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Showing posts from 2009

Excuses

"Don't you want to know what we could become?"

I have dire qualms with certain irregularities that surround my life. But it's not me this time. I promise.

There is this invisible manuscript I live my life by, through and through. An ever persistent moral obligation to make things right for humanity and for the world. My mind is hardwired on conservation principles--on using less and giving more; on reusing every possible piece of resource my fingertips lay their prints upon, or recycling what can be used no longer, or eating organic. I am tired of people wasting, and tired of being surrounded by those who front a faux face of humanitarian and environmentalism. These are principles I always believe in. No matter the circumstances.

With unemployment at an ultimate high, and the world economy in detrimental ruin, families have turned to more conventional means, perpetuating what ounce of dignity they have left. As Americans, the image as pilgrims and crusaders i…

The Ticonderoga

Old ship, give me your hands.
I'm the cape that came to crush and snag you on my sands.
Below the ocean, and from my point of view,
You were always drinking, and drunk well before noon,
And dreaming on my pillow of high tide.
But I'd allow you.

Old friend, give me back my hands.
I'm the crutch that's missing, and you're the crippled little lamb.
Those claws will get you; those teeth will take your life,
But you won't know what's missing.
This gift ain't giving. This wolf ain't worth the fight.

2nd step into adulthood

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My first step probably would have had something to do with graduating from college and moving across the world for personal and environmental purposes.  Neither of which produced me a professionally stable career of sorts, but it at least gave me a better understanding of who I am and what are my wants and needs.

My second step into adulthood has something to do with a new financial purchase--buying a new car.  The sensation is both exciting and scary, this being my first adult step into financial debt.  It was a big, but well-thought out decision.  To be in debt is no fun at all, but I believe that with the right financial planning, I can have the car paid off in about a year's time.  I am a big-purchase spender.  I believe in saving most of my money for that one large purchase--that trip to Maui, a new DSLR camera, moving your life to California.  This is what I do.  I save and I dispense; I work and then I reward.  It's just something that works well for me.

Anyway, meet my n…

Sunny side down

The past few months can be summed up and expressed by my apparent aloofness and neglect, reflected through my noticeably absent blog posts. These months have been some of the most consuming moments aside from my college days, which used to be characterized by hoards of politically-minded theories, final exams, cigarettes, cereal runs, and late night trips to the gym. The sad part is that this utter consumption hasn't been due to anything cool like the study of natural resource law, or acts of human rights violations against China. I haven't been off taking artistic photographs, or traveling, or riding bicycles to ancient shrines. I haven't been saving and researching endangered species, or staring at naked Japanese butts, or digging my toes in black Costa Rican sand. No. I've been here. Here working my soul to steel, and resenting the fact that I haven't seen my friends or had a weekend off in months.

My job requires a lot of care and attention. A mere thre…

Without further adieu

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Meet my new, beautiful niece, Charlotte Michelle, born November 4, 2009.

Our family has been honored with a special new edition. Charlotte, nicknamed "Charley" after my grandfather, will bring one of many welcomed firsts to our family. She's the first child to my brother and sister-in-law, the first grandchild to our parents, and the first great-grandchild to our grandparents. She's also the first to make me an aunt. It will be an absolute joy watching her grow and experience her very own firsts. Discovering, learning, and loving the world. As we will love her. Welcome to the world, Beautiful.

Water, water everywhere, but...

For those of you who think clean water is nonfinite. That it's ok to dump waste down the drain, or leave the water run. For those who don't believe that conflicts have been brewing for centuries over fresh water supplies...

Not a Drop to Drink
By the Inkslinger - October 2, 2009

I'm catching up on my in-box, and here's one of the first things I found: an investigation by the New York Times, that says the nation's fresh water supplies are drowning in woes. The newspaper reviewed zillions of water pollution records from all over the place and uncovered an ocean of trouble that even I (who's just about seen it all) can't quite believe.

Highlights (or lowlights as the case may be) include over 500,000 violations of water pollution laws at chemical factories, manufacturing facilities, and other workplaces in the last five years; 10% of Americans drinking water that fails to meet basic safety requirements; and 19.5 million people sickened by microbially-tainted …

A stitch away

I don't like making excuses for not blogging enough. Afterall, it's not like blogging or communicating with the rest of you is my duty. At least it's not anymore. Since my last blog, I have five unpublished drafts tucked away. Blogs about--venting my frustration and exhaustion with the prior and present workplace (I'm not supposed to work these long hours, like pilots aren't supposed to fly on the 'redeye'); suggestions of professional photographers' personal image galleries; a discussion on the novelty of Japan's unique majority small business sector and their struggles in a receding economy; thoughts on 'How to track a life standing still?'; insights and reflections on the past 365 days and how the hell it's gotten me here.

