Monday, April 26, 2004


A girl I played soccer with in high school died yesterday in what can only be considered the most senseless of tragedies. She was hit by a bullet in the throat at a party at her own house. Apparently two guys got in a fight and one pulled a gun and aimed at the other guy and fired. The bullet passed through this guy's scalp and lodged itself in Jenna's throat. The guy lived. Jenna didn't.

She was celebrating the end of spring soccer season with her friends. She had everything in the world going for her. She was one of the best soccer players I've ever seen...a star in the Big 12 for the University of Nebraska, a member of the US Women's U-21 Team, and a possible player on the US Women's Olympic Team. Even though she was only a sophomore when I played with her, she was a team leader...always positive, always fun, always making you want to be better. On top of that, she was sweet, funny, well-liked, and very smart.

You have to wonder what's wrong with the world when someone like that is taken from it. It's an unfair world for sure. We all know that, but there are certain moments that make that brutally clear. And the most infuriating part of it is that we have the power to make it a bit fairer, to make it so that less people have to suffer through such unfathomable tragedies. Why in God's name did a 22 year old have a gun at a college party? Why did he have a gun at all? Why do we defend, defend, defend the right of people to carry guns when we all know that the purpose of a gun is to kill? You can talk to me all you want about our rights and self-defense, but I will never agree with you. I'm not saying that guns used for hunting are terrible. I'm saying that a handgun, which is specifically designed to kill humans, has no place in a civilized world. It's a tragedy waiting to happen. It's a tragedy that could be waiting to happen to someone you know and love. It's time we did something about it. Fuck the NRA. Fuck the people who claim that any kind of check on a gun is a denial of basic rights. Life...that's the one right that we should all be working to protect. Think about it. Think about how you live. And think about how you vote. And think about how that lifestyle and that vote could help or hurt the lives you care about.

There will be plenty of elegies for Jenna from people who knew her far better than I did. I won't pretend that we were the best of friends. I enjoyed the time I spent with her, and I am glad I had a chance to know her and interact with her on a daily basis for two years. The thought of what happened saddens and sickens me. Despite all our wishes, there is nothing we can do to change what has happened. I can only keep her family and friends in my prayers and ask that you do too. And in honor of her and all others who have been victims of such horrible violence, we must do all that we can to make our world a safer and more loving place. It's our responsibility.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Airport Tidbits

First of all, isn't tidbits a great word? It's cool like smorgasboard. By the way Mark, I ate from a real smorgasboard in Sweden. I know you're jealous.

I thought today I'd provide you with a thought or two more from my travels. Maybe it was just me, but I sure thought this was strange. When I was flying out of Sweden, our plane was delayed a bit by air traffic control, so we were just sitting out on the runway. I was trying to distance myself from the philosophers, so I was staring out my window and what do I see. First, let me tell you that I'm at the smallest, most ghetto airport I've ever been to. It was like a landing strip with an attached outhouse. Ryanair is the only airline that flies out of this airport. The whole thing is secured by nothing more than a chain link fence. This chain length fence is only about 50m from the runway. I think you could reach out and touch the plane's wing if you were standing by the fence. And that my friend is what people were doing. Not touching the wing, but gathering at the fence to stare at the plane. Twelve people. And they weren't just there by happenstance. These people had lawn chairs and binoculars. It was the day's big event for them I guess. "Hey hon, hurry up with that. The plane takes off in thirty minutes. We've got to get our seats. " It was kind of an eery feeling being on the plane with those people watching like something spectacular was going to happen. I felt like I was on the wrong plane and instead of going to London, this plane was going to take off and do some loopty-loos or barrell rolls. Fortunately for me it turned out to be a regular flight. Hope the people on the ground weren't too disappointed.

And as an interesting sidenote, I was looking for a sandwich to take with me on the airplane but without success. The things people eat up there are quite disgusting. Pickled fish??? I did find two interesting options though, both which were tuna. One sandwich was named "Moby Dick" and the other was named "Honky Tuna". I got a good laugh out of that. One Honky Tuna and a Coke please.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

No I Don't Think You're Smart. In Fact, I Think You're An Inadequate Moron.

