If It’s the Beaches… (Context)


If it’s the beaches
If it’s the beaches’ sands you want
Then you will have them
If it’s the mountains’ bending rivers
Then you will have them

— from the album, The Gleam


That’s a line from a little song that people who go to Avett Brothers concerts like a lot. They will ask their other Avett-Brother-fan friends, “Hey, did you get to hear beaches live? He played it at our show in Asheville last month!” I think that people like the line because it sounds romantic and sweet. “I will move mountains for you!” he says, loosely interpreted. You can get the quote handwritten on little DIY-type things on Etsy if you want. And there is a lot of emotion in the song, too. They are very good with words in my opinion.

An interesting thing about this line is that taken in context with the rest of the song, the meaning can feel completely different. If you knew that this guy was begging a girl not to leave him and asking if she wanted this cute sounding promise or for him to help her pack the car to leave him, would the line be as romantic? Apparently the context in which something is said can make quite a difference. Context, by definition, is all of the circumstances and details surrounding a thing that is said or done. This is kind of like, “what caused you to say that?” or “what were you trying to accomplish by doing what you did?” or “what was going on at the time?”.

You will usually hear someone tell you that you are taking a thing out of context so then you obviously can’t really get whats going on. This would be like reading a line from some story, “Sirius pushed his chair roughly aside and strode around the table towards Snape, whipping his wand out as he went; Snape whipped out his own.” Without knowing anything about Harry Potter or magic, you might think there are some dirty things about to go down right? In this case, the point is simply that things can seem different from how they were intended, often times silly, when heard by someone outside of the situation at hand, or maybe when repeated back to someone later who wasn’t there.

But it can also mean that you are handed this picture, out of context, or without knowing the frame of reference from which is was taken:


Here, without knowing where a person was coming from or what was happening at the time, you are getting an illusion of the truth. If you would have known that they were taken in San Fransisco and aligned with the road which is actually what is sloped, you might not assume that those hoses are falling over and unlivable. Here, again, the one perceiving the information doesn’t know what’s going on so they might assume a thing that isn’t necessarily true.

You might think A CNN headline on the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson was written out of context, in that they have omitted circumstantial facts in order to make the story seem to align with their political views or even to get more people to click on the link and read it, as sad as that may sound. In this example, context is relevant in that it seems as if it can be manipulated for a given situation to give a false sense of truth. One might then assume that you can set up a situation so that it works well to a certain audience or at a certain time or for a specific reason by blurring the context, when in reality it is not a truth.

This line of thought kind of struck me when I was thinking about that beaches song. This dude said something to a girl that sounded great at the time because he was trying to get her back right? It can really take away from the song, if he is manipulating her perception of context by way of a heated emotional exchange so that she interprets what he is saying to mean what he wants her to have it mean. And then, on top of that, now you have all of those Avett-Brother-fans swooning over a quote on their hand stitched pillow, when if they would consider the context, they might reconsider setting the pillow out in the first place. Maybe I need to look into this a bit more, I am not sure what he is really saying here anymore.



So now we have to be aware of and consider the situational relevance of any and all information presented, to the best of our ability. Otherwise we are setting ourselves up to be deceived or to be manipulated. You would buy anything that CNN or Harry Potter fan who is messing with you or a desperate boyfriend put in front of you.  Being able to see the truth in things can take work, but I think considering the context might help…


MUSIC THAT MATTERS: You probably think you could guess my music of the day this time around right? You have picked up on the context clues. I spelled it out with my opening quote, You read my blog and you know what I like. So let’s see how you did. The music that matters this week is an incredible and funky group known as Galactic. Not the Avett Brothers.


GEOCACHING UPDATE: So have made no attempt to find any caches since my last post. For that I am not sorry. I am standing by my word and waiting to get back home to Dana in order to log the number 400 milestone with her by my side. But you all logged on and are here reading my blog so I won’t leave you empty-handed. Fair warning though, If you plan to cache in the Netherlands any time soon, or are from there, SPOILERS ahead.

I read about this one the other day and it was pretty impressive so I thought I would share. According to this YouTube video, curious cachers have to use clues to decipher a combination, then find the “container” using the traditional mystery style coordinates, then open a combo lock to get the key. Next they must unlock the box with the key and there is this big Frankenstein head in it with flashing lights and the whole works, and it talks or has a note or something (this is not in English, mind you). You have to then get jumper cables and use your running car battery, hooked up to the bolts in his head, to make a little bison tube geocache come up out of the bottom on this pedestal. All I have to say about that is, whaaaaaaaat???


