it's nice loooong (and wide) beach, it was perfect for walking, jogging and frisbee. Frisbee and the beach...it doesn't get much better.
--Eating out for every meal is exciting but a bit challenging (aside from trying to eat healthy once in a while). The menus here are HUGE! At the last place we stayed there was a table of contents! It listed up to 28 pages -- and there was more after that page! Now there are not *that* many items, they are simply listed in many categories. (For example, Fried Rice with Chicken makes it under "rice", "chicken", "fast food", "items that start with 'F'" and perhaps a few more.) It can be a bit exhausting. Oh woe is me...
--We've been reading a ton. We were in a state of panic as we tried to not finish our books until we found new material. Thankfully, a used-book store came through for us. Even with a TV in one of the places we stayed (watching the MTV Asian music awards was an education unto itself), one can only watch so many Thai soap operas.
--From Ko Lanta we went to a small island called Ko Ngai (Hai). It was wonderful and got us away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger islands. Ha! Okay, it was as relaxed as everywhere else. However, since it was on an east facing beach, we got up each morning to enjoy the sun rise over the rocks in the distance. Despite Jim's suggestions, we left the drinking beer for the sunSETS.
--In front of our place in Ko Ngai was brillant snorkeling. Yesterday, we went out three times to enjoy it. What a treat to have an underwater universe in your front yard. Our underwater hand signal communication is now rock solid. Just in case the need arises...
Thanks again for scrolling through our ramblings...we hope to get to see you very soon!
JAN. 25 Hello from Thailand! We arrived a little over a week ago to the last country on our itinerary. Thailand has been quite a fun adventure so far and we continue to have a great time. (Of course, any trip is filled with some discomforts, sicknesses, hassles, etc. but all in all we feel extremely fortunate how things have turned out.) Tonite we'll take a night bus then an early flight to head to the south of Thailand and enjoy some of the beautiful islands here. Life is good.
The latest highlights... Music suggestion: "One Night in Bangkok (makes a hard man humble)" and any pirated techno CD you may own (there are many markets in Thailand and Malaysia selling copied CD's).
--Malaysia was quite a treat! We arrived in Kuala Lumpur and met up with our friends, David and Leah. It was great to see some familiar faces. We spent a couple of days in KL enjoying the big, cosmopolitan, Asian city that it is. Malaysia has an interesting mix of Malay, Indian and Chinese cultures. This makes it a fascinating place with incredible food. KL has some truly massive structures such as the Petronas Towers (largest office building in the world) and a whole lot going on all day and all night.
--The four of us headed up to Cameron Highlands, an area known for it's tea plantations and jungle hikes. It's also much cooler than KL and Jim was relieved, after 6 straight weeks of sweating, to put on a long sleeved shirt. We ate amazing Indian food, hiked in the hills and toured the tea plantations.
--On Jan. 11th, we celebrated Jen's birthday! We went on a great jungle hike during the day (highlighted by monkeys swinging over our heads) then went into town for a delicious Steamboat dinner (much like fondue) with us cooking up fish, veggies, etc. in two types of heated soup. Throw in a few Tiger Beers and we had a great night.
--Speaking of food, since Bali, we've been gorging on Mangosteens. We had never heard of this delicious fruit but have been eating our body weight in them since we tried them. Oh my, they are good. You peel a hard, dark maroon shell off of the tangerine sized fruit to reveal soft, pure white segments that are sweet and tart and oh-so delicate. To stop from drooling, we should also mention the Durian fruit. This fruit is banned by some hotels because the smell is so much like an open sewer. After weeks, we could finally distinguish the difference between a sewer and a Durian. Yes we tried it. Yes it's awful...I mean, and 'acquired taste'.
--Our next stop in Malaysia was the island Palau Pangkor. While the ocean water was hardly refreshing on the very hot days (probably about 82 degrees), we had fun riding bikes, swimming, reading and relaxing. Despite our previous experience, we even kayaked again. Somehow we didn't end up back in Indonesia.
--We said goodbye to David and Leah and flew to Bangkok, Thailand for our last month of travel. Wow -- quite a city. To best explain Bangkok one should swing their head back in forth while techno music blares out of a car driving in circles perilously close to you. Still, the energy of the place is wild and Thailand is delightfully inexpensive.
--After a one-night stop in Ayutthaya to enjoy some Buddhist Temple ruins from the 14th and 15th century (very cool) we ventured to the north to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is near where some of hill tribes continue to live that have been in the area for centuries and are from Laos, China, Burma and Thailand. It also has a massive night bazaar (manic!) and is the hub for trekking in Northern Thailand.
--Do you remember saying "Good night -- don't let the bed bugs bite"? Well, Jen didn't listen very well. Despite our notions that "bed bugs" were partners with other imaginary creatures such as the 'boogie-man', Jen graciously allowed these foul bugs to make neat rows of bites on her legs. Jen's 'body buffet' has been quite a host to the mosquitoes and more. Her devotion to helping insects survive is admirable.
--We went on a 3 day trek into the hills outside of Chiang Mai. Our group of 6 (with a guide from one of the tribes) spent time hiking through amazing wilderness and stayed with some of the 'primitive' tribes in the area. It was very interesting to see how some of the tribes have lived for many years. Our trip also involved an elephant ride. "Packy" (aka 'Packy the sure-footed Pachyderm') held us on his massive back for an off-roading elephant experience that was fun, but can now be checked off the list of things to do. We ended the trip with a bamboo rafting experience that was wonderful.
--We also want to wish HAPPY BIRTHDAY to two folks who we will miss out on their birthday celebrations. To Susie (Jim's Mom) and Deron, we send you big, BIG hugs. Sorry to all the folks we've missed special days for -- we're always sending some love!
We've been thinking about our friends and family a lot and want to say 'thanks' again to everyone who has been so supportive. We also hope the world can become a more relaxed, tolerant and peaceful place so experiencing how others live, it only gets easier.
Thanks for scrolling.
JAN. 6 Happy Belated New Year! We hope everyone had a safe, fun and reflective start to 2003. We are safe and sound (and wet) in Bali and are enjoying the colorful atmosphere, vibrant people, affordable costs and the caucophony of sound that seems to be everywhere.
This update should be read while listening to "It's Raining Men" and any Balinese tapes you have laying around your place.
--We arrived in Bali on 12/30 and decided to stay in Ubud, located somewhat in the middle of the island. It's an amazing area with much of the artists and cultural events of Bali. Although most people think of sun and beaches when they think of Bali, our experience has been more about jungles, rain and culture. It's a beautiful place. Our room is next to a thunderous (it's been raining quite a bit) waterfall and surrounded by lush jungle. Including the delightful breakfast, it's costing us under $14 per night. Life's good.
--Our new year's eve was a blast! We went to see 'Ramalayan' one of the Balinese dances based on Hindu legends and followed it up with a wonderful meal...and a few local drinks, Brem (rice wine) and Arak (the local 'firewater'). We sat on pillows at a low table while overlooking a massive lily pond. The dance was enchanting, with graceful, colorful performers and disorienting music and the dinner was delicious. We also took some time to take stock of our lives and what we're thankful for. It was a great way to end the year and begin a new one.
--Walking around Bali has been an experience. The sounds, smells and sites are a bit overwhelming but majestic. There is an incredible amount of ceremony in everyday life (as evidenced by the rice and flower offerings on palm leaves that are EVERYwhere) and temples and colorful clothes (and people) line the streets. Oh, and lots of honking horns. Fortunately, the horns are more of the "yoo-hoo" variety than the "LOOKOUT!" variety.
--We spent time walking in the Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud and we were blown away. This lush jungle area is filled with...well, monkeys and incredible stone statues. It's from the 14th century and everything is covered in bright green moss or foliage. Quite a site to see.
--Massages here are quite cheap (1 1/2 hour for under $10) so we've both endulged. They were...um...an experience. We had the 'Mandi Lulur' massage which involves a full body massage with an exfoliating sandalwood and ground nuts rub, followed by a yogurt and honey moisturizing rub (hungry yet?). This ends with a relaxing bath in a warm, scented water with flower petals floating in it and a cup of ginger tea. While parts of it were divine, Jim had some choice words about the vigorous rubbing/exfoliating/ripping of dried sandalwood from his leg hair. Had a man ever had one of these before? Oh my. He felt it was payback for any woman who had been waxed before. This combined with a truly abstract soundtrack of Western songs covered by other artists (e.g. Phil Collin's "Against All Odds" sang by ?) only added to the "unique" treat. Still, quite an experience for the price!
--We've taken two tours of other parts of Bali visiting some of the many, MANY picturesque rice fields and intricate temples. At one point, while visiting the wonderful Holy Water Temple (it has a natural spring that fills baths) some teenage girls from Borneo eagerly ran up to Jen (dressed in an orange Balinese shirt and sarong) with bright eyes and asked if they could take a picture with her. After a few photos with them and some others from Borneo (and Jim), their guide explained that they don't see many tourists in Borneo and were excited to see us. While it may not seem powerful as the story is written, it was an amazing experience that left us floating. As travelers, and as Americans, we don't always feel welcome. The experience made the world seem a little brighter, more friendly and smaller.
--By chance, we had the opportunity to join a Balinese cremation ceremony. The cremation ceremony is VERY important in Bali and families may take years to save up for it. Bodies are temporarily buried while the family makes preparations and saves up the necessary money and time to create. It was AMAZING. About 350 people in a village about 40 minutes from Ubud (and 5 other tourists) participated in the event. A group of around 60 men carried a huge white bull (Brahmana) along with a colorful multi-tiered tower made of bamboo, paper, string, tinsel, silk and more holding two musicians and two priests as well. They shook and turned the bull too confuse the spirit from being able to return to Earth. Then, we all walked to the cemetary where the body (which was placed in the decorated Bull), the incredible tower and some offerings were set ablaze. Artwork created to be burnt in ceremony. We found the Balinese 'Burning Man'! We both wore sarongs and sashes for the event which our guide brought us to his house to dress us. We felt incredibly priviledged to be a part of the day.
Soon we leave for Malaysia before heading to Thailand. In Malaysia we're meeting up with some friends (David and Leah -- Leah used to work at CollegeClub) who have been traveling around the world for almost a year. It should be great to see them (and swap stories) and give Jen a chance to break free from Jim's underappreciated singing of "Against All Odds".
Sending lots of new year love to you all! Thanks for being a part of our trip and our lives.
Happy Holidays! While we missed our families and friends a ton over Christmas, we had a great time celebrating our "White Sand Christmas" among the amazing creatures of the Great Barrier Reef. We thought about our families and their traditions and sent lots of love to California and Ohio. We hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and are 'receiving' the hugs we're sending across the globe. :)
Onto the latest...
Recommended music: "It's starting to look NOTHING like Christmas", "I'm dreaming of a hot and humid Christmas" and "Frosty the SANDman".
--We have a bit more of our schedule cleared up. We leave from Brisbane to Bali, Indonesia on 12/30. We leave for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 1/8 and we'll arrive in Thailand on 1/18. We're about a month "behind" our original travel plan.
--It's been 3 months (13 weeks) of traveling! Somehow we're still enjoying each other's company and Jen seems to have adjusted to Jim's relaxed shower schedule. It's been a great adventure together.
--Our 3 day trip to Fraser Island was quite interesting. It's the largest sand island in the world and is incredibly lush. While the surrounding ocean has intense rip currents and sharks, the fresh water lakes on the island are glorious. The water has the same pH as our skin, which leaves our skin and hair soft. We also saw many dingos (wild dogs) that were brought to the island many years ago. Tragically, last year a 10 year old boy was killed by dingos and they had to remove and kill many of the overpopulated animals. After we returned from the island, we both got fairly sick and made for a tricky few days.
--We spent time at our last farm through the WWOOF program. We spent over a week in Gin Gin (Before you ask: Yes, they get together with nearby towns Vermouth Vermouth and Green Olive Green Olive for the annual 'Martini Festival') at Kookaburra Eco-Village. This is a shared community of 350 group acreage and 100 1 acre land plots. There are about 40 families currently living there and there is a variety of homes (traditional homes to permaculture geodesic domes). The area had tons of kangaroos and wallabies that would rest in shade during the day.
--While we didn't do much 'farming' in Gin Gin, we really enjoyed staying with Jim & May and being a part of the community. We joined a community lunch with a surprise visit from Santa and water games in the 'swimmin' hole'. We took on a project of having a "Kids Paint Day". We cut a bunch of fallen trees up to make stump seats for the kids to paint. About 16 kids participated and created wonderfully colorful seats for themselves. Jen was quite a paint wizard/teacher and Jim used a chainsaw for the first time (now needs a few more to begin juggling). It was a fantastic event and Jen baked 'ANZAC Bikkies' (Australian Cookies) for everyone.
--At our farm stays, our hosts always ask what foods we eat at home. It's always funny to tell them that the food we eat the most is Mexican food. Jen made some great meals, including another great round of burritos. We're like the Johnny Appleseed (Jenny Tortilla?) of Mexican food in Australia.
--Twice, on a bus we were on they showed the movie "13 Days". While on a bus in Australia, watching a movie about a conflict between the US and Soviet Union/Cuba? Very bizarre. Ironically, we had to get off the bus at the same time, missing the last 30 minutes both times. But if we remember history class correctly, we're pretty sure that either Superman or Mighty Mouse saves the day.
-We got our bill for Puggy's dent (campervan). It was $400 US. Poor, poor Puggy.
--Our X-mas trip was wonderful! We had a great group (31 people) on a beautiful boat. We spent time on amazing beaches and spent a huge amount of time underwater. We both scuba dived (Jim twice) and snorkeled for hours. The marine life was indescribable. SO FUN! The intricate and varied coral reef, brightly colored fish and endless underwater world was breathtaking. Some highlights included watching a turtle cruise amongst the fish, listening to the fish crunch on the coral when eating and watching the coral sway like we were living in our own lava lamp. Spending Christmas with our families is our first choice, but snorkeling and scuba diving was a nice way to make up for it. A great trip and a great group from around the world.
Sending you all love. Thanks for your support as we head to Asia. We'll do our best to be safe.
-J & J
to email Jim or Jen, use Jstyn AT Yahoo.com or jstacklin AT hotmail.com
Happy belated Thanksgiving! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Australia (in a hotel in the thriving city of Lismore) complete with a roasted chicken (no turkey), potato wedges (tough to find mashed), wine and some apple pie. We ate too much, gave thanks and sent love to our friends back at home -- it was perfect. Speaking of being thankful, we feel incredibly fortunate to be able to take this trip and have the time to explore other countries while learning about ourselves. It's been a wonderful journey.
We are now remaining in Australia until Dec. 30th when we will head to Bali, Indonesia. We've been keeping an eye on the news and we've decided to go ahead with the Southeast Asia portion of our trip. We'll be in Bali for about a week, Malaysia for around a week as well, then off to Thailand. We will probably be back in the US in early February...but nothing is ever certain. ;)
Okay -- time for more highlights. Recommended music: "Imagine" by John Lennon and "Hot, hot, hot" by whoever sings that annoying song.
--We stayed for a full week on our first farm with Fran and Till (possibly the greatest farmer name ever, Farmer Till). It was an eye-opening experience to be around such positive, open people. Eating food that we'd picked, caring for animals and focusing on how to live better proved to be a magical experience. Most of all, we'll miss the calf we bottle-fed, Patch Mary (and the other cows, White Socks and Rosebud).
--We (well, Jen...although Jim did make some fine guacamole) cooked for Fran and Till one night and we made burritos. Not only did this satisfy our own intense longing for burritos, but using their fresh, organic vegetables made a delicious way to share the type of food we often eat at home (we know it's Mexican food...but what were we going to cook? Corndogs?)
--Living among the creatures has been an interesting experience. Termites and ants in our food, rats getting into bags and possums seeking out treats helped us see how they're all just trying to find something to eat, too. I guess we can't blame 'em. (Although it was impossible to write under our mosquito net at night due to the noise of all the bugs - some as loud as incoming planes - who saw our lamp light as an invitation to some sort of a "flying bug keg party".)
--After our day off/Thanksgiving break, we spent a week on a farm (near Tabulam, east of Lismore/Casino for those of you keeping track on the 'J&J Travels Board Game') with Kevin and Jude and their two kids Chloe (10) and Courtney (6). They have 180 avocado trees (mmmmm) and many mango trees. This farm experience was MUCH different. This was a 'meat and potatoes' family with strong family roots and less interest in discussing the meaning of life. We learned some very valuable lessons from the experience and it provided a fascinating comparison to our previous WWOOFing stay.
--We stayed in a shed about 1 mile from their house in the bush (every forest area is called 'bush'). This was TRULY out there...we were given a walkie-talkie to call them in an emergency as we had no electricity (no phone, TV, etc.) but two solar lights. It was wonderful! We were near a dam and everyday TONS of kangaroos would hop on by to get a drink. We'd hear them hopping around at night and regularly see them during the day. When we'd drive the "ute" (beat-up truck) home at night we'd have to be cautious not to hit all the nocturnal critters. Remarkable.
--It's HOT. So very, very hot. Summer is here and it's horribly dry. Many farms simply don't need any help since the drought has caused such problems. Bush fires are already doing tons of damage and we had a bus delay due to closed roads from bush fires.
--Jude cares for two orphaned Joeys (baby 'roos) that she's hoping to get back into the wild. We helped care for these adorable babes and hugged them when they'd bury their face into our chests when a car or loud noise would go by (they feel that if they can't see the danger it can't see them. Normally, they'd put their face back in their mom's pouch). They slept in backpacks as a surrogate pouch. Oh so soft and cuddly.
--Jim found a tick! Oh goodie. Where? Well, it was in a place that you'd only find when using the bathroom. Ah, the elusive Australian Crotch Tick. Jim can make friends anywhere!
--We saw many snakes -- most impressive was the python that had just eaten a bow bird (the size of a small pigeon) and had a HUGE bulge in its body. Also eerily beautiful was the venomous black snake that we saw going after a mouse. Snakes are just a part of living in the bush.
--Seeing kids on the farm deal with the death of animals was another good lesson. While we think it's important for kids to understand the cycle of life, we'll only have giant tortoises, redwood trees and other life that outlives humans in our house. Seriously, it was great to see how comfortable these children were with the life and death of animals.
