Feel free to browse, comment, peruse, laugh, cry & check out my latest movie reviews and musings.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Brother Friend & Baby Friend

Last night Justin and I got to go see Mae at Bottom of the Hill in the city. Bottom of the Hill is a super small venue (much smaller than Slim's) and probably one of my favorite places to see a show. Mae was no exception. I have seen them three times before, but it was probably my favorite performance I have seen by them. The 2 opening bands, Dear and the Headlights and As Tall As Lions, were quite good. As Tall As Lions was particularly great. Check them out. Anyway, Mae played a bunch of their old songs and even busted out the acoustic guitar at the end to play some stuff off their first album. I have been fond of them for a while and it was lovely to see them in such an intimate setting (next month they will be playing at the Warfield, which is huge). It was a lovely early birthday present from Justin. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Prior to attending the concert, Melissa and I went to a baby doctor appointment. Our secretly named baby is 28.5 weeks along now and is quite the mover. This makes sleeping especially difficult for Melissa. I told the baby that if he keeps kicking her, I will put him in the corner (of her uterus). He is yet to comply. We got to hear his heartbeat again which is always a treat. And today is your lucky day...you get to hear it too!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

U.S. Americans, the Iraq, and Bricks

I helped Cody work on his house today. Cody told me a whole back that he wanted to tear down his brick fireplace on the hottest day of the year and he decided today would be perfect. He was right. His house, situated on San Ramon's beloved Love Lane, is coming along rather nicely. Yesterday I decided that I should go running. Poor planning. It was 103 degrees and I felt as though I may die. Luckily I did not because today Mel and I get to go to a baby Dr. appointment and tonight Justin and I get to go see Mae in the city (an early birthday gift from him). Yesterday I stumbled across this video (actually I heard about it on the radio and looked it up). It is a clip from last week's Miss Teen USA pageant. It is the funniest/saddest thing I have seen in a long time. It makes me sad to be a U.S. American. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Yesterday was Sarah's birthday. We celebrated early by enjoying the festive birthday atmosphere of Pyramid Brewery on Saturday. After sleeping for a few hours upon my return from the all-nighter, Mel and I headed to my grandparents and then to Sarah's birthday dinner. It was fun to hang out with all of our friends in spite of my exhaustion. Dinner was tasty. Actually I kinda lied. Mel and I ate a ton of spaghetti at my grandparents so we just split a quesadilla at dinner. It was tasty though. The whole day/evening was sort of a haze. It felt like 9am when it was 5pm and my speech/brain was similar to the state it was on the mission trip last summer when I was on Hydrocodone. I was in a stupor. It was fun though. After dinner Charlie took us to Edge, the men's clothing boutique where he works. He wanted us to try on clothes. It was funny. Jake, Chris, Tony and I tried on multiple pairs of several hundred dollar jeans. Jeans apparently is the white trash way of saying it so from henceforth I shall refer to them as designer denim. Anyway, it was funny to say the least. Tony got a pair because his butt looked nice in them. He didn't necessarily say that but I know that is what he was thinking. It was a funny experience, though I do not plan on dropping $275 on designer denim any time soon. Mel is doing well and we both cannot believe that the baby is due in 81 days. Insane. She has her first day of school yesterday. She enjoys her class and as a funny coincidence, one of her student's dad was one of my high school history teachers. Did that make sense?
Dan's Playlist For The Day:
"Embracing Accusations" - Shane & Shane
"Silencer" - mewithoutYou
"Soviet" - mewithoutYou

"Hallelujah" - Paramore
"Right On, Right Now" - Powerspace
"Sorrow" - Bad Religion
"Summer of '98" - The Secret Handshake
"Burn the Maps" - Castledoor

These songs are great. Check them out)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Nightmare While Awake

For months now, the students in the Middle School Ministry have been clamoring for an all-nighter. Realizing this would be near suicide for myself and my fellow leaders, I had always declined the option, seeking instead to have other events (see: Rocky Point Camping Trip). However, the students were incessant with their pleas and on Friday their wish, and my nightmare, came true. Truth be told, the night was actually a lot of fun. We had a lot of leader support in addition to some adult/college types who came to see what the MSM is all about. I was anticipating about 20-25 students. 39 showed up! By far the most we have had at an MSM event. It was super encouraging/overwhelming. We went to Boomer's (mini-golf/go-carts) and did a digital camera scavenger hunt. Dan Gillette, Charlie, Pati, and Greg did an upbeat set of worship songs at 2am. It was really great to see all of the kids sining and having fun. The students drank soda and Rockstars like water. Not a single student or leader slept a wink. We walked to Denny's in the morning from the church only to find that the restaurant was full. We then decided to invade Burger King, which went surprisingly well considering we had 50 people. God has really done a lot in the ministry and I am fortunate that he has allowed it to grow so much and has provided such strong leadership. Much love to all that helped with the event. Lets pray we only have to do one of these a year.

