Friday, April 29, 2011


Could this really be my last post? Where to begin and what to say. As tempted as I am to use this post to talk more about Mike's (my other half) sleeping positions at night, where any person on the outside looking in would think they're watching an intense game of Twister involving him, his bed, and his lawn chair, I'll refrain from the temptation of doing that.

With that said, I'm back to the same question of where to begin this thing and what to say. I guess no better place then with the first thing that pops into my head and believe it or not, that thought is appropriate and it is this...was it better that I stayed in Kolkata for 4 months or would it have been better if I was only here for about week? Some of you may find this kind of question as a little weird, but when your me, and you had an experience a couple days ago where one moment you're lifting a dead man out of the street so he doesn't get ran over and the very next moment you're smiling again, then you'll get a better idea as to why I have to ask myself this question. In a way, you could say poverty and I have been playing hide and seek ever since I've been up in Kolkata and initially, I'd have to say that poverty was quite easy to find as it hid right in the open. Now, after nearly 4 months time, poverty is still hiding in places that my 6 year old niece could seek out in a matter of seconds, but for whatever reason, it's taking me minutes to find it and that's a disturbing thing for me to acknowledge.

Tyson...maybe you didn't feel anything when you moved that dead guy off the street, but at least you made the effort to do it, which is more than what most would do around here. Yes. That's true.'s one thing to feel less when exposed to a situation and another thing to care or do less when exposed to the same situation and your experience with the dead man shows you that clearly didn't care less or do less. True.

I may have a scar on my stomach to remind me about my stay in India, but unless I walk away with a scar on my heart, it would defeat the purpose of coming up here and so I can only hope that as arrive at the airport later this afternoon, I'll have a heavy heart to check in as luggage in addition to my backpack.

In starting this post, I began with "where to begin," and I now I find myself asking, "where to end" and just as I started with the first thought that crossed my mind, I'll end in a similar fashion and that thought is this...the book titled, "Bulls*** my Dad says" is probably the funniest book I've ever read. Maybe this hurts my "Christian" points according to some people by me saying this, but let's save that debate for when we're both in Heaven.

With that said, thank you for all the words of encouragement that people have sent me while I've been in India and I hope you enjoyed my CARE MORE adventure. What happens next for me in my future is about as hard to predict as how many free throws Demetri Goodson will hit for the Zags when at the line but one thing's for sure, it's CARE MORE or bust for me and I can always use some company if anyone would like to join me.

Go Zags!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I came to find out on Easter Sunday what exactly a "hot cross bun" is and I must say, even though I'm still confused as to where the "hot" and the "cross" have anything to do with the bun, it's definitely much more enjoyable to eat in the morning than it is to play in music class like I had to when I was younger.

As of yesterday, I've begun my regular volunteer duties again and that should be enough to tell you where I'm at in my recovery process from my surgery a couple weeks ago. I'd say I'm at about 80% right now. Only now, do I wish the 110% my baseball coaches claimed we could give them on the field was a reality, since if it were, I'd be able get my health to 100% much faster by finding a couple people on the street giving that extra 10% and taking it from them. Besides the fact that a person giving 100% is more than sufficient to get the job the done, taking this extra 10% from a person giving 110% would be no different than taking 1 million from Bill Gate's savings account in my opinion, as they'd have no idea I even took it and they don't really need it do they?

With all of this said, plan to see from me one more post before I head out on Saturday, the content of which will hopefully be just as pleasant for you to read as the "hot cross bun" is for me to eat. Until then, take care and Go Zags!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


With me not posting anything on here for a while, some of you may have thought I, just like Jesus back in the day, got closed up in a tomb somewhere, but rest assured, that didn't happen and I too, AM ALIVE! The fact that I no longer have my laptop has made it a little more difficult for me to make as many posts on here as I've been accustomed to in the past and since I don't see this trend changing for the last week I'm here, I'd recommend that you cherish each post just like you should cherish each day you wake up.

As for what I've been up to since my last post, I guess it all depends on the day as there was one day, I made an effort to change my flight and go home early, a few other days I've been the doorman at the Mother House for the Sisters, and a few other days where I've been completely devoted to creating for myself a daily checklist of sorts that I'm titling "a CARE MORE kind of day." The thought of taking the time to do this last activity has entered and exited my mind in the past just as fast as the new names of people I've been introduced to from time to time, but now, I'm finally forcing myself to put something down on paper.

The daily checklist, also popularly known as a "to do" list, isn't something that should be that foreign to anyone reading this I would imagine and they help us remember the kiwis at the supermarket, the meeting with the boss at 2pm, and picking up the clean pants at the dry cleaners. This kind of "to do" list is important no doubt, especially the picking up the kiwis at the supermarket activity, but even after picking up those kiwis on the list, spending way too much time skinning it once you get home, and finally eating all of its vitamin glory, I still find that my "to do" list is missing something. It might leave my fridge happy with a 6 pack of "Blue Moon" in it and my closet happy with clean pressed pants, but even with these things checked off my list, I find that my heart is asking me the same question a small child might ask their parents after coming home from a big trip abroad--"what did you get me?" Uhhhh....want a kiwi?

So what makes the heart happy? I don't intend to tackle that topic on this post as I think that's a question each person needs to ask themselves. All I know, is that my heart likes to SMILE, LAUGH, LOVE, BE A KID, CARE MORE, GROW, EXERCISE, MEDITATE, and APPRECIATE LIFE among other things and I'm gonna try my best to check these off my "to do" list every day from here on out.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Someone once said, a fool learns from his own mistakes and I wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Although I'd have to say the label of "fool" should be reserved more for the person that doesn't even learn from their mistakes than the person that does, I can see some truth to what this person says. Why it takes personal suffering for a person to change their behavior, instead of by the suffering of others engaged in the same behavior in the past is really a sad reality of life and I've been guilty of learning this way myself, just recently as a matter of fact. And since it's too late for me to learn from the carelessness of others with respect to their personal property, I have no choice but to learn from my own and the lesson is this...

Don't let whatever utopian world you'd like to live in remove you from the real world that you are a part of. In the context of my recent theft, this means that regardless of my desire to live in a "you don't have to lock your door" kind of world, the reality of things is that we live in a world where people steal if given the opportunity and in acknowledging this, I should have bought a lock for the outside of my room like everyone else had done at the Salvation Army. Prior to this experience, I would have said anyone with a lock on the outside of their room was just excessively paranoid, just like I always told this to my parents when they always had, and I'm sure at this very moment, have their door locked while inside the house, but only now, do I realize that this kind of a precaution is in fact wisdom.

After all it's not the 97% of the people out there that we have to protect ourselves from, it's the other 3% and although I still won't say a person that learns from their mistakes is a fool, the person that acts as if the 3% don't live in this world, is the fool.

