Pop Goes The World

I had to make a trip to town to pick up dish soap. Yep, if it were not for a need to have clean pots and pans, I probably would have stayed in the woods a little longer. To bad there are not some disposable pots and pans, in a paper plate style that could be just used and then tossed. Oh well. This gives me an opportunity to grab some Thai food, pick up some other supplies, and upload some more fun stuff.

Today at the request of my friend Mickie, who might comment here the most, I have made a video of me popping corn over a bonfire. I shot this the other day in single digit temperatures, so I hope you all enjoy it.

By the way, while I am here at the library, there is a lady fast asleep in the room. I know because I can hear her snoring. And I thought I would be the one most likely mistaken for a homeless person when I entered the library.

Well, I have one more week before I head home for the holidays. So until then, stay safe and happy holidays.


Animals Strike Curious Poses

So I stepped off the island the last couple days to assist in the butchering of a deer. This was supposed to happen before Thanksgiving, but due to the lack of solid ice, I could not make it. Luckily for me, my relative was able to score another deer. Thus, I now have a cooler full of deer meat to experiment with. So if you are in the area, come check out my deer delights.

Here is the latest of videos. Some are already commenting that this could prove that I have snapped. You be the judge.


Surprise Ice On The Water

There have been several things I have thought about posting about, but due to a drop in temperatures the last few weeks, I found myself trapped on the island. A week ago last Friday night the entire lake froze over. The ice was too thin to walk across for most of the week, yet almost too thick to bust through with the boat. I did not feel like taking any risks, so I found myself wandering around in circles for over a week.

Here are a few news items I am late to the party to post about, but better late than never, right?

The local news earlier this week said that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome can be reduced greatly by using a fan in the baby’s room. While there might be some research that proves this could work, I don’t think the scientists have considered that it would only put them at risk of the dreaded Fan Death. I am betting most of my readers have never heard of this deadly killer, but to those who believe it is no laughing matter.

I have seen a few clips about people being trapped at the Bangkok airport for the last week. As one who has passed through that airport, my heart goes out to those stranded. While I found most of the people of Thailand I encountered to be a friendly, this was not the case at the airport. A couple years ago, a friend and I had a layover there. As we passed through passport control, I was sent out towards baggage claim, while my friend was directed to the transit area. The guards would not let him follow me, or even send someone to find me, as it was my first time in the airport. Due to the time, I actually had to run to get to the gate, only to be told by the lady behind the counter that I needed both the boarding pass (which I had) and the receipt (which was in my friend’s possession). They were very unhelpful, not allowing me to page my friend or even have them find him themselves. I returned to the counter several times to see what I could do to make sure I was on the flight out, only to be told on my last visit that they were paging me. That was funny, as I was within eyesight of them the whole time, and never heard my name announced. Luckily, I was able to get to the plane, where my friend had been waiting for a while.

The media has been telling us lately that the economy is so bad that people are not shopping. Guess that was proven wrong on Friday, when not only did people go shopping, but they did it with lethal force. It is sad to think that people are capable of trample a person to death in order to get a good deal on a television. Hopefully those involved will spend more time behind bars than they will spend paying for that television.

And how in the world can you plead not guilty to shooting yourself in the leg? Seriously, it was his gun, in his possession, and the bullet ended up in his leg. Can we not save the tax payers' money on a trail? Perhaps this is yet another reason why our country is a little messed up.

I am beginning to think that if Ted Kaczynski had a YouTube account he might not have gone the route he did. All I know is that after spending over a week completely trapped on that island one of the things that prevented me from going on some crazy binge was making stupid videos for you all to see. There are more where this one came from.


Look At This Photograph

New photos have been posted on my flickr account. And more videos including the one posted below, can be viewed on my YouTube page.

Oh, and speaking of photographs, and the title of this post... Is Citibank trying to get me to stop using my credit card? They are offering lucky winners the chance to go on the road with Nickelback, all you have to do is use your Citibank credit card to enter. Sounds like a reason to use cash.

Think I'll Buy Me A Football Team

As I watch the evening news, I am constantly reminded that our economy is not doing so well. Last night, the local news reported a car dealership and a major hotel that was closing for the last time. Everyone is pointing the finger at everyone else to point the blame. The real problem, as people see it, lies with the fat cats on Wall Street, the crooked CEOs at AIG, the government, the banks who told us we can afford the biggest house in the neighborhood, etc... Few are actually standing up and taking a little blame for their current situations. But deep down, a lot of this problem falls on the individual. I was taught a lesson a long time ago about money and spending. It might sound simple, but if you want something, you should have the money to buy it. If you don't, you really should not buy it. Now, I know there are some things like houses and college educations that you might need, but don't have the money in hand to make that purchase, but those are exceptions. Yet, the house or college education you purchase don't have to be the top of the line, just the one you can afford on the means you have.

Sadly last night on Nightline, they reported that lottery ticket sales have been one of the few things that have actually increased in this current economy. They had one family who spends hundreds of dollars a week to purchase tickets, including driving across state lines to buy different tickets. They have had to make cuts to their family's spending, yet will not forgo the lottery tickets. Ironically, the guy just lost his job as a financial planner. Yet, they are not alone, if ticket sales are increasing like they are. Some people are just stupid, spending money they don't have on things they don't need. (I did however learn on the program my odds are better of dating a supermodel than winning the lottery, so I got that going for me.)

