Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In the Krabi airport

I'm writing you all from the Krabi airport, another strange reminder of the connectedness of the electronic world.

The airport waiting lounge is a great microcosmic experience of Thailand, full of beach bums, honeymooners, monks, muslim clerics, vacationing missionaries and burned out hippies, not to mention the omnipresent Thai people who simultaneously make our presence possible and try to make some sort of living by letting us pretend our lives would be somehow different if we lived here instead of back home.

Philosophically, of course, we all know that life would be the same here... that all the pettiness and complexities of life would catch up with us here rather than loitering back home, smoking cigarettes on our front porches. But emotionally we think that maybe, somehow, this time we can outrun all our problems, that we won't load them up like the seventeen pieces of luggage we brought with us, that this time we can make a clean break and live a life of abundance and joy without questions or worries.

The problem being that all these things, we carry them around like tattoos. We can't escape them any more than we could escape our skin, or breathing, or the sky. And the remedy, well, He's as present (more so) than our problems... at home, in Thailand or India or Lithuania or Croatia or Russia or any other place you could name (or can't name).

Tomorrow is our last full day in Thailand... in Bangkok. As much as I'd like it to be otherwise it feels more like a stop on the journey home than another day of vacation. But so be it. Home needs tending and there are things and people there I wouldn't trade just for beaches and swimming pools. Although, if they wanted to join us here, I might be persuaded....

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Winter by Jon Foreman


Jon Foreman's Winter, the second of a planned four EP release, came out last month. I managed to download it from our hotel in Bangkok and I've been listening to it here in Krabi, enjoying the irony of listening to the Winter album while wearing shorts and staring out over the Tha Lane Bay.

One of the nice things about Jon's seasonal releases is that I wasn't tired of "Fall" yet... I was still listening to it nearly every day. So having some more thought-provoking, enjoyable music is a treat.

I particularly like three of the songs on the new EP:

1) "Learning How to Die." See the post below for lyrics. This song gave me a deeper insight into the "Fall" album, actually. I realized (maybe I'm late to the party here) that the theme of Fall wasn't only the season, but also seems to be associated with THE Fall of humanity. It has a lot of songs about things not working out, temptation, giving in to temptation, and grief. Winter seems to be dealing with the fallout from Fall, just like the seasons, of course. "Learning How to Die" shows the inevitability of our separation from one another, the end of all living things and the necessity of embracing that in our current lives. It's beautifully written, lyrically and musically.

2) "White as Snow" takes the words of David, King of Israel that he wrote when he had committed adultery and murder. Jon sings it with a lot of feeling, and you can feel real remorse about the past and hope for the future. Again, this is one of the results of our Fall, that sometimes we turn to God for forgiveness, hope, repentance and restoration.

3) "Somebody's Baby." This was, to me, the most powerful and affecting song on the album. It's a love ballad to a homeless woman. It tells her story in a way designed to make you love her and wish you could step into her life and help her start over.

One of the things I've always appreciated about Jon Foreman (and Switchfoot for that matter) is that they aren't satisfied to keep doing the same songs over and over. What I mean is, each album has a new sound and pushes into new territory stylistically and thematically. This EP is no exception.

There you have it. If I knew enough surfer language I would say something profound like "This album is epic." But I don't. So I'll just say, I really like it. And I think you will like it, too. And I'm looking forward to Spring.

Learning How to Die Lyrics by Jon Foreman

Here are Jon's handwritten lyrics for "Learning How To Die." Enjoy.



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Last Full Day at the Beach

Today is our last full day at the beach. We're planning to go to Ao Nang and then take a boat across to another beach. It should be fun. We're so completely over jet lag that the thought of going back to America seems harder than setting up a new home here.

I know what you're thinking, "It's about time Mikalatos got off the beach and back to his usual shenanigans so I can feel superior and powerful whenever I read his blog, instead of feeling jealous."

Perhaps this will make you feel better: Yesterday I caught a lizard to show to the kids. Then it jumped onto my hand, ran up my arm, leapt from my collar to my neck and then ran down my shirt. The children nearly broke themselves laughing. I had to take my shirt off to rid myself of the lizard.

MORAL: If a giant ever catches you, run into his clothing.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Terror on Hong Island

Today the family jumped into a truck, then jumped into a longboat and motored out to the islands.

Our first stop was Koh Hong, a beautiful island and a Thai national park. We swam, snorkled and built pristine white sand castles.