FULL CIRCLE: Here’s the rest of the story, thanks to a fellow fan of music on Reddit:

Scott Avett wrote the song, If It’s the Beaches, about himself and his girlfriend at the time. The voice recording in the middle of the song is actually a message she left for him at the time. But today the two are still very happily married. She didn’t get in that car and leave and he has stuck to his promise. So really, in this case, did context really matter? Was he manipulating anyone? Maybe he was in a pickle and begging for his girl to stay with him, but does it really change what he is saying? He promised this girl that he would do whatever it takes to make it work out with her. Maybe it took a certain situation to bring that out of him but what he said turned out to be true and she was able to identify that. It is NOT taking the quote out of context then, in relation to the rest of the song, if the quote stands true, no mater what the circumstances. What is happening here is that there are truths, that can withstand all of this context distortion. Some things are just true, as far as most reasonable people would care to argue at least. The sky is blue, I enjoy writing this blog, and Scott Avett would do anything in the world for his wife.


All this  over-thinking and blogging about this little song has really made me appreciate it more. I hope that I can both get better at seeing things that happen to me and in my life in proper context, and to identify the truths in this world that hold true no matter what the situation. I am pretty sure that is the take-away here. But for now, I am going to go listen to that song again, maybe get that quote engraved on something. If I do, I will know in my heart that I am not saying “I’d get the beaches for you” to be cute or for a smile, or to end an argument. It is something that I believe to be true, no matter what the context.




Words To Fill Some Space; A Thailand Album

TL;DR – The entry in which Matt McConaughey travels through space-time, a blog is never written in Asia, and lastly, late at night in the darkness of a Marriott hotel room,  I discover the front page of the internet.

calvin stars

I am not going to apologize again for the gap in between the last time I wrote for you all and today. Let’s face it; I don’t think anyone is setting their watch to the frequency of my posting habits. But here I am, working nights up in Connecticut and finally feeling inspired. Also I watched that new McConaughey/Nolan flick, Interstellar (mixed reviews), the other night and good heavens there is a lot of space to be filled. Why not start with another bit of words here for you all to enjoy! So here’s a new one for ya, same same, but different!

And it really is a big, big universe, right? I don’t know if you have seen or plan to see the movie or not, I think you have picked up on the fact that it is an enormous world we are living in. I have dabbled in getting a little deep in a few blog entries of late, so I will attempt to avoid that here to an extent, but another thing working nights and living alone in a hotel room will do is give a person a lot of time to think. To think about all sorts of things really. If you aren’t picking up what I am putting down, familiarize yourself with the author of this fellow blogger. I think he’s on my page and strongly recommend his words about the fermi paradox and religious structure and spirituality (agree to disagree). His writing is thought provoking and inspiring whether to agree with the guy orr not. All in all it has been a positive experience up here in New England for me. Without getting wordy, just know that I may not be blogging about it, but I am sticking to my previous promises and following the GPS as best I can. Don’t get me wrong, I am very ready to make the 10 hour drive back down to Central VA and the lovely lady (11 days), but I think I have been making the best of what’s around for now.


mr. mcconaughey

Now to get to the real blogging you’ve been waiting for (and promised, sorry), before anyone asks…

WHY I DIDN’T BLOG FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA: I just want to say, I tried. There was an afternoon while relaxing in the air conditioning of my uncle’s Bangkok home when I grabbed the tablet and started some outlining and a couple paragraphs. You all should be sad too, because it was going to be a good one. To be blunt about it, I was having too good a time for this much effort. I am not a professional blogger and you all aren’t paying me to be such a thing, so I chose to have myself a damn good time instead, and a damn good time was had. I cannot stress to you enough how much I would encourage a trip over to Southeast Asia. Do it!

Aside from not blogging, all sorts of fun was had. The place is crawling with interesting and very buddhist smiling citizens, dazzling but reverent temples of every shape and size, and an at times, a mind-bending mixture of insanely populated first world flashy aisian night life and shopping (Bangkok, parts of Chiang Mai, touristy beach islands) and some of the most polite and awesome third world culture I have yet experienced. I won’t take Rick Steve or Frommer’s jobs from them, but I will share with you the moments that I randomly select as my favroties for the sake of this blog (It would be way too hard to choose favorites on a trip like this one. Each one could be its own entry on here).

  • Biking the Angkor Wat temple long circuit in Cambodia. We chose to act against all of the friendly tips about this being crazy to attempt as the weather is far too hot, and just went out and did it. The buddha must have approved as we were blessed with a breezy and overcast day, perfect. I am sure the that these straight-out-of-a-movie, ancient stone temples peaking out of the Cambodian jungle can be enjoyed in all sorts of ways. Whichever mode of transportation you choose, just get there. This is MUST-SEE when in or anywhere near Cambodia and Southeast Asia. We rented some off-road bikes and a tourist map I marked up with a few pre-selected temple caches and I wouldn’t re-do it any differently. I think the highlight of this day was the 2 mile muddy side road heading to a much more remote temple (we are talking just us and no one else) involving a rather large jungle snake and removing stones from the center wall of the temple itself in order to log the geocache find. Dana will disagree with this one (snakes!).


