The fog of war, life, and running

16 11 2011

If you read about battles, sometimes they will talk of the ‘fog of war’, by which they mean that you can have all the plans you want before a battle, but once the fighting starts, you have a real hard time knowing what is really going on.

In life too, so often you don’t know what will happen in the future, what the results of your actions will be, how other people will react, what to expect. It can be really hard, and you have to make decisions the best you can, not knowing the the result.

Several weeks ago, I went for a run out in the fog. It was so thick I couldn’t see for more than a few hundred feet. Through the fog, I could only see one power pole through it. Once it was passed, I could just barely see the next. It kind of struck me our life is like that. We can’t see the distance to the end of the journey, but just a short way down the road. We have to trust God that he will keep us on the right path if we follow him.


What makes the Northeast unique…

31 07 2011

Every region of the country has their own quirks and differences based on the culture and topography of the area. It has been fun and interesting figure out some of the things that makes New England what it is.

  • Out here, Dunkin Donuts is king, not Starbucks. They are literally everywhere out here, it’s pretty amusing.
  • The accent. Actually, most of the people I’ve met don’t have any discernible accent. But there are some, particularly the Boston accent (think Car Talk or Tom Silva on This Old House) that are quite distinct.
  • Wicked. Up here, this word isn’t solely used for evil people, but is more often used as an adjective similar to the word very. So you could say ‘It is wicked hot out today!’ or, ‘that was a wicked climb!’ (which could have positive or negative connotations, I’m not sure if there is a way to tell). Also, ‘That was a wicked game, I loved it!’
  • Drug stores: I’m not sure if the population of the north east is continuously in need of prescription drugs to stay alive, or if there is something else these stores have that makes them so popular; but there is a glut of these stores around here. Where I am currently, there are at least three Walgreens, Rite-Aid’s, and CVS stores here. Some right across the intersection from each other. It’s odd.
  • Drivers are more aggressive. If there is any way to get past someone who is stopped, they will take it. And they expect you to do it as well, so it has created confusion when I haven’t gone. ­čśŤ
  • Toll Roads: It seems that all the major interstate highways around here are toll roads. I guess its their way of paying for road maintenance. Thankfully, my car has a toll transponder on it, so I don’t have to worry about always having change with me. The system actually seems pretty efficient, so I don’t think it will be too bad when the new I-5 bridge from Portland to Vancouver is built with tolls. The problem will be more convincing people to go along with it. It’s a logical way to pay for it, charge the people who use it.
  • Topography: New Hampshire is known as the Granite State, and for good reason. The igneous rock is everywhere! In the NW we have rocks, but it is mostly basalt and volcanic, and, smaller. That’s something that strikes me out here, the huge uninterrupted rocks out here. I climbed a mountain at Acadia National Park yesterday, and the top was almost one huge continuous rock. Quite different from Oregon. Maine and New Hampshire are defined by extensive glaciation from the last ice age, but instead of creating fjords as in Norway or Alaska, it was a large continuous ice sheet, so it pretty much ground everything down, and you have these long narrow lakes and streams, and then the mountains, and long bays with numerous islands.

I’m sure there is more I am not remembering at the moment.

I am at the two month mark of being out here, I have about one month left to go. It has been fun to see everything out here, and there is a lot more I’d like to fit in before I head back, but I am ready to come back to Oregon.

Deep River

19 07 2011

This past Saturday was the Deep River Ancient Muster in Connecticut. What is that you ask? It is only the largest gathering of fife and drum corps in the United States!

For about six years, my brother and I played in a fife and drum corps that was part of an American Civil War reenacting group. We were attracted by the music, and it was very enjoyable to perform all over Oregon with them, both in reenactments and parades. There is simply nothing like martial music.

Fife & drum corps eventually died off as part of the military after the bugle was introduced, and other, more modern forms of communication were invented. But they do survive here and there, and especially, for some reason, in Connecticut. I don’t really know why.

Since I still love to hear this music, and this parade in Deep River was actually within striking distance for me, I decided to meet up with a couple friends in the area, and go watch it. I was glad I did.

Looking down the road the drum corps

The Ancient Mariners Fife & Drum Corps

A drum corps from Basel, Switzerland

A reenactor drum corps

I thought this corps costumes were hilarious!

Of course, pictures don’t give nearly the full impression. Here is a video:
Deep River Fife & Drum Corps
At the end of the parade, most of the musicians assembled as one massive corps, and did the route all over again.

