Monthly Archives: October 2009

Blog Carnival: Trust

Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.”

Trust is something that can diminish the older we get, a child looks to its parent as they push the swing knowing they’re standing right behind them, to catch them, should they falter. Children also trust they have their best interests in mind although its sometime difficult for a child to make sense of the incident in the immediate.

n566731222_2401868_28As a child, I has just come home from my afternoon at school, I was in the big time, the 4th grade and I was making my way through. As I walked through the door of our apartment I’d noticed my Mother and Grandmother in a barren living and dining room, with a few boxes near the door, they were in the final stages of packing up our lives. when I asked what was going on? My mom’s only words were “We’re leaving this place. We’re moving to Portland.” While I recall feeling sad about the abrupt change, I never once questioned the event just knowing that we were piling into the car and would never return to this apartment, which just a few minutes before had been called my home. While I do not recall much of the thought processing nor conversation my Mother, Older Brother and I had on the way down from Seattle to Portland. My only comforting thought about this place we were moving to was that as we crossed the bridge into Portland (as I now know was Jantzen Beach) I remember seeing a duck waiving(The old Waddles sign) to me and a huge store, which by name, must have been selling GI Joes. I was hooked.

“I Resist anything better than my own diversity, And breathe the air, And leave plenty after me, And am not stuck up, And in my Place.” – Walt Whitman

Sometimes we do not endow ourselves with the trust that we are strong or able to do the things we desire. It’s far too easy to be discouraged without trying, and we equally accept that discouragement as a basis for solidifying our feelings. We have to trust that we are able and strong and each moment, this moment was meant for something.

Years ago, I was a part of a Masonic Youth Organization called DeMolay. Every year the Masons would through an all ages, all youth day of fun, comradeship and togetherness for all the groups around the state. The other two organizations were called Rainbow and Job’s Daughters. The three organizations workn566731222_24ed together fairly often in conjunction with fund raising and public service. But this event was all about congratulating all for a years’ good service. While the dance was going on in the other hall, someone decided it would be great to have a talent contest, all were welcome. And in my infinite wisdom of my 15 years, I decided that the one or two years I’d been in choir was good enough for me to sing. I was pretty confident on my song choice “A Rainbow Connection” without musically accompaniment. Mostly because I didn’t know anyone who could play the piano. In my head it sounded like suck a great idea, and today I probably would be far less frightened but much less vocally equipped. But when I stood on the stage, with only the microphone stand between me and the audience assembled (Word had made its way over to the dance hall where my best friend was – and as I saw her standing there, I knew, even with 300 eyes on me, my mouth now dry, my heart beating in my temples, all I had to do was open my mouth and trust the voice would be there. The next thing I knew it was over, there was applause, I didn’t know, that I had completely omitted an entire verse. I was certain by that performance I was not reaching anywhere near the top. I was getting the “You’re a good Sport” prize. So I waited for them to call my name begrudgingly, and they didn’t for a little while, they were getting closer to the top, my heart started beating faster and faster, and there it was… First Runner Up. (Second Place) Not bad for a scrawny white guy who just barely made it through the song, on the inside… It may or may not have deserved the award it placed, but I believed I could, and I trusted I could. The rest was out of my hands.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely…” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we age the trust we so readily gave away before transforms into skepticism. We become leery of not only others intents but even our own motivation, Do we trust in our feelings, in our hearts? Do we trust in our Spouses or Families? What if they are at odds. Do we trust a mentor over our own judgment? Some things do not come without trust and they do not come without love. But they do come. Trust in what you believe, follow what you know, and above all, have faith.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King Jr.

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Contains: Active Culture

This weekend was quite busy for me. Lots of new experiences. Lots of the Arts.

Friday night I met up with my friend Josh for Happy Hour and A show… The Happy Hour destination: The Radio Room, The show: A Chorus Line.

