Fireworks and Sunset Blvd.

While driving back to my apartment this evening, I spotted a vibrantly red “Fireworks” sign lit up in huge letters along the freeway. I found this to be peculiar considering the 40 mile stretch between Boise and Mountain Home is virtually barren, empty, and desolate. Also, it’s February. New Years has passed, and July 4th is five months away. So tell me, who is buying fireworks at 9:00pm on a Sunday evening in February? Yet, one could choose to purchase fireworks at this random, misplaced stand in the middle of nowhere. Go figure.

Even stranger, I looked up firework laws in Idaho and discovered this:

Selling Period: “Midnight, June 23 through midnight, July 5 Midnight December 26 through midnight January 1 May be regulated by local jurisdictions as to dates allowed.”

*scratches head*

Lately, I’m finding that my loneliness is making me very productive. About 90% of my week I’m “alone”. Sure, I’m in class with other students. I sit by old men in coffee shops. I play with the little kids at church. I see my roommates now and then, and on some random days I go out with a friend. However, I’m mostly alone. Sometimes I feel bitter about it, but when I adapt a bad attitude I pray for God to change my heart. For the most part, I use my alone time to learn. Once I get my forced education out of the way, I’m free to learn about the things that truly interest me. I’m currently working a few projects, and typically each project includes a list. For example, every day I pick one country out of the 193 that presently exist. I spend an hour reading about the country – it’s history, people, economy etc. I also develop a mental picture of that country by searching for pictures on panoramio. Among other projects include reading Easton Press’s Top 100 Books Ever Written, watching AFI’s list of Best 100 Movies of All Time, writing my novel, and reading the Wall Street Journal every day. I’m also learning to use Photoshop proficiently and attempting to edit and create videos using my macbook. Of course, I can rarely devote time to all these activities every day, but I try my best.

Verse of the Day:

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

– Hebrews 13:5

Movie of the Day:

Sunset Blvd.

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Yellowknife – Isolated Civilization

Lately I’ve been weirdly obsessed with researching the Northwest Territories and Yukon in Canada. I’ve always thought it to be a barren wasteland, but have recently discovered this city called “Yellowknife’ in NT. It’s got 20,000 people (75% of the territories’ entire population), and it actually has a SKYLINE. 

There is something particularly surreal about seeing a modern skyline that’s so remote from “civilization”. 

The nearest city with a population of any significant size is “Saskatoon” which is over 2000 miles away, and is the size of Boise Idaho. 

I wonder what it’s like to grow up in Yellowknife. The temperature varies from -30 F to 70 F. There’s much to say about Yellowknife and the other various towns the span northern Canada, but I’ll stop now. I’m just really, really fascinated.

 

I Just Wanna Be a Mom, Dangit!

I came home exhausted after work on friday and fell asleep around 5:30pm. I only intended to sleep for a few hours, but I accidently slept until 3am. I popped wide awake, and then didn’t know what to do with myself for the rest of the night. It turns out that David was also awake, so we talked for a few hours and then decided to take advantage of the early hours on Saturday morning.

We decided to take a day trip to Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens. It was a beautiful June morning with clear skies and a sunny forecast. We left so early that we got to Mount Rainier by 8:00am. Interestingly, I’ve never been up close to Rainier like I was today. I’ve lived here all my life, and I’ve never actually been to the mountain. Needless to say, it was breathtaking:

We left Rainier and headed to Mt. St. Helens. I hadn’t been in years, so I was shocked to see how much vegetation had developed since my last visit. It looked more like a baren wasteland that last time I saw the “blast zone”. Now little tree farms are sprawled all across the valley. Supposedly, some of the indigenous creatures are also returning the area and reviving the area’s ecosystem. Pretty cool.

The last stop on our day trip was the most fascinating – Ape Cave. It’s a “lava tube” which is essentially a cave that is formed by lava flows. We didn’t know what to expect, but we were amazed at what we found. Ape Cave is this world’s largest lava tube, consisting of perfectly carved walls that cut deep into the ground. It’s completely dark inside – the darkest dark I’ve ever seen. We brought several flashlights, but it was still a little scary. This place is open to the public, and that surprises me a little bit considering the fact that it remains highly un-maintained. It’s rough terrain inside. No paved paths for people to walk on. No lights. Just rocky floors, water dripping from the ceiling, and complete darkness.

 

I learned something new about myself today. While driving around these beautiful places, I discovered that I really, truly want simplicity in life. I like to talk all big – pretend I want to do “great” ambitious things, but the reality is I just want to get married, have some kids, move to a small town in East King County, and spend the rest of my life homeschooling my kids, writing books, playing the piano, traveling the area, taking photographs, looking through my telescope, and occasionally taking a trip or two overseas. That could be my life forever, and I would feel like the most fortunate person on the planet. Unfortunately, I’m headed towards a life of living and working in skyscrapers – something I’ve learned to hate this summer.

