play ball!

Some of my very fondest family memories involve Giants Baseball. So it would follow then that one of the things I've enjoyed most while being here has been watching the beginning of this season with family, but on the other side of the world.


the eagle has landed

First let me just clear one thing up: if you've been vegan a while, you can't just pop into In n Out for a grilled cheese on your way to the airport and not feel the repercussions. Unfortunately, in this case, I fear those sitting near me for the next 12 hours of flying felt, or more appropriately smelt, those repercussions as well.  

But moving on...

We got through security and to our gate in great time. The alarmingly pregnant (I have a pretty irrational fear of pregnant women in public) woman who checked us in was nice enough to seat us together. I was relieved to know we were seated in the back of the plane, as everyone knows (at least everyone who has watched Lost) that the people in the back survive in the event of a crash.

I noticed, as we boarded that there was a woman, probably early 70s, posted in a row of three seats, arms folded. I don't know if, indeed, no one was assigned to sit there or she just scared them off, but sure enough when we took off, she had the row to herself. Shortly after take-off, as I tried (and failed) to get comfortable I felt a simultaneously remarkable and embarrassing amount of satisfaction in realizing that the arm rests only folded half way up. Sleep well, lady.

I eventually fell asleep and woke up roughly 10 hours later. Apparently I was tired? We landed in Auckland, under the cover of 5am darkness, without event.

We stopped for an early morning walk at Piha Beach. This might be the best photograph ever taken.

Piha Beach with Lion Rock barely visible on the right.

Roxy wasn't keen to climb Lion Rock and can be seen there on the bottom left.

Jetlag eventually got the best of us. Again, so photogenic.

On Monday morning we went for a hike around Blue Lake accompanied by Digby, a rare Kiwi miniature horse. Known in America as a big ass dog.

My face here is a visual representation of how I feel about the level of humidity.

Kiwi Couple

How two people can look so good is beyond me.

-power to the peaceful


away we go!

Tonight Mama Bear and I take to the skies to embark on an adventure of the New Zealand kind. We'll visit the Kiwi cubs and have endless adventures along the way. Check back often for photos and stories.


pomp and circumstance

Tonight I had the distinct privilege to deliver the 'commencement address' at a beloved friend's graduation celebration. Below you'll find what was shared.

Jordan, today you graduate
The day for which you could hardly wait
The first day
Some would say

Of the rest of your life
Except, of course, for the day you met your wife

Never again will you have to say
"I can't. I've got homework today"

In case you forgot
A bachelor you're not
Instead you've a Bachelor of Arts
Because of your smarts

And now, for you, I have some advice
Aside from the usual, "always play nice"

Don't be afraid to reach for the stars
But you should know, it may leave some scars
The scars they will fade
Someday only memories made

In their place will be left lessons learned
A payoff, of sorts, shed blood returned

Always play fair
For there's no better way to show that you care
Life's not about winning
Start each day as a new beginning

Go slow and steady
Beginning when ready
But if too long you should wait
You might be too late

Lock your doors at night
It will save you some fright
So that your friend Jack
Can't come indoors through the back

For the love of god wear some shoes
So that you don't end up on the news
"Man loses toes
It's winter, they froze"

And while we're at it trim your beard
It's not that it's ugly, it's just that it's weird
There's half of your face I've never seen
I'm just saying, I'm not trying to be mean

I think of you as a brother
Though we don't share the same mother
you enrich my life
And so does your wife

When faced with adversity
True to yourself you must be
Remember who you are
And you'll never stray far

And if for some reason you do
Remember this too
There's no mistake
From which you will break

Everything's connected
We're all effected
You must always remember
We're each a member

Of society
Forget piety
Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.
Instead of thinking it's 'them vs. me'

I've just a few things left to say
Close attention it'd behoove you to pay
The future's yours for the taking
Society's lies need breaking

Because they'd have you believe
It's not better to give than receive
Take all that you can
Buy in to 'the Man'

I pray that you won't
I'm begging you, don't
Believe in the lie
That you should idly stand by

While the world remain damned
Will not one take a stand?
So here I challenge you
In all that you do

May you never forget
The best is not yet
Hope is a four-letter word
That unlike the rest, is seldom heard

So, Jordan, on this day
I want only to say
Although school has come to an end
It is now the world you must seek to mend

It is your graduation night
For which I was tasked to write
These words now shared
By who have cared

So let's celebrate
There's no reason to wait
Were there ever a reason to dance
It'd be pomp and circumstance


merry christmas to all, and to all a good night

I was transported back to a different place and time tonight.

I remember it so well. It was a week before Christmas. Although it was nearly 10pm, I was sweating bullets. That orange clay dirt stuck to my feet, covered only on the bottoms my flip-flops. As I walked across where the tarmac would have been, were there to have been a tarmac, I did my best to soak every ounce of that moment in. I was leaving Uganda just like I had found it, under the cover of darkness.

As I climbed the jet way stairs, up and onto the plane I couldn’t quite make out the noise coming from inside. I walked through the door of that KLM aircraft like I was making a lunar landing. That noise I heard was Mariah belting out Christmas melodies. The air conditioner was on full blast. In December. The very Dutch and consequently very blond flight attendants were quick to offer beverages and newspapers, warm damp wash cloths, and those weird not quite slipper not quite sock foot coverings.

I was paralyzed. In that moment in which two realities were colliding in an epic war of the worlds I had only one thought: “don’t touch anything, you’ll get it dirty”.

What I didn’t realize was that in my short time living in Uganda, though I came and left under the cover of darkness, was that the lights had been turned on. And I would spend much of the next four years trying to turn them off again.

You can never un-see images. Nor un-hear stories. It’s beyond the realm of possibility to un-think thoughts nor is it any more possible to undo what is done by the crisis of illumination.

How life can change over the course of four years.

This afternoon the power went out. A number of storms have moved in and out of the area in the last few days so it didn’t exactly come by surprise. What did come by surprise, however, was the sacredness brought by what most in the developed world consider an inconvenience, and what those in the less developed world consider, well, nighttime.

It felt so appropriate to read Luke’s account of the birth of Christ by the light of a fire. And how appropriate that on the eve of the day that so many celebrate the arrival of the Christ I wait in darkness. Advent is just that: a season of waiting. And life as we now know it is just that: a season of waiting. And so often it feels as though we’re waiting in complete darkness.

A few moments ago the power came back on. But I promptly turned out the lights and returned to the fire. I think I’ve found a new Christmas Eve tradition.