Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Living heroes

(Updated: I suppose I should give a quick reason why these folks made my hero list. )

I have quite a few heroes who have passed on, but thought I'd jot down a few who are still living (other than my family, of course).

In no particular order:
  • Jimmy Carter - He practices what he preaches, is a peacemaker, diplomat and cares for the least of the least.
  • Kofi Annan - Certainly a flawed man, but he worked tirelessly for human rights and justice and carried himself with a quiet strength. He's also from Ghana, where Annie grew up.
  • Asne Seierstad - She's a journalist and an author from Norway who travels tirelessly to tell small stories about people from Kabul to Chechnya. I envy her life.
  • Nanni Moretti - My favorite filmmaker. From Italy; I own most of his films and watch them over and over. Quirky, sad, lonely, funny, irritating.
  • Eugene Peterson - A true pastor's heart, author of books that always challenge me and translator of one of my favorite versions of the Bible. A gentle man who loves stories.
  • Gurinder Chadha - It takes real talent to tackle a subject like the role of Indian women in British society and make it so fun. And Gurinder seems to have a great personality to boot.
  • N.T. Wright - Renowned British theologian, his book Jesus and the Victory of God made what was once common new.
  • Peter Kreeft - The surfing philosophy professor. Always writing with a twinkle in his eye, his books give definition to some rather murky subjects.
  • Richard Dahlstrom - A pastor in Seattle that continues to mentor me through his blog and sermons.
  • Christiane Amanpour - Working on assignment with CNN, she always covers the hot spots with a level head and years of experience.
  • Colin Powell - Always trying to form international coalitions, trying to moderate between extremes, used by many leaders for their own gain, Colin Powell continues to remain dignified and a diplomat.
  • Sofia Coppola - Director of Lost in Translation, she knows how to capture nuance and subtlety. And if the behind the scenes documentary is true, she is one of the most laid back directors in Hollywood... a rarity.
  • Stanley Hauerwas - Has championed the cause of those with intellectual disabilities since the 1970's.
  • John Irving - A Prayer for Owen Meany. Period.
  • Paul David Hewson - OK, so I put Bono on the list. I truely do admire his determination for helping Africa. And I could listen to Vertigo anytime.
  • Mira Nair - Another excellent director who deals with cross-cultural issues. Start with Monsoon Wedding.
  • Julian Schnabel - Filmmaker and bold artist. Reminds me a lot of a friend of mine.
They say you can tell a lot about a person based on their heroes...

Puppy dog eyes

Yesterday's post read sadder than I intended it to. And I know sad.

We live on the garden level and lately Silvi has been rushing to the window to watch me leave for work. She climbs up onto the arm of the couch and presses her nose against the glass, flashing her big puppy dog eyes, often with tears streaming from them. I try to make her laugh by doing something silly, but usually the last thing I see as I drive away is her sad face and her delicate little hand raised, trying to keep me home for just a moment longer.

That, my online friends, is sad. Helluva way to start each day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Teriyaki friends

There's a lot I miss about living in Seattle, like the teriyaki chicken restaurants that seemed to be everywhere. I went to the Mall of America for lunch today because I was craving teriyaki chicken and knew of a place that served it there. What a disappointment. Chewy, fatty chicken, bland sauce. It seems impossible to find good teriyaki chicken in Minneapolis.

I also miss the friends I had in Seattle. It's hard to maintain friendships when you move around as much as I do. Did. You probably notice the absence of many other people in the pictures I post. (There wouldn't be room for them anyway, seeing how my shoe is in every other shot.) I know a few people here in the twin cities, but not well enough to call up or do the pop in with. I've got a large extended family nearby, and that is super-fantastic-wonderful. But not the same as having good friends.

How does a forty-year-old man go about making friends? Join a softball team? Writers group? Church functions? Take up electric guitar lessons and join a Motley Crue tribute band?

Maybe I'll make a lot of money and then buy some friends.

And then I'll also have fresh teriyaki chicken flown directly from Seattle at least once a week.

Or maybe I'll just keep taking pictures of my shoe.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thought during nap time

Existentialism would never have surfaced if Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Sartre had kids.

I'm pooped

Just for the record, Annie's job of staying home with the kids is ten times harder than my little video production job. Annie, you deserve more than a four-day weekend in Chicago.

But please don't stay any longer than tomorrow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The boy's night out

Annie's in Chicago for the weekend with her sisters and Silvi is staying the night with Grandpa and Grandma. Let's see what kind of trouble the two guys can get into tonight.
We started off at the lake. Ian really likes my shoes. Don't you?

Then we got some Chinese food. Chopsticks only, of course.

Stopped off at the college bookstore for some light reading before...

grabbing a Spanish latte and a discussion on angst in Sartre's writings at the university coffee shop.

Then we got matching dragon tattoos. (Kidding, babe, kidding.)

Stopped back by the lake where I looked for one of Ian's hearing aids in the dark (found it at home!).

Called it a night. Most excellent boys night out, Ian. You make great company.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"New" car

We got our "new" car today, a gift from some family friends. No more playing car shuffle!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Serious filmmaking

The Coen brothers are shooting their latest film, A Serious Man, a few blocks from where I work. I've been down there the last two days, watching them dress a couple of the neighborhood blocks to look like the late 60's. Just drove by again over lunch and about three blocks are locked down tight with police cars on all sides. Lots of crew wandering around. I'll take my camera with me tomorrow and see if I can get a shot of the brothers, or kicked off the "lot."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Twelve things

Twelve things about our vacation:
  1. Our kids are champion travellers. Silvi and Ian laughed, slept and ate their way across the Midwest without any major meltdowns.
  2. The four-hour ferry ride across Lake Michigan was sticky and hot. Ian slept, Silvi raced around the deck and Annie watched Iron Man in the movie theater. We would do it all over again.
  3. My sister, Tracy, threw Ian a great party for his birthday. She picked out the cake with extra frosting, which Ian promptly redecorated. She always throws fun parties.
  4. I watched two full seasons of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on my brother-in-law's Mac while I tried to fall asleep on the couch cushions on the family room floor.
  5. Silvi and her cousin, Emily, were cloned by clandestine scientists while in the womb.
  6. We had a water balloon fight in the back yard. My brother-in-law throws like a washed up quarterback.
  7. We stayed with Annie's aunt Nancy - who loved all over Ian and Silvi - and where Silvi and I hunted Cicada bugs in the back yard.
  8. We took the loooong way into downtown Chicago, and drove with our doors locked.
  9. Silvi was more interested in swinging on the handrails in the lobby of the Hancock Building than looking out of the 94th floor. The sky was blue and the views were spectacular.
  10. Ahh, the beach, the beach. Perfect sunny day, nice sized waves, people-watching heaven and pristine sand as soft as powdered sugar.
  11. We visited the town where Annie lived as a child and were able to find her old house, school and swimming pool.
  12. Silvi and I pushed our way to the front of a BoDean's concert one gorgeous evening surrounded by hundreds of Harley Davidson riders celebrating the 105th anniversary of the motorcycle.