October 29, 2006

I think in another life I could have been a small mountain town kind of guy. The kind of place with a walkable downtown, apartments with fireplaces and hiking trails nearby.

Three days in Rapid City was all it took.

Despite the awkwardness of being the lone 20-something on the plane from Denver to Rapid City, I arrived to clear sky's and see-my-breath cold weather. My reason for spending $10 on a frequent flier ticket was to visit Paul Kind.

I've spent time in Flagstaff, Bozeman, Great Falls and Spokane and none compared to the mountain town feel of Rapid City. We spent most of our time downtown and in the Black Hills. Downtown has it all. Great local restaurants, movie theatre, bars with cheap drinking and pool tables, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, local shopping, post office and even some mixed zoning (Paul lives downtown). The Black Hills have just as much to offer as the downtown. High altitude lakes, beautiful colors and ample hiking trails make the Hills around Rapid City highly underrated.

What I expected was a touristy Mount Rushmore town (ala Gatlinburg). What I got was a true mountain town experience.

October 21, 2006

SO...we're moving again. In the sort-of-kind-of way. This difference between moving and what we're doing is we're not going anywhere in particular. And we're not selling all of our stuff like we have in the past two moves. We might actually have a storage unit (those Temper-Pedic pillows have to be kept somewhere).

I'll cut to the chase.

Two days after Super Bowl Sunday, Kari and i will be boarding a plane heading West...to the Far East. And we probably won't be coming back for a long time. We've saved enough money to be out in the open world for at least a year. We have no real agenda, no real itinerary. We can do whatever we want, wherever we want. If we meet some friends who are going North to Russia for a few weeks, well, we can go with. If we love a certain country, we can stay as long as we want to. If we get bored and want to come home after six months, we can. Essentially, we'll be winging it every step of the way. That's piece one.

Countries we'd like to spend time in? China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Tibet, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa. Countries we'll actually spend time in? Who knows.

Piece two: We'll be doing as much as we can by land. If we can get there by boat, car, train, bus or by foot, we'll probably take that way. One of the luxuries of having no plans or itinerary is that you can really see the world, from the ground. Avoid planes is our motto.

Our map is gonna have a little more red in it after 2007.

October 18, 2006


Some think of a Christian as one who believes certain things. That Jesus was the Son of God, say. Or that Mary was a virgin. Or that all other religions are wrong.

Some think of a Christian as one who does certain things. Such as going to Church. Giving up liquor and tobacco. Reading the Bible.

Some think of a Christian as just a nice person.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." He didn't say that any particular ethic, doctrine or religion was the way, the truth and the life. He said that he was. He said that it was only by him - by living, by participating in, being caught up by the way of life that he embodied, that was his way.

Thus it is possible to be on Christ's way and with his mark upon you without ever having heard of Christ, and for that reason to be on your way to God though maybe you don't even believe in God.

A Christian is one who is on the way, though not necessarily very far along it, and who has at least some dim and half-baked idea of whom to thank.

A Christian isn't necessarily any nicer than anybody else.

**Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking.

October 13, 2006

"For as long as I can remember, I've had a theory that life on earth is purgatory, because life on earth seems to have all the purgatorial qualities that were once described to me by nuns. Sometimes I think that the amount of time you live on earth is just an inverse reflection of how good you were in a previous existence ; for example, infants who die from SIDS were actually great people when they were alive 'for real,' so they get to go to heaven after a mere five weeks in purgatory. Meanwhile, anyone Willard Scott ever congratulated for turning 102 was obvious a terrible individual who had many, many previous sins to pay for."

Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live

October 12, 2006

I’m walking around the airport feeling proud of myself for not using those escalator type machines that run down the middle of each terminal. I despise those little moving walkways. “You know what we need around here Bill? An escalator that moves along the ground. Then people can go from car to gate without really walking.”

I hate Colorado. And by hate, I mean incredibly annoyed. Denver in particular. It’s just so damn perfect there. Even the downtown is perfect. The bad suburbs in Denver are the best suburbs in LA.

The alien spaceship airport is perfect too. The paint is fresh and each restaurant has the perfect font. I wonder if they destroy and re-build the city every ten years. Like, “Denver will be closed until 2008. Please try Colorado Springs.”

Everyone seems distracted. I have moments where I believe I’m the only one in terminal B who is thinking about something important. Like counting the number of fat people. Or wondering how much one of those old CD players costs that is bigger than a hamburger and plays up to one compact disc at a time.

An older gentleman, with a business suit on, was talking on a pay phone. A pay phone. He looked proud and talked loudly as if he wanted everyone to know that he didn’t spend $212 a month on a cell phone. His smile read, “HaHa. You Losers.” Or like he knew a secret about cell phones that none of us knew about. It’s a good thing I saw him and his old school ways. I was just about to start speed walking.

October 3, 2006

"Two days later there was a party at Bono's house celebrating the end of the tour. I spent the first ten minutes in the bathroom lecturing myself on how to behave in other people's home. Relativity was the key. Be quiet and don't lecture people not to eat because other people are starving. Life is relative to where you are standing, at any given moment. There are the sorts of things I was telling myself. And I was wearing the same clothes I'd had in Sarajevo, since washed, but my shoes still stank."

"You see, the problem was this. I understood she was gone, but just because the object of your love is fone doesn't mean you stop being in love with that person. Does it? If heaven on earth is finding love in anohter, someone who accepts you for who you are, then hell is being in love with no one there to love."

Bill Carter, Fools Rush In

**Go buy this book and read it as fast as you can. It's a thrilling account of one man's journey into the heart of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. This book tore me apart. The subtitle sums it up best: A true story of Love, War, and Redemption.