Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 Hansen Christmas Letter


2013 may well be called our “sail away” year! 3 cruises in 12 months. Along with sails come plenty of tales and hundreds of pictures. In Jan., Kathy and I and 26 of our closest friends set sail out of San Juan for the sun and sand of the Southern Caribbean. Nice Jan. escape. In May, we headed to Alaska’s Inside Passage. We went with a couple from our college days and met up with another River Falls graduate school couple in Juneau. We had not been together for over 20 years! Great time, friends, and travel scenery. We went to Budapest in Nov. with Kathy’s sister and brother-in-law and our travel buddies, Jay and Sue. We cruised down the Danube, stopping in places like Vienna for a concert, and Nuremburg, Germany for their famous Christmas Market. Xmas on steroids! As 2014 approaches what else but we have plans to set sail out of Italy, this time with only 12 of our closest friends! Blessings and good health in 2014. -Rick

It’s really snowing, maybe three more inches this morning to add to the 8-10 inches we have. Temp is 5 degrees here in Wyoming. One of those Christmas card days…and I am thinking about the great Christmas productions we have seen so far: The Andrews Sisters’ swing songs at the History Theater, Black Nativity concert at Penumbra, Nick’s friend Andrew Walesch’s big band… The lovely Christkindlmarkts in Germany that open with Advent began this blessed season for us. And…Nick will be home today, and Chris is already planning what movies we will watch together as a family!
Our prayer: May you know His Nearness in your hearts,
in your home, in your midst…

The year 2013 was the first year of my life where I have felt like an adult, a responsible, yet terrified adult. In February, I was evicted from my place of residence due to fire code violations by my landlord. I was in the scariest situation of my life near the finish line of the Boston Marathon the day of the bombings. (Check out my story here.) And I completed my Master’s Degree in Journalism from Boston University.
The year was not all scary. I became heavily involved in the comedy scene in Boston. I work at an Improv Theater in Cambridge and I’ve started performing stand-up comedy pretty regularly. I also hosted a sports talk radio show with some friends over the summer. And I got to see what a city looks like after a major championship win after the Red Sox won the World Series.
I really like Boston and I’ve decided to stick around there for now. More adventures ahead in 2014.

2013 I have worked and started my new job at the bank in Hugo, MN. I clean the bank five days a week. It has been going okay so far.
I started playing Bocce ball every Wednesday night with my Dad at Vannelli’s by the Lake in Forest Lake, MN. I’m glad I joined the league because I have a lot of fun.
Wishing you all Happy Holidays and a great New Year!
PS I recommend the remake of The Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood.

Monday, September 2, 2013

25 Books: Traveling Mercies (#10)

I just finished Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by the wonderful Anne Lamott. It's the second book by her that was recommended to me. This one was wonderful and a book on faith that I needed to read.I realize that I am very, very behind on this series. But I'm taking it "Bird by Bird" as Anne Lamott would say.

Some background on my faith. I'm Catholic and I go to Mass probably 85% of the days that I'm required to go.  I don't necessarily agree with everything the Catholic Church does or says, but I've stuck around. I find peace in the ritual. I think the Beatitudes are forgotten about too often. I get upset when people criticize the entirety of the Catholic Church without really looking at all the good things that it has done. Living at St. Johns and St. Bens were some of the most spiritually fulfilling years of my life. I don't always like dogma, but I appreciate the community.  I digress...

Anne Lamott chronicles a lot of her struggles in this book, which include drug abuse, alcoholism, and lots of other painful things. Yet, she found pieces of faith that resonated with her.

I loved a phrase that she uses in the book, "dusty little red-wagon miracles." Miracles are not usually delivered in beams of light from the sky. They are sometimes sitting in your garage piled a midst junk and dirt and things you haven't used in years. I tend to forget that.

Lamott also used a poem from Langston Hughes that I loved:

“Gather out of star-dust,
And splinters of hail,
One handful of dream-dust,
Not for sale.”

