Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The New "New"

today officially started my first day living in california. it's all new. new place to live. new place to work. new friends. new are to get to know. lots of newness. it's exciting as well as overwhelming. thankfully i have a roof over my head and some contacts trying to help me find a job. this area i'm in now, sherman oaks, is a great area and close to grocery stores, restaurants, stores, etc. all bike accessible which is wonderful. i've basically applied to 30-40+ companies and businesses in and around la and the bay area. now the waiting game.....hoping to hear back from them any minute. will update as soon as i learn more.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Daily Mantra

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the past 6 months

for the past 6 months i have been living in Cusco, Peru volunteering at a non-profit cafe called, The Meeting Place. it was a wonderful experience working here and meeting tons of new people as well as getting to know a new city. over the past 6 months one watches a lot of movies, reads new books, and listens to new music; i have kept a list of everything i watched, read, and listened to to remember this trip by. i know this seems odd but all three are such a huge part of my life and they help define me as a person so this is more for reference later in life to look back on. i also want to share the things that i plan on missing the most. so if you are interested take a peak below...

Things I'm Going to Miss About Cusco:
Meeting Travelers in the cafe
Dinner/Laundry night at the Englunds
Ken's Chili
Listening to Sigur Ros with Hippie Mike
Messing with Socks
Going to pub quiz at the Real McCoy
Chatting with Jeremy
Eating Carrie's awesome pastries & cakes
The view out from my room (best view in Cusco).

Books I read in Peru:
Bible: Pentatuch (First 5 books of the Bible)
Jesus For President by Shane Claiborne
Following the Equator by Mark Twain
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

Movies I watched in Cusco:
127 Hours
2001 A Space Odyssey
2001 A Space Odyssey The Making of a Myth
A Hard Day's Night
A Serious Man
Addicted to Plastic
Alone in the Wilderness
Battle Royale
Blade Runner
Bottle Rocket
Burn After Reading
Carlos Pt. 1
Carlos Pt. 2
Carlos Pt. 3
Che Pt. 1
Che Pt. 2
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Days of Heaven
Drillbit Taylor
Due Date
Dumb and Dumber
Encounters at the End of the World
Exit Through the Giftshop
Garbage Warrior
Gas Land
Get Low
G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra
Hall Pass
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blooded Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Pt. 1
Hobo With A Shotgun
Human Planet Series
I'm Still Here
Inception & Special Features
An Idiot Abroad Series
Inglorious Basterds
Inland Empire
In Bruges
I'm Still Here
Jackass 1
Jackass 2.5
Jackass 2
Jackass 3
Little Fockers
Lost in Translation
Magical Mystery Tour (The Beatles)
Man Bites Dog
Mega Shark vs. Crocasaures 
Monsters vs Aliens
Mr Nobody
October Sky
Pineapple Express
Red Dawn
Red Vs Blue (Seasons 1&2)
Step Brothers
Silent Running
Simon of the Desert
Source Code
Star Wars IV
Star Wars V
Star Wars VI (possibly)
Sympathy for the Devil
The Adjustment Bureau
The American
The Beatles Anthology (Episodes 1-8)
The Big Lebowski
The Conversation
The Darjeeling Limited
The Departed
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Fighter
The Good German
The Green Hornet
The Human Experience
The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus
The Informant
The Insider
The Kings Speech
The Life Aquatic
The New World
The Pianist
The Royal Tenenbaums
The Social Network
The Squid and the Whale
The Ten Commandments
The Thin Red Line
The Troll Hunter
The Vanishing
Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (5 Seasons)
Troll 2
Twin Peaks (2 seasons)
Up In The Air
Youth In Revolt
Waiting for Superman
Waking Sleeping Beauty
Wildboyz (4 seasons)
X-Men Animated Series (5 Seasons)
X-Men First Class
Young Mr. Lincoln

Worst Movie: National Lampoon's TV: The Movie or Hobo with a Shotgun
Best Movie: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Best Documentary: Catfish
Favorite Documentaries: Alone in the Wilderness & Encounters at the End of the World
Most Influential Film: Garbage Warrior
Best TV Show: Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job!