--One night we saw a big spider in the corner of the room. When we say "big", we mean tarantula big. The body was about the size of an avocado seed and it's furry body and arms were as big as a man's hand. I guess he was there first...so we learned to live together. (He mostly kept to himself).
--In one day the four adults picked, sorted and packaged 750 kilos of avocados. It was wild, climbing trees picking out the "sprung" (ripe) ones and sorting by size. We'd never seen so much 'green gold' before in our lives. Yes, we came away with a few pocket fulls of complimentary avocados (they're being sold on the black/green market to fund the rest of our trip.
--We're now in Byron Bay (a groovy surf town) in the north end of New South Wales and will be heading to Fraser Island (the largest sand island in the world) in a day. After that we'll be heading to another farm (or two?) and then we're planning on a sailing trip in the Whitsundays out in the Great Barrier Reef over X-mas. Wow. We are incredibly fortunate people.
Thanks again for taking the time to read through these notes -- it's nice to be able to feel that we're in touch with our friends.
Sending everyone a big ol' hug,
J i m & J e n
Good on ya! Wow -- so much more to say this time than the highlights as we have been working on a farm in Australia for almost a week now (more on that later). Going from the very damp climate of NZ to the hot and dry climate of Australia (they are in the middle of their worst drought in 100 years. It's very sad, they're killing thousands of sheep a day due to no food available for them) has been quite a change. All in all -- we're doing great! Thanks for all your support.
Some highlights...NZ portion to the tune of "Rocky Mountain High" and the Oz portion to be accompanied by Men at Work's "I Come From a Land Down Under" played continuously on a loop.
First...to close out NZ --We had a chance to take a much better look at the glow worms in Te Anau. Amazing -- hundreds of small green lights on the ceiling of these massive and intricate, damp caves. The worms produce the illuminescence (sp?) to lure insects towards them to eat. It truly looks like staring at the constellations in the sky.
--We took a mellow cruise of Milford Sound, one of the most famous and picturesque places in NZ. While we prefer to explore things on our own, the area was remarkable with sharp peaks descending into the cool water (and, of course, waterfalls EVERYWHERE).
--In Dunedin, we took a tour of the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. It would be shallow to say this was the highlight of the trip...so I won't, but chocolate samples sure do give this tour an edge. Although we saw no Oompa-Loompas, we hear that there are still many living and working in Dunedin's chocolate factory. We saw candy being produced and Jim even had to wear a hair net over his face (due to his silly beard...which has since been shaven).
--The radio stations in NZ are interesting. They seem to play under the format "Music". I'd like to write ads for them: "Do you like Music? Well, we play Music!" One minute it's Destiny's Child and the next it's an old Rod Stewart tune. It's like listening to a mix tape from an eclectic friend.
--In Omaru, we joined a tour to see the yellow-eyed penguins, the rarest penguin in the world (about 4000 alive). With our guide (who has spent the past 22 years with the 40+ penguins in this area and may or may not be able to speak about anything else, but sure knew a TON about these penguins) we were able to sit a few feet away and watch them care for their eggs and baby penguins. Breathtaking and beautiful.
--While taking a 3 hour hike near Lake Tekapo (glorious turquoise lake) we had drizzle, sleet, rain, heavy winds, sunshine, hail and SNOW. It was like living in a documentary on 'Weather'.
--Our final stop was in Christchurch (the biggest city in South Island and oh-so-subtly named. We looked but we didn't see the cities of "BuddhaTemple", "AbrahamSynagogue" or "MohammedMosque".) We cleaned up "Puggy" and prepared to turn her in. It was tough to see her go (and tougher to wait and see what the charge will be for the dent in the back). Godspeed Puggy -- thanks for taking care of us.
AUSTRALIA --We arrived in Sydney which is an amazing but massive city of 4 million people (only 20 million folks in all of Australia). We enjoyed walking everywhere and exploring this beautiful port city. Although the drought has left brown grass everywhere, even the golf courses, it's a nice place with great gardens and wonderful harbors. We were particulary taken by the thousands of bats we saw. There is something about a tree filled with sleeping bats to make you want to walk quietly. Maybe it's too many Anne Rice books, but it just seems like they'll wake up hungry and go for your jugular.
--We spent a couple of days in the nearby Blue Mountains. The seemingly billions of eucalyptus trees give off an oil that gets trapped in the moist air and makes the area seem blue. It's a beautiful place to hike around. (Although we're a bit more cautious now that we're in Aus. NZ has no snakes and almost no spiders, while Australia has all sorts of interesting creepy crawlies). In this area, they recently found a tree (Morelli) that they thought was extinct millions of years ago. Somehow, a patch survived and they figured out what it was by matching it to a fossil of a dinosaur stepping on this tree. Remarkable.
--Back on the Farm...there is an amazing program called WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) that allows travelers to work on organic farms in exchange for room and board. There are hundreds of farms with different specialities around Australia (and the world). So far, our experience here has been truly amazing. It has been about so much more than planting seeds and watering crops, but feeling the connectedness of it all. We've eaten delicious fresh food and learned so much about taking care of land and ourselves. Our hosts have been a delight and the experience has been powerful.
In the past week, here are some things we've done (or do daily): -Plant corn, pick string beans, water plants, learn about permaculture and organic farming, feed cows and a calf from a bottle, dig up garlic, swim in a dam, go to a dairy and get fresh milk, pick onions, mulch, prepare compost heaps, watch the full moon rise and sing songs, pick tomatoes, learn the Aboriginal intstrument didjeridoo, chop down banana trees, plant banana trees, shovel manure, feed chickens, collect chicken eggs, move hay with a pitchfork, cook, paint signs for the little produce stand, clean and braid garlic strands, go to the beach, plant herbs and have fascinating talks about life, love and produce.
Sorry for the long list, but it's been a real eye-opening experience. We'll probably go to a few other farms as we extend our Australian portion of our trip. ;)
Life is good, even if there are roughly a dozen flies on our face at any given time and cow manure under our fingernails -- it's been a treat. Sending much love back home.
Nov. 5 Hello! We've enjoyed our time in NZ so much we extended our trip here for an additional week. We'll leave for Australia on Nov. 14. We're currently in Queenstown and resting from a challenging 3-day hike (more on that in the 'highlights'). Also, we'd love to hear from YOU -- so, if you have a free minute we'd love to hear how our friends/family are doing. THANKS!
Time for more highlights -- recommended music "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head", "I Saw You Walking in the Rain", "Blame it on the Rain", or "You Can't Stop the Rain".
--In Greymouth we went on a caving adventure that was spectacular! We were geared up in wetsuits and helmets and went climbing through icy water to check out amazing stalagtites/mites and wild formations (which Jen likened to hiking through the "stomach of a giant beast"). We also innertubed in the dark and saw the fascinating blue light of the glow worms. A vigorous and worthwhile excursion. It was quite humbling to see rock 'sculptures' that have taken thousands of years to form.
--We next headed to the Franz Josef Glacier to hike up it. Wow. The glacier is massive and in case walking over ladders above 150 foot crevasses isn't enough, hiking in ice boots (big metal spikes) and an ice axe reminds you of the seriousness of the climb. The blue ice and the remarkable ice formations were breathtaking. The glacier is always moving (either advancing if there is more snow added/compacted before it melts on the bottom end or retreating if vice versa) and can move up to 5 meters a day! A great day and now we both think it would be cool to carry an ice axe around all the time.
--Jim's wrist is slowly healing and the doctor gave such a detailed description of what happened that he only remembers that it had something to do with the tendons...or ligaments. However, he still hasn't gotten out of any daily chores.
--We've had some wonderful stops and short hikes among the rich scenery of NZ. The ferns that are everywhere and singing birds and waterfalls are particularly spectacular. Walking through rainforest estuaries, we are truly appreciating the interconnectedness of it all.
--When driving to the picturesque city of Wanaka (everything looks like it should be in a postcard) we almost stopped every 5 minutes to admire the scenery. Truly this is an amazing place. Snow capped mountains everywhere, lakes everywhere, rivers everywhere, lush forests everywhere, waterfalls EVERYwhere...oh my. I guess lots of mountains and tons of rain will create some beautiful spots. Oh, and how it rains. We've learned that "rainproof" is a relative term.
--Poor Puggy (our Swiss-Army Knife of a campervan), we got stuck in a ford while trying to reach the start of a hike. Wheels spinning, rocks shooting, Jim and Jen pushing in an ice cold stream...but we were STUCK. To make a long story short, we were pushed out by a 4x4 truck and narrowly avoided a cracked window, but Puggy did get a little reminder dent of our afternoon. She may have a refrigerator and stove, but she's not much for off-roading.
--We just returned from hiking the Greenstone/Caples trail. This turned out to be an extremely challenging adventure for us. (Quick side note: The DOC (Department of Conservation) in NZ is amazing and they have a time table for all hikes. On the 10 to 15 short and long hikes we've done we learned that we took about 1/2 to 3/4 of the time they said a hike would take. HOWEVER, this is the only place (other hikers agreed) that the times were extremely accurate. As a result we WAY overestimated how fast we'd get through the trail.)
--With a tent in tow we hiked through some wonderfully dense beech forests. Exposed roots acted like steps through the muddy trails. On our first night, we camped among the mossy trees and swarms of sandflies. There were so many that it sounded like rain hitting our tent as hundreds of these biting locals tapped above us. The Maori (the first inhabitants of NZ) legends say the sandflies of Fiordland are there to prevent humans from becoming complacent while admiring the beauty of the area. Done and done. ;)
--Realizing that we had a tough timeline to meet our transport at 2pm of our third day, we hiked furiously for 2 days. Day two involved over 8 hours of solid hiking. We had to ring out our socks from so much water in our boots (this was BEFORE it rained). Jen misjudged a patch and went down to her waist in water (and mud) and Jim thought he was stepping on a rock and ended up knee deep in sludge. Despite some tough spots, it really was beautiful!
--When we reached the end of the hike in time, we felt a huge sense of accomplishment. We were physically and mentally exhausted but we had an amazing journey. We rewarded ourselves to a campervan park with a jacuzzi and ate as many cookies as we wanted. Still, nothing beats Jen's special "Ramen and Tuna Fish Camping Delight". Hmm-hmm, good stuff.
We hope that everyone is doing well and we send big hugs to you all. Thanks for taking the time to read this!
(Hopefully more pictures will be up soon!)
Oct. 24 How ya goin'? We're currently in the South Island of New Zealand in Marahau near the Abel Tasman National Park. We are fairly well adjusted to living in our camper van and are cruising along in this amazing country. The people continue to be the nicest we've ever encountered. It's like being in an old movie -- we can't believe anyone is this friendly. It's wonderful.
The latest highlights: (recommended music: Soundtrack to "Lord of the Rings"...if there is one)
--Roturua is a fairly touristy but spectacular city. There are many thermal areas in the area and floating steam and the lovely stench of sulphur are never very far away. Our most memorable thermal experience was at "Hell's Gate". George Bernard Shaw remarked about this area, "I wished I'd never come here so I wouldn't have seen what theologians say await me." It really was eerie. Huge sulphur ponds gurgling, rank aroma in the air, bubbling mud and mist overhead. The huge pools of boiling mud were creepy and beautiful.
--In Roturua we also did some downhill luge (on a cement track) and 'Zorbing'. Neither of us have laughed so hard as we did while Zorbing. Zorbing involves us going inside a huge inflated ball in our swimsuits. They tossed in some warm water and some laundry soap and pushed us down a hill. Like being in a washing machine (I guess) we splashed around and slipped and slided down the hill. It was a riot! We'd do it again in a second. We'll have to post some pics of it later...
--We also went to a sheep shearing show. Although we've seen nearly all of the 30 million sheep in New Zealand while driving around, we got an interesting lesson on sheep used for wool and sheep used for meat in a demonstration that discussed the 19 varieties of sheep they have in NZ. It was...interesting...and something we can check off our list. Jen still wants to take home a baby sheep. Jim doesn't think this will happen.
--We had a windy drive to Whakapapa (pronounced "Faka-papa"...say that without giggling) to get to the Tongariro National Forest. Driving a thin but very tall campervan in the wind definitely adds to the adventure of driving a stick shift on the left hand side of the road. Add in a few narrow bridges and logging trucks and who needs extreme sports? Adventures are everywhere...
--We went on a big day hike called the "Tongariro Crossing", which is often considered the most beautiful day hike in NZ. However, the weather is unpredictable and our day adventure led us to buy water proof pants a few days later. We did the 7 hour hike much quicker out of necessity. The beginning of our hike was glorious: snow capped mountains, clear streams, beautiful clouds -- it felt like we were in the "Lord of the Rings" movie. Then it began to rain...and snow...and we had to lower our center of gravity as we walked past massive craters left from volcanoes and we creeped along snow covered peaks. It was an amazing day, but definitely challenging.
--Jen and Jim celebrated 2 years together and splurged on a night away from "Puggy the Campervan" and stayed in a room in Wanganui (and even watched some TV!). Even after Jim bumped the overhang of their hotel with the TALL roof of the campervan, the hosts welcomed us in and couldn't have been nicer to us. The people here are amazing.
--News concerning Bali has been tough to read about. Our trip is supposed to take us there in about 6 weeks so we'll keep an eye on what's going on. We are hoping the world can become a safer place and we can continue to be smiling ambassadors and world citizens.
--After we took a breathtaking ferry ride from the North Island into the less populated (and considered to be more beautiful) South Island of NZ, we took a hike from Picton and saw the most amazing rainbow. We are now "Rainbow Hunters" and are always on the lookout.
--We just returned from a 3 day adventure in the Abel Tasman National Park. We kayaked for 2 days and hiked for one along the lush forest and golden beaches of the park. Kayaking...hmmm...kayaking is like horseback riding for us (there are unfortunate riding tales for Jen in Costa Rica and Jim in Brazil) in that it's an activity that we've tried and don't need to spend more time doing. That sounds polite enough. ;) Unfortunately, the sea acted up a bit and in our efforts to get past a tough section of coast, we completely overshot our stopping point and on our first day and went WAY past where we were supposed to end on our SECOND day. We were exhausted and a bit frustrated. Fortunately, we had camping gear and camped at an amazing site and got to watch the full moon rise over Tonga Island (a marine reserve for a seal colony which we kayaked around the next day. Jen still wants to take home a baby seal. Jim doesn't think that will happen). It turned out to be a tiring, but gorgeous mistake. When we were back on land (ah land, good old reliable land) we had a great hike to finish off our trip. The beaches and forests truly were beautiful. Unfortunately, Jim hurt his wrist but it's unusual creaking sounds that it makes is a potentially profitable freakish talent.
Whew! Finally...a message out to the group. We are alive and well! We're currently in in Auckland, New Zealand after spending 10 days in The Cook Islands (Rarotonga and Aitutaki). Our "vacation" portion of the trip is over and now we're into the "traveling" part. We live in a camper van and smell like camp fire. Good stuff.
There is much to say, but in order to spend more time on this adventure than writing about it -- here are some highlights. (Feel free to imagine quick edits and flashy music like MTV or ESPN.)
--Rarotonga was amazing! The island life suited us just fine. Days spent snorkeling, reading, sunning, riding bikes and enjoying sunsets on an island paradise.
--Rarotonga (and all the Cook Islands) are surrounded by a huge reef so, for the most part, you're in a lagoon. The water rarely got over 4 feet deep. One day we waded about a 1/2 mile to an unpopulated island and had an amazing picnic.
--We rode bikes EVERYwhere while on Rarotonga (trying to get used to riding on the left side of the road) even when it was pouring rain (our last few days left us soggy). It takes about 2-3 hours to ride completely around the island. We went on an amazing cross island hike with Pa, the dread-locked guide and herbalist. The lush hike and views were spectacular and his information on natural remedies were fascinating. (However, his 'natural mosquito repellent' that he rubbed all over Jen's arms was a native fruit that smelled distinctly of old cheese. Seriously...it was remarkably foul. It would have kept any animal away.)
--We flew to a nearby island, Aitutaki, and spent a few days in an on-the-water hut (with outdoor shower) overlooking a wonderful lagoon. We could snorkel right outside our front door and watch the sunset from our little balcony. Our minimal digs were great -- as our very groovy host said, "It's everything you need, really." We snorkeled just feet from our front door around colorful coral and dozens of brightly-colored tropical fish and starfish. Had to avoid the seemingly millions of sea cucumbers (or "sea turds" as we call them) that litter the ground, but gorgeous nonetheless (Amazingly, locals eat the sea cucumber insides and throw the 'shell' back into water. The cucumber then regenerates itself within a few weeks!) At night, the area was teeming with life and made sleeping (under a mosquito net) a bit unnerving. The geckos were quite active and random noises around our screen hut were plentiful. Ah the island life. ;) Also, there are many, MANY chickens and roosters in the Cook Islands and the roosters make noise 24 hours a day. It always sounds like a party is going on...or like a band of cannibals is howling about and roasting a German tourist on a spit in the distance. But I digress...
--We catamaraned with our host to a uninhabited island (Maina) off of Aitutaki. Despite rain, we trudged on and were dropped off to spend a few hours on Maina. After we warmed up and unsuccesfully tried to crack open a coconut (our hosts showed us how, we drank the delicious coconut milk -- like in 'Castaway', and also ate the cotton candy like insides of an early blooming coconut. Delicious!) we waded about 1/2 mile through a lagoon to a huge sandbar called "Honeymoon Island" (keep your pants on...it's just the name of the island). We had our best snorkeling experience here. Breathtaking scenery.
--We left at 4:45 am Wed from Rarotonga and took a four hour flight to arrive at 8 am on Thursday in Auckland, NZ (The wicked international date line stole Wednesday...we'll steal it back when we return. Oh yes...we will.) Auckland is a big, beautiful cosmopolitan city. (With 1.1 million people here, 30% of NZ'ers live here) Everyone is mind-bogglingly nice and there are cool cafes, restaurants and shops everywhere.
--We had two beautiful views of this harbor city. 1) We went up in the downtown Sky Tower (328 meters high -- taller than the Eiffel Tower) for a great 360 degree view. 2) Later, we ferried over to Rangitoto (the newest volcano in the area at 600 years old) and hiked to it's summit for another spectacular view. The lush volcanic landscape and great, black rocks were stunning.