Lesson learned.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Maybe taking a pain pill a day won't keep the doctor away like it does for apples, but you'd think it would at least keep pain away, but I can't say I've had that experience recently, even when taking 3 pills a day as instructed. In all actuality, I've had quite the opposite experience in that not taking my pain pills, has the mysterious result of me having almost less pain. I can't explain this phenomenon any better than I can the truth of how focusing on making others happy has the effect of making you happier, but all I know is that this is just how it is. (For my parent's peace of mind, the pain I'm referring to above is not anything to worry about as it is becoming less and less day by day)

For the 1st time, I had the opportunity yesterday to catch a glance of my incision from my operation and I'd say it will leave me with a scar that's big enough to give me some good "man" points and small enough to not scare any kids away. With the doctor advising me to see him a week after my operation last Friday and it being Thursday today, it looks like tonight will be my last night at St. Mary's. With how much time Mary and I have spent cuddling and watching movie after movie this last week, The Bucket List, Dr. Doolittle 2, Ants, Invincible, Law Abiding Citizen, The Truman Show, Kickboxer, Big Trouble in Little China, and Gone in 60 Seconds to name a few, I'd think I'd at least get a friend invite from her on Facebook, but we'll see.

Although Mary and I made some good memories no doubt, one of the more profound memories I'll walk away with here was a conversation I had with a brother that just transfered to this location about 14 days ago from an aboriginal village. In discussing some of the differences he's noticed so far from village to city life outside of the obvious, he said the strong sense of community that you'd find in the village he was in is what he'll miss the most. In talking with him about this more, I'll admit it might take me some time to get used to letting a complete stranger like they would at the village, stay at my place and while they do, to greet them with a smile after I found out they took the liberty of going through my closet and throwing on my favorite pair of Zag sweats, but there's still something about that kind of a community that I find very intriguing. A community where the principle of "what's mine is yours" is the doormat of every hut and where each person is essentially a walking and breathing Good Samaritan.

Maybe it's unrealistic to expect this kind of community blueprint to fit the big city life, just as it is to expect in a city for everyone to give you the "small town" hello as you drive by them, but I can't help but think we are more to blame for some of this than the city itself. I mean, it's not the city's fault we don't know our neighbors' names anymore is it? Or why we don't offer a friendly smile and "hello" to a person you pass by on the sidewalk at night? A sad state of things really and although, stopping by my other 7 neighbors' rooms at my complex and saying "how have things been" once I get back home won't change the city into the village, it's one step closer to the community I'd like to have at my place and so I'm gonna take that step.

By the way, my Zag sweats are still off limits so don't even think about it :)

Monday, April 11, 2011


This morning, has really been no different than the other mornings since I've been staying at the St. Mary's school, which means yet again, my face ended up against my door at about 7:00 a.m. in an attempt to get a hint as to whether or not morning mass was finished so I could step out of my room and avoid the scenario of a premature exit that might make some of the people in prayer mistake a guy with bedhead, Gonzaga mesh shorts and a Chang Beer T-Shirt as some sort of messenger of God. As to why this could even be a scenario for me if you haven't already guessed it is because my room is located in the heart of the chapel.

If it wasn't for what seemed like all the kids from K to 6th grade having recess right outside my window while I was engaged in this activity, I probably would have been able to make both my stomach and the ceiling above my bed happier since the one would have had breakfast earlier and the other could relax a bit and become less self-conscious, as I wouldn't be staring at it as much as I did. While on the topic of recess, how great was this, back in the day at school? Let me rephrase that, how great was recess, as long as you weren't the kid who instead of getting to play on the monkey bars and the swinging tire, got to have other people play out the theory of elasticity with their underwear? As to why recess is more suitable and of greater benefit for kids in elementary school and not for adults in the workplace is not something I can make a strong argument for as I think a 45 year old financial advisor has the same desire for fun and need for a break (lunch doesn't count) from work as a 4th grader does. Sure, maybe the workplace can't provide the jungle gym like the school does for it's students, but I see no reason why like at my last place of employment, you can't have a good ol' fashioned crab walk race every now and then down the hallway. Whether you crab walk at work or you don't isn't as important to me though as it is that you CARE MORE about preserving the kid that's inside you. Time, might change what we look like on the outside, but it should never change who we've always been on the inside.

Once I got out of my room, I had the normal vegetable omelette and a bowl of porridge waiting for my attention at the table and although, I can't say the porridge left me saying like Goldilocks did, "this porridge is just right" since for that to happen there would of had to of been some cinammon, honey, and maybe even some raisens mixed in there, I'd still say it was "just fine" and of course, greatly appreciated.

By the way, day by day, I'm beginning to feel less pain from the surgery and what were once firecrackers in my side earlier when I coughed, have now just become nothing more than a little pinch in the side and even though I can't stand it when people pinch me, especially on St. Patrick's Day, I'll take that feeling in this particular instance.

Go Zags!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Oliver Oliver!

Beginning yesterday afternoon, I accepted an invitation to go stay at a guest room at St. Mary's Orphanage School where I can have a little more solitude for the next 4 or 5 days as I recover from my surgery. How I even received an invitation to this place came out of the relationship I've formed with one of the teachers there by the name of Jim, who also volunteers with our team on the weekends.

Just to put everyone's mind at ease, the St. Mary's orphanage isn't like the "Oliver Twist" kind, where when you ask "please sir...may I have some more" you risk a good flogging; rather, it's quite the opposite experience where the closest thing I could compare it to would be when your a dinner guest at someone's house and the host piles your plate up with seconds and throws out the customary "oh, don't be shy" remark.

As for my recovery status, I'm still doing fine, but I'm anxious for the day to come when a cough or a sneeze on my behalf, won't feel like someone lit a firecracker in my stomach. Until that day comes, I'm just taking it easy, still reading the books I probably shouldn't, and enjoying listening to the birds outside my window that are of the kind that makes you think your an extra on the set of some fairy tale...or maybe that's just the pain pills making me feel that.

Go Zags!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


My appendix has officially been liberated from a life of insignificance and with the exception of some slight pain that normally develops after someone puts a knife in your stomach, I'm doing fine.

Not sure if it's the effect of the pain pills I'm on, the lingering thought of the Hindi nurse violating my backside earlier in the day that made me feel like I was in an X-rated movie, or if it's the experience I had of walking into my room at the Salvation Army only to find out that my locker was broken into and all my electronics (laptop, camera, video recorder) and cash were stolen that is giving me a small case of writer's block; but regardless, I don't have much of an appetite to write at the moment and so I'll just reserve this post to thank everyone for their prayers and support while I was in the hospital and let all of you know I'm doing fine.