The Radio Room: Located on NE Alberta street near 11th, This restaurant and bar really looks a lot fancier from the outside. The outdoor concrete seating area has a nice fireplace where a group of people could enjoy cocktails and conversation without being encumbered. The interior is well done and open air (As long as Portland Weather allows) and the happy hour menu is generous on the cheap. 🙂 From the wide selection of various cocktails (They have quite the variety) and of course the microbrew selection. It was definitely worth the trip.

A Chorus Line: Stumptown Stages: On a run that just ended yesterday. This is my third experience with Stumptown Stages; Dreamgirls, The Wiz and now A Chorus Line. I enjoyed this production though it really showed its “Community Theatre” designation. The Cast was well rehearsed and presented, but they were also very young. Something I didn’t know about A Chorus Line is that it is done without intermission. So at a running time of 2 hours with no intermission in hard wood seats inside a high school auditorium, left me feeling a little numb… The highlight of this production for me was the performance of the number “Dance Ten, Looks Three” Not only was the performance of the song, hilarious, but well song, I did wish for a little more panache, but I enjoyed it and at the end of the day, I think that’s all we can really expect out of a performance, right?

(edit: if you want to see my friend Josh’s perspective on the show – check out his blog)

Also, Stumptown Stages could really use your help this season. As we all know, ticket sales are down and corporate giving is down, so if you’re able, please donate to this worthy organization.

Speaking of an organization which almost didn’t make it into its twentieth year due to lack of funding… Saturday found me heading off to the Ballet for the first time for Oregon Ballet Theater’s Emeralds/Retrospectives which closed 10/17. Now, to be truthful, I was only sort of excited to go to the ballet, my only other experience with Ballet was the Nutcracker, which is of course, a holiday tradition, but it left me sleeping… Quite soundly, I’m sure. Also in reality, I wasn’t one of those people who had any idea what I was looking at and why it was spectacular – I really didn’t know a plié from a plebe. I did enter the theater a little scared, probably because of the woman sitting in front of me with many tattoos and the fuzzy leopard print coat, but I promised myself I would give Ballet another chance. The first thing I noticed, looking at the program, was that this performance was probably going to be a little different. One of the numbers was going to be performed to the song “Shut Up” by composers “The Bloodhound Gang” (The BHG listed as Composers? Really?) With lyrics like “I’m more tongue-in-cheek than a lesbian orgy” or a chorus of “I don’t give a damn if you don’t like me” I knew at least that performance was not going to be like the rest. Seriously.

While I can’t say that I fell in love with the ballet, I don’t even think we’ll date. What I did find out about myself is that I really enjoyed the dance and I can appreciate the skill of their craft but I need some other sort of stimulation, visual or auditory. Good music, more going on, on stage. Something. I just can’t watch a single person doing en avant or à la quatrieme devant and understand why that was significant or spectacular. I’ll going to give ballet more chances, although, I do want to explore more of the other styles of dance and realize I’m really lucky to have a city that is so culturally diverse to include so many styles of performance and so many venues to perform in.

Also, We almost lost Oregon Ballet Theater this year due to lack of funding. If you can, feel free to donate to them as well.

Row, row, row your boat; gently down the stream…

I have a Flickr account and for the longest time I didn’t know what to do with it. I just kind of imagined that it was my online storage and that I wouldn’t have to worry about losing photos. But as I spend a little more time with it, I find myself enjoying it more and more.  Here’s one of my favorites:

DSCN0092

The only real problem I see with my Flickr account is that my pictures get buried and I tend never to go back through those that I have posted. But recently I started doing that to my friends. Those who have connected with me through flickr. Here are some of my favorites buried within their respective photostreams.
From my friend Josh: His blog can be found here
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Above Photo by Josh Rhodes used with permission

Also when digging around I found this little gem from my friend Dale. 🙂
Clark County WA Sunset

The above photo really caught my eye, Which is really funny, because going through his photostream, this is not completely indicative of the photos he likes to shoot. But this below photo was buried way deep and I thought it needed to see the light of day again. 🙂