--We live in a camper van now. We nicknamed it 'Puggy' (I'm sure it will gain more names as time goes on) since it looks like a stubby little dog (Pug). Not only are we adjusting to driving on the left hand side of the road, but the gear shift (it's a stick) is done with the left hand (and the turn signal is on the right). It's a two person job for sure. Jen's been navigating and Jim's been working on the shifting. It's like a Three (or Two, in this case) Stooges Film.
Things are cruising along. The relaxing island life is fresh in our minds, but we're ready to tackle the glorious landscape of New Zealand. We're leaving momentarily for Rotorua where there are natural geysers and hot mineral waters...not to mention "Zorbing" (where you roll down a hill in an inflated ball). Sounds good to me!
Thanks again for being such great friends and family. We send big, BIG hugs to you all.
As Jim's grandpa says, "Thanks for scrolling."
On our flight home from Ohio, Jen and I sat near skateboarder Tony Hawk. He's so cool. I didn't bug him on the flight (something about approaching a stranger in a place that neither of us can escape from is a bit daunting) but I spoke to him while waiting for our baggage. I told him that I was glad to see him kicking ass and wished him my best. He seemed a bit surprised but shook my hand and thanked me.
Since he had his skateboard with him I was thinking of asking where all his skate guards were. When I was a skater, we had rail guards, nose guard, tail guard and a guard that went over the back trucks to make it easier to go up curbs. Man, we were uncool. Whoever makes those products must be hurting. I'm just glad I invested all my money in jogging "heavy hands".
Jen and I leave in one week. Wow. I've had my head so stuck in packing and storing that I haven't spent much time thinking about why I'm doing it. I'm excited and nervous...just like any adventure should start. Reading my old travel journal from South America reminds me that traveling is different from a vacation. It's not all fun. There is a lot of time to think, wait and just be. Sometimes you get sick, lost or scared. It's all good experiences, it's just not always "fun". I'm looking forward to it.
I'm not a slacker...I'm a "world citizen".
Returned from Burning Man...headed to Ohio to visit Jen's family. Quite a transition, but still very fun...just less fur shoes here. We went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and I was amazed. It was extremely well done. One of the highlights was a surround sound theater playing nothing but Jimi Hendrix live footage. The John Lennon exhibit was inspiring and the interactive experiences they've created were fantastic. I could've easily have gone back for a second day.
Been doing some water skiing at Lake Erie, eating fried Perch and meeting new relatives. All the while trying not to swear like a sailor or say "Dude" after every sentence. No need to perpetuate the Southern California stereotype. It's a bit odd representing a state with over 30 million people. I barely feel like I can represent my family.
Dude...I'm deep, man.
Back from Burning Man. It was fantastic. Wonderful time, amazing people, creativity exploding everywhere. Now to clean off the dirt from EVERYthing... ;)
Fruit stickers. They're simply too good at what they do. I would think that if you were planning on sticking something to an item that I'm going to eat, it would be removable. Instead, I find myself cutting it away with my fingernails like cancerous tissue. Well, maybe I'm being dramatic. But they are definitely frustrating.
Is it really worth the effort? Are that many people paying Gala apple prices for Braeburns?
Today is my last day of work! After over 2 1/2 years with CollegeClub, it's time to move on. It's been a great run, I've learned a ton and I've worked with incredibly sharp people...but I'm ready for the next adventure. Also, after writing a daily poll for about 950 days in a row...I'm out of ideas.
The next adventure (after going to Burning Man and a visit to Jen's family in Ohio) is a 4 month journey through the Pacific. Jen and I are throwing our stuff in storage and and taking off. We're leaving at the end of September and spending time in the Cook Islands (10 days), New Zealand (1 month), Australia (1 month), Bali, Indonesia (7 days), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (12 days) and Thailand (1 month). It should be a valuable experience -- and I'm very excited.
I'm a lucky man and extremely thankful the opportnites that I have.
The Discovery Channel is amazing. I got completely enraptured by the show What Killed the Mega Beasts?" It covered theories on what may have killed them these giant animals as well as incredible computer animation of the beasts such as the Marsupial Lion, Giant Lemur and Woolly Mammoth. Pics Here.
Of course, I giggled like a schoolgirl everytime they mentioned the Giant Beaver. "At 8 feet long and nearly 450 pounds, the giant beaver dominated North America..." Heh, heh.
The (tee-hee) Giant Beaver
We have a section on CollegeClub.com called "Rate Me!" (with a list of the Top 10for the day) which is similar to HotorNot.com. I ran across this picture and the image behind him grabbed me. I don't remember if I posted this before, but this may be the greatest painting of all time. It really couldn't be worse. I can't stop staring at it. A clearly talented painter decided to paint this image of a Native American praying to a floating John Wayne head (or is he asking "why me?" to the Duke?).
My good, good friend, Justin just released a 5 song CD. I may be biased, but I really dig it. Who knew my college roommate was a talented musician. He must have been inspired by my melodious shower singing voice (my extensive song repertoire consists of "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" and the theme song to "Fame").
I had a great visit to Portland for the past few days. Although the highlight was being around amazing family members...the cool movie theater was a close second. They show movies that aren't brand new (we saw the newest Star Wars), but they charge $2 and sell food and liquor. We bought a few pitchers of beer, some slices of pizza, and enjoyed the movie. Brilliant. It's reason enough to live in Portland.
I love the vintage clothes store Buffalo Exchange. However, when trying to trade in some of my old clothes this weekend, I found it hard to accept a fashion denial from a guy with a mohawk...only on the back of his head.
Still, I swallowed my pride and bought a fuzzy, light blue sleeveless shirt for Burning Man. I just can't stay mad at them...
My 90 year-old grandpa...I can't stop being impressed by how groovy he is. This is how he signed off his last e-mail to me.
Life is a wonderful journey. Keep your sense of wonder (and take care of your body loan). LOVE AND SHALOM, GRANDAD
My "body loan". I love it. He rules.
Am I the only one who likes this? When you slip on your shoes and your feet feel fine, but something's not quite right. As you try to tie your shoes, you realize that one of your shoelaces has unwisely lodged itself under your foot. As you slide the lone, hidden lace from under your feet the world sort of falls back into place. "Ahhh, that's what wasn't right, my lace was under my foot."
This, and not because of fashion, is why I won't wear velcro strapped shoes.
I'm so romantic. Instead of telling Jen that I keep falling more in love with her I just say, "Each day I hate you less." She's like putty in my hands...
Recently I was trimming some trees in our yard. Although "trimming" isn't really the right word. "Trimming" is too pleasant. I was slicing open a living thing. Perhaps "decapitating" is better suited for what I was doing. I'm such a hippie...it actually got to me. I aggressively chopped away at a few trees to help clear the way on the sidewalk. Where I had cut was moist...like any open apendage might be. Later, we walked around to admire my yardwork/violent slashing and saw that one tree had dripped sap all over the ground. "It's bleeding!" Jen cried out. Oh man.
Yesterday was my Mom's sober birthday. She's gone 17 years without a drink of alcohol. Amazing. I couldn't be more impressed. Thanks Mom, in improving yourself you improved your family. We owe you one...
There are few people as groovy as my grandpa. He is a true teacher in the appreciation of life.
My most comfortable pair of shoes have developed a squeak. Actually, just the right one. Every step generates a slight squeak from the shoe -- one that says, "tee-hee, my shoes are funny. They talk to me and annoy everyone else." It's like when babies walk around and you hear their diapers make noise. Cute on a baby, annoying on a man-child like me.
When I flew to South America a few years ago, I sat between two priests during the flight to Peru. No, that's not the start of a joke ("Did you hear the one about the guy on the airplane between two priests?"). Looking to my left and then to my right I thought, "This has got to be the safest seat on this airplane." Sometime I'll write about the time I was in a bar with a twelve-inch pianist.
While promoting the movie 'xXx' on CollegeClub, I wrote an article listing '10 Truly Extreme Sports' that I'd like to see. Here is the article and here are a few from the list. Sky Meal Preparation Sky surfing, sky diving, parachuting...big deal. How about dicing onions and marinating chicken while freefalling from 10,000 feet? Body Art Algebra Perform five Algebraic equations (showing all work, of course) within a five-minute time limit...with a tattoo gun...on your own skin (any part of the body is acceptable). Scorpion Backgammon I think this one's pretty self-explanatory. Caffeine Art After drinking 5 cups of espresso, participants must stay within the lines while coloring a 'Sesame Street' coloring book. Each time an involuntary 'caffeine shake' causes the individual to draw outside the line, a point will be deducted. Bungee Contact Lens Removal One contact lens wearing participant must stand beneath a crane looking directly up with his eyes wide open. The partner bungees from 120 feet to casually remove the standing participant's contact lens before the bungee cord snaps the jumper back. Bungee jumper must have clean hands -- after all, we don't want anyone to get hurt.
My job gets so weird sometimes. Today, while trying to make sure no horribly negative usernames snuck through onto our site while our "banned word list" was down, I searched for usernames with the most ugly words imaginable. Starting with racial slurs and then working on into foul sexual terms. Hmm-mmm, nothing like co-workers walk by while you're doing a search on the word "cunt". Good stuff.
I've been so completely impressed by my grandpa Caleb lately. He is handling the "changing her residence to heaven" of my grandma in a way that amazes me. We celebrated what would have been their 65th wedding anniversary on July 4th and we sprinkled some of Carol's ashes by a rose bush dedicated in her honor. It was beautiful.
Here is my Grandpa's latest post concerning the concept of "Love Thy Neighbor".
I'm a lucky guy.
In a continuation of "the strangest life I've ever known", I was on MTV this past weekend. They were filming a Sex2K documentary titled "Naked on the Web" and they focused much of their show on my brother and his sex-positive event, Globalgasm. Here is my brother's recap of the show and an edited clip (at the top) of the parts of the show that include him (and me). I'm interviewed briefly around minute 4.
Now, when asked the question if I've been on MTV with my shirt off...I can say 'yes'.
At work, a friend's 10 year old son picked up a record (remember music records?) and looked at it closely. He looked at his mom and asked, "Is this like a big CD?"
Yep. I'm officially old. (But not that old, because I remember buying NWA's "Straight Outta Compton" on record. Awww yeah...)
My fear of clowns is not unique. (Don't paint an emotion on your face. Don't paint a big smiling face over your sour one. You're not tricking me!), but I've also always been somewhat afraid of balloons. Not in the 'jump-out-of-the-closet-like-Freddy Krueger' way, but in the 'that-stupid-taut-piece-of-plastic-is-about-to-pop' way. Without fail, people make fun of me everytime I tell them I'm afraid of balloons, but I ask you this, aren't they always just about to pop? Isn't that the nature of a balloon?
No wonder I never enjoyed the circus. (Recently Jen and I drove by a Big Top for Circus Vargas and I couldn't help but shout, "The animal-abusingest place on earth!"
I recently read that Shaquile O'Neal has both his nipples pierced. For some reason that freaks me out. Maybe it's because he's 7'1, 370 pounds...it just seems like I could grab a hold and swing around like a gymnast on the rings. Then again, some thoughts are better left unsaid.
As the Big Lebowski says, life's full of "strikes and gutters."
My office is moving from downtown San Diego to Carlsbad. My commute will jump from less than 15 minutes to almost an hour. Even the name of the city has the word "bad" in it. I couldn't be less excited about the drive. Not sure what road this takes me on...
I have a big anatomy final on Saturday for my massage/bodywork class. I stayed up late studying the origin, insertion and action of many of the muscles. Go ahead quiz me...the origin of the frontalis? That's the Galea Aponeurotica of course. The body is pretty damned interesting (and complex). Then I woke up early to watch the US lose to Germany 1-0 is a great game. Who would've thought I'd alter my sleeping habits to watch soccer.
Change is inevitable, I suppose...
When I was taking a psychology class during college, we were to research one person to write a series of psych papers about. Essentially, we studied different approaches to psychology (Psychotherapy, Phenomenological, Client-Centered, etc.) and relate them to the person we chose. We had to chose someone that there was literature on (at least one book) and didn't have a severe personality disorder (no multiple personality folks).
I was amazed at who people chose. I chose Bob Marley -- it was a great decision and extremely interesting for me. Three (yes three) people in my class of 25 chose Drew Barrymore (this was in 1993, before she married a lunatic like Tom Green) and two chose Princess Diana. With the history of humankind to chose from I was always surprised that Drew Barrymore made the list.
I'm sure people said the same thing about my choice...
Who would you choose?
Yesterday was an emotional day, not necessarily sad, but emotional. Everyone's seems to be doing well.
On a different note, I did something un-American today...I got up at 5am to watch soccer. Of course, it was to watch the US team (who were trounced by Poland 3-1) so I'm not all bad. And, shockingly, the US advances to the second round and plays Mexico on Sunday night/Monday morning. Gooooaaaaalllllll.
My grandma passed away peacefully early this morning.
When I saw Grandpa Caleb he said, "The best part of me has gone off to heaven."
My grandma was tough as nails and knew life was a struggle...but that didn't stop her from truly loving and sharing. She was a benevolent matriarch and oozed empathy. She volunteered at Hospice and was a social worker. A defender of those who didn't always defend themselves.
When she found out that her weekly shots cost $500 per shot she said, "That money can be used to give health care to child." It seemed silly to spend so much on an 86 year-old, I guess.
She was full of grace but not afraid to unclog a sink. She was a strong, strong woman and fought for equality unyieldingly.
Her strong will is what kept her alive during chemotherapy for the Leukemia that had made a home in her body and her strong will is what let her slip away easily and without suffering or fuss.
Have a safe journey grandma. Thank you for the lessons you taught me.
And I apologize that your picture has to be above this muscle-bound freak in my journal, although I don't think you'd mind much.
After my friend Ollie sent me this article about a steroid freak, I can't get this guy's image out of my head. Like watching 'Natural Born Killers' or going to a freak show -- it just kind of sticks in the corner of your mind unable to find the right place to file it in your brain. Undigestable.
Here he is flexing and getting arrested for...ummm...maybe steroids?
Why does "cowboy" sound so cool, but "cowman" sound so lame?
I was thinking to make sure I always have material for my journal, I would consistently wait about a week then write about how I meant to update it but got busy. It's a brillant concept.
On a different note, I briefly helped my good friend D-Love move last weekend. A note to parents and future parents of the world: If you want your kid to learn an instrument, try the trumpet or violin...anything that can be picked up and easily moved by one person. Having your child take piano lessons may greatly affect their friendships later on in life.
I want to wish a Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday to my brother. Although I enjoy the six days where only one year separates us, I'm glad you get to celebrate today.
Keep on inspiring people and keep on the path. You're allowing people to join you on an amazing journey. I admire that.
Enjoy your day. You deserve it.
What a surprise to see my site had been redesigned! Thanks to my brother for the birthday present! It's a beautiful day, some wonderful people have sent me warm greetings and I have many reasons to smile. This new year for me is starting out just right. Thanks for the love.
I turn 29 on Wednesday...it's not a big deal (I'm okay with getting older) but I will miss the buffer that screams "I'm very much still in my twenties."
Happy birthday (today) to Marie and Mr. T...although I doubt they're celebrating together.
After my brother posted a quick video we made while intoxicated and goofing around with our old Star Wars figures and reading Mighty Jimbo's recollection of the draw of his action figures, I've been thinking a lot about my childhood Star Wars figures. In re-watching Star Wars recently, I noticed that we owned figures for characters that were merely panned across in a scene. Their on-screen time is literally 1 to 2 seconds. We have a few characters from the bar scene in Star Wars where many of the wacky creaturs hang out. I can't believe, on a sales level, that this idea worked. "Let's create a figurine for 'Peanut-Butter head man' and...um...and the orange R2 droid that breaks down after being in the movie for 3 seconds. Kids will love 'em!" And somehow, we did...
Maybe there should be a line of "extras" action figures. Just non-descript people in regular clothes that you could put in the background while playing with your "real" action figures. Instead of playing with Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi, you could have Lindaand Gregory. It might work...
My buddy Nate went to the midnite show of "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones" last night. I'm sure it was a blast (/geek-a-thon) but there are very few movies that could get me to go opening night, much less at midnite. It'd have to be a movie about my life...starring Brad Pitt...and Halle Berry...with several graphic sex scenes involving Ms. Berry yelling out my name in ecstacy. Even then, I'd still probably wait until a matinee.
--And congratulations to Jen who on her flight to New York boarded three airplanes and was "randomly" searched right as she was boarding ALL THREE TIMES. Maybe the airlines know something I don't. I'd better keep an eye on her.
I'm amazed at what laws must be in place that insist that prescription medicine ads explain the possible side-effects of their medicine while other products can keep us behind a veil of snazzy music and pretty pictures. I'm sure you've heard the soft, low voice that says, "Claritin is not for everyone. Possible side effects include nausea, dwarfism, sluggishness and searing genital pains. Pregnant women should not take Claritin as they may birth a superhuman race that could take over our planet. Ask your doctor if Claritin is right for you."
I'd love it if all products had to be so honest. "Continued use of Miller High Life may cause unattractive people to be more sexually appealing. Late night cravings for burrittos and gravy were seen in some test subjects as well as nausea, regret and apathy. Karoake singing and philosophical discussions should not be attempted while using Miller High Life."
Let the people know!
Man, this picture of my cousin Tracy and Rob's daughter Harper Lee is too much!
Papa John's is back in good graces! After the unfortunate "Hidden Bacon Incident" with my BBQ Pizza, I used their online feedback form to express my complaint. I received a call later that day from their San Diego corporate office to discuss the pros and cons of hiding pork in their pizzas. They were extremely friendly and explained to me that San Diego is a test market for many of Papa John's food and at their headquarters in Kentucky, they may not have the hippie-dippie-pork-is-evil mentality that San Diegans have (my words, not his). Some other people also expressed concern and he's sending me vouchers for three free pizzas to ensure that I remain a customer. Bravo!
For those of you that were excited about the bacon/BBQ chicken pizza...I may have ruined everything for you. Don't tell anyone, but it *was* pretty good.
