Sunday, July 30, 2006

Jesus in Lebanon

Tyler Hicks/New York Times

Don't forget that there are Christians in Lebanon, don't forget that there are Christians everywhere. Here are the stats on religious preference in Lebanon via the CIA World Factbook:

Muslim 59.7% (Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 39% (Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Chaldean, Assyrian, Copt, Protestant), other 1.3%
note: 17 religious sects recognized

The above photo was taken by a photographer named Tyler Hicks. Here is an NPR story on him, that will be available to listen to after 7:30pm on Sunday, the 30th of July.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Mystery is Gone

Full details coming soon.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

SOC - Typing, thinking, writing

Composing, flirting, drinking, party, fire-up, watch me, get uncomfortable, leave, come back due to duty, ashamed, party, talking, scheming, talking, excited, grouping, listening, shooting, drinking, shots, laughing, drinking, scheming, guilting, turning down, drinking, Merlot, shutting down, done, good bye, faking, laughing, joking, joking, good night, hungry, angry, hypocritical, hello, goodbye, hello, goodnight, introspection, excitment, goodnight, introspection, Vastaros, Saarsgarg, Vastaros, Saarsgarg, Vastaros, Sweden, Kings Kross, Stansted, goodnight.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Enchanted Rock


This weekend, myself and a few other guys will be trekking out to a nature preserve in the Texas hill country called Enchanted Rock. The environment, free of paved roads, telephone poles, and warning signs is so important. I think that we lose something of ourselves when we lose a connection with nature; it sustains us. There is actually a developmental disorder that has been to linked to children who aren't exposed to nature in their adolescence. More about that soon.

Help save our natural places.

That disorder is called "nature-deficit disorder" by the way. The first entry of a Google search on the disorder came up with an NPR story you can listen too, hooray!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Death of the Front Porch

This is a picture of a family, enjoying their front porch in one of the most densly populated areas in the United States, the West Side of Manhattan. It really is posted for no other purpose than it makes me happy. I'm torn between urban living and country living, community and utter time-selfishness. It's a happy idea though.

Here is the story if you are interested in how and why they did it:

Manhattan Family builds a front porch and garden on the roof top of their West Side apartment.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Axing Antonomics

I've decided to axe another blog that I was working on called Antonomics. Originally I had intended to make it a link intensive blog which could direct people to news stories which I thought were important and which weren't getting enough attention. I have decided however that this idea fits too closely with the intention of Deliberate living, and thus I will now incorporate these links into this blog.

Here is a run down of the short lived highlights:

"Bruno is the first wild bear to be sighted in Germany since 1835."

Osama Bin Laden calls for a "truce" in his newest recording:

Robert Mugabe, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe seems deliberate on destroying his country. Inflation is currently at 1,000% with the promise of hitting 2000% within the year.

Next week the Ugandan government will begin talks with Joseph Cony and the leadership of his homocidal cult "The Lord's Resistance Army."

Conservationists estimated that there were more than 100,000 West African black rhinos in 1960. That figure dropped to an estimated 14,000 by 1980 and the animals may now be extinct.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

My Resignation

I put in my two weeks at work today. I am going to miss this office and my coworkers more than I really want to think about, so instead I'm just going to be excited about what lies ahead.

Need some video work done? Hire me!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Smile Experiment Update

I've been failing miserably at the smile experiment. However, just smiling once in every ten situations is a huge leap from the norm for me. This is what I do while performing The Smile Experiment, and these are my findings:

I've just picked up a 6 pack of Carlsberg, a 40oz bucket of organic vanilla yogurt and a Bellhaven pint glass. As I'm approaching the young girl at the cash register, who is looking in the opposite direction as she hands a grumpy elderly woman her bag of figs and baking flour, I grin like I've just witnessed a cute baby drooling and giggling at the funny face I was previously making. As she turns to me to say, "hi how are you, do you have your preferred car?" I turn on the brights, and by turn on the brights I mean I greet her with a gleaming smile like a loony. I don't even have a particularly nice smile. I mean my teeth are straight, but I have a fairly strange looking face, especially when I'm grinning. Her immediate response however is a return of this strange enthusiastic smile, no matter how depressing of a character she is in her day to day life, no matter what is going on in her mind having to do with her deadbeat abusive boyfriend, she shines me back that wide-eyed grin. This has happened 4 times in the last 2 days. It has never failed me. And as a further concurrence, when I have forgotten or refused to proceed with Smile Experiment Protocol, only to receive a greeting smile from the other end, before I can consciously refuse I find myself grinning right back.

