Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I finally got a Real Blog

haha, I made the switch to Wordpress. Please update your links to:


And Please blogroll me if you haven't!

Monday, April 07, 2008

New Tattoo!

I got this done from Colin over at Faith Tattoo. Go see him if you want some work done!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Bad Day

So last night I went to the Emergency Room on 18th and Gilpin. Weird. I have never had a medical emergency in my life where I didn’t just wait for a doctor’s appointment (ok, ok, except for when I lost my finger).

I have had a stomachache all week, which I have been able to deal with just fine. Well last night around 7:30pm, I start getting these cramps below my stomach in my intestine area. They were horrible. I can honestly say I have never felt anything like that before. It was like someone had a knife in my abdomen and was twisting it around. Being the stubborn male that I am, I thought, “Ok, it will pass, just ride it out”. I laid on my couch another 15 minutes then ran to the bathroom and had a bowel movement, and realized it was full of blood (sorry for being graphic). That was my queue to head right on over to the hospital.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but I am fine. After numerous tests it turns out my intestines were just inflamed and causing the sharp pains. The blood was actually a result of taking too much peptol bismal and wasn’t actually blood. All is well, and I already feel much better today. I have some medicine and have to adhere to a specific “bland” diet for the next couple of days.

All is well.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hello, Dear Wind.

I went of to the Traylor’s house for dinner last night. Jon and Crystal are back in town for a few months to secure Jon’s visa status here in America. I am excited about this because they really are nice genuine people with a great outlook on life. Rock and roll!

Ps - I started a poem last night that I really like so far.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Blistered Avalon

Okay, I am going to apologize in advance for this post, it’s going to be all over the place and random.

First off, I read this article and thought it was crazy:

Scientists are developing a male birth control pill

This weekend, I went climbing again and a guy gave our group some pointers. I thought that was very nice of him. He was especially encouraging to me since I am a big guy. He told me that climbing is almost all technique. He said that there are pro-climbers who can barely do a pull-up.

Cityprayer on Saturday morning went really well. Our little youth band is extremely tight and we get the job done. I am excited to see where that goes. Mark did a great job leading on Sunday and Saturday.

I went to the BoulderChurch bible study on Saturday night. We talked about guilt brought from Religion and burdens associated with it. I really enjoy that bible study; it’s a little challenging because there isn’t a lot of common ground. So we didn’t really even get past how we definite guilt and whether or not it’s a good thing/natural.

Lastly, I am officially deeming this week my “Cleansing Week”. I am going to get my diet back on track, not watch any television and work on quitting some other unhealthy habits. I feel inhibited physically and spiritually, and I am ready to get back on path. Pray for me if you are into that. I feel very confused about my direction and identity lately. I really think it’s a good thing, and I am excited to push through this awkward time.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Last night was my first experience at Casabonita. I have lived in Denver for 6 years now, and never had the pleasure of partaking in this fine establishment. If you have never been, let me list some of the things you are missing out on:

-Cave Divers in Corona shorts
-Cheese enchiladas that are $12, but taste like the AIDS virus
-Instant diarrhea
-Exploring the caverns
-Some random girl trying to sell me an energy drink from her car as we left
-Awesome trinkets in the gift shop
-Being corrected by the Police officer for “exploring” a little too much…hah
-Getting the feeling that every single employee there sleeps with every other employee on top of the food you are eating, and then makes fun of you as you ingest.
-Flattened pennies

I hope after reading that, you are jealous and want to uncover the many mysteries of Casabonita!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'll Meet You in the Ground

I hopped in bed at about 9 last night and continued reading On the Road for about an hour and a half. That book is so incredibly easy to read. It’s like the pages turn themselves as you are reading about Sal’s journeys.

After reading, I thought of a cool idea. I am going to start a poem in my new my moleskin where I only write one line a day. I’m sure by the end of the poem it’s not going to make a whole lot of sense, but I feel like I have one sentence that describes my thoughts every day. We’ll see how it turns out.

I notice that when I force myself to write and process my thoughts, everything seems much clearer. Obviously, blogging is a great outlet, but I think it’s also important to have a personal journal where you can write whatever you want with no censorship.

Anyway, thanks to Mark and Judi for the nice pen and moleskin, and to Bone for the sweet lighter so I can smoke my pipe as I write ;)

Monday, March 24, 2008

There is hope for me yet!!!

