Thursday, August 31, 2006

pizza grease

i'm still on a writing haitus, so this will be brief.

today, as i was carving words from a 34 page grant proposal on TOMM40 (that's a gene, you can tell because it's written in uppercase italics) and alzheimer's disease, i happened to get pizza grease in my ear. i was so busy learning about mitochondria, haplotype expression, and mRNA splice variants that i neglected to watch my fingers as they moved from the keyboard to the digiorno and back again. then i had a sudden ear itch. and, well, you get the picture. there's some kind of a moral here, but what it is, i can't say...

andrew david. "fun on the subway" nyc.

ps. don't hire me to do your portrait. i took 5 shots of matt and jacinda during this sub ride, and every single one of them is unintentionally kooky. for instance, in this photo jacinda is a bit googly-eyed, which, on second thought, is probably more matt's fault than this here camera man. in any case, the 5 subway shots were the ONLY shots i got of the basingers during the entire weekend. argh.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

delightfully short

the story of black peak nearly killed me in two ways: (1) as i explained in the last few entries, i almost scraped my brains out on the rock and (2) i exhausted too many words in the telling--that is, i don't feel up to posting sentences or paragraphs; nothing that flows or seems to have a point. so, in the meantime, i'll make a list.

things i enjoy: (1) watching ben think, (2) watching coneybeare eat, and (3) watching beth be.

andrew david "gastronomists make sucky signs and bloggers take stupid pictures" the united nations, nyc.

Monday, August 28, 2006

black (death) peak - part II

[continued from the previous post where andrew recounts being marooned on a slippery rock face in the northern cascades]

not yet.

i wasn't ready to risk my life on one crazy superman trick. it was a phantom rock, after all, and i might not spot it until i sailed by. gravity may get me, but there was no need to hasten my fall.

at that point steve suggested that he run up the mountain and see if anyone might have some rope. earlier we'd seen at least two parties making the trek toward black peak. in the sunlight their helmeted heads had glowed the yellow of angel halos. perhaps they'd be ready and equipped for just this kind of thing.

but at first i was oddly opposed to the idea. "try looking from over there," i said. three fingers of one hand were barely wedged in a crack and my other hand was maintaining a tenuous grip on a slippery knob-like rock to my right, but i wanted to do this myself. the thought of seeking help from another group of hikers was embarrassing, humiliating; it was admitting defeat. i had already calculated my chances of survival without a rope - every scenario led to a nasty conclusion, yet hubris somehow stalled my decision to send steve away. i imagined a man with 20 international summits to his credit frowning down at me and saying, "what are you doing, little man, on this class 5.13b cliff-face? where is your gear? hrmmphh."

after several seconds passed, i realized that i could probably bear a condescending smirk, especially if it saved my life. steve sprinted up the mountain after a rope.

after steve left, i quite incredulously realized that i hadn't been praying. "what the crap, God," i began, "why haven't i been praying this whole time?" for some reason, He didn't bother answering my rhetorical question, so i continued with something a bit more conventional, something more like "help me!" and "forgive me for..." and "God, do you hate these emergency, self-centered prayers?"

as i clung to the rock and prayed, my right leg began to shake again. i adjusted myself a bit and then closed my eyes and tried to lay completely still. it was strangely peaceful. i somehow believed that my leg wouldn't shake again and that steve would return with my means of salvation. i thought about sitting, and about what great fun it is to do nothing, to finish a hike and just relax. all this thinking seemed to go straight to my feet: to my horror, they were starting to tingle. "not a great place for my feet to fall asleep," i thought.

occasionally an invisible bug buzzed past my head--perhaps a fly, a bee, or some other insect vulture. like a rogue rescue copter, it seemed to circle my general vicinity, uncertain at this altitude whether i was friend or foe. thankfully, it didn't land. next, my sleepy feet and i heard voices, and then the approach of steve.

"they didn't have rope," he explained.

"uh oh," i thought.

then steve, oh, wonderful steve, concocted a brilliant plan. he tied his two shirts together and knotted them to his pack. as he approached my position, a few rocks tumbled off to my left, frightening the fly and i. then steve carefully lowered the pack down to me. once it was within my reach, i flailed out my arm and caught hold of the shoulder strap. as steve pulled upward, i used my free arm and legs to scramble the remaining 8 feet until i collapsed safely on the top of the ridge.

whoohooo! praise God (and steve), i survived. relieved, i let out a big sigh and a nervous chuckle. then steve and i hugged, took some photos, and made our way to the top of the summit.