Walking to Denny's.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Day of Days is Fast Approaching, or, "Time flies when you have your pilot's license!"

You may think the first part of title is referring to the impending birth of my baby boy, but though this monumental day is almost upon us (87 days away!), I was in fact referring to the Middle School Ministry All-Nighter that will be taking place this Friday. That's right folks, me, some other leaders, and 20+ middle schoolers, partying all night at the church. I have been mentally and physically preparing for this event for weeks, training, drinking Monster, and crying, all in hopes that somehow this event will be canceled. But alas, it is nearly here. It should be a lot of fun though. On Monday, a bunch of people went to my parents to celebrate Justin's birthday. My dad barbecued some excellent burgers and my mom baked a cake. The Bowen family really put on a culinary show. Justin turned 22. I guess time flies when you have your pilot's license. It was a lot of fun. As most of you know, Justin savors the spotlight and loves it when people shout his name so he found as you may have guessed, he was especially endeared when we all chanted his name just prior to the "Happy Birthday song." He loved it so much his whole body turned red. I bet I will love the all nighter that much.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More Pictures, Less CSET's

I found out yesterday that I passed the final CSET (state required subject based test for teaching). It was a super-hard 4-part test. I am glad to be done with it! Here are some pictures that Justin took on Houseboats.
Our little cove.
Matt Pine and I in our garbage bag outfits for a skit we would soon perform.
One of Oroville's hottest models.
Look closely at the stars. They are pretty.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ugly Boat #2

First off, HAPPY 22nd BIRTHDAY JUSTIN!!! We got back from Houseboats. It was really an amazing trip. John Argo spoke and it was right up there with my favorite series of talks that I have heard. He spoke about Peter and Judas in terms of their relationships to Jesus. The way that he spoke and used the Word really brought scripture alive for me in a new and powerful way. Everyone that I talked to was really encouraged by it and as always, he was hilarious. He says the weirdest stuff. I love it. I was the only leader oh my boat until Friday night when Matt Pine and Joe Stewart showed up. It was fun spending time with those guys. I had 8 students on my boat as well. There was about 90 people on the trip. Melissa surprised me and came up for the day on Thursday with Mandie. I was glad she was able to make it. We floated around in the water (with her new found buoyancy!) and just sorta hung out. It was enjoyable. A guy (Austin) brought up 2 wave runners. Justin was in charge of driving one for the trip, a role that he reluctantly obliged to take. It was quite the insane ride. Justin took my dad and I out for a while. The thing has over 150 horsepower and easily does over 50mph. It's nuts. If you look closely at the second picture you can see my dad flying off. The group reminded me a lot of the crew that was around when I was a freshman. Overall, the demographic is pretty young and for the most part, not very mischievous. Everyone had a good time just hanging out. Six students got baptized yesterday which was a highlight. Houseboats is always a fun way to end the summer and I am fortunate that it is part of my "job." It's ridiculous how God has bless me this year. And on another freaky note, our baby is due in 89 days. That's double digits folks.

Pati requested that I post this picture documenting her declaration of love for Peter Rapine (as well as Becca's admiration of Spencer Colvin).
Funny thing is, later in the day the boys adjusted the sticks to say, "Go Away!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

8th Grade Shindig & Houseboats

On Sunday we had an 8th grade graduation banquet at the Robery's house. Though not all of the 8th graders could make it, we still had a really good time. It will be interesting when the new school year rolls around because a majority of the committed MSM students are 8th graders and the 7th grade class is sorta flaky. These things always seem to work themselves out though so I am not really worried. As of September 1st, I will have completed a full year of serving as the Middle School Director. It has been a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing what this next year (and beyond) holds. Tomorrow I will be leaving for Houseboats. Melissa unfortunately will be staying home with Bauer and the baby so that she can prepare for the impending school year. I love Houseboats and am looking forward to yet another adventure on Lake Oroville. Unfortunately Grandpa Swiers will not be attending this year due to an illness that he has. Keep him in your prayers.

This is the intro to a wedding that I shot in Grass Valley in June. I accidentally put it on there twice in a row. Forgive me!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Crawdads and 97 Days 'til I'm a Dad