After a while, my wife Krista, my daughter Z, my parents and my father-in-law decided to go on a hike through the jungle. Krista's mom and our other daughter, A, stayed on the beach to play.

About halfway down the trail, Krista and my Mom turned back. We continued on, climbing over fallen trees and swinging on the occasional vine. Z seemed unaccountably frightened the whole time and kept asking if we could turn back. No, I assured her, there was nothing to be afraid of here.

Toward the end of the trail we came across a boat graveyard in the middle of the island, remnants of the tsunami. The splintered boats had ivy and jungle vegetation creeping over them, another testimony to nature's power.

The trail looped back to the starting point and we returned to our spot on the beach to discover that Krista and Mom had not yet returned. It seemed odd that we would get there before them... they had left well before the trail's halfway point.

I went back to the trailhead and started down the trail again. Perhaps one of them had turned their ankle and were waiting for someone to come along and help the get back to the beach. I reached the place where they had turned back and there was no sign of them. I walked a little deeper into the jungle and I heard a high and distant, "Haaaallo!" that sounded unmistakeably like my Mother's voice.

It's just a bird, I told myself. Or an animal. I stopped and listened. "Haaaallo!" I was almost certain it was my mother, but I couldn't tell where it was coming from. I ran ahead on the path, thinking they must be hurt. Why wasn't Krista calling out also? Could she be hurt or unconscious? It seemed unlikely, but maybe they had been kidnapped? "Haaaaallo!"

No, no, I told myself. That must be a bird or something. They are safely back on the beach, I'm sure.

I had noticed a short cut through the jungle and back to the beach. I ran along it and came out on the beach long enough to see that they still hadn't returned. That must have actually been my mother calling out, although why she didn't call for help or shout our names eluded me. I ran back along the jungle path, moving quickly. I stopped where I had heard the earlier cries, but now all I heard were the sounds of the jungle. Birds calling, distant longboats, crashing as animals forced their way through the underbrush.

I made a last trek back toward camp, watching the undergrowth for signs of someone being pulled off the path and into the thick tangle of vegetation. I watched for signs of a scuffle on the red clay path. I bent and studied suspect branches and broken twigs.

I stopped. An enormous lizard, easily four feet long, walked the path beside me. A monitor lizard. It saw me and slinked back into the jungle. A few feet farther and I saw another one, just as my father and father-in-law came up the path to tell me that Krista and Mom had returned to "camp."

They had come across the lizards a few moments after they left us. One of the reptiles stood in the path, defiantly watching them and refusing to move. After a short time the ladies decided to try to catch up with us, but we were too far along. By the time I went into the jungle looking for them, they were farther along the path and Mom was shouting HAAAAALLO hoping that it would scare off any native wildlife (rather than terrifying her son).



In the end, I don't think anyone appreciated how genuinely terrified I felt for those ten minutes. All the worst case scenarios went through my head, and yes, some of those were informed by the fact that I watch the television show LOST. I have to admit, none of the worst case scenarios in my head involved monitor lizards. But some of them involved a troop of monkeys, and at least one involved deranged pirate-like people.


Everyone's safely home now. Including, so far as I know, the monitor lizards.

Mmmm... Thai food!

Here's the dinner our staff made last night.


















And here's my favorite dessert:

Sweet Thailand Home


Here's our home in Thailand. The house in the background is the one we're staying in, and that's the bay we look out on. I'm sitting in our courtyard right now listening to the frogs, lizards and insects croak, chirp and hum, and the fishermen's boats motoring in from the bay.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Feast For A King

As you can see, the King does not have to comb his hair before dinner. NO! In fact, he doesn't have to put on a shirt unless he really wants to. He can do whatever he wants.

Here you can see me about to feast upon home-made Thai goodness. We were ordering out but the women who work here said it would be much cheaper if we just let them make it for us. So we do, which means we're a little less certain what will show up each night. But it has been excellent. Yes, that is a giant pile of satay you see before me. ITS NAME IS SATAY!

Tonight we had satay, cashew chicken, a thick noodle dish similar to rad nah with beef (one theory is that the head of the slaughtered cow we saw today was the remnants of what was necessary for making our dinner), steamed vegetables and then for dessert we had mango sticky rice, jack fruit, coconut cream with corn and then ice cream. We all ate too much and have plenty for lunch tomorrow.

His name is SATAN!

Z reads pretty much everything put in front of her these days. You can't leave her alone in a room with books or she will curl up somewhere and shut out everything except the world of the book. You can see in the previous post that she falls asleep each night reading.

