Friday, November 30, 2007

Bird on a Fence

Clyde, CA

I just want to confirm - this is a bird and not a grasshopper.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

You have done well Grasshopper



Gun Point, CA

(BTC - Like a flip book)
(BTC - Casper)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Birds of a Feather

Walnut Creek, CA

(BTC - Snow Fight)

(Song stuck in my head all day)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Does this make me a bad boyfriend?

In case you missed this somewhere along the way, Nina and I are back together. The break up was a catalyst for a very frank and honest discussion where in a lot of the issues we both had were resolved.

So being back together we are back to talking on the phone on a pretty regular basis. (Every Night!) Occasionally I find my self ending the conversation to watch TV. I'm not a big TV kind of guy, but there are shows that I find interesting. House, Mad Men, The Office and The Closer. (Wow! I'm not network particular at all - FOX, AMC, NBC, TNT. So much for loyalty.) I usually get my TV online through various online pirate spots. (Here and Here for starters.) But occasionally I will end a conversation with Nina so that I can watch TV. I wonder if this makes me a bad guy or just a guy. Hmm.

But why doesn't it look like the picture

So tonight was a little frustrating. John and I try to cook at home as much as possible and our meals have gotten boring. So I have started using this Betty Crocker cookbook I bought in Rexburg.Every time I cook out of that cook book, though, I get very disappointed. The food on my plate never looks like the picture. Take tonight, for example.

The Picture on top is what it is supposed to look like. The picture on the bottom is how it looked on John's plate. It bothers me when those two don't look alike. Nina says that my stuff will never look like the stuff in the picture, but it still bothers me.

Last Digit

Antioch, CA

My phone is dying a very slow death and pretty soon here I'm going to have to get a new one. The keypad doesn't always pick up the number I'm putting on it, or it picks up the number twice. It's very frustrating. Soon I will renew my contract and get a new phone (and a new number).

(BTC)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Member Services

Antioch, CA

I went with John to Kaiser today. His sinuses are already giving him problems.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

trash cans

Antioch, CA

I've had a lot on my mind lately. The big thing on my mind is my job. There is other stuff on the peripheral that is beginning to have an effect on me as well. So today you just get a picture of trash cans. I'm sorry. I'm hoping to be more inspiring in the future.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Christmas Lights on Temple Hill

Oakland, CA

They lit the lights for the Christmas Season on Temple Hill tonight.

(BTC)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Orange

Oakland, CA

I'm sorry, but all of my other shots turned out really crappy today, so here is yet another sunset. I really like the orange in this shot.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Turkey Day

Concord, CA

We went out to Marie Calender's for Thanksgiving Dinner tonight. I was sooo hungry by the time our main course showed up that I forgot to get a picture of the fixin's. Thankfully John eats slower than me.

20 things I'm grateful for

The fine people at Fancy Simple (By the way I haven't gotten my prize yet) have suggested we write out 20 things we're grateful for.

There is some what of an order to this.

