Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ascot Nation

As we were going to bed last night Valerie reminded me that I have to get used to the idea that we may run into some snobbery at Wake Forest, it being a private school and all. She then said, "You know, we went to UF, which is a great school, but its public...", which is when I cut her off before she said something she was going to regret. I said, "UF is the Harvard of the South, Valerie." And it was about that time that I realized that there are varying degrees of snobbery. Ouch.

On a related note, do you think they'll let us into the Wake Forest football games with our jean shorts on?

Also on a related note, I have a feeling that I'm going to be talking more and more about how sad I am to forfeit my membership in the citizenry of the bottomless jug that is Alachua County.

Do not despise the day of small things

As you know, we've felt like things have been "up in the air" for us for quite a while now. Since about the time I started lacking direction on my thesis until now we have just been living day to day, week to week, trying to listen to God. The portions of our life that have been concrete, however, have been what got us through that; God's grace in our floundering around, our trust that God was taking care of us, God taking care of us, and our marriage. Our priest, Father Ron, ofter reminds us not to despise the days of small things, and that he or she who is faithful with a little will be trusted with bigger things.
We are finally, finally at a place where things are not up in the air! I applied for PA school earlier this semester and went back to Santa Fe to finish the prereqs (Anatomy & Physiology I & II and Microbiology). I applied to 11 schools, and the first to call for an interview was Wake Forest, in Winston-Salem. I went for the interview on Friday just praying that I would have a chance. There were people there who seemed quite a bit more qualified, and I was hoping for at least a spot on the alternate list. Well, at the end of the day they called me and another applicant into the admission director's office and she said, "normally we don't do this on interview day, but the two of you just blew us away today, and I'd like to invite you for a spot in our incoming class!" My very first thought was that Valerie and I will no longer feel like everything is up in the air! One day I will actually have a career that is rewarding and affords a good salary. I cried and hugged the director of admissions.
I am so impressed with Wake's program. It is focused on problem based learning (PBL) rather than lecture based learning, and I think I will thrive in that environment. It is much the way my graduate advisor teaches students. So, I have decided to accept the spot at Wake Forest. I cannot tell you how excited I am!
It has taken me so long to get to a spot that I was finally not despising the days of small things. I'm sure years from now I will see that I've grown even more. The times that build our character the most, I'm convinced, are chronic. Because we are creatures of habit, I think they have to be. We should not grow weary in doing good (day after day, after long day), because at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we faint not!

By the way, the program starts June 1st. We are so unspeakably sad to leave Gainesville. I can assure you, though, we will be back often. In all kinds of weather we all stick together for F-L-O-R-I-D-A.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A little hope is a lot of hope

It is official! I am flying to Haiti on December 13th to begin a project that will eventually provide tilapia for an orphanage! Our friends Jay and Diana Cherry moved to Haiti about two months ago to live there indefinitely, and run an orphanage they helped create. Jay contacted me a few months ago and asked me to consider helping with an aquaculture project that would provide protein for these children. if you didn't already know, impoverished areas of the tropics have a major lack of protein, and aquaculture is the most efficient way of producing animal protein.
I have been in contact with several professional aquaculturists who have experience with tilapia production in Haiti, and I have plans to visit a site that one of them has built there.

I am so excited about this opportunity. Since aquaculture was just a glimmer in my eye, I have daydreamed about opportunities to teach people in the "global south" how to feed themselves with farmed fish. The fact that this is for orphans eclipses even my wildest ministry/aquaculture dreams.

This first trip will be somewhat of a "sondeo", or a gathering of information about the natural resources available, other tilapia projects in the region, cultural perspectives of aquaculture, etc. But it will also include some initial site preparation, and at least some site preparation planning.

The organization Jay and Diana work with is called Lespwa Worldwide, and they have paid for my plane ticket to Haiti. Right now I am trying to come up with the rest of my expenses, which total around $1,300. If any of you dear readers feel led to donate to this trip, I would greatly appreciate it. If so, you can email me at estonerook at

I'll keep youins updated as details fall into place!

Monday, October 19, 2009

America's a free country

Yeah, maybe the kid's parents shouldn't have used him as the main actor in their publicity stunt. But you have to admit they are about as creative as they come. A giant silver baloon? The kid's parents are about to be arrested for allowing the police to believe their son was inside that baloon. The sherrif of their town said the following, "We were manipulated by the family, and the media has been manipulated by the family." The media? Manipulated?! NOOOOOOOO!!!! Now manipulating the police, the FAA, the Navy, Air Force, and Coast guard...well, that's one thing. But NO citizen of my county will get away with manilpulating the media, with all its moral and non-manipulative fiber. I mean, all those news stations HAD to power up their choppers and anchorpeople to cover this thing, right? And at the expense of whom? The powerless advertisers on their networks!
These folks who may or may not have set this thing up are just trying to give the economy a boost, people! I mean, the only thing that was lost was a little government money, and meanwhile we were all advertised to on whichever non-manipulative, non-partisan news source we prefer. I was just complaining in my last post about the loss of American ingenuity. This is American ingenuity! At least someone is still being inventive and taking strides toward a better tomorrow!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


This is an incredible story, brought to you by BBC via Travis' blog.

What if we all had this kind of creativity, whimsy, and determination after we got home from work?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just another day on the subcontinent

JTLYK: The following did not end in tragedy...

Hey Dan, when you were traipsing around the Indian countryside the other day, did you happen to see my son? I lost track of him while we were riding on the train. See, I went to use the restroom and well, you know how Indian train toilets dump right onto the tracks, well, see, I was using the restroom and OH MY GOSH I ACCIDENTALLY JUST GAVE BIRTH TO MY SON WHO PROCEEDED TO GO THROUGH THE HOLE IN THE TOILET AND LAND ON THE TRACKS SO LIKE ANY NORMAL PARENT I JUMPED FROM A MOVING TRAIN BUT ITS OKAY BECAUSE WE WERE OBVIOUSLY BOTH PERFECTLY FINE BECAUSE IN A COUNTRY OF 1.2 BILLION PEOPLE THERE IS A 100% CHANCE THAT THIS WOULD HAPPEN TO SOMEONE EVENTUALLY!!!

