December 28, 2010

Another video

A friend introduced me to this.  I don't think these creatures actually exist, but I thought we should all be prepared, just in case.

MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON from Dean Fleischer-Camp on Vimeo.

DPP #16-20 and then I'm done...

I've decided to cut this experiment short by a couple of days... I got behind, and then I decided that I've run out of things to photograph. (Honestly, I have TOO MANY things, but they're all in poorly lit areas (old house), and I am stuck using my phone-camera, without a flash, and they don't turn out.) <-- RUN ON SENTENCE?

At any rate, these are the ones I took before traveling to Nebraska (pronounced NE-BER-SKEY). Below each photo will be a brief commentary.

Ignore Chango, this pictures is of the green, shag carpet in the kitchen.  Oh, and also of the pink cabinets.  Oh yeah, also the avocado fridge and trash compactor. (Also, why does anyone need TWO fridges in their kitchen?)

The room we never use. Can you guess why? (EDIT: "One of the room(s)...")

From left to right: 30-06 w/ scope, bolt-action 22cal, double-barrel 12 gauge shotgun, single-barrel 12-gauge shotgun, another 22cal, WWII era rifle (unsure of calibre), and finally in the box under the ammo is a Smith & Wesson 6-shooter revolver (sorry it's not pictured).

One heck-of-an-old Bible. It's illustrated, and printed in the 1800's.

Finally, I want to wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS.  May next year bring you all joy, contentment, and fond times with friends and family.  My prayer for the coming year is a new house.  :)

December 15, 2010

DPP #15

This is the only "nice" room in the house.  Don't get me wrong, the other rooms are GREAT, as in large, closeted, furnished, etc... but very outdated.  This room is all in good taste, with great artwork and a comfy bed.  Our guests stay here.

December 14, 2010

DPP #14

Just wait till you see Liz's shoe closet!

December 12, 2010

DPP #12

Don't bother to ask about the shutter-speed, f-stop, ISO, or equipment... as I stated earlier, for my first December Photo Project, I am shooting all of these with the handy phone-cam (which explains the blurry feet, the poor color, and the grainy image).  However, this is the garage, and this is where Elizabeth does the P90X workouts.  I am, however, proud of the fact that I timed it just right so that the dudes on the TV are all in the air with her.

To give Elizabeth credit, I tried a workout with her and only made it 20 minutes (and I cheated during that time).  She is ridiculously in shape, and she did the full hour w/out cheating.

December 11, 2010

DPP #11

As I promised, this is the other lovely lady.  I am in love with her.  When plugged in, her candle glows, her arm waves, and her head turns from side to side (Do NOT underestimate the creepiness!).  However, for the time, she is making eyes at the santa on the porch across the street.

December 10, 2010

DPP #10

Not much needs to be said about this room. It is the lavatory by the main entrance, it has gold wallpaper, an elaborate chandelier, and PINK fixtures (not pictured).

December 9, 2010

DPP #9

This accumulation of waterfowl and songbirds is only a small cross-section of the larger collection located throughout the estate.  There are two of particular interest that contain unopened flasks of Jim Beam Bourbon within the bodies of the birds.  The two previously mentioned as well as the majority pictured below were limited edition releases by "Ducks Unlimited".

When we moved into the home, we removed these from prominent display and placed on the baby-grand.  There is a table to the left of the piano (not in the picture) that is holding many more.

December 8, 2010

DPP #8

This guy is one of my favorites.  He is our personal bartender.  I caught him ogling the lady-statue from yesterday's post.  She was kinda asking for it, in my opinion, (parading around w/out clothes and such...) but he still should have shown some decency and respect.  I think he might make the move with us.

December 7, 2010

dpp #7

Liz was upset when I pulled this beauty out of a corner and photographed her.  I'm unsure of the reason, but she made me promise that I would move her back into hiding.  There is another pretty lady that will make a debut on this blog soon.

December 6, 2010

DPP #6

By far, my favorite piece of artwork in the home. 

There is a collection of art in the spare bedroom that attractively and tastefully depicts oceans, shore-lines, night-scapes, etc... It is very beautiful.  The rest of the artwork mostly involves waterfowl.

December 5, 2010

DPP #5

I referenced these chairs and table in an earlier post, but I couldn't let you go without seeing them.  They are QUITE comfortable, but never have slip-covers been more desired on my part.

December 4, 2010

DPP #4

I hardly need to say ANYTHING about this photo, except to point out the pills "hidden" in the base of this lamp.  The late owner of this home did not enjoy taking her pills.  Her legacy lives on, in our lamp.

December 3, 2010

DPP #3

I should clarify that these DPP images are "behind schedule" because of an internet disconnect at my home.  I have been staying up to date, but I have been unable to post them.  Today, you will see me catch up.

