Lilydale Regional Park Brickyard Trail

Echo CaveLexi and I have been checking out the trails in Lilydale Regional Park lately.

It started with Bruce Vento’s View a couple weeks ago. We drive by the entrance all the time. It’s at the southern corner of Cherokee Regional Park. It’s a great overlook where you can see all the way to Minneapolis (“look down on Minneapolis,” as I later heard someone say). The overlook itself has some stones set up like theater seating, and appears that the stones were salvaged from old buildings. While we were there we saw a trail that descended the bluff but we didn’t have time to check out.

Yesterday we did. I had the not-so-brilliant idea that we’d bike down there and worst case scenario I’d have to walk the bike back up the hill. I didn’t realize how steep the hill would be or account for the fact that the bike, the buggy and Lexi weigh a lot.

But the trip was worth it. The trail was pretty cool and we discovered a cave, a waterfall and a great view of Pickerel Lake.

When we got home I did a little sleuthing and found out there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony planned for this morning. So Lexi and I came back, this time with no heavy bike.

Continue reading Lilydale Regional Park Brickyard Trail

Parents: What’s the Best Viewing Order for Star Wars?

Jason Kottke posed an interesting question on his blog: In what order should a parent show their child the Star Wars movies? Kottke rarely opens his entries up to comments, but for this one he opened the floodgate and so far has 138 comments. It’s a ridiculous poling of geekdom, most suggesting viewing the movies in original release order and quite a few suggesting parents never let their kids see the prequels.

Quite the geeky discussion, but that’s OK. I love it. Seems like I’ve blogged about this before and how interesting it would be to never think of Star Wars in terms of originals and prequels, but just six movies (is that even possible, considering the vast technical differences?). Seeing the movies in internal chronological order (prequels then originals), as opposed to release order (originals then prequels), shifts the focus from Luke to Anakin/Darth Vader, which is kind of bizarre. The prequels do naturally lend a whole new perspective to the originals.

Not ‘Grateful’ To Be Adopted

Last week when I blogged about our pre-adoption classes I mentioned a quote from an adoptee that summed up some of the tensions inherent in being adopted. I thought it’d be more helpful to read the actual quote, so here it is:

“Before I was adopted, I was separated from two families–my birth mother’s and my birth father’s. I was also separated from my culture and my race. These losses have been huge. People interpret honest talk about them to mean that I wish I weren’t a part of my family. OR that I’m not connected. OR maybe even that my mom and dad did something wrong by adopting me. OR that I am not grateful. But you know what, I am not ‘grateful’ that I had to be adopted. I don’t feel ‘wonderfully lucky’ that I was raised in a culture different from the one I was born into. What I do feel is that I love my mom and dad very much. I do feel totally connected to them. I wouldn’t trade my family for any family in the world–and still I know what I have lost.”

-Liza Steinberg Triggs in the book Inside Transracial Adoption by Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall

Adam Palmer’s Mooch and Knuckle Sandwich

Mooch by Adam PalmerA couple years ago a friend of mine, Adam Palmer, suddenly became a published author with the book Taming a Liger: Unexpected Spiritual Lessons from Napoleon Dynamite (you can read my interview with Adam about Taming the Liger). It was one of those pleasant surprises that reminded me that you actually can write a book and get it published (not that I didn’t think Adam could do it, but I didn’t know anything about it until the book came out).

I just heard from Adam recently and was again pleasantly surprised to see that he’s kept the publishing streak up with two novels (as well as nearly a dozen other book projects–apparently I’m keeping the clueless streak going), Mooch (which I think I actually read an early version of) and Knuckle Sandwich: Sometimes Rock N Roll Hits Back (which is coming out around now).

Both novels are in the Christian fiction genre, though you shouldn’t hold that against them. Mooch (or at least the early version I read) wasn’t the typical character comes to Jesus or character doesn’t have real issues type novel you might expect. It was actually a funny, caper type story with an intriguing main character.

