Friday, August 21, 2009

My recent amazon reviews.

Check out my full reviews through the links - but if you're interested in short synopses, then here's something to whet your appetite.

1. Don't waste your money on the smoke detector I've listed.
2. The Night of the Gun is long, but it's worth the read.
3. Time is a River is great...if you love Lifetime mini-dramas.
4. "Eh Oh" by Femi Kuti is a free download - it starts out big and has an interesting message underneath its layers.
5. I filter my water, though...I'm pretty sure the water treatment plant does an otherwise satisfactory job at it too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Spam in my box...

Occasionally, I recieve some sort of spam in my work inbox, and I wonder "How did they know where to send this?"

Today, however, I received a real piece of mailed spam.

If for nothing else except for the promise of a longer life and a better functioning of my sexual plumbing, it was worth opening. Because it promised that real experts from nowhere less prestigious from Harvard itself would be providing this was worth opening. Plus, I was promised to "be surprised," just by opening the letter!

The crazy thing (to me, at least) is that someone has the job of opening the return envelopes from people who might actually be interested in this.

I very often think that we live in a strange and scary world. This, I think, is just further proof of fact that it's true.

Seriously, I wasn't even nearly intelligent enough to wonder whether or not Viagra would hurt my eyes...

I guess I'm seriously fortunate to not have the need of partaking in the blue pill...

My Wife is in the News!

15 seconds of fame:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

At home.

I live in a city of over 1.4 million people.

In the metro area, there are almost six million people.

There are some great things about this. There are times where you want anonymity and it can definitely be easy to find.

But other times, you want to be known.

Jason, I think, blogs about this often (or at times, anyways).

Altogether, it has always been so interesting to me to see people I know in this city. I came home from a long trip today and saw two people I go to church with on my way home. Once was walking out of the train station - those sightings are always a little awkward because you know that the person walking in is in much more of a hurry than the person walking out (sometimes, you'll need to wait thirty minutes before the next train comes!). The other was while I was standing in a subway car. He actually came into the same car and we talked for four stops.

Its a great thing to be known. Its a wonderful feeling knowing that in this huge place that so many people call home, there are so many people that you can call friend - that you can see, that value you and that add value to your own life.

For various reasons, I'm happy to be home.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

On graffiti

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a train traveling towards Connecticut and took a few photos. They're from my cell, so they definitely not stellar.

It was sort of a rare day -
there were clouds and blue skies mixed with light and and a sort of coolness in the air. Apart from today, everything has been pretty dreary weather wise.

I started taking a little mor
e notice of something that is standard fare for urban living: graffiti. I started thinking about the thought processes behind it. I started to think about the alternatives.

There seems to be a stark reaction from some when graffiti is encountered - I think, more often than not, the reaction tends towards fear or disgust. There is a disdain from some for those who would tend towards defacing another's property. Though graffiti is nothing new. When Laura and I traveled to Italy, we noticed that many ancient structures also had ancient graffiti. One of the stark differences between those [structures] and these is artistic intent. There was an architectural artistry endued to much of what was created as opposed to erecting of a short term and functional building [much of what is built in our current world].

Altogether, there's nothing that I saw on my train ride that just blew me away.

The thought came: is it a rebellion against the premise of ownership (that being that ultimate control is maintained from behind the veil of the capability of financing a loan or making payments; i.e. money equated to power and control) or is ita sort of mutated form of artistic function that holds the artists expression above that of the perceived rights of others?

For equality's sake, I've tried to post both in a negative context abo

starting to like some of it.

I think that the world might seem more oppressive [to me] if everything was a white walled cube made of corregated tin for the sake of meeting the needs of a consumerist culture. Trust me, I don't mean this as a counter-culture rant, but as a reality of the types of things that are built today (because, it is apparently much cheaper to build a Colleseum type structure with slave labor, so we tend more towards the big box establishment making).

There are other thoughts behind this that I might post later - but I'm really wondering what do you think about graffiti and why do you think about it the way that you do? If you respond, I may repost here. I look forward to hearing from some of you on this (though, I already know what some of you think...)

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Right. Still not getting the hang of this. Everything is "Back to normal..."


Looks like I really messed something up here. Give me a few days and things will (hopefully) look similar as it was. I hope to be posting a lot more this summer and into the fall (FYI).

In the meantime, enjoy my mistake...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This much is obvious - when I read what some of my friends from the South write on Facebook about their distrust of our President, of the current administration or of the government in general a vast majority of what is written is not as an outrage against injustice. More than anything, what is written is an outrage against a democratically elected Democrat led government.

