Friday, March 29, 2013

Flashback Friday Special - Easter

Easter is this weekend and I thought it appropriate to share these priceless family photos of my mom when she was a kid and her two sisters. They were taken in the mid 1960's in my grandmother's backyard that, to this day, still looks very much the same. These are just a few family artifacts that I have been collecting for that past couple of years and with any good artifact they only get better with age. I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend readers and Keep it REAL!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tolkien Reading Day Summary

For my day of Tolkien reading I picked a somewhat unconventional book called The Magical Worlds of The Lord of The Rings, written in 2002 by David Colbert. I say unconventional because it was not written by Tolkien himself, but I think he would have approved since he himself was famous (as I learned from this book) for reading and researching things when he really should have been doing something else. He even wrote down the iconic first line of The Hobbit when he was supposed to be grading a student's exam booklet! Regardless I thought it a fantastic read and I literally devoured the entire book in one day. It is basically a collection of short essays based on certain popular questions about the wonders of Middle-earth. Questions such as 'Why do Dwarves and Elves dislike each other?' - 'What's the Origin of the word Hobbit?' - 'How many Languages did Tolkien invent?' - and - "Why are there so many Towers?' Each of these questions were answered by referencing the historical legends and tales that inspired Tolkien to create his epic works. There were even some stories from Tolkien's childhood that helped shed light on certain artistic choices such as the fact that Shelob (the giant spider that attacks Frodo and Sam in LOTR) is Tolkien's manifestation of a giant tarantula that attacked him when he was just a young boy. I would recommend this book to any and all Tolkien fans or fantasy fans in general. Keep it REAL!

Tolkien Reading Day

Today is Tolkien Reading Day! An official Tolkien Society Day since 2003 (this year marking the 10th anniversary!). It's purpose is to help spark interest in the masterful literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading and talking about all the wonders of Middle Earth and beyond. The date of March 25th is significant because it marks the day of the downfall of Sauron at the conclusion of the 'War of the Ring' in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. According to the Tolkien Society website "the topic (this year) is "Tolkien's Landscapes". From the homely feeling of the Shire, to the dramatic Misty Mountains or the plains of Rohan, the landscapes of Middle-earth are a significant part of the appeal of Tolkien's work to many readers. Discuss the real-world inspiration for your favorite areas, the many wonderful artists who've portrayed Tolkien's world or where you'd most like to live." So, read on faithful readers and dig into a Tolkien book today and be sure to catch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on DVD and Blu-Ray! Keep it REAL!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Flashback Friday #14 - The Met

For the past 4 years I was always able to make it up to New York City to spend my spring break with my sister. This year I had to break that streak, but in honor of that wonderful tradition I wanted to talk about New York in this week's flashback. The photos above were taken in 2009, the first year of my spring break travels to the big city, and they show some of the most humorous construction fencing I have ever seen. These great photos were placed outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art as the usual "pardon our mess during construction" fencing and depict museum patrons posed with some of the famous artwork and artifacts housed inside. The rest of the fencing said in simple text "It's Time We MET." Such a clever slogan for the Museum, which is more commonly called The Met. I really like the lightheartedness of the display and it really made me want to enter the building! But alas the entire front entry was undergoing a facelift and my visit would have to be postponed. Actually, now that I think of it, I STILL have yet to go to The Met! I had 4 years to do it and I let it slip by! I guess with a city as big as New York your list of things to do never ends and that is one that I have yet to check off. But never fear, I have no doubt that I will get my chance and I do believe it is high time that we Met! - Keep it REAL readers!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Flashback Friday #13 - Broken