I passed this sign several times when I was out in California. It pretty much sums up part of the problem with the mindset of many Americans.

Really, if you can not afford to buy a pet with the cash in hand, I doubt a payment plan on a pet is your best option. Not only are you going to have a monthly payment for that pet, but you will also have extra expenses like food, shots, and the pet sitter. Sure, no money down on a dog sounds like a great deal, but in the end, it will probably just bite you in the butt.

So to sum up, if you can not afford it, go without it. It reminds me of this SNL skit.

Song to go with this rant: Pink Floyd - Money


Hunting High And Low

So another video has been posted. My friend Chris, asked for either a hunting or sock puppet video. One of these has been granted, the other might still be in the works. If you have any requests for videos of the woods, leave them in the comments.

Also, from time to time I come across an artist that I feel I need to recommend. The latest is Brendan James. There is a long story about how I came to hear his album, but the short of it is that I bought it from him on a bus. When I finally put it in my CD player, I was amazed. So give him a listen, I got a feeling you will be hearing his name in the future. And if so, remember you probably heard it first from me... unless I have been in the woods so long that he is already a household name.

Currently listening to: Brendan James - The Day Is Brave

Don't Stop Believing

Being a hermit in the woods makes it tough to keep up with the latest news and respond in an appropriate and timely manner, at least online. Sure, I can tell all the birds and fish around me my thoughts on the events of the day, as I get them via the nightly news. But to post online for all to read, my thoughts are probably a few days old before I go town to access the internets. So I will say I am excited about the President Elect and all that means. But last night, I was a little saddened when the news reported that the "Evangelical Christians" are upset about this election. The ABC report went on to say that even though most states propositions regarding gay marriage went in the religious way, the fact that our new president does not share a pro-life stance that they are upset.

DANG, as one who considers himself a Christian, and sometimes in the Evangelical world, I am upset by this response. Really, can we be upset after seeing the nation come together in such a great response the other night? When "God's chosen" president GWB has been in power for eight years and has done jack squat about abortion, let alone taken us to war to avenge his daddy, put our economy in toilet by telling people to spend, not conserve in a time of war, put the world in jeopardy with with environmental stance, and generally has made our country the laughing stock of the world, yet still some who claim to be Christians would rather continue along this same route. Sadly, I heard an interview with one Texan who was upset he couldn't vote for GWB for a third term. REALLY?

And while I have some pretty big reasons to be against abortion, I also know that no matter what government does, people will continue to have kids they don't want and look for ways to prevent that. In my book it is not a rules and laws thing, but something that needs to be dealt with on the personal and relational level.

All I know is that there appears to be hope on the horizon. And instead of getting all pissy about not having a pro-life president, perhaps we should look at some of the other aspects that Obama will bring to our nation that are right in the eyes of our God. First of all some much needed healing that our country needs.

As for me, I will still stick with Romans 13:1 - "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."

And now I will go back to my usual stupid posts about photos and videos I have made, or music I think you need to hear....

plus I should have first read this post of a friend of mine. His words are so much better than mine.


Jeremiah Was A Bull Frog

I am still alive. The lack of internet has provided much time for good thought, but no way to update it. There is a lot I could say right now, but instead will just post one of my photos from the fall.

By the way, don't forget to vote. This is the first presidential election that I meet all the requirements to run for the position. So feel free to write me in if you are undecided, or just would like to impress me.

Currently listening to: Martyn Joseph -


Now He Walks In Quiet Solitude

A quick update from the woods.... last night I was outside taking care of a full bladder when all of a sudden a growling sound caused me to try to speed up my business. I have no idea what it was, but just knew it wasn't happy that I was marking my territory. I guess he already had.

Here are a couple videos I made in the last couple days.
A Tree Falling In The Woods

Out On The Lake

And here is one that is part of my inspiration for wandering into the woods in the first place.

Alone In The Wilderness


I Am An Island

Or at least going to be living on one for a while. As I started my drive north yesterday, Paul and Art were singing that song. I guess it is a sign, or at least an odd coincidence.

Well, I have now stocked up at Costco. There is twenty pounds of rice and enough pancake batter to feed one person for months. All that is left is to make the final drive north.

So, until my next update, stay safe, go Cubs, and don't miss me too much.

Currently listening to: Eddie Vedder - Society

Look At This Photograph

After my last post, Mickie asked for photos. While I am assuming that she was hoping for ones of the baby, I figured I better cover all the areas I mentioned. So here you go.

Cubs v. Astros at Miller Park

Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show

Avery and Uncle Ryan

There are plenty more photos on my flickr pages. Looking at those should kill some time. Enjoy.

Currently listening to: Eddie Vedder -


Finally Got Something To Say

I have been quiet on this blog lately. I really do not know why, other than I just have been a little lazy. It is not like cool things have not been happening worth telling. There have been things like getting to see the Cubs play the Astros in Miller Park, allowing me to cross another stadium visited. Or how about getting to hear one of the correspondents from the Daily Show talk about the behind the scenes stuff of the show? That was cool. I guess the biggest news is that I now have a nephew.

Just thought I would share. And now back to more blog silence for the time being.


