31 July, 2006

Romancing the Stein

This weekend I was down in Portland visiting some people. As luck would have it, the 19th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival was also being held this weekend. On Saturday evening within several blocks in any direction of this waterfront extravaganza, there was a scattered assortment of departing patrons- some cheery, some angry, some intoxicated, some perfectly functional. At one point a rather tall, somewhat heavyset man was crossing the street with some friends and called out in an unhurried sing-song voice- to everyone and no one in particular- “I REALLY love beer!!” And you could tell that it was true.

Are you serious?

My sister is small and cute. She is peppy and blonde and likes to play tennis, run, do workout videos, and cheerlead. This morning at work, a male customer was chatting with her and asked,
“So, when are you due?”
“Sorry, what was that?”
“When is your baby due?”
*blank stare*
Then he proceeded to reach over the counter and pat her belly(!).
“Oh, it must’ve just been the apron…”

This sent my sister into a morning of emotional turmoil. When starting her lunch break, her boss asked her what drink she’d like. “Heh. I’ll just be having water today…”
Another co-worker suggested that next time something like that happens, she could reply, “Actually, I just recently miscarried.”

27 July, 2006

Sports Illustrated

Right after I got into town there was this huge Ultimate frisbee gathering going on called Potlatch, and it was only about 5 minutes from my mom's house. People come from all over to participate in the premier event, which started in 1989 and is considered to be one of the best annual Ultimate tournaments in the world. Anyway, I headed down there with my dad to see what we would find, and it was pretty fun.

As usual, it was pretty much a hippie-fest.

Half naked children danced around absentmindedly, and neighborhoods were formed.

Team names and fashion statements get pretty creative, as demonstrated by this pair from Triangle Booty.

Other team names I liked include Safety Third, Tequila Mockingbird, Disc Go Ho, and 102 Damnasians, which was a team formed by people who came from all over Asia who normally played on different teams in the Asian Ultimate League.

This one's for the Bozeman crowd. (Okay, so maybe those are Michigan shorts, but it's the same color scheme and letter, and that's gotta count for something...)

There was also some sort of exhibition game between two major league teams, where they were trying out a refereed version of the game. It was pretty intense.

This is definitely my favorite picture. I was standing a few feet beyond the edge of the field, zoomed in for a good shot of two people diving for the frisbee, but nobody caught it and it actually hit me about half a second later. I like the kid's face.

It was pretty fun to watch all the games going on at once, and made me want to get out and play more. Check out these links for more information.

Meet the Family...

This is my brother Tim and his dog, Bear.

Here's Tobin catching a frisbee.
Unfortunately I didn't give him enough warning before throwing one time and almost nailed a fellow park patron.

This is a picture from when I went hiking with my dad. It's nothing spectacular, but after being away for a while, it was great to get back into some green forest and walk around.

A few days ago I went to see a baseball game with Kerri and Tobin, and the Mariners pretty much sucked, but the sunset was nice, so Kerri and I enjoyed it while Tobin and his friends continued to witness the slaughter and generally cause mayhem in the stands.

The family dog, Sunny, is pretty furry, so my mom had her shaved for the summer. She looked like a whole new dog when she came home, and my mom was inspired by some colorful bingo markers she had lying around and went to town on the poor pup. That whole next week was pretty interesting, and every morning when I took her for a walk/run on the trail, she drew a lot of stares and a few compliments. She really looked like a character from a Dr. Seuss book.

Welcome To The United States Of America. Please stand behind the yellow line and wait for the next available inspector.

I've spent a lot of time in airports recently, and the title is the first sign I saw when I arrived at the San Francisco airport and entered US territory. The last few weeks back in the states have been relatively good, and the temporary adjustment to life around here hasn't been too traumatic. I've gotten to enjoy things I really missed, like Thai food, walking around in the woods, smoke-free environments, dryers (for clothes), and church. And I've been reminded of things I didn't miss, like horrendous traffic and mandatory tipping.

I spent a little over a week in Ft. Collins, CO at STINT team leader training. It was actually super fun, and Matt and Team Hibbs have posted some pictures/thoughts. Our table was undeniably the coolest place to be for the 14-hour days filled with lectures, coloring, snacks, object lessons, etc. I'm not bragging, it's just a fact. I did take one day off, though, to lay in bed and vomit repeatedly. Other highlights included learning how to run/jog for longer than 10 minutes at a time (thanks Francine!), hanging out with my friends Ashley and 'Jamin, and meeting their very cute baby for the first time.

09 July, 2006

Witnessed at Target

A tiny little Filipino boy (probably about 3 years old) running away from his mom.

Mom: “Slow down!”

Kid: No response, keeps running.

Mom: “Matthew, come back here!”

Kid: Keeps running, slight grin on his face.

Mom: “Matthew!! Stop running RIGHT NOW!”

Kid: Turns his head slightly and quietly says under his breath, “I’m Spiderman!”