  • An island that is 100% for SCUBA. The entire first week of our trip was an undescribable island hopping experience. I won’t try to put it all in to words, but just know that this is an incredible place for a variety of picture perfect beaches, jagged cliffs/rock climbing, trails and adventures, deep green jungle teaming with monkeys and the occasional elephant, and a social party scene second to none. The stop that stands out the most to me though, was Koh Tao, an island dedicated completely to the art of SCUBA diving and helping others to get involved and see what it’s all about. I have read that it’s the number one spot in the world, for newbies to get their certifications and first dives. We met more than a handful of people who had the same story about showing up to get the 4 day certification and now 3 years later haven’t left and are loving teaching and diving! It was just surreal to see this beautiful remote island populated entirely with people from all over the world sharing an interest in this one awesome hobby. For the record we’ve got 4 saltwater dives under our belts now!


  • A surprisingly cultural (and very long) bus ride across the mountainous north country. This was just an unexpected tour deal we found and signed up for while wandering around the city of Chiang Mai. Because I am supposed to say that the unbelievably intircate story-architecture of the white temple was my favorite stop, I am going to be rebelious and nominate the ferry ride across the Mekong River into Laos for a quick visit as the best part. As touristy as the set-up was, it was a nice view of the Golden Triangle region and a quick glimpse into another culture that I would enjoy exploring one day. Plus, we got to log a geocache whille sending some cool postcards back home, taking shots of this ridiculous snake/scorpion whiskey!




  • The notorious Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Beach, Koh Phangan. This is the beach story you came here for. If you haven’t heard of it I think I am supposed to tell you to watch the movie The Beach (haven’t seen/read it). This is a thing that some hippies started back in the 70’s to party on a beach and do things I cannot mention here, and then somehow it blossomed into not only a tourist trap that people travel across the globe to partake in every month (full moon) but that an entire island economy thrives off of. I firmly believe that every Thai person north of these islands will laugh and tell you there is no reason to attend such a silly event and that you are wasting valuable time in doing so (I’m pretty sure they all did go, but “when they were younger”). In my case, the party fell on the 29th anniversary of my birth, and also the same night as the world cup final match between Germany and Argentina (start time: 4AM Thai Time). We were not going to pass on that opportunity of a lifetime. Unfortunately for you, the tales from that party are not to be told outside of that island so you will just have to use your imagination.



Thanks for listening. And we now return you to your regularly schedule internet program…

MUSIC: This month, the music we should all listen to together is by this guy, Parov Stelar (real name Marcus Füreder, an Austrian fella). He’s been kind of a big deal to some, across the pond, and carries the title – leader of the electro-swing movement  as it stands. If you aren’t hip to this little niche genre of tunes, I would at least give it shot. I will find it very hard to believe you if you come back, and tell me that it didn’t have you at least tapping your foot and smiling just a little bit. As far as I know the guy doesn’t not often show up here in the States but I will be watching for news otherwise.

GEOCACHING UPDATE: I have been productive on this front. Since we last spoke I have added 4 more US states (up in New England) to my numbers, and 4 new countries as well. I’m not here to brag but I will say that a gorgeous sunset cache stuck in the wall of the Kremlin in Moscow, a confusing night wandering up a rope ladder in the dark monkey-scented jungle above a beach in southern Thailand and a quick find on a cliff overlooking the grey and stormy Atlantic from Newport, Rhode Island come near the top of that list. More importantly, I am presently holding at 399 logged finds and waiting patiently for Dana to join me for the epic milestone. It is looking likely that we will make the grab passing through Indianapolis on our way to see the family for the holidays.

Also it would seem that one of the travelbugs I’ve started in honor of my sisters beautiful childern has finally gotten some miles. Kinley’s Kompass was set free in a 700 year old city wall in the Chiang Mai province of Thailand. With the help of some friendly international cachers, she has made her way up to the vast beer country of Germany. This is great news for my god-daughter, because when she’s old enough to understand how much of a nerd her uncle is, she’ll have a neat excuse to learn about the country her great-grandfather hails from. Here’s to hoping that it gets over to the States some day, but wherever it may wander, I support it.

ice cream cones

love my android edditing 🙂

FULL CIRCLE: Sorry it took me so long to realize this, internet, but I have finally figured out how to navigate this un-ending web of links, ideas and conversations that exist in the massive online world. There is this site called reddit. You have probably heard of it. I had, but I don’t think I ever really got what it is all about until just lately.  Be warned, I am treading on very nerdy ground here, but the site is one of the most amazing congregate social platforms that I have witnessed in the wild. I think you might just have to take my word for it here, as I am certainly not going to geek out and explain how the thing works, but one thing I have learned in my downtime, here in Connecticut, is that more times than not, when people have a social forum to get together and create, humans are an incredible species, for better or for worse.

cat in the box

this is what working nights looks like?