I Should Be On That Train And Gone

The time has come to once again say goodbye to California and all my friends out here. And once again, I am about to board a train heading east. It has been a good week out here, perhaps one of the best I have spent on this side of the continent. But every good thing must come to an end, and every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. I am just not sure if this is some other beginning's end, or somewhere in the middle. Only time will tell.

But now, I must take the Mustang for one more good drive on the highway before I drop it off. Then it is a bus to Union Station, and a train to the middle of Illinois. Perhaps I will find someone near a train station with their Linksys open. Otherwise, I will post from the other side.


I'm Amazed, I'm Confused

Today I decided to head to the Hollywood area to check out a couple events I had seen online. Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys was going to be autographing his latest CD at Amoeba Records. I also noticed that Howie Mandel was going to be getting his star on the Walk of Fame. Sadly, the holiday on Monday has even thrown off the schedule of this unemployed guy, as the Wilson thing was yesterday, and Howie doesn't get his star until tomorrow. Whoops.

I really hope there is not anything else I am missing or forgetting about that is more important that watching Howie get his star.


A Long Way Down The Holiday Road

Ah, Labor Day. Nothing like a holiday to make you really appreciate the fact you have not worked a day in the last two months. Just remember, the unemployed do not get days off. Luckily for me, I was able to make myself handy these last few days, as one of my friends from my Germany days needed someone to ride along to California. I told her to pick the route, and I would provide driving assistance, musical entertainment, as well as find a few places along the way to make the trip memorable.

So she picked a southern route with three overnight stops in Amarillo, Grand Canyon Village, and Las Vegas. Day one was basically a haul of a drive with little stopping. We did stop to see the second largest cross in the Western Hemisphere. Sadly we could not stay long due to the hundreds of mosquitoes that attacked us. A little later we found ourselves at the Big Texan, home of the famous 72 ounce steak. I could barely finish my twenty-one ounce steak, so I could not imagine attempting to down the ole 72.
Day two found the spray paint mentioned in the last post to find use as we visited the Cadillac Ranch. We left our marks, and then left the remaining spray paint for some Germans who were there checking out the place.
Later that day as we neared Flagstaff there was a stop I need to make. I wanted to stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, just to Take It Easy.

A couple hours later, we stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon to watch the sunset. As we stood there, I overheard one lady say, "I can't wait to get back home and see how this looks on the computer." Dang, what has this world come to? We stand on the edge of a beautiful scene and think about how this will look on our digital picture frame. By the way, doesn't this look great on your computer?
The final night of the trip found us in Vegas. And while many hold to the old adage of "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," I will tell you at least one thing. I not only got to see Penn & Teller, but got my photo with them after the show.
And yes, they have now joined Nelson in the small number of celebrities I have given bunny ears to in photos.

Now I am sitting in Los Angeles for the next week, hanging with some old friends, making some new ones, and enjoying a fine little rental car I got.

Currently listening to: The Cars -


Going Back To Cali

Well kids, in the spirit of many males during the gold rush and L.L. Cool J, I am going back to Cali. A friend is moving out there and was looking for someone to help with the drive. My love for road trips and my current employment status have met in a perfect storm sort of way that will allow me to once again crisscross this great nation of ours.

Tonight we picked up some basic supplies for the trip: Candy, drinks, spray paint, crackers, apple sauce, and beef jerky. Then we went to find some ethnic food in the area. I am very happy to say I am stuffed with some of the best red curry I have had in a long time. At least I have that going for me.

See ya somewhere down the road.


Depends On What You Look At

Many of you know that I am currently in between jobs. Or at least I really hope I am, as I do not have enough saved up to call this retirement. So, I am casually looking around at various job opportunities to see what I might like to do next.

The other day, while I was watching my judge shows, I noticed two jobs that are on opposite ends of the job desirability scale. On the side of jobs that I would love to have for at least a little bit is bailiff on one of the judge shows. I would prefer to serve with the honorable Judge Mathis, Judy or Milian, but I am not too picky.

On the far other end of the scale, the job I would not want for a minute is a personal incontinence consultant. I wish I was kidding about that title. Unfortunately, a commercial for ActivStyle interrupted the court proceedings. In it they mentioned that personal incontinence consultants are standing by for your call. I began to imagine what it would be like to explain your career to friends at a party. Heck, I bet they are the life of the party with all their incontinence talk. Do you think they have that listed on their business cards?

According to the ActivStyle website, they have "a highly trained staff of incontinence specialists," so I doubt I even have the training needed to make the cut. Oh well, you never know when it will happen. I'm talking about getting that next job of course.

Currently listening to: Lenny Kravitz -

She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy

This week the theme at PhotoFriday is Old Fashioned. This is one of my friends and my grandpa's tractor that he fixed up. I envy his mechanical skills.


No Grapenuts For Grandma

I am trying to readjust to life back in the America, and am realizing that I have been gone too long. In the time I have been away Jewel, Jessica Simpson, Kid Rock and Hootie have all gone country, the Backstreet Boys reunited, and Cheerios added a twenty different flavors. Seriously, how many varieties of Cheerios does this world need? I am surprised that they have not come out with Cheeri-Holes, the round center bits that is left when the Cheerio is created.