I'm not perfect. I screw up, but I do believe that good things are out there. We just can't expect them to be delivered on a silver platter.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Journalism Feature Story

Most people call tech support for the slightest glitch in their computers. In his line of work, John Kristensen does not have that luxury. He’s a letterpress printer who works with antiquarian machines that do not come with instruction manuals. Today, his Thompson Monotype Caster is squirting boiling lead, the type is exploding as it comes out of the casting chamber, and the matrices are askew by a thousandth of an inch. Yet, Kristensen doesn’t mind the hitches. “You’ve got to be more stubborn than the problem,” he said as he adjusted a spring on the machine.
Kristensen is the founder and owner of Firefly Letterpress, a printing company located in Allston, Massachusetts. On Firefly’s website, they define letterpress as, “The making of copies of identical text by means of metal type arranged, inked, and impressed into paper.” Letterpress has come back in vogue recently due to people like Martha Stewart. The online craft marketplace Etsy has over 28,000 products in their letterpress category. Kristensen begrudgingly credits Stewart with inspiring a renewal of interest in the craft. However, unlike today’s generation of letterpress printers, Kristensen  learned from some of the true pioneers of the field when he started Firefly in 1981. “There were still a number of old guy printers to show me how to do things,” he said.
Kristensen has the look of a man who has spent many years making things. His blonde beard is trim. He’s wearing blue jeans and a green button down shirt that has a dime size hole near the left breast pocket. His appearance isn’t professional, but his work certainly is. A number of his prints line the walls of his shop. One can see the exquisite “bite” of letterpress in all of his work. Kristensen talks about his craft like a baptist minister talks about the Bible. “There are many ways to finding God, typography is one of the better ones,” he said, quoting fellow printer Roderick Steinhour.
Casting type is the process of creating a new font for use in printing. It’s the messy first step in the process. It’s an almost mystical task. Kristensen has to create a tool to communicate from a pot of boiling silver liquid.  It’s also not a quick process.  Today’s mission is to make a new set of Devinne No. 11 font on the English Monotype Thompson Caster. Devinne is a font without much flair. Kristensen also does not care for it, but he’s doing it for a friend. “I’m much fonder of the classics,” he said. He wasn’t alone in his opinion. The printer who inspired the type, Theodore De Low Devinne, didn’t like it either.
The Thompson Caster is a dinosaur in the twenty first century. It’s about two thirds the size of a refrigerator, weighs 750 pounds, and churns like a locomotive. It’s the iron horse to today’s bullet train high-speed  printers. Kristensen purchased the approximately 50 year old machine last year for $5,000 dollars.  A motorized pump forces a silver liquid made from a mixture of lead, tin, and antimony  into a mold and it is then stamped into a matrix. The type-shoe holds the mold in place as it comes out of the casting chamber and excess metal, also known as jet, is cut off. The type is then forced out onto a receiving plate. This Thompson can cast thirty characters of type per minute. It looks simple, but there are many moving parts. “It’s insanely complicated,” said Kristensen.
The Thompson Caster was designed with quality and accessibility in mind. In the early twentieth century there was a movement in the printing community that promoted the notion that “every printer his own typefounder,” meaning printer could make his own set of type. The Thompson was a product of that idea. “The Thompson was a new design, from scratch.  It is really a quite brilliant engineering achievement, and a marvel of simplicity,” said David M.  MacMillan, a typefounding enthusiast based out of Wisconsin, in an email. It’s simple for those who understand mechanical processes, that is. An advertisement from the early 1900’s published by the Thompson Type Machine company boldly claimed, “We are, however, ready to prove that Thompson Type is good type, perfect type.” The finished sort from the Thompson is a rectangular prism that is less than an inch long, quarter inch wide, and third of an inch high. It is solid, heavy, and feels like it could last a long time.
Kristensen starts casting a new set with the letter H because it is the most balanced and easiest to align. He places the matrix in the type shoe.  He adjust a number of rods and then flips a switch to get the gears and elbows moving. After a few runs of the machine, he flips one last switch to get the lead flowing, and then he steps back -- this is the machine’s maiden voyage. His friend, who is also in the shop mentioned that we should, “have 911 ready.”
There are a few close calls in the beginning. The scalding silver liquid squirted about six feet from the machine during the first few runs. Kristensen said that some printers have gotten burned from these sorts of things-- he hasn’t though. Kristensen tinkers with a number of parts. First he adjusts the type shoe, then he changes the spring pressure. After about fourteen runs, the sort is finally solid, but then he has to adjust the H to line it up precisely. The naked eye might miss it, but that doesn’t work for Kristensen. “If people can’t enjoy problems like this, it’s probably not going to be much fun,” he said.   
Kristensen has worked in letterpress long enough to see the battle-scarred veterans slowly fade away. After thirty years, he’s still dogged and dedicated to his profession. His colleagues admire his spirit as well. “He’s single-handedly holding up the letterpress industry in the Boston area,” said Lisa Rosowsky, the president of the Society of Printers, a trade group dedicated to preserving the art of printing.
Letterpress is for many logical reasons is impractical. It’s slow and tedious. Printers, copy machines, and Photoshop imitate what Kristensen does. That’s the key word though, imitate. Kristensen’s work is the genuine article. He puts care and thought in every announcement, diploma, and certificate he makes. “The best thing anyone has ever said about my work is that it was so well suited to its purpose,” he said. That sort of thought and dedication can not be replicated by computers.
After three hours and twenty one tries, Kristensen finally gets the Thompson printing solid, precisely aligned sort. He now has to run through the rest of the alphabet to complete the set. The process goes smoothly. The machine is humming and the type sits on the receiving plate like hot lead cookies. He shows no wear or frustration after an afternoon of mistakes, adjustments, and troubleshooting. Even though the process looked mind-numbingly aggravating, Kristensen showed no signs of frustration. The most animated he got on the day was when he described his work as, “so goddamn much fun.”  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