New Music:
Akron/Family - Discography
Aaron Giillespie - Anthem Song
The Animals - Best Of
The Avett Brothers - Emotionalism, Four Thieves Gone, The Gleam, The Gleam II
Beastie Boys - Ill Communication & Licensed to Ill
The Beatles - Complete Singles
Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Cake - Fashion Nugget
The Cars - Best Of
The Clash - London Calling
Crosby Stills & Nash - Greatest Hits
Crosby Stills Nash & Young - Deja Vu
David Bazan - Strange Negotiations
Defeater - Empty Days & Sleepless Nights
Dogwood - Through Thick & Thin
The Doors - Best Of
Dovekins - Assemble the Aviary
Dr. Dog - Fate
Eddie Vedder - Ukulele Songs
Elvis Presley - 30 #1 Hits
Faces - Best Of
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac
George Harrison - All Things Must Pass & Living in the Material World
I Monster - Neveroddoreven
Jimi Hendrix - Experience Hendrix
John Coltrane - A Love Supreme
Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature, Stay in the Shade, & Veneer
The Kinks - Best Of
Led Zepplin - 4 & Mothership
Lou Reed - Transformer
Mason Jennings - Blood of Man
Miles Davis - Bitches Brew & Kind of Blue
Neil Diamond - The Essential
The O.C. Supertones - Supertones Strike Back
The Only Ones - Special View
Paul McCartney - McCartney
The Psalters - Ch.7 Tour EP
R. Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country
Refused - The Shape of Punk to Come
Relient K - Forget and Not Slow Down & Is For Karaoke EP
Roger Miller - Best Of
The Rolling Stones - Greatest Hits
Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness & Siamese Dream
Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz & All Delighted People
Underoath - Disambiguation
The Velvet Underground - Loaded & White Light/White Heat
Verse - From Anger and Rage
The W's - Fourth from the Last
Wallace Collection - Laughing Cavalier & Serenade
The White Stripes - Elephant, Icky Thump, White Blood Cells, The White Stripes
The Who - Ultimate Collection
Woody Guthrie - Discography
Yann Tiersen - Dust Lane
The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle & Greatest Hits

Most Surprising Band: Akron/Family
Favorite Album: Psalters Ch.7 Tour EP & Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues
Oldie but Goodie: Rolling Stones - Greatest Hits & Elvis Presley's 30 #1 Hits
Most Disappointing: David Bazan - Strange Negotiations (needs more listening to)
Most Listened to Band in the past 6 months: Fleet Foxes 475 listens
Most Listened to Song in the past 6 months: Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues 106x

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Supporting the Healthy & Discouraging the Unhealthy

came across this great article talking about taxing unhealthy foods and beverages such as, soda, sugary juices, candies, fries, etc. while subsidizing healthier foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. by doing so the revenue generated by the unhealthy foods could generate into the billions which could in affect help high health costs, go to community projects like bike trails, parks, community centers, etc. then by subsidizing the healthier foods you would be able to buy them at a more reasonable price which is great. the combination of all of the above could in fact help reduce many health risks especially diabetes. other countries and some states have already passed similar laws or are getting ready to take affect which is very exciting. if you are more interested in this article you can find it here: Tax Soda, Subsidize Vegetables

Saturday, July 9, 2011

More Great Non-Profits

Found out about a couple more cool non-profits helping people around the country and around the world. First I want to share about People for Bikes which is a cool organization that is helping individuals get connected in their community as well as nationwide to bicycle groups and activism. They have some great goals and make it real easy to get involved. A few ways you can get involved is signing their pledge which helps gather voices around the nation who are advocates for biking, sending your representatives letters (they have a great stock letter that you can add to and e-mail from the site), a write up section where you can share your experience and love for biking (I wrote about my cross country bike trip!), and lots of great suggestions on how you can get involved with bike groups in your community. There are so many great advantages to biking whether it be health-wise, economical, environmentally, and even just for shear enjoyment; this is one of the other ways I can help spread the word and I ask you to just check out the site and see what you can do to help.

