February 27, 2009
Back in 2001 my brother Evan played in a talent show at his middle school. He was only 14. The name of the band was "Los Hombres." They played one song, "Purple Haze" by Hendrix. In addition to myself, my father, mother, mother's husband and I were there to cheer Evan on.
I remember before the performance seeing my brother surrounded by his friends. They were big, stinky wrestling fans. After the performance my brother was surrounded by cheering girls. So it is in rock 'n roll.
We had two Hi8 camcorders rolling at Minnetonka Middle School East that day. I remember being excited to try out my PC video capture equipment to cut this video together. Who would have guessed that it would be fodder for YouTube one day?
My friend Jeremy launched his new eBusiness enterprise a few weeks ago. It is called Snappy Stitch. The company does embroidery digitizing. That is, you send them any piece of artwork and they turn it into a file that can be used to manufacture embroidered goods.
Jeremy knows what he is doing. It is an interesting business, I am sure he'll succeed!
February 11, 2009
I attended the Twin Cities Metro Dogg Party at the Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis. I had a nice time.
February 9, 2009
Pomegranate and the Wheel of Reincarnation
Pomegranate flavored beverages and candies are to 2009 what blue razzberry foods were to 1989. Is this progress?
At least my mouth is not left dyed blue.
February 8, 2009
|Lens||3 Element Glass|
|Shutter @ Aperture||Unknown @ Unknown|
A man who dresses up for photos in Plaza Mayor, Madrid. He wasn't wearing any underwear. I put 1€ in his box for the guilt-free privilege of taking this photograph.
Taken from the same back of Fuji FP-100C SILK instant color print film as the previous image. The texture of the film seems to work a little better with this image.
February 2, 2009
Topics of conversation between foreigners often lead to things held in common. One such commonality may be the difference in culture shared between them.
While I was in Amsterdam, I enjoyed talking to the Dutch. Several of the conversations I had led me to think about my own culture. Commonly, people told me that Americans were difficult to get to know. We are non-direct and put having a good time and maintaining harmony above substance. Very often, I was told, when talking to an American you get the feeling that there is something beyond the superficiality but you cannot ever quite break though.
I wanted to believe that what people were telling me was not true. I liked to think that I am not representative of these aspects of my culture. I would like to think that if I am an exception then there are many more American exceptions and the logic simply cannot hold. The prejudice must be false. I thought this way before I met the seminary students from St. Thomas.
When you take a flight from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport to the US it is common to pass through two security screenings. The first is the standard check where you remove all the metal bits from your pockets and place your laptop in its own tray. The second is right at the gate of your flight where you go through this entire process again but then are interviewed individually by a security agent on who packed your bags, where you have come from, where you are going, and why. I like to think this is the Dutch way of helping travelers adjust to American culture before ever having to leave the Netherlands.
While I was standing in the line to get inspected I heard a very particular noise. It was a warble, like a Turkey's call but made of several high tones. But in the tones there were English words, and faked emotions. I am referring to the sound produced by American college undergraduate girls and I was surrounded by twenty or thirty of them.
I was curious why there were so many and so I asked the girl standing in front of me—a medium height, dumpy, thin-lipped thing with a chicken's eyes. She said, "umm, we are, like, on our J-Term trip."
Naïve me asked, "what is 'J-Term?'"
Frustrated at my appalling lack of knowledge of compounded acronyms she rolled her eyes at me and said, "January term. We are seminary students, from St. Thomas. We just spent a month in Rome." She said Rome to me in a way that suggested that it was a Rome that would be impossible for me to ever visit because I was so creepy. Creepy and stupid.
By now, her friends had turned around to see who this "weirdo" was that was obviously trying to "pick up" on their thin-lipped chicken-eyed friend. I asked some small talk questions and received many, "umm...yeah" responses in reply. That is when I decided to try and reach for the stars.
"I have been in a few discussions recently about how Americans don't really have concrete opinions on matters and how we don't like to volunteer our true thoughts or express ourselves philosophically, but you are seminary students right?" I continued, "can you tell me one experience from your trip to Rome that profoundly changed your thinking about the world or your religion or your philosophy?"
I was met with blank stares. I continued, "it doesn't have to be related directly to the church or something liturgical, how about something from Italian culture?"
The thin-lipped alpha chicken gave a mocked expression of pain which receded to counterfeit exhaustion. "Umm, look, we umm, just had our final on this stuff yesterday? So, like, we don't want to talk about it again right now, kay?" And then she turned away from me, standing proud at the shoulders that she had saved herself and all her friends from the painful act of thinking or sharing meaningful words with another human being.
Were my European acquaintances correct? Are Americans hard to get to know? Do we not have critical, well reasoned thoughts to share with others? No. I do not believe it is true all the time. Spending months abroad have taught me that every country has its people who when looked in the eye stare back with the same empty look as a fish on ice or thin-lipped chicken. The difference may be that many more of our American fish and chicken people have airline tickets and J-Terms to spend with their classmates in Rome.