If you think I am spending too much time in the cereal isle listening to Wallmart radio, it is because I was trying to figure out the difference between Quaker Oats Cinnamon Life and Quaker Oatmeal Squares - Cinnamon. They both are squares that contain oats, cinnamon, and have that smiling Quaker on the box cover.

And I do not know what concerns me more, that the Blowfish have let Darius go country, or that I am watching enough CMT and GAC to know that fact.

Currently listening to: Randy Stonehill -


Another Brick Falls

This week the theme at PhotoFriday is "Rough." It has been a few weeks since I have posted a PhotoFriday entry, mostly because of the traveling. This one is from the last trip to the Philippines. These are some of the many bricks my team help build alongside the Habitat For Humanity crew. And only one thumb was damaged in the process.


The Future Is In Eggs

Today I purchased eggs at the grocery store. When I got home, I stumbled across this site. Coincidence, perhaps. Funny and odd, you betcha. And if that is not odd enough for your tastes, in Korea many people, myself included, would put soy sauce on their eggs.


On The Backseat Of A Greyhound Bus

After reading this story, I guess the bus ride from Minneapolis to Chicago could have been a whole lot worse. It makes me glad I did not yell at the old creepy guy in the last row of the bus who decided to smoke in the bathroom. My Scooby-senses told me he was the type that would run a haunted amusement park.


The Midnight Train Going Anywhere

On a warm summer's evening on a train going nowhere I met up with this gambler. We were both too tired to sleep. We took turns staring out the window at the darkness, until boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

OK, so my train ride did have the warm summer's evening, and often I was too tired to sleep, but no gambler came my way to impart words of wisdom before taking his final breath. Instead, I was seated next to the Staring Sisters. It felt like these two girls were taking turns keeping their gaze upon me. And when they were not staring, one of the girls would proceed to recline and upright the chair in front of me, the one that was attached to the tray table holding my laptop.

All in all, it was a good trip from Seattle. I met a couple decent people on the train. I had the smarts to stop at Pikes Place Market in Seattle to pick up some fresh fruit and snacks for the journey. This allowed me to avoid being taken for the high priced fare aboard. I was even able to scam some wireless internet signals at a couple stops.

It was all going well, until the night before Minneapolis, when we were informed that the train would not be going all the way to Chicago. Due to recent flooding in Wisconsin, the tracks were currently being worked on. The train would have to take a detour, but many passengers would have to take a bus from Minneapolis to Chicago. I was one of those chosen ones. But we were in luck, as Amtrak was generous and gave us a very posh bus to ride in. If that were only true, what they gave us was a cramped bus, a cake doughnut, and an eight ounce bottle of water. That, my friends, is service that will keep me coming back. A freakin' cake doughnut!

Well, we finally made it to Chicago, and were told to go to the baggage claim to get our bags. For some reason, I decided to check with a staff member about my checked bag, which in a real world would be transferred to my train to Bloomington. He informed me that only the earlier train to Bloomington had checked luggage service, and that my bag would arrive the next day. He did offer me a chance to get my bag, and so I found myself under the belly of Chicago's Union Station. It was an interesting place where few venture. Down there I met the men who get no thanks for getting the bags from train to baggage carousel. I found my bags, and proceeded back to the surface, only to discover I had about fifteen minutes to spare before my next train departed. No time for that slice of Chicago style pizza that I had hoped for.

Three hours later, I was at my parents' place trying to remember where they hid the spare key. It was found, a much needed shower soon followed, and now I am hit with the fact that the trip from Korea is finally over. It is a sadder thought than I expected, but at least it means that the next adventure is ready to be planned. Where to next?

Currently listening to:


Coming To America... Today

I am actually on American soil yet again. Currently I am sitting on a bus on the Canadian/American border waiting for all the people to clear customs. The bus is hot, as the air condition has not been turned on. And I am strategically sitting with the hope of having both seats to myself for the rest of the trip to Seattle. Plus there is wifi on the bus. How freakin' cool is that? Sadly, I was an idiot and left my iPod and headphones at my friends' house in Vancouver. So it is going to be a quiet ride.

There have been so many stories and adventures on this trip, and perhaps when I get back to Illinois I will share a few here. For now, check out my trip photos. I have a few more to add, but that only gives you a reason to keep checking back.

The aircon just kicked on, and it looks like me intimidating seating worked. Seattle, get ready for my arrival.

Currently listening to: My Last.Fm Neighborhood Station Thanks to free wifi on a bus and a extra set of headphones I found in my computer bag.


The Earth Was Last Night's Bed

I have spent the last few nights sleeping in a tent on Orcas Island. I came up here for a music festival, and now wonder why I never made it to this part of the world before. There will probably be a greater update on this portion of the trip, as well as the trip as a whole. (Don't worry Dave, I have not forgotten the freighter posts) But for now know that if it were my desire for a shower and a room with heat for the night, I would stay here a little longer. There is only so much that a pack of Wet-Wipes can do to keep you clean. And cheap me did not plan properly for the cold nights. The cheapest and lightest sleeping bag at Target is not always the best option. Luckily for me, Bill Mallonee offered my a spare bag for one night. (How about that for cool name dropping stories?)

So now I sit and wait for a ferry to Canada. Yep, time for another boat ride to another country. Perhaps I should start to see how many countries I can enter by sea. So far.. Ireland, England, Belgium, Greece, Japan, USA, Canada, South Korea and I think France. Not too bad start.


