April 24, 2005

A Eulogy

I wrote this poem for my public speaking class on our very last speech.
A eulogy; written tribute, high praise or high commendation
I’m not here today to talk about one of my own relation
Instead I come to you now on our very last speech
To praise all of you and to thank you for teaching
Me tons of new things week after week

I’ve learned about golf, Sue Thomas, Vietnam,
Aruba, unicorns, manic depression and Mia Hamm,
Make-A-Wish Foundation and kapalvector bacteria,
Volcanoes, tsunamis, anorexia and bulimia,
Cauliflower ear, drinking water, PETA and golf grips,
Volleyball passing and rolling and how to pack cigarette tips,
I’ve seen NCAA brackets and chocolate chip cookies,
Vietnam and violence and some of baseballs best rookies,
Esophageal cancer, horses and how to t-shirt tie dye,
How to make movies and how to make lemon meringue pie,
Independent filmmaking and the very best in soccer,
And even an award for our class’s loudest talker,
John Paul the Second and how to make your own s’more,
Turtle cake, paper football, I wish there was more,
But’s that’s all that we’ve had if you give or take a few,
A dirty old man and a donut or two,
Thank you for class, it’s been a real pleasure,
Remember the brownies, chocolates and whatever you treasure,
You’ve been a great group and I’m glad I’m your friend,
Chelsea, James, Tim, Thomas, Shannon and Mr. Johnson,
Steven, Sherecia, Daniel, Gail, Chris, Brea, Kassie,
Alyssa, Clint, Denise, Jenn, Willy and Mandy,
Mila and Adrien, Ashley and Steve,
Thank you all again, with that I will leave.

April 22, 2005

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia was a tremendous movie to watch especially considering it was nonfiction. The movie chronicled the life and work of T.E. Lawrence during his service in the Royal British Armed Services in World War I. He was an “extraordinary man” with a destiny that he worked very hard to fulfill. He pushed himself far beyond the expectations of others, made a point of creating his own destiny and said that nothing is written and nothing is planned besides that which is written in your head. I feel confident in saying that I will be giving much thought to what I saw in the movie Lawrence of Arabia many days from now.

Twilight Los Angeles

Twilight Los Angeles theatrically documented the Los Angeles riots of 1992. I did not know much about the riots until today when we watched the movie. Beyond the initial issues of Rodney King and the trial against the accused assailants there were many other issues in the movie related to race, communication, compassion and hope. I feel very grateful for the opportunity I was given to see a piece of history which shouldn't be forgotten. People’s lives are inter-twined all of the time and we decide our destiny and how our lives should be played out with what we have. If I am rich or if I am poor, or anywhere in between I decide how I will play my cards, who I will be around and the changes I will make in my world, small and large. I felt like more than anything else Twilight called on me to decide who I was and what I stood for. The people in the documentary really stood out, good and bad, sad and tragic. I’ve had choices just like they did. I’ve have choices just like they do.

Paul Farmer

For this entry I would like to include a review by a medical doctor about a book which I really enjoyed reading: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. Thank you Martina.
Dear Colleagues,
I recommend to you this book, by Tracy Kidder, about the work of our collegaue Paul Farm, MD. In a time when it is easy to become jaded and cynical, to lose the optimism and fortitude of youth, this book about an extraordinary person and physician gives me a feeling of reinforcement. It is fascinating to me that Dokte Paul loves the Lord of the Rings, because he looks to me like the moment when the dawn breaks, and Gandalf appears on the white horse on the ridge above Helm's Deep, and plunges into the fray, cutting off the enemy and starting the rout which looked absolutely impossible.
I was in the Peace Corps in South America in my 20's. It is easy, as Dr. Paul found, to see what needs to be done when the systems are simpler, and the needs are starker, and the inequities more pronounced, as they are in Haiti. But just as wonderful is the work of his partner Jim Kim, who pushed to get the 2nd line pharmaceuticals costs down, making it possible to treat the multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis in Peru and in Siberia. The moment in the book when Jim Kim uses the karaoke player to get the Siberian generals of the gulags-- whom he calls the "gulag-meisters" to sing, and thus to open their hearts to the "beyond cynical" vision of treating the MDR TB in Siberian prisons, is enough to make me cry. Dr. Paul makes me feel like I have been lazy and standing still all my life.
That he loves his garden, and his goldfish, and his wife and daughter are some comfort in the ego-busting clarity of his love for patients, prisoners and students. But there are wonderful reflective moments when he discusses the issues of the "preferential option for the poor", and the assumptions in medical triage, and the need to meet the needs of real, unique and beloved patients in whatever way we can do so. It is because he is such a great physician that he can muster the help and support and loyalty of others in his work. To call this book inspirational is almost too low a praise. It is like an infusion of gamma globulins and maybe even 2 units of PRBCs to an anemic self. One could say he is a type 1 in the Enneagram, and that he uses righteous anger to fuel his hypomanic energy to do what he sees needs to be done. But that leaves out the friendship, fierce loaylty and love, and the joy people can see in him when the small victories come, in "the long defeat". It is a great book.

