Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Is it Genetic

I don't know much about genetic coding. I know there are recessive and um some other sort of genes. Yea, I have no idea what I'm talking about here. High school was a long time ago. What I do know though is that I just saw a picture of my uncle, Sensi Thoms or Steve for short, and his taste in hair is very similar to mine. (my uncle can beat up your uncle) Look at that full beard and long hair. Could it be that I have no choice but to grow my hair out. Perhaps my DNA is the cause. I don't will to do it, I am encoded for long hair and a beard. Oh and look at this picture of him throwing someone on their head. How cool is that?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Table 8 Vs. Table 19

The table numbers in the following story may have been changed to protect the innocent. Or they may not have. I don't have a good memory for random numbers.

It was an evening like any other. The party hall was dimly lit and full of well dressed guests. The smells of free food wafted throughout, a tempting yet allusive mistress. This was a wedding a reception. Jeremy and Nicole's to be exact. But I regress, lets get back to the food. The order in which the guest would eat was left to fate, a random lottery of table numbers to be drawn from the proverbial hat. I prayed that our table would be first. "Dear Lord please, I'm hungry" I pleaded. Table 8 however had another strategy, they rubbed their table number for good luck. We compared strategies and came to the conclusion that prayer trumped luck. Apparently knowing the bartender who is drawing the numbers trumps both prayer and luck.

"Guess what, they're calling number 8 next!" Melanie gloated. And it was as she had prophesied. In unison table 8 stood up, arms raised in victory. This wasn't right. They weren't Beyond Blessed, they were cheaters. In an act of revenge, Steve decided to steal Melanie's chair. Jon, her husband realized the theft and recovered the stolen property. Humph, as I walked to the bar to get a refill on the chips Jon called to me, offering what appeared to be a single carrot. I refused but on my way back to my table I gingerly picked a roll up from Melanie's plate, took a bite, and then returned it.

Fortunately for table 19 our number soon came up and we were off to collect our reward. As I returned to my table, plates in hand, table 8 called to me. "Hey Dan," Steve number two, said with the lips of a serpent. As I turned my head to acknowledge him, Melanie stole the roll right off of my plate, took a bite, and then kept it. I of course had to return to the line for a new roll. I will not be roll less.

"Excuse me, could you give me a roll?" I asked a fellow wedding attendee. He obliged but I was later told that he may have called me a derelict. I commend him for not going the easy rout of calling me a bum. (In an effort to show him that I do indeed have money I have hired a hitman to break his kneecaps). Steve's roll befell a similar fate. Chris, another member of our table had both of his plates stolen by Jon. In the end though, my stomach was full and that's what matters.

Friday, December 26, 2008

1,2,3,4,5,6,7...THE ZOO

1,2,3,4,5,6,7...1,2,3,4,5,6,7...1,2,3,4,5,6,7... Today I went to the zoo, Festival of Lights. It was my sister Faith, 2 cars, 7 kiddos and me. (Thank you eBay for those $3 tickets) If you've ever gone anywhere with any number of kids than you understand where the counting comes in. Constant counting, ok, am I missing anyone, everyone grab someones hand, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. The age breakdown was went something like 12, 12, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4 so adult supervision was needed, constantly. Four year olds can run, wiggle and pretty much get under any railing system. We saw the elephants (Jade said she would cry if there were no elephants because they are her favorite animal), the giraffes, snakes, alligators, birds, and well, you get the idea. The Cincinnati zoo is one of the largest in the country so there are a lot of animals. Most of them just lay around waiting for everyone to go home. Oh, we also saw Linda's favorite animal, kind of. We went to McDonalds afterwords and got hamburgers. Yea, her favorite animal is the cow. There didn't seem to be as many lights this year. I heard it was because they were trying to be more green. Stupid green. And let me just say, that was a lot of walking. I think I wore them out. I know they wore me out. If there wasn't enough walking inside the zoo, well, we went out the wrong exit. We walked at least 5 city blocks back to the car. Oh, and I did that mini marathon with a kid on my back. I'm like some sort of Iron man, grrrrrr. Yea, it was fun. The End.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Christmas Gun

"You almost @#$%^!& ran over me and my kids. What the #%$@ is wrong with you!"
"Shut the @$#% up!"
"You can $%&^%*@ *%^& my *&^%"
"I swear, I will get a ^$*%@$! gun out of my car and shoot you!"

That's right folks, I went to Walmart last night and Christmas was in he air. People had smiles on their faces, kind of. The smiles were all upside down. Folks would great each other with Christmas cheer, I think. They were all muttering something under their breath that I couldn't quite make out. Ok, so everyone wasn't happy. That would soon change though.

Everyone likes free and that's what the Vineyard Westsided was bringing the people of the Westside Walmart. Free gift wrap and free hot chocolate. My job was simple. I stood out in front of the Walmart exit door to direct people towards the giant, quasi heated tent that we had been set up outside the far corner of the store. Inside were volunteers providing their gift wrapping skills, hot chocolate and lots of love. And yes, it was all free.

A lot of people were in a state of disbelief upon hearing of this phenomenon, free. "Are you playing a joke on me" one guy asked. "No joke," I said. "No, I think this is some sort of joke," he replied, certain that we were out to get him on some sort of cheap version of punked. Many were skeptical. They quizzed me as to why or who we were. They were looking for the catch. "They're going to ask for a donation once you get in there," the Salvation Army bell wringer quipped. "Nope, no donations accepted," I would repeat over and over again. The bell wringer soon became a witness to this fact after walking over there himself for a steaming cup of coco. "No donation huh, that is unusual," he replied. In the end I was told that we had given away over 450 cups of coco and wrapped more presents than could be counted. 7,500sq feet of wrapping paper was one persons guess. It was fun and no one got shot. Jesus loves the westside.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Questions no one asked

Questions that no one asked. Yep, this is in response to good ol' Rev. Detzels blog.

Question: So when are you going to get a hair cut?

I just got my haircut 6 months ago. Sheeesh, I'm not rich. You know how much money I've saved only getting it cut every 7 years? Seriously do you know? I'm not that great at math.

Question: What is the dumbest thing that you've ever done?

Well thats a hard one. I've done so many senseless things. I would have to say that eating an entire watermelon in an hour has to be up there. That was pretty dumb. I once pulled a car with my hair. It's hard to top that kind of stupidity.

Question: You act like you were home schooled? Where you home schooled?

Yea I was, what are you trying to say?

Question: Are you a Mac or a PC guy?

I can use either just fine. I use 2 PCs and a Mac at work and at home I have a PC. I'm more of a PC guy though. The biggest reason for this is the price difference. Its also much easier to find freeware for a pc.

Question: How are you not married yet? Your so charming?

God only knows.

Question: Whats the most expensive thing that you've ever sold on eBay?

I once sold a concertina for around $2,200. The most expensive toy was $1,000 and the most exspensive book thus far was nearly $700. I currently have a book listed for $2,150 so hopefully I will break my previous record.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Scammer Letters

This isn't an interesting blog at all. I'm just going to keep posting scam letters that I get. That way when people google it they will know right away that it is a scam. I'll post a real blog later.