This weekend, Jen and I ordered a "specialty pizza" from Papa John's Pizza. We got the BBQ Chicken pizza -- similar to a pizza that I had enjoyed at two other pizza places. We were eating the pizza, watching a movie and engaging in general merriment when I looked a bit closer and realized the under the cheese and chicken, our pizza was packed with bacon. BACON?!! On a BBQ Chicken pizza?! I haven't eaten pork in years and I was furious. Needless to say, I thought the ingredients were pretty clear -- I knew I hadn't ordered a vegetarian pizza, but I also hadn't ordered the "meat-lovers" either.
I suppose it was a "special" pizza after all.
As a shyly huddled into my cubicle and asked my brother mock interview questions to prepare for the MTV film crew that was arriving momentarily (to complete a documentary on people who put their sex lives on the Web) I wondered, "How many brothers have had this situation come up?"
Oh, that's right...I have this page to update. My bad. I began taking a massage/bodywork class at the International Professional School of Bodywork. It's very cool, but there is a LOT more work than I had anticipated. While it's still hands-on and groovy, there is a ton of anatomy to learn and memorization. Apparently there are several bones and/or muscles in the body. And, in order to know what I'm doing, I need to learn them (and my "knee-bone connected to da...LEG-bone" song doesn't cut it).
I went to see Cirque du Soleil's Dralion on Saturday. Some amazing performers and some strong make-up (we were in the front row). Few things make you feel less limber and agile than watching Cirque du Soleil. I think I pulled a muscle just watching the performers. Equally as entertaining was seeing the adorable Alex Willow (almost 11 months old) get captivated by the colors, actions and sounds of the show.
I was on the wrestling team in high school (yes, I wore the "required uniform"). I used to make the nervous/excited drive to every away wrestling meet with the same guy on my team who always played the Violent Femmes in the car to get us pumped up. Years later I was driving home and one of their songs came on the radio. "Why can't I get just one kiss..." and I began to sweat and get butterflies in my stomach. It's amazing how songs can affect you.
Hmm, I wonder if someone will search in Google for "pump" and "wrestling". They will be sorely disappointed when they get to this page. Maybe I shouldn't have used the word "sorely".
I dig this picture of Jen enjoying the sun and drawing in her sketchbook.
Oh my, I forgot to give an update on the Pentathlon (thanks Heather)! The random drawing of names had me competing with my good friend (and old roommate) Jon and a new friend Darren. With the addition of the mystery event (3-on-3 beach volleyball) let's just say none of the other 9 teams (27 people total) were too concerned about us.
However, I picked a great day to have the luckiest day of my life.
Event 1 -- The 3x50 meter swim. Although we lost to the first place team by 9 seconds, we placed second by .3 seconds. Fairly miraculous since none of us are great swimmers.
Event 2 -- Beach volleyball. This was a double elimination tournament. Although we had a blast, we somehow were out after three games. Fortunately, the teams in 7th and 8th place finished first and second.
Event 3 -- Bowling. This is where is starts to get crazy...my previous best bowling score was around a 150-something. Somehow, I bowled a 191 (the second highest score was my partner Jon who bowled a 176) and suddenly, we're in first place (and I was being accused of hiring a "bowling coach" to work on my "game".)
Event 4 -- 3-Point shooting tournament (double elimination). While wearing the yellow jerseys that signify your team is in first (like the Tour de France) we again are through after only three tries.
Event 5 -- 3x400 meter run. We're somehow still in second place but down by six points. Although we figure we're out of it, we run like hell. I start us off and in a shocking burst of energy, I run away from the group, giving my team a nice lead. The team holds on (and then some) and we win by 10 meters. The first place team finishes 5th and we have a tie for first!
The tie is broken by a soccer shoot-out. Two rounds, each player shoots once a round. We block their first round of shots and Jon scores on our turn (1-0). In the second round, they even the score to 1-1. We have three shots to win it all. I shoot and kick it over the goal. Darren shoots and it's blocked. Jon shoots...and it's in the corner! WE WIN!
It was an amazing day and a miraculous finish. I have my trophy and my medals (for winning bowling and the run) proudly displayed in my home...at least until Jen notices.
This weekend I'm "competing" in a pentathlon that one of my college buddies created. In teams of three (there are eight teams) we'll compete in a 3x50m swim, bowling, 3-point shoot, 3x400m run and a mystery event (which we'll find out about once we arrive). Teams are drawn tonite and the competition begins early on Saturday. Should be a blast, there has been a lot of trash talking going on from all the has-beens and weekend warriors. My money is on "Team Groin Pull" or possibly "Team Sideache". I plan on being the dork leading my team in calisthenics before each event.
Today is my grandpa's 90th birthday and he continues to be the grooviest guy I know. I'm incredibly lucky to have him as a role model. He showed me that growing older wasn't about losing capabilities but gaining wisdom and courage. He has worked hard to have an open mind, a loving heart and a glowing soul. He is cartoonishly appreciative of the world he lives in. Everyday he "rejoices" in the miracles that surround him. His positivity is infectious and he dishes out hugs like nobody's business. Happy birthday, Grandpa -- you're so rad.
I live by a park. It's a groovy park with swings, a huge grass field and some slides. However, the street sign that alerts you to be careful not to run your car over playing kids is of two dark figures on a see-saw (or "teeter-totter" as it's known in the more hip circles). Alas, there is no see-saw. I hate to think about all the excited families that pull up to the park in anticipation of nice day of see-sawing. Don't underestimate the correlation between the rise of gang violence and the decline in popularity of the see-saw.
I know I've spoken of the many talents of my friends...but D-love (with the help of brother Brandon) has the most amazing skill of them all. He can catch any grape that Brandon throws at him. Seriously. He'll snag a lob, a line drive, from 20 feet away or even off the wall. It's remarkable. It's the most amazing "non-talent" I've ever seen. It puts to shame my world-class "gleeking" talent.
Look closely, you can see the flying grape. Photo courtesy of Ben
Did some fun stuff for April Fool's Day on CollegeClub.com including making a hand Member of the Day (the hand was mine, the profile was all Jason). Seeing jokes on Launch.Yahoo, Google, Ebay, etc. made me glad to see the Web still has a sense of humor.
I don't know if I've ever mentioned my Mom's Easter Beer Hunt...but it's so rad. Recognizing that we had lost interest in hunting for plastic eggs with candy in them, my Mom began hiding quality beers in the yard. We were given a six-pack holder with fake green grass in it and set loose on the "hunt". I came back from Easter festivities this year with a sweet six-pack of Guinness, Pete's Wicked Ale, Bass and some others. After seven years of this I still can't believe how fun it is. My Mom rules. Here's my brother's take on it and pics from '99.
Ah, the Easter Beer Hunt...
This past weekend I went to a San Diego Gulls hockey game with my Pop. I'm not much of a hockey fan (as was evident when I got up to leave after what I thought was the end of the second half. Apparently there are three periods to hockey...or as my usually intelligent Dad said, "In hockey they play three quarters.") but live hockey is a blast. No stops for substitutions, few penalties and great sound effects against the ice. There weren't even any fights...aside from the one between my Dad and I about the "skill" of the Gulls Cheerleaders. Go Gulls! ;)
Been busy...but this little movie makes me smile and smile and smile. It's my cousin's baby taking her first steps. Congratulations on expanding your new world Harper Lee!
Harper and Kaya drumming...
Happy B-day Pops! My Dad rules. I hope he has a wonderful birthday...he deserves it.
Awwww yeah (I'm the blondie in red)
No trip to Vegas is complete without making a complete ass of yourself. The groom-to-be felt strongly that a "Disco Night" with his friends was pertinent to his having a long and happy marriage. I wore a kick ass blue leisure suit and walked with a swagger. Yes it was fun, yes we made asses of ourselves. Below you'll see the crew and to reach full ass-making potential, I've indicated which one is me.
Won't you take me to...Funkytown!
Vegas was fun. It was great to catch up with some old friends and cruise around the weirdest most decadent city in the world. So much about that place creeps me out...but it *is* nice to see that Rick Springfieldis still working.
It's a bit disturbing that Vegas is the most popular destination in the United States. Not that I thought it would be the Smithsonian, but Vegas? I must be getting old...one of my favorite parts of the trip was the flower display and Chihuly glass work at the Bellaggio. What made for a nicely absurd mix of people was the March Madness crowd and the N'Sync (performed at MGM Grand) fans.
Now I know why we have "Celebrity Boxing".
I promised myself I wouldn't tell anyone...but the secret I hold is killing me inside. Okay...here goes. I watched Fox's "Celebrity Boxing" on Wednesday. BUT, I want to qualify that I watched like an anthropologist studying a new and horrific culture...and I kinda wanted to see Vanilla Ice get punched. My conversation with my brother went something like this: "I think Tonya Harding will beat Paula Jones. I mean, as crazy and unlikable as she is she *did* compete in the Olympics. She's a world-class athlete and that will carry over to some degree....um...oh...hey, if I start speaking seriously about Celebrity Boxing again will you hit me as hard as you can in the back of the head. Yeah, when I'm not looking, just take me out of my misery."
By the way, my astute pre-match assessment of Tonya Harding was on the mark. I must be a really good anthropologist.
My good, good friend Dlove is having an art opening on Friday in San Diego. I've known him since I was about 4 years old and he's always been an artist. He's creative, loving, and introspective -- and that all comes through in his work. A while back, my brother and I bought one of his pieces for our amazing Mom (below). It's a tough gig to be an artist and I hope he finds a way to earn a living being creative. Have a great show, D!
I'm heading to Vegas on Friday for a good friend's bachelor party. Man...Vegas is truly an interesting place. I love it for about 36 hours then it kinda freaks me out. If I start to get sober, thoughts like "How in the world are there huge fountains and white tigers and dolphins and houses in the middle of the DESERT? This entire place is an environmental disaster! Aughhhh," and so on creep into my head. The obvious answer to quiet these thoughts is to not let sobriety be a part of my weekend. And I have a feeling the city of Vegas will approve of my "plan".
I have a friend named Colin (pronounced Call-in). However, I notice that Colin Powell chooses the version (Cole-in or Colon). Now, if my name was Anus and I had the choice of "Ah-noose" or "Ay-nus", I think I'd go with the one that wasn't associated with fecal matter. Mr. Powell...go with the freebie! You've got "Call-in", no need to choose the word that is associated with moving digested food through my ah-noose.
I have no idea who reads this page...other than a few close friends and bored inmates. But every once in a while my day is made by someone interesting who writes to say that I made them laugh. Like Edward who keeps an active site running and has some intelligent things to say about life, New York City and the latest "news". And today my morning began with a wonderful note that read, "You make me laugh. Almost every time I read your blog I end up with hiccups from laughing." I *think* that's good. Although if her lawyer is reading I deny any wrongdoing in the aforementioned hiccup accusation. Make it a great day.
Despite living walking distance from the Balboa Park disc golf course and enjoying disc golf, I'm not very good. On Sunday I was playing with Brandon and Ruffdog when, on "hole" 3, I threw a hole-in-one (or "ace" as I later learned was the correct disc-lingo)! It was amazing. Seriously, I'm not good -- but that didn't stop us from hooting and hollering and jumping up and down like I won the Super Bowl. It was awesome.
I bought tickets for my Dad and I to see a San Diego Gulls game. I think they're a hockey team... Actually they are the second-best team in the WCHL (West Coast Hockey League...something I didn't know existed until just now.) After buying the tickets, my brother and I were driving away when we saw a young guy and girl walking to see today's Gulls game. He held a torn piece of cardboard that he had written "Condors Suck!" on with a permanent pen (make no doubt of his loyalty...I said "permanent pen"). John and I looked at each other and smiled. With the assumption that the Condors were some sort of opposing team we started yelling, "Condors Suck! Condors Suck!" as the two walking by jabbed their fists in the air in appreciation. Man, do the Condors suck...whoever they may be.
I want a new horn on my car. I appreciate that my horn is startlingly loud and obnoxious -- this can be critical in avoiding a dangerous situation. It seems to say, "OH MY GOD, LOOKOUT!!!" Which is fine in an emergency. But I want a horn that says, "Yoo-hoo. Excuse me." When the light is green and the person in front of me hasn't seen it yet I don't need to pull their hair and scream at them, I just want to give 'em a little nudge. "Ahem, Sir/Ma'am. We can continue driving now." A gentleman doesn't "cut in" on someone dancing by hitting them in the back of the head with an aluminum baseball bat, we tap them on the shoulder. And for extra safety, the "Yoo-hoo Horn" would be slightly out of the way so that you wouldn't accidentally hit in when you needed your "OH SHIT Horn".
Did I just make a reference to "cutting in" on a couple dancing? What year am I in?
A friend of mine is defending her disertation soon. I like the way that sounds. She's not "presenting" her disertation or "discussing" it - but "DEFENDING"it. Defending it as if someone was raiding her village. I imagine a bunch of professors with nun-chucks and throwing stars just waiting to see who's academic Kung-Fu reigns supreme in all the academic land.
I'm back from the Olympics! I had a great time...although I'm pretty sure I'm sterile from going through nearly 30 metal detectors. I had to go through metal detectors to go from the bathroom to the bedroom...and another to roll over in bed. It was a bit much.
We went to the women's Super G (slalom skiing) event, went skiing one day at Alta, and had an overall great time. The commericalism was a bit overwhelming (a line of 75 people outside the Canada store waiting to get a cute, red beret like the scorned ice-skater wears) but the Olympics still rule.
Yes, I did the obligatory holding-the-torch-pose.
Happy Valentine's Day!
-I'm off to Salt Lake City in a few minutes...unless I get pulled into women's hockey, I'll probably just be a spectator. -Grandma is going home on Monday! MUCH earlier than they thought (they gave her a 50-50 chance of surviving). =)
Happy Valentine's Day Jen!
Jen and I have the fever. We watched the opening ceremonies to the Olympic Games in Salt Lake. It was pretty amazing. I was particularly touched by the French athletes marching out with two-sided flags, one side with France's flag, the other with the USA flag. Impressive from a country that fines it's advertisers for using American words. The Olympics rule...it's so wonderful to see how proud the athletes are. Eleven countries were represented by one athlete. The sole competitor for Bermuda walked out in shorts representing his country of 68,000 people. That's just gotta feel good...and cold.
My least favorite version of me is when I'm driving. I'm less serene and easily angered -- and it's, by far, the most dangerous thing I do all day (aside from holding my cell phone in my crotch). My good friend Brandon told me he uses a mantra to help remind him that the other drivers aren't enemies. He repeats, "We're all in this together. We're all in this together." Sounded good to me, and the next time I'm in traffic and left speechless by reckless driving I begin to say, "We're all in this together...We're all in this together..." Then I snap. "IF WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER YOU'VE GOT TO PULL YOUR FREAKIN' WEIGHT!" Needless to say, I need a new mantra. In the meantime I rely on deep calming breaths and a steady stream of valium.
Also - a poll I wrote for CollegeClub (one of my jobs is writing a daily poll) was mentioned in a NY Times article!
This past weekend, Jen and I had a wonderful time at our friend's (Leah & David) wedding. Nothing steers a conversation towards marriage like going to a nice wedding... ;)
The good news is today I was quoted in USA TODAY! It was basically a piece about break-ups, Valentine's Day and how the Web plays a role in it and they mentioned a funny story of how I broke up with a girl while flying a kite. The bad news is they also credited a quote to me that was actually from my co-worker Steve. It said that I break up relationships by "dodging her phone calls. I'm not proud of that. My maturity level is not that high."
It's one thing to be misquoted...it's another to look like an A-hole in USA TODAY. Oh well, at least they mentioned CollegeClub. It's kinda cool, in the last year, my brother, my Dad and I have all been mentioned in USA TODAY.
Today is my good, good friend D-Love's birthday. I've known him for over 80% of my life...since I was around 5 years old, and to this day I still see him more than once a week. He's an amazing friend, a postive influence and a brillant artist. Happy B-day D!
Quick story: For X-mas, Jen and I used a ton of little (cheap) candy canes to decorate our tree. We later pawned this "gift" of candy canes off on D-Love and Shonda at their New Year's Eve party (they were not particularly excited). Then, at a get together at our place, we received a decorative bag from them with...yep, the same little (cheap) candy canes. So, last weekend, Jen and I put the candy canes in a Ritz cracker box and brought them as a "party favor". The excitement of crackers was quickly shattered upon opening the box...so, now, as D-love put it, "It's ON!" (For those keeping score at home it's J&J: 2 giveaways, D&S: 1 giveaway)
I have a problem with the word "non-potable". If a message is as important as "for the love of god, DON'T DRINK THIS WATER!" we should use a word that everyone knows -- especially little kids. How 'bout "Dirty Water" or "This two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen is unfit for imbibing." I don't know...something easy.
Two big trips coming up! In February, Jen and I are heading to Salt Lake City to be a part of the Winter Olympics (due to a citizenship error I've been asked to represent Papua New Guinea in the luge) and in March I'm heading to Vegas for my good friend's bachelor party. Actually, I'm not really competing in the Olympics (*gasp*), Jen's brother is there helping ABC News cover the scene and has a place for us to stay. YEAH!
My grandma is doing pretty well. She underwent six days of chemotherapy and is now recovering in the hospital. I visited her on Sunday when she wasn't doing well. I massaged her feet and back and tried to send her love. She seemed to pep right up when she got a blood transfusion...thank you to those who donate your blood. She's fighting a good fight.
Today I walked a labyrinth with my Dad. My Mom has been into walking labyrinths for several years and has often spoke of the serenity that comes through the slow, patient, meditative walking. Today was no exception - I truly enjoyed the peace of mind. Also, it's always cool to see my Dad try new things...
(The walk ends up being close to one mile)
My amazing 85 year-old grandma has Leukemia. She starts chemotherapy today and continues chemo for 5 days...please send her some energy if you can spare it.
She's a strong-willed woman. She earned her college degree in the thirties, she still drives, and she can hold her own in any debate. Her husband, my inspirational 89 year-old grandpa Caleb, has his own online journal.
Good Luck Grandma!