Thanks Mel for the article:

(CBS) Imagine re-growing a severed fingertip, or creating an organ in the lab that can be transplanted into a patient without risk of rejection. It sounds like science fiction, but it's not. It's the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine, in which scientists are learning to harness the body's own power to regenerate itself, with astonishing results. Correspondent Wyatt Andrews brings you to the scientific frontier.

Three years ago, Lee Spievack sliced off the tip of his finger in the propeller of a hobby shop airplane.

What happened next, Andrews reports, propelled him into the future of medicine. Spievack's brother, Alan, a medical research scientist, sent him a special powder and told him to sprinkle it on the wound.

"I powdered it on until it was covered," Spievack recalled.

To his astonishment, every bit of his fingertip grew back.

"Your finger grew back," Andrews asked Spievack, "flesh, blood, vessels and nail?"

"Four weeks," he answered.

Andrews spoke to Dr. Steven Badylak of the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine and asked if that powder was the reason behind Spievack's new finger tip.

"Yes, it is," Badylak explained. "We took this and turned it into a powdered form."

That powder is a substance made from pig bladders called extracellular matrix. It is a mix of protein and connective tissue surgeons often use to repair tendons and it holds some of the secrets behind the emerging new science of regenerative medicine.

"It tells the body, start that process of tissue regrowth," said Badylak.

Badlayk is one of the many scientists who now believe every tissue in the body has cells which are capable of regeneration. All scientists have to do is find enough of those cells and "direct" them to grow.

"Somehow the matrix summons the cells and tell them what to do," Badylak explained. "It helps instruct them in terms of where they need to go, how they need to differentiate - should I become a blood vessel, a nerve, a muscle cell or whatever."

If this helped Spievack's finger regrow, Badylak says, at least in theory, you should be able to grow a whole limb.

Advances That Go Beyond Theory

In his lab at Wake Forest University, a lab he calls a medical factory, Dr. Anthony Atala is growing body parts.

Atala and his team have built, from the cell level up, 18 different types of tissue so far, including muscle tissue, whole organs and the pulsing heart valve of a sheep.

"And is it growing?" Andrews asked.

"Absolutely," Atala said, showing him, "All this white material is new tissue."

"When people ask me 'what do you do,' we grow tissues and organs," he said. "We are making body parts that we can implant right back into patients."

It's very much the future, but it's today. We are doing this today.

Dr. Patrick ShenotDr. Atala, one of the pioneers of regeneration, believes every type of tissue already has cells ready to regenerate if only researchers can prod them into action. Sometimes that prodding can look like science fiction.

Emerging from an everyday ink jet printer is the heart of a mouse. Mouse heart cells go into the ink cartridge and are then sprayed down in a heart shaped pattern layer by layer.

Dr. Atala believes it's a matter of time before someone grows a human heart.

"The cells have all the genetic information necessary to make new tissue," Atala explained. "That's what they are programmed to do. So your heart cells are programmed to make more heart tissue, your bladder cells are programmed to make more bladder cells."

Atala's work with human bladder cells has pushed regenerative medicine to a transformational breakthrough.

In this clinical trial at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, Dr. Patrick Shenot is performing a bladder transplant with an organ built with this patient's own cells. In a process developed by Dr. Atala, the patient's cells were grown in a lab, and then seeded on a biodegradable bladder-shaped scaffold.

Eight weeks later, with the scaffold now infused with millions of regrown cells, it is transplanted into the patient. When the scaffold dissolves, Dr. Shenot says what's left will be a new, functioning organ.

"The cells will differentiate into the two major cells in the bladder wall, the muscle cells and the lining cells," he explained. "It's very much the future, but it's today. We are doing this today."

Repairing The Wounded

Today, one of the biggest believers in regeneration is the United States military, which is especially interested in the matrix that regrew Lee Spievack's finger.

The Army, working in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh, is about to use that matrix on the amputated fingers of soldiers home from the war.

Dr. Steven Wolf, at the Army Institute of Surgical Research, says the military has invested millions of dollars in regenerative research, hoping to re-grow limbs, lost muscle, even burned skin.

"And it's hard to ignore this guys missing half his skin, this guy's missing his leg," Wolf said. "You start asking the question, is there somebody out there with the technology that can do this for us?"

"You mean regrow the tissue?" Andrews asked.