Love Your Masks

Looking for something to do today? How about taking a little trip to The Ark, a cultural centre for children in Dublin, Ireland. Why? They are currently running an exhibition called Masks.

From their blog, "Masks have always held a fascination and a magic that everyone can relate to and the traditions and rituals associated with them are many and complex. The aim of this exhibition is to create an accessible way for children and their families to tap into some of that magic together."

Oh, and did I mention that my lion video from India is being used in the exhibit? So I've got that goin' for me, which is nice. Actually, I was excited when I was contacted about having it used. I only wish I could be back in Dublin to check it out. If any of you are passing near Temple Bar, stop in a check it out. Better hurry, as it ends August 17th.

Currently listening to:


Tell You About The Plane Crash

It was a Fourth of July to remember. I joined Dave and his extended family at Surfside, California for some festivities. We started the day taking part in a parade. This isn't the first time we have taken part in a parade together, but I am kind of hoping it is the last. It was good times as we walked around the community to a backdrop of patriotic music.

After lunch we were all hanging out on the beach. At one point, several of us headed in to avoid any further sunburn. As we were sitting and talking, Dave noticed that many of the people outside were pointing and running. We jumped to the balcony to see a plane that had just crash landed in the ocean.

Oddly enough one of the others at the party had commented earlier about how dangerous those banner planes were.

Luckily, the pilot was able to touch down with minimal injuries to himself. He actually was able to walk away from the plane, although the lifeguards quickly assisted him.

For the next hour or so, we watched as the news media descended on the area. One even interviewed Dave's dad for the evening news. The authorities managed to pull the plane out of the water using a John Deer tractor. Then two lucky officers were able to spend their holiday guarding a plane, until it was taken away a few hours later.

Here is a news report on the crash. If you look hard enough in the second photo in the slide show, you can see me.

After that I enjoyed a fireworks display, hung out with some friends, and even had crazy story from Ryan's travels for a while. But really, it was all downhill after the plane hit the water.

Currently listening to: Bruce Springsteen -


Get Back Honkey Cat

So the other night, my friend Dave told me he wanted to see more posts here on my blog. Quantity, not quality was his request, if I remember correctly. In order to appease him, I give you a brief summery of yesterday.

It started off by seeing Dave and his family off to their various work and school responsibilities. An hour later, I was picked up by a former coworker from BFA. We headed over to the California Grill for some breakfast and catching up. It was good to be able to talk about our old days in Germany. The cool thing was that he also worked in Korea for a time, so we were able to exchange stories about our different Korean experiences. It was an encouraging morning.

At noon, I was heading to Angel Stadium of Anaheim to watch a battle between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It was a beautiful day at the park, and I was sitting closer to the action than I have ever been. It sure beat sitting in the very top row of Minute Maid Park last year. Plus I had my Nolan Ryan Angles jersey on, not as I am so much a fan of the team, but a fan of my name on baseball jerseys.
Good times were had in the stands, enjoying the game, talking baseball and life, and cheering on the Angels. Sadly, the Athletics took the lead. Fortunately, the Rally Monkey came out and boy that little primate did his job. Minutes after the Rally Monkey appeared, Juan Rivera hit a two run homer to seal the victory.

At dinner we celebrated the Thompson's anniversary with the help of George Forman and his fine grilling skills. A couple Marie Callender pies finished out the meal.

So I headed to bed thinking what a great day this had been. As I slid my feet into bed, I felt a little moistness. My first thought was I had left my towel on the bed in the morning. Sadly, I was incorrect. The best I could deduct was that one of the cats had decided to mark his territory. Actually, it was more like he got trapped in the room when the pressure mounted. Not wanting to wake anyone, I decided to sleep on the floor. Later in the night, I found my way to the couch.

Dave did tell me that it never happens with their cats, but then again, he sounded like one of those parents who say their kids never act that way, when their kid acts up. Actually, I think he has told me that too. Ha. And in order to keep my lodging safe, have I mentioned Dave's new website and podcast?

Currently listening to: Coldplay - Viva la Vida


Facts Are Facts

Jeff Reimer, a former coworker and still cool guy, dropped a meme on me the other day. While I was ready to post stories of adventure on the high seas, I decided to take care of this.
Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So the facts:
1. I have been to over thirty five countries, but have never crossed the equator.
2. Around the millennium, I won a Nokia cell phone of my choice from CNN. I picked the most expensive one they had. Only one or two calls were ever made from that phone.
3. I hate bananas more than any other food substance known to man.
4. The artist I have seen the most live is Bill Mallonee, with or without his Vigilantes of Love. I've attended two shows in Scotland, five in England, and over ten in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Before this current trip is over I will see him in California and Oregon.
5. I have three different valid drivers licenses. Oddly enough, I have also received a speeding ticket in three countries.
6. I have spent more time waiting in line for the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland than I have ever spent watching any of the Indiana Jones movies.
7. One Easter many years ago, I was employed by a greeting card store to wear an Easter Bunny costume and pose for photos with children.

I do not think would be able to get seven people to actually follow this, so I am going to tag Jim, Mickie and Dave.