On Friday, a pilot in Colorado survived a Cesna plane crash, walked six hours in the snow to get help, boarded an Air Force helicopter which then crash-landed. He later said, "I like to think of them as landings because I walked away."
Do not go flying with this guy. His time is apparently up.
Last night I had a wonderful evening celebrating lovely Jen's birthday. Cocktails at Mr. A's overlooking downtown San Diego, delicious sushi for dinner, a quick stop at a candy store for wacky treats, then falling asleep in each other's arms. Hmmmm...so nice. Happy birthday, darling.
The view, and the company, was spectacular.
In the restroom at work I try to tape up the day's sports page above the urinals so the men of the office have something to read during the frequent visits to the bathroom (I drink a lot of water). Yesterday morning I was using the urinal, reading the sports page, and noticing that the bathroom had been cleaned since it lacked it's regular, horrific odor (I was multi-tasking). When I was done and I began to flush I noticed that the liquid in the bowl of the urinal was the color of red wine (like a Merlot, I suppose). "AHHHH! Did I just urinate that? OH MY GOD!" But how can I tell, I'm already "spent" and I try to not to urinate on the floor...there's no evidence! Wait! The pleasant aroma...the clean countertop...the bathroom had been cleaned, remember?
Lesson to the story: Apparently urine and leftover cleaning solution in the urinal is the color of Merlot.
On a less urine-related note: I've been busy working on some Valentine's Day e-Cards for CollegeClub. I'll make sure to link to them when they're done.
Happy New Year! In reflecting on 2001 there was still much to be celebrated. Everyday I enjoy more and more being me. Makes me excited about 2002...
Foxy and Kaya (Foxy Kaya?)
I'm off to Joshua Tree and then to Idyllwild with the lovely Jen. Although I can't get to my old posts, I believe my first post in my blog was about going to Joshua Tree at the end of last year. Happy one-year birthday to CaptainKaya.com (a X-mas gift last year from my brother)!
--Having old friends in town is a blast. It's amazing that as a 28 year old man many of my best friends are friends I've had for over 20 years.
--I'm linked in a friend's site with the description, "Nice fella, even if he is a California hippie vegetarian." I laughed out loud - I love it. I'm getting that quote on my business card.
Another reason to travel to Europe... Germany approved a measure that legalizes prostitution. The oldest profession now has unemployment benefits, health insurance and pensions (penisions?).
What does one have to do to get prostitution unemployment benefits?
At a office gift exchange, a friend brought a manicure coupon (that he won) to be his gift. When he opened up his randomly selected present, it was a fingernail grooming set. Cruel, cruel irony is hard at work.
But, as the saying goes, "If you give a man a manicure, his nails look nice for a day...if you teach a man how to take care of his nails, he's well-groomed and made fun of by his male friends for a lifetime."
(And who brought a fingernail grooming set to the gift exchange?)
I'm so un-punk rock.
Yesterday, Jen and I walked around the neighborhood delivering cookies (that we baked and decorated) to the neighbors. And it was fun.
I'm still a little bit punk rock. I *did* bake some that were in "adult-themed" shapes. Heh, heh.
I went ice-skating on Friday. Yes, in downtown San Diego they have a ice-skating rink powered by precious California electricity. It was...a good experience. It's really not that much fun. The reward/risk ratio is not that good. If I push myself in this one-time a decade activity and fall, I'll land on hard, cold, wet ice. I said, "Oh, I see, to be good at this you have to practice. Hmm. Yeah, this isn't really for me."
I had a great time in Oklahoma. I spent time swinging on a porch swing reading my book. I forget to give myself the time to do this. I was in Stillwater, OK - home of Oklahoma State and a pretty small town. The town revolved around the Mega-Wal-Mart. This massive store sold everything a Wal-Mart regularly sells, plus produce, aquarium fish, movie rentals and more. They must've put 30 stores out of business when they moved in. I also saw a "Tickle Me Elmo" doll. I'd never seen one before - wow. It was more like "Seizure-Time Elmo" or "Heroin-Withdrawal Elmo" or "Hypothermia Elmo". Freaky little shaking puppet.
Fun-time with Heroin-Withdrawal Elmo!
So many things to talk about... -The shooting star spectacular on Saturday night was amazing. As D-love said, "Goooo NATURE!" It's nice to see so many people appreciating something so groovy. -I ran into a former student of mine working at the grocery store. I was her only teacher for two years (charter school) and It was wonderful to see her light up when she saw me. I forgot how good it feels to know that you helped someone graduate. -Leaving today for Oklahoma to be with Jen's family for Thanksgiving. -I'm a thankful, thankful man. I'm surrounded by love. Happy Thanksgiving!
Beards are being shaved, women are walking alone, and TV sets are being unearthed! According to this article people had been waiting to unhide their TV sets. "Asif unearthed his television and slipped a weathered copy of Titanic into the VCR."
Titanic? Freedom can be bittersweet. Can we add a copy of The Big Lebowski in our food drops? I forget how good we have it sometimes...
I got a new cell phone. With my old one being two years old, it was 1 year and 11 months out of date. The Sprint people said they didn't carry parts for "that phone" as if I had walked in with a World War II phone/backpack like one of my plastic army men had. My new snazzy phone also has an MP3 player on it, and despite working for an internet company, I've never downloaded music. I still need to download my first song... it's kinda like losing my virginity - with less wine coolers (but still later than a lot of my friends).
I never posted my Halloween costume. As a 80's preppy I couldn't walk past a mirror without wanting to punch myself in the mouth.
It's official. I'm super old. I hurt my back playing Ultimate Frisbee (or as Ollie puts it, "Ultimate Frisbee Fighting Championship Challenge") and spent most of my weekend in bed or hopped up on pain killers. (That sounds a lot more fun than it was.) I missed most of work today and I struggle to find a way to sit that doesn't hurt. I still have many reasons to smile (creme soda, candles that smell good, Dr. Seuss) - just had to whine for a bit. =)
We're hooked on a new drink. It's a mix of vanilla vodka, orange rum, some orange juice and a little bit of milk. Man, it's good and tastes just like a 50-50 popsicle (or creamsicle). The magical orange rum (by Bacardi) comes in a bottle with a large "O" in the middle (presumably for "Orange"). In my efforts to describe to the woman behind the counter, who has access to the "behind-the-counter-alcohol", I said, "...yeah, there (pointing) - I want the big O." I'm sure Jen was thinking, "Don't we all..." ;)
Jen's sitting outside giving candy to the throngs of kids that come up to our door. Man, are they cute. I'm not talking about the 15 year-old in a t-shirt, jeans, and a horrific mask - but the cute little kids dressed like princesses, Pokemon characters and ghosts. We quickly ran out of candy and scoured the house for other things to give out. We settled on quarters (we're actually down to dimes now... LOTS of kids in our neighborhood) but not after some serious searching. Kaya: "Can we give out cups of sugar?" Jen: Nope. Kaya: "How about butter... when I was kid all we got was sticks of butter. We'd stay up late eating our butter, and when we woke up we'd run downstairs to make sure our butter was still there. We called it our 'Halloween Butter' and we'd cherish it like it was from the Fairy Butter Mother herself." Jen: Nope.
Kids today have it made, with there fancy costumes and shiny quarters.
If weekends weren't so much fun, I'd enjoy my job more. Maybe I should spend my weekends in the office so that during the week my life would seem more fun and lively. Okay, I'm ready to go home now.
Since I'm such a lagger about posting, I thought I'd mention someone who has a daily entry. My friend/co-worker Jon works on RoguePinoy.com and each day there is a new photograph and his comments. I know he works as hard as I do, but he still finds time to update. Don't get me started about Ollie of DigitalPunk.net (also a co-worker) who manages to post every 8 minutes. The entire staff at CNN.com doesn't update as often as he does. He's like the Neo of blogging - here to save us all. Okay, enough fawning - back to making fun of people who are different than me.
Some guy got shot (by an undercover policeman, apparently) outside our building today. I can see blood on the pavement outside. What the hell is going on?
At my gym (earlier referred to as the "gay gym") I have befriended Bruce - "King of the Gays". He is a great guy, mid 40's and is always in the gym. He's got a mustache, he lives above a campy 50's style restaurant across the street and his name is Bruce. There's no doubt he's the king. Anyhow, today he pointed out that I was looking good and "cut". When I told my girlfriend, she jokingly asked if she should see him as a threat. Hey, all I know is that Bruce is working out everyday - and she can take that for what it's worth.
Kidding, of course. ;)
Today, the lovely Jen and I have been together for one year. What began as a dessert date turned into the most amazing, love-filled year of my life. (Note to self: Raspberry sorbet = love and happiness) I am a lucky man in love.
Jen, thanks for a wonderful year.
From last nite:
"I'll have some more dinner...after all, I *am* eating for two." -Jen joking "I hope you're talking about a tapeworm." -Jim not joking
I work out at a gym in a gay part of San Diego. It's the closest gym to where I live and everyone is friendly - and only occasionally too friendly. I rarely get too much attention when I'm showering although today was amusing. Unbeknownst to me, I have a small but defined bruise on my butt. This is the kind of marking that probably gets more attention at this gym than some of the others in town. The silence of drying off was broken by, "Dare I ask where you got that bruise?" On one hand I knew there was no story - I didn't even know I had a bruise, on the other hand, I always welcome an open opportunity to tell (or make up) a story. As my mind raced for a butt bruise story that would identify my heterosexuality, so as to avoid any awkward propositions, (I was in a rodeo, I was playing football, etc.) everything I thought of made me sound more gay. I sheepishly joked around and got dressed. I should have just said my girlfriend kicked my ass...
A lot of my friends are DJ's. They spin records, mix CD's, and get parties into a frenzy with thumping beats. I, on the other hand, am a volume DJ. I have no patience to learn how to actually DJ so I make up for it by turning the volume up and down to the beat of the music. One car ride with me and you'll be hooked on my "style" (aka "the musical stylings of DJ Kaya"). Imagine 5 minutes of "HEY mr. dj put a RECord on I want TO DANCE with my BAby."
I marvel at spam e-mail subject lines. They get craftier and more clever. But my new all-time favorite is, "GIVE ME YOUR PENIS".
It sounds more like getting a physical exam than getting physical (in the Olivia Newton John way). I love it when porn stars use proper English. Also, it sounds like a call to arms. "Friends, Romans, Countrymen... give me your penis."
The Simpsons season doesn't begin until Nov. 4th. I think it's postponed to have time to show the Major League Baseball playoffs and World Series. It's like my childhood interests are fighting with my adult interests. Can't they all just get along?
I saw the movie Akira on the big screen on Sunday night. I promptly had nightmares about cities blowing up and evil, powerful men. It was an amazing bit of animation and I'm glad I saw it, but it definitely got stuck in the creases of my brain.
In my attempt to make my online journal miss me I gave it the silent treatment for a bit... not really, I've just been busy. And a little lazy.
Recently a 99 cent store opened up nearby. Their store flyer has quickly become my favorite thing to read. It's genius. Some highlights: -It reads, "Open 9am - 9pm, 9 days a week!" -They are giving away two dollar bills to the first few customers. It reads in parentheses, "A $1.99 value!" (you do the math on that one.) -The flyer touts "Famous name brand sunscreen" next to an image of a bottle with the words "Famous Name Brand" written on it. Some of the deals are amazing... -Three gallons of Niagara drinking water for $.99. Where is this water from and how is it so cheap? Squeezed from old sponges, I imagine.
I think I'd like to work there...I just don't know if I could get used to working 9 days a week.
Last night Jon Stewart came back onto "The Daily Show". He spoke and cried and shared. He spoke of one of his earliest memories - the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He went on to say that although the horror we have experienced was not a dream but a horrible reality, the aftermath has been a dream. Dr. King's dream. If even for a brief moment - we are judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.
There is still much humor in my life, I've just been too swamped to put it on this page. Soon...
On Friday night, Jen and I stood outside by the busy stop sign in front of our house at 7pm and lit a candle. We proudly wore t-shirts with the American flag on it (I had never been very comfortable displaying the American flag as it seemed to represent more than I wanted it too. I resented that somehow conservatism and guns became associated with our flag and the bald eagle) and sent our thoughts and energy to New York and Washington, D.C.
Cars began driving by and waving, and honking, and yelling in support. It was emotional and brilliant. Some neighbors also came outside holding candles and greeting anyone who drove by. A beat-up red truck carrying landscaping equipment drove by with three hispanic men in the cab. The driver looked over at us and smiled. He raised his triumphant fist and yelled out, "AMERICA!!!"
It was awesome.
Today I went to a city celebration/prayer held in front of the civic center in downtown San Diego . Thousands of people were out listening to the mayor speak as well as leaders from many different faiths (including a Muslim leader). It was powerful, sad, and wonderful. We sang and applauded and cried - it was a glorious feeling of community.
Councilman/Preacher George Stevens had a great quote. He said, "I've learned that you can't 'beat the hell' out of someone' - so I'm going to 'love the hell' out of them!"
I normally try to comment on what in this world makes me laugh or what seems absurd. But lately, the world got a bit too serious for me. Life will continue to be funny - but right now, all my thoughts go to those who are hurting. I hope everyone is okay and I send healing energy out to New York, Washington D.C., the families and friends who have lost loved ones, and everyone else in pain.
I must share some optimism about the tragedy. On Tuesday, we were excused from work. While waiting to get my car I found myself in a conversation with two women in similar situations. We chatted about what we were feeling and the insanity of the day. I wouldn't have normally engaged in that conversation, but I went away feeling better. Perhaps this nightmare will draw people together.
Later, a cop car was behind me while I was driving. When I turned 16, I went from feeling "the police are here to protect me" to "the police are here to catch me." But this day was different. I felt safe seeing the policeman in his car and his uniform - knowing that he was here to keep me and the citizens of San Diego safe. I hadn't felt that in 12 years.
Who knows what's next...all I know is that I am a thankful man to be alive and to feel the range of emotions that have surged through my heart and mind. Sending a hug...
We used a picture of Ollie and I for a Caption Contest on CollegeClub.com. Some of the entries were hilarious. Here are the finalist (although one of my favorites, "Why don't you do the 'Safety Dance' with me" didn't make it)
I have returned from Burning Man and I'm just now catching my breath. It was a wonderful, dusty, liberating, hot, glorious, creative time. So many amazing folks all together in the desert. A true treat of the senses.
An article I wrote about Australia for CollegeClub is up on the main page for Saturday. Considering the restrictions, it turned out okay!
I leave for Burning Man in a few hours... I'm so freaking excited!
I'll be back after Labor Day! *smooch*
Trojan condoms now have "Extended Pleasure" condoms to prevent premature ejaculation. They, "incorporate a climax control lubricant to extend the love-making experience." Man, does *that* sound miserable. Numbing cream is for wussies. I prefer the good old-fashioned method of wearing 7 condoms simultaneously and thinking about George "the animal" Steele.
While driving with Ollie through a Hispanic part of town we saw a billboard that promoted the drink combo "Clamato y Tequila". I don't know where to begin to tell you what's wrong with that drink. I can barely think of it without tightly closing my mouth to prevent any clam-mixed drink from entering.
It'll always be Buttermilk & Gin for me, thankyouverymuch.
I had my 10 year high school reunion this past weekend. It was a blast to see some old friends and see who has changed, expanded, multiplied, and improved. In a freakish, chad-balloted, Floridian mishap I was named "Hottest Male Alumni". The nice thing is I'm pretty sure the crown they gave me has real gems in it. Or are those rubies? (The school colored pom-pom was also given to me... I didn't bring my own. Who knew it was BYOPP?)
Winner of most likely to wear a plastic crown to his reunion...
I saw this in the parking structure...and thought it was so great. Also, this person is a fire chief...really. Someday, with a lot of work, I'll be Chief Burner.
All praise Chief Burner!
I saw the greatest license plate yesterday. It read "I LIKE U". How cool is that? It's the opposite of a vanity plate. (I tried to get "I HATE U" but there was a waiting list. Each person on the list silently hoping the one in front of them would die.) I tried to yell out "I like you too!" but I think it came out more like "I hiked K2". Which... is actually quite an accomplishment (hiking K2, not being misunderstood).
Well, my folks and Jen's folks met this weekend. A little brunch, some good conversation, and a lot of smiles. I wasn't really worried, but I'm still glad it went well.
On an unrelated note, I was fixing up a bike for Burning Man this weekend. I'm not a handy man, but I had out my tool case and was using a 'turny-thing' and one of those 'gripper-ma-jigs' to help the bike run better. While testing it out, a car drove by and a woman flashed me. That has never happened before and I truly couldn't figure out why my luck had just changed. Needless to say I quickly ran inside and made a classy "show us your tits" sign. The rest of my afternoon proved to be less rewarding.
Last night I sustained an injury that my father has never had to endure. I burned my thumb while using a glue gun to put blue fur on my shoes (to match the pants that Jen made me for Burning Man). I guess we just have different styles.
I am Mr. Clean. Well, I'm not a pretty bald man, but I have been cleaning. Jen's folks are visiting for a week. They arrive tomorrow and are staying with us. Of course we've cleaned our place before, but this is like the Super Bowl. No holding back - you gotta go for it. Clean the window sills, put away the porn, wipe down the shower, take down the dungeon, dust the TV... the whole deal.
Last night I did the most chivalrous thing I've ever done. And one of the grossest. While out bowling, my girlfriend realized that she did not have on socks. This would mean that she'd have to have the whored out, shared bowling shoes touching her skin. I, however, *was* wearing socks.
I lent her my socks and put on the sticky plastic shoes. The inside was slightly torn up and little pieces of plastic poked up to remind me that these were not new. My only solace was that no one in their right mind would ever have worn them without socks before me... and that they had been somehow "disinfected" by the 1/18 of second pass by with Lysol spray.
At least I had an excuse for my poor bowling performance.
The news rules... (I've always thought drugs and Mexican food went well together.)
My amazing Mom celebrated her 16th year of sobriety. It's quite an accomplishment... I can't even stop biting her fingernails. When she improved herself, everyone around her improved as well. I am forever thankful for her influence on my life. Mom, you rule.
Several years ago I had long hair.
During the growing out period my hair (with a little coaching) was able to defy gravity. I just found this old picture (it really is me). Funny, I don't remember being this cool...