Right now she's reading "Son of the Black Stallion" and she asked me to get it for her to read before she went to sleep. I went to get it and noticed as I walked past the pool that the tagline read, "His name is SATAN!"

Well, that's curious, I thought. So I asked Z, why is the black stallion's colt named Satan?

She's not sure. The colt has fiery eyes, but she doesn't think that's the reason.

I guess this is why parents start reading their kids books before the kids read them. I don't have time to read that many books. I'm sure Son of the Black Stallion is fine, I just thought that was an uproariously funny tagline.

It would be a great tagline for our sequel blog:

SON OF THE BURNING HEARTS REVOLUTION
ITS NAME IS SATAN!

Jet lag makes bed time easy


It's so nice when the kids are jet lagged but we aren't.

I got one eye on you, and one on my escape route



This little fella was making a ruckus in the tree in our front yard. I ran over with Krista's camera, which startled him into action. I managed to get this shot before he slipped away.

Further evidence that children adapt better than adults cross-culturally

Krista, Z and I tromped over the hill in the heat of the day to visit the little village on the other side. As we walked I noticed the head of a cow hanging from a tree, a hook through its nose and gore dripping from its neck.

Me: Look, Z, there's a cow's head hanging in that tree.

Z: Looks like someone's about to have a party.

Friday, January 25, 2008

LOST in thailand

We realized today that our home here in Krabi has disturbing similarities to my favorite television show.

We're in this mysterious yet beautiful remote location. We're well cared for, but there's a feeling that we can't escape in some way. Then today, my Dad and I packed up and went on an exploratory walk around "the island" to see if we could find a town or anything.

We found a strange underground medical facility where it appears they have been genetically modifying polar bears to live in tropical environments. Also a big smoke cloud monster thingy chased us.

When I "get a chance" to upload some of Krista's pictures I'll show you what the view is like from our house here. It's amazing.

Okay, gotta go. I have to go type in the code and press "the button."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Krabi

We reunited with the kids and our parents today in Bangkok... played in the pool, ate, rode on a plane and arrived at our isolated luxury house in Krabi. We're probably the only foreigners for about 20 kilometers, and there is pretty much nothing nearby. But it's gorgeous. Our beach chairs look out on giant freestanding rocks in the bay, and fishermen check their nets as the sun sets. There's a little pool in the center of the house area, and each of the bedrooms is arranged around it in seperate rooms. We were a little concerned about how isolated it seemed out here, but then on a whim I checked for a wireless signal, and there it is. So I guess that we can contact english-speaking civilization for help if we need it. Watch this space for desperate cries for help. :)

I think it's going to be great, actually. Really relaxing and fun, and it's great to be together with my parents and Krista's parents and the kids. It's a great blessing to have parents that all like each other.

In other news, our daughter A lost her first tooth tonight. She called me to say it had turned sideways in her mouth, I reached in and plucked it out and there was much rejoicing. She's officially growing up, I guess, and that little missing-tooth grin we've come to consider normal for Z seems to be catching!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A certainty of his presence

Today was a Very Good day. I spent it with Krista, traveling from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. We arrived (with our luggage) and then found a taxi easily, slipped into our excellent hotel, ate an exceptional meal, lounged in the pool, and then explored the river using the public taxi boats (more like buses than taxis) and then eventually made our way over to "the sky train" and hit the Thai mall, ate dinner, snagged some mango sticky rice from a grocery store and made our way home again by train and boat. You can see pictures from our day on Krista's blog.
Five times today I felt a certainty of God's presence. They came in small moments, measured in seconds not minutes, but they came like the sun bursting out from behind the clouds.

The first came as I read Dave Eggers' "What is the What" while we sat on lounge chairs in the pool (the chairs are ankle deep in the water). I won't go into detail (I want to share more when I finish reading it), other than to say that the book, which deals with the Sudanese diaspora in a powerful way, had a page where the main character reflects on suffering and God. In that moment, I felt God's presence, for those ten seconds when I read two paragraphs.




The second came as Krista and I sat on a boat-bus and the cool wind came in off the river. Krista stood up to take a picture, and for a moment I felt a deep satisfaction, as if I were not a foreigner, and our life seemed full and wonderful... taking a day in Thailand to ride a taxi boat, waiting for our children and parents to join us, the beautiful river and the Thai people huddled around us like family, like friends, like fellow travelers.


The third came on another boat at the end of the night, when the sun had set and we headed for home again. Again, a moment of satisfaction, a sense of blessing and a realization that this satisfaction -- could it be peace? -- came to me as a gift from him.