Even if Kolkata has given me as much love in the last couple days as a Catholic teacher would have given a student trying to write with their left hand back in the old days, I can still stay without hesitation that life is still good.

Go Zags

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Word of advice, make sure to give the lower right side of your abdomen a friendly pat on the belly every now and then to show your appendix a little appreciation, even if you don’t know what purpose it serves in your body, because if you don’t, the lil’ guy just might retaliate on you like it has on me and you’ll find yourself with an appointment the next morning to get it removed.

With my appendix having 6 yrs of experience listening in on all the grievances I had to deal with in HR in my prior employment, I would have thought it would have known my door was always open and that I would have been happy to discuss any frustrations it might have had with me, or my body, but as the Indians like to say around here, “what to do”—can’t do anything about it now. The Dalai Lama mentioned in one of the books I read, that before someone can have compassion, they must have empathy, and in light of this, I do feel sorry for the appendix as it lives a life of complete insignificance. Here you have the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys, brain, gallbladder, and intestines, even the small one, that can walk away at the end of a work day and say they contributed to life, but the appendix doesn’t have that privilege as it really serves no purpose in the body as reinforced by me getting mine taken out tomorrow and being totally ok by that. Give me a life too, where all I do is exist, without the ability to live my life with a purpose, and I’m probably reacting no differently than my appendix has—get me out of here! If there’s such a thing as organ karma and it’s anything similar to Hindu or Buddhism karma, I can’t imagine what an organ had to of done in its prior lifetime to be reincarnated into the appendix, but it had to have been real bad.

As to how I feel about 9 hours before my operation if it’s of any interest to you, I’m quite at peace with the situation and the pain I’m experiencing right now is similar to what my reaction has been to the spice up here—it could have been spicier, which means the pain could be much worse. In talking with some people here the last couple days, all of whom oddly enough don’t have appendix’s, it doesn’t seem like I have a lot to worry about since the doctors here perform appendectomies just as much as people back home frequent Taco Treat and that’s a volume of operations I’m comfortable with. Since the Dr. told me I’d have to get my appendix taken out here or at home regardless, another positive I can find in this is that it will cost me about $400 to get it done here where back home it would have cost at least triple that price. CARE MORE about the positives in a situation is also a nice Dalai Lama tip if you're looking to achieve happiness in life.

Looks like I’ll be staying overnight at the hospital Thursday, but I’ll give everyone an update of good health on Friday.

Go Zags!

Monday, April 4, 2011


I’m not quite sure who brings in the patients to Kalighat and Prem Dan, but whoever it is, I don’t think I’d like to be them right about now, when considering both of the centers are filled to their capacity and the Sisters are now beginning to turn away people, who a few weeks ago, would have been admitted no problem. With the situation as it is right now at the centers, you just have to hope that the people on the streets dying, can put a pause on dying, or better yet, push the rewind button on dying, so they can buy some time for some beds to open up again at the centers.

As for India life outside of volunteering right now, I’m still trying to adapt to the custom of waiting in lines around here. By using the term “line,” this can be misleading for the reader though, since a line would imply that the “first come first serve” concept is something that’s a part of it, but it’s really the exact opposite here as the India concept of a line is more like “first person to get to the front and step on your shoes while doing it, is the 1st person to get served.” Back home, you might very well tell the person attempting to cut in, “nice try,” but here, after seeing some of the maneuvers that the Indians perform to get to the front of the line, a “nice move” is almost more appropriate. If there’s any positive to the line experiences I’ve had here, it would be that it’s presented me with a great opportunity to improve my patience and that’s never a bad thing.

With my days becoming less at the Salvation Army, my daily chai intake has become much more, and in large part because of Mike, my “second half,” as I think he’s trying to maximize this last month we have with each other and the best way he knows how is over a cup of chai. In one of Mike’s prior sermons, he’s quoted me the scripture of “thou shalt not have any idols before God,” and if a person didn’t know any better, they just might think Mike has violated this commandment--with chai as his idol. In Heaven, if God were to confront Mike on this subject, I can already see Mike saying something like, “IDOL! No way God! You're the King of Kings! By the way, I heard the chai is amazing up here, can you point me in the direction of where the closest shop is?”

Saturday, April 2, 2011


As I write this, it happens to be shortly after India just won the World Cup against Sri Lanka, ending a 28 year drought of winning the cup. You’d think I’d be celebrating and joining hands with the horns, firecrackers, drums, Indian flags, “haaaaaaaaayyyyys”and people that I can hear and see outside my window right now, but I’m not. Maybe the age of 29 is the crossing point where a person becomes “too old for this kind of stuff” and that would explain my lack of enthusiasm to celebrate India’s wins, but I think it has more to do with team India not being my team and cricket not being my sport. I also wouldn’t even feel comfortable trying to match the emotion of the Indian people right now as trying to do that would be like me trying to match the enthusiasm of a person that just found out they won the lottery for $300 million dollars. Sure, I’m happy for them, but I’m not the one that won the lottery. All I know is that if the spirit of celebration seen in the Indian people after the World Cup win is anything close to what I’d feel if Gonzaga won the national championship in basketball, I can only hope this is something I can experience in my lifetime.

With the weather here starting to get hotter and it only taking about an hour outside now to leave the backside of my shirt as wet as a bed sheet of a 2 year old, I’ve started to become quite the frequent customer at the movie cinema since it’s a great venue to escape the heat and get some air conditioning for a couple hours. When I say frequent customer too, let’s just say I went to “The Fighter” on back to back days and that by the way is another 1st for me, and not because I went to the same movie on back to back days, but because I went to a Mark Walberg movie on back to back days. Come to think of it, me going to a Mark Walberg movie on back to back days at the theater just might be a 1st for anyone and that might be something that could get me in the World’s Book of Guineas Records. If you can deal with the F word being said about 30 times in a movie, I’d highly recommend “The Fighter” since the story is quite inspiring and to give Mark Walberg credit, he’s didn’t do a bad job in this one.

On my second trip to “The Fighter” I also took with me Mike, Johnny, and “Tubby” from the senior citizen center and they enjoyed the show as much as any person would that hasn’t gone to the movies in 20 yrs, as was the case for them. In asking them why they didn’t go to the movies more often, the response I got was “because it’s too expensive” and as reminder to all of you, the cost of a movie ticket here equates to $1 U.S. Back home we have kids complaining because they can’t get both a bag of popcorn and a box of candy when they go to the movies, and here, you have some people that will never even have the opportunity to see a movie in a theater. Just makes you think a bit.