Job interviews should be more like going to "Showtime at the Apollo" theater. The interviewer should be able to "boo" as soon as they know there is no chance of hiring you. Why waste time? I have to begin interviewing candidates again and I'm definitely considering this.
Me: "What do you like to do with your free time?" Them: "Well... I do like to watch "Hollywood Squares", although it's not the same without Jim J. Bullock and.." Me: "BOOO... BOOOO!!!"
Me: "What are some sites on the Web you like to visit?" Them: "What? What are you talking about? Some what on the what?" Me: ""BOOO... BOOOO!!!"
At this year's Webby Awards, they made a mock "Behind the Webbies" (based on VH1's "Behind the Music") about my brother and his site, CockyBastard.com. He won last year's award for "Best Personal Site" and presented the award this year. Both my Mom and I were featured in the brief mock-documentary... and it got mentioned in an article on Salon.com! From the article: "The showstopper on the production side: a hilarious parody of VH-1's "Behind the Music" docudrama called "Behind the Website" devoted to the meteoric rise, tragic fall and spiritual redemption of "CockyBastard," whose life was transformed by fame after he won the Webby for personal Web site last year. Peppered with heart-wrenching interviews with his mom and brother, it culminated in CockyBastard having to lose his domain name to find himself. Humbled and wiser, he now lives on the Web at an incomprehensible address on Geocities."
Fun, fun stuff.
I recently had a wonderful visit with some very groovy folks. Cousin Tracy, Rob, and their baby, Harper Lee were visiting from Alaska and oh man, is that a cute baby. John and I would excitedly brag to each other if she smiled at us. There is a lot of therapeutic power in laughing with an infant. I miss 'em already.
"Carpet drumming" with baby Harper
I've been having meetings on child porn. No, I'm not making a career change but I am involved in making sure we act on cases of members sending child porn pictures on CollegeClub.com. Inevitably, if you provide a service (such as CollegeClub or the phone company) people will find a negative use for it. Although I'm helping get rid of this foul shit, I get the heebie-jeebies everytime my Outlook pops up with a reminder "Meeting on Child Porn"! Ick.
The birds outside defecate with remarkable accuracy and pattern. They are prolific in their designs and seem entranced by their desire to crap all over the ground. Is it possible that Jackson Pollock has been reincarnated as a group of birds outside my door?
I've found myself using rhetorical questions a lot lately to explain myself. Is it working? Yes and no. Will I continue? Sure, I think it's a useful tool in explaining myself by predicting what a question might be. Does it annoy others? Absolutely.
I found this tidbit I wrote a while ago...
I *think* I set a world record yesterday. I don't know if they monitor this in the Olympic Games or in major track meets, but I had a truly amazing performance yesterday while jogging.
I was jogging through a nearby canyon around sunset and noticed how 'alive' the place was with the rustling in the bushes and little creatures flying through the air. Then..."WHAM!!!" a gnat flies directly into my left eye. "AUGHHH!!!", I screamed as I dropped to my knees in pain. I desperately tried to get this bug out of my eye with complete disregard of how crazy I must have looked to other runners. Fortunately, after a few minutes of my child-like whining and tears, I had created enough of lubricant to get the bug out of my eye.
Red-eyed and weary, but no less determined, I got up and began jogging back to my apartment. Twenty steps later..."WHAM!!!!" a gnat flies directly into my RIGHT eye. "AUGHHH!!! ARE YOU F**KING KIDDING ME?!!!" I yelled as I once again fall to my knees in agony and begin my well practiced 'gnat/eye retrieval' technique.
Red-eyed, bewildered, and a little bit scared, I squinted my swollen eyes and ran home past the curious onlookers. I can't imagine what the scene must have looked like.
The next time your eyes are red (for *whatever* reason) try saying that gnats flew into each eye. It's as plausible a story as any.
I used to think taking yoga had one very important potential perk. The ability to blow yourself. I never mentioned it to my teacher… but I imagine she must have thought that was why I was there. Maybe there should be a special “men’s only” class on it… what motivation that would be! Hey I’m no marketer, but I think I may have stumbled on something that cripples the porn industry. Look how happy dogs are.
I went to the "World-Famous" San Diego Zoo last night (they actually use the words "world-famous" on everything... isn't that kinda like telling people how popular you are, or how confident you are... shouldn' t that just be apparent?). The zoo is awesome and Jen and I have member passes. It's nice to just go for a little bit, watch the monkeys and go home. No pressure to see it all, just enjoy the best parts. Like owning "Pulp Fiction" and skipping through the bondage scene to watch the parts with Samuel Jackson and John Travolta.
ANYhow, the zoo, as always, was groovy. Since it's open at night, you get a different perspective as the sun goes down. Many of the animals are nocturnal so you can really enjoy them at night... EXCEPT that it's dark at night. I am not nocturnal. My traditional vision prevents me from seeing as well as a tiger, thus making the zoo at night seem like a better idea than it really is.
There was a very cool performance, however. Part "Lion King" play, part Cirque de Soleil - it was a wildly costumed, acrobatic affair. Before the show there was a clown. Like any rational person, I am afraid of clowns (why would you paint an emotion on your face? Why don't you just have that emotion? What are you hiding behind that painted-on smile?!) and know that they'll stab me just as soon as look at me. This clown had people dance and then made fun of them. He even pretended to vomit when a heavy woman danced. He was horrible and I found myself fantasizing about punching that smile off his face... or at least washing it off with warm water and a washcloth. Jen was a bit surprised at my outrage. I think it's pretty clear - I like my clowns either murderous or silly. There is no room in my book for a belittling clown.
I love when I see that other people think like I do...
"In the movie "King Kong" the natives lived behind a great wall that was obviously built to keep the big ape out. They'd only venture out to make a human sacrifice to him. They'd slide back a giant locking bolt, push open huge doors and sucrry out with a fair maiden. Then they'd run back to their walled city, close the big doors and put the bolt back in place. If the walls were built to keep King Kong out, why did they make the doors so large?" -from the "Ask Marilyn" section of Parade magazine... I know, I know, I'm a bit ashamed of myself too.
I had the two pins that were placed into my finger removed on Monday. They had been in my finger to help the bone fuse together for over 3 months. They were wrapped up at the hospital and I took them home. What is it called when you go to the hospital and they take out something that you've been holding in your body, wrap it up and send you home together? Birth? Hmmm. When I look down at my sweet, sharp on both sides pins I am reminded how lucky I am that I don't have to nurse these little weapons.
I just set up an account with E*Trade (I'm participating in a stock purchase plan with my parent company). Sooo... when do I get rich? I hear they have the "internet" on computers now.
I found some old CollegeClub marketing materials from about 2 years ago (internet years = dog years) and they all said, "check us out on the World Wide Web - http://www.CollegeClub.com" Now you don't even mention "www" and adding "http://" is just silly. Technology moves faster than a humming bird on meth... or something else very fast.
Speaking of fast... remember when CD's were new? Someday I'll give in and get a DVD player... I guess I shouldn't have spent all my money on laser disks and betamax movies. Thanks goodness the mini-discman I carry in my fanny pack is still cool.
This weekend I went to Soulstice, which was a great Burning Man-esque celebration in the desert. Beautiful site, beautiful people and beautiful attitudes. It felt good to be around so many smiles. Here, Jen and I enjoy the last few seconds of daylight as folks climb the wonderful hills behind us.
My good friend Justin created a site! He was my roommate in college and an amazing guy. It's rare to see someone so willing to shed parts of his former self in pursuit of a more pure version of who he knows he can be. I love the way he described me... as his, "peaceful partner in crime and soul brother."
I don't "get" Carrot Cake.
Why not other root cakes? Turnip Cake? Ginger Cake? Beet Cake?
I don't *do* root cake. But I do love their beer.
Back from North Carolina... I had a great time meeting Jen's family. The "pull my finger" routine is always a great ice-breaker when meeting the parents.
Too confused to think... in the past 3 weeks I've spent 47 hours on an airplane. That's a full work week above the ground. If each hour in flight was represented by a roll of Saran Wrap - that would be 47 rolls of wrap. What would you do with so much Saran Wrap? I know, I know, woe is me, poor guy had to go on two vacations. Still, that's a lot of Saran Wrap.
On my flight out to Australia, I watched the movie 'Castaway'. Also known as "the ideal movie to watch on an airplane". It's got a plane crash, death of friends, lonliness, and reuniting. When the movie ends, I'm pretty emotional... and I'm 3 hours into a 14 hour flight to Australia away from my loved ones. And I'm doing nothing but flying over a gigantic stretch of ocean. Like watching "The Blair Witch Project" before you go camping... or "Ernest Goes to Camp" before you go witch hunting.
Was I just talking about Saran Wrap?
Back from Australia... I had a great time. Amazing landscapes, interesting people, new foods - what a treat it was. I'll add photos and stories later - I'm swamped as I try to get adjusted and prepare to leave on Saturday for a family vacation to North Carolina with Jen. Times flies when you're a cross-time zone hipster.
Quick breakdown of foods eaten: Emu, Camel, Kangaroo, Baramundi Fish (native to Australia), Crocodile, honey ants, and a live, squirming and seemingly gigantic grub.
Highlights: Sunrise hot-air balloon ride, helicopter ride near Ayer's Rock, hike around Ayer's Rock, sunset camel ride, sunset horseback ride, sunrise at Ayer's Rock (see a theme?) and some amazing hikes in King's Canyon and Palm Valley.
What a great trip... I can barely notice the 17 hour time differenzzzz zzzz...
I am off to Australia. Beginning with a Saturday 9:30 am flight to LA to Sydney arriving at 8pm.... ON SUNDAY! Oh my, that's a whole weekend. Time zones are trippy stuff. When I return from Sydney, I leave at 4pm on Tuesday and arrive in LA at 1pm the same day. So... will I actually be less old than when I started... will my cells sort of hover in a pause state while in flight? Perhaps I shouldn't get all of my research on time from "Back to the Future".
I'll be back around June 6th. =) Enjoy!
I recently asked Colin what music he was listening to. He said, "Johnny Guitar Watson". Man, you really set a child's future in place with what you name him. What if he was "Johnny Squeegee Watson", "Johnny Royal Septor Watson"... or Johnny Beggin' Cup Watson. Well, I tell ya one thing - we'd have a lot less good blues to listen to. (Yes, "squeegee" is spelled correctly)
My good friend Bennett is expecting a kid any day now and we've talked a lot about names. It's an insanely challenging and important decision. Do you wish *your* folks spent a bit more time thinking about your name? Certain names just lend themselves too much to ridicule and others have connotations of annoying people you knew growing up. You can't name your kid Trevor if the "Trevor" in your 5th grade class kept soiling himself. Tricky business.
I'm sticking with my first suggestion: Kahksokker. I think it's German... so it's tease-proof.
Today is my birthday. I wrote my Mom to thank her for all the love, amnionic fluid, child-rearing, art supplies, food, etc. up until now. She said, "Your welcome."
Wonderful Jen made me a birthday cake (still looking for a picture of the cake) with an amazing decoration of my tattoo (below... or above) on the top. I figure I should get a tattoo of the cake design by my girlfriend of my tattoo of a painting my grandparents gave me. Make sense?
I've had an amazing birthday with tons of love and friends and food. I came into work to x-mas lights on my desk, flowers, and affection. I'm a lucky, lucky man. No question. THANK YOU.
A happy, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the lovely MissM. Big hugs from me. You deserve a wonderful day.
It appears that Kaycee's death, and possibly her existence(?) is a hoax. Brutal. As facts come out and answers are solved, more open right up. Who did I speak to on the phone? Who exchanged hundreds of e-mail messages over the past 2 years. I hope any lasting innocence on the Web is still alive. Trusting people is a small price to pay for being duped.
Bread simply needs preservatives. I bought bread from a groovy health food store and it molded before I got home. When I brought it back... they said, "What? You didn't eat it here? Yeah, you can't take those home. It's got no preservatives... it don't preserve too well.." You so much as look at non-preservative bread and it molds. "Don't open it! Just eat it with the plastic on... it'll never survive the time it takes to put on jam." What's the point?
I wonder if my body will ever decompose... I mean, I continually jam-pack it with preservatives. I always kinda thought that maraschino cherry juice could be used for embalming fluid. I remember telling younger kids that if you ate enough maraschino cherries, you're body would never biodegrade. Like Michael Jackson.
On a lighter note... I guess I'll have to wait until Mother's Day next year to give her a Shenis. (description)
A close friend passed away this week. Kaycee was 19 years old. When a 19 year old passes away from cancer it makes me realize how lucky I am. She was an amazing woman who touched thousands of people through her online journal. I received an e-mail a day before she passed away. She taught me much about how to live and reminded me how amazing the whole thing is. In her note to me she said, "My life's been really good. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out...wish there was more but we don't get to direct that part of it."
Later on she wrote, "I just wanted you to know... I love you and I hope life gives you everything you're hoping for. You've got a great start. I know you've walked with happiness but if you need a little nudge...just check the stars...I'll be winking at you. Sending you love and sunshine kaycee ;-)"
I am a fortunate man who has been served up an amazing life. Thanks for making it so remarkable.
Last nite I became very thirsty while I was sleeping. So thirsty that I would've got up and had a glass of water had I not been dreaming I was on the show Survivor. In my dream, I was not allowed to get a drink - being thirsty was part of the struggle. So, I went on and on, being thirsty, and craving at least a piece of gum to moisten my dry mouth. Dreams are amazing things and I have a silly brain. I had to change my radio alarm from Howard Stern because I kept dreaming that I worked in his studio. I would go about my work and his voice would chat away in the background coming out of speakers around the office. By the time I would realize that I didn't work for Howard Stern, I'd be late for my real job... making up names for colors of nail polish.
Speaking of odd jobs, I was watching Discovery Channel show on the Mayans. They had brought in two Mayan heiroglyphic specialists to decipher a new tablet they had found. Now... who teaches Mayan hieroglyphics? How many people can read them? "Yeah, I read Mayan hieroglyphics. I can't write it or speak it... but I can understand some conversational Mayan."
Man, there's not much that gets me irate. Well... I take that back. There's a lot... but only enough to be broken down into 8 main categories and 34 sub-categories. But I digress. I was just watching some of the NBA playoff between the Dallas Mavericks against the San Antonio Spurs. They just called a rarely noticed foul, "3 seconds violation", which prevents a player from spending more than 3 seconds in the key (to prevent someone from just camping underneath the basket). They called this foul on the freakishly tall Morman Shawn Bradley (he stands 7 feet 6 inches) and his coach went bezerk. Was it 3 seconds? Let's go to the replay! During the slow-motion replay, the brillant announcer begins his countdown. "One-thousand ONE, One-thousand-TWO, One-thousand THREE.... yep, he was in the key too long." Did I mention this was being showed in SLOW-MOTION? You wanna see a 5 hour violation? Lemme see the 'pause' button.
I've said it once, and I'll say it again. Slow-motion is tricky business.
I'm making a call to arms for graffiti. Good graffiti. I'm talking about sneaking out under the cover of darkness and planting flowers in people's yards, sweeping driveways, or trimming hedges. You'd wake up and... "Wha? Why are there Petunia's in my yard? Damn those guerilla gardeners!"
Time for more random acts of gardening.
OH MY GOODNESS!!! I'm going to Australia for FREE! Wow... I'm still tripping on this. Contiki Tours wants to take someone from CollegeClub.com (we are doing some deals with them) and I get to go. I'll write about my experience and we'll use it on the site. The trip is incredible. But I leave soon, May 25th (and return June 5th)! Lots to do... and I'll be gone over my brother's birthday. Ugh. I don't want to miss it, but this is an amazing opportunity. Here's my trip. Yeeee-hah!!!
I'm lagging. Life continues to amuse me... but keep me occupied as well. I *may* have a chance to go to Australia for free... keep your fingers crossed.
I know it seems dorky, but I'm really starting to enjoy the optional"Hawaiian Shirt Fridays" I think I even prefer it over "half-shirt Tuesday" and "Unitard Thursday".
Tragically absurd: This past weekend I saw a sticker of Calvin (from the brilliant comic strip Calvin & Hobbes) peeing on the letters A.C.L.U. I'm sure Bill Watterson, who never licensed Calvin & Hobbes items, (he considered it true art and he felt his art didn't need to be on sticky pads and t-shirts. Garfield, I'm looking in your direction...) is pleased that his art is used to urinate on car manufacturer symbols, and (finally) the American Civil Liberties Union. Darn, freedom protectors.
I was directed to a profile on CollegeClub.com that featured 90 photoshopped pictures of tiny men (mostly naked) getting crushed by hot women with high heels on. Miniature men pierced by 50 ft tall sexy women. Mostly taken from this site. Odd? Yes. But I love that folks are aroused by different things. And this is some wacky, wacky stuff in my book. But rock on... as long as you're not hurting anyone, photoshop away! Trippy world.
Me? I'm good with Gary Coleman jump-roping in tight red shorts and a leather dog collar, thank-you-very-much.
Everything can't be due May 1st. There's simply too much to do. Busy, busy, busy.
Recently I went to a housewarming for a great couple, Mike and Mike. Actually, it's Michael and Mikey because it's simply too confusing otherwise. What a odd aspect of being gay (or being named Marion, Pat, Cory, Jaime, Randy, Tony, Leslie, Kerry, Alex, etc.) - dating someone with the same name as you.
What a dream! To get to yell your own name during sex? Wow.
I'm doing the best I can - (my first name is Jim, middle name Kaya) I date a woman named Jen. So if I kinda mumble my words, Jim sounds a lot like Jen. Until I find body hair attractive, this is as good as it gets.
Why do elevators have a "Close Door" button? I've never seen one work the way it should. Are the elevator companies afraid to give us too much control over our elevator commute? Think we're going to slam the door on an unsuspecting passenger? It's not an air-lock on the Space Shuttle, for goodness sake.
Jen just bought a 2001 VWJetta. It's a great car. It's as if someone wrote down every annoying thing in their car and they fixed it (e.g - above the rear-view mirror, a tiny visor can be pulled down in case the sun is in that one spot that isn't blocked by the driver's side or passenger's side visor). The little horn that sounds when you lock the car is the best. It's the most friendly horn ever. It seems to say, "Okay, go have a good time. I'll just wait here for you." It's like having a pet car. I feel like I should crack the window so it doesn't suffocate.