We might have the ingredients to world peace here folks. Let's put 'em in the stew and see if we make dumplings! What do we have to lose?

Consumed

To anyone who enjoys reading this site: I apologize for the lack of posts and the lack of quality in the few posts that I have put out lately. My excuse is that I've been consumed by the edit of my Amazon mission documentary that I have been working on. I have so far cut seven and a half out of eleven hours of tape that I shot while in Brazil and it is likely that the documentary will be about 45 minutes long. On a postitive note, I think the documentary is turning out fairly well. But, I'll let you be the judge of that. I'll put a link to the documentary in it's entirety up as soon as the project is completed. Thanks for being patient with me.

Here is the reward for your patience, a picture of me with the man whom I will name a child after, maybe my own:On the left, burly Norwegian goat-farmer hands, on the right, dainty American blogger hands.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Smile Experiment

This is in no way scientific, but here is a fact, if you walk up to someone smiling, say a bank teller, or an employee of Chipotle, they are going to smile back at you instinctively. What a better way to begin an interaction! For some reason this comes with great difficulty to me, to just walk up to someone and show 'em a toothy grin, but this week I pledge to do it at every opportunity, and the experiement is to see if I get more respect, better service...maybe something free. Try it out, it's fun and fairly painless.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Official Shoe of the Third World

Or, Fighting Hookworm Through Fashion...

When I was in the Amazon a little while ago, working with a medical missions team, we were all surprised to find out that 98% of the people who lived in the villages there reported worms in their stool. Now, it is true that many of the parasites they have to live with come through their drinking water, which they fetch directly out of the Amazon River, and can be fought through education, and teaching on how to purify their water supply; however, I also noticed that the children all run around either barefoot or with thin flipflops sliding off their muddy little feet. When there is no seperation between the village livestock, chickens, dogs, etc. and the ground where these children walk, hookworm infestation will be a continued fact of life.

Which brings me to this shoe:
Now let it be stated that this post has nothing to do with Dooce and her bloody "Clog War," which I don't find the slightest bit funny or amusing. This post is simply to say that if these clogs were being brought as donations to the third world via mission trips, they would be an effective and stylish way of protecting children from the nutritional devistation caused by hookworm. And if you are going to argue that this would make all the villagers look like little clog wearing clones, I'll offer this as my argument:

Cute little multicolored flats.
Let it also be stated that I have no idea what the Crocs™ company's official evironmental policy is, but if they were to make these shoes out of an environmentally sustainable, non-petroleum based foam or faux-rubber, I would kiss their CEO right on the mouth.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Pray


Prayer has changed my life, that is undoubtable. First I prayed to God, then I prayed for God, next I prayed for God to teach me, then I prayed for God to allow me to share His teaching. Now all I can pray is that God will allow me to pray once again.

Here is an amazing radio story recorded by Alix Spiegel for This American Life. It is called "Pray." Whether or not you pray, or believe in God, or have an opinion that is in opposition to organized religion, I promise that you will enjoy this story.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Update: Mid July

Well, plans didn't go according to, well, you know. It seems I need some dental work, so before I go freelance and loose my health insurance indefinitely, I'm going to take care of that. I'm going to a dentist in Highland Park, Dallas, TX, which is one of those ritzy communities where people can afford to pay extra to have marble countertops and a tinkling fountain in the lobby and GQ in the waiting room. I'm a little worried that I will be shocked at the price, ok, I'm a lot worried, ridiculously worried. The truly unfortunate thing is that I have a friend who owns a practice in Highland Park and I am so afraid of dental work that, even though I already have an appointment, I refuse to call him even though he will probably be able to get me in early and even give me a deal.

