Tales from the airplane

So I traveled home yesterday, and was lucky that I made it. The weather has been horrific, but I was one of few that had no delays or anything! Must have been my lucky day. Anyway, I was incredibly lucky to have been sitting next to the two people I did...check out what happened.

I am sitting on the window, not wanting to talk to anybody. Feeling rather antisocial, I put in my ipod earphones and zone out. The guy next to me sits down, says hey, and that's the only correspondence we have. A girl sits next to him, and immediately starts asking questions to this stranger next to her. He is military, late 20's, good looking. He seemed pretty lame - dorky, very focused on his fitness, and kind of dumb. She has about 15 tats and piercings and looks rough...but decent looking, also late 20's. She is into art (started knitting as soon as she sat down). This whole time I have not picked a song to listen to, so I am looking like I am listening to something but secretly listening to them. Anyway, here they go.

She asks, Where are you going? He says, Anchorage to visit my mom. She says, Wow, that's f***ing far away. Why are you here? (bluntly) He says, I'm in the military. She says, I used to date a military guy. Didn't work out. He says, Do you have something against the military? She says, No. I have something against him though. He says, You should look into joining (bold). She says, Hell no, I would never do that s***. I like art and don't like being told what to do. Anyway, they keep talking, going over the basics (Do you have a pet? He has a lizard, she has a dog). She's going to Idaho, he has lived all over the US, blah blah blah. I fall asleep, and wake up 20 minutes later to the follow scene:

Two bloody mary's in front of them, they are laughing and smiling. They seem pretty friendly now! This QUICKLY moves in to more talking (flirty style), sharing each other's ipods (you know when one person has 1 ear thing and the other has the other?) That moves in to more laughter, and now some serious cuddling. Must have found some romantic music. They share a head rest. They keep flirting. Then they both get up and head for the bathoom. Are you thinking what I was????

Tough luck. Two minutes later they came back. Cocktailed up, on the same page music wise, he now starts massaging her. Full on (almost groping). They both turn toward the isle, and he just goes to town. Lots of rubbing, massaging, and whipsering sweet nothings in to her ear and she nods yes in response. This whole time I am just enthralled as to what is happening between these two strangers!! You know, like looking around to see if other people are witnessing what I am seeing, that sort of thing.

Now we are about 15 minutes from landing and he starts being lame again, asking her stupid questions...they talk about their signs (he's a pisces, she's a libra), her desperate need for a cigarette (she tried to quit once for 7 months and had a mental breakdown), his getting her thoughts on what to add to his tatoo, etc. They finish by exchanging emails, and head off the plane. I follow. Lurk, really. They head straight to the bar for another drink and probably some.........

Well it was interesting, to say the least. Kept my attention almost the whole time. I read about 2 pages of my book (pretended to at least), listened to nothing, and was totally focused on the budding love (lust) happening beside me.

Have a Merry Christmas! Don't forget about the crazier story that happened 2008 years ago or so...pretty amazing.


End of an era

Today is Ashley's last day ever in college. Wow. That statement in itself is amazing. Last day in college. I remember thinking to myself when that was me, This is crazy. She's now making the same statement. What is more crazy is that I remember her FIRST day in college! Back at good 'ol Ole Miss (can you say that? good ol ole miss? Doesn't really work). Now she is graduating (Sunday) from The Mighty Appalachian State University. What a ride it has been! Am I talking about her, or us? You decide.

I was talking with Ashley and Christi last night and we decided that there is something infectious about Queen Street, their house. People always leave there thinking, I wish I came here more often, or I wish I could stay longer. It doesn't matter if it is the YL guys wishing they hung around more often at Queen St, or people who have moved out (and married) remembering the great days and nights there, or roommates moving out for good. There is something about that place that seems to bring people together and sort of solidify friendships. Catch phrase is a major component of this. As is watching The Biggest Loser, Jeopardy, and Jon and Kate + 8. I can honestly say that I will miss Queen Street. I will missed being locked out and climbing thru the window to get in. I will miss drinking wine and gossiping (terrible, I know). I will miss the girls that live there. And I'm sure Ashley will really miss it after having lived there for 2.5 years. But there is also something healthy and good about moving on and having such great memories of a certain time of life. I hope and pray that the Queen St girls will never forget those times!

