Thursday, May 31, 2007

random blog updates

in october of 2006 i announced my attempts at an amateur career in photography. well, it's taken me half a year, but i finally made $100!

in december of 2005 i deemed death cab for cutie's "what sarah said" my favorite sad song. in that month, "what sarah said" also happened to top my charts in the death related rock genre. now, unfortunately for death cab, their piano-based elegy has been supplanted by a.j. roach's "grandaddy" (this link passes directly through the artist's site; no pesky video). incidentally, "what sarah said" is still my favorite sad song about death that can be twisted into an interesting metaphor for baptism.

also, i'm really proud of the internet tonight. i'm not a fan of the official "what sarah said" video, so i was searching for something a bit more palpable. i wasn't too successful, but i did find about a dozen how-to videos related to the piano score. generally speaking, i tend to consider the internet a vast impersonal resource for information and time-wasting. if i were to personify the internet, i might describe ms. web as a nasty vindictive nerd, but tonight she was something of a musical saint, generously spreading the gift of music-making throughout the four corners of the globe. way to go!

andrew david. "the look of an istock photographer" somewhere in guatemala.

Monday, May 28, 2007

choose your own adventure

suppose you were appointed the role of frodo on a dangerous canoe trip through an unfamiliar land. after several weeks of rowing, your fellow traveler develops tendonitis and is unable to continue the expedition. together, you paddle to a quiet fishing village somewhere on the edge of the world and part ways. she climbs from the canoe, hoists her pack, and you never see her again.

beyond the dock, you spot two or three shacks and the beached hull of an ancient tug. everything smells of fish and decay. the big city, you smirk. the fate of the world rests on this forgotten population of ten. indeed, without another set of hands your mission is doomed. rising from the canoe, you muzzle your doubt and approach the town.

there's no sign of the men and women who created this awful stench (i.e., fisherfolk), but you still manage to drag up three candidates to help complete your quest: a novelist, a fiction editor, and a literary translator. one of these three adventurers will have to do, but who should you choose?

[stay tuned for my answer and how it relates to franz kafka’s the trial in the next post or so.]

[[okay, here's my unofficial back page review (andi's comments made a follow-up post unnecessary). i was going to use this riddle to reveal that either (1) the translator of my edition of the trial was pathetic (and unworthy of quests) or (2) kafka was an idea guy, not a writer. there is NO reason to read this; the cliff notes are probably better written and infinitely more concise. still, i like the concept of the novel; kafka just needs a creative translator with a keen sense of poetry and pacing. (and perhaps kafka would be a good quest candidate if he was only needed to think and not do.)]]

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

ratings updated, the reviews (and links) are not

i'm worn out from tonight's soccer practice. it's hard work pretending to be the coach. anyway, i've added several books and movies to the rankings on the left (in bold), including mikhail bulgakov's the master and margarita, a 20th century russian "masterpiece" that you're far better letting other people read.

i'll post something worthwhile someday. in the meantime, this is my favorite picture from the mayan ruins of tikal:

andrew david. "frond framed ruins." tikal, guatemala.

Monday, May 21, 2007

no time for a decent blog's what i hope to blog about soon:

  1. my cat dream
  2. some movies (blades of glory, the queen, the last king of scotland, spiderman III)
  3. some books (the martian chronicles, all the pretty horses, the crossing, an american tragedy)
  4. something thoughtful; at the moment the blog feels like it's drifting in a sea of the mundane, and i'd like to change that, but if i try too hard, my posts have a flashy, contrived feel (like in the last post).
  5. an excerpt from my first newsletter article. i know you're all rather anxious to learn about biomarkers and alzheimer's disease!

andrew david. "tourists and the oddly shaped nests of the montezuma oropendola." tikal, guatemala.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

an overdose of euphoria

wednesday was a good day, a really good day. i got some reassuring news from my boss, successfully coached my first ever soccer practice, crashed out a lively version of ben folds's "fired," performed secondo piano on our jolly rendition of sufjan stevens' "chicago," watched two episodes of lost, and discovered my 6th favorite flavor of ice cream (slow-churned american idol).

but when i awoke this morning, my head was in a vice. i had an insufferable headache, perhaps an ego hangover.

you see, until yesterday, i was rather suspicious that my soccer experiment would explode in my face. thus, i half-expected to be sitting cross-legged and alone at our first scheduled practice. instead, i had five enthusiastic soccer pupils chasing each other through cones and, surprise, surprise, thanking me for my patience. and then the ben folds cover was punctuated with the unfamiliar sounds of shouts and applause; from my bench at the piano, the green-bean-twenty sounded more like one hundred. and so now i wonder somewhat abstractly if perhaps it's more than possible for one to get too much of a good thing.

of course, i doubt that my happy night really caused the headache, but the hand-in-hand nature of good and bad, black and white, falling and faith seems an intangible truth.