Punker Dale

Above Photos by Dale Chumbley used under Creative Commons licensing

Now there are a couple of people I know who do this kind of thing professionally. One of those people; Aaron, who is pretty active in the photography community here in Portland and has quite the following so I found it  difficult to pick one photo that really captures the kind of eye he has.  So I went with one that really caught my eye… Night Lights of a Train

Photo by Aaron Hockley used under Creative Commons licensing

Another one of my friends who should get a mention within this is Lucas; who, after finding him on Flickr, I found he has an incredible eye for some of this stuff. Here’s something I dug up from the vaults of his photostream.

Portland Sunset

Above Photo by Lucas Deshazer used with permission

I could keep going with all the photos I’ve found through Flickr but I do feel like I’m being a little cyberstalker-ish as I’m digging through lots and lots of photos throughout Flickr and through my friend’s Photo streams. It’s actually quite fun and I wholeheartedly recommend it. It also reminds me that while I do love to take pictures, I’m not sure that I would have a career in it, though its really fun to share them. If you’re not connected with me on Flickr yet, we need to do so. But be advised I will surf through your photostream and dig up things. You can find me at the following link. I leave you with one last photo:

DSCN0086

My Weekend….

I’ve had quite the busy weekend. I started out the weekend with no intention of major trips, though it seems that is what happens quite often to me.

Friday: I found myself starting the weekend with nothing planned. After I’d gotten home from work I received a call from my friend Chris and he wanted to go out to grab a bite to eat. Now I’ve been wanting to try Fire on the Mountain for quite some time now as I was made to understand that their wings are amazing and I’m a big fan of spicy wings. That being said, off we went to the location found on 18th-ish and E Burnside. What struck me about this place was not only was it quite busy, but the way you ordered. They have the menu up on the wall and you order and find your seat, and wait… And Wait. They have 12 different sauces to choose from for your wings. Also, if you’re not a wing fan they have some interesting sandwiches to choose from, my friend gave the buffalo chicken sandwich a big thumbs up, however, the large chunks of blue cheese weren’t to his liking, so I got to enjoy them…

(Funny side note; while sitting outside waiting on our food, we saw this family come up, a dad and his two sons, one of which had a broken leg – this kid was trying to be really friendly with this girl who was waiting for her order and when the kid sat down at the picnic table, he missed and on his butt he went! Perfectly in view of this rather attractive young lady, after making sure he was alright and properly seated, the girl went back inside to grab her order, on her way out she said “I hope you have more success with gravity next time”. My friend and I couldn’t help but to laugh, poor guy…)

From there, I was footloose and fancy free, so I sent a broadcast out on twitter(I love twitter) indicating that I was not ready yet for my Friday night to be over. 🙂 And I was on my way down to Whiffies Fried Pies when My friend Jan informed me that she was going to see the Andrew Oliver Kora Band at Jimmy Maks.

Now, I’m a big music fan, almost more so without lyrics. I found their music really jazzy/modern/funky/tribal – Yeah, I know, quite a mix of sounds there, but really enjoyed much of it.  Here’s a link to their demo page – and one of the songs that really caught my attention(Opens new page/needs Quicktime…) I strongly urge you to give the band a try. I’ve included some pictures of the band in the gallery below.

During one of the breaks I spotted a man with an incredible cell phone. One that put the iPhone & the Blackberry to shame. I was very intrigued. I had no idea what it was, but I decided to ask…. And it was A Nokia – It was exciting. But the very next moment, I noticed this man had a rather familiar accent – It was European and we (Jan and I) Found out he was from Kazakhstan and he and his friends we from all over the former Soviet bloc – Turkmenistan,  Tajikistan; Armenia, Georgia, & Estonia – all here on Foreign press credentials checking out the music scenes around the United States. They’d been to Tennessee, Georgia (I giggled) Portland, Then to Seattle and New York – It was quite the Friday Night Experience.