Because International is a non-profit that a friend of mine from college, Kenton Lee, has setup. Here are some of his words about Because International: "Because International is a non-profit organization that seeks to develop innovative solutions to long-standing social justice problems." So Kenton has lived in Ecuador and Kenya and noticed that kids either don't have shoes or they are wearing shoes that are too big or too small, so he came up with an idea of "The Shoe That Grows", it's a fully adjustable shoe from size 5 to size 12. There are some great companies that I mentioned in a previous post about that when you buy a pair they give a pair, but the one negative drawback is that kids feet don't stay the same but they grow until they become an adult so that one pair of TOMS that was donated last summer might night fit them next year, thankfully they can hand them off to someone else but in all reality they're probably going to keep on wearing a shoe that is too small. So Because International wants to get involved with donors and companies like Soles 4 Souls and TOMS to distribute his "Shoe That Grows" so they can reach more kids instead of giving limited time support. Check out their video below to learn more.

Along the lines as well as bicycles is World Bicycle Relief which is a non-profit whose mission is to provide access to independence and livelihood through the power of bicycles. This organization wants to help people around the world be more productive, healthy, independent, and less hindered. Biking saves so much time since walking takes much longer, allows people to carry more weight such as food, water, school supplies, etc., and it increases the distances people can travel in a day so they can get more done or able to take advantage of more resources such as education, water, and supplies. World Bicycle Relief is working with bike supplies to improve the design of bicycles, enhance distribution with local sourcing, manufacturing, and assembly, and partnering with other existing non-profits to help aid in their goals. They are currently working in parts of India which have been affected by tsunamis, Zambia, and other places in Africa, more specifically working with the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative which provides 300 bikes in 6 countries to help specific HIV/AIDS initiatives. It's crazy how much a bicycle can change someone's life. Please check out their website and see how you can get involved.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


my first cassette tape: green day dookie. my first cd: blink-182 dude ranch.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Pilgrim's Progress and Other Musings

i have started reading john bunyan's "A Pilgrim's Progress" and it's fantastic. i have read about 100 pgs in less than a week, granted it's a pretty easy to read but so full of goodness. if you haven't heard of it i will give you the basics: the book is the whole journey of Christian, a normal person, who is trying to get to the Celestial City (Heaven); basically it his entire Christian journey. i am so impressed with bunyan because most of his writing is word for word scripture references. it is such a great allegory that keeps you wanting to read more. i am really enjoying this fresh new outlook on faith and the journey of every Christ follower. if you haven't read it, i highly recommend reading it.

to aid in this pilgrimage of mine i have gone back and have been listening to some older christian music as well as some new. i have been very encouraged with Dogwood's second album, "Through Thick & Thin". with songs comparing our journey to a sailing voyage or a visually great lyrical about the return of Christ or an encouraging song about brotherhood through thick and thin, this entire album has nothing but inspiration, humbleness, and love written all over it and in it. this was one of my most favorite bands growing up and never had this album of my own and have finally gotten it. my most favorite song is "stairway to sin" which is such a beautiful song of redemption and recognizing one's sinfulness habits and it goes through the thought/journey of letting go and allowing God to work. can you see all the similarities to journeying? check out the song above if you dare...

another older band but mainly just one song instead of a whole album is "Louder than the Mob" by The O.C. Supertones another favorite when i was younger. it's just one of those songs that speaks about our sin but just in a unique way and how great our God is and how forgiving He is even when we shouldn't deserve it. Here are the lyrics:
"I know I'm just another Judas, kiss Your face
While I drive the nail through Your hand
I know I'm just another Thomas, won't believe
Until I feel the hole in your hands
Then I will say, my God, I see not what You see
My God, what do You see in me?
My God, crowned in glory
The Lamb of God is worthy
My sin yells, 'Crucify!'; Louder than the mob that day
My sin yells, 'Crucify!', louder than any mouth."