25 Books: IV by Chuck Klosterman (#9)

I'm glad people are keeping me to task with this project. I've fallen a little bit behind, but I'm hoping catch up and get ahead over the next few weeks.

This book was IV by Chuck Klosterman. It's a collection of feature articles, essays and fiction by him. He's written for a bunch of national media outlets and I've been a fan of his for a while. My grad school buddy Jason Lind recommended this to me and it was relevant because we're both in the sports writing program. (Klosterman does some writing for the website Grantland.)

The thing I like about Klosterman is that he can take some weird subject and paint it with such quirky details. My favorite story was "That 70's Cruise" about his time on a Classic Rock cruise that featured Styx, Journey, and REO Speedwagon. He describes the feeling of the ship like this:

"In 2005, the members of Journey are just dudes who used to be on MTV; the are musicians because music is their job. It is how they pay their mortgage. And people fucking love that."

I love that sentence. It's good reporting plus a unique perspective. How do I write like that? Klosterman was actually born in Minnesota, cut his teeth at a newspaper, and eventually got to writing for NY Times, Rolling Stone and a bunch of other great places.

I love Klosterman's work, but I don't think I want to be a journalist like him. I have that problem where I mistake admiring someone with emulating someone.

Keep writing, I guess. However, something is nagging me that I'm not meant to take this path of a journalist turned essayist.

It's all in the details. That's the key message I got out of IV. Keep observing things and a good story will come.

Monday, June 17, 2013

25 Books: Dispatches from the Edge (#8)

Dispatches from the Edge is a memoir by CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper. He wrote about his time covering stories in Iraq, in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami, and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He talked about the difficult of covering such tragic events.

It was oddly comforting to find out that a seasoned reporter like Cooper has the same issues as a graduate student who hasn't cut his teeth yet.

The biggest issue that Cooper faced was when to stay on the sideline and when to step in and help. In many of my classes we have talked about the importance of reporters staying out of the story. This is so you don't skew your story. It's hard to be unbiased reporter when your helping bandage wounds or lift people to safety in helicopters. You're not telling the story, you are part of it.

I've struggled with that concept. As a proud Eagle Scout, I've learned that sometimes you have to step in and do things. I pride myself in doing what I can to fix stuff I see that is wrong. People know I'm a passionate person. I think it would be hard to hold that back while facing situations like the Katrina aftermath.