1. God
2. Jesus Christ
3. Holy Ghost
4. My family - I have been a pain to deal with for the last three years and they have been very supportive.
5. My girlfriend Nina - I'm amazed at her patience and her forgiveness.
6. My friends.
7. My digital camera. I love sharing my life with the world with one snap shot at a time. It was the best father's day gift any one could ever give me. I love my dad for it and I am so grateful for my opportunity to do PAD.
8. My health. I spent a lot of time as a kid being sick. While I still get sick more often than other people, I'm still thankful for the improved health I enjoy. I don't spend as much time sick as I used to.
9. My truck. I'm not a very material kind of guy, but I do appreciate the blessings of my truck. My father helped me buy it and it has allowed me some experiences I doubt I could ever have had any other way.
10. Garden State. What? A movie in my top ten things? Yes - because this movie, more than any other, moves me beyond the depression of lost into a direction of hope.
11. America. Despite all of the stupid things that happen here, I still appreciate all of the blessing I have by being bred and born under the flag that stands for freedom.
12. Baseball. My father was a complicated man when I was growing up. We didn't always have a lot in common and furthermore his work constantly took him out of the country. But every summer he made time to take Chad and I to baseball games. And as we would watch the A's lose, my father would talk to us, share stories with us, and make us feel like we were the only kids with their dad at those games.
13. Myspace, facebook, and blogger. I don't think I would remain as close as I am to friends any family if it wasn't for those three networking sites.
14. Good TV. I just love TV that inspires me and makes me think differently. It's rare now days, but it is worth it.
15. Good book writers. I will always be impressed that Mitch Albom got me to cry the tears that my therapist tried for two years to get me to cry. And it turns out my therapist was right - it felt so good to do it.
16. mechanical knowledge. I know people that can't hear of a problem and then know how to fix it with their tools and a 2x4. I am so grateful for the gifts and talents I have been given to build and fix things in this world.
17. The charity of others.
18. Forgiveness
19. Family traditions. We don't have many, but I love the ones we do have. Even though some of them are morbid.
20. knj. Without her, I would have never believed in myself and I wouldn't have done so well. It's weird, but I knew I loved Nina from something KNJ had taught me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Porcelain Goddess

Antioch, CA

I started throwing up last night about 11PM and continued into this morning. I ended up having to call in sick for my 4th day of work. I'm still nauseas 12 hours after I initially started vomiting.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Plant stand

Antioch, CA

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sunrise

Antioch, CA

This is my first sunrise I've been awake for in almost 10 months.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Glasses

Antioch, CA

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Dinner of Chapions

Antioch, CA

After not eating any chocolate in either liquid form or cooked form for almost 2 months, I cracked under the pressure last night. Work was just too much so I had chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Where the Chaos is controlled

Antioch, CA

My new classroom.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

One last try

Concord, CA

As the day drew to a close, the sunlight tried one last time to shoot through the clouds.

On a completely different subject: My brother, his wife and my niece are the best people on God's green earth.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thrrough the web

Clyde, CA

Sometimes images get distorted when we look through the webs of our own deceptions.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there

Clyde, CA

I saw more flags today than I did yesterday.

Please remember that if you had the day off today, it is nice to say thanks.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Great Eye Site

Clyde, CA

(BTC)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mural

Antioch, CA

Several of the buildings in Old Downtown Antioch have painting on the walls. Here's the one at 4th and G.


(Is it just me or does the sailor look slimy?)

Faith of our fathers and our Homeless

This is the last entry I will be making for Fancy Simple for a while. This week they have been talking about faith and today the faith question came almost full circle. I talked in the past that Faith without works is dead. It does you no good in my mind to have faith in anything unless it inspires you to action. Have faith in a higher power hopefully gets you to show worship of that higher power by doing things that higher power would have you do. If you have Faith that this next year the Chicago Cubs will finally make it to the World Series (and Win for once), you might show your faith to buy tickets and go to one of their pathetic games (that they will probably lose).

Faith requires action.

Fancy Simple suggests that I tell you about how my faith inspires me. I'd like to share three instances.

Faith in my God has resulted in me feeling the importance of bearing one another's burdens. This Sunday is Veteran's day. We have three major generations of war in our lives. We have our Grandparent's war (WWII), our Father's war (Viet Nam) and we have our generation's war (Invading Iraq to have a piece of the oil market). We have 3 sets of soldiers that sometimes just want to talk. Right now I am doing part-time construction at the home of a 90 year-old woman who loves for me to eat lunch with her ("Just like my Charlie used to when we built this house..."). And as I sit there and eat with her she tells me stories. Stories about growing up. Stories about living with "Japs" and "Negroes." Stories about her husband and his war the pacific theatre. And I listen to everyone of those stories. Of course there is work to be done (termites to find, wood to replace, sheetrock to install), but she wants to talk. I think that is important to do. Listen to those who have gone before.