Thing is, I don't want to complain about my job. I don't feel the intensity in pushing my personal interests onto unknown readers. I don't feel the necessity in admitting my thoughts on life's …

With clay comes shape

ADD, ADHD, burn victims, the deaf, MS, the blind, OCD, obese, acrophobics, irrationals, internationals.

These are just a few of the types of people that I have worked with in my short time at camp. They have been challenges of mine; growing experiences. But I have to think of the hundreds of people that I have came across who have touched a part of me, given me something special to take home, and the gifts that I have shared with them. Through my exhaustingly long days, plowing through the mud and rain, sweat pouring from the brow, lacking a chance to sit down, or feed my rumbling stomach. Somehow, here I am making a difference. Aiding my thoughtful co-workers in our joint effort to protect and teach. Touching souls, saving lives, creating memories. This I must take away. This I must remember.

Never had I thought that being who I am, working at such a place would teach me so much about myself and others. Given me the ability to socially and physically adapt and connect. I …

Redemption

A little more than a month ago I wrote a disgruntled plea-blog expressing my dissatisfaction with Nike and their seemingly inadequate products. And so, two weeks ago I made two separate claims to Nike regarding one broken Imara Strive Women's Running Watch, and one pair of prematurely sheared Zoom Victory Trainers in hopes that some kind of justice could be recompensed. Almost exactly a week after submitting my claims, I received a tiny package in the mail that, to my surprise, possessed one brand new Imara Strive Women's Running Watch. Since then I have had a new found respect for the company that has truthfully and astonishingly stood by their two-year product returns and replacements terms of service. But wait. It gets better. I returned home today to find in my mailbox a $100 gift voucher in compensation for my tattered shoes to be used on anything my heart desires at the Nike.com store. And wouldn't you know that I already had a list waiting on my desk for a fe…

L'amour est bleu

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God, I want this camera. But I just spent a chunk of my paycheck on tickets to Cirque du Soleil, and Nelson's Ledges Reggae Fest for my August festivities. Maybe on my next pay period? Really, the feeling of having a paying job now with insurance and extra little perks (like climbing, kayaking, zipping) has been a really gratifying thing. Especially now that I know what it feels like to be broke and inadequate.

Anyway, so back to this pretty little thing--the Panasonic Lumix G1 is sexy... and blue. Not to mention it possess a crapton of innovative features, gears, and gadgets. It is the world's first electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens camera. Utilizing the controversial micro four thirds system, the G1 has the capability to interchange lenses available from other manufacturers (here is a list of lenses that are compatible with the G1). The micro four thirds system also means it possess a smaller sensor, allowing for a smaller bodied camera that functions more li…

The Other Con

|kän| |kɑn| |kɒn|
1 : persuade (someone) to do or believe something, typically by use of a deception; swindle
2 : a disadvantage
3 : a convict


I am currently working on another blog bearing much higher priority and interest, but I insist on informing my readers (I have readers, right?) of a well-known product consumer scam known as Proactiv. It would be a waste of fury for me to tell you not to bother purchasing this product because it doesn't work. That would be a subjective statement that I care not to impose the responsibility. What I want to rant about is that those two innocent and intellectual-looking, hot doctors are only in it for the money, and I guess we could have figured as much. So with one curious purchase of Proactiv, you are placed on a renewal list that automatically charges your credit card each month and sends you a brand new order quicker than that adolescent teenager can squeeze that monster pimple all over the bathroom mirror. Sorry for the graphic analogy, …

*Nike-

Dear Nike,

Why must I constantly be disappointed in you? You are the world's leading provider in athletic shoes and apparel, and your marketing strategies and sponsorships are both inspiring and impressive. It's your quality I am frustrated with, Nike. Your products are captivatingly sexy and sleek, but I have yet to find a product that I can love longer than 6 months at a time. I say six months because this is the amount of time it takes for your materials to tear, rip, leak, and/or electronically cease to function. In the past year I have gone through one Nike Imara Strive Women's Running Watch, one faulty Nike+ Sensor, and one pair of Nike Zoom Victory Trainers in under their respective 6 month intervals. Maybe I used these products in a manner that achieved their fullest potential relative to my extensive and/or intensive usage. Maybe I did use and abuse them, and in this regard, "get my money's worth" in this abbreviated period of time. But shoul…

Up and zipping

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You can find other pictures of the day from Dayton Daily News website here

Today was Media & VIP Day on the Ozone Zipline Adventure, and our first day facilitating the zipline with guests. Tomorrow will be the first day that our tour is open to the public. Things went impressively smooth, and everyone seemed to be having a great time--guests and guides. Typically, guides will travel with groups through the tour, but since today's group consisted of over 80 guests, we rotated through posts and communicated with all stationed posts through walky-talkies. Brown bag lunch was zipped to us by our thoughtful ERI trainer, Nat, and I got to eat gooey chocolate and raspberry-filled cookies and cool ranch doritos in unguilty pleasure for the first time in ages. The thirty-two hours we've put into these past three days has surely paid off with a successful and happy ending. Man, you just gotta love what we do!