Saturday found my day filled with household duties, which meant watching some football and puttering about the house. Some friends of mine and I had planned to meet up at Whiffies for some Friendship and Fried pie, when we heard there would be a new flavor. Now new flavors are something to be celebrated, not that any of the existing flavors are not worth mentioning, but any new flavor creates a buzz and the buzz can be quite loud. Especially when that new flavor was Pumpkin Creme – It was seriously delicious, and one of my friends put it “it was honestly the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth”. I think the best part about the whole situation is that meeting up at Whiffies gives a bunch of people the opportunity to meet up and chat in a non-bar setting, where all are welcome. That little benefit is so often overlooked in this life, isn’t it?

Below you’ll find some pictures from my weekend travels, please do enjoy.

Roam, if you want to?

Earlier this week I had to travel to Pendleton, Oregon for work. I stayed at the WildHorse Casino, now those who know me, know that I am a big, huge, excitable fan of Casinos, especially slot machines. Also, I really like to take pictures with my camera phone, so I decided to share some of those with you today

National Poetry Day

I read somewhere that today is National Poetry day. While I would love to regale you with some new poem hot off the presses. It’s really hard for me to come up with something on the spot; so to celebrate, I’ve dusted off some ones that I have written. I hope you enjoy them. 🙂

Vision – Written 10/08/2004

Surreal in this form

Free spirited movement

Soaring, sailing, elapsing

Closed, opening, new, everlasting

Intricate, indicative, selective,

Solace in itself, a new place

Broadcasting its mixed signals

This dawn carries a new day

The dark its nemesis

Steady movements balance the equation

The cracks in its façade

The pain never felt for either

Fire from the suns blinding glow

Water from the oceans grasp

Wind signals nature’s fury

Earth surrounds and envelops

A formula building for celebrating

A cyclone of new ideas and visions

Abstract explosions of color

Lost thoughts forever beat in time

The glow, the warmth, the wind

The cold endeavors to placate the masses

Yet entertain the minions.

Sanctum – 2005

Take a moment everyday

Stop and enjoy a scenic view

May it bring a moments respite

May its beauty help you find yours

Allow the delicate serenity to offer safe harbor

In the journey to find your peace.

Found my footing – Written 06/26/2005

The rhythmic cadence

Sets the tone

Each chatter, tatter

Echoing bass

Beckons the mind

As each line is written

Her roaming, deliberate

Yet, random

A predator circling its prey

This all too random

Precise placement of pawns

This power play

Has all too often been published

A bulwark of education

This attempt comical

The storyteller afforded no space

As he pens his epic

The medicine man disenfranchised

The time has come

Friendship…

It’s funny, I love Twitter & Facebook, I love the ability to keep up with friends at my own pace and as I am able; however, life sometimes becomes really busy and its sometimes hard to keep up with those who don’t reside on the interwebs. I know, in this day and age it seems like a hard thing to imagine. But I have a friend who has been my friend for many many years. In fact longer than anyone else I’ve know who isn’t related to me. In the neighborhood of Twenty plus years. She is the mother of my Godchildren, one of which is named after me and every time I think of picking up the phone to give her a call, It seems too late at night. We keep in touch through the most scant of measures: texts, a quick call here and there. I feel like a bad friend. I know I’m not, I know its just time doing what it does, but that’s what friendship truly is. Knowing that within a moments time, a quick hello “how’s it going?” all remains the same. I don’t talk about her often. I’ve never said it better, but this is how I describe my friend. I hope you enjoy some of my old writing. I apologize if the flow is a little bumpy.