Friday, April 1, 2011


With me landing in India early January, me now being 1 year older since my arrival, and it now being the afternoon of April 1st as I write this update, it just reminds me how much “time” flies. Not sure if “time” is on a frequent flyer program like I am, but it would be quite foolish if it wasn’t since it seems to be flying nearly every minute of the day, and without even offering a goodbye or farewell hug no less upon leaving, which isn’t very nice of it when considering how close of friends time and I have become over the years.

Not sure if “time” is the type of passenger that prefers 1st class or coach, window seat or aisle, but whether it's 5A or 25D that “time” takes a seat in for its next flight, I know it doesn’t have to worry about who’s sitting in 5B or 25E right next to it, since that seat is always reserved for its favorite flight companion in “life.” I’ll admit, knowing this makes me a bit jealous about “time,” since “life” is as beautiful of a passenger a person can have sitting next to them, the type that would leave a guy boasting to his buddy after the flight saying, “you’ll never guess who I got to sit next to on my flight.”

With so many places to see and things to do in the world and so little opportunity to do it, I don’t blame “time” and “life” for flying so much because I would too, if I could afford it. All I hope is that with all this flying around that “time” and “life” are doing, that they’ll occasionally look out their window of the plane and enjoy the scenery, unlike other passengers I’ve seen, that tend to be content with just sleeping their way through the entire flight only to find out afterward that they missed the opportunity to see such things as the Himalayas.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


If you were curious as to what the Dalai Lama’s secret to happiness was in the book “The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World,” but you don’t want to read the 330 pages to find out what it is, I’ll be a good friend and share the secret with you, just as long as you either, one, don’t tell anyone, or two and the more likely scenario, when you do tell someone else, just make sure to give them the “you have to promise me you won’t tell anyone” line and we should be fine. And the secret is....(drum roll), live your life with compassion. For those of you thinking the answer would have been more along the lines of what company will be the next Google, I apologize, but as a reminder, we’re talking about happiness here, not early retirement and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather work until I’m 80 and be happy then retired at 40 and miserable.

Speaking about retirement, what’s the rush anyways? Is work really that bad? Or maybe, it’s not that work is that bad, but retirement is just really that good, even though I can’t say I’ve met a lot of retirees doing somersaults through the rest of their life. Some might say it’s the freedom part of retirement that makes it so desirable, but aren’t I just as free now to do what I want as I would be when I’m retired? There was a time, where I too, was bit with the early retirement bug, but where I’m at in life now, I’m beginning to question the value of an ambition like that as I think people should care less about early retirement from work and CARE MORE about early retirement from unhappiness. Maybe living by this philosophy will keep me working until I go to the grave, but as long as I’m happy, I’m ok with that.

I don’t believe I’ve mentioned the fact that the World Cup of Cricket has been going on over here for about the last month, but it’s something I should probably mention since it’s a pretty big deal, especially since India has made what I’d like to call the “Final Four” of cricket, as they join Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand as the remaining combatants. Just like “March Madness” this year, the World Cup of Cricket has seen its fair share of upsets as the defending champs in Australia lost out in the quarterfinals and South Africa lost out as well. Tomorrow, India goes up against Pakistan in a loser out semi-final game, and the animosity these two teams have against each other makes the animosity Gonzaga and the Huskies of Washington have for one another in basketball seem like more of a romance, and not the celebrity kind that always seems to fizzle out, but more like the kind captured in the movie “The Notebook.” The rivalry between Pakistan and India isn't like your typical sports rivalry back home either, where all it takes for me in college basketball to dislike the other team is a coach that greases his hair back and a few players that are "one and dones" who wear headbands. Who could that team be? With Pakistan and India though, the rivalry is much more legit as these two countries have had a history of conflict with each other dating back since 1947. Just to put things into perspective, people have died over the tension between India and Pakistan in past years. Of course, I'll be rooting for India in tomorrow's match, but regardless of what team wins, I'm just glad I can say Gonzaga vs. the Huskies isn't like the rivalry of India vs. Pakistan in cricket, because if it was, I probably would have already died from an aneurysm by now since just seeing the color of Husky purple has been enough to almost do that to me in the past.

Go India!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


In the last 2 days, Kalighat has taken in two new patients in need of immediate medical care as one was involved in an accident that took most of his right hand off and the other patient had serious head trauma that occurred from falling off a roof. Since I hadn’t been “up close and personal” with a patient who suffered from what I’d consider to be a “horror film” kind of injury for awhile, I was curious if my response would be the same as the last time, that response being almost passing out, or if I’d developed a little bit more of a toughness since my last case. If my reaction while holding down the legs of the head trauma patient while the Sisters stitched his face back together was similar to how I responded to the patient with the hand injury, I would have been able to say I gained more of a toughness in dealing with these situations, but since it left me almost about to throw up, it reminded me that I still had a ways to go before this stuff was “business as usual.”

Maybe it’s for my own peace of mind, but I’ve also tried to use my experience with the head trauma patient as a reminder to myself that I still have a heart for the Kolkata people since the experience I had today where a homeless person yelled at me for not buying him and his daughter any food, made me think twice about this.

Every person in their own community is confronted with what I’d consider to be the “beggar's dilemma” help or not to help, and here in Kolkata, this dilemma seems to be on a much greater scale and it carries about 1,000 more tons of weight on your conscience. Does this child clinging to my shirt for a block have no mom or dad like she claims or is she just like the boy I encountered last week who initially approached me with a limp and tears in his eye only to leave shortly thereafter with a skip and a smile once he realized I wouldn’t give him anything. Did the guy asking me for money really need it for a train ticket to get back home like he said he did, or was he, like some of the beggars here, just looking for money to get the next fix. Should I stop and bandage the wound on this guy’s leg or will he, like others do, just take the dressing off once I leave, since the wound was self-inflicted and intended to tug at the pedestrian’s heart a little bit more as they walk by him. If I buy the lady holding her baby some food, will she in fact eat it, or like others, just sell the food back to the store once I walk around the corner. Should I help all, one, some, or none? Whose need is legit and whose need isn’t? Sadly, I’ve been quick to use the Sister’s advice of not helping the beggars as my conscience’s scapegoat, but when considering that I’m writing about this topic in my blog and questioning what side of the line I should be on with respect to the “beggar’s dilemma,” that should be enough to tell you how poor of a scapegoat the Sister’s advice has been for me.

On a more uplifting note, the Zag Ladies have advanced to the Elite 8 this year in basketball and are the highest seed in tournament history to advance this far. Not only would a Final Four birth for the Lady Zags be a great achievement for the ladies themselves and the university, but I think an achievement like that can only benefit the mens team as well, since it will motivate them to step their game up and get their own Final Four banner raised next to the ladies.