Check out a video of today's events and an interview from our di…

Letting June run out

Self-promotion has always been a point of contention with me. I've never been entirely comfortable with leaving hardline traces of myself strewn across the internet. Pen and paper has always been my forte, but recent words of assurance have seemed to escape me in all existing mediums. Maybe it has something to do with growing older, and senile paranoia. Whatever. So, I apologize for the ostensible neglect everyone is experiencing in my conflicted wake. I'm trying not to put much thought into it, and neither should you. I'll come around, probably once these summer months are gone. Guess this is my disclaimer. I hope you like your martinis dry.

Last night I went to see The Avett Brothers play with some of my favorites. We got down to Convington, Kentucky about 4'ish, meeting up at a friend's pad. She just so happens to live above the venue we were going to that night, the Madison Theater. What's really great about it, is that all of the bands' tour…
[INSERT INTERESTING BLOG HERE]


Is it too soon to say...

perfect?

I feel fortunate to have obtained a new and exciting high adventure position for a regionally well renowned camp in Oregonia, Ohio, called Camp Kern. I am currently working as a leadership coordinator for the leadership department, doing high and low ropes activities for various groups working on their character building, teamwork, problem solving, and communication skills. It has been a pleasure working with various age groups, and being a part of their individual challenges and personal growth. The opportunity has already given me extreme insight on some of my own personal development, and has been a significant aid in some well-accepted soul searching, as well. Never before have I been confident in saying that I love my job, I love the people I work with, and I am extremely happy to have found a place back home that gives me the inner stability I need to have a powerful purpose among the development of so many unique individuals.

In the past few weeks that I have been …

kimesthetics

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I've been dabbling my hand in a new project for quite some time now. A project I am calling kimesthetics. I've been making jewelry for many years now as gifts for loved ones. I've decided today is the day that I would like to share this gift with everyone. Enjoy.

Closer to

I am able.

Happy 39th Earth Day!

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At this time last year, I was enthusiastically accepting a volunteer position with PRETOMA for a two month adventure in Costa Rica, living on the beautiful beach of Playa Caletas, saving endangered sea turtles. And as of late, it has been almost all that has been on my mind. Disappointingly, this year I spent the day helping my father paint the ceiling of my parent's lake house on Rocky Fork Lake. Quite a contrast, but the paint was low-fume and green ehrm, I mean white. Whatever. There was no doubt that I still had my dear Mother Earth on my mind, as always.

I'd never say that I've lost my environmental spirit. I don't think that, that is something that is remotely possible--my love for the environment has always been unconditional. But my spirit in the this godforsaken recession (or whatever it is that you want to call it) has gotten me pretty down at another one of those seemingly inopportune moments. Still, I am working as diligently as possible, zeroing o…

So sentimental

Self-interpretation

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Acclimation

It is a week shy of April and I have arrived back to this quaint little suburban town that feels far more country than I ever realized. This evening, you will find me sitting in my once usual spot at the kitchen table, eyes occasionally wandering out the bay window, mind fixated on anything other than the present. When are the leaves going to come out? Where are the flower buds, and palettes of color? Why am I missing the cherry blossoms?

My toilet seat is cold. My cereal spoon is the wrong shape, and my soy milk tastes funny. My thumbs are bored at night, and there are no more rivers or 711s to walk to. This may take some time.

A little reminiscing...

... because nothing else makes me feel more like home.



See you in a week, Ohio.

Materialism is... bliss?

When I left home last September with just enough money and spirit to make it to Japan, fulfill my responsibilities in Costa Rica, and then return to somewhere deemed promising, I was confident in my ability to be frugal and happy at the same time. I felt invincible, passionate, and guided. I didn't think that repercussions would ever ensue, and that no matter what circumstance I found myself in, I'd miraculously overcome them like the world has always intended for me. I found the idea of living without to be daring and awe-inspiring--taking risks against the money-driven masses and learning to live simply was meant to be a test of my will and ability; a challenge against that non-atypical dream chased by so many, and often obtained by so few. I wanted [it] to be different.