Currently listening to: Shawn Mullins -


Sailing Takes Me Away

The crew has informed me that if I do any of the following that I better hope that my God better be willing to do that fish thing again.

1. Play that blasted Gordon Lightfoot Shipwreck song one more time.
2. Stand on the front of the deck and scream, "I'm king of the world!" again.
3. Ask to watch Speed 2

Just joking. And I really am not posting from the boat, I just used the scheduled post feature of Blogger.


Every Ship Must Sail Away

In the words of Styx, "I'm sailing away, , set an open course for the virgin sea.
I've got to be free, free to face the life thats ahead of me..." Yep kids, it is about time for me to set sail on the open seas. In a few hours I board a train heading to Pusan. There I will be taken to the freighter that I will call home for the next ten or so days. There have been times when I have wondered what in the world am I doing taking a freighter across the Pacific, but then there are times when I remember why I am doing it. Because I can. I long to stand on the deck and see nothing but open ocean. I am excited to see how people used to travel to far away places. Plus, I look forward to ten days when I can get some serious reading done.

Tonight I go to bed for the last time here in Korea. I am ready to wake up for the next adventure. Figure a container ship is a good start. See you all when I wash up on the other side of the ocean.

This xkcd comic pretty much sums up my feelings right now:

Currently listening to:
(not really, but how cool would that be?)


Sister Christian The Time Has Come

I can now officially leave this country, even this continent. No it is not because the school no longer employs me. It has nothing to do with the fact my passport has been filled with enough Asian stamps. It all has to do with a simple photo that was taken yesterday on the Seoul subway system. Yep, I have acquired my photo with a group of Korean nuns. This will join my photo of me and the Italian nuns in my little collection of "me and the nuns" photos. And do not forget the classic, "Drinking Beer With A Nun" photo.

Currently listening to: Martyn Joseph -


Take Me To The Subway

Movement is the theme this week at PhotoFriday. I took this photo this week up in Seoul. I spent more time on the Seoul subway this week than I might have in the last two years. If I am right, I was on it for over three and a half hours on Tuesday alone. I am heading back up tomorrow for one last visit before my boat leaves this country in four days.


Cuts Like A Knife

Tools is the theme this week at PhotoFriday. This was in the window of a knife store in Basel, Switzerland. If I had a spare thousand Swiss francs around, I could have bought the Swiss Army knife with 85 different tools.


Trains and Boats And Planes

Looking at the calendar, I notice that it is almost time for another potentially epic summer adventure to begin. The last couple summers I have been fortunate to see some amazing things, hang with some cool people, and do what I often love to do most, wander. This summer's schedule is set up to allow for some more of that. Here is my rough schedule for the summer:

June 17 (or 18)* - Depart Pusan, Korea aboard the Hanjin Phoenix
June 27 (or 28 or 29)* - Arrive Long Beach, California
July 8 - Fly to Sacramento, California
July 16 - Fly to Seattle, Washington
July 17-20 - Attend Woodsong Music Festival
July 21 - Ferry to Vancouver
July 25/6 - Seattle again
July 27 - Depart Seattle on the Empire Builder
July 29 - Arrive in Bloomington, Illinois
July 30 - Wake up in my parents house in Morton, Illinois

* I started writing this post yesterday, and already my departure and arrival dates have shifted. They could aways shift back. Guess that is the way of the seafaring vagabond.

If anyone in the Los Angeles, Sacramento, Seattle, or Vancouver area would like to hang out, drop me an email or comment. Depending on Amtrak's commitment to staying on schedule, I might even be able to grab dinner in Chicago with some fans.

Currently listening to: Laura Cantrell -


I Did Not Shoot The Deputy

While watching Law and Order the other night, I realized with all the variations of Law and Order and CSI, it is only a matter of time before I get to play a suspect on one of those shows.


As The Lights Flashing Out

Difficult Shot is the theme at PhotoFriday this week.

I took this shot during the Duran Duran concert April 17th, in Seoul, South Korea. It was not easy to get the shot, as security guards were constantly watching for the evil people who brought cameras into the concert venue. It did not help that I was in the very front of the crowd. Luckily, I got a few shots off without being caught. You can read more about the concert in my previous post.


The Great Nations Of Europe

The final contestants have been announced in the Eurovision Song Contest. So I now give you my picks for the top five:

1. Latvia
2. Germany
3. Bosnia Herzegovina
4. Denmark
5. Turkey

Speaking of the contest, I always enjoy reading some of the lyrics to the song. The Irish song this year had the line, "Give us another chance, we're sorry for Riverdance." And while it was full of humorous lines on purpose, several songs are not intentional. The one that threw me the most was from the Czech Republic. The line is "Just like the stars go with the starshine." At first I thought it was just some Eastern European without a great combination of English. I was saddened to discover it was written by an American who has also penned songs for Hannah Montana, Natalie Grant, and the movie Little Miss Sunshine. Sadly, he is not the only American with songs at stake in the European competition, including the gal singing for Poland. Makes me wonder if I have a shot singing for some Eastern European country some day.

Currently listening to: Laura Cantrell -


Wave Euro Hands And Euro Feet

Can it be a year already? Time flies when you are throwing clocks out the window. And no, I am not talking about a revolution around the sun since the end of the school year. I am posting about the annual Eurovision Song Contest. In my opinion, it could be the best competition between the nations. Forget the Olypmics, and even the World Baseball Classic, or even the World Cup Speling Be.