In other news, I catch flack around here for never having devoted an entire blog to Ashley. I suppose that in lieu of her graduating, she deserves such an honor! Some highlights of our time in Boone (the first time we have ever lived in the same town):
- Shows/concerts. Tim Reynolds, Matt Wertz, Dave Barnes, Drew/Elle Holcomb, that one random jazz trio, PW, and BJ Novak.
- Trips. Asheville, Nashville, Winston Salem, Windy Gap, Alpharetta, wine tasting in Banner Elk, "The Wedding" (Durham/Raleigh), Montreat College.
- Dates. We never get to date. It is FUN!
- Birthdays. Never have we spent a birthday together. Let me say that again. After 4 years of dating, we have never spent our birthdays together!! We were 2 for 2 this year!
- Realizing that we are much better together than we are apart.
- Cooking. We both kind of suck, but had moments of brilliance! (Alex = quesadillas, Ashley = steak/potatoes
- Driving. Lots and lots of driving. And NEVER in the Jimmy.
- Her changing my hatred of Buffalo Wings into a love for Buffalo Wings!!

I could go on and on about the last 3 months...but it has been very good living in the same place. We figured out a lot of things about each other than really can't be figured over the phone and 3,000 miles. We have come a long way in the last 3 months...and over the last 4 years!

No more college Ash! This day was bound to get here eventually!!

One final note...adios to Kirbi...it has been fun!

One more final note...adios Queen Street. I will really miss you, and it has been really fun!


Signs (not that stupid game)

First of all, I don't like that game. If I have offended you, I'm sorry. Some of you may not have heard of "Signs". Don't investigate. It's not worth it!! Anyway, I digress.

Signs that I am getting old:
- One seemingly meaningless game of football renders me unable to move the following day.
- I like shows such as Jeopardy, The Biggest Loser, Primetime, the news, and Frasier.
- I think I like wine more than beer
- The first thing I do in the morning is get a glass of cranapple juice and read the news.
- My friends are getting married, and some are pregnant!
- Care about such things as taxes, mortgages, and the stock market
- Really like James Taylor
- Running hurts...but I do it anyway
- I enjoy reading every night before I go to sleep. Now THAT is old.

Signs that I am getting young(er):
- Still enjoy pranks
- I blog
- Still love mac n cheese
- Still really love Taco Bell (sorry Ashley...)
- Pick up basketball games are still a priority (when in Bend)
- Text more than I call (except for when I'm working)
- LOVE Catchphrase

Signs that Oregon will win the Holiday Bowl:
- 65-38 trashing of the Beavs...good momentum!
- Offensive coordinator has something to prove...head coach desinate and all...
- Lost to Oklahoma in 2005, need to beat their rival this year
- Make a statement that the Pac-10 is legit

Signs that Christmas is coming:
- Hallmark started Christmas themes before Halloween (hate that)
- Starting to get Christmas cards/letters/updates from families
- great movies on TV, great music on the radio

Signs that 2009 will be a great year:
- Change is in the air
- Maybe some people's resolutions will actually be kept!
- My brother may be living in Oregon at some point...date TBD
- A new president could be a great thing...also TBD...but I think we are all hoping that it will!
- There is going to be a movie based on my favorite book series...VINCE FLYNN
- Could 2009 be much worse than 2008 in terms of politics, economy, and industries??
- I like the number 9 much better than 8...except on the golf course.

Signs that Mustaches will again be cool:
- Brad Pitt had one this year
- George Clooney had one this year
- Matthew Casebeer currently has one
- Willie Dinsdale had one in Africa
- I can't grow one

Signs that black will be the next brown:
- I have no idea, I just think brown will be cooler than black in 2009. That's my only sign.

Signs that this blog is over:
- You're bored
- I'm bored
- You discovered you have better things to do
- I discovered the exact same thing...

Until next time, Ryan Seacrest OUT


A birthday, a parade, and one a hell of a game of Catchphrase

Buckle up friends, this might be a long one. But hang in there...it will be worth it! And as Matt Wade says, the pictures at the end will be the icing on the cake!!

So since the last time we have talked, a lot has happened. Not really, but it was a fun weekend. Ashley and I kicked it off having some dinner at a nicer restaurant in downtown Boone. Food? Great. Wine? Great. Gay waiter? Interesting. Have you ever heard the old addage that if a waiter makes physical contact (in a good way, of course) with a customer their tip increases by like 5 %? Well this guy would have had about a 75 % increase in tip. He was all over me!! I lost count of his touching efforts after 8. Ashley just laughed at me. I felt invaded. Anyway, moving on. We spent the rest of the night at the Wine to Water wine tasting event....but really we spent it with PW Gopal and Doc's kid Beattie. Beattie is easily the cutest baby I've ever seen...and he was really fond of sucking on Ashley's chin (see picture below...hilarious!) Needless to say, whenever there is a baby involved it is an entertaining night!

Saturday morning welcomed us in with 20 degree weather and the infamous Boone Christmas Parade. Last year Baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary rode in on a donkey and the donkey pooped right in front of Ashley and Christi and Kirbi. This year Joseph was riding a GMC Truck (good man, supporting the economy) wearing a bathroom towel. No Mary to be found, no Jesus either. I bet he was pissed at the donky incident so he stayed away. Daniel Boone and his confederates made an appearance though, so that was good!! But some highlighted floats include: a shopping cart, a hippie truck, a random alligator popping out of a PT Cruiser, and of course Cloggers. What are those, you are asking right now? Well they are basically tap dancers with clogs on. Only in the South, I tell ya. They were good though!