"The answer," Wolf said, "is maybe."

At the burn unit at the Brooke Army Medical center, the very idea of regeneration brings a glimmer of hope.

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Henline was the only survivor of an IED attack on his Humvee north of Baghdad.

"It's a great idea," Henline said, talking with Andrews about the military's investment into the new technology. "If they can come up with something that's less painful and can heal it with natural growth, without all this scarring, it's definitely something to check into."

Regeneration Race Goes Global

Several different technologies for harnessing regeneration are now in clinical trials around the world. One machine, being tested in Germany, sprays a burn patient's own cells onto a burn, signaling the skin to re-grow.

Badylak is about to implant matrix material - shaped like an esophagus - into patients with throat cancer.

"We fully expect that this material will cause the body to re-form normal esophageal tissue," Badylak said.

And in a clinical trial at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, patient Mary Beth Babo is getting her own adult stem cells injected into her heart, in hopes of growing new arteries. Her surgeon is Dr. Joon Lee.

"It's what we consider the Holy Grail of our field for coronary heart disease," Lee said.

The Holy Grail, because if stem cells can re-grow arteries, there's less need for surgery.

"It's a big difference from open heart surgery to this," said Babo. "If people don't have to go through that, this would be the way to go ... if it works."

The Business Of Regeneration

Corporate America, meanwhile, already believes regeneration will work. Investment capital has been pouring in to commercialize and mass produce custom-made body parts.

The Tengion Company has bought the license, built the factory, and is already making those bladders developed at Wake Forest that we told you about earlier.

"We're actually building a very real business around a very real and compelling patient need," said Dr. Steven Nichtberger, Tengion's CEO.

Tengion believes regeneration will soon revolutionize transplant medicine. Transplant patients, instead of waiting years for a donated organ, will ship cells off to a lab and wait a few weeks to have their own re-grown.

"I look at the patients who are on the waitlist for transplant," said Nichtberger. "I look at the opportunity we have to build bladders, to build vessels, to build kidneys. In regenerative medicine, I think it is similar to the semi-conductor industry of the 1980s, you don't know where it's going to go, but you know it's big."



I have non-Christian friends that hassle me for celebrating Easter. They think I am clueles to all of the pagan incorporations the holiday has. My rebuttal is, "who cares?". I take Easter, and the time leading up to it, to remember the death of Jesus and the great sacrifice He made.

Anyway, here is a really cool article I read on Jesus Manifesto. Thanks Adam for the link:

The Scandal of Easter
Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : March 18, 2008
Easter is coming. On Sunday, we remember the day that our Lord wrested free from the confines of the grave. It is the day when the final Enemy, death began its own march to the grave.

Holy Week is an odd time of year. My family didn’t celebrate Holy Week. To me, it was simply a day of pastel marshmallow bunnies and birds (I think Peeps taste nasty) , colored hard-boiled eggs, and jelly beans. Nothing more. Pretty lame as far as holidays go. The only one in my family who really liked Easter was my sister Chantel, but only because she loved coloring the eggs so much.

As I got older, I began to notice peculiar things about the season leading up to Easter. I noticed that on some Wednesday about a month before Easter, people got smudges of ash placed upon their foreheads. Vaguely, I knew that the ash thing had something to do with Easter. And I think I knew that Easter had to do with the day that Jesus went up into heaven or something.

I embraced Christianity in my teens. I had the weepy camp experience and got really involved in church. My faith meant a lot to me. And I really really loved Jesus. My family wasn’t really into Jesus and church at the time, so I felt like it was MY thing. That made it all the more special to me. Around that time I realized that the smudgy ash day was Ash Wednesday. Our church didn’t celebrate that stuff because we believed it was dead religion. But I secretly thought it was kinda cool. I also learned that Holy Week was kind of a big deal. Especially Good Friday, which was about how Jesus died. Lutherans and Catholics had other special days during the week, but we charismatics and Pentecostals and low church evangelicals really only focused on two days: Good Friday and Easter. Cross and Resurrection. They were all that mattered.

It was on the Cross, you see, that Jesus took all of our sins upon himself and then died. He took our just punishment. And on Easter Jesus rose from the dead–a sign that his sacrifice was accepted by God. And it showed that Jesus is more powerful than sin and death. If we believe that he died on the Cross for our own sins, we too can be resurrected some day.