The fourth came as Krista showed me her pictures from our day. In one of them the sun explodes through a pagoda, reducing it to shadow soaked in sunshine. I saw in that moment a metaphor for this culture, I hope a vision of the future, as God bursts through the things that men have made for worship and shows his own might and glory, more spectacular than a thousand gold-encrusted wats.




And then the fifth, as I sprawled on the bed reading the story of Jesus washing the disciple's feet, I read the words, "Do you understand what I have done for you?" No. I don't realize it, not really. The night before we left for Thailand, Krista had a second miscarriage. We hadn't told anyone she was pregnant, and then hours before we left for Thailand we lost the baby. I think this palpable, heart-breaking reminder of the broken world we live in made Jesus' words to his followers after washing their feet stand out to me. I love everything about this passsage. The ridiculous, almost nonsensical description of Christ's motivations, the violation of social norms, the uncommonly straightforward exposition. Knowing that he came to serve us and save us in the midst of my loss makes it more profound to me. And then, "Now that I, your Lord and Master have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet."

And there it is. All told, it might be fifty seconds out of the day that I sensed his presence, fifty seconds where I felt him near me.
And for today, that was enough.

homeless dogs, dressed real nice

We couldn't help but notice the packs of wild dogs running around in Chiang Mai. Our friends said it's quite a problem for early morning joggers. We also couldn't help but notice that many of these homeless dogs actually wear clothes.

Turns out that it's a tradition of the Thai people to dress dogs up in their cast off clothing. So you see dogs running around in shirts of various qualities and colors. We saw one yesterday wearing an American flag handkerchief.

I have to say, this is yet another reason to really love Thailand.

It used to be Ugly Americans, now it's just Fat Americans

Here's a little excerpt of a conversation near us at the airport lounge this morning in Chiang Mai:

Man: That was a good Boo-fay we ate at for breakfast this morning. I am FULL!

He rubs his belly like a big white happy Buddha.

Woman: Look, they have little ham sandwiches here in the lounge.

Man: That sounds GREAT!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Yesterday's Menu

Breakfast: fried rice, a croissant and some potatoes

Lunch: Curry, some sort of chicken curry soup thing, fried rice, watermelon shake.

Snack: Mango shake

Dinner: Basil chicken, garlic chicken, cashew chicken, watermelon shake, tom ka (soup) followed by ma dang (pork soup) and then some honey roti (fried pancake with sweetened condensed milk, butter and honey). Mmmmmmmm.

Thai food is good.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

they hate vanilla

Something to know about Thailand is that they are not fond of vanilla. At least, not in milkshakes and things. You can still get vanilla ice cream, I think. But shakes have to be banana shakes or something. But I did have a nice carmel frappacino ice thing which is like a carmel milkshake. Yum.

We're in Chiang Mai now, and nestled into our nice little hotel room. We're about to go out and have a thai lunch. Of course I will report back on all the tasty food we eat. We're about a block and a half from the night market, too, so the plan is to eat mango sticky rice we buy from the street vendors every day. I can give up vanilla for a few weeks if I get mango sticky rice every day, no problem.

Breakfast = Tuna and Butter Sandwich

We arrived safely in Bangkok and this morning we jump on another quick flight up to Chiang Mai. Thanks to the fine people at the Star Alliance we had a breakfast and internet access here in the "Royal Silk Lounge." I had a tuna and butter sandwich, nicely complimented by a cheese and butter sandwich.

It's nice to be back in the land of smiles. I'll update you all as I'm able.

Jon Foreman's "Winter" releases today

Jon Foreman's EP "Winter" releases today. I haven't listened to it yet, I'm seeing if I can download it here at the airport. But I'm guessing you'll like it.

In Japan

Yes, that's right, I am sending you out a note from Japan. Travel is going just fine, aside for the lousy movies on the plane. I slept like something that sleeps without stirring. A bear or something. Krista had to climb over me like a mountain climber to get out into the aisle.

Krista went to complain about the stifling heat on the plane to one of the attendants and he said, "We always keep it this warm because people get cold when they are sleeping." His advice to her: "Don't use your blanket."

More great advice for our trip.

We leave in a few minutes for Bangkok, so hopefully I'll get you a note after we get there.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thanks for the advice, buddy

In the inevitable rush out of the house this morning we forgot our electrical adaptor for our overseas trip. Since electronic devices explode near me anyway, we thought it would be wise to buy an international adaptor so that we would have some sort of device to blame instead of assuming it was me.