Yes folks, this happened. The craziest part of the whole thing? The lady had minor scratches after jumping from the train and the baby (who was full-term) had no injuries whatsoever. Not even a scratch. Here is the article.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Said No, No, No.

(Pertaining to the poem below)
In case you are wondering, this happens to me every day. I get really excited about taking my last gulp of coffee, only it is just a few minutes after I have actually taken my last gulp of coffee. The grounds sit at the bottom of my mug as if they are having some kind of board meeting that I wasn't invited to, nor will I ever be. What are they discussing down there? I wonder if they talk about me like I'm some kind of weirdo, always staring down at them, wondering where their delicious solvent disappeared to.
And no, I cannot have another cup, for a few reasons:
1) I am already too biophysiochemically dependent on caffeine.
2) Diminishing marginal utility.
3) My thermos only holds two cupfuls.


Full of false hope,
I tilt my coffee cup, and look.


Welcome, long afternoon.


Dear reader,
I am going to start a campaign to be a more consistent blogger. Yes, I do this about once every two or three months. Get used to it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ryan started the fire...

For the last three months or so the break room at my job has had only one microwave to serve all 50 or so of us, and we all take our lunch at the same time. I’m sure you can see the problem with this.
Just recently, though, an optimistic young lady decided to take up a collection for a new microwave. Now, let me tell you that during this stint of only one functional microwave, EVERYONE complained. Do you know how much money she raised from 50 people to buy a new one? $30. Awesome.
Then, on the last day of the collection, another co-worker (think Creed Bratten), came in with a brand new microwave to donate. Then the next day we had a total of three of them! It was great. No more waiting for 10 minutes while everyone cooks their frozen-solid, processed TV dinner type meals. Plus, the two new microwaves didn’t have the chronic smell of burnt popcorn. Did I tell you that people here don’t know how to cook popcorn? About once a week the whole office smells like char and smoke from that carcinogenic yellow glue that lines the inside of microwavable popcorn bags. And secondly, who microwaves popcorn at work? We’re not watching Varsity Blues, people! We’re providing healthcare! But alas, we have new microwaves, so my lunch doesn’t have to smell like that, right? Wait, what’s that smell? Its only 7:45 in the morning. Who eats popcorn at 7:45 in the morning? PEOPLE! Who eats burnt microwave popcorn at 7:45 in the morning!!!??? NOOOOOOooooooo!!!! (Cry fades off to an oblivion foggy with popcorn smoke.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chiggers Revisited

It must be chigger season in the upper midwest right about now, because a whole lot of people from uproundthoseparts have been visiting my blog via google, from searching for images of chiggers. Here in Florida we get chiggers around early summer. But that is not an invitation to move here. I mean, we can't fit everyone in this, the best darn state in the Union AMIRITE!?

On a related note, last year Florida had a declining population for the first time since sometime around WWII. YAAAAYYYYY!!!!!



A poem by Mr. Frost to commemorate this, our second real day of fall weather in Gainesville. This weather gets me more pumped than a lot of things. Add two cups of coffee to that and I start annoying my co-workers.

Gathering Leaves
By Robert Frost

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.

Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where
The harvest shall stop?

Friday, September 25, 2009

The simplicity and complexity of a to-do list

Because a lot of things have been up in the air for us for some time now, I get to the point sometimes that I am sure I’m forgetting about something very important. My triage solution is to make lists. This has been my most effective means of organization I’ve ever had, with the glaring exception of Valerie, of course, who could organize swarming wasps if she wanted to. I started keeping lists back around my freshman or sophomore year of college. Back then the typical list might read as follows: biology lab, theatre appreciation, skateboard with so-and-so, play Tiger Woods golf, call roommate’s g/f to ask her to start calling me in the morning to wake me up for class, pay Verizon.
Today’s lists usually take one of two roads, either the things I need to take care of today, or a large, daunting list of things I am planning on/hoping to accomplish at some point, so that I don’t forget about some dream I have or another, and may read as follows: Finish thesis, own an aquaculture business, legitimately sell beer I brew, become a PA, become debt free ASAP, save a 20% down payment for a house, start saving for above mentioned businesses, write a book about how all of my various and sundry pieces of knowledge and experiences sum to some grand theory or at least give my degrees more utility than my own love of knowing things.
Today’s list reads as follows: Call Cabot Lodge (Window washing), (Call Alice) Window Washing, Try beer (first taste test on batch of homebrew conditioning in my closet), USC supplemental application (because who doesn’t want to move their wife and child to L.A.), Call Maria (acting gig on famous kids TV show), Blog (done!), Pray for so-and-so (someone’s phone interview), work. Sometimes I’ll add some stuff in there to make it more exciting, like “Kick ass,” or “Take names”, which usually gets crossed out/marked as "accomplished" about 15 minutes after finishing my second cup of coffee. No need to write that in today, because its Friday, and who can compete with the likes of a Friday at kicking a$$? Am I right? Pound it! (Insert dynamic, knuckle bruising fist bump here.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Throughout our Eden land...

Did you know the Florida Alma Mater had a second verse? And its a good one, too!

Composed in 1925 by Milton Yeats

Florida, our Alma Mater
Thy glorious name we praise
All thy loyal sons and daughters
A joyous song shall raise
Where a palm and pine are blowing
Where southern seas are flowing
Shine forth thy noble Gothic walls
Thy lovely vine clad halls
Neath the Orange and Blue victorious
Our love shall never fail
There's no other name so glorious
All hail, Florida, hail.