I wonder if this means "we" can drive in the car pool lane
(My stupid, stinky, dirty, itchy cast comes off in 1 hour and 10 minutes... but who's counting.)
Today I've been with Jen for 6 months and it has been a wonderfully loving, passionate, exciting, and eye-opening experience. I am a better man because of it.
How lame would someone have to be to launch the "I LOVE YOU" virus at this point? Pretty lame? Very lame? Extremely lame? Well lookie here - what did Kaya do? Yep, nothing more proudly screams to your co-workers how pathetic you are than sending the "I LOVE YOU" virus in April. In my defense, I didn't open up an attachment in hopes that someone sent me a romantic vbs file - some MP3's on our network had been corrupted. Now that I think about it, I did everyone a favor for finding this problem! In fact, I'm the greatest American Hero! Oh wait, he is.
"Hi dee hi dee hi dee hi! Ho dee ho dee ho dee ho!"
There, I helped your plan for blog domination... please don't hurt me Ollie. =)
A few years ago, my very groovy Mom noticed the family's waning enthusiasm on searching for eggs on Easter. So she began hiding beers around the yard. Good beers, too. My brother posted some pics from a few years ago. It's such a cool tradition.
This year, Jen and I bought everyone fun non-alcoholic drinks (Sobe, Snapple, etc.) that suit their personality. Mom gets "Sky", Grandpa gets "Wisdom", MissM gets "Zen Blend" and my Pop... well, my Pop gets New Castle Brown Ale. Then we painted the bottles with Spring-like decorations. The lucky ones got their bottle painted by Jen, and the unlucky ones... well, their bottles are gushing with personality.
Celebrating after a victorious beer hunt
I was thinking about O.J. today. Not the tasty citrus beverage best enjoyed in the morning... with a little vodka in it (the Vegas breakfast), but the murderous running back who excelled for the Buffalo Bills. Try explaining to a child how he is NOT guilty of murdering two people, but he is financially responsible for murdering them. It couldn't have been more obvious... "Nicole Simpson was found bludgeoned to death by a Heisman Trophy Award." O.J. remarked, "Yeah um, have you checked out Bo Jackson?"
I don't mean to brag, but while laying in bed last night I learned that my cast makes a pretty mean shadow puppet duck.
And Jen can make a pretty weak ostrich with her silly non-bandaged hands.
At work, a variety of beeps and bells can be heard throughout the day from PDA's, cell phones, etc. But one phone is quickly driving me mad. It loudly... I mean LOUDLY chimes "Oh Susanna" several times a day. Sing "Oh Susanna" to yourself. Now sing it again, only instead of using words use a series of high pitched, electronic beeps. Insane yet? Oh yes, my friend. "I COME FROM ALABAMA WITH.." AAAUUUGGHH!!!
Insane I tells ya.
A co-worker came in with a pack of "Everlasting Gobstoppers". If it was really "everlasting" wouldn't you only need one?
Typing with one hand is far less interesting without having the other hand "free" to please.
Ow. I underestimated my surgery. It hurts more than I thought. But it will be worth it. I will type with one hand for a few weeks as my hand is wrapped in a massive brace. Apparently the drugs didn't keep me from making some jokes. After I threw up and I was being pushed in a wheelchair, the nurse said, "I'll take it easy so you won't feel sick." I responded, "Okay... but this is my first time in a wheelchair and if someone wants to race, we have to race."
When they reminded me that I wasn't to make any major decisions or sign any documents for 24 hours I leaned over to Jen and said, "I know what they just said... but let's go to Vegas and get married."
I was pretty out of it. Man, this has taken FOREVER to write... I'll never take my hands for granted again. I guess this is why they don't teach typing by taping up one hand and having you poke at the keyboard with an index finger.
Still lots of reasons to smile.
I'm having surgery tomorrow (Thursday at 12:30)... and despite my own personal dreams, I'm not having breast implants (my doctor felt I would no longer be productive with such immediate "Tune in Tokyo" gratification). I'm having surgery on my hand, mainly my left-hand ring finger. No, not in an attempt to distort my hand to remain a bachelor forever - I ripped off the tendon at the top of my finger and it's recoiled into my palm. Sexy? Oh yeah. My surgeon will fuse the top joint of my finger together and place 3 small stainless steel pins in to keep the shape. Then they will remove the recoiled tendon that currently resides in my palm. This will allow me to grip better and should relieve the pain (currently my left hand grip is half as strong as the right hand). The important questions remain... How did this happen? How has this affected my ability to masturbate? This silly injury occured during the Winter Thumb Wrestling Championships in Zurich. I was pitted against my arch-nemesis Hans Vandermeer when... alright, alright, I was playing flag football. As for the second question... my right hand is as strong and loyal as ever.
My good friend Ollie is having laser eye surgery tomorrow. During a meeting at work he said, "Kaya is having hand surgery and I'm having eye surgery... so he's going to be my eyes and watch porn for me and I'll be his... well... nevermind." He may appear scary, but he's one funny man.
I'm going under (general anesthesia) tomorrow for the first time....well... for the first time intentionally. My mom always said to never turn down free drugs... or was it some trippy guy at Burning Man who said that?
Spring is Here! (although cloudy today) Don't forget to smell the... ah, you know what to do.
My friend Bennett was writing a note when I saw a puzzled look on his face. He had written, "It's a whole 'nother issue..." (say it out loud). We looked at it for a bit... what is that fourth word there? "Nother"? That's not a word...but isn't that what we all say?
After going out with Jen for a while now, I've realized the best thing about dating a petite woman...
MTV is following my brother around as a part of a documentary on people who live their lives (and have sex) online (He lives in TheRealHouse.com) Last nite an MTV film crew followed a bunch of us dancing at Club Hedonism. So surreal. They filmed us dancing and earlier I was interviewed...and I think all went well. Since the producer of this documentary also worked on MTV's "Sex in the 90's" series, I have this fear is that somehow we come across like those long-haired brothers from the "Sex" series that had a van with a mattress in the back. Creepy.
While looking into renting an RV for Burning Man this year, I stumbled upon a site that played Van Halen's "Jump" on every page of their site. The digitized/electronic version of this song was truly haunting. (Although when I visited the site today the song no longer played? Could it all have been some wonderful dream?)
For the record, I've ranked the following Jump songs: 1. "Jump Around" - House of Pain, 2. "Jump" - Van Halen, 3. "Jump (for my love)" - Pointer Sisters, and 4. "Jump" - Kriss Kross (they are totally krossed out, ya know). Next, I will rank all "Jiggy" songs.
Mi hermano posted a wonderful birthday note to our Dad. My Dad turned 60 yesterday. And he still has ripped abs. He's an amazing man and the most honest man I know...and until last year he was a lawyer. He would drive miles back to a store if he realized they had given him too much change in order to return it. I guess it was to prove a point to his kids. It worked. I hope I never underestimate the influence of my actions on children. Now he's a judge - and I feel better knowing that he's helping interpret laws and sentences in a system that I think needs improvement.
Happy Birthday Dad - you're awesome. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction...
My 89 year-old grandpa is simply the grooviest guy I know. My brother even set a page up for him on Diaryland. This from an e-mail he sent today:
"As you can see Old age to me is not a punishment but a privilege;not a defeat but a victory. Take care of your bodies and seek a balance in working, loving, playing and worshiping. You are daily in my visualizing thoughts of you and your life laboratory, as you invest yourselves." -Caleb
Jen and I were watching a friendly show about a bunch of friends that all live by their friends and hang out with their friends and the characters on the show were playing a game where they tried to name all 50 states in 6 minutes. After the show was over and we finished our burritos, we decided to try it. I didn't think I'd be close - I'm simply not good at geography and I never had to learn it in school. I love maps, but I'm not good at geography. In fact, I'm not that good at any "-graphy"'s. Photography, Cartography, um..., Geography, oh said that...um... nope, not any of 'em. ANYway, I decided my best bet was to list the states alphabetically, and Jen decided to think of the layout of the United States in her head.
More than six minutes passed. I was missing 8. Eight?! That is pathetic...and my pre-dinner cocktail doesn't quite explain such a poor performance. I began thinking of baseball teams (thank you Minnesota Twins) and co-workers (Al went to school in Indiana, his girlfriend Lisa is from Texas, etc.) Shockingly, when I looked up, I had 51 states! (Turns out Washington DC is a trick state.) Regardless, I had done it! In a gallant effort, Jen is still trying to think of 2 more states. I just peeked at her paper, shhh - she still needs Maryland and Kansas. Don't tell her I told you. Her patriotism is now quite suspect to me. (Note to self: Jen may be a communist)
Can you name all 50 states?
As I was heading into work today I saw some grafitti spray painted on an electical box. It read, "END HATE". While I like the message - I have a feeling it's not really penetrating the folks that need to hear this call to action. "Damn Jews! Damn Gays! Damn... hmmm... the electrical box has a point."
While I'm critiquing public messaging, it's safe to say that the phrase "Say No To Drugs" has lost all meaning. Case in point - this quote is printed on the plastic urinal deodorant cake holders. First of all, is this an effective placement? Second of all, do you want your public service message being urinated on?
I hear a lot of talk about gateway drugs. Some argue that marijuana or alcohol are gateway drugs -- and by using those drugs, it serves as a "gateway" to pursue other drugs. Well, that's just wrong. There is one gateway "drug" that precedes all others. Getting dizzy. Do you remember spinning around and around as fast you can... and then laughing and falling to the ground. (Sound a bit like being really drunk and/or stoned?) Once you realize that altering your reality is fun, the floodgates open. "Hey, it's fun to make my head feel silly. And the nausea is only temporary!" Bam! You're hooked. If the drug war is ever "won", you'll see a lot of Phish fans spinning around on the lawn.
This weekend I was watching the National Geographic special, "Tigers of the Snow" about the "Siberian Tiger. During the amazing special, scientists used tiger urine on several occasions. One time they used gloves soaked in tiger urine (available at REI?) to handle a tiger cub and another time they used it to coat a huge model tiger to monitor a tiger's reactions to a different scent. They show a scientist painting the model with a big mason jar of tiger urine. Um.... where does one get a mason jar of tiger urine? From what I understand, it's not like milking a cow...
I bit my lip. Wha? How many times a day do I chew? And suddenly, my rhthym is so messed up that I take a big bite of my lower lip? It just doesn't make any sense. I'm pretty comfortable chewing, in fact, I'm almost positive I'll eat a complete meal without needing to address a self-inflicted wound. Yet somehow I miss my burrito and bite my lip instead? Then, my body (which usually works very hard to protect me) makes the area I've hurt larger. LARGER? Now, I'm sure to bite it again!! Why would you do this (question directed at my mouth)? When I bite my lip, make it smaller so I don't bite it again. Have it retreat like a scared turtle to his shell. Then again, considering it's placement square between my teeth, I rarely bite my tongue. How do I miss it?
Not to be too morbid - but another death has caught my eye. Glenn Hughes passed away. How odd it must have been to always be known as the "moustachioed-biker guy from the Village People". Now that was a great boy-band.
Morton Downey Jr. died yesterday. I know what you're thinking? How will this affect the NASDAQ? Well... time will tell. You were probably also thinking - isn't he the guy who used to chain smoke on his trash TV talk-show and blow smoke at people he didn't like? I don't mean to sound callous, but his family said they were, "shocked" at his passing. Um...remember all of the smoking? It's my understanding that smoking from age 11 until 65 will give you some health problems. In his defense, he did become an anti-smoking advocate over the past couple years.
Like other trailblazing entertainers such as Mister Ed (who paved the way for the talking animal mega-stars like the Budweiser Frogs and Babe the Pig) or Herbie the Love Bug, (who broke the glass ceiling on automotive celebrites for folks such as Knight Rider's K.I.T.T. and that one cartoon, and...um...tons more) 'Mort the Mouth' gave slimey TV serpents such as Jerry Springer a thriving environment to, well, thrive.
Ollie, Bennett, Stargirl and I were writing the daily poll for CollegeClub.com when someone asked the question, “Would you want to be the opposite gender for one month?” Without hesitation I said, “Of course.” All eyes looked at me as if there was more to say. “Well… I’ve always wanted to enjoy what a female orgasm feels like.”
Ollie calmly and confidently replied, “It’s like a Q-tip.” All eyes (now puzzled) quickly shifted to Ollie. “It’s just like using a Q-tip in your ear. Same thing.”
Kaya - “Well, I love the way that feels. I definitely want to be a woman for a month.”
Bennett said he didn’t enjoy using a Q-tip that much. It was no big deal to him.
Ollie – “You’ve got to take your time…you know, light some candles…” Kaya – “Take a shower first, kinda warm yourself up. Then take the Q-tip and just sort of tease around your ear a little – don’t just jam it inside. You’ve got to be comfortable and relaxed. You may even want to lick the Q-tip first” Ollie – “Yeah, maybe use a mirror… embrace that this is your ear.” Kaya – “And your ear is beautiful and sensual and ready to have this pleasure.”
Stargirl just laughed. At times my job is incredibly fun. Needless to say, the poll will be up on the site this week.
Does anyone still write in cursive? Is "handwriting" still taught in school? Man, I hate reading cursive. It's awful. Do you write in cursive? Stop it. It's not faster and it's definitely not clearer. Unless your super good - which means it takes you way too long to write - it's difficult to read. Besides, how can you support a type of writing that makes a Q like the number 2? And the capital 'G'? And the lower case 'r'? And the lower case 'z'? (although I try not to refer to them as "upper" and "lower" case - it reeks of classism)
I guess I can trace all this well-meaning anger back to learning cursive with the name "Jimmy". Have you ever tried to write the name "Jimmy" in cursive? Just when you get going, you have to put down, like 14 humps to get the double 'm' in there. It's like having a twitch in your hand everytime you try to write your name. It ends up looking like seismograph during an earthquake.
Skateboarding is so much cooler now than when I was a kid. My brother and I used to ride around on our little red plastic skateboards. We were so lame...bragging,"Yeah, I went all the way down the hill on my butt. My sneakers got rubbed down pretty good in the heel - but...I'm pretty extreme." I think we even wore pads. We were so lame.
I hate walking past street performers. - I generally have no intention of giving them money. Not because I don't appreciate it - in fact I love that people choose to entertain and share their craft in an open setting. But I hate the guilt trip. I hate that they sometimes get upset if you don't offer to chip in. Look, you chose a bad venue. It's not like I went into your juggling establishment and didn't pay. I'm just trying to get to a museum or buy a Chipwich. What's to prevent him from banging on my window at home while he makes three separate rings magically connect and yelling at me. "Hey, HEY.... you watching TV... I'm working out here! I'm trying to make a living ya jerk!"
I like to "re-pay" them with my own entertainment. "Thanks, painted-guy-who-stands-still-all-day, I'd like to show my appreciation by doing some interpretive dancing for you. This is called 'Sit, Ubu, Sit - an ode to 80's TV"
I guess I'm just bitter about my summers spent breakdancing for tokens outside the video arcade. Damn addictive Dig-Dug.
My heart goes out to the families of everyone at Santana High School - especially to the two young men who will not enjoy another day. I taught high school in San Diego. I worked in an alternative school. Most of my students were behind in classes, most of them hated school. Some of them were pregnant. Some kept running away. Some had drug addictions. Some were violent. Some were in gangs... many were a combination. Some were amazing. Some were extremely bright. Some were, as my brother says, 'eagles parading as chickens' - needing someone to convince them to fly. Some were hilarious, and creative, and caring. I loved when they realized that I was on their side.
A fucking shooting in a high school in San Diego. Damn. Makes me angry. Makes me sad. Makes me cry.
Makes me miss being a teacher.
Makes me glad I'm not a teacher.
Is anyone really good at Tic-Tac-Toe? Are there Tic-Tac-Toe champions, like there are Chess Masters? Are there little kids being trained by old 'Tac' Masters? It's kinda like idiot chess. There's only one "strategy" you can have... aside from hoping your competitor is a moron. Then again, I was never trained by a Master.
In having this conversation with my friend, Dan (who is encouraging me to get a Palm Pilot so we can play tic-tac-toe during meetings) he found these results for the Tic-Tac-Toe championships from 1989 - 1999 (tie, tie, tie, tie, tie, tie, tie, tie, tie, tie).
I imagine a lot of this overheard during our meetings. "Cat's game!" "Cat's game!" "Dan Wins, Kaya's a moron!" "Cat's game!"
Don't get me started on my confusion with the phrase "Cat's Game"....
How come I never have the desire to gorge on food that's good for me? It seems like food cravings/addictions are only things that are bad for you. You almost never hear, "Oh man... I got a bag of pre-washed spinach while I was at the store... and I ate the whole thing before I got home." Or "I just can't stop eating these apples... ugh, I ate like seven last night." Instead it's ice cream, chips, chocolate... or better yet, chocolate ice cream chips. Hmmmmm.
I want to hear: "Do I look fit? Ugh, this morning, I drove by the Krispy Kreme donut shop, which, as you know is right next to the soup place... the lentil soup was still warm... I must've eaten 6 bowls. They just melted in my mouth."
Why do men (and perhaps women - although I'm frequently reminded that despite being "in touch" with my feminine side it is inappropriate for me to be in the Ladies room) flush before they pee. What is the concern about mixing one's urine with previous urine? Is it a unique offering to some waste deity that you don't want muddled. Do you also empty the trash each time before you put your own, personal trash in the can? "This is my trash... not to be confused with anyone else's."
Hey, I'm not saying you shouldn't flush - in fact, I think indoor plumbing is what separates us from the hillbillies - but it just seems like a waste of water to flush before and after you urinate.
I'm just trying to be environmental... and who doesn't like talking 'bout urine?!
I love that The Family Feud didn't have fact-based answers. Regardless what might be the 'best' answer, they asked, "What would the typical person on the street say to this question?" In a way you were being tested on how stupid you thought people were. You were rewarded for thinking like the average.
"Top five answers on the board to the question... 'What do people think of when they think of France?'" "Well.. I've heard a lot about a certain place in France and a hole in the wall... um... I'll say naked ladies dancing!" "Good answer, good answer!" "Survey Says?" (not "The correct answer is?")