I’ll be completely honest – I pray to God I meet a decent guy in the next 5 years. I don’t like feeling that my future depends on getting married. It makes me feel helpless and out of control, but honestly – it’s just the truth and I can’t deny it. Everything else I do is centered around improving myself, improving my situation, and creating a safety net in case none of this actually happens. Marraige is not a guarantee. I’d be a fool to think God has promised me anything of the sort. I can only hope and pray. If not, I will adapt to whatever else God wants me to do in life.

 Afterall, it’s not all about me.

Kidults – Prolonging Adolescence

Social scientists have discovered a new category of age: adultescence. TIME Magazine announces in its January 2005 cover article ‘Meet The Twixters:’ “In the past people moved from childhood to adolescence and from adolescence to adulthood, but today there is a new, intermediate phase along the way. The years from 18 to 25 and even beyond have become a distinct and separate life stage, a strange, transitional never-never land between adolescence and adulthood in which people stall for a few extra years, putting off the iron cage of adult responsibility that threatens to crash down on them”These “kidults” still live with their parents and hop around from job-to-job and relationship-to-relationship. They lack direction, commitment, financial independence, and personal responsibility. They are boomerang kids, adult teenagers, and they are much more than a generational hiccup or a temporary fad.

In fact, according to sociologists, psychologists, and demographers they are a permanent trend. So much so that many countries have already named them: they are called “Kippers” in England, “Nesthockers” in Germany, “Mammones” in France, and “Freeters” in Japan. In many countries they comprise over 20 percent of their age group, and the numbers are rising rapidly. In Italy, for instance, over 50% of young people over age 20 still live with their parents.

In America the percentage of 26-year-olds living with their parents has doubled since 1970, from 11% to 20%. That means one in five American 26-year-olds lacks the financial independence, personal responsibility, or courage to leave the shelter of their parent’s roof.

How do we explain this? Unfortunately, we can almost predict that the world is going to say something like: This is OK! Irresponsibility is good!

In fact, several of the prominent social scientists that have studied this new life stage see it as a positive development. They argue that these “adultescents” aren’t lazy; they’re just reaping the fruit of decades of American affluence and social liberation. They believe that “this new period is a chance for young people to savor the pleasures of irresponsibility, search their souls and choose their life paths.”

Jeffrey Arnett, a developmental psychologist at the University of Maryland says, “It’s too easy to write them off as overgrown children. Rather, they’re doing important work to get themselves ready for adulthood. This is the one time in their lives when they’re not responsible for anyone else or to anyone else. So they have this wonderful freedom to really focus on their own lives and work on becoming the kind of person they want to be.”

Only a culture with exceedingly low expectations of young people can view the existence of these twentysomething Peter Pans as a positive thing. A proper look at the situation will lead us to the conclusion that whatever cultural machinery used to turn kids into grownups has broken down and that their replacements: adolescence, and now, adultescences, create “adults” without the moral backbone and financial wherewithal necessary to take their place in the adult world.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that putting off responsibility does not prepare us for responsibility. And that only radical action will allow us to escape the irresponsibility and ill preparedness our culture cultivates and expects.

(http://www.therebelution.com/blog/2005/09/kidults-part-1-adolescence-is-permanent/)

Boise in the Fall

Boise looks beautiful tonight. I’m studying on the fourth floor of the library and I can see the sun setting over the valley. It’s the perfect time of year in Boise. I can say that since I’ve experienced all four seasons. The leaves are colorful – greens, oranges, reds, and purples.

I have a strange, emotional attachment to this city. I can identify nearly every significant landmark with some memory. Table Rock, The Depot, BoDo, the rose garden, Julia Davis park – it’s all wonderful. I wish those of you in Washington could see this place.

Although I would like to be enjoying these places and colors, I’m unfortunately stuck studying for an exam. Back to work I go..

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All the World is Waiting for the Sun.

Have you ever been golfing in the rain? On a clear, beautiful day golf is a relaxing sport – a sport in which one can leisurely stroll across the green grass, enjoy the landscape, and hit a few balls. However, there is something particularly painful about a slow, leisurely walk through the pouring rain. I won’t fail to mention the biting, cold wind. I was wearing a flimsly, hoodless sweathshirt (which is not waterproof, if you did not already know) and my dad forgot his hat. My clubs were drenched in water, which made gripping the golf club a mighty challange indeed. I managed to keep my footing until I smartly walked down a mud hill and slipped.

Around the 6th hole, we came across an outdoor restroom. Let me tell you, friends, a bathroom has never seemed so luxurious. The room was filled with flowers and hard cover novels (yes, you read right). There was a hand dryer. Oh, the hand dryer. My soaking wet body loved that hand dryer. I turned it on and sat beneath it for a good ten minutes while I defrosted my fingers and dried my hair.

My 10 minutes of dryer heaven was over too soon as we made our way over to the 7th hole.

Don’t get me wrong – it was a quite an enjoyable afternoon. After ducking from tree to tree in desperate attempts to stay dry, we decided to embrace the rain. And so we did. Embracing the rain is like sliding through the mud. At some point, you give up any attempt to stay clean and you embrace the dirtiness. In the same way – “now we’re wet, might as well get wetter”.

I wonder how I’ll do on our 7 day trek through Lost Pass in the Olympic Mountains this summer?