In the name of Alma Mater
We take each comrade's hand
True to thee and to each other
Throughout our Eden land
Old school we love so dearly
May god be ever near thee
To guide us by the shining light
Of honor, truth and might
Hear our alma mater calling
Let courage never fail
For before her all are falling
All hail, Florida, hail.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The day after Andrew Meyer was tazed on UF campus for acting a-fool there was a big riotous protest on the Plaza of the Americas, complete with many indie-types calling for the disarming and distasering of campus police. The passion that filled the air that day reminded me of the heartfelt self-guidedness of the Alligator's editorial board. At least this guy is willing to admit his he makes you want to throw a frisbee around with him.

On a related, actually relevant note, people involved in mass disappearances in Chile under Agosto Pinochet are finally going to at least be tried. Here's the opening paragraph of "Talk of the Nation", from last Wednesday.

"A Chilean judge issued arrest warrants for more than 120 former soldiers and agents who worked for Augusto Pinochet's secret police after the general seized power in a coup in 1973. Government reports conclude that more than 2,000 people disappeared during Pinochet's rule, many during campaigns to crush leftist opposition. The charges include torture and murder."

If you've never heard about this coup and what followed, you should read about it. Thousands of young men in Chile have not been heard from or seen since then because of it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A vivid memory...

One day your normally gentle twelve year old may do this after a seemingly important little league game. Thanks to this runningback way out in Oregon, a whole town of people are remembering when an unassuming twelve year old me took similar recourse after a tough loss. I'm sorry Brian Hendrix wherever you are!

Nooo Carl Moore!!!

It looks like Carl Moore, who was set to replace Louis Murphy in the receiving corps, will likely be out for the season with a back injury. This happened to me several times, although I wasn't a starting receiver for the Gators at the time. We need to get this guy here for some laying on of hands!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


In case you're wondering why I haven't been a faithful blogger, its because I am registered for 12 credits this semester. I'm taking the prerequisites for Physician's Assistant School at Santa Fe while working full time at the VA. So bear with me please!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Both Ways

Did you know Joe Haden holds Maryland's public school record for TD passes and passing yards in a season? When he came to UF he realized that Tebow would beat him out at QB and Percy would at RB/Receiver, so he became a corner back...a great corner back.
Well, it looks like he'll be stepping in on offense again this season, playing the role of Wildcat. Can the Gators be any more dynamic? When asked if he would steal Tebow's position he said, "No, I'm not going to steal it, I'm going to borrow it for a second. I'm real excited about it." So are we, Joe. Here's the article.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Koopa Beach is for Insomniacs

The last time I had trouble sleeping I had just gotten a super nintendo for Christmas, and when school started back up in January, I couldn’t quit playing Mario Kart over and over in my head all night. I remember walking out into the living room, where my parents were still awake, and feeling like I was going crazy. Since then I may have had trouble falling asleep maybe ten times, for about ten minutes each time, until this weekend. Saturday night I was up most of the night, without explanation, and then again last night I woke up at 3:30, couldn’t sleep, so I worked on my thesis until I left for work. It reminded me of this; “Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids; deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand and like a bird from the hand of the fowler.” It’s from Proverbs 6, and it’s about getting yourself out of debt to a neighbor. Well, I certainly owe a master’s thesis to some powers that be, and it sure feels like debt. Maybe it’s God’s tough mercy that is keeping me up so that I work on this thing. I’ll keep you posted on that.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mel Martinez needs a new hair cut

The longer I’m an adult, the more I hope that I cannot be grouped in any particular political group. From time to time, however, I can understand why people in one group or another choose to identify with that particular ideology. This morning I am empathizing with all you Libertarians. We are due for new tags on our vehicle. Not a new plate, just a new tag. It’s going to cost us $67. What are they doing with my $67? More importantly, that $67 times the 16.47 million registered cars in Florida earns the state 1.1 billion dollars a year. What are they doing with that? I’m sure it doesn’t cost that much to keep track of people’s cars, right? I think when I got my license at 16 years old it might have cost like $25 for a new tag. Is this money going to pay for Charlie Christ’s tanning bed? I’m ready to declare our family citizens of the Conch Republic and revolt, or maybe we can start a new, Swamp Republic. How far we have strayed from Florida’s first motto of “Let us alone”. You know that American Indian woman picking flowers on Florida’s flag? I bet the last thing on her mind was paying $67 just so the state could keep track of her marsh-tacky.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cash for Clunkers, Energy Saved or Energy Burned?

I’ve been thinking about this cash for clunkers program and wondering if it really is better for the environment. In other words, if we take all of these gas guzzlers off the street and replace them with fuel efficient sedans, will the energy/environment savings in gas actually be greater than the cost of producing a brand new car? To find out, I consulted some e-literature and a pad of scrap paper and pen. This is what followed:

So far the average car being traded in on this program gets about 15.8 mpg, while the average new car being sold in the program gets 25.4 mpg, a difference of 9.6 mpg. Now, let’s assume the average person puts 10,000 miles on their car annually; if this average person is saving 9.6 mpg over 10,000 miles they are saving about 1,041 gallons of gas, annually. This number times the 250,000 cars that will be replaced with this program works out to about 60 million gallons of gas being saved per year through the program. In energy terms this is about 8 million Gigajoules of energy per year. Remember this number. With this program we will save 8 million Gigajoules of fossil fuel energy (not including the energy required to find, get, and refine all that saved oil.)

Now, the next question is, how much energy are we wasting by making all these new cars? Sure, I know what you’re thinking; the old cars will be replaced soon anyway because they’re old cars. Well, let’s just assume that they would be on the road for at least one more year if it weren’t for this program. In other words, if the average car lasts 15 years, we are producing 1/15th more cars than we need in the new cars bought with the program. Have I lost you yet? I hope not.

According to an unofficial study, the average car requires about 73 gigajoules of energy to manufacture at the beginning and dispose of when it dies. Over the fifteen year life of the car, this is 4.9 Gigajoules each year. This 4.9, times the 250,000 extra cars from the program equals about 1.2 million Gigajoules of energy spent. This is our other big figure. Although we spend 1.2 Gigajoules of fossil fuel energy producing these new cars a year early, we save 8 million Gigajoules on their fuel efficiency over that year. You could say we are saving 667% more energy than we are using. This was a huge surprise to me.