In other news, the documentary that I shot in Brazil, in the Amazon, that I am currently editing, which has been taking over my mental capacities for the last month, is finally coming along quite nicely. I am debating whether I should post it online or not. It is so far, eight sections of video, each one being between two and six minutes long. The reason I don't want to post them is partly because I will not be able to stand the criticism, a good part of which will be perhaps...well I'm not going to get into it because I can't decide whether it is reasoned or a product of my insecurities. Coming soon, I will write a few more short stories and for the time being I will post a few fun links. Thanks for reading, let me know what you think.

I've always found Thom Yorke very mysterious, and yet, I've never made any effort to learn anything about him. Here is an interview that Terry Gross (the world's greatest living cultural interviewer) did today with him. It's the first time I've ever heard him speak. He seems amazingly more down to earth than I ever would have imagined him to be. Isn't that funny how we're all human?

P.S. If you've never listened to Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR, you are missing out.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Spend A Little Bit On Your Clothes

It's incredibly hard for me to find pants, I mean, I could buy some pants, it would take a little sorting, but I could buy a pair of Levis, standard fit, or easy fit or whatever they call what most middle American dudes wear. But I like a certain cut, a cut that almost doesn't exist. A 30 inch waist with a 34 inch inseam, possibly 35, slightly low-rise, boot-cut if my shoes aren't slim, straight leg if my shoes are sleek, over-saturated, no holes and no fruff.

It usually takes me about 6 months to find a pair of pants I like. It's been over two years since I've found a pair of khakis. But it's summer, and I've started to go to a church where the congregation prefers to dress up a bit. I like that though, I personally prefer to wear khaki pants on a summer day, especially to church. If guys only knew the power of khaki pants on a man to a woman, they'd dress like all those heavy-duty driving tool-bags, all the time. Nothing reels in a lovely lady quite like some embroidered perch on your canvas belt. Anyways...

All that's to say, that you shouldn't feel bad spending a bit on your clothes. If a pair of pants from Target are going to fall apart, and be stitched together poorly, by developing fingers, and whose deriven wages are going to cause bellies to go to bed hungry, but are going to enable you to wear a cheap pair of pants for a short while; and to buy a pair of designer pants with an aesthetically pleasing cut are going to last you for years and make you feel good, and fill someones pockets with dough, why not spend a little bit on them. Because this is why:

Spend twenty dollars on a bunk cut, spend twenty more in a few months, toss them aside and do it again, keep the third world generating first world dollars, or...spend a hundred dollars, wear a pair of pants until they wear too thin to be cool, and take the three-hundred and eighty dollars you save and donate it somewhere worthwhile. That is to say, only if the company from which they come believes in sustainable manufacturing, which not many do. So buy carefully, and buy with a researched mind. If you buy designer pants that come with ragged holes cut in them though, I don't think you've quite gotten the story.

"She"

I'm a sexist in a sense, I don't think that women can do less than men, but I do think that men and women occupy different roles, at least in most cases, the majority of the time...in the majority of most cases. I guess that makes me a sexist according to modern political correctness, or social standards, or academic thought...or something.

That is only to say that I find it strange when men, or women, refer to a hypothetical person as "she," rather than as "he." The same rule applies to animals. For example, someone might point at a turtle and say, "she sure is magnificent." Or, someone might say, "I need to go to a doctor, I hope she accepts my insurance provider." For some reason, I am inclined to call every hypothetical person or being "he." What is the reason for this? Does this make me a chauvinist?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