i encountered this strange blending of absolutes as i worked on the ADRC newsletter at work this week. in an email to the s.o. i explained that "for the first time ever, i have a sense of what to write and how to write it, but it's interesting that this sense of 'this could work' is also accompanied by an odd feeling of 'now don't screw this up--this could be your one opportunity of writing clarity.'" it's as if the universe commands that a burst of productive creativity (or any goodness) is necessarily followed by a lull of frustrating ineptitude (or badness).

i started this post with some references to soccer, so i suppose it's only fitting to return to sports. i tend to spend my morning commutes listening to talk radio or kjr 950 hosts mitch levy and steve sandmeyer. on wednesday morning, the pair were discussing the mariners 11-3 victory over the division-leading angels. sandmeyer was defending the levy theory, which purports that by scoring 7 unnecessary runs, the m's may have tipped baseball karma in anaheim's favor for the remainder of the series. again, there's no statistical support for this theory, but perhaps the universe demands moderation. perhaps ichiro--he of two strange statements and a future pitching career--should have saved some of those 5 hits for the next night. perhaps in the interest of future good days, i should politely ask people to refrain from compliments or applause, perhaps a disapproving grunt might be good now and again

andrew david. "the jaguar temple. rarrrrrrr!" tikal, guatemala.

PS the music links are to youtube. i realized that it was silly to link to amazon, because amazon only allows you to play a little sample of songs whereas youtube has the entire song. i'll continue with this strategy for all future music links. however, these links also have their disadvantages--you must suffer through some dancing girls and a little speech by sufjan.

Monday, May 14, 2007

some of the others in a live concert at the green bean

that's right, my new band, some of the others, will be performing at the green bean open-mic night on wednesday. we're a cover band that focuses exclusively on sufjan stevens classics. more particularly, we have trained our euphonic sights on chicago, one of the singles from come on, feel the illinoise (check out track #9). some day we may broaden our repetoire to include other sufjan songs and perhaps even some muse but in the meantime, our guitarist, trombonist, accordionist, violinist, marimba-ist, vocalists, and pianists make chicago a spectacle that is more than worth the drive (or flight).

we'll be playing sometime after 9pm. incidentally, the green bean is greenwood's favorite non-profit coffee shop. you can find it next door to the tap root theater at 210 n 85th st. also, some of the others is a name that i coined just now, so don't be surprised if mari (our illustrious leader) introduces us by some other name (e.g., sufvan stejens) at the show. (some of the others seemed an apt name because the band consists of some of the players from our soccer team, the others, and then some others.)

for those of you who are very ill and can't make it to our second debut, i hope to have some bootleg youtube footage for you in the next few days.

the s.o. "contemplating the d-c-g sequence of chicago." cahal pech, san ignacio town, belize.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


in a previous blog entry, i linked to a preview for devin's superman film, and now, in the interest of fairness to all of my director friends, here's a preview for evan's film i'm more intimately familiar with than superman: the battle for home because, believe it or not, i actually helped film one or two of the scenes. the two films are alike in that they both have very, very small budgets but the similarities end there. the battle for home is a dramatic film that considers parallels between christ and superman whereas radtrip is a fun adventure film that encourage cheap, environmentally-friendly long distance travel. hmmm...i think i may be able to post the film directly on the blog. let me know if this works....

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

added some films to the scale

i spent today's blogging time adding films to the rankings on the left panel. until this evening, the list only included films that i'd seen since july or august of 2006. however, because the list makes no mention of this exclusivity and because i can't quite recall which month i started this tally, it seems a bit silly to ignore other films that have been discussed on this blog. here are the new additions to the 17 point scale film ranks (and as is my custom, comments to the right of the hyphens indicate why one might choose to forego the film, and the exclamation marks indicate that the link will take you to something i've written about the film)

15.good night and good luck - in black and white
14.magnolia - foul-mouthed, violent, abusive ch's !
13.united 93 - somber yet poignant !
13.crash - profane, violent; lacks subtlety !
12.sophie scholl:final days - like a german tv movie !
12.l'enfant - slow, awkward, in french !
11.the son - slow, awkward, in french !
11.searching for the wrong-eyed jesus - quirky !
10.the storekeeper - short, silent
10.munich - long, too many kettles boiling !
10.brokeback mtn - long; mostly hype !
09.tsotsi - gaps in ch. developm; poorly translated !
09.dandelion - awkward, disjointed, and strange !
07.v for vendetta - worse than i expected
07.the da vinci code - crammed, silly, wrong ! world - boring, cliche (sorry jeff) !

soon, i hope to share with you my opinion of blades of glory, the last king of scotland, and the queen.

andrew david. "tree of life." cahal pech ruins, san ignacio town, belize.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

superman is coming! (and dreams 3 and a debate-related comic)

1. devin's film superman: the battle for home premiers wednesday night at seattle's admiral theater. admittance is free but popcorn is not.