Now, the cost to the American tax payer? We are paying $1.11 per gallon of gas saved over the life of these new cars. In other words, each pound of carbon emissions saved costs the taxpayer just under 6 cents, which is near the lower end of the range (4.5-13.5 cents per lb.) that current carbon sequestration technology costs. (As a side note, the Dept. of Energy hopes this cost per pound will be down to 0.5 cents per pound by 2015).

In layman’s terms, the gov’t made a decent decision in this case. I have to admit that I’m surprised. I was expecting this to be a classic case of someone slapping the “Green” label on another shortsighted idea. Kudos to the current administration.

(As a caveat, I have to say that this is all assuming the gov’t should use tax money to solve an issue of the commons or to stimulate the economy. That, obviously, will be up for debate indefinitely.)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Libation Lamentation

Dear Mr. President,
A laurel to you for your willingness to roll up the sleeves and help bury that hatchet between Messrs. Gates and Crowley. Boy that one almost got out of control on us!
The reason I even clicked on the link to the story about this patio diplomacy, was because the headline said something about you and Joe and these two guys having a beer together. “This is great!” I thought. “Our youthful President with his blackberry will shed light on the important matter of beer in America! Surely he knows that American owned breweries and American craft beer are one of today’s great unsung heroes! Surely he won’t be drinking a beer brewed by ImBev, or Miller, or Canadian Coors!”
Alas Mr. President, I was utterly disappointed! Mr. Biden was drinking some kind of straw-colored libation that had low alcohol and probably even lower taste. Mr. Gates went way out on a limb and had a Sam Adams Light (I read a book about light beers once), Mr. Crowley drank a Canadian Blue Moon with an orange in it, just to look extra Canadian, and the Head of State himself had a um, err, Bud Light? Mr. President, I know you are a busy man, and have little time for the ins & outs of beer in America, but you are missing the boat! There is beer out there, sitting on shelves and in kegs, that is actually delicious! There is beer out there that tastes like something other than the Daytona 500 smells! Beer brewed by small business owners, who live to brew a product they are incredibly proud of! Do you think the drones that own Budweiser are proud of their beer? No! They’re proud of their Brazilian soccer and their Belgian non-frenchness! The fact that the supporting actors of this meeting were not real beer makes me wonder if it was also not a real meeting. Have these gentlemen actually settled their differences? Was there actual dialogue going on? If it was anything like the beer that you guys were drinking, I have to think it was all for naught. No content, no real value, just a show, just a bit of advertising.
Next time I’d like you to consider having an American made, American owned craft beer, play some Bocce Ball, really hash things out between these guys. It looks from here like you guys just took some crappy ingredients, fermented it with some snapshots, watered it down with some rolled up sleeves, slapped a label on it and called it a real product. Well, you’re not foolin’ me. I’ve tasted that beer, and I'm just not buying it.

With warmest regards,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How To Dad

I am tied for the least prolific blogger I know. I post about a blog every two weeks on here, but have decided to start a new blog. I'm calling it "How To Dad". Its content will range from great snacks that only dad's could justify eating, to actual thoughts on being a better husband or dad. As a caveat, I am not claiming to be any kind of remarkable dad, although I am certainly striving to be. The idea is, if i can do one thing a day that I wouldn't normally think of, I'm on the road to recovery from the selfish unmarried man era. I hope you enjoy, especially if you're a dad. Oh, and the website is

Thursday, July 16, 2009

You who are the road

Carver turned 6 months old yesterday. For those of you who don’t have kids, and maybe some of you who do, this may seem ridiculous or cliché, but I can’t imagine how fast all of this is going to go. I can understand why parents don’t want their kids to grow up. I think it will turn out to be both incredibly fulfilling and quite heartbreaking. Children are such a delight. Hug your folks.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Minutia Monday

I know I'm super inconsistent with blogging. I know I only post a blog on average every other week. Don't judge me.
But for real, I'll update soon. I'm currently on a campaign to finish the first draft of this thesis by homecoming weekend (no particular reason I picked that weekend, just that its in October). Hoping to finish or clear prior by December.
The campaign is going terrific so far. Every time I sit down I realize how much closer I am to finishing, and I simultaneously get reenvigorated with my research.
Valerie is also starting to flyer for window washing for me, so I can make some extra money aside from my current job. Long term plans? Well, i don't want to publish those on the internets. Big brother, you know.
On an unrelated topic, Football season at The Swamp starts 7 weeks from this coming Saturday. I won't speak on this anymore right now cause there's just too much to say. Also, HP6 comes out tomorrow night and yes, we will be there sans Carver, although Doug at work reminded me it would have been sweet to bring him with a lightning scar and me and Val dress up like James and Lily, to which I said, yeah, neat if you want me and Valerie to be STRUCK DOWN!
Anyway, see you.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pinhole Camera

So I spent about 70 hours last Saturday making this tyte pinhole camera, which is pretty good considering I carved it from a single piece of wood. I found the pattern, if you will, from a website that had 5 or 6 others to choose from. It isn't really carved out of wood, but made from a cereal box. It really did take me quite a bit of time. Anyway, the whole idea came about when I was thinking how neat it would be to leave the shutter open, taking a picture of Carver as he moves about his crib during a nap (this is presently taking place). Well, after spending quite a bit of time on this camera, I finally got around to putting the actual photo-taking, pinhole device into the outer box pictured, and it didn't fit once you put film in. Now, if you click on the link above, it looks like a pretty professional website. They're certainly pitching this thing as utile. I just can't believe that the person that designed it didn't consult with an engineering friend, or even a relatively bright 6th grader, to make sure it would all fit. Well, regardless, I am making it work, because I am an American and it's Independence Day.
I can't wait to post my pinhole pictures! I'm so used to having a digital camera, it'll be hard to wait until I take all 27 pictures and get them developed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nebraska and the Final Frontier

I can see by my ticker tape to the right that you all have been checking for new posts lately, so I guess I need to keep them coming.