End of an Age

Changing the Fate of Man - since July 8th 2006

First, my friend Dawson and I met in North Dallas. The night before I said that whoever's car got better gas mileage could drive to the trail, then Dawson rolled up in the two-door version of my car, and I decided to drive only because I'd been there before. Twenty miles farther north we rode a beautiful trail surrounded by encroaching suburban developments in a state maintained park called Erwin Park in McKinney Texas. A quarter of a tank of gas later we were eating Chipotle and pledging to ride again. At one o'clock and at 95 degrees fahrenheit, I put on my shorts and my CamelBack and I rode my bike 2.7 miles to work. There was a river of sweat running down my back and into my shorts within minutes. I felt, amazingly, fairly cool as long as I was peddling hard. I had a headwind, which made the ride harder, but the breeze was welcomed. I should have worn my helmet and I shouldn't have been listening to my Ipod, but I was careful that no cars were not paying attention to me. Even though it was only a few miles and on a Saturday, I felt like I was making a difference, and I felt like I was making a statement. Bike riding is fun, we forget that.

15 minutes later, I was at work. I was sweaty, but the AC was cold inside. I made some French-press coffee, had a bowl of vanilla yogurt with two large scoops of blueberries and I got to editing my Brazil documentary. Afterwards I wasn't looking forward to the ride home, but I took a route with less traffic and I saw some new neighborhoods, new to me anyway. I will be looking to sell my car as soon as possible. It's the silver Tahoe behind the bike. It has served me well but it needs to go to someone who will use it for it's intended purpose, to tote children and boats and to carry gear.

We've had good times together. Farewell old friend.

Friday, July 07, 2006

In 50 Years Our Hope Is Dismal

Or, If You Love Your Kids Don't Have Them, but that only applies if you are not yet pregnant.

This is my new means of transportation. My car runs fine, but until I can sell it and buy a Honda Civic Hybrid I will ride my bike as much as possible. If you haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth you need to see it. And if you've never seen a film called The Corporation, you need to see it. Global Warming is not a new concept. Al Gore is not breaking ground with this film. Scientists have known conclusively that the earth is warming at an exponential rate for well over two decades. It can be curbed with MINOR changes in our daily life. Here are a few examples.

•Drive a little less.
•Drive a car that gets better gas mileage if you can.
•Bring a ceramic mug to Starbucks.
•Recycle your bottled-water bottles.
•Turns off lights in rooms you are not in.
•Change from fossil fuel and nuclear driven energy to green energy (it's no more expensive).

Be a little concerned. Our children's hope is in peril.

Why I Love Judaism

Here is a post by my friend Lucas who lives in L.A.:

One river crossed... one to go.

Wow! That is a great insight.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Racial Coefficient

I wasn't a racist until college.

I say that partly to get the ball rolling on what I hope to be a confrontational post, and I say it partly because it is true. I wish that I wasn't, I wish that I could just see people as people, but I'm judgemental, and I use image as a first impression. This rule applies to a myriad of observations, if someone looks poor, if they have bad teeth, bad shoes, dark skin, a beard, glasses, if they are pretty, if they are wearing white shoes or an obnoxious necklace, definitely if they have tatoos, if they have a weak gate, or if they look out of shape. It wasn't always this way. When I was growing up I didn't see race. I literally couldn't see a difference between a "black person" or a "white person" until I was in highschool and even then I could never be sure. I thought that maybe the difference came in the way the person talked more so than the way the person looked. In college it was a different story. To be so surrounded by "white" people made me realize that I came from a very diverse community. It wasn't until I spent a summer in England that I began to see class as well. So, looking back, we have three categories, appearance, race and class. Which brings me to my next point, that to specify two races as black and white is to try and simplify the issue so much so that it becomes black and white in itself, which is just silly. Which brings me to my third point, I don't believe race exists. Not anymore anyway. I think the whole idea of it is bullshit. There is ethnic pride, which is pride in itself, which is selfishness, which is the root of all evil (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity). To complicate things further, some of my most racist friends are more comfortable talking about race and are often more racially blind than I am. The reason for this being that they are so ok with the fact that they are racist, that they don't think about race anymore. The mere fact that I am now so facinated by race relations and so passionate about anti-racism makes me overly conscious of race when before I wasn't. This race consciousness then actually manifests itself into racism because I then see race before I see a person. That's all to say that people are just people, no matter how they talk, how they dress, how they act or what they look like; we are all in the same boat.