In my browsing around lately I have uncovered more efficient and (debatably) less biased ways of farming the web for news. I have had people from the other side of the globe help me describe how working in the maneuvering trailer for 12 hours at night feels, by hand drawing me a sketch of my words for me to share (see above). I have signed up to participate in the worlds largest world-wide secret santa gift exchange which should see over 200,000 participants (guiness world record setting) from ~160 countries will bring a smile with some holiday cheer of their individual choice, and I am very excited to help out with that one! I have actively taken part in open conversations with a girl in Hawaii sharing her thoughts on the current lava flow situation, and bill nye the science guy discussing his new book and shooting the shit with his internet following. I learned that if you want a pizza and you can plead your case, there is probably someone online who will order you that pizza! And most importantly I have found a way to, in a sense, organize and share who I am as a person with those who choose to care, and then effectively sort through the best of what the rest of the world has to offer and react and respond as I best see fit. Sure I am talking about filtering through the funniest GIFs and coolest internet stories and pictures making the rounds, but is it so far fetched to apply this line of thought to that unimaginably big real world we live in that I mentioned at the start of this post?

There’s a lot of space out there. A lot of ways to fill it and a lot of room for improving how it gets filled. The space might be physical, like in that McConaughey film, or it could be something more in line with a mental capacity or possibly emotional or even hypothetical or any other sort of social or personal emptiness. Be it music, space exploration, meeting people, gaining knowledge, finding happiness, browsing the internet or browsing the world around you, I am sure you can find some way to make the best of it if you try. I hope that these words shared here helped fill a little.

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

Douglas Adams: Hitchhicker’s Guide To The Galaxy and some other intelligent fiction

peas, frogs.



PS. Please feel free to enjoy the new Calvin and Hobbes background. I can’t promise you won’t see more from this source in the future. Gotta play favorites sometimes! Still taking requests… if anyone actually reads this…

* all images from thailand, cambodia and russia were taken by me and editted by me also. hope you had fun!



I am trying my hardest to stay up to watch the sun rise this morning.



For the third time in a week now, I am switching back the vampiric 12 hour night schedule that work has me on. This is one of the countless joys that come with working in commercial nuclear services I suppose. Lucky for me, Netflix and monster energy drinks exist, and pushing my body’s limits is made a breeze. And lucky for you, I have stumbled upon this film entitled, “Dear Mr. Watterson“, a documentary on the creator, writer and artist behind the incredible Calvin & Hobbes comic strip (who didn’t love pouring over those panels, right?) and his legacy. This has become the random moment in my life that needed to happen, to inspire myself to write yet another installation in this blog we have all come to know and love.

Last entry I touched on the notion of a “broken compass” and all that jazz. The story of hitting a rough patch here and there, if you will. Without going into detail, I can tell you that even since that last writing, I have been caught in a rough spot of my own. Not everything shows through the instagrammatic photo effects of a Facebook timeline, you know. I have had to step back for a minute to figure out a thing or two and work together with the person I care most about in my life right now, in order to re-confirm to myself and to the world that where I am at is a pretty damn good place to be, and on its way to being incredible.

Admittedly, I sometimes go on these tangents in my head or have ideas that make sense only to me and then I have difficulty conveying them in words. Or it is quite possible that maybe they are just crazy hair-brained ideas (who uses a compass instead of a phone app to navigate anymore anyway?). But this is a privilege that I get to have when I sit down to blog for you every once in a while, and pretend to be a writer. And then sometimes I get to experience my hair-brained ideas unfolding in real life. I get to be out, getting my PADI open water scuba diving certification with the girl from the paragraph above, have a much-needed compass literally be broken, and get to work together to accomplish a goal in real-time. Sometimes it’s the little things like this, little things that I get to pick up on that are my own little secret observations, that help keep everything in balance for me. And now, fast forward to today, (try to keep up) it is all happening. It has been about a year now since I have made a commitment, and I feel amazing about where things are going. The story’s happy ending, which I am most excited for, is Dana’s new and far more local new physical therapy position and our new rental house in Boonsboro, that I pick up the keys to this coming this Thursday. It’s the next big thing. Sorry if I lost you for a minute. This blog is, in the end, for me.


Geocaching Update: I am keeping consistent at least. Slowly but surely I have been growing my stats, encouraging others to get out and cache, logging smileys in two new states while visiting friends Oregon, and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah, GA and showing a new local some of the great trails and parks here in town.