the last song/album i wanted to mention is Psalter's, "Ch.7 EP". the Psalters are amazing people and gifted musician/songwriters; they sing some very impactful songs and i know how sincere they are. love them so much and if i lived in philly i would get to see them and hangout with them more. they are a breath of fresh air when thinking, talking, and living God's word. i digress, "Psalm 27" is a raw and encouraging song taken from David's Psalm 27, stating "the Lord is my light and my salvation, the Lord is my strength and my life! So I will not be afraid, no I will not be afraid!" such wonderfulness. please listen to it and check out all of their music, it will only do you good.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sites to check out & Organizations to Support

thought i'd share some cool websites that relate to travel or helping others out and hope that someone will gleam some helpful information from it. so here. we. go!

to start off i want to brag about my favorite travel website called Matador Travel; i visit it a couple times a month because it just talks a lot about cool trips to take like hitchhiking, hopping trains, woofing, biking, and has a lot of good articles and resources about specific countries or cities all around the world. i've submitted several photos and little write ups to them for my bike trip as well as volunteering here in peru. it's my favorite travel site and thought i'd share it.

if you are interested in gardening and traveling then you should check out woofing (world wide opportunities on organic farms).  basically you purchase a list of a country and it hooks you up with contact information with organic farmers. in theory you contact a farmer and you work out an agreement of working for room & board. it's a great opportunity to see a new place and learn about farming. i hope to take advantage of this someday soon.

i know i've talked about it already but Earthships! i think its such a great concept and so awesome to be sustainable. basically a house made out of tires filled with soil, using cans and glass bottles along with adobe to form walls. so basically this house fully sustainable because the roof gathers and stores rainwater and uses a filter system to filter it 4 times for bathing, washing, drinking, and to water your garden; it has solar panels as well as a wind generator to harvest electricity; the house plan is specifically designed with an internal heating and cooling system in it; as well as a greenhouse to grow foodz. i plan to buy some land and build one of these in the near future; where? i don't know but i think this is a great idea.

another that is really common is Couchsurfing; i know a lot of people know about this but just in case someone doesn't. so if you have an open couch or guest room in your house and you're cool with letting travelers crash on it then you sign up and people send you requests to stay with you. it's a great free way to travel around the world (i've done it across the united states) and it's super safe and a great way to meet cool people. also the people you meet most likely show you great restaurants, hidden gems, music venues, etc.

GOOD is a magazine but also a cool website that breaks down into several categories such as: health, media, politics, transportation, technology, culture, cities, design, action, etc. and has awesome articles about cool new programs going on in cities or states or countries that help people or the environment or education. i find out a lot of cool websites and organizations that way. in conjunction with GOOD, is DWELL which is all about house stuff; super cool site and magazine that is structured the same way as GOOD.

CVDW, Centre for Vision in the Developing World, is an organization that has developed these cool self-adjustable glasses. basically getting optometrists to developing countries to make glasses for people is a tough and expensive ordeal but these glasses are relatively cheap to produce but also for kids and adults to adjust the prescription themselves. their goal is by 2020 that they want to give out a billion glasses around the globe! it's super cool and such an ingenious glasses thingy (i know real technical).

a good idea of buy a pair give a pair, TOMS has lead the way in this with their very popular shoes and now newly introduced sunglasses. so you buy and pair and they give a pair to a kid around the world. a lot of friends of mine buy the shoes and i'm sure will buy the sunglasses. a good trendy idea.