Go Lady Zags!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Over the last couple days, I’ve had a couple more experiences that have only strengthened the belief “His Holiness” the Dalai Lama makes in the book, “The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World,” and that belief was that we, as people, are all one and the same. In thinking about my experiences, maybe they actually just support how similar a few people all the way over in India are to me, but even if that’s the case, I still think these experiences support the Dalai Lama’s philosophy.

As for the experiences, my first was when I gave Mike, our “homeless philanthropist,” a new shirt to wear after we gave him a bath, haircut, and shave at one of the dispensaries the Sister’s operate. How this experience turned into a Mike and I are “one and the same” moment, was when I noticed Mike taking the V-neck in his new shirt and making his best attempt at squeezing it together to make it a less revealing letter in the alphabet, perhaps an “l”. Just like Mike, I too, can’t say I’ve ever been a big fan of “V-neck” shirts as they also leave me feeling a little naked up top. Not that I have anything against the “V-neck” or anyone that wears them, but it’s just not for me.

My second “we are all one and the same” experience occurred as I watched an Indian clerk trying to secretly place a piece of tape on the back of another coworker of his and the only way I could have had more satisfaction in watching this play out was if I was the Indian clerk himself. Unfortunately, I can’t say the Indian clerk was successful in his operation and if I could have spoke Hindi or Bengali, I would have told him for future attempts that he should try and go with the “good to see ya” tactic where you say exactly those words to your victim while simultaneously giving them a friendly slap on the back. It works every time. Not sure why sneaking a piece of tape on someone’s back without them knowing about it is so much fun, but I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good adrenaline rush who doesn't want to have to jump out of an airplane to get it.

We can make someone as different to us as we want or as similar and where that person falls in relation to us as the Dalai Lama says, "just all depends on what we want to focus on." Since differences divide the world and similarities brings everyone together, I figure I'm gonna do my best to CARE MORE about the similarities from here on out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Dear Howard,

I hope all is well back home and that the pizza business is as good for you as it was when I left Great Falls back in January and always has been. Even though I’ve been able to find a few tasty Indian dishes while I’ve been up here in Kolkata, I can honestly say I haven’t found anything that comes close to a Howard’s pizza and as soon as I get back home in May, I can assure you that the Wine Mill will be one of the first places I stop in and say hello. If I’m lucky, and I mean real lucky, maybe I’ll have the opportunity to meet ya then.

Despite the fact that I’ve been a loyal patron of yours ever since I was old enough to eat the “Howard’s Special” and I’m now nearing 29 years young, I don’t expect you to know who I am, since an expectation like that would be no different than me thinking Steven Gray would know who I was simply because he's been one of my favorite Zag basketball players and I’ve watched nearly all the games he’s played in since he’s been a student at Gonzaga University (my alma mater).

As to why I’ve written this letter to you all the way from India comes down to two reasons really and the first I’ve already accomplished; that being, letting you know how much I respect the Howard behind the pizza and how much I love the pizza behind the Howard. Maybe you hear this kind of flattery quite often, but if you’re like a lot of great people in the world, it would mean you don’t, and so just in case you fall in this category of the underappreciated, I wanted to make sure you knew how much everyone loves you.

My second reason as to why I’m writing this letter to you is because I was hoping you might take into consideration the possibility of me working for you when I got back early May from my volunteering stint with the Missionaries of Charity in India. Why I’ve chosen to write a letter to you, instead of another employer that many might think would be more suitable for my education and prior work experience, is quite simple really. I’ve always wanted to work for you at some point in my lifetime, you’re a “CARE MORE” kind of guy, and your business hours are a perfect fit for me as they would allow me to spend my days concentrating on starting my own organization by the name of “The CARE MORE foundation," which would be a nonprofit foundation devoted to “making the world a BETTERPLACE with one random act of kindness at a time.”

Although I’d be tickled to have the opportunity to work any position you might have available for me once I got back, I will admit that if I had the opportunity to be a delivery guy for you, especially at your Wine Mill location, that would leave me so tickled, I’d most certainly have to cry out “give me a break, give me a break." Why the delivery position? Maybe it’s selfish for me to say this, but I want to be the person that gets to see the customer’s eyes light up once they see your truck and face pull up in the driveway. Plus, with your permission only, I might be able to use this position to perform an occasional CARE MORE random act of kindness as well, but we could discuss that topic at a later date if you were ever interested.

Whether I come back from India with a Howard’s shirt waiting for me or not, don’t think for a minute that not getting the opportunity to work for you, will keep me from being one of your biggest fans and from stopping in for a pitcher of beer, order of wings, and an “in house” medium pepp.

If there is any additional info I could provide you with that would help you get a better idea of whether or not I’m the right man for any position you might have available, let me know and I’d be happy to assist.

I sincerely hope to hear from you after you have the time to read this letter, but if I don’t, I wish you the best, keep doing what you’re doing and Go Zags!

Tyson Hendrickson

Postmarked: 03/22/2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011


In alcoholic’s anonymous classes, they say the first step to recovery is to acknowledge the truth of things and admit your addiction.   Although I’m thankfully not an alcoholic, I do think I can benefit by applying this rule of recovery to the Zag’s game against BYU last night and accept the fact that they lost.    When I said in an earlier post that Fredette from BYU was going to bring fireworks to the game that would make the Chinese jealous, I was mistaken.  What I should have said was that his fireworks would have made God jealous, or in this particular instance, maybe it would be more appropriate for me to say Joseph Smith.   Humble in defeat, I must tip my hat to BYU though and give them the credit they deserve and with another early exit for the Zags, I’ll just go with my default “just wait until you see us next year” line.   Seriously though, watch out for the Zags in 2012.

With my step of recovery now out of the way, I can now continue with where I left off in my last blog, which was Chiang Mai.   Since we got to Chiang Mai pretty late on our first night, Doan and I didn’t do too much, unless you consider us having a couple cocktails, me eating about 4 trays of complimentary popcorn, and a Thai prostitute inviting herself to our table to try her best sales pitch as “too much.”   Although this particular prostitute didn’t get the interest she desired from our table, there was a gentleman to the left of us that was happy to negotiate.    An exchange like that just mentioned wasn’t really our first since being in Thailand and it wouldn’t be the last and it touches on an aspect of Thailand that I personally found to be quite sad for both parties involved.   Sad for the girls, because obviously, they are capable of so much more in life and they deserve a whole lot more out of life.  Sad for the buyers, because I think in many cases, these people are very lonely inside and they’re missing that companion in life that can make life so much more beautiful.  
Day two on our Chiang Mai adventure, found us in a tour van at about 8:30 in the morning headed in the direction of a National Park, where the final destination of the trip would leave us at the highest elevation point in Thailand.    The park itself was everything a national park should be as we got to drive around in the mountains and visit a couple waterfalls, a Burmese village, a local Thai market, and some temples.   Once we got to the highest point in Thailand, the weather decided to steal the view from us and keep it all to itself, but at the very least, I can say I stood on the highest point in Thailand.   After getting back from the tour, Doan and I asked the front desk at our hotel where we could find a good place to eat with some live Thai music.  I can’t recall the name of the place we ended up going to, but if you’re ever up here, just ask where the place is that you’ll be the only foreigners out of about 500 people and where everyone makes the area right next to their table their own personal dance floor and I bet you’ll get pointed in the right direction.   Outside of a small confrontation where a Thai guy grabbed a fork off his table to help him “reason” with his enemy, the night was a lot of fun and we had the pleasure of meeting a couple Thai guys that loved seeing us there just as much as we loved seeing them.   When considering that our Thai was limited to “Hello,” “thank you,” and “beautiful,” we could only talk so long to these new friends of ours before we had to resort to the language of buying them drinks and giving them a “cheers” every now and then, and they seemed to like that language just fine. 
Below, you’ll find some pics from Krabi that I've been slow in getting posted.  