beth the s.o. "photos for jessica" moma, nyc.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

black (death) peak - part I

i have fallen in love with the piano. for the last week every time i hear music, i want to dash out of the room or fling myself from the car to the nearest piano. it's quite strange--all i want to do is practice. so, if you happen to find my trip report long and sucky, blame it on "claire de lune" (debussy) and "philosophy" (ben folds five).

after consulting with my local hiking expert (danny warren), i determined that the hike to black peak (in the north cascades) is about 6 miles with an elevation gain of a bit less than 4000 feet. at about the 5 mile point, the trail deposits thirsty hikers at wing lake. then the trail jogs upward (and west) in an ambitious climb through scree and loose rock to the top of a ridge. once at the ridge (see yesterday's picture of steve), helmet-clad hikers and the occasional bare-headed fool (aka steve and i) can make a final ascent of the southern slope through a series of narrow gullies and precarious rocks. at the peak, one is surrounded by breathtaking views of the cascades (including glacier and baker mtn) and stomach-churning views of the world 3000 feet below.

despite my dramatic adjectives, climber-folk seem to describe the last mile of this hike as an easy scramble. there may be a few tricky places near the peak, but few reports mention any difficulty before that final ascent. well, i've decided to change that. while the summit is certainly high (8970 feet), it is the ridge that nearly killed me.

apparently there are two ways to climb death ridge: a right way and my way. the right way consists of a very steep switch-backed trail that hugs the northface of the mountain as it approaches the saddle point of the ridge. as i slugged my way toward the ridge, steve wisely chose this route and then snacked on a sandwich as he waited for my arrival. but for some reason i missed the trail and attempted to go straight up. i was within 20 feet or so of the ridgetop and was perhaps overcome by the sensation that i was almost there--go, go, go. perhaps i smelled the rye bread and lettuce. in any case, i was no longer scrambling; i was now climbing.

at first it was easy, but by the time i was within 8 feet of the top, i realized that i was in serious trouble. i ran out of handholds. i looked left, right, above me, left again, and even back down. i considered the rock around me some more--there were handfuls of loose dirt and smooth stone, but nothing substantial for my needy fingers.

"steeeeeeeve...." i called. no answer.

"steeeeeeeve," his face appeared 8 feet above me, "i think i'm stuck."

as steve tried to scout out other handholds or a method of retreat, i snuggled against the rock and tried not to look down. but i had to look--yikes. yesterday's pictures make the incline seem rather tame (perhaps 65 degrees?), as if a speedy fellow with a great big stride could easily run right up the ridge, but from my perspective it seemed like a wicked drop. if i slipped, i couldn't see a point where i would stop falling. even today, i'm pretty confident that if i fell i would have slid on my stomach for about twenty feet and then (a) ripped an arm off as i tried to slow my racing descent or (b) caught an appendage on an outcropping, accidentally spun myself around, and then tumbled down the slope with a broken neck and brain fluids oozing from the gashes in my head. i'd be seriously maimed or maybe dead.

my right leg started shaking uncontrollably. i shifted my weight a bit and looked up again. steve was trying to check out various angles, hoping that a jacob's ladder might be hiding just out of sight. he directed me to a more sturdy foot position so that my left boot had the toes wedged in a crack of some sort and the long-edge of my right boot was perched on a tiny ledge. this alleviated the shakes, at least temporarily.

far above me to my right steve spotted a handhold of unknown repute--"you'd have to lunge for it," he said.

andrew david "jazzer-sizing" brooklyn bridge, nyc.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

the pictures, story to come later...

1 andrew david. "the life saving device" the ridge below black peak, north cascades, wa.
2 & 3 andrew david. "wrong route: the way of smooth rock, loose dirt, and no hand holds" the ridge below black peak, north cascades, wa. in the pictures, that incline doesn't look so bad. in fact, it looks like you could almost walk right up it. you can't. trust me, it really was steeeeeeep. yep, if someone from the17pointscale had slipped, he'd be mangled or dead...but i'll save that for another post.

andrew david. "too paranoid to remember this" black peak summit, north cascades, wa.

Monday, August 21, 2006

just glad to be alive

on saturday i nearly fell off black peak. i'll share more once i transfer the pictures from my d70, but, in the meantime, i'm just thankful for my hiking buddy, steve van selus. this would be a 17 point obituary if not for him....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

the soundtrack to your blurbs

yesterday, for the first time in 4 years, i spent more than 5 minutes playing a video game. unfortunately, that meant that i played pirates for, oh, about 6 hours. and, since 3am's a bit late, i'm ragged tired. thus, i've been beth-ordered to refrain from blogging (and pirates) past 10:45pm tonight. it's 10:55 now, so the only way i could (almost) conceivably do that is to stop NOW. that means you're in for a treat; i have no course but to recycle some old material.

wednesday's post suggested that my image update was my first nationally published blurb. while that's true, i almost had an album review/recommendation/press release published a few years ago. if you google just right, you might be still be able to find the blurb, but to make it easier for you, here's the last saved version on my laptop:


As we sleep, the night corrals our dreams. One by one he warily drives them to their pens. But occasionally some nighttime reverie slips free. Then, in a rare hallowed moment, our consciousness can sneak peeks at a fascinating new world, a world so mesmerizing it can only be marred by the inevitable alarm clock buzz of morning.

