Saturday, April 30, 2011


For 11 years there sat a dusty, stinky, saggy couch in the garage. It came to me one summer when I was working as a roofer, the hardest job I'll ever have. As a side job my boss was gutting his aunt's house. I was doing dump runs and this couch was on the list. With sweat beading down my face, I asked "Can I have this old couch?"

Over the years I would glance at it in the garage. I would think about refinishing it. However, knowing it would not be cheap my travel budget was always fed before my "home furnishings" budget.

It wasn't until recently that I got serious about putting life back into this 1930's piece of furniture. So serious that one day I loaded it on top of Ruth and headed downtown for a place called A & E Upholstery. Tucked way back into a residental neighborhood there is a man named Tom who is the son of a Norwegian craftsman. He learned everything he knows now at the age of 78 from his father. 

He looked over my crusty couch, or as my sister says, chesterfield, and told me he could resuscitate this retro piece. Days later I paid him a visit. He was busy in his workshop replacing the springs and padding. I looked through what seemed like thousands of fabric/color swatches before deciding on the look I wanted. I enjoyed working with Tom on the design aspect. To go into a department store and buy what they have on the floor is one way to do it. But I really appreciated working with a local craftsman down to the color of the piping around the side panels.

I love old things. I especially love when old things become new. The long slanted armrests were what grabbed me 11 years ago. Now, as it resides in the living room, I sit and ponder what memories were made and what memories will be made on my chesterfield.

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    The Man in the Arena is Greg Mortenson

    Sorbonne, Paris France
    April 23, 1910, exactly 101 years ago today. I like to imagine the sunny spring morning when Roosevelt made his way through the narrow streets of Paris to the Sorbonne to deliver his "Citizenship in a Republic" speech. I love imaging his voice belting out this long speech, ringing into the crowded auditorium. An excerpt from his speech is now part of me. I quote it often to myself having committed it to memory. It reminds me to stay focused in a world full of distraction.
    -It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.- 

    April 23, 2011, exactly today. From the reports Greg Mortenson is going through or recovering from minor heart surgery. He has been blasted this past week since the news program 60 minutes "investigated" accusations into the mishandling of donor funds for his charity that builds schools in remote parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. I've taken a deep breath, I've digested the news reports from both sides, I've spoken with friends and colleagues about these recent events surrounding Greg, who I saw speak only a few weeks ago.

    Google these reports if you so choose. Having been a follower of Greg's work for many years I've been impacted by these unsettling reports maybe more than most. Having spent time in Central Asia, albeit a much safer region than where Greg goes, I have come to appreciate the amount of courage, energy and sacrifice one makes when traveling/working in some of the most remote regions of the world.

    The majority of what Greg is accused of means little to me. If parts of his story don't match up, questions about funding, not enough board-members, yada yada yada. All of it can be true for all I care. We live in a world of hyper judgment, every one is a critic. I went for a run this morning and thought about Greg. Then I recited Roosevelt's quote.

    I'm addicted to doers. The ones who do something with this life. Who get out, who get UP and do something. Mistakes may have been made along the way but here is a guy who has championed a voice for education in a region of the world that for so long has been repressed and forgotten.

    Let me put it this way. Let's say there happens to be a house party down the street. Drinks, food, music. Sounds like a good time. I pass through the front door and see Greg in one corner and Karl Rove in another. Both seem to be telling stories, each has a small crowd listening intently. Based on everything I know, absolutely everything can turn out to be true about Greg and I'll take his insights about life any day over the alternative.

    There are evil people in this world. Greg Mortenson is not one of them.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    What I would try if I had nine lives.

    Are you kidding me. This has to be one of the most amazing videos I've ever seen. Nothing like the vicarious adrenaline rush from a helmet cam.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    The White Buffalo and a drawing in the NY Times

    I can't say I put the proper amount of thought and time into writing these posts in recent weeks. It often feels to me like i treat this blog the way Pollock painted minus the intrinsic beauty his artwork has.

    Below is a drawing I snagged from the NY Times book review. It was about a book that involved a women who drowned after (i think) she got married to the love of her life. I really can't remember the book review that well. what sticks with me is this amazing sketch. It connects with me on some weird level, i guess its the uniqueness of the imagery. What's it do for you?
    NY Times artist, feel free to let me know who drew this so I can give proper credit to this image

    Below is a song. Like all the best music I learn about this artist was passed to me by an amazing friend. I recently learned about THE WHITE BUFFALO from a friend who is constantly informing me of artists I would never come across if not for her wicked taste in music. To me, his voice singing these lyrics spark something I never get enough of. The silent, intangible short film of feeling which soaks the brain in inspiration and the heart with wonder. 

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Sydney, I'll come running

    If I turn these notes from the field into a confessional I admit here and now that I cannot dance. But it is not that I don't practice at odd times.

    Like for example when I downloaded this song by Brett Dennen, "Sydney, I'll come running" off his new album. There is no reason why you should also like this song, I'm only saying that some of us have songs, well, I'd like to think that all of us have songs, that send our arms and legs into a hypnotic craze of movement. Which is exactly what happened on my run in the forest today. Nature had no idea what to do with me. The squirrels and owls scattered and it had everything to do with my dancing.

    P.S. I am certain I will listen to this song so often that I will get sick of it within a few days. But until then I am busting out some killer dance moves.

    How to make green energy funny

    Ok, so I know it's a little dated and maybe you've already seen this video before. But having watched it several times over the years it still makes me laugh and I hope it makes you laugh too.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    A view of the Spokane River that I had missed for two decades

    I strolled down to the water's edge and checked out an amazing sight the other day. Huntington Park is a must see right now. The massive amount of water flowing down the Spokane River is a sight to behold.
    What I find just as amazing as seeing the falls up close is that I didn't even know this park existed until the other day when someone asked if I had been down in Huntington Park. I'm feeling pretty dumb considering how many years I have spent in this town, you'd think I'd have it pretty well mapped out by now. Proof that cool stuff surrounds us, we just have to keep training our eyes to see all that is out there.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Red Rock Rendezvous

    Taking photos is one thing but as part of this new gig I've become the unofficial video guru for Mountain Gear. Here is my debut piece from the stuff I shot at the Red Rock Rendezvous climbing festival:

    So here's to appreciating all those cool shots and awesome editing techniques I see everyday in films. I never stopped to think how much talent it takes to shoot and clip all that cool stuff together.

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