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Not sure what is worth mentioning first in my post today, the fact that after about a month of searching, I finally found myself a pair of sunglasses similar to what all the elderly Indian people wear around Kolkata, or if I should first touch on the experiences I had with the Holi festival today, which is the Indian festival of colors.  Since the sunglasses discovery is something I’m pretty sure I take much more interest in than anyone else would and my appreciation for them would be as difficult to explain to all of you as it would be my interest to work at Howard’s Pizza at some point in my lifetime, I’ll start with the Holi festival.  

The Holi festival is an annual Hindu celebration that is somewhat of a welcoming party for the Spring season  where Indians cover themselves from head to toe in colored dye.   Since the Sisters from the Missionaries of Charity and many other people in the last day advised us to stay off the streets during this festival and I also found out the dye that gets thrown on you may not wash off your skin for up to 2 weeks, I decided to hide out as much as possible at the Salvation Army and not participate.    Party pooper...I know. With respect to not getting dye all over me, I was successful, but my hiding out didn’t prevent me from finding myself in a circle of 11 dyed out Indians singing Indian folk songs in Hindi and banging on metal plates as drums.   Everything was fine with this experience for awhile and I even showed my support with a couple foot taps on the floor and finger clinks against my glass, but when it came to the Indians asking me to sing them a song, that is when the experience for me became as awkward as when you go into shake someone’s hand and you realize the other person is going in for a fist bump.  Needless to say, the Indians didn’t get a song out of me, but being the hospitable hosts that they were, it wasn’t a big deal and it didn’t take long for all of them to distract themselves with another folk song.  

In continuation of my Thailand trip, our next stop after Krabi was Chiang Mai, which is a city in the northernmost part of the country.   Chiang Mai, is an area in complete contrast to the other tropical/beach towns we visited so far on the trip and it was a nice change in scenery.   Of all the places we visited on our trip to Thailand, I can say without hesitation that Chiang Mai was my favorite destination.   Although Chiang Mai didn’t have the tropical landscape of the areas we ventured out to earlier, it did have more of a “Montana” feel to it as it had mountains in its backyard, the Phing River on its doorstep, and a simpleness of life as its decor.  If you ever go to Thailand, I highly recommend Chiang Mai.  Since we had a couple noteworthy experiences in Chiang Mai, I'll save those for my next post.  



Friday, March 18, 2011


Once we arrived in Krabi by ferry, an area located on the mainland of Thailand on the southeast side, we were told that the best place to stay was Railay island, which was about a 30 minute ride by long boat.   Railay island, is not only known for being home to what many would say are the best beaches in Thailand like I mentioned before, but it is also known to be one of the best places in the world to rock climb.   I could see why it may have gained this reputation once we got there as we were surrounded around rock formations where the only thing I’ve seen as high in the air is perhaps the ball on a 3 point shot by David Stockton on the Zags.   I’m sure the many Rastafarians that inhabit the island here would make the argument that they are just as high as the cliffs here too, if not higher, and after hearing this one Rastafarian’s laugh at a bar where we watched live Thai boxing, I’m in no position to dispute this claim.   The best way I can describe this guy’s laugh would be to imagine what it would sound like to hear someone empty an entire clip of ammo from an AK-47, but replace each bullet with a high pitched, “hee, hee, hee.”  At whatever pitch you envision this "hee, hee, hee" to be at, raise it by about 5 levels and you’ve got it.  Not sure what was funnier about this particular Rastafarian, his laugh, or his enthusiastic “come on baby!” and “oh my buddha!” remarks that seemed to come after every shot landed in the Thai fight.    Just to add to the Rastafarian experience we had in Krabi, we ran into another guy whose hair would have made Kid, from the group of “Kid n Play” look like he was a skinhead.  If you don’t know who “Kid” is that I am referring to, I suggest you google it.  Below, you'll find a couple pics I took in Krabi and I intended to post more, but the battery of my camera went dead so I'll post more in the coming days. 

On our next day on the island, Doan and I decided to rent a sea kayak and go out looking for a little adventure around Railay and when it was all said and done about 5 hrs later, I’d say we were quite successful in accomplishing this objective, as well as getting some nice sunburns on our backs and Doan’s hand becoming dysfunctional for a couple days because of all the rowing we did.    At dinner, I’m not sure what was more painful to watch, Doan trying to use his chopsticks with his bum hand or me trying to just use chopsticks in general.   While on the subject of food, I might as well touch on what my thoughts are of Thai food.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Thai food a 20 and when taking into consideration that many tourists bypass the opportunity to scuba dive, explore sea caverns, or go on an elephant safari ride in the jungle for a Thai cooking class instead, I think that speaks for itself.   If the world could blend its diversity of people and beliefs like the Thai have been able to blend the diversity of all the ingredients that make up their dishes, I think that might be the day where we have world peace.  

In closing, don’t sleep on the Zags as a #11 seed in the tournament or you might end up like St. John’s did today.  I must say, it’s nice to be in the double digit ranks again, but just being the underdog won’t be enough to win the next game against #3 BYU and the leading scorer in the nation in Jimmer Fredette.   This game should offer plenty of fireworks and as Fredette will more than likely be lighting off the kind of fireworks that would even make the Chinese jealous, I can only hope he leaves for the Zags a few bottlerockets and blackjacks.   Go get em Zags!