This photo particularly pleases me, for it is of my favorite room in the house: The Sun Room.  We have floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, a trendy fireplace, and seating for over 10.  The room DOES come with it's share of drawbacks, but they are far outweighed.  For example: the green carpeting, the shredded upholstery, and a few things not visible in the photograph (yellow-floral parson's chairs, with a table to match).

December 2, 2010

DPP #2

I have selected this photo for its story telling ability.  I want you to study it for at least 30 seconds before scrolling down.  Notice as many "telling" elements as you can, and then compare to my list.  Let me know in a comment how many you were able to see.

  • Did you notice the patterned wallpaper - floor to ceiling?
  • The chandelier, with leaves and flowers, matches the patterned wallpaper.
  • The wall-hanging is of asparagus stalks... ?1?
  • The ceiling is caving in.
  • The laundry chute is in the dining room... ?!?
  • The ceiling is lime green.
  • The patterned wallpaper continues into the kitchen above the cabinets.
If only I had a better angle, a better camera, or a better better lens, we would have even more to comment on, but this is only ONE of the rooms in the wonderful home we are living in currently.  What you DON'T see in this picture is a table that matches the chandelier, a pile of broken chairs, and lime-green shag carpeting.  It is something to behold.

I love my job.

A girl wrote this thank-you card after experiencing a week of God's love and His life-changing message.  She had received special assistance form our scholarship fund, and it made all the difference for her and her family.  In the words of Colin, let's keep writing the story:

For another inspiring story of God's faithfulness at SpringHill Camps, watch this video:  Colin Ridge.

December 1, 2010

December Photo Project '10

December Photo Project

I've never taken part in this project, but there is a first time for everything.  Unfortunately, I don't have a nice camera, so for my first year, all photos will all be mobile uploads. (Sorry purists!)

A friend back in Nebraska does it every year, and she is my inspiration.  Check out her amazing work at The LOVE EQUALS Blog.  (Totally worth your time!)

SpringHill Day Camps | Urban Weeks

November 20, 2010

Saturday in Birmingham

Today was the day we were supposed to move into our new home, or the day we were supposed to travel to Nebraska, or the day we were supposed to announce to the world that we had eradicated poverty...

But instead, it will be the day that we sit at home and do nothing.  I hope to play my PS3 for five hours, read for five hours, and eat for five hours.  Liz probably hopes to get out of the house because I'm contagious.  It's not a pretty picture.

Before i get to the REAL update, a story from this morning involves Liz and her pillow.  She got up to let Chango out, and while she was up, I rolled over and coughed right onto her pillow (not on purpose).  It was disgusting.

Oh yeah, the update.  Our mortgage company ran into a MILLION problems with our application.  They had to confirm with NTM Mexico that we were "employed" in the teaching field (praise god for Vonage... if this had happened 10 years ago, it would have taken a month).  They needed to see receipts and stubs for EVERY deposit that cleared our account the last 60 days. Apparently we broke a fairly serious law with our purchase agreement by asking for the chandelier to stay, and this all adds up to NOT closing on our house yesterday.  If it doesn't close by the 24th, we don't get the house, and the seller goes to foreclosure.  My prayer is Monday.

November 10, 2010

The most interesting house in the world...

While I may not win any competitions concerning "The Most Interesting Man in the World", I submit that this house is a candidate for a similar contest.  It is officially the "skinniest" house in Boston.  It dates back to the civil war.  Legend has it that two brothers were given a plot of land.  One brother left to fight in the war, and his brother built a big house taking up most of the lot, thinking that his brother would not come home from the war.  When said brother surprisingly survived the war, he returned to find his inheritance used up.  To spite his brother, he built this beauty.  It effectively blocked the view and the sunlight.

In related news, I visited DC and attended the Rally to Restore Sanity / Keep Fear Alive.  It was very highly attended (most of whom didn't know why they were there), and I'll give you two take-aways from the event.

1) America is full of nice people.  I was crammed into a subway like a sardine, (Seriously, there was a man in both of my armpits while I was standing butt to butt with some stranger and face to face to another.) and nobody got upset, laughing was the predominant noise, and conversations were struck up between absolute strangers.

2) America is ready for a little more sanity.  There will still be people out there who take advantage of systems, and there will still be idiots who make money from fear-mongering and insanity, but I truly believe that most Americans want to start trusting each other again.  They want to start believing in each other.

In some-what related news, I used to hitch-hike to class.  I lived a mile from campus, and I would walk there with my thumb out.  You could call me lazy, but I viewed it as a social experiment.  Do Americans still do the right thing, even if it poses a threat to their wellbeing.  (Good Samaritan sort of thing)  Probably 7 times out of 10 it worked. (Nebraska statistic - based on 2 semesters.)