Two Friday’s ago my folks dropped us off in Orlando and we flew to Omaha for the Horihan family reunion. Horihan is Valerie’s mom’s maiden name. She has 3 sisters and 5 brothers. There were 43 of us there, total, I think. All of us are kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, or spouses, and it is an incredible family. I can’t even begin to say how honored I am to be connected to them through marriage and through having a son that is part Horihan. I feel like a true cousin, nephew, and grandkid in their family. Valerie, Carver and I will do our best to make it to the reunion every summer.

This past weekend we stayed in Gainesville and had a great time. Valerie had the wonderful idea of celebrating Father’s day early because we’ll be in Miami next weekend for Danny and Lindsey’s wedding. She bought me a trailor for Carver to ride in behind my bike. Don’t worry, it was made for that. I’ve been wanting one since I first started thinking about having kids. We went on a test run with Carver yesterday afternoon around campus and it was great! Carver slept the entire time in a position that would have made me sore for days. I wish I had his elasticity!

The longer I’m married, and the longer I’m a dad, the more I love both. Without casting pearls before swine, I’ll just say that I have never loved Valerie or Carver as much as I do right now, and I expect that trend to continue indefinately. Carver has started grabbing at my face sometimes when I hold him. Yesterday after communion he was doing it and I couldn’t help but think it’s his first signs of showing affection.

With only one of us working, we’ve had to be careful about the way we spend our money, but day in and day out I am convinced more and more that I wouldn’t trade what I have for the whole world, or even all the good parts of the whole world.

On a related note, I have a new brother-in-law!!! His name is Ryan Machara and I’ve known him since I was in 10th grade, when Nathan and I would see him at the gym doing these crazy gyrating ab things. If you had told me then that he’d be my brother-in-law, I would have introduced myself to him. Instead I just made his smoothies quietly when he came to Smoothie King. I am so pumped about my sister marrying him.

Also, I saw my dad on Nova last night. It was a special on the Columbia accident a few years ago, and the clip was some kind of stock footage from when he still had a mustache. I am extremely proud of my dad. He is still my hero. He works on the freaking space shuttle. Among other things, he lights the fuse.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Get a clue blue!

If there's anything I hate in sports, its bad calls. These umpires officiating the Women's College World Series are calling terrible games behind the plate.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Chigger! I hardly know 'er!

Well, I have a mean case of the chiggers, known to your local entomologist as Trombiculidae, a family of mites that bore into your skin, release an enzyme that breaks down your cells into skin bisk, and slurp it up. Right now they are somewhere around the larval stage. I just finished shaving most of my left leg so I could coat it in clear nail polish. Besides the obvious aesthetic benefits, I wonder if it will help get rid of the chiggers?
On a related note, the Gators play in their regional baseball tournament this weekend and Miami is in town for it. Like chiggers, Miami fans always seem to show up out of nowhere and aggravate the heck out of you. The only difference is that Miami fans get worse with age, they do both seem to disappear when autumn comes, though.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Book of the year

The following is a free piece of advice:
Read The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. While it may be the most depressing book I’ve read, it is also, I think, the best book I’ve ever read. In a post-apocalyptic grey, ashy and hopeless setting Cormac McCarthy creates an incredibly tender and desperately necessary relationship between two of the most real and human characters I have ever read. I highly recommend the book, but you should be forewarned that it is gruesome at times. It is well worth it, though. Have any of you read this book? What did you think about it?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

There's a hole in my phylogeny, dear Ida, dear Ida

While I’m not trained to write publicly on most of my opinions, (yes, I do anyway), I think the last eight years of school affords me my present platform.

About five weeks ago scientists found Ida, which they are claiming is the missing link between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens. She is said to be between 600,000 and 200,000 years old. They found her in Ethiopia, often considered the cradle of human existence.

There are dozens of things about this that make it relevant to write about. I’ll address a few. I can see already that a storm of buzz about Creation vs. Evolution is about to start, and I’m sure that this will lead to an incredible amount of miscommunication and mud-slinging between people at the highest and lowest levels. Did you know that in the first edition of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species by Natural Selection, he concludes not with a scientific statement, but with a wonderment of the Creator that could have imagined such diversity?
What have we done with this? Well, both sides have turned it into a ridiculous argument that maybe shouldn’t exist. Let’s assume for a minute that Darwin’s theory actually contradicts the story of Creation as it’s told in Genesis (I don’t think it does). Are we God’s lawyer? Is our voice louder than His, which MADE all of this? Remember that faith is, in the best sense of the word, unreasonable. And under the same assumption, does illogical faith for the opposite really offend science, which by definition does not consider faith as evidence? Does science have anything to do with faith, or faith with science? Well, I think that is part of the problem. Otherwise the followers of either (faith or science) would not be offended. The ridiculous part of this to me, though, is that I see no place for an argument! What if somewhere along the line what we now see as humans came from a less complex being, like Ida, don’t we as Christians believe that God made man and THEN breathed life into his nostrils? All of a sudden we are offended that at one point man had not yet had God’s life breathed into him? It sounds like we are convinced of our natural physical beings being higher than the apes apart from God’s breath. Otherwise what was the purpose of His breath being breathed into us? This is dangerous ground! It certainly doesn’t make much sense.

Another reason this find is relevant is the discovery itself! This could provide incredible insight into the origin of physical man and woman! This could be more important than the first discovery of dinosaur fossils! Or the coelacanth! Is the church in the West going to let a petty argument and pride get in the way of being a part of this? Of having a critical, legitimate voice in the discussion? I’m sure that appreciating creation is something God values. And most people I know who are Christians enjoy discovering said creation. When do you draw the line and say, “that is theory and only theory, I am offended by it and so I will have nothing to do with it. God put that fossil there merely to test my faith.”? Don’t draw the line! Be a productive part of the discussion!

