Thursday, July 31, 2008


I can't believe I forgot to mention this.. So get this. Barack is coming to BCC Saturday which is a mile from my house!!! It is sold out (only 72 tix, wtf?) but I have "connections" working on it... I am not relying on these "connections" but I am not counting them out either... I have benefited from them before. Regardless, I will be loitering as close as I can get. Hopefully, close enough to feel the aura. I am so pumped.

So maybe I confused my excitement for Barack with my excitement for the aardvark environmentally friendly straws. Both are extremely exciting... I hope I can sleep tonight!


Suck It Without the Guilt

Ok for everybody I have given a guilt trip to about using straws that destroy the environment here is an alternative... Aardvark Environmentally Friendly Paper Straws. They feel kind of funny on the lips but they are totally cool... This made my day! (It doesn't take much sometimes). Awesome.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Roll on Trizzy (Again)

Well Trizzy had a snafu on our first day back together. I was coming back from the Y last night and I heard a loud noise under the hood. For a moment I felt relief... finally Trizzy had died and I could move on without feeling guilty... ummm wait we are still moving... it was just the serpentine belt; an easy fix. Damn! So I raced home before the battery died... Tonight I brought home a new $30 belt and put it on. Started it up and the brand new belt bound up again. $30 gone in a instant. Now what?

Scrap it! No! Scrap it! No! No! No! Upon closer examination I realized that a pulley had seized. I could fix this...Damn! I was having problems getting the pulley off when my neighbors came over to see if they could help. Then another neighbor. With tools from here and muscles from there we got it off. I used Rose and Jo's car to go to the parts store. Got the new pulley and another belt and in no time Trizzy was whole again. It was like a street party to resurrect the Triz.

It is obvious that none of my neighbors wanted to see me get rid of the Triz... Why else would they rush over to help me fix it? They must think he is pretty special... Well he says thanks and thinks you are pretty special too.

It takes a village to keep Trizzzy and me rolling.

Monday, July 28, 2008

All the Redemption Was Beneath That Dirty Hood

I am back. My back yard is a hay field! Stayed in Asheville last night. I have been wanting to stop there for quite some time. It is a great little town; art, music, culture, mountains, hippy-girls…

But everything must come to an end.

Ahh the post-trip woes. It’s kind of sad to be back even though just a few hours ago I was looking forward to it. It is so hard to assess my feelings after visiting home. I don’t know. I guess the one thing that every trip home validates is the fact that I am where I need to be…It is sad and scary to know that there is nothing back home for me… I could never go back and be happy as the person I am now. I feel fortunate in some respects but also guilty that I am turning my back on my roots. I outgrew my pot a long time ago, and have been transplanted into the wild. I am grateful for my roots though. Going home kind of hits the reset button. It’s affirmation that I am doing the right thing… but that doesn’t make it any easier to leave.

I definitely needed this break. Friends and their little ones, the family, cities, music, fish, golf, mountains, the farm, the pond, the fireflies, daylight until 10:00pm, and the road.

Still chasing the hole-in-one though.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'm No Hero, That's Understood

I feel helpless. I can't rescue you. I want to. I feel obligated to. You have to do it yourself. You can do it. You are doing it. Keep pushing forward. I am here for you when you need me... Most things come full circle. I have to leave you to your life and escape to mine, knowing that no matter what there will always be acceptance for persons we have grown in to. so long for now...

On to Asheville. Then back to the home I lead.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Know You're Lonely For Words That I Ain't Spoken

Thankful: That I escaped. That I grew out of my planter. That I spread my wings. That I am smart. That things weren't perfect. That I listen. That I have courage. That I don't lie. That I feel guilt. That I want more. That I challenge the status quot. That I don't fake anything. That I am real, real all the time. That, in time, I am loyal. That my roots are not certified organic. That I have earned everything that has come my way. That I have secrets. That I think differently than most. That I am perceptive. That I can make it on my own.

Lonely: That I escaped. That I grew out of my planter. That I spread my wings. That I am smart. That things weren't perfect. That I listen. That I have courage. That I don't lie. That I feel guilt. That I want more. That I challenge the status quot. That I don't fake anything. That I am real, real all the time. That, in time, I am loyal. That my roots are not certified organic. That I have earned everything that has come my way. That I have secrets. That I think differently than most. That I am perceptive. That I can make it on my own.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Maybe We Ain't That Young Anymore

Slept in yesterday then went on an architectural tour of the city by boat. Forgot sunscreen again... Then met up with Jess for dinner at Lou Malnati's in Lincoln park. Got up this morning to set off on the last leg of this part of my journey. Four hours away in rural Michigan the corn has tasseled out, the trees are bushy, tons and tons of wild flowers are in bloom, the bull frogs are barking, and the fire flies flickering. I finally caught some fish on my fly rod. Gunner kept swimming across my fly line though...goof!