I bring this up to mention that it is no different on the east coast.  While I was there, I had to walk to a restaurant, and I decided to walk back to my hotel with my thumb out.  It only took about 5 blocks before a woman in a Lexus picked me up and drove me the rest of the way.  Not bad.

November 6, 2010

Stay Thirsty My Friends.

If you haven't seen the rest of these, click on THIS LINK to see a few more.  I was recently told that I remind people of this man, so I've decided to start sharing my view on the world.  Today, the packing of a pipe compared to raking leaves.

In my experience, and you may be able to relate, when loading a bag full of leaves, you fill it full of loosely packed leaves, and then you pack it down. (Invariably, they shrink to about 1/2 of the bag.)  Then you refill the bag to full, and then pack down again. (Once again, 1/2 of the remaining space has been taken.)  Finally, you fill the rest, but there will always be a few leaves that are loose and the wind can blow it around.

If you've ever desired a perfectly packed pipe, do the same.  The lighting requires one final piece of advice. Ignite the "sprigs" on top, draw once or twice, use a golf-tee or a tamper to extinguish the flame and compact the top layer in order to relight one more time.  Finally, while holding the tamper over the bowl, but not pressing firmly, draw the flame down into the pipe two or three times.  This should effectively give you a perfect light that can last the entire time.

November 5, 2010

Long overdue...

Granted, who wouldn't enjoy that picture of my mustache as the top-post for several months?  However, all good things must eventually come to an end, and it is no different with this blog.  I will finally update, and that picture will eventually be shoved out of sight.  (Relegated to the archives...)

Now, what is so important that requires me to blog?  Fair question.  I will answer that question with another one.  Would you rather have a pen shoved through your sternum and then broken off, or have to bite down hard on a metal rasp and then slowly pull it out?

In other news, Liz and I are closing on a house in two weeks.  I only have one picture for you.  Enjoy.

June 10, 2010

Bigote sin fin...

I'm at camp... I have been here for three weeks.  The plan is to stay with SpringHill for several years.  As is common, I grow facial hair at camp.  This year's efforts are focused on the upper lip.

Interesting story to go along with the 'stache:  There is a man here who looks like me. He is 21.  One of the counselors saw me talking to him and later asked me, "Was that your son?"  It turns out that twice now, I have been mistaken for being in my fifties.

March 23, 2010

What 24 hours can do...

The phrase I learned when I moved to Nebraska was: "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes."

It was only a few days ago that Nebraska was experiencing a warm spell.  The weather inched into the sixties and the snow melted off of the roads and lawns... and just when everyone was taking a sigh of relief, the Winter of '09-'10 flexed its muscles one more time.  I don't know that I will ever be considered an expert in the realm of Nebraska winters, but this one has been one of the worst since I transplanted. 

That was the scene I observed on my last day of work before I flew south.  (south & east)  In a brief 24 hours, I went from suffering through yet another snow storm in Nebraska, to relaxing on one of America's best beaches.

Our time is only half over, but the weather is only getting better.  So far, each day has produced weather better than the last.  I can't wait for tomorrow!  I'll let my wife do a more formal update on her blog, but in closing, I'll say this: "Viva la playa!"

February 25, 2010


I promised more pictures of the ski trip, but they have not been given to me yet.  They are on another person's camera.  In the meantime, I leave you with this thought:

This is how we are feeling right now.  We made a substantial and difficult decision recently, and that was a direct result of thinking along these lines.  Liz is reading a book by Winston Churchill, but I'm unsure if this quote is in that book; however, it is excedingly excellent.

“To every person there comes in their lifetime that special moment when you are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to you and your talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds you unprepared or unqualified for work which could have been your finest hour.” — Winston Churchill

February 20, 2010

Ski trip (part II)

I promised some pictures and I will deliver:

The slopes were beautiful.  They have been receiving 6-7 inches of snowfall every evening, and the routes were covered in a thick layer of powder. However, we rarely stayed on the routes long enough to appreciate that, because we took to the trees in the back-country and beyond the ski-boundaries.  My partners in crime were Adam Parks and Cale Schweitz.  They were not part of the group, but they live in Colorado and made an appearance.

The men from Grace Chapel that included Greg Baker, Craig Moore, Ben Loos, Scott Seebom, Ben Welstead, Ryan Norris, Chris Rahjla, and of course Rob Nixon (the owner of the cabin).  Here are a few of us on the lift.

When I have a chance, I'll get some pictures of the cabin, and a few more of the snow-shoe adventure we went on today.  