For my second item I want to talk about doing what's right even when you realize you're probably getting screwed. I am not a change guy. I used to be. My brother's best friend Ryan can tell you stories of when I was a young pup, Ryan used to throw dimes and nickels in the street just so they could watch me chase after them. But not any more - change is just something that weighs me down and slows me down. So when I go to the store and they give me change back, I throw it into my ash tray. Then when I come across many of the homeless people in Antioch I give them some of my change. I have heard people say that I am just throwing my money away. In stead of begging for money - these people could go out and get good jobs. I don't care. I have faith that they will use the money for their good. "Their Good" is a very loose term in my head. If buying a gram and getting high is what they think is good for them, then I don't care. I just know that to not share something that I'm not going to do anything with isn't good for me.

The last piece of faith in action comes from a comment my sister made. This is the holiday season and there are people in need of food. She is planning on donating to the food back. I whole heartily endorse this. Growing up in Fremont, my mother used to go to the store and get canned goods for our food storage. When the Second Harvest people would come to our door I would slip into our food storage and find them all of the Homeless Corn we have. What is Homeless Corn, you ask? It's creamy corn. Every time I've worked at a homeless shelter, they have had creamy corn for their occupants. I'm not sure if it's be cause homeless people love creamy corn or if, like me, eating homeless corn inspires them to not be homeless, but I do know that my mother was constantly seeing her homeless corn go to those that needed it.
Why donate to the homeless? Call it karma or call it faith, but I believe that it is creating a security net. You never know when tragedy will hit your life. One day you may be a rich person in the hills of Malibu and the next you are eating homeless corn at Qualcom Stadium. But by giving now you are having faith that if you ever need it, someone will give to you when you are in need. Even if all they are giving is Homeless Corn.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wanted: Ugly Lesbian to dress me

I've been thinking a lot about my need for an ugly lesbian girl. One of these days I'm going to be a special education teacher teaching at a middle school. I will need to look professional. But I'm not sure what that means. After all of the fuss over my tie collection, I'm quickly realizing that I need some serious fashion advice. Actually, what I think I need is a fashion dresser. Someone that can look at my closet and tell me what goes well together and then dress me in it, take a picture and help me create a catalog of daily outfits. I realize that at some point (according to Nina and Liz, quicker than I'm comfortable with) I'm going to have to leave the closet behind and actually go shopping for clothes.

(I'd like to interrupt here with a quick story. One year for summer break I drove out to WI to see my family. My sister took me to Target and started putting clothes in the cart. I thought they were for Chad. Nope. They were for me. I fought hard to get one outfit that I wanted and Liz agreed only on the condition that she get to choose two outfits that I didn't want. First day of school rolls around and I wore my outfit. Not a single talked to me. I didn't score any study partners or even a date. The next day I wore an outfit designed by Liz. Two dinner dates, two phone numbers, and a study partner.)

My current way of acquiring clothes is by getting my jeans from Costco and my shirts from Comdex Conferences. I'm working on becoming comfortable with the idea that I might actually have to get beyond the "one size fits all" shirts.

Now I know what you're asking yourselves: "Why does he need a ugly lesbian to help him out?" Let's start with the idea that guys telling other guys what to wear just kind of weirds me out. So gay and straight guys are out. Oh, and bi-sexuals as well. Males helping me shot...yup - not going to happen. That leaves women. Liz is pretty safe. She's married to my brother and so there really is no threat there. But I'm single, 28 and a Mormon (which reads: Not having sex, and maybe a little sexually frustrated). So pretty much any other straight girl is a threat. If a girl is willing to spend an hour with me, and she's not my sister-in-law, telling me if my body looks good in an outfit (any outfit), my mind is not going to be on shopping - it's going to be on trying to figure out how to get the girl to the ring section at Wal-Mart and then off to Reno as quick as possible. If she's willing to spend an hour looking at my body...yup it's a match made in heaven.