2. sorry, everyone. as usual, i've lost interest in the three-part post that i was hoping to finish this week. i finished the storytelling and find myself far less interested in the punchline (i.e., my alleged ability to prophecy in my dreams). but i'll do my best in a sentence or three. here's a recap of what i dreamt:

  • wednesday night: i met brady and his pregnant wife (as opposed to the not-pregnant one) alisha in the lobby of a hotel in belize. the stairwell to their room ended about a flight before their room, so i climbed on the roof to look for another entrance.
  • thursday night: i hung out with a millionaire who liked ramming into cars, burning them, and leaving large checks for their owners.
  • thursday night: i wandered over to an umbrella nonprofit outside the mall and saw brady talking with a volunteer. it turned out that an unknown woman had dropped her baby off with the nonprofit and not returned. brady packed the baby in his mountaineering bag and we set off to find the mother.
first, a little context. brady and alisha live in spokane. the last time i spoke to them was last summer when they attended danny's wedding reception. in other words, there is no impetus for them to suddenly appear in my dream.

well, on friday, the day after the second dream, i called my buddy jonathan to see if he was free to play tennis the next day. he was up for some morning tennis but had dinner plans--brady and alisha were coming to town! somehow my unconscious mind predicted their arrival...and alisha's pregnancy. crazy.

you may think, "that's just a pair of coincidences, mr. andrew," but my powers were later confirmed by my television. some friends and i are playing catch-up on lost, and sunday's episode just happened to be centered around desmond's strange new ability to see the future. is it a coincidence that i found a fellow seer less than a week later? hardly.

and since those first prescient dreams, i've had yet another vision of the future. one night i dreamt of an orange cat (if you're lucky, i'll share that dream in a later post), and then the next day, as i sipped tea and read cormac mccarthy's the crossing in my backyard, an orange cat secretly prowled in the grass. yes, i am a prophet.

3. here's a comic my roommate showed me that almost relates back to thursday's post about my mad debating skills:
Conspiracy Theories
it's from

Sunday, May 06, 2007

urgent soccer matter

back in february i wrote that i was thinking of founding a co-ed soccer team. somehow, my thoughts mushed together into something a little more concrete than cerebral wonderings: if the stars align right, i'll be submitting a registration form on monday.

i'm aiming for a total of 15 players (8 guys, 7 girls), and so far we're 1 guy and 2 girls short. thus, if you know anyone who might be interested, leave me message.

if you're thinking "hmmm...i might be interested in that, but i don't know anything about soccer," here's the scoop: we'll have 5 girls, 5 guys, and a goalie (any gender) on the field at all times. our team will have an odd blend of talent--some of us have never played soccer and some of us have coached it--so we're going for a fun, easy-going experience. of course, I'd like to destroy the competition too, but this could be an interesting experiment.

again, if you're interested, leave me a message.

pietro's pizza. "that's me in junior high." seattle, wa.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

i suck at debating

this afternoon i joined an LDS member, a priestess of light, an ethnic catholic, and an agnostic in a passionate discussion of mormonism. at one point in the conversation, the priestess of light tried to convince everyone that mormonism and catholicism were more closely related than protestantism and catholicism because both faiths claim apostolic succession. despite a bag of facts, i couldn't seem to sway the priestess. thus, it is no surprise that when the debate got more controversial--i was arguing that mormons are not christians--i failed again. it took a dozen hand scratched diagrams before i could even convince my crowd that protestants, catholics, and orthodoxers fell under the same religious umbrella.

my inability to argue effectively isn't a new discovery. i have always had trouble pulling rhetoric from my brain without first thinking, thinking, and thinking some more. however, until yesterday, i was functioning under the false belief that, thank God, i could at least hold my own in a written debate. and then i posted in the controversial subject section of the grammar forum. ooooh boy, was it a disaster.

[i'll finish the 3-part post next time--i first had to confess my inadequacy in these logic wars]

andrew david. "belikin, the belizean hometown brew & a possible explanation for my sucky debate skills?" san ignacio town, belize.

ps. i may have the priestess of light's title wrong. i think she's also a druid.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

dreams 2

[today's post is continued from yesterday's post in which i recounted 1.3 of my prophetic dreams and speculated about their cause.]

it was the last time that i ever saw the man: i watched him place the $5 million check a safe distance from the wreck and then return to the van. as a storyteller, i'll admit, this feels like an unpleasant way to leave the fellow; he should peel from the parking lot in a cloud of exhaust or shrink into the fabric of his grey tweed coat, a concrete chameleon, a certain spectre of some malovent surreptious secret. but, no, he walked at a rather ordinary pace to the rather ordinary van and i saw him no more.