Have you ever met a person whose magnetism draws you to them from across a mental distance so great that you would swim the expanse of the Pacific Ocean just to hear their voice? Yet you know that without any lines of communication you feel their presence in your heart, head, throughout your soul, and in every fiber of your being? That is the kind of friend Gina is to me.
In this life she has honored me not only with the most phenomenal gift of her friendship, but she has also blessed me with the honor of two godchildren, her first, named after me, and also her second, in a way named after me. You see, when I was born, my parents were expecting a girl (who would have thought eh?) I was to be named Natasha Marie, instead I came out a boy, and was named Nicholas Christopher, Which happens to be the names of her children. The second was named without knowing the previous story. Call it fate, call it kismet, call it whatever. How did Gina and I become this close? Well, I guess you could say through persistence.
Sixth grade, 1989, Kellogg Middle School. See, I had been dating Miss Candice, my first real girlfriend you could say, Gina had met her, I believe, cause they had gone to school together previously, and Gina’s best friend Christina, who didn’t seem to care for me all that much. We all converged on the same table during lunch, and subsequently after school, I found out they walked roughly the same path I did home, and well, I was persistent, something drew me to Gina, and she was pretty good at not giving me the time of day. I never gave up, and one day it happened, Christina had said something that didn’t sit well with Gina and she decided that since I was around, she would talk to me, and pretty much from that day on, we have been good friends and later, the best of friends. You see, sometimes it really does pay to be tenacious.
Gina and I have had many adventures, We have been through quite a bit. Yet, she somehow still puts up with me I guess, there in itself is an example of an exemplary lady. I guess a couple of my personal favorites, one is a time in which I probably shouldn’t have even been alive… My twenty-first birthday, the other, far earlier in our friendship, yet bringing laughter into the world. Let’s start with the former…
My twenty-first birthday, July 25th 1999. We, and when I say we, I mean ten of my friends and I, had started out the evening going out to one of my favorite restaurants, Chang’s Mongolian Grill. If you have never been to this particular establishment, it is set up buffet-style, in the first part, you choose your meat, which is all frozen: pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, cod, etc. The second part, is all your vegetables, which are fresh, and the third is your seasonings, all in liquid. They have things like cooking sherry, ginger, garlic, lime juice, vinegar, salt water, hot oil, you get the picture, then you get in line at the cookery. Where two guys working in a silent union, run around this super hot wok-type hot plate, you can feel the heat from 5 feet back. and they throw it on there and in usually about 2 or 3 minutes, you get a plate of piping hot food. How they keep track of whose stuff is whose, I have yet to catch on, just remember to stay in your place in line, they hate it if you move. So with the ten of us keeping them busy, laughing, having a good time, drinking wine, it was a lively bunch.
Gina had to be home as she couldn’t go out with us to the bars that night, so a good handful of us went out on the town, I left my car at my friend Jeremey’s and off we went. I had so much to drink that I lost count. I was rather Schnik-faced. So when we got back to Jeremey’s, where I was going to sleep off the night, something went all kookier in my head and I had it in my mind that I had to get out of there, I couldn’t spend the night, so I waited until he went to the bathroom, snagged my keys and hopped in my car, away I went! Rather than going home, which was a much shorter drive, I called Gina, and informed her I was on the road and I wanted to see her, so over to her house I went. I got there, and we talked for about 5 minutes, upon which she proceeded to give me a rather terse tongue-lashing on how I should not be driving, and that I should get home and think about what I had done. (Yeah, I know)
This  other experience, back in middle school. Seventh grade. You see, it was time for the big drama presentation for the school, and Ms. Doocy; our drama teacher wanted to get all three grades involved, So it was deemed that the Seventh Grade, would be the judges and there would be 4 girls and 4 guys selected. Gina and I somehow made the cut. It was revealed to us that the guys would be dressed as girls and the girls made into guys. Now, I guess in retrospect I am glad my parents were never really interested in my after school stuff. But, this would be my first time meeting Gina’s parents…. oh boy! So as we are getting ready, Gina goes to put makeup on me. Little did I know at the time, that this makeup would be waterproof and she was going to make me up all sorts of pretty… (oh yeah, I know you can imagine.) Lets just say, my first meeting with Gina’s parents was rather peculiar….