The friendly clerk pointed out the different models to me.

Friendly Clerk: -- personally this one is my favorite. It has more parts but less moving parts if that makes sense. This is the one I would buy.

Me: Then I will buy it.

We move to the cash register and perform our well-practiced ballet of purchase.

Friendly Clerk: Where ya going? Somewhere fun?

Me: Thailand.

Friendly Clerk: That is fun. Of course, anywhere I haven't been is fun.

Me: So you haven't been to Thailand, then?

Friendly Clerk: No! I've hardly traveled at all. In fact, I've never traveled outside of the United States.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Way I See It #289

To find a Starbuck's cup unceremoniously discarded into my yard is to be expected. To find a quote from Chip Giller (founder of the environmentalist website grist.org) on the cup, however, is more irony than one man should be forced to bear.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Brave Writers

Last night Krista and I went to the bookstore. I spent some time wading through the literature section hoping to find a good book to take to Thailand. Krista pointed out that I have a hard time picking out a book because I want to KNOW before I buy it that it's a good book. And she's right. I don't want to waste my time on okay books. I want it to be a mind-blowingly spectacular book.

One thing I noticed last night in the literature section is how many of the quotes on the jackets referred to various authors as being "brave." I wondered about this. What makes them so brave? That they boldly stride to the computer each morning despite the risk of being electrocuted by the mass of electrical wires snarled up behind it? That they recklessly grab paper and stick it into the printer despite the risk of paper cuts? Wow. That *is* brave.

Let's not cheapen the word by using it to refer to writers who decide not to use punctuation, or who decide to end their novels without a strong resolution. If you're looking for a brave writer, try Irina Ratushinskaya.

Oh, and I did manage to find a book for Thailand. It's Dave Eggers' "What is the What". I trust it will fall somewhere between good and spectacular.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

the great Vancouver Tornado of '08

For those of you who feverishly scan the newswaves looking for news from my home town, hoping to get a little extra news about me on the days when I don't blog, youve probably already heard about the tornado that came by our house on Thursday.

I was at the library taking a Greek exam. The thunder outside had gotten so loud that it sounded like someone shaking a giant metal sheet in the next building over. My daughter A called to tell me it was hailing, but I went and looked out the window and didn't see anything where I was.

Then one of the library workers came out and said, "Um, this is not a joke. There is a tornado warning for Clark County. We're going to have to ask everyone to move into the meeting room, the safest room in the library."

So we moved into the library. The library guy said, "We apologize for this, we're so sorry for the inconvenience."

An old man shouted, "WHY ARE YOU APOLOGIZING FOR GOD? He doesn't need an apologist! Are you responsible for this tornado?"

The library workers explained that this was the safest room in the library, built to a higher standard than the rest of the library. Someone asked if it was built to withstand tornadoes, which was met with a lot of shrugs. The giant glass double doors made me doubt it.

I decided I should make a run for home rather than being baby-sat by the library staff. I jumped in the car and headed for home. Along the way I saw what looked like piles of snow all over the road... which turned out to be giant piles of hail.

As it turned out, by the time the tornado watch got out there, the tornado had already lifted off again. But we did get some great pictures.

Here's me holding a handful of hail. So much hail had fallen at our house that you could scoop it up like snow.



So: Last week we were in the storm in California and then got snowed in at Grant's Pass on the way home. This week, a tornado in our neighborhood. We're looking for a sponsor from the weather channel.






Lastly, here's a picture of some of the hail on the ground, as well as the strange metal reindeer that seemed to follow in the wake of the tornado. These strange creatures landed with a great clanking all over the neighborhood, nosing aside hail to find scraps of metal, which they ate slowly and carefully before taking to the skies once again.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

You have impugned my honor, sir! BALLOON SWORD FIGHT

Here's the closing video from our winter conference, which starts with the dramatic balloon battle between myself and John Rozzelle. Just in case the video doesn't work right on my site, here's the link.



As you can see, it was a great conference.

And I know what you are asking yourself and I will answer you: John and I were completely unscripted as MCs. There is a writer's strike going on, people.

The Wedding

This weekend Krista, her parents, the kids and I stacked ourselves tight into the car and drove to California for my sister Dawn's wedding. There's a picture of her and her husband, Todd, at the left.

We got to see a lot of good friends while we were there and of course my sister Lynn and parents were there, too.

Congratulations, Todd and Dawn! You can see more pictures on Krista's blog.

Greek

I've been putting off my Greek for a variety of Very Good reasons.