Hello Dear
How are you doing?Impressing is what i describe your captivating profile as a near perfect description of what i desire in a man and any woman would seek for
in a man.But all that don't matter as all real love relationships begin on a basic foundation of friendship..My Name is Dammy.I would like you to write to me
and tell me all about urself as i would do too if u so wish..well i am a mixed, african and mexican Born and Raised in the states.I lost my dad when i was 10 years old. My Mom later moved back to Africa where she is rigth now. stay in Florida in Miami off down town but currently out of the states,currently in africa visiting my sick mum{hope you are not discouraged}but i will be back in the states as soon as she get better."dammy_jones04@yahoo.com"or my Gmail....dammynice@gmail.com.... email address you can mail me through.And you can also Chat with me on"dammy_jones04" so Email me.Thanks for being
patient enough to read.I Will be expecting ur responce and i will also send you pictures of me too.Hope to talk to you soon!!!

Love Dammy...

Dear Friend,
With a very desperate need for assistance, I have summed up courage to contact you. I am from(will disclose this later), presently working in Iraq with an international organization that I will also disclose later, I found your contact particulars in an address journal.I am seeking your assistance to evacuate the sum of(US$18.523 Million Dollars) Eighteen Million, five Hundred And Twenty Three Thousand US Dollars to your country or any other safe country of your choice, as far as I can be assured that my share will be safe in your care until I complete my service here,this is no stolen money,and there are no dangers involved.
Some money in various currencies was discovered concealed in barrels with piles of weapons and ammunitions at a location near one of Saddam,sold palaces during a rescue operation, and it was agreed by all party present that the money be shared amongst us, this was quite an illegal thing to do, but I tell you what? no compensation can make up for the risks we have taken with our lives in this hell hole The above figure was given to me as my share, and to conceal this kind of money became a problem for me, so with the help of a German contact working here, and his office enjoys some immunity, I was able to get the package out to a safe cation entirely out of trouble spot. He does not know the real contents of the package,and believes that it belongs to an Asian/American who died in an air raid, and before giving up, trusted me to hand over the package to his business associate. I have now found a secured way of getting the package out to a safer country for you to pick up, and!
will discuss this with you .
Your full name:
Your country:
Contact phone number:
I await your urgent reply
Ali Ibrahim
20 Armoured Brigade in Basra

Good day,
Please note that response to this email should only be sent to:jwhite10103@yahoo.co.uk

I am James White, a paint artist based in U.K.
Your email address was requested from the British Chamber of Commerce
so I decided to contact you regarding an open job position.

Since 1994, we have been doing business as a uk midlands based gallery,
we sell and auction paintings and other art works.
In the recent years, customers have referred us to other potential
clients as well, this resulted in recent increased demand for our artworks and
supplies,We have been receiving orders from North America, Europe And Australia.
These are areas the gallery classified as outside our gallery's reach

For this reason we decided to employ a representative who can take care
of payment from such out-of reach sales on our behalf.

After agreeing on price and shipping, customers want to pay with
American Money Orders or Credit Card, which is hard for us to process here in
theU.K, therefore I decided to search for a reliable, trustworthy and honest
candidate in the United States, who will help us receive and cash the
Money Orders at a substantial percentage after which the fund will be
sent to me here in UK or any of our regional offices via transfer.

If you are interested, kindly reply to this job offer, this position
will not affect your present work, the simple tasks can easily be performed
at your convenience.What I need from you is utmost honesty, trust, steady communication
and access to the internet.

Work hours is a part time (2-5hrs a week).
Your salary is $1400.00 Monthly.
On every payment you process on our behalf, you get to earn an absolute
10% commission.

In agreement, Kindly send me the details below so i can provide more
information, from which you will start receiving payments earnestly.

#Your full name:
#Your full home address,
#Direct contact telephone number
#Your age,
#Previous working Experience,
#Marital status,

Reply me as soon as possible only if you are interested, i will
verification and approval so your information will be in the gallery's
database for payment coordination in the USA.

Madison Soil Arts Gallery
N1 3PD London, United Kingdom
Phone: +447024070933
Contact Person: James White
Phone Number: +447031895334
Website:Under Maintenance

Please note We will never ask you for anything more than that, no bank
names, no bank account number, routing number, credit card, passwords,
ssn# etc. If anyone asks for those on our behalf please do not give out this
info. This is to ensure your security and non involvement in cases of
Identity Theft.


Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship with
you. I am Miryam, the only daughter of late Amdel Kone. My father was
a wealthy cocoa merchant based in Abidjan, the economic capital
of Ivory coast before he was poisoned to death by his business associates on
one of their outing to discuss on a business. When my mother died on the 21st
October 1988, my father took me so special because of the death of my mother and
as his only daughter

Before the death of my father on 29th June 2006 in a private hospital
here in Abidjan. He secretly called me on his bedside and told me that
he has a sum of $12.3M USD in a security house here in Abidjan. He used my
as next of kin and not the beneficiary due to our political status and
the nature of deposit i can not serve as the beneficiary, the
beneficiary must be my father's business partner abroad or a family
friend appointed by me.

He also explained to me that it was because of this wealth that he was
poisoned by his business associates. That i should seek for a foreign
partner in a country of my choice where i will transfer this money and
use it for investment purpose, (such as real estate management). I am honorably
seeking for your assistance in the following ways.

1) To serve as the guardian of this fund and to run the investments to be
2) Can you honestly take me as your family member?
3) Can I confidently put my trust in you?
4) What percentage of the total amount of money will be good for you after the
money is in your country?
5) Can you make arrangements for me to come over to your country after the
money has been transferred?

Moreover, I am willing to offer you 20% of the total sum as
Compensation for your effort/input after the successful transfer of
this fund to your country . Please indicate your
interest towards assisting me as I believe that this transaction would
be concluded without any risk on your part. . Waiting to hear from you soon..



60 Great Ormond Street,
London, WC1N 3HR
The United Kingdom.
Dear e-mail address owner,
We happily announce to you the draw (#2197) of the BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP ONLINE SWEEP-STAKES PROGRAMME, held to mark
the new year Bonus. FOR QUICK CONFIRMATION PLEASE CALL OUR VOICE PROMPT @ (00 44 702 304 7750)

Your e-mail address was attached to ticket #: 986568593/506 and pin #7012, which subsequently won you the mega
sweep-takes. You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of 1,000,000 GBP (One Million Great British
Pounds Sterlings) in cash credited to file BFA/894957504/92/SWCUP. please contact our claims agent, via the below
contact provided:
Overseas Claims Unit
(United Kingdom)
Mr. James E. Philips.
Email: barclayspremierleagueaward@gmail.com
Tel: +44 702 304 7750
Fax: (+44) 700 6044 246

You are also advised to provide him with the under listed information as soon as possible:

SEX (M/F):

Happy new year from members and staff of the BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP ONLINE

Yours Sincerely,
Online Co-ordinator.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top 10 Wii Games that were NEVER Produced

