Blogrimage v2: Day #2

March 20, 2011

30 Days to a Better Man: Shine Your Shoes

My task today is to savor the ancient ritual of fine shoe care, the shoe shine. Most if my shoes don’t fit the bill for polishing and shining, but all that do are getting some extra attention tonight.


Here are my tools of the trade: a horse-hair brush, a tin of black polish, a application brush, water and cotton balls. I have never used the water and cotton balls, so today will be an experiment to  see how well this works. An orange-pink towel is extraneous and doesn’t impact the final shine.

I hoped to get a good before and after that was going to really wow me, but I had already buffed the shoes before I took the picture above. Below is the post-shine picture. The left shoe has received the cotton-ball treatment and the right only the usual polish and brush approach. I think the difference is noticeable and thus will likely continue to cotton-ball polish my leather shoes.


This process has reminded me that I need to update my shoe care kit. I have my eye on this military kit sometime in the near future. I do think that well cared for shoes speak a lot for a man and this art is one I plan to hone in the future.

Many thanks to AoM for creating the 30 day challenge.




Blogrimage v2: Day #1

March 20, 2011

30 Days to a Better Man: Define Your Core Values

Core values matter. I already believed this through my work in the Chaos Group with my (now) wife and Scott “Big Papa” Davis. Here are AoM reasons. Core values:

  • give us purpose
  • prevent us from making bad choices
  • give us confidence
  • make life simpler

Today my task is to sit down with pen/paper and define my core values.

I will have to spend more time refining my core values, but here is my rough sketch stab at it.

  • redemption
  • creativity
  • hope
  • child-likeness
  • teachability

Many thanks to AoM for the 30 day challenge.

A micro blogrimage: a father-grimage, a man-grimage

March 17, 2011

Here I am starting a second annual blogrimage, 2 days late. I have the best excuse ever, “I was delayed by the birth of my daughter.” To be fair, she was born 4 days ago and that math isn’t in my favor, but becoming a father has a way of unsettling you and overturning all the cart-stacked apples.

Everything is new. Everything is different. A good time for a blogrimage.

As I now am thrust upon the dual roles of husband and father, I need more than ever to relax on a solid foundation of “man.” My foundation must always be Christ first. On top of that I need a thorough understanding of what man Christ means me to be. I feel this is a lifelong quest and not a 30 day question, but to get some manly inertia going I will be accepting  the “30 days to a better man” challenge from the great Art Of Manliness website.

Today is day zero.

Caveat: I have some time off (oh what delicious words those are!), due to my daughter’s birth (even better words!). This time is not for blogging, but for caring for my awesome wife and soaking up all the newborn, oh-dang-that-is-mine, goodness of my first born child. In honor of the proper order of value, this will be a micro-blogrimage featuring beautifully succinct posts. Enough to share the journey, never so much as to detract from my freshly expanded family.

Viva blogrimagio!

Off into the unternet (#27)

April 11, 2010

Off I go into the heart of Africa (with my lively wife)

We will be spending the next week in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, so internet connectivity is going to be questionable at best. Details about our trip are here. We will try to update here at on our other blog, There and Back Again, whenever possible.

The 30 days will end while I am abroad… but I am packing my sling, lest you doubt my allegiance to the blogrimage. It has been a fantastic 30 days and I have loved hearing from so many old friends on a regular basis. Dare I breath the hope that another 30-day blogrimage might appear on the future’s horizon?

Love y’all n’every thang!

Unslung heroes: how grandpa stories are made (#26)

