Cell Phones

Yesterday I was downtown talking to Margin. Margin is homeless, although she does have a lot of resources through friends. Somehow we ended up talking about cell phones. She has a cell phone, which is an asset to her in terms of finding a job, staying connected to people, stuff like that. This is actually kind of a big thing: how can those in poverty have access to communication tools that will help them find a job, stay in touch with family, etc. Cell phones are one tool that is important (although not universally accepted as a good thing i suppose). Community Voice Mail is an organization that works in this area as well. CVM does not deal in phones, but does give people a voice mail box so they can receive messages.

Margin mentioned that one of the hard parts about having a cell phone is being able to keep it charged. So, i think that if i ever live or have a business in an area where it makes sense i’m going to put a couple power outlets and a bench outside so people can charge there phones.

It’s kind of crazy, the things we never really think about that become hard when you don’t have a permanent roof over your head that is not a bridge.

3 songs

So when I started going to Curves a few months ago I had no idea what I was in for. And aside from the obvious things (getting in shape, etc.) I have also discovered some AWESOME* arrangements of some of my FAVORITE* songs!  I mean, who wouldn’t want to work out to techno versions of Mmmmbop, Achy Breaky Heart, & my personal favorite….  the theme song to Forrest Gump.

*there may be some sarcasm in the above comments.

A little public service announcement

If you are all car savvy just ignore this post.

The other day I used a 3M Headlight Restoration Kit to polish the headlights on my car. It worked amazingly well:

So, if your headlights seem dim and the lenses are all foggy spend the $25 and 30 minutes it takes to restore them. It makes a big difference.

I was thinking this might be a business opportunity. What if you restored peoples headlights while they were at work? The system is completely portable, so you could go to the parking lot. It would only take a few hundred in start up cost, and some savvey marketing. You could probably charge $30, and I think it would take around 20 minutes to do the whole process once you got good at it. You would have to factor in some travel time as well…and of course all the normal business expenses like insurance, replacing worn out gear, etc.

I’m not sure the status of micro finance in the United States, but it seems like the amount of money it takes to impact an individuals ability to generate wealth is much higher here then, say, on the African continent (this is pure speculation). A business like this could be funded through some sort of micro finance or peer to peer set up, and might be a viable option for somebody looking to start a low cost business.

on being REAL

Some things that have been running through my head lately.

Lots of people have been posting lately about being more REAL. Less of the “this is how I want you to see me.” And more of “this is how I really am.” With the pictures we show of ourselves, the things we blog about, everything.  www.thereignofellen.blogspot.com & People of the Second Chance are the things that have inspired me to show this:

This is me running. In pain. And ready to collapse. After 3.1 miles. Not 26.2. After 3.1 and I had trained for this. I feel like I SHOULD like running. Like I SHOULD enjoy it & be good at it. But I don’t. It’s painful & frustrating.

and this:

Now even though I’m smiling, I’m trying to mask my utter frustration. This is me “skiing.” I spent most of my 1 run down the mountain like this. Without the smile. I don’t really like skiing. At all. It’s hard & scary & bring me to say things like “I hate this!” As we were trekking over to the actual ski lift. BEFORE we even got to the ski lift. But I feel like I SHOULD like skiing. But in all honesty, I don’t.

Now, I don’t want to live a truly comfortable life. I want to stretch myself & learn new things. And I’m not completely opposed to learning to ski or learning to run. But if we’re being REAL, then my motivation to do them right now is because for whatever reason I feel like I SHOULD want to do them.

And I’d rather it be because I really (deep down) have a desire to want to do them. For ME. Not someone else.

And here’s a picture of that:

This is Ben & I at the top of Mt. Huron. A 14er we summited last year when we were in Colorado. And I’m not sure that there is a way to convey to you just how much this picture means to me. Because from this picture, you can’t see the serious mental/emotional breakdown I went through on the way up. The tears and seriously negative self-thinking that was going on in my head. And I didn’t make it to the top b/c of anything I actually had in me. But I wanted to do it for me. Not for anyone else. I needed to make it to the top for ME. But I did NOT make it to the top alone.

That’s REAL.

How can you be more REAL today?

Christmas Presents

I have prints of a few of my pictures that would love to sell to you. So, if your looking for Christmas presents not in the “mass produced bought at the big box” category here are some ideas for you. If you see a picture below you are interested in buying let me know. Ill tell you what size I have printed and we can work out payment. I have a bunch of pictures at www.poolhouseblack.com, most of which I can have prints made of, so if you see something there you like let me know. Here is what I already have prints of:


DSC_2415 (Custom)


DSC_0118 (Custom)


DSC_0077 (Custom)


DSC_3344 (Custom)


DSC_0116 (Custom)


DSC_0091 (Custom)


DSC_0149 (Custom)


DSC_0109 (Custom)


dsc_0027(2) (Custom)


Untitled (Custom)


artwindow (Custom)


DSC_4799 (Custom)

what to write about…

It seems that it is time for a blog post…but im not sure what to write about…so how about some random stuff:

a great movie: God Grew Tired of Us You really should see it. It is the true story of a group of The Lost Boys of Sudan who come to America as refuges. I think what was most fascinating about it to me was the conflict between the comfort and safety they found in the united states, and the pain of being taken out of their community.

Here is an interesting article about urban decay and potential renewal: Detroit

This one is for Cass: xkcd

This week I: picked a project, talked to a guy who just got out of prison, was asked if i was Jesus or homeless, bought a christmas tree, painted a lot, ate a lot of cookies, didnt ride my bike, designed a bulletin, worked on the beginnings of a new web site for CQMissional (which could be really cool…watch for it…), watched It’s a Wonderful Life. More on some of those things later.


things i like about living in the city:

  1. walking to things
  2. discovering new things
  3. interesting buildings

Things i miss about living in the woods

  1. wood stove
  2. throwing leftovers outside
  3. animals
  4. trails outside my front door

things i dont like about living in the city

  1. it’s never dark
  2. it’s never quiet
  3. to many people
  4. people asking for money
  5. locking doors