10)Wii Amish Crossing - This game was created to be similar to Animal Crossing the main difference being there is no where to go and nothing to do.
9)Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meals - This concept had two main downfalls. a. You cooked for 30 minutes and had nothing to show for it and b. it was Rachael Ray.
8)Mario Factory - Live the life of a Chinese assembly line worker. Just remember, if you get caught using led in the toys you lose points.
7)Grand Theft Embezzlement - This was hailed to be the white collar version of its popular sister game, Grand Theft Auto. The main difference being you sit at a desk all day doctoring numbers and there are no pimps or hoes.
6)Wii Cult - Have you ever wanted to start your own religion? Well here's your chance without the lingering threat of eternal damnation. Start off as a science fiction writer and work your way up to Hollywood cult leader.
5)Wii Fit Synchronized Swimming - Unfortunately early marketing surveys showed that most peoples living rooms were not large enough to accommodate 6 grown men laying on there backs flailing there arms and legs in the air.
4)Wii Thumb Wrestling - 1, 2, 3, 4, I declare thumb war.
3)Extreme Pong - As it turns out you just can't improve pong.
2)Wii Fit Olympic Speedwalking - No, no, you loose that was running, your only allowed to walk really really fast.
1)Wii Interpretative Dancing - You can't win and there are no points, you just have to feel it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lucid Dreaming

"A lucid dream is a dream in which the person is aware that they are dreaming while the dream is in progress, also known as a conscious dream. When the dreamer is lucid, they can actively participate in and often manipulate the imaginary experiences in the dream environment. Lucid dreams can be extremely real and vivid depending on a person's level of self-awareness during the lucid dream." - wikipedia

Its been quite a few years since I first heard of lucid dreaming. I immediately was fascinated with this idea. I could control my dreams. But how? How do you become aware that you are dreaming? I hadn't read anything on the matter but decided to give it a try. I was going to take control of my dream. Eventually I was successful. How did I do it? How did I become aware that I was indeed experiencing a dream? Logic. In real life I'm a very logical person and somehow, sometimes, I am able to transfer that same logic into the dream world. If you have ever had the though, "Am I dreaming?" then you probably were. If I'm awake, I am 100% sure that I'm awake. If that thought occurs to me, or I realize that things make absolutely no sense, then I know that I must be in a dream. There is a fine line between consciousness and dreaming. I have had the tendency to accidentally wake myself up while experiencing a conscious dream. I can remember the dream version of myself trying to concentrate on keeping the real me asleep so that my adventures could continue. Its still very rare that I am able to lucid dream, but every once in a while I join Nemo in slumberland. Have any of you ever tried taking control of your dreams?

Monday, December 15, 2008

You've got Questions, I've Got Answers

So on Friday night the Vineyard Westside held its first family movie night, complete popcorn (I thank God that I wasn't the one who had to clean up the popcorn, my row got some of it in their mouth but not all of it.) The movie was Wally and I had 5 kids with me, the oldest being 12 and the youngest 4. I think the ages were something like 4,6,7,8,12. My movie experience went a little something like this.

"Where's Wally?"
"I don't know?"
"Is Wally in that water?"
"Is Wally in that building?"
"I don't know where Wally is. I've never seen this movie."
"Is that Wally?"
"Yes, that's Wally. We need to be quiet now."
"Whats Wally doing?"
"Um, I'm not sure, shhhhh."
"Is Wally a boy robot?"
"Yes he is, no more questions."
"Is this my water?"
"Whats your favorite color?"
"Shhhhhh, I'll tell you after the movie."
"Whats your favorite color?"
"I'm not telling you."
"Is that a girl robot?"
"Yes...... lets go our in the hallway."

For the rest of the movie we ran around in the hallways. I know the answers to a lot of questions. One that I do not have the answer for though is how the movie Wally ended.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A New Christmas Blog

While I was in India I had the pleasure of getting to know an older, gray headed Englishman by the name of Keith. Keith and I shared a 10x10 room , went to work together on the worlds most crowded bus, and lived life together for those two weeks. Needless to say we had many fun and enlightening conversations. Keith is a devout atheist while I am a devout follower of Christ. This no doubt led to some interesting conversations. I can remember walking down the street one day when Keith looked at me and said,"You know, I used to believe in Santa Clause."

I chuckled, "I know where your going with this," I said. "I've made this same argument, for different reasons of course but still, the same argument."

"I used to believe in Santa Clause but then I grew up and found out that he wasn't real. You know I used to believe in God? But then I wised up. God and Santa, both imaginary, things people make up to make themselves feel good. They may be fun but they aren't real."

Keith was a logical person, an intelligent person, well read, a world traveler, and this was logic. Keith wasn't the first person that I've come to know who as a child or as an adult came to these same conclusions. After all, they are logical. My mother is one of those people who for a period of time doubted the existence of God for these same reasons.

At what point did tradition trump morality? When did it become acceptable to lie for the sake of fun? Right and wrong isn't determined by the out come of a situation, family tradition, how fun it is, or what everyone else is doing. I'll leave you with a few more stories that I was told last year.

"It was a let down. I was in second grade and had suspected there was a cover up for a while. The creepy thing was, I told my mother I knew there was no Santa and she got this peeved look in her eye and said, "Children who don't believe in Santa don't get Christmas gifts". I was stunned. So, I said, "I guess I believe then". With that bit of creepiness, I went on to pretend to believe in Santa for years. Strangest part is that she responded similarly when I stopped being Christian."

"I can't remember how old I was (probably around 8). I remember I was obsessing about getting my Christmas list done so I could give it to Santa. I was trying to find good paper for it and I was probably annoying my parents to no end. I remember getting a slip of wrapping paper and announcing that I was about to write my list.

That's when my dad told me to come to him. He said that they made up Santa Clause and that he wasn't real. I was devastated. I really did believe in him with all my little heart. It felt like the magic of Christmas shattered before my very eyes. He said that all parents tell their kids the same story. I asked why they would do such a mean thing- to make them believe in something and then tell them it isn't true. He said that it was so parents could give gifts to their children without taking the credit for giving them. I understood that side of the arguement, but I was angry and heartbroken that parents would put their children through that. I asked him why he told me and he said it was because I was old enough to know.

After that, I didn't want to write my list. He told me to do it, though, and so like a good little girl I obeyed. However, the list seemed to be significantly less important to me that year.

It never occurred to me to question the existence of God right then and there, but I did wonder about it later. I mean, if they lied to me about one man doing miraculous things, why wouldn't a supernatural, all-seeing, all-knowing being be a lie as well?