If you are still reading this long post, I apologize for my longwindedness. If I can leave you with one last opinion, it is this: If the limit of your discussion on the present topic is only argument, please check the extent of your outspokenness. I realize this could be seen as hypocritical, because I am quite outspoken on the topic. But I have spent a lot of time and energy on this issue, and feel like my stance is at least something more than a layperson’s opinion.
I encourage you to engage in discussion on the topic, but there are no grounds for offending the person you are talking to.
With that said, I would love to hear your opinions to both this post and the discovery of Ida. Thanks!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

We've got to gripe, just to make it today

According to the “National Day of Prayer Task Force”, our president should recognize more fully the importance of prayer. Is this for real? What, did these people hear from on high that Barack Obama doesn’t place enough emphasis on prayer?

About eight years ago the National Day of Prayer went from an observed day without a whole lot of fanfare to an event where many people across the nation joined in public prayer. The Bible says some things about public prayer, and from what I remember off the top of my head, we would be wiser to pray privately and humbly rather than making a big to do about it.

If there is anything that is sacred is it not prayer? Are we not rewarded in secret for the things we do in secret? I’m baffled that people would criticize the president for not holding some kind of assembly for open corporate prayer. Didn’t our forefather’s frame the freedoms of religion for us so that the government wouldn’t get involved in our personal lives toward God? Now you’re asking the government itself to, in some sense, pray on your behalf! Lay off the president, people! You’re supposed to be praying today, not criticizing those in authority to you. And yes, I know I gripe. Why do you think I blog?!

A Three Stranded Chord

Weddings are officially my favorite event to attend. They even edge out the firework show after a long day at the Magic Kingdom. Actually they blow it out of the water. The two best ways to attend a wedding? Either as the husband of a bride’s maid or as some other type of non-attendant that gets invited to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

Our friends Dave and Hope are now joined in Holy matrimony as of Saturday afternoon. It is on my list of top ceremonies and is at the top of my list (excluding my own wedding) of bride’s reactions as they walk down the aisle. I can’t begin to tell you how much Hope has delighted me as Dave’s girlfriend/freedom friend/wife. Her reaction was better than any I have seen aside from Valerie’s.

While trying not to sound like a cheesy biblist, I will say that Hope’s reaction to her groom was the closest resemblence I can imagine to the way I hope we react when we meet Christ in the flesh.
What if we really trust him that much?
What if he really is so good that we burst out laughing with tears?
What if we are that familiar with him?
I have never imagined my reaction being like Hope’s was to seeing Dave; so familiar to him and in awe at the same time, but I hope it is.

Oh, and Dave and Hope asked us as a family to read scripture during the ceremony, hence the first paragraph of this post. We considered reading the chapter from Ecclesiastes that the Beetles “covered” about “A time for war, a time for peace, a time to kill and a time to heal, etc” but realized it is a wedding…no time for fooling around. We read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, if you’re interested. Carver did a great job reading.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Texas Tea

I have thought for quite a while now about the function and dysfunction of certain systems in America. I’ll start by stream-of-consciousness-ing” some “systems” we have…education, taxation, medicine, election (not that kind, Sam), agriculture, communication of information (media), production of information (academia) industry, law enforcement, law writing, defense, etc. (Basically a whole lot of platforms, ugh). Nevermind.

But on a related note, the govna of Texas, after sponsoring one of these incredibly short sighted “Tea Parties” on Tax Day, mentioned that Texans are going to start thinking about seceding from the Union. Without getting into everything I think about that, I will just list several initial thoughts, and leave it at that.
- I’ve never liked Texas in any way. Except for a handful of musicians and my cousins (who were born in Massachussettes).
- The people who ACTUALLY held a Tea Party in defiance of their mother country ACTUALLY revolted, and ACTUALLY did something (besides whining).
- And these tax day protests of deficit spending were non-existant when the last group of folks were spending middle class tax dollars and doubling the national debt, one of them being from the great nation of Texas!

Okay, okay, I’m sorry for ranting, but come on, Texas! You’re taking an event that helped create the most dynamic, incredible country in the world and letting it devolve into an impotent whine-fest. You may as well add in some crumpits and gossip, then you can have a real tea party, or, cactus juice party, I guess.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hoof & Mouth

If I offended anyone in my last two posts (which are deleted), I apologize. If they had nutrition facts on them, it would have read, "water, HFCS, sodium absorbatrol, nonane dodecahedrose, pride, short sightedness, red 40, (this product was made with equipment also used for making products containing tactlessness)." I beg your pardon, dear reader.

Friday, April 17, 2009

No, it's Iowa

Sometimes I’m very concerned that there’s a general notion that having a relationship with Christ requires someone to be at least a little weird, or that it is at least a little weird in itself. I’d like to say that in my experience it isn’t weird at all, and some of the time it is sweeter than the best time you’ve ever had. Then again, maybe I’m just weird. Well, whichever is the case, I think it is wonderful, literally.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Two poems

Did you know that April is peotry month? Well, it is. I like poems more than I like a lot of things, well, good poems. I found the two below on various "poem of the day" blogs or websites. The first one reminded me of both Valerie and my mom. A non-mom speaking about the sacrifices a mom makes for her family is maybe one of the most disrespectful things you could do, I imagine. It seems like it would be the opitome of casting pearls before swine, so I won't try to do it. This poem though, I'm sure written by a mother, has a voice that is able to do this while preserving the secrecy of a mom's heart for her family.
The other, about dad's, did not speak to me quite as much as the first, but I still think it is wonderful.
For those of you who don't regularly read poetry, I think that can't be entirely appreciated unless you are used to reading poetry. Give them a chance. Read them a few times. Anyway, that was a long introduction to something that needs no introduction...