So I'm stuck with Lesbian girls. I need an ugly Lesbian girl to help me shop for clothing. Why does she have to be ugly you ask? If she's cute, then I'll spend the time shopping for clothes trying to convert her to a straight lifestyle so that we can go to Wal-Mart and then Reno. With an Ugly Lesbian I can focus on my fashion needs.

However, this all being said - I don't think I know any ugly lesbians. Anyone out there that can help me?

Thanks. My future students say thanks. They don't want to see me in my current state. It distracts from the learning process.

Building Faith

Today's challenge from Fancy Simple is to give a photo of faith. This building inspires faith in me. I believe that in this building families can be sealed together forever. I have faith, that as my family is sealed for time and all eternity, I will see my mother again.

(By the way - this building is the Rexburg Temple in Rexburg, Idaho. There are open houses starting the last week of December for anyone in the general public that wants a look inside.)

Block of wood

Anitoch, CA

I'm working on carving a new fish and it's not going well. If the project doesn't get better in the next day, I might redesign the plans and turn it into a box of kindling.

San Diego Blanket Project

Hey Everyone, I just wanted to pass this along. Katie has a link on her blog to a San Diego Blanket Project. While it is no secret that I can't sew, knit, or do anything else crafty wise,I wanted to let you know that - if you are crafty, unlike me - there is a gathering of 8 inch squares that is on going. With the help of those of you who are crafty, blankets will be given to those who have not even a home to call their own. If you can help - please do. I hate to use the tired phrase - but united we stand. Or more precise - united we help rebuild the lives of our neighbors.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Buddy in Action

Fremont, CA

The dog in the foreground is Buddy. The black lab in the background is Sadie. They were both too busy begging for food from my friend to pose for the camera.

This is the 150th post, fyi.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The green sunset

Antioch, Ca

I can't take credit for scouting this location. A guy in my church reminded me there was a fishing dock in Antioch to take pictures from.

I dated a girl 5 years ago who loved the green in everything. I trained myself to see the green in sunsets and have a hard time not seeing the green in sunsets now.

Faith Questionaire

Let me first state that I'm really hoping that this week's challenge from Fancy Simple doesn't distract from the most recent Dead Animal Series Break Through. We CANNOT forget these poor creatures.

**
That said, Fancy Simple has posted a questionnaire for today's function of faith. Below are my answers. Comments are always welcome as long as you identify who you are. (Anonymous posts will be deleted.)

What is faith?

To answer this I take from the Book of Mormon. "Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." Additionally I take from an old Scoutmaster of mine,"Faith without works is dead. Or Faith without works isn't Faith." I think faith is an action word and a describing word.

Who or what has most inspired your faith?

I think my mother has inspired my faith the most. My mother had a lot of struggles in life and was tried over and over again. Yes she stayed true to her faith in God. Despite all that happened to her she still always prayed and hoped that God would grant her a better day. He blessed her with small miracles over large miracles and medium size blessings over huge blessings, but she still remained faithful to God and her faith in Him all the way up to the moment she passed from our presence to His.

Which celebrity faith craze most intrigues you?

I'm not sure I ever really follow celebrity faith crazes. I try to be respectful to what people believe and I don't really notice the crazes. However, I have noticed that there is a growing religion that worships the lives of performers over the acts of performers. It used to be that we revered actors and actresses for their abilities on the stage or the silver screen. However now we tend to care less about talent and focus on lifestyle. I have a friend who comes home from work every day and turns on the TV to watch Entertainment Tonight. He is enthralled in the lives of celebrities. It is his religion and it has its own rules and its own doctrine. And each night he sits in front of the TV worshiping the lives of the celebrities. Faithfully he dives into their lives and lives through them vicariously. Instead of riding his bike or taking a college course or even volunteering at the library reading to little kids, he comes home to join the religion of living vicariously through others. Celebrity Worship is a very interesting faith craze that intrigues me. I don't understand what makes the lives of celebrities better than our own lives.