Music of the Week: So there is this musical duo known as Daft Punk. They have been around the block a time or two. I had heard that this album, Random Access Memories, was a big deal and I sort of blew it off. But now I am super trendy and all that. I grabbed a copy on vinyl recently. That’s what trendy people like me do it seems. Anyway, I think if you’ve got a minute, it’s worth a listen.


Seeing as I am only trying to stay up until sunrise, and I am running low on creativity, I will bring this all to a close. I promise that next time I show up on here I will have nothing but awesome news and stories! Be prepared to read long drawn out, over complicated storied and ideas from “bonnaroo round three” and my upcoming Thailand adventures! Fingers crosses that we don’t get in any trouble with the military police over there during the coup going on over there. In the meantime, just sit back and enjoy the sunrise. It’s all uphill from here.


Congrats Sean and Laura on your next chapter!

peas, frogs.



Self Titled [Broken Compass]

My Dad is probably one of the most underrated hard-working people in my life. Not to sound like the beginning of a one page kindergarten “About Me” paper, written in all uppercase and some backward letters… but it happens to be true in this case. I am not saying that any other father out there can’t be as hard-working, by no means. I just know him the best and therefore he automatically wins. He has worked as hard as he could, not caring what anyone else thinks of his methods or letting anyone get in his way, and raised the four of us to be self-respecting and amazing young adults. He has shown me more than he knows that everyone, even those you deem heroes in a certain light, must always learn from life and adjust on the fly. At times it has seemed that the world is out to keep him down. He was laid off recently. Again. Buy-outs and re-organization within the company rolled through. Call it faith, or call it just knowing that when a person as strong as my dad has an obstacle to overcome in order to keep a family moving, he gets things done. I feel a little bad about it inside but I honestly didn’t even get worried. He has built himself such a support network of people who love him and who believe in him and with that force behind him, with the power of the mighty mighty Lawo’s, he takes this as another hurdle, another adventure in life.

dana board

This week I would like to pick up where I left off. February is ending. You no longer accidentally write “2013” on your papers. The tide of new years resolution hastily-made promises has waxed and waned. Even the groundhog got himself into a slump and called for a longer winter. But one thing I have learned in my time living out East away from my roots, is that the life doesn’t care about the date you write on that paper. The adventure keeps coming, and it has been on me to make the best of it. Maybe you were single on Valentine’s Day, maybe you feel off track and that the internal life compass is busted, or maybe, completely out of your control, you broke your wrist snowboarding and suddenly feel like the year is shot in the leg. But come on! This is the new and improved “blog that used to be about geocaching, then became a show about nothing, that has since redefined itself as a channel for self-improvement! ” I am not taking no for an answer. If you have time and internet to sit here and read my blog, I have to believe that you have the capability to make the most of what’s around you! So do what I would do. Listen to more music. Log a few geoaches. then do what it takes to get back on track.

I won’t drown you in promising cliche sayings. I have just seen a lot of people overcoming lately and I felt like sharing. I will however hit you with the…


MUSIC OF THE WEEK: This week I got some new special edition green and gold vinyl. The band is Dispatch, and they have done nothing new lately as a band, but if you want to hear some amazing melodies at work and be reminded of how to relax, give it a try. I have no more words on that. Hopefully some happy music helps if happy is what you are looking for. If you just need as much music as you can get maybe you need something more. BLAM! Bonnaroo music lineup was announced in style this past week. Now, more than ever, is the time to radiate positivity!


I have not been geocaching much lately (surprise!!) but I do have a trip planned to Portland, OR, coming up now! Who knows, maybe I will detour to smiley on the world’s original cache! Anything can happen, right? excited none-the-less. On an unrelated note, I am drinkinga two dollar bottle of wine that had a pry off top. I couldn’t find a wine glass crappy enough to hold it, so bottle night it is! Why do I blog again? Happy Hump Day!!

I will keep it short-ish this time around and wrap things up. Feel free to comment below if you have any relevant stories to share. I put up another new comic background this time around to keep the masses happy. In honor of the potential return of an incredible TV series, enjoy some Heroes. And If you are the one who broke your wrist and are feeling down about it, who knows, it’s all part one of the most awesome years of your life! I have a feeling it will all work itself out. Follow the ride.


Peas Frogs,


My dad starts his new job Monday. He used some of his ever-growing networking he’s got built up and is back with a great company and might even have management possibilities again on the horizon.

The compass does work. Follow it.