The one time it's happened to me in real life was on Marathon Monday. I was a block away from the blast. I have First Responder training and I struggled with whether I should run the block to help or to take pictures. However, I didn't do either. I just stood on the corner of Dartmouth and Exeter out of the way. Did I do the right thing? I don't know.

Cooper is arguably one of the most popular reporters on television. I don't watch him often, but I like him. He gets at people's emotions. Is that biased storytelling? Maybe, but people like and seem to trust him.

I still don't know if I'm going to be a stereotypical journalist in the mold of Cooper. I like telling stories, but I tend to get caught up in the emotion of big stories. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Radio Cold Opens

I think I've written some of my best stuff for my sports radio show on WTBU. I really enjoy doing the cold opens. Here are a few examples. I'll update them as summer goes on.


Tony Parker turned on the spin cycle to lead the Spurs past the Heat In Game one of the NBA Finals

David Ortiz orders takeout in the bottom of the ninth and leaves the Rangers with the bill

Yasiel Puig penned a pretty little poem at Chavez Ravine. The last line rhymed with "Canned Ham" 


Prepare ye Cup Lord Stanley, it’ll be Boston vs. Chicago in the NHL Finals

Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams ball so hard in Paris that #$*$ Clay

LeBron James tells Tiago Splitter to return to sender, as the Heat tie the  series at one

The Rays and Red Sox stayed up past their bedtimes, and boy was Matt Joyce cranky. 

Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods ran into each other at Merion Golf Club no word if they're sharing a meal together. 

And even though the NFL season doesn't start till September, the Boston Tebow Party Starts now

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks seventh-inning stretch turned into the seventh-inning slobberknocker. Fight night at Chavez Ravine.  

Gary Neal and Danny Green are not your neighborhood plumbers. They're your game three leading Scorers. Spurs top Heat 113-77

US Men's national team gets one game closer to the World Cup. This time they got a win through the Altidore. 

Rain, rain go away. We wanna see Tiger play. Storms at Merion shut day 1 of the US Open

The AARP will have to wait a few more years for Jason Kidd's membership as the former point guard is now the Nets head coach. 

The Bruins and Blackhawks gave the fans some free hockey, but the Boys from Boston broke down late. Hawks take game one

Thursday, May 30, 2013

25 Books: Jim the Boy

I worry about things. I worry about things that are out of my control. I worry that things will get so complicated that I'll fail. But you know what? Most of the time it's not worth it. Things really are simple when you break them down to their base parts.

That's what I liked about Jim the Boy. It's a story about a ten-year old boy growing up in Depression-era North Carolina. He lives with his widowed mom and three uncles. The short chapters describe different events in Jim's life like getting his first baseball glove, going to school, and hanging out with his uncles. There's nothing grandiose about his plans, nor are there any ulterior motives. He's just there, living.

I make my life complicated. It's not intentional. It just happens. I sign up for something, I commit to something else, and soon I'm "busy" and not able to sit back and appreciate things. I think that is a tendency of millennials.

One scene I liked was when Jim and his uncle were checking out a row of large holes that were being dug for electricity poles. It was a unique sight to a kid who lives without electricity. Uncle Zeno lowered Jim down the hole to check it out. Jim is scared.

When Uncle Zeno let go, Jim thought he  was going to fall a long way, but is feet hit the ground after only a few inches.

There are many times where I worry that I will fall a long way. Rarely has that actually been the case.

Things are simple.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

25 Books: Man's Search for Meaning

I believe in thinking big on your birthday. On my birthday I set a goal to get 25 book recommendations from 25 people who I respect and admire. I didn't ask for their favorite book, but for a book that changed their life.I did this because I wanted to understand my friends, former teachers, co-workers, and family a bit better. If their was one book that changed their life, maybe it could help me out too.

This book was tough to get through. I really didn't want to read about the Holocaust after a month of stressful final projects and the events of Marathon week. After a month of avoiding and ignoring it, I finally got through Victor Frankl's book on his Holocaust experience. 