Now it's due in less than two weeks.

So I can't put it off any more.

I did two lessons yesterday and two today. And I'm targeting four tomorrow (plus I need to take an exam).

I guess I'll go work on it some more right now, but I was missing the Internet, which has always been a kind, loving and constant friend. Like you, dear friend, just like you.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Why Movies Are Sometimes Better Than Real Life

Tonight we're trapped in Grant's Pass.

We almost made it out but the snow and visibility were dropping like crazy and we decided to hunker down here for the night.

We had several exciting moments along the way. We saw a semi flipped over in a ditch and several cars that had slid into the snow. Also, we noticed a fire on the side of the road, which appeared to be an electrical fire. There was a loud popping sound, and you could smell electricity in the air. I called 911 and reported it while our van sat, stopped on I-5 with the hazards on while snow continued to bury it, the road and everything but the fire. It turned out that the fire department had already received calls about the fire but couldn't find it. So I stood on the highway and tried to explain its precise location for a while. Then my family started to freak out because they thought the transformer (or whatever was aflame) could explode at any moment.

(Favorite moment of the phone call to 911:

ME: Do you want me to climb off the highway, cross the ditch, jump the barbed wire fence and see if I can find an address to help you find the fire?

911 operator: That would be very helpful if you could do that.)

Then, when we finally found a hotel, we discovered that one of Z's boots was missing.

This is why a good movie is better than life, sometimes: closure. Did the semi get out of the ditch? Did the transformer explode and cause a raging fire? Did Z's boot fall out of the car when we put on the chains or when we stopped to report the fire or is it somewhere in the van still?

In a movie we would have satisfying answers to all these questions in 90 minutes or less.

Since a blog is scarcely the real world I will create answers for you (although I will have to continue to live with uncertainty):

1) While the driver of the semi in the ditch was fine, his truck remained in the ditch for many years, and became the home of many forest animals, including a rather friendly family of skunks, who were thankful for the man's misfortune, as it gave them a nice shelter during the winters that followed.

2) Using the clever directions provided by the anonymous tipster (that would be me) emergency services found, fought and destroyed the dangerous fire, which would have surely consumed several towns and all its inhabitants if not for the anonymous tipster's quick thinking, clever wit and pleasant speaking voice.

3) Z's boot, abandoned by the side of the road, slowly filled with snow. When spring came a young child found it and was pleased to have one boot. She hopped around in it all the time and eventually became a champion hopscotcher, lifting her from the status of nerdy girl to hometown hero.

THE END

ROLL CREDITS

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Video Games and Why We Play Them

Today we spent 12 hours in the car with the kid and Krista's parents, driving to California for my sister's wedding.

Here's my favorite comment from the day (that I was awake for, anyway). It happened while the kids were taking turns playing games on Krista's iPod.

Z: I killed all the guys who were parachuting down at my gun! I beat the game!

A: You killed the parachute guys? I thought you were supposed to try *not* to kill them!

I love that A's instinctual thought when playing a new game is that she should be trying to save the lives of people parachuting toward her gun. Why she is shooting a gun at all must be a bit of a mystery to her, though.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year

I just want to celebrate another year of living.

New Year's Resolution: Eat more, exercise less. Because there has to be a balance.

It was a good New Year's event. Memorable moments:

1) John Rozzelle and "Pops" the puppet making up after a big fight and singing "That's What Friends Are For" to one another.

2) A powerful message from Crawford Loritts. You can see it for yourself below. If you watch carefully you can see me sneaking away before he gets started. (UPDATE: Rumors reach me that the embedded video below isn't working, so you can also check it out here).



3) A kiss from my wife at midnight.

4) As I walked from the hotel back to the conference center to rock in the New Year with the band Eightsweek, a drunken reveler hung out of a window in an apartment building. He brandished in one hand a bottle of champagne. I said happy new year to him, and he happily hoisted his bottle and shouted, "OPEN YOUR MOUTH!" I politely said no thanks and he said, "C'MON, OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND I WILL POUR CHAMPAGNE IN IT!" No, thanks. "OPEN YOUR MOUTH!" He demanded. I gave his window a wide berth. He called a disappointed happy new year after me and returned to his party.

5) Watching 600 people face off in a Rock, Paper, Scissors competition. The winner gave perhaps the finest victory speech I have heard in recent history when he thanked "My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Master Illusionist Kriss Angel, and my Mom." It was arguably one of the greatest moments of the conference.

Overall, a very fine New Year.

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