Thursday, March 17, 2011


Upon me just recently finishing a cup of chai before starting this post, that should be enough to tell you that I’m no longer in Thailand anymore and that I’m back in Kolkata.  In getting off the airplane this afternoon, I was a bit concerned as to what kind of emotions I’d feel after going from a land of paradise in Thailand back to a land known as the “poorest of the poor” in Kolkata, but surprisingly, it felt like I never left.  I’m sure Kolkata was hoping that I’d be able to smuggle back from Thailand a few beaches, palm trees, and turquoise water so it too, could reap all the economic benefits that a land of paradise can offer a country, but unfortunately for Kolkata, I came back empty handed.  I guess that’s what I get for only bringing on the trip one carry-on.   

After the Thailand experience, a question I've considered in the past about Kolkata has resurfaced itself today and that was the question of whether or not Kolkata is a victim of circumstance, similar to a child being born into a broken home where there situation gives them a handicap of “Himalayan” proportions to succeed, or if they are just a victim of not CARING MORE.  Just to give Kolkata the benefit of the doubt, I’m going to treat them as if they were the kid born into the broken home, but when you see them throw trash on the ground for lack of anywhere else to put it, watch them relieve themselves in the streets with indifference and hear of stories where a severe burn victim is admitted to a hospital only to die the next day after just being thrown in a corner on the ground and left unattended to, it makes you wonder a bit.    

As for more details of my Thailand trip, I believe I left off last time right before we headed out to the Phi Phi islands.  I mentioned in my last blog that this was an area that was devastated by the tsunami that hit the area back in 2005 and upon our arrival there, I don’t think you would have been able to find a grain of sand on the beach that would have testified to such devastation (refer to pictures below).  The fact that it wasn’t uncommon to hear people say they came down to Phi Phi with the intentions to only stay a week or so, but now found themselves here for a year, should be enough to tell you that this place is pretty special.  Phi Phi is also known as one of the top places in the world for scuba diving and upon finding this out, Doan and I decided to take what they call a “Discovery” diving class on the 2nd day we were there.  The class consisted of 2 dives, the first of which was more of a tutorial of sorts that allowed us to get comfortable in the scuba gear and it also gave us an opportunity to learn all the other techniques in the water so we could avoid having our names in the obituary the next day.  Despite the fact that I had a moment in the water where I couldn’t remember if I was to exhale out of my nose or inhale to get water out of my mask, and a person could have completed their entire Master Diver course with all the time it took me to figure this technique out, I thought I did pretty good.  After our first dive and being able to explore a bit, the only thing our training didn’t touch on was the shark that swam right by us, but since I didn’t end up as lunch, I was ok with the experience.  As for the second dive, I can’t say I got to see Arial from the “Little Mermaid” and that was kind of disappointing, but we did get to see a bunch of sea turtles swimming around and a lot of other kinds of fish and that was cool.  

After the couple days we spent in Phi Phi, we were encouraged by some travelers to check out Krabi, which is an area that has a reputation for having the most beautiful beaches in Thailand.  Since we were only a two hour ferry ride away from there, it only made sense for us to check it out for a couple days and I’ll touch on this place on my next post. 

Let the Madness Begin and Go Zags!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Looks like I might have a little extra time on my hands to do some blog updating as today I found out that the processing of my reentry permit back to India has been delayed for an indefinite amount of time.   Although I'd prefer knowing with absolute certainty the day I'll be able to leave, I suppose if your gonna get stuck anywhere "indefinitely" that the "land of smiles" in Thailand isn't a bad place for that.   I can't say the predicament I find myself in right now comes by surprise though as I was fully aware of India's reentry law prior to my departure; a  law passed last year in an attempt to strengthen their national security in response to what I believe was a terror plot in the country.  Basically, the law makes it to where any tourist will need to get special permission from the Indian embassy if they want to reenter India on a date that is earlier than 60 days of when they left the country.   I could be upset with the embassy official I spoke with about the reentry process since he told me it was a simple formality that would only take a day for processing and here I am one day after applying with no permit in hand , but in fairness to him, I'm the one that waited until the last minute to do this and so I can really only blame myself.   No better time to adopt the Thai's popular phrase of "mai pen rai," which in English means "don't worry about it" and this is quite easy to do right now when taking into consideration the recent events in Japan as I watch them unfolding on tv.

Last blog, I believe I last wrote about my first day spent in Phuket and so today, I'll continue from there.  Our 2nd and last day in Phuket was spent going on a boat tour that consisted of  us going to James Bond island, sea canoeing in some caves in the sea, visiting a fishing village in the middle of the Andaman Sea, and playing around on a beach.  If I would have written about this tour on the day it occurred or closer to when the events unfolded, I would be able to provide a much better picture for everyone, but since I didn't, suffice it to say with respect to the tour, that I ended up checking the "very good" box in every category on the survey and leaving a big "THANK YOU" in the additional comments section.    On our last night in Phuket, Doan and I hit the town again, but when it was all said and done and the morning came around, it felt like the town did more of the hitting on us then we did on it.   Nothing against Phuket, but after going to some of the other places we did in Thailand, I'd rank it as my least favorite, but with us only spending two days there, saying that is just as unfair as it would be for me to say I didn't like someone just because they're a Duke fan.  Perhaps Phuket and I will have to have another "sit down" in the future to where we can better acquaint ourselves, but with so many other places in the world to see, I'm not sure if we'll get that opportunity. 

In the morning, Doan and I hopped on a ferry to go to the Phi Phi Islands, which is an area that felt the worst of the 2005 tsunami, but is known to be one of the most beautiful areas of the world.  In my next writing, I will try and cover the 2 days we spent there.

Until next time and don't underestimate an #11 seed in the tournament this year. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sawat ti kob (HELLO) from Thailand!

After about 10 days in Thailand, I can't say I'm happy with only being able to say "thank you" and "hello" in Thai, but that's about the only thing Thailand has made me unhappy about. On second thought, I've learned a couple other Thai words that have proven to be very beneficial to me as I've come to find out that any time you throw out a "Chang" or a "Singha," you'll end up with a nice local brew in front of your face.

As I write this, I'm actually back in Bangkok for the last couple days of the trip and I'm a tiny bit scared to find out what kind of greeting I'll get from this place as it has a reputation for being similar to a "Vegas" back home, but with steroids, and not just the regular kind of steroids either, but the kind that many MLB players back in 2000 would have salivated over. I'm sure I'll have more to write on the subject once I get back to India, but for now, I thought I'd do my best to update all of you on the experiences I had in Phuket, which was the first destination on my trip. Phuket (Pooket) provided me with my first taste of the tropics as well as the first opportunity to do what attracts many people to tropical places in the first place and that is-- do absolutely nothing. Assuming you don't count as activities spending money or devoting a decent amount of time speculating as to how so many of the guys on the beach could be comfortable in their spandex swim wear, I'd say I was pretty successful in doing nothing for the first few hours of my stay in Phuket.