Hardly anybody alive today can truly relate to the experiences of living in a concentration camp. I don't want to pretend that any parts of my life have any sort of relation to the horrors that Mr. Frankl had to live through. However, the passages about good and evil stuck out to me after the events of April 15th. 

The rift dividing good from evil, which goes through all human beings, reaches into the lowest depths an becomes apparent even on the bottom of the abyss which is laid open by the concentration camp. 

Something was ripped open in Boston on that Monday. I remember saying to myself, as I walked down Beacon street, how great I thought the day was going. It was pleasant out, people of all races and ages were out cheering. Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves. Boston was a scene of tense confusion and fear a few hours later. I sat on the corner of Dartmouth and Stuart street for a few hours, paralyzed on what I should do. 

I hate the stereotype that some regions of the country are mean and others are nice. That's not true. There are nice people everywhere and there are jerks in just as many places. I saw a frat kid handing out water to people walking by, people were sharing cell phones to make emergency calls, and others were just letting police do their job. 

There is kindness in the world, it just baffles me that it takes such a jarring event to snap us out of our daily routine and let our goodness come to the forefront. 

Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual. 

I like the idea of life as a series of tasks to complete. Just after year one of grad school, I wish I knew what those tasks were. Challenges will arise. I will just have to keep facing them. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

25 Books: For Whom the Bell Tolls

I believe in thinking big on your birthday. On my birthday I set a goal to get 25 book recommendations from 25 people who I respect and admire. I didn't ask for their favorite book, but for a book that changed their life.I did this because I wanted to understand my friends, former teachers, co-workers, and family a bit better. If their was one book that changed their life, maybe it could help me out too.

I'll admit, I am not great at reading classic literature. I have a difficult time adjusting to classic prose. I sped through Hemingway, but with all apologies to, Dave Sandager, I picked up what I could. 

For Whom the Bell Tolls was a difficult read to fully digest, but I really enjoyed Hemingway's lean style. Simple descriptions bring out the life of a piece. 

There are a few passages I really liked. This one was from the middle of the book:

"Dying was nothing and he had no picture of it nor fear of it in his mind. But living was a field of grain blowing on the wind on a side of a hill. Living was a hawk in the sky. Living was an earthen jar of water in the dust of the threshhing with the grain flailed out and the chaff blowing. Living was a horse between your legs and a carbine under one leg and a hall and a valley and a stream with trees along it and the far side of the valley and the hills beyond." 

Life is simple moments. Grain blowing on the side of a hill is one of the most simple things I can imagine. I like picturing life like that. It's nothing fancy, it's just there. I think if we imagine life as a series of spectacular things, we really miss the point. Robert Jordan (the book's protagonist) was really living the bare bones of life in the Spanish hills.

"Tommorow can be a day of much valid action. Tomorrow can be a day of concrete acts. Tomorrow can be a day which is worth something."

One thing I really loved about my old job with the MCC was when we completed a project. We built stuff, cleaned up things, and took care of tasks. I don't always have that satisfaction in my digital-centered world. I miss the smell of chainsaw oil and woodchips. 

I think life is really simple, it just takes us our whole life to figure that out.

 Hopefully, I will be able to pick this book up again and dig into the real meaty themes 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Johan, We Hardly Knew Ye

Dominance is fleeting, especially when you throw lighting for a living. New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana looks like he is done for the year, and maybe for good, after re-tearing his anterior capsule. Santana's career in Queens had been a rocky one after being traded by the Twins five years ago. He has not pitched more than 200 innings in a season since the 2008 campaign. 

It's difficult to see ballplayers slowly lose their stuff, but it's especially tough in Santana's case. Minnesota fans thought he would carry the team back to their first World Series championship since 1991. The rotation has not even come within a whiff of the dominance it had since Santana left. 

The mid-2000 Twins team led by him, Francisco Liriano and his Mississippi Mud-dirty slider, and the pre-eminent workhorse, Brad Radke was one of the best pitching rotations the team had ever seen. Liriano won the pitching triple crown, leading the league in ERA, strikeouts, and wins (tied with Chien-Ming Wang.) Those guys, along with Mauer, Morneau, and the Piranhas gave Minnesota baseball it's pride back after Bud Selig and his gang threatened to contract the Twins in 2002. The Twinkies did not win in dominant fashion, but they could count on to be competitive in the AL Central. They only had one losing season (2007) during Johan's tenure. 