But don’t let daytime get you down. The nearly newest album from [the now deceased] local Seattle band The Dandelion Method casts a net deep into the sea of our dreams and somehow extracts the musical equivalent of that idyllic waking moment. Band drummer, Joel Hartse, explains that their self-titled sophomore album is “a picture of where we have been the past 2 years – we've been through a ton: marriages, college graduations, new jobs, new houses…” Perhaps, but really the album is too familiar, as if the band sifted through our personal dreamscapes in order to produce this precise blend of guitar, voice, drum, and keys.

Like a dream, there's a certain delicateness to The Dandelion Method. Rather than standard rock n’ roll fare, we find glistening dew drops suspended in some lucky Charlotte’s embroidered web. The layered instruments build tension, collide, and then suddenly dissolve in quiet a cappella harmonies. Though it hardly seems fitting to describe an album laced with crashing guitars and rapid drum beats as delicate, these recent college grads have concocted a paradoxical hybrid of well choreographed ballet and hole-in-the-wall jam. The album suggests that there may finally be two ways to keep dreaming well into the workday: either unplug your alarm or make room in the web for The Dandelion Method.

Andrew David

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

my writing

this week image update published my freshman attempt at a book recommendation. it's the barbara brown taylor paragraph, about a third of the way down the page. also, check out the lead review (of david james duncan): it's beth's.

ray david (2002). "the published blurbicist" venice, italy.

Monday, August 14, 2006

real life gets in the way of blogging

i stayed in town this weekend! odd to be at home for so long.

saturday: changed my oil and hung out at alki
sunday: ate a catapillar
monday (today): watched more 24
tuesday: read my newly published book blurb in image update
wednesday: keep on the sunny side
thursday: always on the sunny side
friday: keep on the sunny side of life
saturday: hike with steven on hwy 20 or something like that...

beth the s.o. "the loser" shekinah, saskatchewan.

Friday, August 11, 2006


i like liturgy. there's something empowering in performing the same rituals as christians from 300 years ago; it reinforces the truth that this Christ that i worship is also the lord of peter, aquinas, and luther.

but sometimes my doctrine doesn't square with my liturgical preferences. for example, catholics are the undisputed masters of high liturgy, but their methods of christianity seem to dangle one toe in the pre-resurrection world--despite Christ's promise of personnel salvation, they appoint intermediaries to God: the saints, the pope, the priests, each is somehow more suited to conversing with the divine than your everyday john doe.

in some way, this theological construct (albeit more nuanced than my white-washed sentences suggest) is then reflected in liturgy. the rituals of liturgy are foreign to the usual human experience. to an outsider, they may seem strange and off-putting. indeed, i'm perhaps most attracted to liturgy because it pervades the worship experience with a sense of mystery. when liturgy's done right, there's something mystical, some sense that God is so much bigger, so much more powerful, so much more divine, so much more out of this world than the happy-smiley bestfriend of evangelicals like me.

andrew david "the other reason i like liturgy: cool cathedrals" morningside heights, nyc.

while in nyc, we walked through the cathedral that stands guard over the basinger's block in morningside heights. these pictures aren't particularly great, but i do think that they capture the immensity of the cathedral. staring up into the dark stone space of these rooms sent my mind reeling back to the fifth century. like liturgy, there is something awe-striking in these cathedrals, something that causes one to become thoughtfully reverent, something that inspires silence even in a buzzing metropolis like nyc.

by the way, check out the drops of blood (?) on the holy grail image.
brought to you by the17pointscale

the story of my life

there was a chap named andrew. he liked to play the piano and surf the web. one day he got a free email account from juno. andrew liked to imagine himself owning a beautiful grand piano with shiny white keys. therefore, he named his first email account "" then one day he realized that juno was ridiculous. after this epiphany, he found himself a hotmail account of the same name and passed the old address on to his mom. in the meantime, andrew grew up and went to college. oblivious to the fact that he may one day need this email address for professional correspondence or to apply for jobs, andrew named his college address: "" four years later andrew graduated and decided to work for the university of washington ( at the va hospital ( in his spare time, he posted random stories and pictures on his blog. therefore, in july of 2006, when google seduced him with 2750mb gmail accounts, it was only natural that he named his newest account after his blog:

it's a bit ridiculous, but this is the way my generation can tell stories. rather than building a timeline based on outdoor forts, wicked math teachers, or the lives of presidents, we may be just as likely to our electronic selves. in a few years, i'll be saying, "...then in 2005 i started my first blog. it was a happy disaster...."