The guy (possibly a cyborg) next to me at the gym bench-pressed 405 pounds. The metal bar was bending. Eight plates plus the bar. That's the weight of my brother, my girlfriend, and myself combined. When I saw the bar waver a bit as he pushed it up I made a motion towards him to assist him if need be.
That's kind of like me stopping on the freeway to assist someone who's car has broke down. I will simply be of no help. "Hmmm, have you tried the "key" to the car" (I would make sure to make the quote marks with my hands when I said "key" - in fact, I just did it as I "typed".). "Let's have a look-see, shall we? Hmmm... now you're sure this is your car? Because not all keys will start all cars." I'd be useless. I learned my automotive mastering from my Pop. My Pop's a big fan of specializing skills... he'll judge in a court of law and you can fix cars. To each according to his ability? Hmmm... maybe he's a communist?
I work for an internet company. The most popular part of the site is e-mail. As a reminder, the "e" in "e-mail" stands for electronic mail. So what better way to promote your product than a letter opener? I found a bunch of old CollegeClub.com letter openers that were distributed as a promotion a while back. "A letter opener! Finally! Well, well, well, Mr. paper envelope... the tables have turned now, haven't they?!" Does anyone, much less online college students, need a letter opener? Do people have stacks of unopened mail sitting around... searching for some sort of Rosetta Stone to unlock the secrets within?
And while I'm ranting about office supplies - why would you need a paper weight? Except paper, what isn't a paper weight? To be a paper weight, all you need is mass. Everything on my desk, excluding paper, is capable of holding down paper. Besides, my office isn't outside on top of the Space Needle - there's surprising few gusts of paper-moving wind here.
There - now there are two things my family can cross of their potential office gifts for Kaya list. Which means that Troll Dolls skyrocket back to the top of the list! Hot Damn!
I think it's messed up that the word 'phonetic' is not.
And the word 'read' isn't easy to.
How doo we ever lern too reed?
A few major complaints: Wednesday, Two, Psychology, Channukah, Gym, High,...
Dale Earnhardt died yesterday during the Daytona 500. I was bummed to hear that one of the greatest race car drivers of all time was killed. However, I don't really understand car racing to begin with and I don't understand the shock of the fans. Isn't the crashes one of the reasons to go to car racing? Isn't the fact that they're driving at reckless speeds and the potential for 180 mph accidents a draw to the sport? It seems like these men are gladiators... and sometimes gladiators die. When a bunch of men drive 200 mph right next to each other, someone may crash... and the cement wall that separates the thousands of fans from the speeding metal objects is rigid. The combination does not lend itself well to a safe occupation. Suddenly, my cubicle seems nice and cozy... and a bit boring.
There's two types of people in this world.
Those that think there are two types of people in this world and those that don't.
I obviously do.
Does anyone still run with heavy hands? (Those hand held, foam padded weights from the early 80's jogging boom) Why would you do that? Isn't jogging miserable enough?
Although, during my unsuccessful search for an image of heavy hands I *did* find an excellent site for nude running events.
Now *that* sounds uncomfortable. Hell, I don't even like walking down stairs in boxers. Less dangle = Mo better
I saw an amazing documentary last night on PBS titled "Bob Marley: Rebel Music". With adoring a deceased musician, there is obviously a limited amount of video footage, songs, and photographs. But this show had quite a bit I had never seen before and new interviews with his Mom (Cedella Booker), wife (Rita Marley), even the politician Edward Seaga. The former head of the UN said everywhere he went, Bob Marley was the symbol of freedom and The New York Times referred to Bob as, "the most influential artist of the second half of the 20th century." Take that Gerardo!
One of my favorite quotes by Bob is when a reporter asks him about the men who tried to kill him, shooting him in the arm and grazing his chest. "Do you know who shot you?" "Yeah" - Bob "Were the men punished?" "Nah... it's just one of dem tings."
No anger. No bitterness. Beautiful. I hope I can learn to love those that hate me. That includes you. =)
Happy Valentine's Day!
I moved in with Jen this weekend. I'm completely ready for this new chapter... it's just tough to leave my apartment. It was the first time I lived alone... the first time I was completely in charge of my world. I learned how much I liked that. I learned how much I liked my own company. I found myself enjoying my solitude so much, that I was happy when I would come home and see that my neighbors weren't home. But it's time for a new beginning.
Olliehelped me move. It's great to not own a truck, but have giving friends that do.
So... am I worried about living with my girlfriend? No. She is amazing and understanding and makes me smile.
Speaking of being understanding... isn't a a few nice words in an online journal way better than a gift for Valentine's Day? =)
- My "old" Apartment -
My cousin Tracy had a baby girl this week. She said, "I couldn't believe that no one said it would be that painful."
I thought that's all women say to pregnant women is how insanely painful the birth is. My cousin is a strong women with a pretty high threshold for pain. She's crashed motorcycles and traveled the world. I couldn't stop thinking about what she said. The pain of childbirth must be well beyond my imagination.
They say that passing a kidney stone is the best pain comparison for a man. As my friend Tevya pointed out, "Yeah, but when you're done giving birth you have a child... when you're done passing a kidney stone you have a little rock." And I would cherish my rock and give it all the things I never had.
Maybe we should soften up the kidney stone process and say you "give birth" to a stone. "Passing a stone" sounds too much like flatulence. Then men can also know the proud feeling of nurturing something in our body and bringing into the world.
-- An open letter to the wives/girlfriends of the world --
When sharing a bed, the middle section cannot be "your half".
My most wonderful and amazing cousin Tracy had a baby girl last nite.
While driving home last nite, I saw a man with a "Baby on Board" sign attached to his back window.
I don't know what to say to make that any more funny.
This morning I saw a car with a "FOR SALL" sign in the window.
That's sweet... I wonder if Sall got them anything?
I'd hate to be an internet cop... I mean - what do you do when you need to go after someone?
"Calling all cars... we're on the lookout for BigDong69... I repeat, BigDong69."
"Yeah, we're gonna need a typing analysis... can you please type "Show us your tits? and "Are you naked". Damn! It's not him... he always uses asterisks around the word *tits* and writes the word "nekkid" instead of 'naked'."
"You're out there somewhere BigDong69... and you'll eventually slip up. And when you do - I'll be there!"
Wow - the "Temptation Island" frenzy is disturbing. My good friend Al was talking about it tonite... with fervor. Hearing him discuss the intricacies of the show and it's participants/characters was both amusing and slightly haunting... he didn't even have a TV set 6 months ago. The power of tan skin and relationship turmoil is strong.
I have my own ideas for a reality-island show. It's called VD Island. Similar premise to "Temptation Island" except that one guy and one girl have a venereal disease. Everyone can sleep with everyone... but you just might contract "the clap." It's a ratings dream. Advertisers? Oh yeah... who wouldn't want to have their product associated with genital sores?
I promise to never type the words "genital sores" again.
H a p p y B i r t h d a y to my good, good friend D-love.
He's been my friend since before we sat near each other in Mrs. Haseyama's 2nd grade class. And year after year we enjoy each other's company, learn from our interactions, and celebrate life together.
I have some damn cool friends...
As I search for folks to hire at CollegeClub, I've been reading tons of resumes. I ran across one that said he was in school from 6/00 - 2/00. Wow! A time traveler! I didn't know whether to hire him or fear him... could he go backwards and forwards in time? Why weren't his grades higher if he could just go back in time to correct his errors? What if he accidentally stepped on an ant that was supposed to be eaten by a bird that flew by the window and inspired the inventor of Zima malt beverage... would I still have gotten laid in college? Questions needed to be answered!
If someone was to ever invent Time Travel... wouldn't we already know? I mean... if it ever was invented, they'd have already traveled back in time and told us. Unless you can only travel into the future... to avoid messing up the time space continuum or something. I'm not too sure about this concept, but I think that has something to do with Jigawatts and lightning.
If you were convinced you could invent a time machine... what would be your rush to finish? I mean... once you finished, wouldn't time be meaningless?
Some things are better left unanswered.... my head is starting to hurt.
The Super Bowl is this weekend... which I was much more excited about until I remembered it involved Football. I don't know when it happened, but I went from memorizing the statistics on my baseball cards and reading every word of the sports page to looking forward to the "super" bowl for the commercials. *sigh*
Then again, I'll get to eat Chee-tos. Somewhere along the line, I began eating Chee-tos on Super Bowl Sunday. Since I eat pretty healthy, orange-colored, fried corn sticks (I *think* they're corn...hmmm) rarely make it into my diet. In fact, few foods that semi-permanently dye my hands make it into my diet. But a tradition has been started - and who am I to alter the universe?
It's one of my favorite traditions... that and punching people in the stomach if they're wearing shoes.
Since my mug is fairly prominent on the CollegeClub.com website (upper right of linked page) I've receive a fair amount of interesting e-mail from college students (or old men... god bless the Web and it's anonymity). I respond to all of them (men and women) and at least thank them for taking the time to write me - it's quite flattering.
Lately, a member has been getting a bit more randy than before. Here are excerpts from the last 2 days:
"I want your hot stuff in my muff" - Hmmmm, romantic. That's the kind of rhyme that'll make Dr. Seuss blush
"I look forward to your 10 inches" - 10 inches?! I'm 168 inches, baby ... tall that is.
Besides, we all know that 10 inches much more than average... In fact, it's triple the average. (Whew! You never know when your girlfriend is reading your blog.)
I've been thinking a lot about non-skills lately. You know, skills that really serve you no purpose... like rolling your tongue or knowing the lyrics to "Silver Spoons". There's no doubt that it's a skill... it's just useless - a non-skill. Everyone has at least one. My girlfriend can wiggle her eyes (Apparently her whole family can... it's a tad creepy...well, exceptionally creepy). My brother can impersonate the cartoon hero "Super Chicken". D-love invented a dance - hard to explain, but I think it involves temporarily dislocating his shoulders (... all I know is I can't do it). We had a friend in high school who could vomit on command. Ollie can sing like Kermit the Frog.
What can I do? Well... I can gleek. Yep, I can shoot a thin stream of spit by pressing the underside of my tongue to the roof of my mouth.
A skill? Hell, yeah. A non-skill? Most definitely.
I can also play "Mary had a little lamb" on the phone... but I don't mean to brag. (By the way it's 3-2-1-2-3-3-3 , 2-2-2 , 3-3-3 , 3-2-1-2-3-3-3-3-2-2-3-2-1)
After continually watching the furniture at my friend Paul's art gallery get ruined by red wine - I decided to only serve club soda at my parties. My place will actually get cleaner as people spill.
Last night I went bowling with D-Love and Jen. Bowling is so great. Even if you're super good - or super bad - who cares. No one's getting a scholarship... no one's getting all the girls... no one is shamed by their bowling buddies. Because when it comes down to it - you're bowling. You're in borrowed clown shoes. You're playing a sport that is dominated by less-than-ultra-fit participants. Don't get me wrong, bowling is difficult - very difficult (I bowled a spectacular game - for me- and got a 158) but that's why it's great. Unless you play a ton - you simply can't be that much better than your friends.
And the scoring is mind-boggling. For a simple game - the scoring is insanely challenging to figure out. I think you need a degree in particle physics - or a Rosetta stone of some sort.
Hmmm... bowling scholarship?
My good, good friend D-Love, just finished his sweet Flash personal site. His art looks fantastic. My brother and I bought one of his paintings and gave it to our Mom last year for Christmas. It's a wonderful piece.
D-Love and I have been friends since we were in elementary school. I've know him for over 20 years. It's wonderful - I regularly see friends that I've known for over 20 years.... since I'm 27, I think that's pretty amazing.
I'm a lucky man.
I realized that I'm uncomfortable with the word "Landlord". I mean, good god that's an arrogant term.
"Muhahah... I rule over my tenants... I am the Lord of this Land - the LANDLORD!"
Very few titles have the word "lord" in them. It's pretty bold. It sounds too much like Warlord or Overlord. I guess this makes the name "Gaylord" even sillier to me. (I keep picturing some sort of well-groomed Ruler with a great tan)
I used to think I was Tetherball Lord - but I was young.
This e-mail was sent to one of the clubs I check out (remember - this is my job, not a hobby) on HighSchoolClub!
"willing Slave seeking male master. into torture, BDSM, and any other wicked things you can think up. email me..."
Scary. It's either a progressive/troubled teenager or a trippy old man.
As I ate my frozen waffles this morning I started thinking about Maple Syrup. How limited is syrup? It has one use. Waffles and pancakes... that's about it. Honey, however, has tons of uses... we put it in tea, on bread, on lovers... okay, maybe there's not a ton of other uses... but at least honey helps heal sore throats. I see no such medical uses for syrup.
Syrup is like a "Q".... useless without it's "U'... which, in this case, is waffles.
Hey, you can't be clever every day.... and you gotta be mad about something.
As my promotion to Manager of Community Operations begins to come to fruition I'm invited to more important and longer meetings. While I graciously accept an invite for a 2 hour meeting - inside I'm saying, "2 hours?! It better be catered... by strippers."
Today is the birthday of my amazing girlfriend, Jen. She turned 30 today and has the best attitude about turning 30. She began a blog today as a gift to herself. She wrote after receiving an acupuncture treatment last nite (a x-mas gift from me - awww),
"So that got me thinking about my journey. The absence of a mortgage, a will and children do not make my life incomplete or put me behind. I have been blessed with a great family, wonderful friends and amazing experiences. I don’t regret anything. My decisions have lead me here."
* Happy Birthday Jen *.
You are amazing. And I love you. And I am lucky to know you.
And I won't even bring up how brutal the timing is to have your birthday in the brief time between Christmas and Valentine's Day.
I bought my first umbrella this week. Well, that's not to say that I buy umbrellas weekly... or even that I buy them regularly. I actually bought my first umbrella ever.
I've lived most of my life in San Diego - and it just never seemed necessary. And besides - it's just water right? "Rain" isn't code for "God Urine" or anything, is it? Anyhow, as I bought it, I felt a bit odd. I guess I wasn't sure if I was getting older or wiser.
Maybe it's both... and I'm okay with that. I mean, umbrellas are remarkable at their job. Surprising simple, yet very effective. (Man, am *I* easily impressed.)
Now that I have this great $5 umbrella (Which I bought at the "Sundry Shop" below my building... "sundry" shop? What year is it in that store? Can I buy some "apparel" and candy bars for a nickel?) I feel like I should move to a more wet climate - like Atlantis or Portland.
Don't get me wrong, I haven't even opened it yet... 'cause I ain't no sissy. Oh wait, I posted hunky pictures of Buck Rodgers yesterday... never mind.
Thank you internet... where would I get Buck Rodgers pictures without you?
I can't wait for the 25th Century... such dreamy space hunks!
My good, good friend D-Love had a drunk driver hit his parked car a few days ago. Actually, the drunk man had got out of his car to urinate and forgot to put the parking break on. The car rolled down a hill and banged into my friend's Westfalia (big orange Vanagon with white pop-up top). What was going through this drunk guy's head? He had already hit 3 cars while driving, then he stops to pee and collect his thoughts... when, suddenly, he sees his blurry car rolling away. I'm sure it was something like, "Fuuuuuuuuuck. Hmmm, I think I could go for some flapjacks."
When filling out insurance info I encouraged D-Love to be more creative.
"Yeah, his car made this dent on the side. Um, and it broke this mirror. Oh, and it used to be a black Trans-Am with the killer eagle logo on the hood. When he hit it, I guess it turned into this Vanagon..."
You'll never know unless you try.
The most frustrating conversation ever:
Me: "Yeah, I'll have a small Coke." Them: "Sorry, we don't have small drinks. We have large, extra-large, and The Urinator™ which comes with a commemorative "Encino Man" Mug" Me: "Dude, you know what I FUCKING MEAN! (calms self, lets go of stained, polyester uniform of loyal employee) I'll take your smallest drink."
Who buys a 72 ounce drink? How thirsty are you? Good god... I don't use that much liquid when I bathe. Although, that seems to have more to do with my poor hygiene than your desire for a lot of soda.
I'm having some trouble posting on this page... apparently, no one else can see it when I write with a Sharpie on my computer screen.
Man oh man have I been busy at work. While I had grand plans to upload great pics of Joshua Tree, I instead spent time reclassifying thousands of CollegeClub's message boards. Which leads me to an interesting question... Where does one classify the board "Black Hole"? Does that go in Love & Dating: Adult or Academics: Science? Or "Going South" ... is that a travel board or an oral sex board? What about "Tuter for hire"? I just hope they're at least good at math.
I need to cleanse myself from this tedious work. Ahhh, cleansing beer...
Joshua Tree is simply amazing...
Happee Noo Yeer! I still haven't written "01" yet on anything. I kinda promised myself I wouldn't until I had a flying car.
I'm always feel a bit mixed as a year ends and another begins. The end of a cycle, the beginning of a new one. I do like the marker - a chance to reflect on progress made and goals that still loom ahead. I had a wonderful year. I have a lot of reasons to smile. I am thankful.
New Year's Eve was a blast. Lots of laughing, hugging, and sharing. I'm a lucky man.
YEAH, it works... It's ALIVE! Ha Ha Ha! Sorry, my cockybastard of a brother, Halcyon, is the more technologically inclined one in the family (except my great-uncle who told me he invented the "Lite Brite" ... hmm, he also told me he invented a time machine and could go back in time and convince my parents to name me 'Gaylord'. So maybe he's not to be trusted.)
Ahhh - I took Friday off and spent the day with my girlfriend in Joshua Tree. It was ideal. I could feel my shoulders drop within minutes of being there. It's like being 1/2 inch tall in a huge sandbox. It's humbling and inspiring and wonderful. We hiked around, took some naked pictures, ate avocado and tomato sandwiches and enjoyed the scene. It was a beautiful and reflective way to (almost) end the year.
This is a test... If this were a real post I would be writing about what a wonderful day I had at Joshua Tree National Park and how amazing and serene that place is.
Xmas 2K CaptainKaya.com is born.
Halcyon wrapped the little guy in blogger swaddling cloths and gave him to Kaya as a gift. Plus some Frankensence.