Yellow Bowl
by Rachel Contreni Flynn

If light pours like water
into the kitchen where I sway
with my tired children,

if the rug beneath us
is woven with tough flowers,
and the yellow bowl on the table

rests with the sweet heft
of fruit, the sun-warmed plums,
if my body curves over the babies,

and if I am singing,
then loneliness has lost its shape,
and this quiet is only quiet.

Men at Forty
by Donald Justice

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it moving
Beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
They rediscover
The face of the boy as he practises tying
His father's tie there in secret

And the face of the father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Show if the year

For any who are interested, Old Crow Medicine Show is playing at the Florida Theatre on Saturday. Who is playing with them? Oh, that would be Sarah Watkins of Nickel Creek, probably the most talented female artist around (watch out Missy Elliot)! Tickets are $31.50...well worth the price. We'd be going but we'll be in Tampa. I would have embedded links to these folks, but I have to get to work. At least google them!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My other car is Val's bike.

There was a weekend during my first year or two of college that I was headed home to my mom and dad's. The drive is a little more than two hours, and on this particular trip I was about an hour from home when I got a flat tire...and had no spare. Thanks to modern telecommunication I called my dad, and he came and helped me. I apologized when he got there (I apologize for things that aren't my fault), and his response was surprising and completely refreshing. He was excited that it happened because it meant we got that time together. After he put that light on it, I was very glad, too.

What made me think of this was laying Carver down to sleep for the night. He got his two month shots today (he's almost three months) and he slept most of the day because of it. As I was laying him down I realized that he didn't think it was night time, and wanted to laugh and talk, with his eyes like he was looking up at the ceiling of Space Mountain. I had the choice to try my hardest to get him to take a pacifier and go to sleep, or appreciate the same one that I bawled undeservedly for after he was born. So, it reminded me of my dad, not being put off by his having to drive an hour and back with a spare tire, but excited for the chance to spend time with me.

The more I am a dad, or the more I interact with the rest of the world in general, the more I realize how much I seek my own convenience. The truth is, the best times are when I step beyond my temporary desire to do whatever I want to do, and get to see a whole new reality in the life outside myself. I guess this is part of the development of parenthood in me, and I'm sure Carver will be coming home on a weekend from college before I can be excited for moments like flat tires.

How often do we choose convenience over really special things? All the times we are tempted to nod and say mm hmm to our wife or husband instead of really listening, may be the times that determine whether our marriage is a garden or a parking lot. The insignificances that we ignore may be the most important things we could give our attention to! Why get married or have kids if not first for the smallest things?

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I'm on it. EStonerook. CHECKITOUT!


So here is the laundry-list of things that could be in my future...
Going to physician's assistant school,
Starting a brewery,
Getting that job in N.C. that you may have heard about,
Plan Nth, something else.

The problem with plans are the working them out. I have been trying to work out that whole Master's of Science plan for going on three years now, and by golly eventually that one's gonna be accomplished. I'll tell you that right now. Let me explain the others...
P.A. school is the in thing right now with our circle of friends, and I should say first that this was only where I got the idea, not the reason for entertaining it. I have been working with veteran's who have cancer and are in need of radiation therapy for about 5 months now and have realized that I really have a heart for people with cancer and their families. I actually had a dream that I was dying of cancer the night before they told me I was going to start working in Radiation Oncology. Secondly,thirdly, fourthly, and fifthly it is a two year program, it is affordable, there is no residency, and it pays well enough to raise a family on.

Starting a brewery...What an adventure that would be. I have fallen infatuated with the science, art, and culture that is craft beer. Steve, Jon, and I have kicked this idea around pretty seriously for over a year now. Both the benefits and bottlenecks (an unintended pun!) are longer than my list of plans.

Getting the job in N.C....What an adventure it would be to do the job that I actually have been in school to do. I would be managing research on a Sturgeon farm in the mountains. It is the only place north of Gainesville that i would ever like to live. I am beyond fascinated by aquaculture, especially that of Sturgeon, a fish that has more lore and excitement surrounding it than the KGB would ever let you in on (not that they actually exist). I visited this farm last June and it made me feel like Shoeless Joe asking Ray Kinsella if Iowa is heaven, and it was a little like that place that Andy Dufresne hides his tin box in Shawshank Redemption. Okay okay, I'm being a little over-nostalgic.

And Plan Nth? Well, we'll just see where the wind takes us I guess.

The main point, which I haven't even mentioned once, as that neither Valerie, Carver (as far as we can tell), nor I are unhappy with out means right now. i would say that our contendedness is a force to be reckoned with (that is not an invitation, Mr. Economy and your pestilent cronies). I don't think we would change a whole lot of our life if we were given the choice. I guess we'll just see what happens. Praise God from whom all blessings flow, namsayin?

P.S. I knew it was a bad idea to sit next to Devon in church this morning. I felt like I was twelve again, and on the verge of getting sent outside.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

David After the Dentist

This video needs no intro, other than the fact that I stole it off Travis' blog and it is incredible. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE watch this video! Plus the kid is a Gator fan!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


As you can see, I designed myself a new banner up there. Myself. Boom.
So it seems like Carver McCarverton is stretching things out a bit. Last night he ate at 11:30 and we didn't wake up again until 4:15!!! I also got the privilege of feeding him for the first time! He ate from a bottle at about 7:30 this morning. The time between wakefulness, sleepfulness, and belly-fullness are getting longer and longer. I am so thankful he is so laid back.
As a disclaimer for the following, yes, Valerie and I have been pretty adventurous with him lately, but we feel comfortable with the amount of things we've exposed him to.
With that said, Carver went to his first Gator basketball game last night and it was AWESOME!!! The Gators played awesome and Carver slept through the ENTIRE game!!! It was wonderful! On a similar note, The Fighting gator football team is returning all of their first and second string defense from this past year and we also have the #5 recruiting class. Boom squared.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


As it turns out, dried up umbilical chord smells like roadkill. Historically I have not been the type to enjoy bodily fluid or other types of grossness, but I wasn't effected through all of pregnancy, labor, childbirth, diapers, spitup, etc. until now. This thing smells serious.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Amish you, playground.

