Monday, May 26, 2008

The Book

Some of you already know that I have recently written and illustrated a book. It's called Man Eating Vegetables. It all started out as a Christmas present to my brother... I was laying in bed, about to fall asleep, and I had a vision of writing a crazy book about vegetables that eat people and giving it to my brother for his Christmas present. I immediately grabbed my journal and started sketching ideas. Over the next month, I would make more sketches, bounce ideas off my wife and classmates, and eventually publish the book through
This book isn't for everyone. The humor is certainly targeted toward my brother and myself, so if you don't think we're very funny, you probably won't enjoy the book.
I love it, though, and, like my t-shirt printing, thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to just get creative and make something.
It's about 19 pages total and you can check out a mini-preview or buy the book at
Happy reading.

(you can click on the images to enlarge)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Man Shower

About two and a half years ago, right before Jenn and I got married, her dad and brother threw me a man shower. We used old license plates as plates, nails for toothpicks, a bucket made from tires for chips, a hard hat for dip and other manly, non-conventional ways of serving and eating food. We had a contest to see who had the manliest car, who wrapped their gift in the manliest way, and who could match the most tools to their slogans. For gifts, all I got were tools. It was one of the coolest ideas.

The whole idea behind the man shower is to put a little focus on the groom. Most, if not all of the presents that the couple will receive from bridal showers and the wedding itself will stereotypically be catered toward the wife- towels, plates, stuff guys don't really care about, etc. Even a lot of aspects of the wedding are all about the bride. At the man shower, everyone brings manly gifts and does manly things. The groom is celebrated and remembered (along with manliness).

A couple of my friends at school last semester were recently engaged, so I decided to throw them a man shower too. We had CAUTION tape streamers, ate out of my toolbox, had nail-pounding competitions, root-beer floats, a manly knowledge quiz, and a great time just laughing and hanging out. Both of the guys told me afterwards just how blessed they felt by the whole thing, and I just said, "Great! That's the whole idea."

Last night was the pinnacle of man-showers. The groom to be was my future brother-in-law Tim. We combined elements of the first two and added some new, amazing ones. The highlight for me was the hatchet throwing competition. Some low-life had escaped from the local prison, robbed the local orphanage, and came across our path. Luckily, we had hatchets to throw at him. Needless to say, we took that creep down and the day was saved. Russ won the competition by disabling the culprit with a key throw. Looking out for orphans is manly.

Moral of the stories- throw a man-shower for someone you know. The things we did don't take a whole lot of effort to put together. It's such a cool way to support the groom. They are guaranteed to be tons of fun. And every guy likes the chance to just be a guy.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Screen Printing

So I have been talking about it for a l0ng time, sitting through linguistic classes and doodling ideas, hemming and hawing over which package to buy- and I finally did it. I am the proud owner of silk screen system.

Dad-in-law and I set up a little corner in the basement so I could make my own messes without messing up other peoples' messes. It's a perfect place to work since it can get completely dark for coating and burning screens, there's a sink for all the washing, and it gets freezing cold down there. We installed a bench, cabinet and lighting; mounted the press; and away I went.
My first attempts at burning a screen did not turn out too well*. Luckily I had lattes, tunes, and New Belgium to keep my spirits up. Fourth time is a charm, though, and I made a usable screen. Turns out I needed a higher wattage bulb, a longer burn time, and I only coated one side of the screen with emulsion. I used a cut-out stencil for my design since I didn't trust that my printer was printing the film opaque enough so that light could not get through. I used a panda design that I had originally submitted for a dorm t-shirt contest at Simpson University, but it only received two votes. Take that Simpson! The Panda LIVES!

I scrounged Goodwill for t-shirts to practice on and only came back with this black one for a buck- not bad, not bad at all. I practiced on some paper first cause I didn't want to screw up my nice new shirt.

I slapped some ink on the screen, squeegied (sp?) away, and BAM! Sexy Panda. WWF here I come (that's World Wildlife Fund).

SO GET YOUR ORDERS IN! This panda shirt can be yours for only a $99.99! Seriously, though, everyone who ever gets a gift from me from now on will probably be getting some sort of t-shirt or other printed item. Just pretend you like it.

Special thanks to my wife, mom, and grandma who supported me financially in this creative venture, and to everyone else who supported me in other ways like saying, "Dude, that's awesome! You should totally do that." Thanks to dad-in-law too for letting me set up shop in

It's been a fun process. I love being able to have creative outlets.

*If you want to know more about the screen-printing process, check out this video

Friday, May 2, 2008

Home Sweet Home?

Monday morning we picked up our U-Haul, loaded the truck and cleaned our cozy basement suite in Langley. We ordered pizza from the same pizza place we ordered from our first night in Canada. It was really yummy... I'll miss that pizza place. Then we headed for the border... the only glitch being they wouldn't let us bring our houseplants back over the border without an inspection. So I had to drive back & leave our plants with a friend until we can go back and get the inspection done. Tuesday was spent unloading the truck into the top floor of my parents house in Maple Valley.

This is a random picture of some guy moving boxes... but it looks really familiar...

I am waiting for it to seem like home... ironic since this was my home for so many years. It is so familiar and yet these walls are not yet my refuge, my nest. I think this may be one of the more difficult transitions... boxes boxes everywhere. I am beginning to taste the "joys" of moving. I used to feel like moving was a bit exciting... but right now it holds no thrill. The other night I crash-landed in bed... fearful of what I would turn into (in my tired, transitioning state) if I didn't succumb to the unconscious state of slumber.

We know that this will be a good season... perhaps full of trials, but a good season. I think those trials have begun with transitioning into a new place again. In the midst of it all, a plan has not been emerging and solidifying for us, but everything seems to be increasingly up in the air regarding jobs, plans, how long we'll be here, what is the next step for us, when we'll finish our master's up in Canada... [sigh]. I am becoming weary of answering those questions... only because we don't have any idea right now. We are moving forward as best we can... following God's leading to move back to Washington right now and trusting the rest will fall into place.

Yet amidst the challenges facing us right now there is peace and joy knowing that our Father is sovereign and that we must seek to focus the fullness of our souls in worship of Him. He has been so faithful to us. Even these challenges of transition and the unknown are his provision to grow us and strengthen us. May we make the most of these trials and opportunities to allow Him to prepare us mentally, emotionally, spiritually... for worshipping Him more fully and for serving Him on the mission field some day.

Please pray for us 1) to have a healthy transition, 2) to have good jobs and fellowship here, and 3) for wisdom in where in the world and with what sending organization we will go overseas.

I am sitting in the dusk light now, allowing my eyes and ears to settle upon the swallows--a forgotten luxury. Oh how I love to watch them--it ministers to my soul to see the free and fearless way that they swoop and soar through the air. May the world be a little brighter to your eyes today, dear ones.