It was fun to see Santana at the helm of that tight knit group. It looked like he was doing the best with what he had, which back then, was a lot. A wicked changeup, a mid-ninety's fastball, and an crazy ability to dig out his best stuff in the dog days of the baseball season. He was 51-24 in August and September from 2002-08. He was probably the most productive Minnesota resident during the lake-and-cabin months. 

I was happy to see Johan pitch a no-hitter last season, the first in Mets franchise history. It was a much deserved feather in his cap. 

I hope things get better for you, Johan. If not, I'm sure there's a cabin on Lake Mill Lacs with your name on it. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

25 Books: Bird By Bird

I believe in thinking big on your birthday. On my birthday I set a goal to get 25 book recommendations from 25 people who I respect and admire. I didn't ask for their favorite book, but for a book that changed their life.I did this because I wanted to understand my friends, former teachers, co-workers, and family a bit better. If their was one book that changed their life, maybe it could help me out too.

I hate the dark places in my life. I don't share them to often, but they're there. I don't know if that's normal or weird or whatever. They are just there and they will always be there. I think most people in the world are in the same boat as me.

Now before you get all worried that Nick is depressed, stressed, freaking out, don't. I'm just fine.

This passage from the latest book, Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, made me think about those dark places.
"The great writers keep writing about the cold dark place within, the water under a frozen lake or the secluded, camoflaged hole. The light they shine on this hole, this pit, helps us cut away or step around the brush and brambles; then we can dance around the rim of the abyss, holler into it, measure it, throw rocks in it, and still not fall in. It can no longer swallow us up. And we can get on with things." 
And this passage as well:
"You can't get to any of these truths by sitting in a field smiling beatifically, avoiding your anger and damage and grief. Your anger and damage and grief are the way to the truth." 
How do I write about those dark places? Do I write self-indulgent pain on how horrible my childhood was? No, I hate that sort of stuff. Do I whine about how unfair things are? No, I hate whining. I don't like to feel sorry for myself. Overall, my life has been pretty good.

Humor has always been the best way for me to shine a light on my dark places, my frustrations, and my daily annoyances. Its kind of like this Calvin and Hobbes comic.

Laughter is a bizarre reaction to things. You know what, though? I'm really okay with it.

So, last week I decided to try and brighten my light and take a stand up comedy class. I start a week from Friday. I'm nervous. However, it feels right. It's a goal I set for myself earlier this year and I'm glad I'm taking it seriously.

Bird by Bird was chosen by the former Dean of Students at Conserve School, Beth Black. Any one of my Conserve compatriots will agree with me that Beth was one of the most insightful and wise people to ever grace that campus. I have tremendous amounts of respect for her. I'm very excited that she and her husband, Keith will be moving closer to Boston.

She also taught me an important lesson outside of the classroom. I remember my sophomore year convocation at Conserve. Everyone's parents were there to welcome in a new year. It was one of the bigger campus events. As I walked in, I got a program and I looked for my name. It was listed as "Hick Hansen." I was a bit confused, but everyone thought it was funny, so I laughed too.

I don't remember if Beth came up to me or I went to her after the ceremony. However, I'll always remember the words she said to me, "Out of anyone, I'm glad it happened to you."

At first, I thought she was teasing me. Looking back on it now, it was a pretty big compliment.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

25 Books: Anti-Cancer- A New Way of Life

I believe in thinking big on your birthday. On my birthday I set a goal to get 25 book recommendations from 25 people who I respect and admire. I didn't ask for their favorite book, but for a book that changed their life.I did this because I wanted to understand my friends, former teachers, co-workers, and family a bit better. If their was one book that changed their life, maybe it could help me out too.

Book three is in the books. I just finished Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life by Daivd Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD. My Aunt Betsy recommended it to me. This one was a tough one to finish, not because it was difficult to read, but because of it's subject matter. 