I may not have many personal accident stories like some other people, what with their multiple broken arms, noses, and possible fingers thrown in for good measure - but the one story I do have usually takes the cake when dishing out injury exploits. Eight years ago, almost exactly to the day, I broke my right femur while competing in a high school track & field meet. I was a sophomore at EHS and it was my second year on the varsity track team. My first year I played it safe and only competed in a few short distance running events, but at the start of my second year I had the brilliant idea to try out for the long jump event. At first it was pretty fun to run down a short track and jump into a pit of sand while looking like a bird who just had its wings clipped, and it also was a nice break from running practice twice a week, but it all went sour on Thursday, March 17th, 2005. It was the first home meet of the season and it was the first time I was going to be allowed to compete in the long jump event. I was very excited all that day during school and when I finally found myself staring down the short piece of rubberized track at my sandy pit of a destination I was still in a state of tense energy. I was given the all clear and started my run. I got to the end of the track, jumped, and.....CRACK! I was totally confused. What just happened? Did I break the sand box? Did it break me? I had a mouth full of sand, no feeling in either of my legs, about 100 questions, and 20 people hovering around me with no answers. After a moment I did start to realize what had happened, that I had indeed broken my leg. It must have been the adrenaline but I swear I was not feeling any pain. Maybe some uncomfort because I had started to gain some feeling in only my left leg while my right was as useless as a an empty hose, but not pain (that came later). I was even carrying on somewhat regular conversations with the EMTs once they arrived and gave my fellow teammates the thumbs up as they wheeled me to the ambulance. I think they all thought that was quite funny later. Once in the ambulance I was greeted by a fumbling male nurse who had a terrible time finding my vein for the IV. He made the horrid mistake of telling me it was his first day! I! I have no words. Someone finally took over for him and we were on our way and I was soaking up two full doses of morphine! Also, my mother, who was probably more frantic than anyone at this point, had to run to her car and literally chase down the ambulance since no one told her what hospital they were going too! I mean red lights and everything - Go MOM! Once at the hospital we had to wait for a real room after I had x-rays (shown above) and that's when the pain hit. It was probably the most pain I have ever felt in my life and I hope that will remain true. The x-rays revealed that I had snapped my right femur in half and thank God it was clean break too. And thanks to modern medicine and science the doctors had a plan! They wanted to stick a titanium rod in my leg and secure it with cross pins at my knee and hip (shown above). I was gonna be the bionic man....for REAL! I was in surgery the very next day (Friday) and I was able to go home Sunday morning. The next week was spring break so I was lucky to not miss any school (yes, I said lucky to NOT miss school, I was a weird kid). I went back to school on crutches and had people sign them because I had no cast. I still have them hanging on my wall above my window with the rod. But to wrap things up I was on crutches for a couple of months and had the rod in for a full year. I was even able to run with it during the following track & field season. No long jump that year though. I eventually had the rod taken out and had to go back on the crutches for about a month since my bone was hallow and regrowing the marrow (the human body is amazing). This saga in my life is certainly one of the most memorable and life-changing. There are more stories that spin off of it but I think I will leave those for another day. The photos above show the before and after x-rays (the after ones showing the rod in place), me doing my homework while on crutches (my shirt says I do all my own stunts!), and the rod and pins (no I did not choose a purple rod but it is one of my favorite colors so I was ok with it). The strangest thing in all of this was that I never set off any metal detectors while I had the metal in me. I wonder how that worked....Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this journey with me. Keep it REAL!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Flashback Friday Special - MARS

This is NOT Mars. Kinda hard to believe though, right? It's red and sandy and rocky, all things that Mars has which has helped it earn its nick-name the Red Planet. But sadly no, this is not Mars. This is a Lava Butte in Bend Oregon. The reason I brought it up is because I'm mad that the Mars Rover Curiosity has been put on the media back-burner lately. I never see any big news about it anymore. I mean we put a car sized piece of super tech on MARS people! A whole other planet that is hundreds of millions of miles away from us! That should be like front page news for like.....EVER! Yes, I do know that it was a big deal when it actually landed back in August 2012, and it did make a big media frenzy for what seemed like a long time - but was really only about a week. A WEEK! Come on people! This deserves more than just a week in the limelight! I can't be the only one who thinks this. After Curiosity landed I wanted the hype to continue, I wanted front page stories about new discoveries that I was actually interested in reading, I wanted that guy with the mohawk at NASA Mars Rover mission control on the cover of magazines! And you know what, I still want that because I still think it's awesome and I believe people are starting to forget we even have a high-tech rover up there. Lets get excited about it again people. We deserve to get excited about it and continue to be excited. Reach for the stars and Keep it REAL readers! - also visit their facebook page!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Flashback Friday #12 - RUF at SCAD

This week I have been thinking about SCAD again. Many of you know that while I was at SCAD I attended a community group called RUF (Reformed University Fellowship). It was a great place to come together every Wednesday night, take a break from all the stressful school work, and learn about the word of The Lord. But besides all that, RUF was really about all the people who made it happen and how much those people end up leaving such a positive impact on your life. It was THE place at SCAD to make the relationships that would eventually lead to life-long friendships. During the time I attended RUF the campus leader was Michael Gordon, who actually started leading at SCAD the same time I started attending, and the reason I am writing about this today is because he took a position as a senior pastor in Lincoln, Nebraska and will be moving there soon. This past Wednesday was his last RUF and I was fortunate enough to make it up for the event and see him off. He will be missed dearly but his inspiration, teachings, and love will remain. I wish him and his family all the best in their new chapter in life and want them to know that they will always have a home in Savannah within the hearts and minds of the students they cared for and taught. Keep it REAL Gordon Family!