Once nightfall hit, Doan and I decided to hit the town and see what kind of night life Phuket had to offer and outside of losing about 6 consecutive games of "connect 4" to a Thai cocktail waitress, I can't say the night disappointed. I suppose I could have done without getting solicited every few seconds by guys wanting us to take in a "ping pong" show too, but I'll leave that topic for your own curiosity to seek out if it's of any interest to you. Just make sure to destroy your computer after educating yourself on the subject, since failure to do so, could leave you getting a knock on your door and it won't be from that local girl scout that you love to get the chocolate mint cookies from. Speaking of mint chocolate cookies from the girl scouts, how good are those things after being in the freezer for a couple hrs? I can really say this about a lot of candy though. Maybe it's just me, but put a Kit Kat in the freezer and eat it and you'll replace the words of the Kit Kat jingle from "break me off a piece" to "give me the whole thing."

Well...gotta get my 1st official full day of Bangkok in so goodbye for now. I'll try and give you another update as for my trip within the next day or so.  I'm kind of playing catch up so bear with me.

Go Zags!

Friday, March 4, 2011


You'll be happy to know that I've made it to Bangkok safe and sound this afternoon. Even though in writing this, my experiences thus far have been limited to the shuttle ride to the hotel, check in, dinner, and a walk to a nearby 7/11, I'm already in love with the place and I don't think me finding the "rainbow" flavor of the candy "mentos" here, where every piece tastes as good as the purple ones back home, has anything to do with this immediate affection either.  Who knows, maybe it's the "Thai" and "Ty" connection the country and I share that seems to make the two of us so compatible with each other.   

Sure...just getting somewhere that provides me with a breath of fresh air from Kolkata is nice, figuratively and literally, but I can just feel, that why Thailand is so special already is much deeper than it just being a place of escape for me.   Thailand, like I've found is the case with all of my friends, is a place that has your heart right after "hello" and I can't wait to get more acquainted with it.

Until next time my friends and Go Zags! 



Thursday, March 3, 2011


I’m off to Thailand tomorrow morning and with the goal of trying to make this trip a true vacation, one where my mind is free of all obligations, I’d plan on seeing my blogging take a significant drop in the next 12 days or so.  For some of you, this temporary leave of my thoughts on paper could spark the kind of excitement for you that a teenager gets when their parents leave town for the weekend and if that’s the case, enjoy these days to the fullest and just make sure to get the keg out of the bathtub and the “wounded soldiers” out of the lawn before I get home.  

With respect to what my itinerary in Thailand will look like, it deliberately has many holes in it still with the exception of John Doan and I flying to Phuket early Saturday morning and that is an area located in the southeast part of Thailand right on the Andaman Sea.  The forecast as of now for when we get down there is to have a temperature of around 92 F with like a 40% chance for “scattered thunderstorms;” a forecast that leaves me with as much certainty of what the weather will be like as I am in knowing if Gonzaga will win their 1st game in the big Dance (assuming they even get in).  Can anyone else feel the Madness nearing?  Come on Zags!  

As for volunteering of late, I have no incidents of note that are worthy of mentioning other then the fact that the team has decided to give everyone Spanish names and that mine is “Carlos the Conquistador.”  I must say, the name has a good ring to it, but the “conqueror” part of it fits my personality as much as a big dragon tattoo on my back would.  Maybe I’ll see if I can’t ask the team if I can change my name to something a little more peaceful like “Carlos the Pacifisto.”  I’m open for suggestions if you have any.  

One last random observation that I’ve made in walking the streets of India so far is that I’m really glad to say I’m a male tourist over here as opposed to a female as the stares the girls get by Indian men are so creepy that it makes me creeped out and I’m not even the one getting stared at.  If the stares that I get and continue to get from the Indians have made me feel like I’m a white tiger walking the streets, I would only think the stares the girls get from guys would make them feel like they were a “blue footed buby.”      

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


With the help of someone in the Gonzaga basketball “secret society,” I now have the ability to watch Gonzaga Basketball games online and this couldn’t come at a better time as the WCC tournament in Vegas begins this upcoming weekend.  Today, I figured it would be a good idea to “test drive” the site where I can watch these games and so after my volunteering, I went to the Spanish Cafe and watched the most recent Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s matchup from last week.  With this being the first time I’ve been able to watch the boys in action since early January, I have to say I experienced emotion similar to how a person might feel when after thinking their family dog ran away, it reappeared on their doorstep two months later.  Even with these kind of emotions and the game going into overtime, you’ll be happy to know I kept my viewing behavior within a PG, “Ernest Goes to Camp” kind of level.  Knowing the Zags won beforehand had nothing to do with this either. 

Just to quickly give everyone an update on my volunteering, I am still serving in the same area as I have been.  As to why my blog of late hasn’t touched on this part of my day in too much detail has more to do with things settling down than it does with me trying to keep things confidential.  This decline in activity with respect to my area of volunteering is bitter sweet really.  Sweet, because no activity in a way is good a thing, but bitter because our team has a suspicion that someone might have taken all the starfish and just put them on another beach.  Dying starfish isn't good for the beach front property after all.  If in fact our suspicion is true on this, I can only hope that the new beach where all the starfish went has a little boy on it too.  
After watching the Gonzaga game, I headed back to the Salvation Army where I played a couple more rounds of badminton as it was a beautiful day to hit the shuttlecock around.  I didn’t just say a swear word there did I?  When it was all said and done, I wish I could say I walked away happy with the doubles 21 to 14 win we had against my “archrival,” but the matches instead, served as a reminder to me that competition and I don't have the relationship I'd like us to have.  Sure, we've  come a long way from when we first met and I'm happy to say I don't let a bogie in miniature golf ruin a night of fun as I used to when I was younger, but we still have a long ways to go.  It’s really not competition’s fault as to why our relationship has been on the rocks for so many years though and if we ever had to cut ties, I think for once the line of “it’s not you, it’s me” would be spot on, assuming I was the one saying it.  The reason why competition can’t take the blame is because it is everything you’d want out of someone as it accepts you for everything you are and everything you aren’t and if you perform for the better or worse, it will still love you the same.  Competition and I, really are complete opposites the two of us.  On the one hand you have competition that always puts the game first and then there’s me who tends to put it second to my performance.  Where you have competition expecting me to just play to the best of my ability, you have me expecting to play beyond it.  If I make a bad shot, competition attributes it to me just being human, but I treat it as if I'm almost less of a person.  Why I can treat anyone else like competition treats me, but I can’t offer the same love to myself at times is the big mystery.  I hope I can figure it out though because it would be a shame if competition and I couldn’t work it out and I say this not because I don't want to lose 50% of my assets upon our separation, but because I just think we could have made a great couple.