Overall, there must have been 40 fife and drum corps! It was excellent. It is always great to hear good music.

Return Visit

7 07 2011

Over the fourth of July weekend, I had the opportunity to return to Oregon for a few days to visit family and friends. It is hard to believe I’ve been here for over a month now. In some ways it feels like much shorter, and in others much longer. I have enjoyed my time in New England pretty well so far.

I had an action packed weekend in Oregon, including visiting my parents, calling ECD, seeing my Oregon coworkers and commiserating with them about our crazy line of work, and staying with my brother and sister in law. I was also able to do another insane hike in the Columbia Gorge with several good friends who share my taste for misery.

We must have looked quite funny hobbling from the car when we finally got dinner that evening, but sometimes you need a hike like that to feel alive.

I went to see Cars 2 with some family friends of mine, it was quite different from the first one, but I thought it was pretty good.

Playing volleyball┬á twice in a week was super fun, as well as wrapping the weekend off with a big 4th of July party at my friend Josh’s place. There is nothing like having all your friends together to enjoy the time!

And before I knew it, it was time to fly back eastward. Now I am in Maine, working on several jobs up here. Two months to go.

Previously, I had compared myself to Riley Poole from the movie National Treasure, because he is always finding ways to make technology work, and getting into secret places. Working out here, often alone, without any friends or coworkers around, I sometimes feel like the agents in the Bourne series of films (except I’m not getting assassination orders or getting in fights), because I get orders on my cell phone to go there and fix this, then go over here and do that. It’s funny at times…

I will see you all again soon, my friends…


19 06 2011

This weekend, I traveled down to Boston to see some of the sights. It worked out that some friends I hadn’t seen in a while were going to be in the area, so it was a great time to meet up!

We intended to take a train into the great city, to avoid having to drive its crazy streets, but we managed to miss the train by minutes (hey, this is what makes fun memories later on, right?), so we had to drive in anyway. Thankfully one of my friends lives in MA and has driven into Boston several times, so she was our excellent (if somewhat crazy) driver. We drove to the main station and hopped onto the ‘T’, the city’s subway system. There’s a famous song about it by the Kingston Trio, called Charlie and the MTA:

In honor of the song, the tickets are called Charlie Tickets:


We went to Chinatown to get some lunch, which was good, and then we headed to the North End of Boston, which is also home to ‘little Italy’, as well as the Old North Church, and Paul Revere:

It is really neat to be standing where so much history took place. We didn’t explore a quarter of what was there, due to time constraints, so I’ll just have to go back again. It’s an amazing town.

One of my other friends that came along is of Italian heritage, and she insisted I try a Cannoli, which is a pastry made with a ricotta cheese based filling. It was really good, and really rich.

We went down to the waterfront to see the USS Constitution, but alas, we were too late to take a tour. Still, it was neat to see it.

We then decided to go to Harvard, and walk around that campus.

And, since we were all Car Talk fans, we searched for their office in Harvard Square:

There are always random performers in college towns, it seems:

All in all it was quite a fun day. All the more so because I was able to share it with some friends.

On Living Alone

13 06 2011

Living alone can be challenging in many ways. It can also be a crucible in how you live your life and who you want to be; taking the time to figure out what is good or bad in your life, and making a determined effort to move towards those goals, with God’s help.

Here are some things I would like to change or improve on in my own life:

  • read the Word regularly and with purpose
  • exercise regularly with a goal of improving my speed and endurance in running, and getting better general fitness
  • make the effort to talk to strangers more, and be more friendly to people
  • rebuild my guitar skills, and teach myself more advanced pieces of music
  • make more meals from scratch that are healthier

What do you see in your life that needs to change? What are you doing about reaching that goal?

New Hampshire, first days

7 06 2011

Well, I arrived in Boston without incident and was picked up by Brice, my boss out here. My first impression of that city was that its drivers are insane. I’m used to California drivers and their contstant speeding and cutting people off, but Boston drivers are different. They use exit lanes as passing lanes, and drive fast just before slamming on the brakes.

New Hampshire is nice, especially Portsmouth, where I am working right
now. There are bunches of old brick buildings, and all alleyways and side
streets you only find in old cities.
Apparently Portsmouth is the third oldest city in the country. I can’t wait todo more exploring.

As for work, I’m doing all sorts of things. Right now driving all over the state with brice

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