I’m not a big fan of flying. Not only is your seat tiny, but you are also practically sitting on top of someone else, who you most likely don’t know. On my flight from Stockholm to London I got a little relief with the tiny seat by securing the window in the emergency exit row, but I almost would have given that up in order to avoid sitting next to the two people I got stuck with. My row-mates were two males, one probably a year or two younger than me and one about three years older than me. From what I got out of their comments, it seems they had just met in the cafĂ© at the airport. Both were from London though. Apparently they are the kind of people who could talk to walls because despite only knowing each other for a short amount of time, they talked nonstop the entire flight. And not only did they talk, but they talked about philosophy. Oh God, shoot me now. The older guy acted as if he were Socrates himself. As soon as they sat down, they started talking about “truth”. What is truth? the older guy asked. Is there such a thing? Am I true? Is the world true? Blah blah blah blah blah. Then they went to the idea of good and evil. And then on to God. The older guy was a self-professed agnostic (more atheist I think), and the younger guy was Christian. The younger guy kept defining God in a pretty traditional sense: all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, etc. The older guy kept asking, “If God is everything than must he not also be evil?”. Then the older guy wanted to know why Jesus was human and divine, saying that it would have made more sense if he were just human because as he was divine people would use that as an excuse not to have to live as he did. I wanted to point out here that that would have been a slight problem, in that then he just would have been a person and not God. I also wanted to point out to him that simply because something does not make sense to him does not mean that that is not the way it is/was/will be.

Anyhow, I’m not going to transcribe the conversation for you because it was so inane that I refuse to waste your or my time with it. What I wanted to say is that I think philosophy, for the most part, is a whole lot of BS. (I’m not rejecting all philosophy or saying Socrates or Aristotle or other such people were idiots. I’m mainly talking about the philosophizing that goes on today by all kinds of Joe Schmoes.) Here’s my theory on it all: Philosophy stems from a sense of inadequacy. People feel inadequate in the world, so they turn to philosophy, analyzing everything to the extent that it is impossible for it to make any sense at all. Then they go around asking people questions that no one can answer, and subsequently feel smart for being able to ask such questions. By making the world so complicated, they feel justified in their inadequacy, convincing themselves that it is impossible for any person to really understand anything. Pretty good theory huh?

I’m either brilliant or retarded, because it’s not that complicated to me. Truth doesn’t have to be that difficult. Neither does God. I am true. The morning is true. Laughter is true. Tears are true. Sunshine is true. Thunderstorms are true. Love is true. The ability of one life to affect another life is true. Even a mirage is true. It’s not truly a place perhaps, but it’s truly a mirage. There is truth in everything. And at the same time, all of that is God. Therefore logically, Truth is Everything. Everything is God. God is Truth.

Now do I get a Nobel Prize or something?

Monday, April 19, 2004

The Short (Yet Still Long) Review

So it's been a month since I wrote anything of substance on here. It's been a busy month too, so there's no way I can do it all justice in just one post. Therefore I'll just give you a brief update in this post and in future posts which I plan to write this week I will hone in on some of the more interesting details. Officially I was on Easter break for the past two months. Unofficially I have been on break for a month. Here's how it broke down.

March 17-27: Jeff arrived here in Athens on the 17th. I hadn't seen him since Christmas break, so it was really nice. We spent the 19-21 on Santorini, the southermost island in the Cyclades. It's a beautiful island that was created by a volcano, which is still active. The views are stunning. We rented a motorbike and cruised all over the island, which was quite fun. It was a good way to see it all. We looked cool too. Jeff was driving. I was holding on to him. And we both had on these doofy helmets - orange and blue. We looked like we had just driven out of Dumb & Dumber. I really need to get my pictures online. The 23-26 we took a roadtrip around northern Greece. We went to Meteora, these monasteries perched on these huge rock pillars (one appears in the James Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only"), which were amazing. It blows my mind thinking how they were built. Then we went up to Thessaloniki, which is the second biggest town in Greece. It's on the waterfront and so much nicer than Athens. We ended our trip in Delphi. I'd been there before, but it was still cool being at the "navel of the world". I wonder how people in the ancient times made it there. It's not exactly an easy place to reach even nowadays.

March 27 - April 2: At the airport I traded Jeff for my mom. On Sunday, we hit all the major Athens sites including the Acropolis, believe it or not my first time there. Mom compared Athens to the Louisville ghetto, which was pretty funny and also a bit true. We then went to the island of Naxos, where it was really windy but still nice. It's not a touristy island, which was nice. The next day we were going to take a bus to some sites in the Peloponnese, but all the public sectors decided to go on strike. Lovely Greece. We ended up renting a car, which worked out well because we got to see a lot - Acrocorinth, Mycenae, Epidauros, and Napflio. All of the sites were really neat, especially Acrocorinth. Thursday Mom braved the rain to do a little shopping in Athens.