Home. It's what it used to be... and will always be what it used to be.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tonight We'll be Free All the Promises'll be Broken

So I made it to Chi-town. The drive was much longer than I thought it was going to be. I thought it was only going to take four and a half hours to get here but I was looking at the wrong directions. Anyway, I made it. Met Eric’s little girl Alice for the first time. They have a pretty nice place really close to Lake Mich. We headed downtown to meet up with Jess and Eric’s sisters. Had dinner in Lincoln Park and went to the Whiskey Sky lounge at the top of the W Hotel in downtown. It is a small, ritzy bar on the top floor of the hotel overlooking Navy Pier. As luck would have it a friend of Jessica’s was having her birthday party up there so we got to tag along. It just so happens that they had fireworks at Navy Pier tonight so we had an amazing view. Good times, interesting folks.

Interesting notes from the road: driving through Gary Indiana I see a sign - “The People of Gary Welcome You” - it was painted on a huge sewage tank at the water treatment plant… no better way to welcome somebody to your town… it might have even been painted with raw sewage… Well, it is sort of sad, nothing says the Midwest like the crippled manufacturing plants. Gary and Flint are the poster children for the fading era when unskilled labor could make a good living in this country. The fallout of the exportation of manufacturing jobs is literally littering the communities that surround these cities that were once hotbeds for good jobs. What can be done?… how about a mid-course correction… go green.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Show a Little Faith There's Magic in the Night

Awesome show… Although, the sound guys kept screwing up the mics and plugs on every song… every single one! I couldn’t believe it. Scott Avett was funny as shit tonight; mocking dudes and how they can’t cry or be sensitive... NA. The guy next to me had this elaborate recording set up and he is going to cut it up and post it for me. They played a couple songs from their new album that is set to release next week (maybe?) and they were awesome. The one song was about his family… like so many of their other songs; how important and special their family is. I envy that tight bond that some people have with their family… but I guess we all do the best we can... They didn’t play my song but I hear it anyway.

...I don’t know why I have to, but this man must move on...

So one little footnote about the show, the town, the county. I noticed a sign discouraging the use of alcohol, but everybody was bringing in coolers… so I asked my chauffer (they were taxiing us back to the stage area on golf carts) what the situation was; blah, blah you can bring it if you put it in a coozy or cup. So I asked to be taken back to my car so I could make a beer run and she informed me that I would have to drive 45 minutes to find anything. Umm yea. It’s a dry county. No booze at the show, no booze at the party store, no booze anywhere in this county unless you order it with a meal at a restaurant. So I drank lemonade and remained sober. And it all worked out great.

These Two Lanes will Take us Anywhere

Sheesh! I was in a daze for most of the 431 miles but I made it to Somerset. Less than an hour til the first act goes on…

So last night we went to Dante’s Down the Hatch in Buckhead. It was a pretty sweet place; fondue and stew, a replica pirate ship with a jazz band on board surrounded by water crawling with live caymans and crocs… Morbidly obese caymans and crocs I might add… very strange, but very, very cool. We just sat at the bar and had some stew and brew. Then headed back to a place in Jenn’s hood called “the local”.

Big Guns is so high maintenance, but also soooo adowable when he gets cranky in the car…. The drive was boring until we got off the highway… from then on it was beautiful. Two lane winding road through the foot hills of Kentucky. We stopped at Cumberland Falls for a while and took some pix. Went for a little hike. Gunner got tired... Well I gots to yank out some teeth and tear off my sleeves before I roll.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Casing the Promised Land

Well me and G pulled out of T-ville yesterday morn with my day-off-staple BLT on an everything bagel from Bagel World in hand; stylin’ and profilin’ in our flaming yellow rented Chevy Cobalt… Got to G-ville around lunch time. Met up with a now-walking Cass-dog, Jen, Bill, Marty, and Jim for lunch. Left around 3:00 and got to ATL around 7:30. Jenn got called out to Cali on a fire so she left us the key to her crib. Coincidently, I arrived at almost the same time as another one of her friends who was also staying at her place. So the two of us are using her place as a hostile. G proceeded to tear up a couple of Angus’s toys… Erik had just finished up a long day of protecting the environment when he swung bye and took us out-of-towners on the Erik Spalvins’ hospitality tour… I got tanked…