I know it seems nothing, but I really did believe in Santa with every fiber of my being, and that experience was absolutely unforgettable. Since then, I have vowed never to tell my children about him- or at least I would say that it's just a story from the very beginning. Strangely enough, I haven't changed my mind all these years. "

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Disabilty

They say real men don't cry. Who are these "they"? "They" are jerks. I don't cry. It's a defective tear gland. I have overly moist eyes. Why just today they become overly moist when listening to a news story about the terrorism in India. And tonight while watching millionaires give people checks for $100,000 my eyes experienced an excess amount of water. I may have to see a doctor to figure out why my eyes are secreting salt water. My disorder seems to be triggered by any number of things. Sometimes its a news story, a reality show, a commercial, a book, and the list goes on. WemMD.com has proven to be useless in the analysis of my unmanly disability. Oh why me? Why must I suffer like this?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Make My Sign Boring

I design signs (for money not pleasure). Advertising is important and generally speaking, people want the most bang for their buck. They want signs that are attention grabbing.Signs that pull you in. Its all about the color themes, fonts, and graphics. Its a rare occasion that a customer should ask us to make their sign purposely boring. Strangely enough though, that did recently happen. "We want it red and black with as simple a font as you have with no pictures or graphics." In other words, make my sign boring. Yikes, what do you think they were trying to sell with an incredibly boring sign like this? Well, it was a banner for the churches special Christmas services. Have you ever been to a church where you thought that perhaps they were putting extra effort into making their services as boring as humanly possible? Tell the truth, have you ever fallen asleep at church? What was the most boring church experience of your life?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving & Black Friday


First let me say, I love Thanksgiving. Its a rare occasion that all of my family is at the same place at the same time. And the food, lots of food. I love food. Turkey is awesome.
This year, after dinner, I decided to spend a few hours doing what I do best, absolutely nothing. I joined my brother in his tradition of waiting in line, 3pm-5am. For all of you mathaletes out there, that's 14 hours. The first two hours dragged, we set up our tent in front of Best Buy and then waited in the car listening to NPR. After a few hours though we started to mingle. I love strangers. The crowd was quite diverese. There were Indians, a few Turkish men(yes, they were from Turkey waiting in line on Thanksgiving, ironic, I think so) 3 Russian tourists, a pregnant lady who sat in her SUV the entire time, a couple of college students, a children's pastor, and a crazy Puerto Rican.

That Puerto Rican guy was quite the character. "Do you want to hear another racist joke?" He would say in his broken Manhattan accent. "No, no, no more." I would say, and then he would tell another. "This ones not that bad," he would chuckle. I truly believe that he was waiting in line because he was just bored and wanted a captive audience. He was a truck driver and had his Mac parked on the side. Whenever he got bored or hungry he would just head back to his vehicle where he had all of the amenities of home.

The guy in front of us had a tent but he was nowhere to be found. That is unless you knocked on the door of his trailer that was parked next to the Puterto Rican's Big rig. In front of him were the Turks and then the pregnant lady. Leading the pack was another set of brothers. They claimed that they have done this for 3 years and were number one and two last year also. Behind us were 4 Indians who would disappear from the line for extended periods of time.

My favorite people however (my brother excluded) were numbers 14, 16, & 17. Number 14 was a young fellow from Michigan. He was in town with his crew delivering Yellobook Yellow pages to the tri-state area. I realized his dedication to the plight of the Yellow book when I saw that instead of a chair he was sitting on a stack of Yellobooks, ingenious I say. He was saving up money from his job so that he could afford to go to Bible college. The Michigan man was a Children's pastor, what are the chances? 16 & 17 were young ladies from UC and Xavier and I really believe that the line was God ordained because between the 5 of us we had some awesome conversations about God and what it means to have a relationship with him. And, we played Scrabble, my brothers idea of course. The picture is from the chanel 5 News site. In the end I bought 7 computers and Phil bought about the same. I had a sleep deprived blast and would do it again. So, if you want to buy a laptop let me know.

(pictured left to right: Crazy Funny Pureto Rican Man, Quite fellow, Me and Phil, College Girls, Russian Tourist... strangers)

(the electronics)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

eBAy Selling Tips #1 - What is my Item Worth

eBay, the perfect way to make some fast, fat cash. People will buy anything that you list for copious amounts of money, right? Not quite. There is a lot of money to be made but there is a method to the madness. I've learned plenty of do's and don't over the last 9 years of selling and now I give them to you. 5 tips for selling on eBay #1 - What is My Item Worth.

1) Don't believe collector guides. The values are generally greatly inflated. You usually won't get much more than 50% of book value. (some exceptions may apply)

2) Do your research. Search for the item that you want to sell under completed listings on eBay. If 10 people couldn't get $5 for the same item that you have then there is no point in your making the same mistake. However, you may find that your item is worth much more than you expected.

3) If you can't find your item under completed listings than it is no doubt rare and worth a ton of money. Um, or its junk and everyone but you knows that but you. Try googling your item. This can be a tedious and time consuming activity. Reseraching the value of an item using Google is very hit or miss.

4)If your item proclaims on the box that it is a collectors item, it probably isn't worth collecting, buying, or selling. (once again, a few exceptions may apply)

5) Collecting trends change as does the market for those items. Just because your item was worth $100 last year doesn't mean it is worth $1 this year. (your not going to retire off of your POGS or Beany Baby collections)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Random Thoughts as of Late

Random thought that I've had recently. These are my thoughts. Normally they would stay inside my head where they belong but alas I wrote some of them down. I also have deep thoughts. These are not those thoughts.

- I wonder if anyone has ever been poisoned by an Oreo?
- I can't fit 10 frozen pizzas in this shopping basket, its impossible!
- How many times are they going to play the iCarley movie on this station and why am I watching it again?
- Oh dear lord, pull your shirt down, no one wants to see you itch that thing.
- Why is it that if you drink cold water and you have gum in your mouth it gets all hard.
- These little paper ribbons in Hersey Kisses are useless. They don't help me open them at all.
- trebuchet, trebuchet, trebuchet, trebuchet, trebuchet, why am I thinking the word trebuchet over and over and over again.
- What do you mean there's a chance of snow flurries throughout the day. Look out the window you morons, its snowing right now.
- Wow, these M&Ms have very nice colors.
- Lollypop, lollypop, lollypop, lollypop, pop
- The cookie package is clear, the nutritional information is black and the cookies are black. What genius came up with this color scheme?
- Wow, if I eat 9 packages of these cookies that's 2000 calories.
- I wonder how many packages I could eat in one day, I have 45 packages. Hmmmm better not.
- That fart smells like egg salad, ha ha ha. Hmmmm I think I will eat egg salad when I get home.
- Wow, all I typed was "How long to" and Google knew that I was going to type "How long to boil an egg, genius."
- Man my fart stinks, what in the world did I eat last night? Oh yea, egg salad.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Slim Down with Dan

The other day someone told me that they were curious as to what kind of food I had in my freezer. My slim (but manly) figure is no doubt a product of my strictly regimented diet. So, here are some pictures of what I have in my freezer, on my counter and in my cabinets.

In my freezer we have 17 pizzas, 19 microwave meals, pizza rolls, sausages, lot of ice cream and a bunch of other ultra healthy all organic food products. My counter contains a 100 box of Slim Jims, a 48 pack of Andy Capps Hot Fries, a 45 variety pack of cookies and crackers and a few dozen pickled sausages. My counter contains around 16,530 calories of pure energy, grrrr. There would be a lot more energy but my 100 pack of Slim Jims is down to 25%. My cabinets have a good variety of candy, sauerkraut, hot dog chili and corn beef hash.