What do you do to maintain and/or grow in your faith?

I think that faith is maintained and grown by exercising faith. I have been unemployed for the last several months and largely I tried to find work on my own with out supernatural help. Then I decided to exercise faith. I prayed to God to know the direction I should take. I felt a reassurance that teaching was where I belonged. I then prayed to be helped on the tests and the applications to become a teacher in California. Over time I received that help. I know that I did well on the test not by my own doing, but because of the faith and prayers I entrusted to my God.

Who do you have faith in?

God, and everything that goes with that.

Do you pray? What do you pray about?

I pray often. I pray for health and safety for my self and my friends and family. I pray for instruction. And I pray (most often) to say my gratitude for the blessings I have been given in my life.

How do you share your faith with others?

By writing blogs.

What (or who) prevents you from being faithful?

I think my self doubts and my impatience prevent me from being faithful. There is that old adage that God's time is not our time, and God's vision is not our vision. I grow weary not knowing the end from the beginning and I grow impatient when the blessing I desire now isn't being given to me now, but is instead coming down the road. I feel like giving up sometimes when things don't go the way I think they should go. Eventually, though, I see the ways of the Lord clearer and know that the things He through in my way actually blessed me.

Do you have a faith-related pet peeve? What is it?

My only faith pet-peeve would be the one stated earlier. I have a hard time seeing why people waste their time having faith in something that doesn't make them better. Having faith in the lives of a celebrity scares me a little. Even having faith in a devil brings people to action. Faith in the vicarious lives of celebrities doesn't usually move people to action.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Raccoons

"Why don't blind people go sky diving? It scares the heck out of the guide dogs."

Raccoons are known around the world for being animals with perfect night vision. At night, their eyes are able to see things as if it were at noon on Tuesday. They can see objects, food and predators easily. It is God's gift to raccoons to see really well at night.

Unfortunately, it is not night time all the time. Just as the moon is a constant companion, so is the sun. The sun always rises in the east (except on one night in May 1994, but that's another story). It stretches across the sky and lights up the world making night vision goggles worthless.

It also makes the perfect night vision of raccoons worthless. They go from 20/20 to being blinder than than people who see us winning in Iraq. And it is for this reason that raccoons wind up on our roads splattered.

Now I'm sure you're thinking the same thing I once did - "If the raccoons know that the sun will blind them, why don't they just make it home before sun up. The Count does, why can't they?" It's not always that simple. Sometimes they lose track of time, or they get distracted following some food or sometimes they do plan ahead and then they become victims of circumstance. It is that last reason I want to talk about tonight.

Raccoons are in desperate need of your help. Many of you have seen or at least know about seeing eye dogs. They are trained by people with vision for people without. Raccoons need the same from us. They need people with vision to train seeing eye mice to guide raccoons home after a night of tipping over garbage cans.

"Mice?" you ask. Yes, mice. Seeing eye dogs and raccoons don't get along all that well. They are constantly trying to eat each other and it doesn't do you any good to get home if you get there in the belly of a yellow Labrador. Mice aren't trying to eat raccoons and therefore there is a more harmonious work environment.

I know the other question you are asking, "Shouldn't the raccoons be training their own mice?" And the answer is, they probably should but ever since the start of the program there has been trouble with that. You see, the raccoons placed an ad on the radio for mice to come help the blind. They started doing these ads in the cities where the raccoons had particular problems in alleys during storms. Responding to the add was these three little mice. Unfortunately, they all were tailless (which made it hard for the raccoons to hold onto them and be led by them), but furthermore they were all blind. Literally it was the blind leading the blind in an alley during a thunderstorm. Well, the raccoons got so frustrated with these three tailless blind mice that they ate them. Recruitment went way down after that and hasn't fully recovered. The raccoons are trying a new ad campaign next summer that involves a sexy blond mouse washing a car while eating a cheeseburger while helping a raccoon not get hit by the car, but until then, the raccoons need your help. They need you to start training seeing eye mice. With your help, the raccoons will be able to make it home alive without falling prey to cars and trucks they just couldn't see coming.