Went to Georgia Aquarium this morning. Cool, cool. Saw the whale sharks, beluga whales, the sea
otters, which were adowable, and tons of other cool creatures. It was packed…It was hard to walk and look at stuff without plowing over knee high mini persons. Going to take a cat nap to rejuvenate for another night on the town…

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Ball's in My Court

I've been playing a lot of basketball lately. I have always found sanctuary in shooting hoops. It has definitely been a mental escape for me my entire life. I used to shoot a lot growing up. I can't say that I have ever had a great idea or an epiphany on the court but I usually put the ball down more mellow than when I picked it up. The last couple days I have been trying to figure out why it has always been so therapeutic for me. I am afraid I use it to numb my feelings... Thinking back there were some unpleasant times on the court...

When I was in eighth grade a girl in seventh grade committed suicide. I didn't know her that well but I had talked with her on what I think was the day she died. That next day everybody was crying, but I didn't even find out why until 2nd or 3rd hour. I remember not really knowing how I felt or how to react. I don't think I cried. But I remember going out to shoot hoops as soon as I got home. I shot for a long time. I remember my Dad coming home and instead of going inside he sat on the tailgate of his truck trying to figure out what to say. I think at that point I realized what parents fear most... I just kept shooting.

The court has also been a place of utter embarrassment. I was always the basketball team's manager; never played. But toward the end of our freshmen year the coach and the players were really pushing for me to play in a game. So it was set, I was going to play in the last home game of the year against Durand. As the game neared the pressure was building. People were coming just to see me play. I started to feel like Rudy; like I was drawing all this attention out of pity. My parents questioned whether I really wanted to play, because at the time I had gaudy, Forest Gump-like metal braces that went up to my knees. So just before the game I cracked under the pressure and told the coach I wasn't going to play. We went in the locker room and he calmed me down, and talked me back into playing. So as we were warming up before the game the refs came up to me and were concerned about the metal on my braces. Much to my relief they said I could not play with those braces. Well Mr. Butcher wasn't going to let that happen, so he took me in the locker room, tore up a gym mat and taped foam around every piece of metal on the braces. At that point gaudiness had just been redefined and my anxiety rose to a new level. So I sat the entire first quarter on the comfort and safety of the pine, but during a foul shot in the second quarter Mr. Butcher looked my way. The crowd erupted with cheers of pity, anticipating a miracle. Striken with the worst case of cotton mouth in my life, I was cherry-picking when Ryan Jones got the rebound from a missed free throw and immediately hurled the ball to the handicap kid carrying everybody's desire to witness a miracle. I caught the ball, turned and dribbled toward the basket for my wide open lay-up... The deflating gasp from the crowd echoed in the silence that followed. I failed to inspire. I finished the game with zero points feeling more embarrassed by the attention than by missing the wide open layup... But such is life. I had another shot at our final away game. I had four points in that game... I stopped being the manager after that.

Then a couple years ago, the most inspiring moment in basketball that I have ever seen happened with striking similarity to my story, only this time the outcome was much different...

Talk about inspiring. I remember seeing this as I was getting ready for school a couple years ago. I was moved to tears... Now I have followed college and pro basketball for a long time; been to two finals fours, both colleges I graduated from won national championships while I was a student, my pro team has won the championship 3 times in my lifetime.... but none of those moments even compare to this. It is so intriguing to me what the mind is capable of.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

T. Boone Pickens--the Warren Buffet of Alt Energy?

I got several emails about this yesterday and glanced over them all. I wasn't really sure who he was until I saw his TV commercial just a few minutes ago... It gave me chills. Finally, a villain with a HUGE voice becomes an ally... Its the start of a movement.

Check it out:

Listen to his NPR interview:

He is suppose to unveil the details of his plan over the next few weeks. Finally! Action that is practical!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Interesting Tidbit about Amos Lee's "Better Days"

So about a year and a half ago I was introduced to Amos Lee for the first time on Prairie Home Companion. He sang Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight, and a new song titled Better Days, which I couldn't get out of my head. I was hooked, and since I couldn't find it anywhere I repeatedly scrolled through the show to hear that song. For the last year and a half I have been trying to find it, then about 6 months ago a poor-quality live video of the song showed up on youtube. Then last month he released his latest cd Last Days at the Lodge and on it was Better Days. But it didn't sound like I remembered... and sure enough, he changed the second verse... turning it into more of a love song. The second verse of original version that he sang on PHC had a subtle political undertone, while the new second verse talks of love lost... Interesting. He must have had his heart broken.