April 10, 2010
Yesterday, I failed to produce a sling video. I did nothing with a sling in fact.
Yesterday, I chased waterbuck and herded giraffes.
I feel like this might be some sort of equivalent on the scale of masculinity. I am rather proud of my accomplishment and will probably get back to the sling video at a later date. Here is the tale:
It started very innocently; drinking British tea and eating sweet bread on the veranda of a lodge. Somehow the same electric thought came into the minds of all three daring young men at the table. Acting promptly, we dashed across the lawn towards the bushes and a small herd of waterbuck grazing there. Our mission: slap one of them on the rump. Along the way one of my flip-flops flew far from my foot (poor shoe choice for running down game, I might add here), so for a short time I was chasing them barefooted. An acacia thorn quickly reminded me to find my shoe. We were valiant (I thought), but in the end slapped no waterbuck rumps. It’s ok, even cheetahs only catch 20% of what they chase. (Statistic may have been tampered with to comfort my ego)
So when I caught my breath, there I was looking out over Lake Naivasha. I and my stalwart companions were peacefully contemplating life. We had followed a foot trail we uncovered in The Great Waterbuck Chase out to the waters edge and were now keeping an eye out for rogue hippos that might be cruising our side of the lake. We decided in that moment of drizzling tranquility (it was drizzling, by the way), that the best way to make our way back towards the “others” was through the underbrush along the trail. We had spotted several giraffe grazing treetops peacefully on our way in, and we thought everyone would love to see them up close.
So off we set in an intrepid attempt to circle behind the giraffes so they would walk out into the open for everyone to enjoy. It worked like a charm… well except we spooked the giraffes and they ran across the grass rather than docilely ambling. But, I have to admit there are few things in nature more beautiful than a running giraffe. It is an elegant sight to behold.

(note: the first 17 sec are the only running bits)

Upon emerging victoriously from the brambles, tangles, and stinging nettles – we were met and chastised by a security guard for chasing animals (as was only right, really). So our triumphant spirits were slightly dampened. But I console myself with the fact that I will be able to say to my grandchildren one day, “Did I ever tell you about the time I chased waterbuck on barefoot? Or the time I herded wild giraffes?” (queue wee ones, “yes, grandpa”) Then I will launch into a glorious, and ever more exciting retelling of this incident.

So this is how grandpa stories are made.

In Africa.
In the snow.

Slinging along (#25)

April 8, 2010

After a prolonged delay for injury time and “post-call” time and oops-now-the-dial-up-internet-doesn’t-work time… I am back! Despite the fact that my blogging has been intermittent (sorry for the lapse Pradeepan, I am weak!), I feel that I am truly honing in my slingage skills of an artist. Sling artistry is a rare and beautiful thing, I hear.

Despite the fact that I have now lost my ideal “Goliath-head sized” target – I have prospered. I am using a rusty barrel to fling at and have discovered, with the help of David “Rooney” Matheny, a fantastic sling projectile.

Manna Stones

Manna in the slingManna stones

These nuttish things are heavy enough to fly well, and consistently the same size. They fall daily from an enormous tree, like manna from heaven. It is a sure sign that the Lord is with me. All I have to do is gather the missiles I need for that day.

A note on my progress: I would say that I am somewhere in the “and Joel knelt and gathered 35 smooth smooth stones from the stream…” range. Actually, probably not at the giant stage at all, or the lion or the bear. Maybe a large grasshopper. But I am happy and progressing!

I also discovered to my delight (after Melissa asked about it) that I can sling a stone WAY farther than I can throw one. I am not sure words can communicate how gratifying it is to see a stone flying an astonishingly great distance! No wonder slings are a Godly weapon!

5 Smooth Stone Status: 0/5

Coming soon:
A) I am going to try to get some video of my ninja sling attack in action tomorrow – stay tuned to the edge of your seats!
B) I hope to refashion a better sling sometime soon. A leather sling would have to be much better than my current twine and old-sock setup.

The quest begins (#10)

March 24, 2010

Five Smooth Stones

I have begun my quest for five smooth stones.

Thus far all my ammunition has been of the decidedly jagged and angular variety. Archeological evidence now supports the superiority of smooth stone projectiles in both accuracy and giant-toppling ability. Thus it follows, that I need to have a some excellent projectiles on tap. Unfortunately, most of the rubble available to me is anything but smooth. Good thing or I would have no quest to undertake.

I want to spend some time pondering the value of carrying specifically five stones. Why did David carry five? No more. No less. I understand why he chose smooth ones, but why five? I would have taken three probably. Or posibly just filled up my mountainsmith bag with loads of them. Iam glad to hear any theories, how ever preposterous, on why David chose five. Obviously, six is right out.

Five smooth stones.
I will find them.