One Laptop Per Child provides rugged, low-cost, low-power laptops to kids all over the world to help with their education. i don't know a ton about them but have read a couple of articles about them and have checked out their website a handful of times and is a smart way of bringing cheaper more energy efficient basic laptops to kids. they also provide software to help with the learning process. since i don't know much more than that, i would say if it interests you check their site out.

another organization that i want to promote is The Water Project; i support this organization financially because i firmly believe clean drinking water is like having gold. it's our life support along with clean air and food and so many villages around the world don't have wells or clean water facilities and with hotter summers and more draughts these wells and storage systems are a huge help. it's really amazing that $50-100 can do so much for a community like provide clean drinking water for a couple families. i ran into this organization when i was in utah seeing films at sundance film festival.

my last organization is where i am currently volunteering 6 months of my time and that is in cusco, peru with The Meeting Place Cafe; which gives 100% of its profits away to 3 local missions in cusco: Project CORAZON (an orphanage), Casas Josefina (orphanage for developmentally challenged kids) and Casa del Aguila (farm/medical clinic/orphanage). there is a guest house and language school a part of the cafe as well and all those profits go out too. it's a great place and the owners are wonderful people. i'm so thankful to be able to be here helping.

i hope something here has helped or has shown you that their are some great organizations and websites out there to help others as well as gleam new and cool information about traveling or green living.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

art for art sake

back from the dead. indeed i am alive and well, thankfully. i was previously battling the terrible stomach parasite known as giardia which i obtained from the crystal clear waters of northern chile at a national park ranger station. needless to say that sucked and glad it is over. had a great time traveling around northern chile and southern peru for a couple weeks but glad to be back in cusco.

i finally am posting pics of some pictures i have shot and framed and have hanging in the cafe. thought i'd share them. they are all for sale and all the profits are going to the cafe. phil has put a few of his art pieces up that he has been working on and he sold one perhaps a month ago. very cool! enjoy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

great words from Watashi Wa/the big silence/observations of the Word

great words from Watashi Wa:
- "In all my days and lessons on the way and no matter what tomorrow brings your all I ever need and some things stay but most just pass away and I am learning to cling not so closely because you're all I need. so take these things off my back with so much wisdom I lack and so today with all I do and say I give all my days to you with all my dreams and the ones I love I pray that you'll keep them with me whatever today brings." - Fepeste

- "Held down, completely, blindfolds of pride are in the way." - Simple Road Less Traveled

- "God's faithful, in everything, don't fear to dream." - Here's to Tomorrow

- "think before you act before you speak." - Here's to Tomorrow

- "lock up pride and throw away key." - At It's Finest

- these are a few of the lyrics that really stick out at this moment and time for me. i love Watashi Wa and am super thankful for their musical abilities. i hope seth roberts doesn't forget his roots. i would have to say that the lyrics to "fepeste" carry the most weight right now. "in whatever state, be content." - phillipians 4:11

the big silence:
i recently watched bbc's "the big silence", a 3 show series about a priest was wanting to implement silence into the lives of 5 people. only 1 out of the 5 actually believed in God at the start and it was shaky at best while a couple of the others grew up in the church as kids then fell away due to deaths in the family and other unfortunate circumstances. basically the priest, christopher jamison, wanted to show these people how important silence is; both in reflecting but as well as meditation. it was really interesting to see these people first start off with a weekend at an abbey going through the regular days of the monks there but then they went home and were challenged to implement silence into their normal schedule and they all failed. after 2 weeks or so, they had an 8 day silent retreat at another monastery. 8 days without communication, other than a daily meeting with their spiritual counselor, is a tough endeavor. only one really stays true the the silence while the others wander off and talk to each other or just flat out, out of defiance speak to others but then they all get sucked into the silence and find some wonderful healing, revelations, and comfort amongst the silence. people who never believed in God started hearing from Him. everyone was expecting to hear from God in one way or the other but He spoke to them or came to them in ways they did not expect. the whole time i was watching this show all i could think about was elijah and how God spoke to him in a still, small voice and not in the crazy wind, earthquake, or fire. the wind, earthquake, and fire are all the great distractions in this world: work, family, music, tv, movies, internet, facebook, sports (hockey), etc. finding time in our busy schedules for silence is necessary and i am trying to implement some time throughout my day to wait and listen for that still, small voice. 

observations of the word:
i just finished reading through the pentateuch at have already shared some of my thoughts and observations already but here are the rest.