Lets be honest - for most of those referred to, there was no outrage upon the revelation that we (America) have tortured individuals for the sake of "truth." There has very rarely been any outrage for the plight of those who slough through the swamps of poverty and destitution. The orphan and the widow remain on the margins, but what comes to the forefront on the minds of those who would carry the banner of Christ in America is the downfall of capitalism by the likes of a president who pushes to enact universal health care and fix the financial & budgetary problems left behind by a previous (Republican) administration (that I, admittedly, voted for - both the current and the former).

All the while, the hungry are still hungry.
The sick are still sick.
The marginalized are still off to the sides.

And the unfortunate thing is that I walked with the mess that is the myopic strains of a faith that is more political than actualized. When it comes down to it, I think that Jesus cares less about your government than He does about how you're treating (loving) your brother.'s a sort of temperament thing. I've never been a huge proponent of talking politics. I just think that the weight of importance given to the American political (and lets be really honest - ideological) process is generally wasted energy and has become more divisive and visceral than well thought and unifying. And this is come about with some difficulty in a faith that declares that Christ is the head over all authority (Col 2:10) and that we are to Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution. At best, it's problematic even as we have declared our democracy to be supreme (which is why Arminianism plays such a huge part in our religious dialogue, I suspect) and, by association, God to be mistrusted even as we mistrust our own leaders.

Our failing, that we are not outraged about the thing that Christ was outraged about. I don't weep over the brokenness of the world like Jesus - and in the end, this is only proof of how vast the separation is from Him and me (which is good, because I would make for a very poor Jesus). And that's the crazy thing - right - that Jesus gets outraged about how people are treated (how they are unloved, how they are overlooked, how the image of God is slandered, how the worship of God is corrupted) and not what government is in power.

I have failed to some degree by trusting that certain political powers have in mind the things of God while the reality remains that certain political powers have in mind the elevation of self and the propagation of an ideology that is not Christianity.

We cling to this false assumption that power is found in a vote - a voice amongst others in a democratic republic
. We generally abhor the idea that Jesus would have us loosen our grips from the illusion of power (a vote... a voice... in other cultures, all that you have - Luke 18:18-30) and see what following and loving are...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ten Things Learned While in Italy (not all inclusive, not necessarily all the most important things to learn)

1. Language: Italian sounds a lot more like French than it does Spanish or Portuguese – but it doesn’t matter because most people speak English in Italy anyways.

2. Wine: Anyone who touts an Italian old school of wine tradition is full of it – wine production didn’t really become as it is until some French guy visited Italy in the 1960’s. Before then, there was wine, but it was mostly what people made for their own families to make themselves “Happy,” after a hard day of share cropping. Also, there is nearly nothing as fun and interesting as a wine tour with a few tipsy Britts.

3. Share Cropping: Apparently, the days of share cropping didn’t end in Italy until the 1960’s.

4. Opportunity Cost: The term “You get what you pay for,” seems to be a misrepresentation – I had some of the best cappuccinos ever for just one Euro. In addition, slave labor effectively built the coliseum which seems to have withstood nearly 2000 years of earthquakes, wars, battles and revolts.

5. Accommodations: The term “Castle,” is both relative and loose in its connotations.

6. Gimme yo money: Referencing #1 – everyone speaks English because everyone you see on the streets of Italy wants your money. It is hard to find an authentic cultural “Taste,” of Italy.

7. Food: Even though everyone will serve you pasta, pasta itself wasn’t a normal part of Italian cuisine (at least, not in Tuscany). Apparently, those in Tuscany only ate Pasta once a week – at the most. Italian bread is not what you think – generally speaking, it is hard and tasteless. It serves as a great base upon which to serve olive oil, however. Another note – you cannot, apparently, bring (cured) sausage from the EU to the US – though, I should have tried as my bags were surprisingly never searched by customs.

8. Travel: There’s no traveling like high-speed rail travelling… except high speed car traveling on a narrow mountainous road where certain drivers are compelled to pass you because they always have somewhere else better to be.

9. Tourism: Tourists really contribute quickly to the downgrading of “sacred sites,” (we helped out) – it’s just a weird juxtaposition to see people worshiping in St. Peter’s Basilica while others are taking pictures of them (because, let’s be honest, it’s kind of weird to bury your prior popes above ground… in a church… that is the mother of all of what you call the true church – and we all want weird pictures) and others are still yet arguing… in loud Italian… about who disrespected who.

10. The One True Church: There is no church but the Catholic Church when you’re looking up churches in any given Italian hotel’s church directory. Don't expect to protest anywhere in the boot country...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

15 Miles (wk of 03/21)

Last week, I did about 15 miles.