For those who do not know about Eurovision, it is a competition open to all countries in the European Broadcasting Union, thus it contains groups technically outside of the European maps I studied as a child. Each country sends a representative to woo the crowd in song. Most countries have a run off to determine the artist, and even the song that will be performed.

This year, forty-three countries are battling for the top spot. Tonight will be the first of two semi-final rounds. Wednesday the second one will take place. The top nine, plus a wild card from each round will join France, Germany, Spain, Serbia, and the United Kingdom in the final on May 24th.

If you are like me, which I highly doubt you are, you can not wait until then to hear the bands. Luckily, you can listen to all the participants now. I spent some time last night doing just that, and have picked my favorites. When the top twenty five are announced, I will make my official picks for the top five, but right now I am betting Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, Spain, Turkey, and possibly Finland will make it into the finals.

Currently listening to: Laura Cantrell -


In The Heat Of The Night

Fire is the theme at PhotoFriday. This photo is from a trip to Michigan in the middle of winter. We decided to have a little bonfire on the lake.


Stick To Your Guns

Professional is the theme at PhotoFriday this week. Had to look though my photos to find someone/thing that looked professional. This photo of my friend Andrew was prefect. He took me to my first shooting range last summer. The guy not only was a great shot, but a great instructor. Guess it helps is in law enforcement. Although I think he was only being nice when he thought my shooting was good. That or I have spent way too many quarters on Virtual Cop at the arcade.


Some Music To Start My Day

The other day I was reading an article about how Tommy DeCarlo went from Home Depot employee to lead singer of the band Boston. All it took was posting some audio clips of himself on MySpace. It reminded me about Arnel Pineda who recently got promoted from singing cover tunes in the Philippines to the lead singer of Journey. For him the medium was YouTube.

So I'm thinking I should try recording some clips of me singing. Now what bands out there are looking for lead singers?

I also discovered that while Boston is touring this summer, Michael Sweet, the former lead singer of Stryper, will also be sharing time one lead vocals. As a fan of both his work in Stryper, as well as his solo career, I am interested in this piece of information. If ticket prices were not so high, I would consider checking out a show. I just wonder if he will do a mash up of a couple hits from each band, "Honestly, It Is More Than A Feeling"

Currently listening to: Micheal Sweet -


I'm Sailing Away

Today is Scurvy Awareness Day. What better day to announce that in a six weeks I will be taking to the open seas. I have chosen to schedule a voyage on a freighter to return to America. Many have question the logic in this decision. While a fraction of the choice was made in an attempt to never fly Northwest Airlines again, mostly it is because it is there. I have flown across the ocean dozens of times, but for once would love to see it first hand. I look forward to standing on the deck with nothing but blue for as far as the eye can see.

As I prepare for the voyage you can help. I am looking for suggestions for entertainment to occupy my time. Specifically, I'm looking for some good ocean/boat/voyage media. So far I have packed Moby Dick and Cabin Boy. I have also loaded Come Sail Away and Every Ship Must Sail Away on the iPod.

So any suggestions? (Beatings for the first to mention Titanic!)

Wrestling With My Conscience

My Little Secret is the theme at PhotoFriday this week. I am not sure if my secret is that I still owned this shirt until about a week ago, or that I still occasionally watch wrestling. The best/worst part about it is that here in Korea there is a channel that shows WWE at least once a day. I think I've watched the Ric Flair farewell address about five times this week. I think I have said too much, and should stop there.


Has Something Good Begun

For a couple years I have been posting videos over on the YouTube. I figured a few random people would watch them, and perhaps leave some stupid comments. So I was shocked when I was asked if one of my videos could be used in a music video. Rafael Gazzi and Paul Sonnenberg created an amazingly beautiful song, and chose my tram ride through Basel to accent their song. When Paul emailed me and told me the song was "about the feelings of longing and hope experienced by an expatriate in a new country," I knew this was a song I could embrace. Be sure to check out their sites, and even leave a comment on their Myspace or YouTube pages.

Arrivals (Noutro Cais)
By Rafael Gazzi
English lyrics by Paul Sonnenberg

Headlights of a train
Has something come to an end
Or has something good begun?
Beautiful and new
Welcoming me like a friend
Ah, such colors, and such tones

How much will I be changed?
How much will I change?
How much, here, will I know and be known?
At last, to be known!
Will this loneliness always remain?
This longing for my family back home?
Can I build a happy life from
A loving heart alone
This heart is all I own

I want to see the sun rise at dawn
On other landscapes and yet I still want even more
I want to see the sun set upon
Other places and yet I still want even more
The soft turn of a loving hand
Meet the eyes, watch the stars, be the sea
Let the waves of love from this heart of mine
Embrace all I see

I want to see the sun rise at dawn
Over the mountains and yet I still want even more
I want to see the sun set upon
Other places and yet I still want even more
Hear the voice of a gentle hand
Striding angels that rustle the trees
To recognize the voice of a loving heart
When she speaks to me

Lead Me To The Harbour

"Electricity" is the theme at PhotoFriday this week. This photo was taken last fall when I was in Hong Kong. Every night they put on an amazing light display in the harbour. I would love to know what the total electric bill to run the Symphony of Lights. I posted a video of the show on the YouTube.