So, now you know the secret to my slim (but manly) figure.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wana Race?

I'm a graphic designer and I work in a sign shop. Yea, I know what your probably thinking. "Wow you must lead the life of danger and intrigue." Well, your wrong. Once in a blue moon I do get to photoshop a grotesque mole off of someones face but thats only on a good day. Up to this point the most exciting thing that has ever happened here is when the Subway next door caught on fire. That was kind of invigorating. Ickey Woods has come in a few times but he never did the shuffle. Today however was a bit different. Today we had an Olympic Gold Medalist order some posters. Believe it or not this is the first Olympian that we've had in our store. Her name was Mary Wineberg and she won gold in the Womens 4 x 400m Relay. Why is having an Olympian in the store exciting for me? I'm not sure why, but it was so shut up. My mind is obviously that of an 8 year old because immediately I thought to myself, "Hey want to race around the building," and "next time you come in can you bring your gold medal?" So anyhow, thats where the story ends, we didn't race and I don't have her gold medal for sale on eBay. Other than me, who's the most exciting person that you've met.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I am Becoming Wiser Everyday.

Its been said that as humans we are continually learning. Everyday is an opportunity to ad to our ever growing wealth of information and wisdom. Actually I just made that up but it sure sounds like something that someone smart once said.

Lesson #1: If you wait in line at a Thrift Store and only buy one solitary butter knife for a grand total of 13 cents, people think your funny.
"Just one butter knife huh. You looked through all those knives and decided that you just needed one butter knife?"
"Yep just one" I smiled.
"Do you want a bag for your butter knife?"
"Na, I'll just put it in my pocket," I quipped.
"No, your a paying customer, you get a bag" she chuckled.
Who knew that a single butter knife could be so humorous, huh. Everyone seemed to get a good kick out of it though. Maybe I don't like butter very much, huh, did you ever think of that? Maybe I'm trying to cut the fatty portion of milk out of my diet by just owning one butter knife.

Lesson #2: Why pray tell did I just buy one butter knife? Truth be known I do enjoy butter. I bought that butter knife because it was marked nickel silver. A silver knife for 13 cents sounds like a deal and a half to me. Ok, now for the lesson. Nickel silver as it turns out is a misnomer. It isn't silver at all. According to google its just a unholy mixture of copper, zinc and nickel. Nickel silver is a poser, a knock off. Stupid mongrel metal butter knife. I wonder if I can return it and get my 13 cents back.

I leave you with a comic that I drew years ago.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Epic Zip Line

My friends are crazier than your friends. Today I did "the zip line" again. The zip line is the brainchild my dear friend Todd with the help of his zip line minion Eric. Actually I'm not sure which one of them is the minion, I think they take turns. The zip line evolved in its set up so fast that it would make Darwin blush. It's original stopping mechanism was, well, it didn't have one. You went from full speed to a complete stop. Then came the mattresses, and the stoppers on the line and finally the bungee cords. The bungee cords were originally added as a stopping mechanism but quickly transformed into their current state of dual polarity. The budgie cords now launch you down the line at Mach 3 speed, bring you to a complete stop and then fling you backwards. We then discovered that if the person doing the zip line holds onto the tree, two more friends can pull the other end of the budgie cords to increase the speed of the take off. And that is why my friends are crazier than your friends.

Zip Line + Bungie Line = Awesome from Dan Thoms on Vimeo.

This is one of the original test runs with Eric.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Auction Stories

For those of you who don't know the inner workings of my life, I am an eBay Power Seller. I've been a dealer for 9 years with my younger brother Phil. We buy my stuff at local auctions and resell them online. I make so much money that I had to buy a shovel to push it all to one side of my living room (ok that part isn't 100% factual). Because of these local auctions I've had the opportunity to meet and befriend dozens of interesting folks, mostly dealers (antiques, not drugs). With people come stories. Here are some snidbits of today's stories. (for clarifications sake these are stories that were told to me, not my stories)

1) I go to public storage auctions. When people don't pay their bills they sell their stuff. Did you know that some people run small businesses out of those storage units? I remember one unit in particular. It was filled with dozens of small animal cages, mostly rabbits, dead rabbits. All of the animals were dead, dehydration. The owners didn't pay their bill and just let the animals die. Needless to say, no one bid on that unit. There was one unit at that place that only had one thing in it. It was a single, locked, chest. The owners of the storage facility kept holding off on selling it. By law they weren't allowed to open it. The FBI ended up seizing it though. It was full of over $100,000 in cash.

2) Me and my husband used to be the care takers for Buddy Larossa's (Cincinnati pizza mogul) mansion. He never lived in it, we did. The house was previously owned by the Catholic Archdioceses and was occupied by the Archbishop and nuns, the Sisters of the Blood. When the Archbishop died, they sold the place. I'm not sure what happened to the nuns but Buddy used to take us and them and us out to eat so that we could talk about the intricacies to caring for the estate. It was a very strange place to live. Buddy was a nice guy but a bit paranoid. It was the 70's an he had spent $350,000 on this house. He would sometimes call us to tell us things like, "I just had a dream that someone broke into the music room! Is everything ok there?" After 5 years we had to get out of that place.

3) Remember that painting that I paid $1,200 for a few weeks back. I'm putting it in Cristies Auction. It should sell for about $20,000.

4) This market is killing me. I have over $50,000 in scrap (gold, sliver, platinum, $50,000 in tin would be quite a lot of metal) that I didn't sell quick enough and now the market is soft.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Get What I Want!

A new Hasselblad 50 Megapixel camera, a 65" BeoVision 4 tv, a Prius or perhaps a Wii, these are the things that most people dream of. Not me, I've been known to say that if I got a widescreen tv I would have to reconfigure my entire living room and that's too much work. The things that I dream about are not normal, not typical. I wanted the bells out of the church down the street. I wanted its steeple topper and its wrought iron fence. I should throw in here that the church was 4 doors down, 100 years old, and now its gone. They tore it down. I don't just ravage churches for fun. Well, they sold the bells and I didn't steal the steeple topper fast enough. The fence was a different story though. They destroyed most of it with their giant claw machine (ok, so claw machine isn't exactly the technical term). However, 16 feet of it survived. There it sat, at the side of the demolition site, teasing me for days. 16 feet of beautiful, 100 year old wrought iron fence.

This morning, on my way to work, I saw it. The lot was clear and all that was left was the fence. It was just sitting there on the sidewalk beckoning me. I had to have it and turned my car around. Sure, it would make me a little lait for work but this was my dream we're talking about here. Only one minor problem. Apparently 16 feet of wrought iron weighs approximately twice as much as I do (you wise guys better not say that that's only like 200lbs). I couldn't lift it so I dragged it, caveman style. Every few feet I would have to stop to catch my breath. By the time I got it to my yard I thought I was going to die. The experience left me wheezing for 45 minutes. My hands hurt, I could barely walk, but it was worth it. After work I managed to drag my fence from my front yard into my basement and there she sits, 16 feet of metal, my trophy, my lovely fence.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Miracles for Sale - 2 for $20

I went over my parents house tonight and my Dad and me watched tv. There wasn't much on but we enjoyed a rerun of the Antique Road show. My Dad insisted on flipping to the TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) telethon during the commercial breaks. He says that he does it just to aggravate himself. "God says that in order to receive your healing you need to take a step of faith. You need to plant a seed. Just call us, even if its just $20 a month, take that step of faith." It was as if they were selling miracles.