- "The Lord makes people with defects holy." 21:23b

- "Moses was the most humble person on the face of the earth." 12:3; who was more humble before Moses?

- God spoke to moses "clearly and not in riddles"

- "Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk" 14:21 (repeated several times, what is the significance?)

- God lists the foods the Israelites can and cannot eat (Ch.14); God is very specific in the strangest aspects of scripture.

- "There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." 15:11

- God knew that once the Israelites crossed over the Jordan (without Moses) they were going to fail Him and turn their back on Him even when both God and Moses repeated several times the blessings and curses as well as sending Joshua with them.

- God repeats, repeats, repeats His laws/blessings/curses to the Israelites because He knows they are stubborn headed.

- God reveals the future demise of the Israelites to Moses since Moses is about to die and be buried with his fathers.

Last days of Jesus (Luke 22-24)
- Jesus made the Scriptures known to the disciples as well as the two walking on the road to Emmaus that which pertained about Him. Crazy that Jesus/God just allows us to know things.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

one and the same/mark twain & alex hackett

my favorite author is mark twain. he was considered to be the funniest person alive. he has traveled the world several times over. he has written some of the best american fiction and funniest nonfiction. i am currently reading mark twain's "following the equator" which is his traveling circuit of lectures; i have read his "roughing it" and absolutely loved it. he has a way of using his words to intricately describe a situation or story that makes it easier on your brain. he inspires me to continue to dream, journey and seek to see new things, as well as find your passion and pursue it with everything you've got. granted we have similarities but alas we have vast differences as well but i thoroughly enjoy his life and written works. just some rambling thoughts of what was going through my head while i was watching a pbs biography of him.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

today is the first day of 2 months

tonight starts 2 months of intense play from the greatest sport on earth: the STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS! today people around the world are shaving their faces clean to begin growing their playoff beards in conjunction with their team's success in the post-season. the detroit red wings kick off the first round of the playoffs today versus the phoenix coyotes whom they played and beat last year in the first round. i am hoping for the same success as last year in this round.

let's go WINGS!

Friday, April 8, 2011

green living/off the grid/sustainability zzzzbuzzwordszzzz

i have taken the bait. i am hooked, crazed. somewhat fanatical about sustainable living. recently i've watched garbage warrior and off the grid, ever since that's all i've been able to think about when i walk through the torrential downpour or feel the beaming sun. why aren't we taking advantage of this energy, these resources? call me a fanatic, hippie, tree hugger; that's fine. why would someone want to keep paying money to large energy and water companies? prices are only going to rise more. i'm sold on this idea and am trying to conjure up the means to build my own sustainable house when i get back to the states. more research, planning, and of course saving money but this is something i am working up to. granted even remodeling your current house is possible by mounting solar panels and a wind turbine or creating a rain catcher and even building a little greenhouse to grow food as well as a place to put your compost. lots of easy ways to help save money and help the environment.

i want to build an earthship.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Autobiography Title

i started a new blog today with potential titles to my autobiography. feel free to follow it, i hope to update it everyday with a new potential title.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Help Support A Good Cause!

Hello all (not sure who all is).
Dear readers.

My oldest brother, Ian, and his family (the Charles) have been raising funds to build a new section on a hospital in Connecticut, it is a family and children section. It is a clinical care center for cancer and blood disorders. It is a very good cause and a little bit will go a long way. Check out the donation site to learn more: A Brighter Hope

No obligation but I am very proud of my brother and his family with this grand endeavor.