Quitting my job and choosing to go to Costa Rica was my chance to prove that I could live simply and contently. I thought that if I could accomplish the task, that the lessons learned could follow me home an…

Winding down

Figure that I am almost overdue for an update, and it's due time that I turn something out to satisfy your patiently awaiting curiosities. The past few weeks have been rather slow, documented by only a few significant events and a lot of mediocre bullshit business that has left me preoccupied.

Last weekend marked the annual Hadaka Matsuri (naked festival) at Saidaiji in Okayama. You can read about the antics here. It was lots of frozen "butz on butz" in the frigid 30 degree temperatures. There were probably several hundred cheeks that night, either chattered or clenched. All gathered around the temple for the strike of midnight, where a game of push-and-shove ensued, "ancient" scrolls were tossed, and continuous intercom interruptions demanded that the "naked men" stop fighting. After their round of drunken bare-butt embarrassment, and our round of ulcer-inflicting carny food, we grabbed the special 1:10am train back to the land of the sane-and…

It's these kinds of realizations

You'd have to be crazy to think that every learning experience is always going to be the greatest adventure ever. In the same regard, you need to be level-headed about it, too. Reasonable, in fact. Even in the downfalls of life. Even in the struggle, and in the hardship and pain, comes the good. The experience itself is the honor. The fight is what makes us who we are. It's these things that define us, and teach us what we're capable of accomplishing. These are the things that are important. These are the lessons we must take away. We must learn to not only be happy with what we have to give to the world, but we must be satisfied with what we have to give to ourselves. This is for me.  And this is for you, too...

Thank you.

Don’t Quit
by Edgar A. Guest

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low but the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a …

Just can't bear it...

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Pass the buckwheat, please.

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This afternoon we ventured down to the oldest of the Okayama arcades on the west side to have lunch at a small hole-in-the-wall soba place, recommended by my Market friend, Kaz. Apparently the homemade soba is so special, that the place is only open 6 days a week from 11am-3pm, and often closes early due to frequent sellouts. Not to mention that the place only has 3 small tables. Not surprising by the time we were ready to squeeze out of there, there were a handful of people crowded in the tiny space waiting for the next available table. Here are a few pictures to document the experience:

From inside the Batcave
Traditional wall decor.
How to make soba noodles

How to eat soba : crank it open and toss it in.
Cold soba with tsuyu dipping sauce, wasabi, minced daikon , and green onion
Step 1: "itadakimasu."
Step 2: inhale to the overhead tunes of 'Stand By Me'.
Mine was hot soba with tamagoyaki (pressed egg cake), and kamaboko (pressed fish cake)
Step 3: slurp obnoxiously.

Afterw…

CR Photo Journalism

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You probably don't really want some fancy hors d'oeuvre explanation about my last two months in Costa Rica. You're too excited anxiously awaiting the meat. Well if it's meat you want, then it's meat you will get. So, without further adieu...




Those who were anticipating something a little more savory will just have to wait for finely aged reflections at a later date.

Garbage to Gold

Written: January 13, 2009

It is funny. When I first got to Costa Rica I was ever so cautious of impurities. Careful not to swallow the water as I brushed my teeth. Careful not to touch anything more than I needed to in the shower, in the bread store, on the bus. Even the grocery to me in Alajuela felt tainted, and there was no way that I was going to consider eating from an exposed mound of complimentary brown and bruised bananas and crumby white loaf bread at the hotel in San Jose.

Since I have been here in Caletas, all of these preconceived ideas of impurities have been diminished. We wash our dishes with sometimes foul-smelling well water. The dishes are hardly ever really clean, sitting out in the open air just like everything else at camp. Leftovers sit out uncovered, or saran wrapped in above normal temperatures for a day and we still eat them. Our hands and nails are always dirty from digging in the sand, using the "facilities," and digging up rotting turtle e…

A Narrative

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The particles were thick, as I watched salty mists project from my nostrils like dragon´s fire, or breath from a cold winter´s day. I marveled at the lingering salt mists rising from the descending ocean tides. Masquerading mountains that lined the Playa Bongo and Ario´s coasts. Mountains that I wasn´t sure were really mountains at all--growing up in suburban Ohio only offered me short-lived glimpses of the Smokies on childhood trips. And living in Japan has fooled me into believing that when identical mounds exist in excess, you tend to stop noticing them. Unknowing of what constitutes mounds as hills, or marvelous heaps of dramatic and jutting stone. It´s funny how from distances these formations appear so tall and vast, but I often find myself disappointed at the nonexistent feat at which it would take to climb them. These coastal mountains aren´t comparable to those of the Great American West, seen plenty through the photographic lens of American legend, Ansel Adams. No, …