The 4-Hour Blog Post: Looking Forward


I debated calling this one, New Years Resolution. That’s sort of cliché though right? Not that it wouldn’t have been quite appropriate in its own right. I find that the whole concept of the new years resolution is pretty spot on with the definition of cliché, at least the part of the definition involving the “lack of original thought” or something of the sort. It has become, in my opinion, almost as commercial as Christmas or Valentine’s Day anymore. I suppose that isn’t a terrible thing though to want to go from feeling like a college dropout to a having the new workout plan (Kanye?). As annoying as it may be to deal with a month of twice as many sweaty bodies in your hot yoga class, or listening to people tell you they are going to start this trendy new diet “next week”, it’s still a step in a positive direction! Just make sure your focus is not solely immediate self-gratification if you can. This tangent is to present to you why the name of this blog entry changed, as if you would for some reason care about that… now back to your regularly scheduled programming.


I’d like to thank all of those responsible for this blog and especially you, the fans, for bringing us so far on our journey through the world-wide webs. This paragraph marks the kick-off of first entry of a brand new year and more importantly, the blogs official induction into the mile-high club. I am blogging from an US Airways flight from Charlotte to Providence, RI. They are sending me up for another meeting at the nuke plant up there and I opted to make the best of some down time. It seemed like a fun idea and so far so good. I figure if I can type this out now and on the return flight, I could have myself a literal four-hour blog, which turns out to be a most perfect segue into the second paragraph of 2014.


Have you heard of this guy, Tim Ferriss? He’s a fella from New York who went about creating this inspiring “four-hour” mindset, or way of approaching life, complete with three wildly popular #1 best-selling books as the icing on the cake. Now he’s even got his own show airing soon on HLN. I am not really sure what sets him apart from the other motivational talking heads out there, other than that a book, “The Four Hour Body”, was recommended to me by someone I happen to trust and I dug into it a little and liked what I found. This has kind of been the fuel powering this new experimental self-improvement kick I have been on. I admit, I have historically been a bit lazy about changing habits and tracking changes and making positive changes that take different degrees of commitment in my life. So now, due to a recent mix of inspirational findings, that Life Map I tried to spell out for you all and some special people in my life, I’m working on a new approach. No, this is not a new years resolution. I am not going to tell you that starting with the ringing in of the new year, I am diving into a strict new 4-hour diet and, partaking in and rigorously following the P90X program (good golly, that 17 minutes of core work caught me off guard!), becoming an expert downhill mountain biker or vowing to go cold turkey and stop biting my nails or anything like that. I am just making an effort, in light of this experimental mentality and the underlying theme of exploration that I try to follow with these blog entries (sometimes), to begin a constant and evolving learning process about what I do, what I can do and why. I am trying parts of different diets I have heard about to see what sort of meals can come of that. I even made tacos last week using vegetarian ground beef. weird. I am losing a little weight here and there, trying some kind of workouts that I hadn’t given a shot before and hoping to end up with some sort of schedule. I have a promise to myself that I am going to take seriously this biking idea I have talked about for years. I am signing up to get certified to SCUBA dive in Thailand (booked the tickets!!! Hell yeah!!!). In general I am trying learn as much as possible, so that without having to follow this or that persons set of rules, I can make they way I want to live my life a better one and know what’s going on with it.

maybe p90x doesnt get the result i am looking for exactly...

maybe p90x doesn’t get the result i am looking for exactly…

It really seems to be paying off. This 2014 is shaping up to be a pretty swell year. I can’t think of a better way to have kicked it all off than being home in Saint Louis with my favorite family in the whole world, and counting down the ball drop and sneaking a new years kiss with my favorite girl in the world. I attended a holiday brunch with one of the most amazing 97-year-old women I have ever known and only to be a great-great-grandmother I can say I have known. Only thing I can think of that would have made it better was if the cardinals were playing in town and Dave Matthews was there to play songs and throw the first pitch. I can even argue that going out in sub-freezing temperatures to the St. Louis Zoo on a Sunday afternoon only to take a picture of some of us cousins next to a bronze statue of the late Phil the Gorilla was a meaningful experience and sort of initiation process or family acceptance of a new person in my life. Or how about this one, I like to think that riding that weird star trek looking elevator up to the top of the arch, the gateway to the west, with Dana was my little symbolism for new beginnings. It’s something I haven’t even considered doing since I was in probably grade school (Who tours monuments in their own city?). So for one now maybe it is an admission (however hard it is to believe) of having moved away and of having started something new and awesome out here in beautiful Central Virginia. Who knows, maybe I stretch a bit in this blogs, but who are you to step on my freedom to make analogies?

monkey pic

Aren’t we awesome??

MUSIC OF THE WEEK: As a response to my lack of being on the ball and missing my shot to see these guys again live up near DC, I’m giving the music shout out this week to the Avett Brothers. If you are still out of this loop, It’s not to late to give it a shot. I can’t imagine there’s not at least something in their folksy lyrically genius catalog that won’t touch you somehow. Plus who can turn down some knee slappin’ foot stomping Carolina tunes? If I have used this band on the blog before, sorry I don’t really care.