Thanks all.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

recent thoughts (cue think bubble)

- "The Bible" the graphic novel. feel like it would appeal to a different demographic and show God's love in a totally new way. apparantly someone has already done one for Genesis The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

- chile adventure: the day after easter, we plan to take a trip down to chile. we plan on visiting the beach town of arica, visit a national park, and camp in the atacama desert. planning started strong today and the pictures look great. here are a few to wet your appetite:

- help portrait: i stumbled across a cool site that has inspired me to participate in, the site is called help portrait. basically it encourages photographers to take pictures of people in need and befriend them as well as help provide some of their needs. so when you take a picture of someone, you print it off and give it to them. they are also hooked up with nonprofit organizations to help give back to the community. so i had already been thinking of a new photographic project to do and this help portrait fits in perfectly! funny how that stuff works out. so i plan on photographing people in their work environment since in Peru it is truly unique: frame builder, metal worker, tienda owner, taxi driver, guitar maker. i am still trying to put together a portable light to bump up the people. stay tuned. Help Portrait

- fanny packs, districts, & michael jackson: in cusco, perhaps all of peru is like this, seems like all the young guys are wearing fanny packs. not sure what they are really accomplishing by doing this but somehow they are still hooking up with females. if you are looking for something i.e. a lightbulb, anything plumbing related, tools, etc. all you have to do is find the district that is in. the streets of cusco seemed to have been planned to make competition as competitive as possible because you go down one street and it is ALL plumbing stores or electrical stores. it's seriously the same shops from the displays to the inventory, how do they stay in business?! there is a shop full of school supplies. so i have been searching for a portable light to use for a photography project i'm working on but when one lighting shop doesn't have anything, then they all don't have anything that would work. a little frustrating that there are so many shops and they all carry the exact same things (i will give them the benefit of the doubt though). last but not least, peru loves michael jackson. i'm not mad about this, i love michael jackson, he's the king of pop for crying out loud but i have been asked twice if i know how to moonwalk and yes i have attempted and failed miserably.

- thoughts/observations from Genesis & Exodus: crazy that ch.2 of Genesis states the Tigris & Euphrates, these are rivers that are still around today that we know of. just crazy. God made clothes for Adam & Eve before they were banished from the garden. Enoch walked with God for 300 years. God took him away; why was Enoch so lucky? Abram and Isaac both told people their wives were their sisters to avoid getting killed, what a weird theme. God hardened pharoah's heart, pharoah did help. God gets angry (His anger burned against the Israelites) but in Nehemiah 9:17b "But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them." Moses had many contacts with God; talked face to face twice: on the mountain as a pillar of smoke, burning bush, and he saw God's back.

- inspiration: "it is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the worst; if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory or defeat." - Teddy Roosevelt

i came across this quote last summer when evan and i were biking across the country. i have no clue where or when i found it but ever since it has been a great source of inspiration and courage. it is daring alone to start something but it's the failing that is super scary but at Teddy applauds the person who attempts. the bike trip was a huge endeavor for myself and there were several points when i wanted to just quite and that would've been alright but i kept pushing on. even today, this quote is inspiring me to go out and try and conquer a new endeavor for after peru. granted i still have 4 months in peru but i have been still thinking about after. if i try and fail, at least i tried and i will know more from it but there is always the possibility of succeeding and that would be great. thank you Teddy (my favorite president).


internet that can stream hockey games/skype conversations.
riding my bike.
chocolate covered gummi bears.
hot water when washing hands.
being able to flush toilet paper.
mexican food (can't find it here).
the ability to call my family.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

realizations. sacrifices. and everything awesome about kindness.

back to the ol grindstone of blogging. peru has been quite the experience meeting new people, understanding a new culture, trying to get my feet in cooperation with the rest of my body during futbol, and eating some questionable food.

i want to take a few moments to talk about lent as well as some observations of my time here in peru. this year for lent i am going to give up meat, not being totally reliable on meat would be nice and it would give me a reason to try some new food as well as consciously remember to abstain from something that i really enjoy. i know lent is more of a religious act so i am also wanting to start focusing on reading through the Old Testament, more specifically the Torah, because the Bible is a building block and so much from the New Testament comes from the Old Testament. I am wanting to go through the Torah first and breaking up the Old Testament into sections to read through them. granted this lent is nothing that seems super difficult or trying but a challenge nonetheless.