February 19, 2010

Ski trip

I promise to put more pictures up tomorrow, when I have taken some pictures, but I wanted to give an update on my ski trip with the Grace Chapel men.  First, we encountered weather.  It was only two hours into the trip when it started snowing, and for the next nine hours we battled visibility, icy conditions, and suicidal truck drivers.

However, with an expected arrival time of 1:00 AM pushed back three hours, we finally pulled off the interstate only to find the Google Maps directions were faulty, and the detour cost us another 45 minutes.  All said, I am posting this at 4:30 AM mountain time, and I am tired!  Good night.  I miss you, Liz.

P.S. Tomorrow should consist of snow boarding at Beaver Creek, snow showing around the cabin, and lots of settlers, cigars, and beer.

February 10, 2010

The Google Buzz

For any Gmail users out there, (you know who you are) you've been walking around with a smug expression and a vague knowledge that you were better than all of the other hotmail, aol (insert inferior company name here) users.  Your time has finally arrived.  (If you fall into the latter category, sorry.)

Google Buzz - arguably the new facebook of internet based social networking, is not only easier and faster than it's big brother, it is also more integrated into the day to day applications that people use: blogger, reader, twitter, flicker, etc.

If you are wondering what all the "buzz" is about, check it out for yourself.  Just click on the picture below:

And if you were wondering, no, I was not paid by Google to make this shameless plug, and I have not had my account hacked by an advertisement for Google... I've chosen to do this out of my own geeky excitement for a program that gets me.  (I've been burnt out on facebook for some time now, and the only thing I've used it for lately is it's crossword application - which reminds me...)

February 1, 2010

Funny stuff...

This made me laugh:

And if you want to see the list of songs on the album, you'll have to click on this link: Take Your Vitamin Z

January 31, 2010


I was reading a book by Yann Martel: The Life of Pi, when this quote jumped out at me:

If we do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the alter of crude reality, and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.

What do you think of that assessment?

I recently critiqued a book for not being true to reality. My complaint was justified in my mind because the beginning and ending of this book were based in reality, but then the middle was suspended in a surrealism that I thought not fitting.

How awful I was to judge a book by such standards, when it is in fact the goal of certain literature to pull us out of this sticky and messy reality, and place us gently into the realms of imagination - dreams.

Ironically, the book I'm reading - "Life of Pi" does that very same thing. I hope you might find time to read it.

January 8, 2010


We were home for 36 hours. That is the time it took us to unpack, look for plane tickets, repack, and fly to Michigan. The good news: more time with the Cooke families; the bad news: it was for a funeral. Liz's grandmother passed away on Monday, so we celebrated her life, mourned her death, and celebrated again for her new life without pain - with our Lord.

We had accepted the fact that we would miss three days of work for this trip, but Nebraska had different plans:

All three days of work we had planned on missing were cancelled due to snow and weather, so we are grateful for that. What a blessing! We will be flying home on Saturday, and hopefully by Monday we are back in business.

January 3, 2010

We're home!

Well, after a crazy break, we return to our beautiful apartment in the basement of the Davy's home, and we are happy. The weather was threatening our travels every step of the way, but it never amounted to anything when we needed to drive. The times with family were spectacular, and we are so blessed by being around them.

Heather's blog mentioned a dislike for setting resolutions for the new year, and I couldn't agree more, BUT (there's always a but) I need to set a goal for this year. I will read these books. All of them.

The best books in the bunch are going to be "Travels with Charlie" by Steinbeck, "The Far Pavilions" by M. M. Kaye, and "The Reason for God" by Tim Keller.

The books I'm afraid of are "Armageddon" by Leon Uris, and "The Gulag Archipelago" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. (Side note AND plug for Google: Both the names "Aleksandr" & "Solzhenitsyn" were already part of the dictionary because it didn't put little "squiggle-lines" under them.)

January 1, 2010


That word is my nemesis. Actually, the word has done nothing wrong, but its meaning unveils my greatest downfall. Allow me to expound on the subject, and feel free to judge.

For Christmas I have been given many glorious gifts. Examples:

Allow me to hit this point home... the problem is NOT in the wonderful gifts I have received. (They are all great, and I have only listed a small portion of them here!) The problem is that after all of these spectacular gifts, I am still looking up prices for flat screen HDTV's, Blue-ray players, Nike irons, furniture, houses, clothes, books, and this list could go on for a while. (I think you get the point.) Enough is never enough. More is even worse.

I won't even get into supporting Compassion Intl, the local church, etc... because giving gifts isn't the problem AT ALL! I give money to these organizations and I urge you to as well, but regardless, do I need to always be looking for new things to buy? I submit that I do NOT.