Knuckle Sandwich: Sometimes Rock N Roll Hits Back by Adam PalmerKnuckle Sandwich seems to be another unique and funny tale:

Knuckle Sandwich is the next big thing in Christian rock music. It’s a band formed by three Midwestern college students with three very different dreams. Bassist Jeremiah wants to reach the lost, singer Matt wants to be a rock star, and drummer Liz . . . well, she just wants a new set. But as the group moves from the youth group circuit to opening national tours, the friends begin to experience the perils of celebrity. While Matt’s ego grows faster than the band’s success, Jeremiah and Liz find themselves on the brink of a sexual relationship. Now as the band starts to implode, can anything save them from a Behind the Music-style meltdown? (from Amazon)

Plus both novels look to have some of the best cover design I’ve seen in a while.

Pre-Adoption Classes: Day 1

Whew. We just spent eight hours learning about adoption. I think it’s fair to say I have no idea what I’m talking about. There are so many potential issues and so many potential things to consider. Certainly nothing to dissuade us from adopting, but it is an awful lot to think about.

I think one of the most helpful things today was a quote from the perspective of someone who was adopted. They were talking about the loss of their culture and their race that they experienced by being adopted. They said they weren’t “grateful” to be adopted–it wasn’t a situation they were thrilled to have gone through. But that was a statement about being adopted and had no impact on their love or connection with their adopted parents. I just found it helpful to consider the child’s perspective. It’s not about ‘saving’ a child.

And that’s another helpful issue–the language. What does it do to your identity to hear that your real mother gave you up for adoption? There’s a sentiment there that she gave up on you and that your adoptive parents aren’t your real parents.

There’s a lot more to think about and process, but those are just a couple things that came to mind today.

Why Adoption?

Today and tomorrow we have all-day adoption classes that will hopefully answer some of our questions and no doubt bring up a lot more questions. But it’s exciting to move forward.

As much as I’ve talked about this process, I’m not sure I’ve talked about why we decided to adopt. And I should start by saying this is my own personal reason and I’m not suggesting it should apply to everyone. It’d be great if it did and I think maybe it should, but I won’t go that for. You’ve got to make up your own mind about that.

I want to adopt because I think there are just too many children in this world who need loving families. When I consider how many children out there are orphaned it seems almost selfish to naturally have a baby.

Continue reading Why Adoption?

Sci-Fi is Just Window Dressing

So I’ve been addicted to sci-fi lately: The Road, Ender’s Game, Rendezvous with Rama, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Foundation, Out of the Silent Planet, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Whew.

I’ve come to the rather obvious conclusion that the sci-fi genre (and I imagine other genres like it) isn’t really that specialized. Certainly there’s all that space or futurism or time travel or neat new technology, but in the end it’s still just a story. It could be a love story or a political discourse or an adventure or whatever. The science fiction part is more or less the setting. That’s perhaps an oversimplification, but there it is. Star Wars didn’t need the stars.

Which is an interesting conclusion if you want to write fiction. Genre helps sell fiction (so they say), but it’s merely window dressing compared to the story. At least in the best books, anyway.

We Do Low Quality Video Production

I’m proud to say that Monkey Outta Nowhere now offers sub-par video production services. Well, not exactly. But we can do low quality, home made video with the best (or worst?) of them.

I’ve been working on marketing for the Foursquare NextGen Summit ’07 (which has a fancy new web site). We were coming up with ideas to promote the What’s Your Cause? Video Contest and a video seemed like a no-brainer. But when Foursquare’s professional video department was swamped, I stepped up and said I could do it. The less-than-professional standards I could meet seemed more in line with a do-it-yourself video contest anyway.

So Monkey Outta Nowhere added video production to its portfolio:

Big time thanks to everyone who helped out with the video (especially Melanie, Bronwyn, Marie and Tobin). And stick around for the credits. I think the “I Like Puppies” song has some break out potential.