April 21, 2005


Sometimes we have the opportunity to share special events in our lives with others and sometimes they listen much more intently than we might have imagined they would. For that I am very appreciative today, I hope I can act in a way that respects others and shows them that I care for them throughout each day. Thank you all for doing that with me.
Ohh yes, and sometimes we can just have fun with friends.

April 15, 2005

Raven Rock Boys

So the boys head out, checking out the Raven Rock State Park. Climing rocks, taking pictures of yourself, jogging up and down the hundreds of steps. All in a day's work for these boys. Climb That Junk!

April 14, 2005

Harnett Manor

Of the many, many things I wish to say about working today at Harnett Manor, here are a few: I have worked other jobs before, though I concede that I have not worked that many. I worked today and got to see so many people, nurses, patients, old and young, colostomy bags, bed rashes, tired and old skin, tired and old lives and the sacrifice of the young lives around them who worked one nurse to ten patients or fifteen patients at one point. I could not have believed that things would stay so busy until I saw it, until today and I saw that eight hours of work was eight hours, there weren’t times where you didn’t know what to do. There were times when you knew exactly what you needed to do and could predict hours and hours of work ahead by task and activity with ease because there is a routine. There are checks for water in their thermoses, then checks for water in their briefs, there is work to be done in each of the rooms with garbage, there were dinners to be served, dinners to be fed individually to many patients, patients to be taken outside to let them smoke, patients who can barely smoke on their own, in fact can’t without the help of a nurse who can put the ciagerette to their mouth and light it for them because they can’t use their hands. I saw ironies like this throughout the night. Healthy nurses and nurse assistants helping patients continue with things like smoking which aren’t helping their health. I saw patients watching a television program where an atttractive young man is attracting an attractive young woman who wants his body and his motivation, his integrity and his stability. This program is on behind a nurse changing the diaper of the older patient who is a man, the young woman is not attracted to the old man because of his looks or his money, his integrity or his stability. She is attracted to him because she wants to help him, it’s all almost too much to take in. I knew it would be hard to work again in an assisted living facility, but I did not expect this. I did not expect what maybe I should have. I changed so many of my worldviews last time I worked in a health care facility, where I worked with nurses and served patients. I looked at humans fundamentally differently after it and I am beginning to do it again. I can see others differently, I certainly see myself differently and I only worked eight hours.

April 12, 2005

Michael's Birthday!

Here is the collective effort of a few friends who wish to give their close friend Michael a very happy birthday. Sometimes we don't want to advertise our desire for love and companionship. Then other times people give it to us anyway. "Oh yeah and get this...we didn't talk to your mom, Travis talked to your dad!" Happy Birthday Michael.


Here is the collective effort of a few friends who wish to give their close friend Michael a very happy birthday. Sometimes we don't want to advertise our desire for love and companionship. Then other times people give it to us anyway. "Oh yeah and get this...we didn't talk to your mom, Travis talked to your dad!" Happy Birthday Michael. More Pictures of Michael Getting Owned!

April 9, 2005

Randall's Wedding Parkers!

Look at those handsome boys helping out our good old Advisor Randall Johnson as his daughter celebrates her wedding! Snap! Yes, that is a castle behind us. Outside of Coats there is a little place reserved for just this kind of occasion. Great work McKimmum, Conover, Chase and Hellstrom! You parked dozens of cars in with pin-point accuracy, slide bus into its spot with little to no effort and only the smallest flack which was handled by Conover with impressive candor. If Randall ever needs our help again, we will be there. Even without the complimentary 8 Filet Minonets and chicken breasts.

April 2, 2005

Sin City

Sin City is a movie about many things both entertaining and thought provoking. There is not simplicity exactly, but a way of explaining good and bad in the movie which make me wonder about real life and the world that we will inherit as we grow older.
On the one hand there are politicians and spoiled individuals, crooked cops, mercenaries and deranged, powergrubbing and cruel individuals. Then the audience finds itself behind cops dying for the safety of others, men seeking out revenge against the death of innocent victims, the lives of innocent victims themselves and the results of actions which may seem unusual, greusome, bothersome, violent but somehow right.
How can someone kill so many people, end so many lives and seem to be holding to something true. How can someone else kill an equal number of people in a seemingly identical fashion but do it in such a way and with such motives that the audience has a serious and deep hatred for them. Over and over, in segments within the movie which overlap each other, characters deal with one another, fight, suffer, live and die at the hands of each other and the audience watches. I watch a little girl protected, grow up, in danger again and then protected again as the result of men around her in each instance. I see another woman seeking protection, murdered, revenged and then her own sister protected by the same man who tried to protect her the first time. In another segment, a woman is protected, fought for, then another and then a group of dozens of women protected all by one man. I recognize that I am seeing through glasses, but I think that this lesson can be found amongst the many other messages weaving throughout the movie.
I’m not sure exactly what directions my life might take, just as all of these characters were not sure, but I do know that situations will arise when I can use my abilities to help or hurt others. It is a choice and it is a charge, a viligance and a capability.

Spring Formal!

Ohh the memories. The four bachelors cut a rug at the annual Campbell University Spring Formal. What a night, what a sight! Check out those crazy dudes in their crazy duds. Congratulations Travis, Robert Braxton, Chase Vaughan and Joshua Sands you are the official awesomest guys in this picture! Good work gentlemen. What's The DEAL!?!