The nice thing about all of this is that God takes me just as I am, right? Once I trust in his sacrifice on my behalf, I can trust that, some day, I will join him in Heaven. Right? That is what Easter is all about. It is about me being accepted as I am. What I do with the rest of my life matters…but not as much as the joyful recognition that my afterlife is secured.

Easter is that day when you appear
Sweet Jesus
To whisper sweet nothings into my ear
Sweet Jesus
And to forgive my sins, my dear
Sweet Jesus
Like drinking too much beer
Being insincere
And forgetting you all year
Sweet Jesus

Show me the path
Sweet Jesus
Away from God’s wrath
Sweet Jesus
Give my soul a bath
Sweet Jesus
So that I can laugh
For all the junk I hath
From plying $atan’s math
Sweet Jesus

You make me white as snow
Sweet Jesus
So merrily I go
Sweet Jesus
To maintain the status quo
Sweet Jesus
Like keeping down the low
Having too much dough
Or killing all my foes
Sweet Jesus

The scandal of Easter is that it has been used to reinforce the status quo. Instead of seeing the Cross and Resurrection as a death to the old way and the opening of a new way, it is tempting to see them mechanistically. If we believe, our slate is cleaned. And we can continue on as though nothing has ever happened.

And so, because of Jesus’ death, I don’t have to change my life. I’m not responsible for changing the corrupt systems that I’ve inherited. I don’t have to worry about the poor. I don’t need to DO anything. Jesus took care of all that on the Cross. And when he rose from the dead, he made it possible for me to go to the Kingdom of God when I die.

This way of seeing Easter permeates the Western understanding of Christianity. But is this how Jesus understood his death? As he gathered disciples and set his face towards Jerusalem, he called his followers to take their cross and follow him. In his final week, he cleanses the Temple, speaks against the teachers of the Law, and predicts the destruction of the Temple.

His death was an act of judgment against a corrupt system. And in his resurrection, ascension, and pouring out of the Spirit, a new way is opened up for us to speak prophetically to the domination system (the global web of institutions and governments in the hands of the few that oppress the many), resist the powers, and live in the Kingdom. Here. Now.

I don’t mean to diminish the reconciling work of Jesus on the Cross. By no means. Nor am I advocating that God will only forgive you if you do stuff for him. I am merely suggesting that we need to drop our transactional understanding of the Gospel. To follow Jesus is to walk in his way. His death and resurrection opens up for us a new way. We, filled by the Spirit, are called to live and move in the way of Jesus. Let us remember Jesus’ death and resurrection by taking up our cross and experiencing a new way of life.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The testosterone is pumping at Mark's house tonight. Six hairy men are playing Rock Band and being loud. It's hard to believe that literally 5 hours ago, Mark was sitting up here in his PJs watching "Titanic".

Friday, March 21, 2008


I got the best birthday gift ever – I found out that I am Dog the Bounty Hunter’s account representative for his yellow page listing. I left him a voicemail yesterday. Too bad he is racist and stuff…

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ava Adore

And I'll pull your crooked teeth
You'll be perfect just like me
You'll be a lover in my bed
And a gun to my head
We must never be apart
We must never be apart

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

There's No Point Trying to Fight it

Last night Brandon and I took his co-worker friend, Paola, out around Denver. Paola is from Mexico and is just visiting here this week for some work training. It was really fun to walk around downtown and look at your city from a visitor’s standpoint. I drive by some of these landmarks everyday and don’t even give them two thoughts. We really do live in a beautiful city. I also decided that I need to marry a foreign girl because their accents are so damn cute! Paola was trying to say that our pizza is “better” here in America, but it came out as “Bear pizza in America”. We gracefully informed her that we do not serve bear meat on pizzas here (lol).

I think I drank too much coffee, because on the ride from dropping off Paola,  I puked…haha. I don’t even know why, my stomach just felt gnarly, so I asked Brandon to pull over and got sick on someone’s lawn. It was pretty classy. The good news is, I felt like a million bucks after all that coffee was out of my stomach.

Today was my first day back at riding my bike to work. It felt good, and I arrived to the office with a lot of energy. On the light-rail, I continued reading On The Road. Reading it made me want to pop my thumb out and hitchhike to San Francisco.

Sidenote: The new Ours album is released today. Do yourself a favor and pick it up. It is really incredible.