Mel and I got back last night from Donner Lake. It was a lot of fun. The weather was pretty nice during the day and super cold at night. The group consisted of the Conley's, Perry's, some more of their family, and my family, as well as various other characters thrown in. During the day we spent time by the lake, kayaking, swimming, and hanging out. Mel and I brought Bauer with us. He was pretty funny. He spent 90% of the day in the water chasing his buoy. He even rode on the kayaks. He is a funny creature. Mel and I stayed with her parents in their new tent trailer. Yet another perk of being pregnant (By the way...97 days until the due date!!!). At night we hung out by the fire and played Monopoly. Josh, Chris, Tyler Moxley, and I played our brand of over-competitive, cut throat Monopoly, in to the wee hours of the morning. It was intense. Another highlight of the week was the crawdad feed. Chris and Josh (the white trash cuzo-crew) devised a method of catching crawdads using a fishing pole with bacon on the hook. The little crustaceans would grab the bacon with their claws and would hold on until we placed them in a bucket. They also bought a couple traps. We probably caught close to 200 of them. We then boiled them up and had a crawfish feed. It was equal parts gross and funny (to me at least, everyone else loved eating them). Nick Breitbart and his girlfriend, Sherry, came up as well with two of their friends, Jose and Adam. It was fun spending time with them. People popped in and out throughout the trip and it was a lot of fun to have a big group like that. The camp host, Curt, whose site was across from ours, ended up playing games with us and eating with us which was pretty fun. He was a nice guy. We are already starting to plan next year's adventure so sign up now if you would like to join us!
Six months pregnant...her, not me.
Some of the ladies (& Bauer).
Justin and Bauer.
Mis padres.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Donner, Party of 20 +

In celebration of cannibalism and all things involving the devouring of loved ones, my family, Melissa's kin, and some friends of ours are all camping at Donner Lake this week. Unfortunately I have school tonight so I was unable to leave with Melissa last Sunday. Therefore, I have been a living the bachelor life the past couple of days. Tony, Ashley, Justin, and I took Mandie to a restaurant in the city called Beach Chalet on Sunday. It was a really cool place, located next to the Cliff House and Ocean Beach. She turned 21 while we were away on the mission trip so it was fun to be able to take her out for a proper celebration now that we are all home. Yesterday Tony and I drove to Santa Cruz for lunch. It was random, but fun. We showed the orphanage video at church on Sunday and the response was pretty good. Everyone wants to be involved in the process which is really encouraging. Chris Cline and his wife, Linda, will be heading out there in a couple of weeks to check some more things out and have some conversations with local churches and officials in Ukraine. I was invited to go but felt I should stay home with the wife and kid. It will be really interesting to see how God uses all of us in Ukraine (if he chooses to do so at all). I am ready to serve, which is both scary and exciting (see: Lauren Wallace). If you have the platform to do so, post the video to your blog, or MySpace to help spread the word. Thanks.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Ukraine Orphanages

Yesterday was a pretty tough day. Gary and Chris Cline asked me to prepare a segment of the Ukraine orphanage footage to show at church on Sunday. I sort of procrastinated on the editing process because I knew it would be tough going through all the footage. It was. Melissa was sitting on the couch working on school work and she looked over at me as I was pressing the keys on the keyboard, crying with my headphones on. It is hard enough watching the footage and oputting it to music but is even more difficult knowing these kids are still over there, needing food, warmth, and most importantly, love.

We are moving forward in the process of building an orphanage in Ukraine as a church. We are in the very beginning stages but there has been a bit of headway which is exciting. Pray for the people that will be making decisions throughout the process and pray for direction on what your involvement may be.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Cleverly Titled Beach Day

Yesterday a large crew of us spent the day at Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz. This is an annual tradition the first Wednesday after the Arizona Outreach and always a highlight of my summer. I took a small group of Middle School students along with a couple MSM leaders. There were about 60 or so people at the beach in total. I got there at about 2:30 and played some football with some guys. It was a really nice day and good just to get out and play on the beach. Some of us walked over to the Boardwalk for a bit and played volleyball on the nets that were on the beach. It was splendid. I thought about it a lot while I was in Arizona, and I was reminded again at the beach, about how fortunate I am to have such good friends. I won't rehash stuff I already talked about on here but it is a cool thing to have such a tight knit group of people that I love and love me in return (most of the time). Tony, Charles, and I had a bit of a photo shoot as well which was equal parts fem and fun. We took a ton of pictures and some of them came out pretty fun. After the photo shoot we had a bonfire, played some songs, and shared stories from the mission trip. It was a good way to cap the day. Here are some more of the pictures that we took. They are ridiculous.
Some of the girls doing their ever-so-clever jumping pose.
A pyramid. Much less impressive than those in Egypt.
9 People.
After the festivities of the evening we went to Marianne's Ice Cream where I was fortunate enough to enjoy the best ice cream my mouth has ever come across. Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough. A fat kid's dream come true. Try it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Baby Zambia

My good friends Andy and Brittlee (from Colorado) are in the process of adopting a baby from Zambia. As most of you know, it is a rather lengthy and expensive process. In an attempt to raise money for the adoption, Brittlee's mom (a very gifted artist) created a lot of cool jewelry that they are selling. As you can see from the pictures they are rather cool. Cruise on over to their Baby Zambia where you can check out the rest of the jewelry and read Brittlee and Andy's adoption story. It is inspirational and definitely something that Mel and I are interested in doing eventually. Today is beach day, which is an annual adventure the first Wednesday after the mission trip. It is always a special evening, filled with sand, bonfires, and small sticks (they are everywhere). It should be fun!