November 2007

Gallery: Salton Sea

I decided to drive to the Salton Sea last weekend on Sunday afternoon. Now if you’re a Southern California resident you should have already started feeling tremors of fear just reading that sentence and this is why: you’ll remember that it was the end of the Thanksgiving weekend and you know that there are basically 5 ways to leave and to re-enter the Los Angeles area. And, yes, the 10 freeway to Palm Springs and the Salton Sea is one of them.

So I drove happily to the east, noting somewhere in the back of my brain the acute absence of fellow travelers going my way on the freeway. Like the calm before the Katrina, anyone with any sense was not going east out of L.A. at 2pm in the afternoon on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. This is like jumping off the back of the boat at midnight in the Southern Ocean. You can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to be a long time before you’re home and in bed.

And it was. The hordes of returning holiday travelers hit the bottleneck about the time I was leaving and the mess still hadn’t let up at 8pm when I decided to head home. I don’t know if the pictures that I got were worth the pain, but I had a pretty nice day and saw some nice country. I also listened to a good podcast from here on the drive out. And then on the way home I made a loop through Joshua Tree, which is always good for the spirit.

So, anyway, here are a couple pictures.

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More from St. Petersburg

You will recognize some of these images if you’ve looked at some of the galleries that I posted a few weeks ago. This is a slide show I put together after the trip to Russia in September.

For more information about The Harbor program, you can visit their website. The music for this I stole from Andrew Osenga and Bliss. I hope they’ll forgive me. Go buy their records. You won’t regret it.

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On The Value Of Things, Apart From Me

“The world exists, not for what it means but for what it is. The purpose of mushrooms is to be mushrooms; wine is in order to be wine.  Things are precious before they are contributory … Creation is God’s living room, the place where He sits down and relishes the exquisite state of His decoration … God made the world out of joy; He didn’t need it; He just thought it was a good thing.”- Robert Farrar Capon, quoted in Everything Must Change by Brian McClaren 

other people's words

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Valrey

In April of this year I visited South Africa. While in some ways Africa is on everybody’s mind right now, I have this feeling that we are all also a little tired of it. Especially when it comes to AIDS in Africa. Been there, done that, is the basic idea.

To be honest, I think I feel a little that way.

Well, nothing changes that like a little firsthand experience. American churches send over short term teams to try to do some good. I don’t know that Africa benefits a whole lot, but maybe we do, which maybe makes it worth some of the hassle and expense. In any case, I went there for work and ended up being changed a little in the process, trying to figure out what to do with what I saw, trying not to get mad at God, trying to find the grace in the middle of the struggle. I wrote a little about it here and then this week made a video about it.

This is for Valrey and Jonas and Motlope and for all the others out there without a voice.

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Turkey, Stuffing, and Dutch Blitz

…and a lot of lounging around.  It was fun. There are a few pictures here

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More about Delgado Guitars

Here’s another little fun project that came from the Nashville trip.

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A Strange Tour

I have been fortunate enough to travel fairly regularly over the past few years. Enough so, in fact, that I have pretty much given up on buying souvenirs. There are only so many places in one house that you can put little useless knickknacks. The wooden giraffe goes on the windowsill. The tiny little painted box from Russia (too small to hold anything) goes on the bookshelf. The orthodox icon from Romania next to the Russian box.

Quite a while ago, I started dealing with this problem by collecting small rocks or handfuls of sand. This seemed like a better way to remember the place, especially considering my accessory interest in geology. I’ve developed a pretty good collection by now which represents some of the places I’ve visited, although not all (the pebble I grabbed from inside the Great Pyramid in Giza has somehow gone missing — I’m trying to decide if I should be worried about this — and I have nothing from my several trips to South America).

All of this has resulted in a shelf full of baby food jars containing sand, which you are welcome to examine if you ever come over to my house, which leads me to the geeky part of this post. Last night I was playing around with Google Earth (rapid travel! no pesky jetlag!) and made up a partial list of the locations where I’ve gathered samples (yes, for many of these I also gathered GPS coordinates — how embarrassing).

So, while this may not be at all interesting to anyone else, I am presenting today the Google Earth file (download Google Earth here) which will allow you to tour along with me to a few places in the world which have been significant to me and from which I have brought home a small piece. So I present to you, the Sand Tour (make sure your “Terrain” option is turned on).

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Delgado Guitars

I visited my friends in Nashville, Tennessee, last week. Manuel makes guitars and Julie writes music and teaches on the side. A good time was very much had by all of us. I took some pictures which I’ll probably post here eventually.

In the meantime, I made a slide show of some of Manuel’s photos to show a little bit of the magical process of making a guitar. He approaches each project as if he had a personal relationship with the instrument-to-be. It’s fun to watch. He’s always looking for business so if you’re interested in handmade instruments, contact Manuel Delgado here.

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