andrew david. "amazing art" moma, nyc.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

enya makes everything poignant

alright, i'll admit it, i'm a closet enya fan.

some people use enya like ice cream or bubble baths. after a stressful day at work, they slip
shepherd moons into the cd player and let enya do her magic. for others enya is something of a thought elixer. like inspirational gregorian chant, the peaceful pleasant chords melt into the background and help thoughts to crystallize.

however, i tend to associate enya with boxer briefs. at the sound of that simple perfect voice, i think back to my college roommate. he'd perch his battering ram of a cd player on the bathroom sink near the shower and then chant right along as he showered. then, clothed in nothing but fruit of the loom, he'd hit the books--our room was an academic enya sanctuary.

as i listen to enya again, it's funny for a moment, but enya is mightier than my laughter. she is more powerful than underwear. she somehow endues everything with meaning. the ridiculous yet entirely reasonable antics of my roommate are suddenly a puzzle piece in the journey of life. a brief subway ride with beth, jacinda, and matt (see below) is an elysian image of earthly romance. my roommate's boxer briefs are somehow a symbol of our human fraility. have i gone crazy? maybe, but blame enya....

jacinda basinger. "elysian romance 1, 2, & 3" nyc, ny.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

God, google, and the carthusians

"what's a devotional?" asked ben, one of the soldiers in debby's statistics army.

i stared at him.

rebecca came to my rescue be explaining that the term 'devotions' is christianese for hallmark card theology. that is, generally you pick out a passage of scripture--preferrably something from the gospels or the psalms--and share a happy little anecdote or a quick moral. it's spoon-fed christianity.

she makes some good points, but i don't entirely agree. even simple one page devotions don't seem quite that cookie-cutter to me. and even if she's right, that's not the kind of devotional that i intend to bring to the campfire on saturday night. but how to jump above the cookie-cutter conundrum?

first, pray. that's how i spent most of yesterday, praying and googling. the prayers were petitions for inspiration and desire. praying for desire may sound kind of funny, but it's been a while since i've looked forward to reading the good book. i'd like to see it sitting on my desk and think, "gosh, i want to read that," but it's not often like that.

and then the world turned upside-down. you see, i've always thought that it would be great if prayer worked like google. give God a request and then 0.38 seconds later He gives you 15,800,000 answers sorted from best to least relevant. however, yesterday i felt far more answered by God than by any silly google hit. i was looking for poems, short stories, encyclopedia entries--anything that might correspond cooly to saturday's passage from the daily lectionary (look to your left)--but alas, i stumbled onto nothing. in one sense it was a productive evening: i had a long talk with God. but i was still stuck in terms of that saturday deadline.

that's when it helps to date beth. she turned me on to the lectio divina, the perfect centerpiece for a saturday devotional. hooray for beth! hooray for God! hooray for the carthusian monks!

andrew david (and rene magritte) "the statcounter" moma, nyc. (magritte tells me that in cyberfrench that translates to "i'm watching you")

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

my assignment

i don't have our pedigree in front of me, but the green-david-welling-cunningham-howard-whitson family numbers somewhere around 35. this means there's about a 3% chance of being drafted into devotional service for the weekend of the family campout. unfortunately, grandma trimmed that list down to four people before even drawing a name from the hat. that means that my chances shot right up through the roof and then into my toe (serves me right for hanging out on the roof). thus, this saturday evening i have 34 relatives to teach, entertain, and move with my little words. i'd say this sounds like a job for God. as it stands RIGHT NOW, i think i'm going to try and draft a little something based upon each evening's lectionary passage. (see the lectionary link to your left). between now and thursday that gives me 3 chances.

well, i read a bit, but nothing jumped out at me. nothing said, "andrew, read me! thy LORD commands it..." i guess i'm no bb taylor (leaving church -- see the book section to your left). i also thumbed through several books: life together (d bonhoeffer), the way of the pilgrim (anonym), the imitation of christ (ta kempis), compassion (hjm nouwen), mudhouse sabbath (lf winner), sacred journey (f buechner), and craggily craggily croo (aka various poems by j donne). maybe i'll spend tomorrow's lunch break conducting some further study. stay tuned...

beth the s.o. "the 55 bar communion" greenwich village, nyc.