Faith

The fine people at Fancy Simple have posted another challenge - one that I think about constantly. My Sister-in-law has asked me to attempt more postings at Fancy Simple and so this week I'm going to make an attempt.

The challenge specifically for today is to post our favorite quote on faith. There are so many to choose from, but my mind immediately goes to the apostle Paul and his writings to the Hebrews in which he says: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

There is so much that I have Faith in, but the most central to me I think is the faith I have that I will see my mother again some day and that my family will be one eternal organization.

Pipe Fittings

Clyde, CA

PGE came to shut off my friend's gas today before her house got tented.

(BTC)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Raccoons

"Why don't blind people go sky diving? It scares the heck out of the guide dogs."

Raccoons are known around the world for being animals with perfect night vision. At night, their eyes are able to see things as if it were at noon on Tuesday. They can see objects, food and predators easily. It is God's gift to raccoons to see really well at night.

Unfortunately, it is not night time all the time. Just as the moon is a constant companion, so is the sun. The sun always rises in the east (except on one night in May 1994, but that's another story). It stretches across the sky and lights up the world making night vision goggles worthless.

It also makes the perfect night vision of raccoons worthless. They go from 20/20 to being blinder than than people who see us winning in Iraq. And it is for this reason that raccoons wind up on our roads splattered.

Now I'm sure you're thinking the same thing I once did - "If the raccoons know that the sun will blind them, why don't they just make it home before sun up. The Count does, why can't they?" It's not always that simple. Sometimes they lose track of time, or they get distracted following some food or sometimes they do plan ahead and then they become victims of circumstance. It is that last reason I want to talk about tonight.

Raccoons are in desperate need of your help. Many of you have seen or at least know about seeing eye dogs. They are trained by people with vision for people without. Raccoons need the same from us. They need people with vision to train seeing eye mice to guide raccoons home after a night of tipping over garbage cans.

"Mice?" you ask. Yes, mice. Seeing eye dogs and raccoons don't get along all that well. They are constantly trying to eat each other and it doesn't do you any good to get home if you get there in the belly of a yellow Labrador. Mice aren't trying to eat raccoons and therefore there is a more harmonious work environment.

I know the other question you are asking, "Shouldn't the raccoons be training their own mice?" And the answer is, they probably should but ever since the start of the program there has been trouble with that. You see, the raccoons placed an ad on the radio for mice to come help the blind. They started doing these ads in the cities where the raccoons had particular problems in alleys during storms. Responding to the add was these three little mice. Unfortunately, they all were tailless (which made it hard for the raccoons to hold onto them and be led by them), but furthermore they were all blind. Literally it was the blind leading the blind in an alley during a thunderstorm. Well, the raccoons got so frustrated with these three tailless blind mice that they ate them. Recruitment went way down after that and hasn't fully recovered. The raccoons are trying a new ad campaign next summer that involves a sexy blond mouse washing a car while eating a cheeseburger while helping a raccoon not get hit by the car, but until then, the raccoons need your help. They need you to start training seeing eye mice. With your help, the raccoons will be able to make it home alive without falling prey to cars and trucks they just couldn't see coming.

Desk

Antioch, CA

Santa brought me this desk like 20 years ago. I think it's the only thing Santa gave me that has survived.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Missionary

Brentwood, CA

There was a baptism tonight. This Sister Missionary was enjoying her last baptism refreshments. She goes home to Springville UT on Wednesday.

(Have I ever mentioned how much I love candid shots)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Reflective Lawn Ornament

Clyde, CA

(BTC)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I guess I really have no excuses

Melinda posted this on her blog today. I always have told Nina that the reason I can't dance is because I have two left feet. This guy has no left feet!!

What's in the bag

Antioch, CA

See what is inside