To put this in context, my Aunt Betsy's partner, my Aunt Martha was diagnosed with lymphoma a few months ago. She has been valiantly fighting the disease, but the cancer persists. They both read the book and thought it would be good for me to get get a peak into what they are going through. 

Anti-Cancer was written by a doctor who was diagnosed with brain cancer. His book talked about lifestyle choices and how they affect the growth or inhibition of cancer cells. These included things like diet, exercise, spirituality, and personal. 

The food portion was particularly interesting. Green tea is major cancer-kicker. It has a bunch of polyphenols which slows down the growth of cancer cell vessels. (I've been drinking a lot of green tea lately.) The author recommends a diet rich in whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruit. They don't recommend a lot of meat or eggs. That's basically been my diet since grad school, so I'm feeling okay. 

The portion on the "anti-cancer" mind was also very intriguing to me. One of the last lines in the book said that, "It is very important that we define our most authentic values and put them to work in our conduct and in our relationships with others." 

That line made me think of the other weekend when I was at a pub with a few of my friends enjoying drinks and watching the NBA All-Star weekend festivities. My friend, Andy Bunker, and I were seated by a gentleman who was there by himself. We made some small talk, but the guy kept talking about how he worked in finances and how much money he made this past year. He also made a point of taking out his gold lighter that he said was worth a few thousand dollars. He kept saying how much his life sucked. I didn't have nearly as much as that guy did, but I felt pretty happy. 

I'm in a fair amount of debt, I don't have a lot of things, and I eat pb&j for lunch almost every day. I'm also a  pretty happy guy. I told the guy that I had friends who were helping me move on Monday. When it comes down to it, which would you rather have, a gold lighter or friends who will help you move? 

I place a lot of value in being honest, heartfelt, and telling those close to me that I appreciate them. I'm glad I got some validation that this is a healthy way to live. 

To bring it back to my family, Betsy and Martha threw a "Celebration of Life" party last night. Martha accepted the fact that she probably won't be around too much longer. However, they decided to celebrate a great life instead of despairing over things to come. I hope I'll have the strength to do that when that time comes for me. 

Mart and Betsy came and visited me in South Africa and I thought that was so fantastic. They're two wonderful women and I'm glad they're part of my family. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Nemo Pics

Nemo wrecked some havoc here in Boston. Here's some of the damage from the Chestnut Hill/Brighton/Brookline area.

Sutherland Rd. in Brighton on Saturday night. It was pretty eerie.  

Walking down Beacon Street Friday night around 10:30. It was getting pretty crazy at that point. Wind was about 50mph.

Saturday morning in Cleveland Circle. 

A skier going down Beacon Street near the Chestnut Hill Reservoir at about 10pm on Friday night.

Cleveland Circle Saturday morning. It was being used as a gathering place for plows. Hardly any people out.

My house Saturday morning. 

Walking down Beacon on Saturday morning. No cars out at this point. 

The back of my house. Lots of shoveling. 

Walking around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir at about 3pm on Saturday afternoon. It was quite lovely out. Lots of people were out walking, skiing, snowshoing, sledding, taking pictures. A lot of fun.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

25 Books: Catcher in the Rye

I believe in thinking big on your birthday. On my birthday I set a goal to get 25 book recommendations from 25 people who I respect and admire. I didn't ask for their favorite book, but for a book that changed their life.I did this because I wanted to understand my friends, former teachers, co-workers, and family a bit better. If their was one book that changed their life, maybe it could help me out too.

I finished the second book, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I finished it at the perfect time. Hat tip to Andy Aebly, one of my best friends, for the suggestion. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

25 Books: Rework

I believe in thinking big on your birthday. Last week I set a goal to get 25 book recommendations from 25 people who I respect and admire. I didn't ask for their favorite book, but for a book that changed their life.

I did this because I wanted to understand my friends, former teachers, co-workers, and family a bit better. If their was one book that changed their life, maybe it could help me out too.

The first book on my list was Rework by Jason Fried and David Hansson. It's a business book that really cuts the crap out of the business model.