The Facebook Experiment

I turn 30 years old on Wednesday. This being the case, I decided to do something interesting to start off this new decade of my life. I currently have 610 friends on Facebook and over the course of my first month as a 30 year old I am going to attempt to write a message on every single one of their walls, an average of 20 a day. I will write a personal note, put a link to this blog, and after a month see how many people respond on Facebook, how many check out this blog, and if anyone has anything interesting to say! In a way it’s shameless self promotion for the blog, but it’s also a way to interact with 610 people I claim to be “friends” with. I’ll start on Wednesday October 27 and hopefully by November 27, 2010 will have written all of them. I’ll blog a few updates and then when all is said and done, I’ll write up a big summary. So here’s to the Facebook experiment, and here’s to 30!

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10 blogs I recommend

1. Stuff Christians Like – http://stuffchristianslike.net/ (Very funny blog about Christendom)

2. Further Dispatches – http://furtherdispatches.wordpress.com/ (Jorge Garcia from Lost)

3. Hyperbole and a Half – http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/ (Funniest blog I have ever read, you will laugh out loud)

4. Mossy Foot – http://www.mossyfoot.blogspot.com/ (Awesome organization that works in Ethiopia)

5. The Baseball Codes – http://thebaseballcodes.com/ (For all baseball fans)

6. From Mourning to Morning – http://marisapaigehenryfranson.blogspot.com/ (A friend’s blog, lots of great pictures)

7. Atherstones in Uganda – http://stonesinuganda.blogspot.com/ (Friends who are missionaries in Uganda, keep up with their adventures)

8. Pray for Daisy – http://prayfordaisy.com/ (You have to keep up with this blog)

9. Mon amie Kelly – http://monamiekelly.blogspot.com/ (A friend’s blog about life in France)

10. Because Everyone Needs to Laugh – http://becauseeveryoneneedstolaugh.blogspot.com/ (A friend’s blog full of hilarious videos)

Reflecting Rain

It’s raining outside, something I wish it did a little more here in California.

I wrote this poem a few years ago on a similar rainy day:

It’s a blustery day Charlie Brown

It’s raining outside again, my friend

I know it seems quite strange

But one of these days it will end, my friend

And take with it all of your pains

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen that sun

But please friend, please don’t cry

The past always comes undone

And once again we’re left with another try

At living this old life in a wet world

Where there seems to be no dry ground

Where dreams and plans often come unfurled

But where love and hope are found

Dreams and plans we’ve oft thought were gone

Sometimes hidden behind the gray clouds

Appear as Lucy to the one, Mr. Faun

And take away death’s dark shrouds

Tucson

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go visit one of my friends who lives in Tucson, Arizona and is attending the University of Arizona. I knew it would be a quick, busy trip, but that it would also be a fun time with a lot of memories made. So despite the urge to sleep in, I woke up at 5am on Saturday morning (and so did my wife who had been recruited to take me to the airport) and made my way to LAX. After a 1 hour direct flight I landed in Tucson.

One of the things I absolutely love about Arizona are all the types of cactus, but my favorite is the magnificent Saguaro. As soon as I walked out of the airport I was greated by these monoliths of the desert and the thought crossed my mind, “I think I could live here….” The hotel’s shuttle was out of commission so they had me take a taxi and they covered the bill, nice!

I finally met up with my friend, Travis, and his family and we hit up the U of A campus. It is an amazing place. I was so jealous of the college lifestyle (mine was quite a few years ago now!), attend a few classes here and there, but most of your time is spent hanging out with friends, eating at amazing restaurants, or shooting the breeze. Ah, to be young again.

That afternoon Arizona was playing Oregon State in a much-hyped football game so we made our way to the stadium and found our seats in the endzone section where we got to stand right next to the field for the entire game. It was hopping in that stadium, everyone was wearing red, the band was playing, but unfortunately Oregon State came out on top and won the game 29-27, but it was a thriller and kept up the excitement until the last whistle.

After the game, the campus was one giant hangout spot but we hit up a local restaurant for some food before calling it a night.

The next morning we hit the road early and cruised up to Phoenix and made our way to the University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals. We were going to watch them play the defending Super Bowl champions, the New Orleans Saints. The stadium was absolutely amazing. Travis and his dad had seats down near the field, while my seat was a bit closer to the roof. It didn’t matter though because you could see everything happening on the field and the fans were crazy everywhere! The Saints definitely came in the favorite, but we all cheered and yelled and somehow they pulled out an inprobable 30-20 win in another great football game.

After the game, instead of us driving back to Tucson, Travis caught a shuttle so his dad and I could get on our way back to California. The sun set over a beautiful desert scene and as we drove through the blackness millions of stars shone down on us. A few times I saw what I thought were UFO’s, who know’s what’s out there? Around 10 we finally made it to Palm Desert, California where we spent the night before the last leg of our journey.

Monday morning dawned bright and beautiful and we hit the road early and before I knew it we were back in the urban expanse of Los Angeles, with that beautiful brown smog enveloping us. Home.

It was a busy weekend, but it was a fun weekend. A lot of food, friends, and football. But I was happy to get back to my wife and my dogs and a little bit of relaxation.

Ugandan Santa

It was Christmastime in Uganda and I was in Kampala at the mall on my weekly “city” run. As I was walking through Uchumi getting some groceries and enjoying a little bit of Western-type things I noticed a Santa Claus outfit. Hmmmmmm……..how could I resist such a thing? So I bought it, took it home to Gaba, and kept it hidden.

Christmas day kept creeping closer and I prepared all the things I needed until the 25th finally arrived. They were having a big service at the church so I knew a lot of the kids would be congregating there, but that some of the younger ones would still be at their houses around the village. I pulled the Santa outfit from the closet, pulled on the red pants and black boots, I strapped some pillows to my chest (I was actually really skinny then) to create the “belly” effect and put on the fluffy red jacket. I snuck into the bathroom and carefully put on the white beard and finally the hat and there before me was a reflection of Santa!

I got my big bag of goodies (a lot of different candies) and headed out the door to spread some Christmas cheer! Some of the kids in Gaba had heard of Santa Claus but a lot hadn’t, so they didn’t know who this man in red was. All the kids in Gaba knew me, but none of them recognized that it was me in the costume! I started making my way through the dirt streets and groups of kids started noticing me and running up to greet me and when they did I gave them candy! I made my way towards the church and as I did I gathered a larger group of kids around me who just kept following me, joining in the celebration. Finally I made it to the church just as they finished the service (exactly as I had planned) and was totally mobbed by kids, who by this time were figuring out that it was me. I started throwing candy in the air, to the left, to the right, candy everywhere. There was so much laughing and happiness it was awesome and then something happened that I didn’t expect.

For some reason there was a TV crew there from one of the local Ugandan stations and they noticed me passing out candy in the Santa outfit and came over to interview me. They asked who I was, where I lived, what I was doing in Uganda, and why I was passing out candy to all the children. I was able to share why I was in Uganda and how I wanted to bring a little bit of Christmas joy to these kids who didn’t need fancy gifts, a few pieces of candy brightened up their day.

After the interview, I threw out the rest of the candy and then started taking off pieces of the outfit and giving them away until I was standing in shorts, a t-shirt, and boots, back to my normal self. A group of us then went back to my house for a big Christmas dinner and to celebrate as a family. As time goes by, I forget  a lot of little things from my time in Uganda, but this was one of those moments that I’ll never forget, the day Santa Claus came to Gaba!