One 5k race at a 7:57 pace.
On 6 miler in Gold Toe socks (it should have been a 5 miler, and I should have had my running socks).

I've been fairly impressed at how easy it's been to get back into running.

Today (which doesn't count as last week) consisted of a 6 miler (intentionally) through the City.

You can view last weeks runs here:

2 mi
3 mi
6 mi

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More run less blog

I'm running again. That, plus a variety of other things have put this space on hiatus for a little while.

I'm posting new runs regularly @ though.

You can keep up with my running stats here.

I'm currently training for a 10 miler @ the beginning of May. This past weekend, I ran much better than I thought I would during a 5k - the results are here (you'll want to pick the March 22 "Get Your Rear in Gear," search for Twilley, I'm the only one in the race).

7:57 pace. Dawg.

Monday, January 26, 2009

We are human

Today I partook in a rare pleasure that I haven’t been able to enjoy as of late: taking public transportation to work.

Broad Line North to City Hall, connect to the Market Line West towards 69th St Station, off at 30th St and onto AMTRAK for the 25 minute ride to Paoli.

But the joy of public transportation has never borne its treasures from the mere riding of a train. The pleasure comes from what I do with the time. During the warmer months, there were times where I would ride my bike to the train and spend the time reading. Sometimes I would pray. Sometimes I would sleep. Every now and again, I would talk to fellow passengers.

This morning, I stared at people.

I wondered at how time, and stress…the brokenness of life…the anger, despair, sadness and loss of remembering humanity worked toward the deterioration of the human body.

There was an old man to my right; he looked, upon first glance, as many of those who might ride the train for warmth or companionship.

I started at his shoes, brown leather – a little worn, but not worn out. Above the shoes, tan pressed dress pants. There was a soft messenger bag type case leaning against his leg. His hands were a little blue due in large part to his somewhat translucent skin giving us all a glimpse at the toil of his life and the reality of his age. There were imperfections on his skin: perhaps they were warts, maybe they were cancer…maybe they were nothing but proof of a life lived over the course of many decades…maybe they were proof of a man who has loved, and hurt, who dreams…or lost hope. His hair was more salt than pepper and his mustache was the same. For the entire ride – 15 blocks – between city hall and 30th St, he sniffed. It was cold.

Before I actually boarded the west bound Market Line, I stood with the masses of others who were going to work, to school, those who were wandering aimlessly and those who were wandering with the promise of home as their impetus.

A man stood beside me. He was an African American man with thick rimmed glasses. He wore blue jeans and a blue coat. And… I feared that he was staring at me.

I don’t, as a general rule, look at people who are looking at me.

I like to give them the enjoyment of observation.

It was my turn once we boarded the train, however.

This was a man who seemed to be riding for companionship. He looked longingly around – in front of himself and to his sides. As the train slowed towards our stop, he congregated near the door with those people who were finishing out their ritual service of morning train hopping. He interjected himself into the solace of individual riding and pressed for a kinship between his fellow man – something that might be recognized as a common point of contact. As with many who operate within an alien culture, his handling of the time of communion was rough if not incoherent.

But the reality was that this was a soul within the broken shell of a man who was reaching out to be loved and understood by those souls who also traveled in broken containers. In the vacuum of existence where intimacy is a hard currency to accumulate and even seemingly harder to hold, this man tried to create a common plane upon which to walk by pressing others upon which team they rooted for.

As I stared I saw how time stole.
As I stared I saw time’s toll.
As I stared I wondered of those who are alone.
Whose family are those who inhabit the train.

Cold morning’s no match for the sting of death
Nor rhymes or reasons away from the city
Where lives entwined pulse with radiance
Warm smile, strange questions, strange people, cold streets.

No family for those whose lives are lost,
Whereas I stared and saw time steal.
As I stared I saw time demand.
As I stared, I hoped for those who are alone.

Whose family are those who inhabit the train.

Monday, January 05, 2009

New year's resolutions...

In the vein of Jonathan Edwards, I too have resolutions to make:

1. I resolve to update my status even more on facebook ("our day to day chores should not be interesting to other people...")
2. I resolve to not get any more parking, speeding or moving violation tickets this year
3. I resolve to quit making fun of what other people name their babies (if you have to don't ask)
4. I resolve to never be duped by carnival cruise lines again...ever...
5. I resolve to use most of the 30 days my company is giving me as paid vacation this year
6. I resolve to buy fewer groceries
7. I resolve to Become a Better Me
8. I resolve to wield the power of words like the power of greyskull
9. I resolve to not have a baby throw up on my face (scroll to the second picture - thanks Jess!)
10. I resolve to not use baby paraphernalia as life saving devices