Reflections on Discussion About the Charleston, SC Shooting

I’ve been reflecting on the tragedy that struck Emanual African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina the evening of June 17th. I’ve been silent in my reflection. What is there to say, now? Nothing can be done to lessen the heartache of the friends, family, neighbors of those nine people. We must support them as the mourn.

What can be done, what I can do, is learn from this event, to call it what it is. We can hold people accountable for the language they use to discuss it. We can insist that this atrocity be illuminated clearly so we can see all the ugly facets. We can hold the perpetrator fully responsible, and yet examine our own role as a society in which the perpetrator could go this far. Continue reading


I did an awesome thing

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I usually down-play my accomplishments. This morning, though, I will freely admit I did an awesome thing: I ran the Eugene Marathon. This was my first full marathon. And it was amazing, and exhausting, and painful. I’m lucky, though, because I had some fantastic people supporting me. Continue reading

The Westboro Baptist Church, Soldiers, and Heroes

At the suggestion of a close friend, I spent the afternoon in Corvallis standing as a barrier around a funeral. This barrier was deemed necessary because The Westboro Baptist Church had planned to “peacefully preach” outside this funeral, in their infamous fashion. Continue reading

I Succeeded at a Cool Thing!

It’s become clear to me that the only success I’m ever going to find is the success I make for myself. Right now is a great time for people to make their own success, though. I’m currently self-employed, more or less full-time, as a private tutor. Tutoring is the only job I’ve ever had that I truly enjoyed. And I made it happen by putting myself out there and taking a chance. It is paying off.

In the spirit of pursuing my own success, I posted this ad on Craigslist a couple weeks ago:

Got a Problem? I Can Solve It. (Willamette Valley Area)

Are you struggling with a problem and wish someone would help you solve it?

Then you should contact me; I specialize in solving problems.

My name is Ryan and I am offering my services to help you remove that thorn in your side. For the last two years I have been helping all sorts of people in the Willamette Valley area to solve their problems. Small business owners, students, farmers, teachers have all benefited from my particular talents. I can provide excellent references to serious inquirers.

If you are struggling with a technical or logistical issue, I have the know-how to tackle it. If there is a project that you just need to offload, then I can take it on for you. If you need a temporary extra set of hands, eyes, or brains then you need me.

My fee is quite affordable and is well worth the relief you’ll feel with my help. Initial consultations are free.

Contact me today so we can set a meeting and discuss the ways I can help you succeed and meet your goals.

Continue reading

Goodbye TV shows

Starting this weekend I am going to give up watching traditional, long-form television shows for a whole year. I spend more time than I am eager to admit keeping up with the shows that I “like.” I want that time back. I am realizing that the entertainment I’m getting out of these shows is probably not worth the time I spend watching them.

Continue reading

I spent the last couple weeks with YouTube, Good Housekeeping, and a bridal magazine.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks forgoing my usual media sources and instead focusing on my wife’s. You can read more about the origins and rules of this Great Media Swap in my previous post. I have tried my best not to cheat and to completely ignore the media I typically consume. The net result is that I’ve just consumed less these last two weeks. But the information and entertainment I have experienced is all stuff Leah would normally see.

So, I feel like this has been a valuable experience. I feel like I know her a little better, like I can empathize just this little bit more (which strengthens a marriage, as I learned from one of her magazines!). Hopefully this exercise has done the same for her. Continue reading

The Great Media Swap

You can read the follow-up to this blog HERE

Leah had an idea:

What if, for two weeks, her and I swap media? That means forgoing our usual sources and using each other’s.

So we are.

She has given me access to her StumbleUpon and her YouTube account. We traded mp3 players. She took a few of my comic books. I have her new Good Housekeeping, Self, and other magazines. I gave her a list of the shows I watch on Hulu and the password to my Twitter because that is where I get most of my news.

This will be for two weeks; basically we’ll end the year experiencing information–and thereby the world–from the other’s perspective.

As soon as she mentioned this media swap I was on board. In this age of instantaneous information and personal devices, it is so easy to become ensconced in your own bubble. And that leads to close-mindedness.

I am not looking forward to reading through the bridal magazine or having to watch Elle Fowler on YouTube. But that is a great reason to complete this exercise. This is media that Leah consumes on a regular basis, so I should be familiar with it.

Since Leah and I aren’t living together and only see each other every couple of weeks it is even more important that we find ways to share experiences. This will help us continue to identify with each other. My hope is that this provides her with a glimpse at what I love about geek culture. Maybe she won’t be quite so hard on it when she actually experiences it. And maybe I’ll find something to like in beauty and consumer culture. She also has a lot of science and social commentary media that I am excited to explore.

I am going to make a point of writing at least a couple of blogs about topics I normally wouldn’t based on information and articles I encounter in her media.

My relationship with Leah is best described as a series of well-intentioned experiments. This is the latest.

Wanna know how it went? Read the follow-up post.