It was disturbing, it was disappointing, it was disillusioning, it was disgusting. What happened? When did it become ok to pimp out God? I'm torn. On the one hand I want to believe that these people are sincere but sadly misled. On the other hand I feel that perhaps they are B rate movie actors who just found a great paying gig. You can buy 950 people shoes for the price of one Christian cruise. Is it a sin to spend money? No, but where is the line? At what point do we become a church of fat, self serving, poser Christians?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend O' Kids

This weekend was packed full of kids, lots and lots of kids. Friday night I had the opportunity to be a chaperon at a church youth event. Chaperon is a fancy French word that means I ate pizza, played games in the dark and tried to prevent any of the teenagers from sustaining any serious or permanent injuries. As it turns out, capture the flag isn't one of my strong suits. I spent the majority of my time in jail. Little girls kept having to rescue me from my imprisonment. I do realize that the implication here is that I play capture the flag worse then a little girl. I was slightly better at sardines but I'm certainly no sardines Olympian. Truth be known, I never found the hiders during the second game.

Saturday, and twice on Sunday, I taught kids church. Pastor Jim was suffering from a bad case of the flue so I filled in for him. What can I say, I love teaching kids church. I however, do not love watching the same Veggie Tales video 3 times in a row. By the last service I'm pretty sure that I had the majority of the lines memorized. "Some matches are made in heaven and some are made in a phosphorus factory but they all require a little bit of chemistry." I was the only person who laughed at that line. Apparently chemistry jokes aren't all that funny to little kids.

Before the second service, after hearing that Jim would not be there, one of the mothers looked at me and quipped, "Are you as good as Jim?"

"I, um, am similar to Jim. I'm high energy," I stuttered. I was not expecting to be asked that question.

"I was just wondering," she quickly replied, "I've never seen you before."

I must admit, that took me a bit off guard. When the service was over though, her kids were smiling and so was she. All is well that ends well.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Deal Breaker

Ok, this is my last political blog. I've gotten called out on the carpet for this multiple times in the last week so I thought I would try to clarify one of my political stances. For your amusement and entertainment, I am going to do this with an allegory.

There once lived a man named Dan who lived in a world of wonder and whimsy. Also living in that same land were two lovely maidens. Ok, they weren't both lovely but they weren't the most horrendous things ever created either. Both of these ladies wanted Dan, they wanted him bad. So, like any good person, Dan decided to causally date each one of them and judge them based on their individual merits. The first lady was rather ugly. Dan wished that it were a blind date so that he didn't have to look at her face. After talking to her however, he realized that they did have a few things in common but that didn't exactly improve her ghastly appearance. She was 72 years old and ugly as sin. The second women was a bit better looking. In fact, you might even say that she was attractive. Her skin was soft, her body hard, she had a great smile, and she was popular. So, Dan talked to her. She was quite pleasant to listen to. Her words were like a crisp breeze through a flowing meadow. She spoke for hours before saying "and I have one more thing to tell you,". Dans ears perked up, "Go ahead he said," eagerly anticipating her reply. "I used to be a man." Shocked Dan stood up and left the room in a hurry. His friends tried to encourage him to go back in and give her a second change. "She's nice, good looking, pleasant to listen to and what a great smile." they quipped. "I understand that," Dan replied "But she used to be a man! That my friends is what you call a deal breaker."

Some things in life are deal breakers. For me that issue is abortion. I will not vote for someone who is for the killing of innocent children. I understand all the if ands and buts a deal breaker is a deal breaker. I won't date a girl who used to be a man and I won't vote for someone who is pro-abortion.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I've become increasing agitated with the way that President Elect Obama is being described both by the media and by his supporters. He's black. I understand this. I am quite aware of what color his skin is and quite frankly I just don't care.

Growing up there was absolutely no racism in my house. In my mind racism is the height of human ignorance. Until I was 9 I lived in a neighborhood where I was the minority. Americans seem to think that they have somehow achieved something great by electing a black man as president. Everyone is patting themselves on the back. The world is rejoicing that we've become so much more open minded. Open minded? In my mind true progression would be if we elected a black man and he was celebrated because of his achievements and the color of his skin wasn't even an issue. When Kennedy was elected did every news article describe him as the first Catholic president? Obama will be our next president and that is an incredible achievement and I respect that. Its just disturbing to me to think that there are people who would or wouldn't vote for a candidate based purely on their race. Both are equally ignorant stances to take. Its sad to me to know that here are people who didn't vote for Obama just because he is black. Its also sad to know that there are people who voted for him just because he is black. Why can't Obama just be the president? What do you think? Am I looking at this wrong?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Spiritual Entrepreneurs

Since I was a the ripe old age of 6 days old, I've gone to church. Every week, two or three times a week, I was there. I've known thousands of church people, perhaps even more. Sadly though, I found that it was rarity to find someone who was proactive in their Christian walk. To minister on their own, without the direct blessing of the church, was almost a taboo.

Its not like that at the Vineyard Westside. I never cease to be amazed and inspired by the followers of Christ that surround me every week. I know one man who, every day, finds at least one homeless person and gives him lunch, every single day without fail. He does this, not because someone told him that he should, but because he feels that that's what God wants him to do to impact Cincinnati. He asked God, "How can I impact this city?" and he was willing. I have friends who gave away pumpkins, gobs and gobs of pumpkins. Who bought all of these pumpkins, where was the budget? The budget was the cash in their pockets. Or there's my nutty friend who bought a limo for the express purpose of taking kids to church. Most of my friends have gone on mission trips. Two even sold most of their worldly possessions and went to Canada for a year. This week another one of my friends is leaving for a year to serve in Nepal. When the churches budget committee said we just don't have the money to do a Halloween outreach our childrens pastor said we'll do it anyways. And the money came, and the volunteers came, and the candy was there. Too often people ask how and why when they should just be saying lead me and I will follow. I'm continually inspired by my friends, my brothers, spiritual entrepreneurs.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Another Random Blog


I saw a car with over 25 air fresheners hanging on its rear view mirror. Did those things become collectible?

I dressed up like Jesus for the Blast (the churches costume, game and candy party). I saw a little kid dressed up like the devil. I wanted to get a picture of me, Jesus punching the devil in the face. Sadly I didn't get the opportunity to have that picture taken.

I saw a car whose license plate cover read Happy to be the mother of 6 girls. I would have to imagine that that was a customized plate cover. I mean, how many mothers of 6 girls are there who are shopping for license plate covers?

I saw 8 cop cars blocking traffic with their lights going on the highway. Then they were gone. I never did figure out what was happening. I'm confused.