Anton's passions:

Filmmaking
Urban Redevelopment and City Planning
Cultural Anthropology
The Natural World

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Dear Spiritual Journal

This is my journal entry from July 4th, 2006:

Lord, I won't try to jazz it up, expose my nasties,
that are so easy for me to hide.

Analyze away at that one. The truth is I purposely deprive myself of sleep. In fact, I purposely do a lot of self destructive things so that I'll have something to blame my faults on other than my own prideful nature. It's probably my favorite journal entry though.

Outline of My Admiration: Meryl Streep

Few things in life age like wine, Meryl Streep is the female exception. Altough seething hatred coursed through my body as I watched her break her husband's heart in Kramer vs. Kramer, along with the shock of her character's transformation from passionate writer to hedonistic drug addict in Adaptation, I have grown to adore Meryl Streep as an actress. If you haven't seen her yet in A Prairie Home Companion, do it.

As for me I have yet to see The Devil Wears Prada, but I hear good things.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Because in the Morning I Run


Google "Socrates Moderation":

{?] - The results are unclear. Read Charmides perhaps...

Google "Plato Moderation":

Moderation, which consists in an indifference about little things, and in a prudent and well-proportioned zeal about things of importance, can proceed from nothing but true knowledge, which has its foundation in self-acquaintance.

The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom.


Google "Aristotle Moderation":

The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.

Kurt Vonnegut has this to say about moderation in his novel Hocus Pocus:

Alchohol and marijuanna, if used in moderation, plus loud, usually low-class music, make stress and boredom infinitely more bearable. It was manna from heaven that I came into this world with a gift for moderation in my intake of mood-modifying substances...[In Vietnam] Several of the most gruesome accidents I had to explain to the press during my last year over there were caused by people who had rendered themselves imbecilic or maniacal by ingesting too much of what, if taken in moderation, could be a helpful chemical.

I like that, the idea of moderating such substances. Too bad most of us are naturally hell-bent on destroying ourselves.

Freedom Festival

I had a moment today, wherein I introspected about what I was doing at that moment, where I was, who I was with, and I felt truly blessed. Our culture tells us to not be content, to always be looking to what's next, to improve, and to be promoted. But sitting in the company of the friends I was with today, with their family, with they as mine, being served delicious food, on a beautiful day, in a beautifully furnished home, watching movies and playing games and just enjoying each other's company, I got to thinking that if I were to be stuck doing the job I do now, never exceling until my dying day, that I would be happy where I am. And I felt and I feel blessed, and I feel like I don't deserve it, and I know that I don't.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

i heart you

Once again, awesome night. Truly awesome though, somewhat in the classical sense. I hung out with a bunch of Christians and that's why. I miss Kyle. We went swimming after wishing Martha happy moving. I'm still not happy with Dallas. I like Paste Magazine, Presbyterians, puppies, NPR, Jamie, Ben (who's married) running and bicycles.

I postponed quiting because I need dental work, and I love my company, partly because they wrote a nice email about me, but I really do love them. Check High Resolution Revolution to see what I'm doing there.

I meant to bring my camera today and I forgot. I was too excited because I got a half day and there was too much to do. Here is what happened:

•Got to work late at 9:20am
•Argentina vs. Germany on ESPN2 (Germany won)
•Worked on the Brazil doc
•Worked on Willow Street Reels
•Left work at 1pm, went to the gym, full work out and ran 5 miles

[I like Conors Oberst and Dashboard Confessional, that's a guilty pleasure.]

•Took a shower.
•Was going to go to the DMA but it closed at 5. Went to my favorite cafe, latte, croissant, 2 eggs scrambled, tomatoes
•Back to work, to edit
•Drove to Fort Worth, the greatest city to live in, in the United States
Martha's moving to Dallas party
•Went swimming at the Marquis at Bellaire Ranch. Jenn and Jay are dating, I love it. I Heart You. G'night.