Check out the original version here: Better Days is about 44:30 into the show. In the following video he dedicates the newer version of the song to the passing of Tim Russert:

I would say that Amos Lee could be the love child of James Taylor and Jack Johnson. Amos is coming to central FL in the next few weeks but I don't think I will be around to see him.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Your Sunday Flower

I didn't pick it because it is fragile, and it doesn't last past the morning.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy F-ing B-day America

blah, blah. spent most of the day on the beach. blah, blah, moved green turtle nests this morning. blah, blah, chilled on the NPS beach. blah, blah, brakes seized on the triz. blah, blah, wasted afternoon fixing it. blah, blah, went to irish. blah, blah, thought about you. busy day... i am tired.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wash Your Worries Away

I love rain... there is comfort in its renewal... wiping the slate clean; rejuvenating; invigorating. i love walking in it, but i also love the safe feeling of shelter when you are hiding from it. I love the mesmerizing clouds. i love the sound; like plugging your ears in the shower and letting the water run on your head. i love how it smells after it rains. I love the puddles and the track you get up your back when you ride your bike through one. i love that showers bring flowers...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Special Place

Seventeen weeks of my life I spent in a secret place; a magical place. It was a place where dreams really did come true. Though those that knew me in my everyday life didn’t know about this place, nor did they, or could they understand the profound influence it had on my life. Growing up, the highlight of my year was going to MDA camp.

As a child MDA camp was a place to go to be normal; a place without limits. A place where the impossible became possible. A place where kids confined to wheelchairs could go swimming in the lake, boating, fishing. A place to dance... The memories play in slow motion like a slideshow set to the song “love can build a bridge”.

As I grew into my late teens I switched from being a camper to a volunteer. I didn’t need camp to break down any physical barriers for me anymore… but it was important that I be there to help break down those barriers for my friends. We started going to camp at the age of 6… we grew up together. I always felt a sense of guilt that I never got worse… but my friends did. Some of the long-time volunteers used to tell me how important it was that I be there… that seeing me seemingly beating the disease was inspiring to my friends that were losing their fight. I never felt that way. I didn’t want to be inspiring, I, like the others wanted to be normal; not an all-star athlete or a guitar hero, just normal. I was almost normal, but not. I vividly remember one friend, Robert, asking me out of the blue why the disease hadn’t progressed in me; as if I was stronger than him, or if there was something that I was doing that he wasn’t…not that I was just lucky… He died the next year just before camp; his sister wrote a note to us telling us how much he loved camp and how it lifted his spirits every year. One of the older volunteers read the note to the newer volunteers in the cabin so that they could hopefully realize how important this week was to the campers. I never went to his funeral, never acknowledge his passing until the first words of the letter were being read. Then it poured out. We know the fate of most of the campers at camp years ahead of time... But it doesn’t make it any easier.

The older I got, the more I was able to control my emotions. Camp is an emotional place and leaving every year was hard. I remember the first year that didn’t cry when I left camp. I actually felt more upset that I didn’t cry. What did it mean? Was camp not special anymore? Camp was still special. But for me it had lost its innocence. As my generation of campers grew older the harsh reality of life could not be avoided. While it took the letter to come to terms with the loss of Robert, I still haven’t acknowledged the loss of my longtime partner in crime Ramon… The time has come though... in a couple weeks I will tell Ramon’s story, with the much needed closure.

For years at camp we referred to the real world as the other 51 weeks of the year. But for many campers MDA camp is their only chance to experience the real world, to feel normal, to come off the sidelines and be in the game. Camp is the real world. Camp is what is good in the world. In one special week everybody at camp—volunteers and campers alike--are exposed the deepest depths of humanity. You find in you the compassion, love, and spirit of life.

Today I experience camp through my mom. For about 6 or 7 years she has closed her beauty shop for the day and taken her employees to camp to cut hair for the camp prom. Prom is probably the most important night at camp. Most of the kids don’t get to go to their high school prom. So this is their opportunity to get dressed up, get their hair done, and dance. I am proud of my mom for doing this. I think she understands the importance of camp to everybody, and I think she recognizes how important it was in my life. I think this is her way of giving back and being close to me.

So tonight my thoughts are with the campers cuttin’ up rugs on the shore of Lake Huron.