When your dressed up as Jesus you get to say a lot of cheesy lines:
"Hey Jesus, did you just get here."
"No I am with you always."
One kid was walking down the street and said "Oh God."
I said, "Yea, well I guess that's appropriate."

I almost got attacked by a dog today. The thing was huge. It came running at me in full stride. Then in an act of animalistic aggression, it lunged at my torso teeth first. I didn't enjoy that. To make matters worse I think it was a poodle. It would be embarrassing to be killed by a giant poodle.

I asked a little kid if he was dressed up as Indiana Jones. He said "No, I'm dressed up like a midget." Wow, touche.

Today I realized that I have a tenancy to eat sandwiches in sets of three.

The best costume that I saw tonight was a girl dressed up as a recycling bin. I can't help but to wonder if her parents drive a Prius.

Every time that I open a can of biscuits is startles me. POW!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Dress Like a Slut Day

I posted this last year but hey its that time of the year again....

Halloween is a holiday that I've never been a huge fan of. As of lately though it has managed to re-brand itself. Halloween isn't just for the kids anymore. Its fun, forget the liquorice, have some liquor instead. And best of all, the costumes. Pirates are fun, be a pirate. Or better yet, be a slutty pirate. All you have to do is take an ordinary Pirate costume and than cut 75% of the material off. Or better yet, just wear your underwear and ad a tail, after all its Slutoween, I mean um its Halloween. Now of course no one would regularly wear their underwear to a party (at least most people wouldn't) but this is as good of an excuse as any to show everyone what God gave you. I can't wait until Christmas parties get re-branded. Make way for the half naked Santa, underwear model Elves and of course, everyones favorite, the Virgin Mary.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Strangers with Candy

I like talking to strangers. I guess I just find people fascinating. All around you, everyday, strangers. Strangers with stories, opportunities, advice and candy. I'm that guy who knows all of the postal workers, free sample ladies and on on occasion picks up a hitchhiker or two. That aside, there is no better place to meet strangers than on craigslist. No, not the personal ads. I'm talking about selling stuff. I met a few strangers over the weekend.

The first guy I met came to get some free radio parts from me. Peoples ears perk up at the sound of the word free. He was a bigger fellow, middle aged, a bit country and very talkative. I must have talked to him on the phone for 10 or 15 minutes before he arrived. As it turns out, he used to sell ammunition on eBay until they shut him down. He also informed me that if he owned my house he would put some grow lights in the attic to, uh, improve his parties. It's the hair isn't it? People are continually offering me, uh, herbs.

Guy number two didn't talk too much but he sure did love the box of broken old phones that I sold him. his brother and him used to find entire basements full of old phones back in the day.

Person number three was the most interesting. Her name was Ursala and she was an artist. I can't quite remember what in the world we talked about but I do know that she enjoyed the art that I have in my living room. Strangers always like the view too.

Have you met any interesting strangers recently? You should.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I know people who put a lot of weight in so called signs. This is a sign, that's a sign. "Everything happens for a reason," they say. "This couldn't just be a coincidence." Now, I've never been much of a signs person myself. I've played the signs game and have always managed to lose. I have a tendency to point all of the signs in the direction that I have already decided to go.

I had an experience last week that really turned me off to the so called signs. Now, I'm not saying that there aren't indicators in life to point us in the correct direction. However, most things that people consider to be signs of direction are just simple coincidences. And now for my signs experience. I was at work getting ready to print a large picture of a baby. The file was being rotated on our rip computer when all of a sudden I got an error message, an error message that I had never gotten before. It simply said, "Abort." Now think about that for a second. Is this a sign that I should vote for a pro-choice Democrat. What if this happened to a pregnant lady? If anything seems like a sign, it's this. Abort. But, this wasn't a sign. It was just an creepy coincidence. What do you think? Have you had experiences in this area? Are most things signs or are most things just coincidences? Tell me what you think.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Car (wow thats a short blog title) ((oh nuts now its a long title))

So, my car died Tuesday. It was a day like any other and then, my car stopped running. Just like that. I managed to coast off of the road and preceded to walk to work. It's been a long time since I've walked two miles. I stuck out my thumb but no one took me up on my offer to ride in their passenger seat. At least it was nice out. Last time I broke down and hitchhiked it was below freezing. As it turns out my timing belt came off and aparently you need those things. Being without a car is not good, it's bad. Lucky for me though I have great friends and family. Between the bunch I managed to borrow two vehicles, get picked up from and for work 7 times. I even got free breakfast once, and dinner 3 times. Thanks Dad, Grace, Ryan and Jeremy. I never worried that I wouldn't have a ride. Somehow I knew it would work out. In case you haven't noticed, I'm an optimist. This morning I bought another car. It's a 01' Dodge Neon. I've never owned a car with four doors before. I now have a new Danmobile. I just need to put the decal on the back windshield to make it official. I think this time it will say, "I blog www.TheDan.us" Chaos has once again been averted, I have transportation. The world can now sleep with no worries.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Mood Ring Says I Hate You!

How do mood rings work? Well, there are crystals in them that react to body heat and therefor change color. Why pray tell is this pertinent information? Well you see, I am the proud owner of a mood ring. I bought it off of a kid who had a bag of them at church. It was a dollar and I didn't even have to talk him down. He was just a child so I refrained from using my flea market negotiation skills. I try not to exercise that particular skill set at church.

The funny thing is, the mood ring seems to be pretty accurate. What I've discovered, however, is rather unsettling. I apparently only have 3 emotions and two of them are practically the same. I am always either normal (blue), relaxed (purple) or stressed (gray). What happened to all of my other emotions? I'm pretty sure that there are some missing between relaxed and stressed. I have been told in the past that my expression of excitement is rather weak. Perhaps I don't even possess that emotion. That means that the people who said that to me were being discriminatory against me. There should be some sort of governmental compensation for my emotional disability. I think I'll look into that. Oh, and the title, it was just catchy. I probably don't even possess the emotion of hate.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Note To Self - Another Random Blog

Yogurt only taste good if the second ingredient on the package is sugar.

I have 100 Slim Jims because my friend Chris gave them to me and not to you. Slim Jims are a great breakfast snack. They're like a quick, preservative filled, version of bacon.

If being racist, sexist, or ageist means that you are discriminatory against people based on their race, sex or age than what is a humanist?

I walked two miles to work today and if I had a cell phone I wouldn't have gotten all of that great exercise. Yep, my car broke down.

The residents of Mt. Airy and Colerain encourage physical exercise by not picking up hitchhikers.

Here is a quick and easy test that I came up with to determine if a presidential candidate is trustworthy or dishonest.
A) Is the person in question running for president?
If you answered yes to this question than the person in question is most certainly dishonest and is not to be trusted.
B) See question A

If you are looking at someones vacation photos, seeing their daughter in a bikini may inadvertently distract your attention from the Mayan ruins.