Oh and Miley! I didn’t forget you! 😉 Listening to Lorde is just a phase I swear.

GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK: Here’s another cache that took me a couple of trips and more than a little frustration to log the smiley. Un Carouselle Magnifique! on the Charlottesville mall can now finally stop bugging me. I don’t vouch for this one being especially tricky but any of you in the game can agree that when you are stuck looking at it all wrong and then that light bulb finally goes off and, boom, instant find, you are not going to be quick to forget the experience!

Best Christmas present I got, you ask? Good question. A little nosy of you as well, if I may say. As much as I can’t wait to sport my new Molina jersey at games in DC, Baltimore and Saint Louis (fingers crossed on all three of those) and I am going to say that the frames for my bottle-caps makes me the happiest. Without it even being meant in such a way, it spells out the new me I am trying to work on, nearly word for word. It not only forces me to actually use all those bottle caps I have randomly collected and been lazy about for years now, but it also has me getting my hands dirty learning what it takes to put it together and arranging the caps, all under the knowledge that the end result is something that is unique an extremely “me”.  please feel free to share your own “most favoritest” Christmas present in the comments below!

As this entry comes to a close I must admit that I did not have this one complete ready to publish by the end of that second flight. It was more of an undertaking than I foresaw, typing on my small tablet in those cramped coach seats. Plus who wants to pay the fee for wireless for a two-hour flight to upload one entry? I don’t know how many hours actually did go in to its creation but don’t let that make you miss the point. Maybe you picked up a little something along the way here, or maybe not. Hopefully you had a fun time reading at least. And don’t forget to tune in next time! Until then feel free to radiate some positivity! 122 days till bonnaroo returns to the farm. BLAM!


Peas frogs.

BlogArt. Episode 3


So maybe it’s not all that original, but it fills space on the blog right? I need to stop doing this at such ridiculous hours in the morning. I am not going to miss working the vampire shifts for a while… It’s finally my last night shift of the year, and second to last shift in the great state of South Carolina! Bring on the holiday season and I will see you all on the other side! Here’s to me finding a cache this morning to help me roll back over to the life of the day-people!


Coming in 2014: The “Smart”blog


Happy New Years to you all! I am calling it now. The thing of 2014 is going to be asking so-and-so if they have seen the new smart-whatever. It is only a week into the new year and, with a little help from the CES presentations in Vegas, I have already seen the beginning of an explosion of smart watches, smart kitchens, smart grills, smart tennis racquets, smart cars and who knows what else. If a little computer chip fits inside of it then you just watch, it’ll have apps. Now if I can only get a patent for smart-twerking before MTV gets in my way!

For what it’s worth, this blog was going to be called “The Best Stuff of 2013”. I abruptly changed my mind after I saw every other blog and website on the internet beat me to it. How many people are going to pretend they get the right to give our the best movie and best album of the year awards. It is interesting though to look for the consistencies and using a little detective work, find what the general public does actually agree on. But alas, that is not what I plan to do here. Instead I am just going to do what everyone else is doing and throw some greatest hits according to Dan your way until you get bored, because that seems to be how this blog works. Sit back and remember with me. This is a collection of some of the best stuff I can think of that was, and now will forever be, from 2013.

BEST MOVIE: I think the only movies I saw this year worth a mention are Catching Fire, Gravity and Iron Man 3. I didn’t really get out and see many movies, so if I am off the mark here a little bit I’m sorry. Who wants to Redbox every movie from the years top 20 with me? I’d love that. This is not a review blog anyway. If you disagree then feel free to comment but since you’re most likely too lazy to open a WordPress account to do so, enjoy keeping your thoughts to yourself.


BEST DRINK: Firefly shots. to the face. If you don’t remember them then you did it right.

BEST ONLINE SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE: Move over Netflix! I recently read online about this company called Quarterly. They are sort of just a middle-man really. You use their platform to pick from a list of curators with whom you are going to trust your personal subscription service. You then pay 50 bucks every quarter (every 3 months) and in return, every quarter you get something in the mail. What you end up getting is completely up to your curator. The person or group you chose can be professional athletes, YouTube channel hosts, tech blog writers, TV show hosts, or whatever. The point is it is someone that you think you might be able to agree with and trust, but that’s all you really know until you give it a shot. I promise I did not get together with Zach, founder and CEO of this clever little start-up, but coincidentally his mystery-subscription-plan, my unbelievably awesome blog, and life all seem to run along this same thread. I think Forrest Gump said it best


BEST MUSIC THING: this one goes to my experience at bonnaroo. I won’t bore you with more words here because I promise, I am not obsessed. I will only say that if you want to know what I am talking about then I shall see you on the farm this June! It’s official, the tickets are already purchased 🙂

Did you know that vinyl record sales went up 33% in 2013? I didn’t either.