I Break From The Crowd

Last Thursday I took the train up to Seoul to catch Duran Duran. It was the first time in almost twenty years that they were playing South Korea. I figured that they would be a great band to see as my last concert here in the ROK. With that in mind, I scored a ticket in the standing area right in front of the stage. In fact, it was the sixth row of the standing section. Wrap your head around that concept.

So I get to the Olympic Park Gymnasium and pick up my ticket. The security guards then directed those in the standing section to proceed to one side of the venue. Now here is the part of Korean concert going that I will never understand: They then lined us up by ticket number. The standing section of most of the concerts I've attended in North America and Europe are first come first served. Yet here in a country that still struggles with lines at the grocery stores, they have people line up like those crazy "get to know you" games at camp. "OK, this time everyone line up by height. Next by reverse alphabetical order of your middle names." Security guards spent the hour before the doors opened making sure that people were in numerical order. Once the tickets were taken and the doors opened, it was all a waste as people just rushed to the spots nearest to the stage. My long legs, quick stride and determination allowed me to find a spot on the front row.

Now another aspect of the oxymoronic aspect of entertainment here is that you can buy bootlegged DVDs on many street corners, yet they are fairly strict about taking photos at some concerts. Four or five guys, who I guess might be drop outs of the military, were stationed in the front to crack down on cameras. They would scan the audience looking for the metallic shine or unfortunate flash. For some like myself and the guy next to me it becomes a game. The goal is to see how many shots you can get without being noticed. Needless to say, I think I won this concerts game. Although the dude next to me with the SLR wins top prize for both most photos and largest camera used categories.

For those wondering about the show, I'll just say it was everything I expected. They busted out all their hits, as well as the newer stuff. I actually really enjoyed some of the new stuff, even if Timberlake's name was dropped as a co-writer of one song. I was a little worried when I heard that they had forgotten some lyrics at a previous show. I can report they didn't forget the lyrics, just forgot the order. As they closed out the show with "Rio" it sounded like they were trying a round as Simon sang "Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand" while John was busting out, "Her name is Rio she don't need to understand." I'll cut them some slack, as they are pushing 50, have recorded over twelve albums, and the song they were singing was older than some of my coworkers.

Currently listening to: Duran Duran -


Frozen In The Snow

The theme this week at PhotoFriday is "Cold." Don't talk to me about cold until you have used an outhouse during an Upper Peninsula winter.


A Little Time To Wake Up

A nap is defined as sleeping a short period of time. This is usually done to break up the day, and catch up on rest. So what do you call when you wake up for about ten to twenty minutes in the middle of the night for no reason? Is it the reverse nap? Cause I'm reverse napping right now.

Odds are I will remember there really is a word for this tomorrow when my brain is fully functioning.

Currently listening to: Pierce Pettis -


If The Bombs Fall

"Fragile" is this week's theme at PhotoFriday. This was a bomb I came across while wandering around some old war trenches in the Vosges Mountains of France. I tried to pick it up, just to see how heavy it was. I even thought it would make a cool conversation piece in my apartment. Luckily, there were some people who felt it would be unwise to load a undetonated WWII bomb into the back of van full of students. Those same wise people were not on another trip we made to the area, but that is another story for another time.


But You're Not Allowed To Win

Before it becomes too trendy, I want to announce that I will be abstaining from competing at the Beijing Olympics this year. It was a tough decision, but here are my reasons:

1. China's human rights record
2. The abundance of lead in Chinese exports - if I want lead in my kids toys, I'd just buy them some hematite pellets.
3. The lack of success with the fortunes and lucky numbers I've found in fortune cookies over the years.
4. I've already been in the custody of the Chinese military once, don't want to do that again.
5. Most importantly, they have not named the board game Risk as an Olympic event. Let's face it, that is about my best shot to even have a chance at winning the gold.

Currently listening to: Monty Python - "I Like Chinese"


All This Wandering

"Far From Home" is the theme at PhotoFriday this week.

I have considered myself fortunate to be able to wander so far from the pumpkin fields of Morton, Illinois. There are hundreds of photos I could use to show myself "far from home" I picked this one, just because it is one of the more recent photos. It was taken in Subic Bay, Philippines, while I was in the area helping with a Habitat for Humanity building project.

To be honest, home is a concept I struggle more and more with. While many of my peers have a place to call home, I feel homeless. Sure there are places I know I can stay for long periods of time and feel comfortable, but a home I feel I lack. In some ways I would love to say because I am longing for a heavenly home, but I think it might have to deal with my ever need to wander.

This actually line of thought could fill a huge post, so for the time being, just enjoy the photo. As with every photo, it was so much better in real life.


Just Another Brick In The Wall

I am back from the trip to the Philippines. It was an interesting week. The team made several thousand bricks. Unfortunately if you make them, you usually end up having to move them too. So we got to move a lot of bricks too. But it is good work, knowing that someone is a lot closer to a home because of our work. I am a big fan of Habitat For Humanity and the work they do.

It was not all work either. We got to see a dolphin show, learned jungle survival skills, and even got to see some cultural dancing.

I have posted many of the photos on my Flickr pages and a few videos on YouTube. Be sure to check them all out.

Currently listening to: Bon Iver -