instead, my dream suddenly exploded in a brilliant splash of colors. razzle dazzle rose, torch red, laser lemon, jungle green--a crayola parade of twirling octagons. apparently, i was surrounded by a throng of umbrella wielding shoppers returning to their cars, each peopling the drab lot with her own customized color. it dawned on me then that i didn't have an umbrella of my own, so i started walking purposefully toward the mall (yes, this is a remarkable dream). near the entrance, i saw a crowd, some tables, and an overhead banner proclaiming UMBRELLAS FOR THE POOR, A NONPROFIT. ah hah.

it was quite a spectacle; volunteers were busily attempting to distribute their wares to the hundreds of needy shoppers. as i watched, i gathered that the number of umbrellas was running low. it was nearing closing time. and then i noticed my college buddy brady hatfield off to one side, listening intently to a bespectacled volunteer in a red pant suit. she looked worried.

i worked my way toward the pair and greeted brady with a smile. he motioned me toward the woman.

"--carol, this is my friend andrew."

"yes, well, hello." then back to business. "after that, right, she asked me to watch him. she said she'd be right back. something about her keys or front door or i don't know." as she spoke, the woman brought a finger up to her cheek and absently performed tiny figure-eights.

"and i didn't have time to--" over the chaotic sounds of mass charity, an infant's screams momentarily interrupted the woman, but she continued. "she just left."

brady sprung into action. he gently removed the shrieking puddle of fat and face from the car seat and secured the boy in a burly-looking mountaineering pack that just happened to be waiting on the ground. "don't worry," said brady, "we'll find the mother."

unfortunately, that's where the dream ends--i awoke before discovering the baby's fate. however, that afternoon, i received an important phone call, and the prophecy was revealed....

[stay tuned for the final prophetic dream post]

andrew david. "a little girl with some flowers." san ignacio town, belize

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


[programming note: it's not wednesday, but i've decided to post a little something tonight anyway. also, my travel writing experiment is turning out to be a flop, so i may return to regular blogging again soon. we'll see....]

for my trip to belize, doctor wendy prescribed chloroquine. "don't worry," she said, "this isn't the one that gives you crazy dreams or makes you monster-sick." indeed, there are several ways to kill the malaria bug and chloroquine's side effects are rather tame. it's malaria med cousin is a bit more interesting however: travelers taking mefloquine complain of the usual aches and pains--headaches, nausea, dizziness--and then some more interesting symptoms like vivid dreams and visual disturbances.

i picked up my chloroquine at bartell's pharmacy on march 24th and have been taking the pills every saturday since. they taste rather nasty, but i didn't experienced anything too alarming until late last week. that's when i started having crazy dreams.

okay, in of itself, crazy dreams really aren't that uncharacteristic for the typical andrew evening; my memory and imagination have collaborated on some rather bizarre late night escapades. but this is new: my dreams are prophetic.

the first visitation of the future occurred last wednesday night. i was dreaming of a hotel in belize when some friends from spokane appeared in the lobby. "what are brady and alisha doing in belize?" i wondered. before i could inquire further, i learned that the hotel's staircase terminated about a flight and a half short of their room. this was particularly awkward because alisha was pregnant (and this wasn't one of my office mate james's flying dreams). after clamoring up onto the hotel's roof and trying to find an alternate entrance to their room (you know, ancient apostle-style), i awoke.

no, i didn't climb my way to work the next morning, but there's a surprise embedded in that little adventure. but before i explain, let me recount thurday's dream. i'll warn you though, my newly discovered talent for divination is in no way correlated with an improved sense of timing. that is, i'm not about to interfere with this vision i've been granted, and although much of the dream may seem irrelevant, there's no way i'm skipping to the end.

my recollection of the dream begins with me sitting in the passenger seat of a nondescript white van, watching as the driver, a heavy-set bald man, scanned his mirrors, pulled into the parking lot arterial, and then attempted to repark in the neighboring space. i say
attempted because the space was already occupied--my driver didn't seem to care. he pressed the gas and gunned our big white beast through the rear bumper of the unfortunate subaru. with a chuckle, he jumped from his seat and tossed me a can of lighter fluid. as flames reflected off the walls and cars and puddles of that concrete jungle, we admired our handiwork. the man happily quipped about the surprise of the owner when he or she stumbled from the mall into the presence of their smoking car-cass. he then wiped the grime from his hands and reached into his sports coat.

"how does five million sound?" he asked. he nodded to himself, scrawled a figure in his ledger, and dismissed me with a wave. as i walked toward the mall, i turned to watch him stuff a check in a bright green envelope. he placed the envelope a safe distance from the smouldering wreck and returned to the van.

[i foretell that this post will be continued in the future, perhaps tomorrow....]

[disclaimer: this is creative nonfiction with the emphasis on creative--i may be overplaying my response to these dreams just a tiny bit.]

andrew david. "traveling by van" the highway from belize city to san ignacio town, belize.