When my parents watch the presidential debates my mom concentrates on the Republicans and my dad on the Democrats. For instance, my mom complains that McCain's comb over is terrible and my Dad says that he can't get over the size of Obama's ears.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

RIP Sedamsvilles St. Martins German Evangelical Church

"You know that big old red church on River Rd? I live like 5 houses down from it." Ok, so that's how I used to describe where I live. That old red church was St. Martin's German Evangelical Church. Built in 1892, it had seen better days. Having been abandoned for over 20 years it was only a fragment of its once glorious self. Big wooden panels covered the gaping holes that once contained stained glass. The 3 bells in the tower sat dormant, their chimes forever silenced. Even with all of its defects, old St. Martins was still impressive with its Gothic style architecture. So man red bricks.

But today, church is no more. The land that the church once sat on was bought by Arlon Brown, a highly motivated developer. His plan requires him to eventually demolish all of the houses in a 2 block area, replacing them with an 11 story tall, 50 million dollar condo development. So far, if my math and snooping are correct, he owns 45 lots. Unfortunately for him, I have no plans of moving. Have you seen my view? Arlon has, and he'll tell you, its beautiful. Anyhow, here are the pictures of the demolition.

I didn't take this picture

These ones I took

Speaking of took. This is what I rummaged from that pile of a church. Those planks are like eight feet tall. I'm sore. The door handles I got before they tore down the tower. Hmmmm, now to figure out what to do with this 100 year old junk.

Friday, October 3, 2008

India Day 14 My Last Day

Today is my last day in India and I am sad, I don't want to leave yet. I went to the market with Keith and one of the boys to buy some saries for my sisters. I’ll miss the markets. After the market we ate at McDonalds. It’s the Indian version of course, everything is chicken. Where’s the beef? Imagine that, no beef. It was still good though and the place was very clean. When we got back to the center we danced and laughed and I’m pretty sure everyone was making fun of me but it was all in Hindi so I can’t be for sure what was being said. It was good though. We had fun. One of the boys who never smiles was laughing and laughing and laughing. He couldn’t quit smiling. I was so happy to see him smiling. Kids should smile, and laugh, and dance, and have fun.

I’m not sure how it started but they were all telling me that I should have 3 wives, one American and two Indian. I tried to explain that I have thus far been unsuccessful at acquiring one wife but I was willing to take down some names. And then, it was time to leave. I managed to smile and not to cry but it was hard, it was very hard. I was holding back the tears. They asked me when I would be back and I told them that I didn’t know, I didn’t know if I would ever be back. I hugged all of the boys good and hard and few of them accompanied us to the bus station. As we walked one boy held each of my hands and I could tell that they were as sad as I was. I gave them one last hug before I got on the bus. One last bus ride. It was over, 2 weeks, gone just like that. I may never know what happens to them rather they go back to the streets like so many of them do or if they make something of themselves. The potential is there. These boys are capable of doing great things, of changing India, if only they are given the chance, if only they put their minds to it and work hard. These kids are so important, every last one of them.

Travel back to the states was so so. The bright side was I met Juhye at the airport. It was a great surprise because neither of us knew when the other was flying back home. The bad part, well I missed my second flight. This time it was only a 3 hour wait though. Now I'm back in America where every week blends into the next. My life is a blur.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

India Day 13 Taj Mahal

Today we went to Agra. It’s the girls, me and Rashe is doing the driving. Our first stop was the Temple of Hare Krishna. This particular temple was built only 40 or so years ago so it is relatively new. This site was supposedly where Krishna played with the cows. I couldn’t tell you why that’s important but apparently it is. This temple is also rather famous and quite elaborate. People come from all over the world to worship here. At least half of the people that I encountered in the temple were foreigners, many Americans. They were doing their morning ceremonies which included lots of singing, dancing and of course idolatry. The same verse was repeated over and over and over. It was a bit strange almost like a Hindu cult for old American hippies. I should also throw in here that even though Hare Krishna is depicted in all of his pictures as being blue, he was in fact, not blue.

Next stop the Taj Mahal. Well, almost, we ate breakfast first. Words can not describe the beauty of the Taj. When I walked through the gate and saw it I was breathless. “Am I really here?” I asked myself. It was a surreal experience. The marble, the inlayed stones, every curve and every wall was just incredible. Its funny to think that underneath all of the marble is a big brick building. As breathtaking as I though the Taj was some of the people there seamed to think that I was also quite the spectacle and wanted to have their picture taken with me. Here we were at one of the modern wonders of the world and they wanted a picture with me, that’s fantastic. And couldn’t even tell you how many pictures the girls took with Indian tourists, one after another after another. Oh, and when I was getting my ticket for Taj a guy said to me, “Nice beard, it is a very sexy beard.” That’s right folks, I have a sexy beard and don’t you forget it. I’m telling you, India loves my face. Oh and the kids who sell key chains outside the Taj are quite possibly the most aggressive sales people in the world. If these kids sold Girl Scout cookies the Girl Scouts would have more money than Bill Gates himself. How aggressive are they? Well I bought a key chain for rs 10 and the kid insisted that I should buy 10 more.

Next we made our way to Agra fort and wow, another amazing piece of Indian architecture. It was stunning to say the least. My favorite thing about the fort was sitting in the giant open windows, towering over a 100 feet above the ground, and just staring through the mist at the Taj in the distance. And of course there were additional aggressive sales people here too. How aggressive are they? Well I bought a marble elephant. The guy started out at rs 460 but settled for rs 80 because that’s what I had in my pocket. That’s an 80% price drop. Sure, I’m a sucker but not as much as the guy who pays rs 460.

On the way back to Delhi we stopped to eat and I tried the Indian version of pizza. Its good, I liked it very much. Tonight, finally, someone stayed up with me and played cards, speed. I love playing cards. I wish I could take my housemates home with me.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

India Day 12 the Zoo

Today we went to the Zoo and it was fabulous. It’s a wonderful and humbling thing to be able to treat 17 kids to what they called one of the best days of their life. And to think, Keith and I were able to pay for the entire thing for less than $100.

We all took the bus, had food catered to us, ate ice cream and candy and drank Fanta and Coke. We saw the elephants, white tigers, giraffes, and of course the reptiles. The boys were all dying to see the snakes. Keith tried to follow the zoo map but then gave up in disgust saying that he had been all over the world and this was the worst map that he had ever tried to read. So, we let the kids leave the way. It was a bit helter skelter but today was all about the kids. Well almost all about them. I was soon to realize that the most exotic animal at the zoo was the blond headed American. As one of the other centers works said to me, “They're watching you, they have never seen hair like yours.” Since everyone seemed all ready watching me I decided to walk on my hands. A few of the kids gave it a shot too. Today was a fun day, an amazing day, a meaningful day. Those kids are important and are worth it. They’re worth the work, their worth the money, and they're worth every bit of love and so much more. After the zoo, Keith and I caught a tuk tuk back to the house, it rained and we got soaked. Tuk Tuks don't have doors.

That evening Keith, the girls and I went to the Urban Bar where we had shakes, drinks (I just had a shake), and 4 of us shared an apple flavored hookah, fun times. Side note, the drinking age in India is 25. Another side note, they don't card anyone, epically not foreigners. Later that night we played cards.