BEST BREWERY: This is not going to be my opinion of the best tasting beer I put down during this past year (although that could be fun too). I am instead going to use this spot to humbly plug the brew group that I am a part of and help brew about once a month. We call ourselves “American Pale Males (and a Chocolate Mocha Stout)” or APM. If you haven’t seen or tried any of our stuff than you probably haven’t drank at my apartment or asked me for a bottle because you aren’t going to find it anywhere else. But, really, it is pretty good stuff. Come hang out sometime!

BEST GEOCACHE: It wasn’t my best year but I had some fun and kept the ball rolling. Since the cache near the top of the pass along the Inca trail was technically last year (by a few days) I have to give the honor to “Shafted” here in Central Virginia. This was at the end of an 11 mile hike along Big Rocky Row just north of the James River on the AT. We had to go out of the way a little bit but the reward was a belly crawl under an old fence, a hike down an old abandoned mine shaft, sneaking past sleeping bats that may or may not have scared me a little, a wade across knee deep freezing cold water and an underground staircase. Well worth it for the smiley 🙂


BEST TECH THING: This year was a pretty good battle between iPhones, smartwatches, new gaming consoles, web connected TVs and fun cameras and other toys. The one thing that I saw someone else get for Christmas and suddenly wished it was for me, the little dongle that is called Google Chromecast, is getting my vote (without putting much real thought into it). I am very curious to try it, but if it really turns my 5 year old TV into an internet TV then it’s a win for sure.

BEST ART THING = Did anyone catch Banksy’s run on New York City? Or peek at how Dasha Battelle opted to create snapchat art, or what my friend @monkeyshrike does with his instagram posts and legos? Heard about the ever evolving walls at the bonnaroo music festival or the insane ideas that come out of Burning Man? Does any of this compare to things like this?

BEST YOUTUBE VIDEO: not so surprisingly, pop music videos dominate the top lists on youtube. This is not a bad thing really, but it’s not what I am trying to show here. I am trying to celebrate the creativity and inventive-ness that YouTube was built on and promotes. If I want the years best music videos we already have the VMAs. I respect that many artists lately are curbing their videos more towards a computer audience and thinking more outside the box but still, the videos I recognize as the best of a year are the home grown things that cant take root in any other sort of media world. No I am talking YouTube awards. I am talking about the people who didn’t exist before their short video was submitted online. Here’s a not very well thought out top three, but do check out YouTube’s end of the year wrap up or the Youtube awards in your free time!

BEST COOL THING SOMEONE DID: Tie for first between BatKid and the Mastectemy Dance

BEST BOOK: Here’s my thing on books. I am newer to getting back into the book world and loving it like a kid in a candy shop. Yes, I know, I listen to them I don’t read them as words on paper but leave it alone, it’s the same damn thing. Mostly I am using Audible, playing catch up but I have sort of been keeping an eye on the books coming out this year. Let’s try something different here, I am going to pick three with potential and then whichever you vote for is going to be the next one I go for:

  • Lumineers
  • Alegient (Book 3 of the Divergent Trilogy)
  • Goldfinch


BEST AUDIOBOOK (because that’s what I do): The Ender’s Game re-release as an audio play. I love what Audible is doing for the world of audio books. It really is awesome.

Sorry I probably lost most of my audience there with all that book talk…

BEST SPORTS THING: America’s epic but underexposed comeback to win the America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in international sport.


BEST WAY TO RING IN THE NEW YEAR: This is just going to be my subtle way of letting you know how I spent the final night, dining and drinking out on Washington Avenue in St. Louis with one of my good college buddies and with the love of my life, AKA Dan #2, AKA the best thing to happen to me in 2013 (yes I can be sappy, get over it). I wouldn’t make a change to the night if I could. I will say, however, that a dueling piano bar really captures the ball-drop mood quite well!

BEST THING IN THE NEWS: I am going to blatantly cheat here and just drop a whole bunch of things here. This one was tough but I find it critical to a year right? I will leave you with a string of nonsensical words and then we shall move one. Don’t spend too much time.

bostonmarathon mandela harlemshake newpope syriagasattack zimmermantrial royalbaby obamacare twerking russianmeteorite margretthatcher paulwalker tsunami kingrichardIII amandaberry NSAleaks drones governmentshutdown cairoprotests breakingbad labgrownburger DOMA gluten snapchat bitcoin mantiteogirlfriend sharknado redwedding oscarpistorius

Finally here’s some related links. summer 2013, best in the world,

The blog comes to a close. The year starts to fade. Silence sets in. The needle floats casually to the center of the record and all of 2013 comes to a stop. To continue please flip record over. I can already tell. 2014 is going to be incredible. I hear all the hits are on side 2.