April 2 - April 8: Mom and I took off for Rome the morning of April 2. Once in Rome, we spent the day seeing the major sites - Coloseum, Forum, Trevi Fountain, etc. The next day we visited the Vatican, which was quite crowded being Holy Week and all. Sunday we headed south to Pompei. I'd been before, but found it really interesting anyhow. They've started handing out a little booklet which gives great explanations. I also saw the plaster casts of the people they found there, which I somehow missed the first time. We spent Monday in Florence, having a fairly easy day seeing the major sites. Tuesday we headed to Venice and stayed there through Wednesday. It was pretty cool weather-wise, but we survived. We did some shopping, saw St. Mark's Square and the Realto bridge, took a trip to Burano island, and rode a gondola. Jeff and his parents joined us on Wednesday and we had a nice time. That night we headed back to Rome and Mom took off the next morning.

April 8 - April 12: After seeing Mom off at the airport, I met up with Jeff and re-did the Rome sites. I think Rome is a really interesting city, so I didn't mind. Friday we went to the Vatican before heading to Vernazza in the Cinque Terre. In Vernazza we were part of a Good Friday Carrying of the Cross procession which was really beautiful. The next morning, we hiked the five towns of the Cinque Terre. It's a stunning area. I'd love to spend a long weekend there. Amazing place. But we were on a whirlwind tour, and headed out to Florence Saturday night. Easter Sunday Jeff and I went on a bike ride through the Chianti region. Twenty miles in total, the first ten were all uphill. I thought I was going to die. The trip had worn me out and this was insane. The views were beautiful though. Monday we spent most of the day travelling. We went from Florence to Milan and then flew to Sweden.

April 13 - April 18: I spent this week in Sweden with Jeff. I was all set to dislike the country...especially since cold weather and I don't get along, but Sweden put on it's Sunday best, and I really did like the place. We had a pretty chill time, which was just what I needed after all the travel. We did take a boat trip to Helsinki, which was pretty neat. We went Wednesday night, spent Thursday in Helsinki, and came back Thursday night. Interesting sidetrip. In Stockholm we went to few museums, the Vassa one being pretty neat, and we did a little H&M shopping. I came back last night on a crazy set of flights - from Stockholm to London Stanstead and then from London Luton to Athens. I got in at 4:30am and slept a few hours before getting back to work.

All in all it was a great vacation. I'll fill you in on some of the more interesting details later. I really did mean for this to be short. I just did a lot of things in the past month, and I knew you wanted to know about each and every one!

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Yay for Shrimp

I need to update on lots of other things, but check this out. And I never knew that Long John Silvers was based in Louisville...another exciting thing about my city. Woohoo.

LOUISVILLE, KY, March 24, 2004 - NASA's March 23 announcement of evidence of the past presence of "a body of gently flowing saltwater" on Mars is big news for America, and giant news for seafood fans.

In January, Long John Silver's offered to give America free Giant Shrimp if NASA found conclusive evidence of an ocean on Mars. To celebrate the success of NASA's Mars Rover project, the company is going to give America free Giant Shrimp on Monday, May 10.

Long John Silver's President Steve Davis sent a personal letter to NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, congratulating NASA on their discovery. "We've been following the Mars Exploration project since the beginning," Davis wrote, "and we've been anxiously awaiting word of evidence of an ocean on Mars. The rovers have been extremely busy since they arrived on Mars - they've had 'plenty of things on their plate.' Now, with the discovery of ocean water, America can add one more thing to its plate - free Giant Shrimp."

Davis ended the letter by writing, "This is one small step for man, and one giant leap for Giant Shrimp." He also again expressed interest in Long John Silver's becoming the first seafood restaurant on Mars.

Baker added that the Giant Shrimp giveaway is the perfect way to celebrate NASA's historic discovery, which has taken place at the same time Long John Silver's Giant Shrimp introduction has been one of the most successful product launches in company history.

"NASA is making history on Mars and Long John Silver's is making history here on earth," added Baker. "Our faith in NASA has paid off. Their giant accomplishment calls for Giant Shrimp."

For more info, check out the websites

The important part is here though for those of you needing to know now...
Every person in the U.S. will have an opportunity to obtain one free Giant Shrimp at participating Long John Silver's restaurants in the United States. Redemption will take place on Monday, May 10, 2004, from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m., local time, while supplies last. Customers can use the store locator at to find their nearest Long John Silver's locations.

Woohoo. One free shrimp! Life is good.