08 July, 2006

Seven Songs

So my friend over at this place ‘tagged’ me, so now I’m supposed to list 7 songs I’m currently into and why, regardless of any type of classification…

Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard Simon and Garfunkel – I’ve always loved this song, it makes me think of my brother and sister, and The Royal Tenenbaums, and being mischievous in general, and our team slide show. All good things.
Friday I’m in Love The Cure – The Cure was cool in the 80’s and I most definitely was not.
Rebellion (Lies) The Arcade Fire – This is a pretty rockin’ song, and reminds me of going to the Sasquatch Festival last year with Ashley.
Death of an Interior Decorator Death Cab for Cutie – This is from an album I just can’t get enough of. It’s sort of a quirky song but there’s this one part when he’s singing “…it felt just like falling in love, again…” and when he repeats the line another voice joins in for “again” and the harmony is beautiful. I love it.
Sweet Baby James James Taylor – A great song. A great man. Reminds me of childhood and makes me feel at home.
Black Tambourine Beck – This always makes me want to dance, and that barely ever happens.
Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Step-Mother! Sufjan Stevens – Sufjan Stevens is a genius, and I like the lyrics.

I won’t officially tag anyone else, but would love to hear from anyone who is willing to contribute- you can put your list on your own blog or leave it as a comment.

06 July, 2006

Gender Lines

Overheard in the back room at Starbucks between co-worker and assistant manager:

Guy: “…I’d have to say my kryptonite consists of Jane Austen books. I sat and listened to my wife talk about them for 2 hours once, and I thought I was dead afterwards…”

Girl: “Oh, there’s a whole generation built on Jane Austen books… My kryptonite is pointless zombie movies.”

(Thanks to my sister for sharing this.)

03 July, 2006


The rhythm of my footsteps crossing flatlands to your door
have been silenced forevermore
The distance is quite simply much too far for me to row
it seems farther than ever before

About 5 days ago, the goodbyes started. The Rijeka Tiger Pirates of 2005-2006 began to go our separate ways. I’ve been thinking about how to write “The Goodbye Post” for a long time now, but the time has come and gone and I’ve continued to stall. How do you summarize a year like this? How do you leave the people who have come to know you more deeply than anyone else, at least at this point in time? How do you capture the laughter, the strain, the hours of boring daily life stuff inexplicably transformed into precious memories, the inside jokes, the tragedy, the joy, the frustrations, the changes we’ve all undergone?

Right before I left, Sara and I were talking about the year and how much we wanted to find the perfect metaphor for it all. Was it a ride, like a merry-go-round or a roller coaster? Was it a beautiful gift, constructed from tears and rain and sweat and smiles and questions and memories and fears? All of the examples we could think of seemed to fall short.

Because I’m going back, the time in Rijeka and the time with friends there is not yet over for me. The experiences and lessons and memories all blend together, and all I can think about is the people on the team. So much happened over the year, and we were all transformed. We had an awesome last few days together, and so far I don’t have any regrets. It’s tempting to want it to go on forever, but that would not be best, and the fact that it is so hard to say goodbye can really only be a good thing. Last summer, I don’t know how many times people took me aside (and John and Taylor and others) and emphatically said that team unity was of utmost concern. That if we came apart, attempts at ministry would be useless. That we would be most attacked and most challenged in our attempts to maintain our relationships as a team, family, and body.

If I’m honest, looking back I can see that it was a struggle. We are probably 9 of the most different people I can imagine and only by God’s grace have we made it through as one. But it is all the more precious because we have had to fight so hard for it. Andy, Marni, Tim, Sara, John, Pete, Taylor, and Michelle: you have become more dear to me than I can express with words. I cannot conceive of any other group of people I would rather have been with over the past year. Thank you for all that you’ve taught me and all that you’ve walked through beside me.

Ultimately, I am grateful. I am so grateful for the memories, the really tremendously FUN times, the friendships, the lessons, the beautiful places, the challenges, and the hope we have that we will get to spend eternity together. I can’t wait until we’re kickin’ it in heaven. Taylor won’t have MCS anymore, and there won’t be loud motorcycles waking us up at 3:30am, and mandatory team fun time can last for as long as we want…

Love you, mean it.

Check out Taylor and Pete’s thoughts.


Just last week I was describing to a friend how my brothers and sister and I used to jump on a trampoline with a sprinkler underneath. It's good to see that kids today still know how to have fun.

Ahhh, the simplicity of youth.

This is just plain cute...

It's been a few weeks...

The last few weeks were pretty busy. Shortly after the last post, Taylor and I headed to the Czech Republic with our friend Anja to watch her boyfriend compete in an international canoeing and kayaking championship. We had a good time, and Taylor wrote more about it here.

Anja and Tomislav

Right before leaving for our team debriefing time, we had a goodbye party to see all of our friends once more before leaving for the summer (or for good).

A few memorable quotes:

“The one good part about lame parties like yours, without all the alcohol, is that I can drive home afterwards.” –Zoran

“I’m so grateful to have you guys in my life. Please tell your friends in America that I’m so glad you came.” –Delores

“I have other friends (of course), but you guys bring… refreshment to my life.” –Goran