Did you know there are 2,000 Amish households in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania that use electricity generated by solar power? Did you know that the nation of Bhutan, since 1972, has measured its Gross National Happiness? Well, it has. And, according to whoever measures it (I guess they are like emotionomists), 68% of Bhutanese people are happy, as of late. I wonder if they measure it every quarter.
Well anyway, it turns out that the emotionomists in America right now are predicting that this quarter was the lowest GNP we’ve had in the U.S since 1982, which ironically was a really good year for me. Anyway, the Country was officially in a recession that year, so I guess they will start saying we are in one soon.
But I digress, the point of this was not to bore you or ruin your day. It was that, while I was hearing this on NPR on the way to work today, I was thinking about a piece of art, maybe Travis McKinney style, which has the word Recession! Painted across the top in red, as if it was a movie poster for Aliens Attack, but the rest of the poster is kids at recess. Maybe some girl with pig tails on the swings, or no, how about there is some kid on a merry-go-round, and a bully (ironically a Bear Market) just keeps spinning it faster and faster. Anyway, that is totally random. I just thought it was interesting that recess is always good when it is you taking the break, but when it’s the somewhat unrepresentative metric of our GDP, recess is bad. Maybe the poster could be a line of industry, government, regulation, Monsieur Lassez-faire, the developed and the developing, Unions and Management, all sitting out at recess with their backs against a brick wall because they all told on each other for the same thing. The poster could also have all the Amish in the background, playing hop-scotch and kickball. If I were in the picture as my elementary age self, I would have been sitting out at recess too, but probably for laughing at whatever face Eric Hutts made at me in Music class.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Here are some pics!

I've finally uploaded some picture. Blogger takes so long to upload them that I have to put them on ritzpics and transfer them. That's why they have that icon on them. Also, some of them are sideways, which is unfortunate. If you want an electronic copy of any of these, please let me know and I'll email it!

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Monday, January 19, 2009

The first few days

Here are some things I have experienced in the past couple days…
My wife is the bravest person I know, and I cannot imagine something that is better for a marriage than coaching your wife through labor and delivery.
Watching my child being born will go down forever as the most incredible experience of my life. With a whole lot of reasons to be worried about the state of our world, this scoffs in the face of pessimism or worldliness. It is the most incredible proof that the foundation of our humanity is only love.
I cannot tell you how honored I feel. I will spend the rest of my life trying to deserve the role of dad in Carver’s life, and in the end I know I will still not deserve it.
Until now, when I have imagined God saying that He will never leave us or forsake us, I imagined His voice being very calm and matter of fact. Now I am pretty sure that when he says it, it is with a weeping and heavy thankfulness over us.
I have had a million new thoughts in the last 100 hours or so. I will only share a handful here, mainly because they are just too big and wonderful to share at all.
I can’t imagine having the desire to write about anything other than my wife and child from now on. That is why I’m changing the name of my blog. Plus, I feel like much more of a dad and a husband than I do anything else, so they take precedence over hypothesizing (my former aim). I hope you enjoy my thoughts about this from now on.
Here is Carver James Stonerook, asleep after some tummy time.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

You didn't know this...

but I am working on making a quilt. Don't judge me. It is blue and grey and green and white, so far. I will post a picture of it when I'm done.
The reason I mention this, though, is because I just had an idea of what my NEXT project will be, and believe me, I'm pumped about it. Only a handful of you will think it is cool, maybe just Sam and Steve McCready, or I guess any of you who want to be Tobias McIvy for a year or two or eighty. I am a huge nerd.

Where palm and pine are blowing

Well, we fooled 'em again, huh guys?
Unlike Aly, who can't get into football, even Gator football (which is fine, really), I am pretty sure I actually bleed orange and blue. The reason for this is not some singular "I like Florida football because...", but is more of a beautiful matrix/web of wonderful things about Gainesville, its people, and its college football team. After the game the other night, as we ran around in the back yard at Shady Oaks throwing lawn chairs and each other into the air, Danny said to me something along the lines of, "So let me get this straight, we just won a National Championship again, and you're gonna be a father soon. I'd say life is okay huh?"
Amen and amen, Danny.

As a disclaimer, I do not think the goodness of life is dependent on Florida football.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Everything's bigger in Texas...

At least that's what Texans think. Now, some of you may be from Texas, which is fine. I do know a couple of Texans that I really like. They are both A&M fans. The rest of Texas though? I say give it back to Pancho Villa. Last night after Texas' terrible display against THE Ohio State University Buckeyes there were three remarks made by Longhorns that are worth repeating.
The first one is from Quan Cosby, who caught Texas' winning touchdown:
"Ohio State is the best defense we've played all year," Cosby said. "They've got a ton of guys who are going to have great careers in the NFL."
Does this guy have any clue who he is talking about? This is the same defense (with some personnel changes) that got destroyed by LSU last year and The Mighty Fighting Gators two years ago.
Mac Brown, Texas' head coach said he will still vote for Texas with his number one coached poll pick. Is he running for class president? They almost lost the game! To number 10! Come on Mac!?!
The third remark was from Johnny Moxley himself. Heisman runner up who has less first place Heisman votes than Tim Tebow. He said that after last nights performance there is no team in the country that can beat them.
I really don't understand these folks. I can only hope that on Thursday we blow Oklahoma out of the water, and end all of the chitter chatter.
On another, more important note, we went to the hospital last night to see our friends Betty and Jon's newborn baby girl. Her name is Sawyer Grace. I picker her up when we walked in the room and she looked perfect. My first thought, honestly, was that we should arrange her marriage to Carver now, because I was instantly so amazed by her. Then my next 1000 thoughts had to do with how we could possibly get Val's water to break. I have never wanted anything as much as I want to hold, smell, see, and hear Carver.