living here in peru, mainly cusco, for over a month, i have come to the realization that peruvians are cutters, plain and simple. it must be engrained in their culture because no matter where you are or what you are doing, if there is a line, peruvians are cutting and are really bad at pretending to be there all along. i have encountered cutting at the futbol game, in line at a restaurant, and at the grocery store. i think i stopped cutting somewhere in the 3rd or 4th grade but alas the peruvian people will probably continue to get a leg up on their brother and sister until something drastic happens.

while we are here in cusco, we mainly walk everywhere we can but sometimes we have to take a combi (bus) or a taxi if we are running late or if its late at night and the combi's aren't running. while riding in an automobile, you are taking your life into someone else's hand because all of the laws of the road are thrown out the window. if you are driving down the road you need not adhere to staying in a lane because there aren't any lanes, i think there might be 4, 5, or even 6 lanes on a traditional 2 lane road; wherever you can place your car to give you a better advantage than another car (basically cutting) go for it. so while drivers are flying changing "lanes" at incredible speeds, the roads here are in poor condition with giant pot holes scattered all over the road like a minefield or for some reason if someone decides to fill the pot holes, they just get a truck full of dirt and dump it all into each of the holes leaving speed bump mounds so while you are speeding down the road, the driver comes to a halt to slowly go over the bump then he guns it. all along you are crammed into a van with 20 other people when it should only fit 12 or 13 people. nonetheless it is a thrill traveling on the road and as gringo's we make lots of friends with our tattered spanish and talking about all the highlights of America: hollywood, vegas, nyc, and then trying to explain where idaho or alaska is actually located.

just yesterday we all went out to the sacred valley, which is a gorgeous area just 30min to an hour by bus to a little town called coya for a carnival. we were under the impression we were going to hike up to a cross a little ways away where lots of people would be celebrating basically fat tuesday style with dancing, drinks, foods, and some traditional face paintings. we hiked up to the cross and no one was there but we saw many people heading further up the mountain. after an hour or so of hiking up along this path we met up with 3 men carrying a drum and two large recorders and a couple cow herders. after some chatting with them we made our way to nearly the top of the mountain where a large gathering of peruvians were celebrating carnival. here comes 8 gringos, we are the only white people up there (sorry joey); the party doesn't even skip a beat but they welcome us with open arms, handshakes, and started pouring us drinks to rehydrate us after the hike. the hodgepodge band assembled and started playing and we formed a circle and two women pick nate and ian to dance a traditional dance. the point here is how awesome the peruvians are; we are a bunch of foreigners and they accept us and help us join in on the festivities. we were all so thankful and taken back at how friendly and accommodating these peruvians were/are because in the states, if some outsiders, even American outsiders, showed up to a party of ours it would be pretty awkward and possibly people might act a little snobish. it's sad but true. we danced, drank, and even ate food with them at the top and then proceeded to get our faces "painted" and we marched as one celebratory group down the mountain with a huge peruvian flag with the bad playing. when we got to the bottom there were 50 plus more peruvians who welcomed us with food, drinks, more dancing, and kindness. we were one of many from the village. truly a wonderful experience.

even when there are some frustrating or possibly scary things here in peru, there are an equal amount of wonderfully, kind people to make you laugh, share their party, or even invite you in to play futbol. we are blessed to be able to experience this wonderful culture.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another 6 months

Today is day 3 of living in Cusco, Peru; I moved here for 6 months to volunteer my time and energy at a cafe called "The Meeting Place" which gives 100% of its profits to 3 local Peruvian ministries: an orphanage, after school program, and farm/medical clinic.  Me and four friends are down here giving ourselves to good work. Even though I've been here only 3 days, I'm really loving it; Cusco is a great city with tons of history, mountains, a very relaxed culture, and wonderful people. As well as working in the cafe, we will be leading a few backpacking trips in the mountains with local youngsters, working at the orphanage, after school program, farm/medical clinic, and a soccer (football) ministry. Very excited to see how I grow and stretch these next 6 months. Will have lots of pictures, videos, and stories to share. I am going to try and keep this blog going but so far it's been tough. So you can check out my pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/talltale/ you can also follow our Cusco blog here: http://helpingcusco.wordpress.com/