After the parade was the App State playoff game where Ashley and I met the most disgusting human being alive. Actually, the 2 most disgusting human beings alive. They were the two girls behind us who were yelling obsenities the entire game...no cheering, or encouraging our team on, but screaming "F-ing your S up!", or nicer things like "S my D" to which I yelled back "YOU HAVE NO D YOU ARE A FEMALE". And then, "SHUT UP". That didn't sit well. They also yelled phrases to the other team like "Shove it up your A", which made me wonder...shove what up their A? They were playing football and their A's really have nothing to do with it...anyway, it was awful. Horrible. I hate them and hope that they can find happiness somewhere in their lives because clearly they are missing something.

Saturday night brought Ashley and I to celebrate her birthday at the Gamekeeper...the nicest place to eat in Boone, hands down. We have been there twice now, and want to go back immediately. She had mountain trout. I had Bison. We had champagne. It was amazing. What was more amazing was the events that followed...the surprise birthday party and the greatest game in the world.

"THE GRILL THE GRILL THE GRILL THE GRILL!!!!!" - Matt Campbell, shouting.
(less than one second later) "GEORGE FORMAN" - Blake Robbins, cool as the other side of the pillow.
pass to the girls
"This is a place where a ton of wine is made, and you go there, and you drink it and they make it...." (at this point Blake leans over to Erin and says, "Erin, I think you mean beer...its a brewery")
Harry Marks says nothing. He just stands up really fast and starts moving his finger wildy in and out....to which someone yells, "TRIGGER FINGER!!!".
Pass to the girls and so on and so on.
You get the point. The game is Catchphrase, and it either solidifies friendships or ruins relationships. There is a huge amount of bromance and a scary amount of high pitched screaming. It is amazing. And about 10 of us played it for 2 hours on Saturday night. You don't need beers or TV or anything other than our little blue round friend that beeps and beeps and beeps faster and faster and fasterfaster and then BUZZZZZ. BOYS WIN!!!!!

A great weekend my friends. Wish you could have been here to enjoy it with us. Have a great Monday!


And I'm back

Sorry for the absence from the blog! I was on vacation.

Something in my shower smells horrendous, and it's not me. Lately when I get in my already funky shower there is this overpowering smell of................something. Like a rat crawled in the pipes, froze to death because I had the heat off for the past 10 days, then came back to life because I turned the heat back on, and then died again. And it is only occuring in the shower! It's not because it isn't clean - I have Cometed that thing to death. But it sucks and it causes me to take extraordinarily short showers, which I hate. I love showering. Now I hate showering. Because of the rat.

Anyway, I was going to get all reflecty on you about my trip back to Oregon, but then I realized no one cares. I will go bullet-point style on the major events and thoughts from the trip.

- Blazer games are fun, but are way more fun from the 1st row! Thanks to Kevin for those seats...
- Duck games are fun, but are way more fun when you anihilate the Oregon State Beavers!! 65-38 is all that needs to be said.
- I have amazing friends in Bend. And I love my house there!
- Charades is brutal with my step-family. Fun, but brutal. They are way smarter than me (or anyone, for that matter). You have to describe people, places, or things such as : Igor Stravinsky, Botswana, "Steel Magnolias", Absolom, Absolom, "The Marriage of Fiagro", Wolfgang Amadeaus Mozart. You get the picture. It's impossible. My mom dominated, however.
- Scott Casebeer and Alex Casebeer are collectively Clark Griswold when putting up Christmas lights. Ladders falling, stapling things you shouldn't, etc. It is a sight to behold. But the finished product is nothing short of a miraculous sight!
- I asked my dad if he has read my blog. He said, "I deleted you". I said, WTF. He said, "You didn't mention me in your Top 5 Favorite Lists bloggy and it hurt my feelings. I deleted you". Point taken.

Top 5 Memories with Dad
- Pebble Beach golf in a hurricane after having 70 degrees and sunny at Spanish Bay the day before
- Ski trips to Sun Valley, Aspen, Deer Valley...it's a tie
- Christmas light extravaganzas
- Playing in the Father Son golf tourny at Waverly CC, and at the Member Guest at Bend G&CC
- Having him caddy for me in the Oregon Amateur. It was awesome, hard to explain, but a connection was forged there.

- Back to the list
- Missing Ashley sucked. We are much better together. That is clearly evident after spending 10 days apart!
- Wine tasting is always fun, no matter who you are with or where you are at.
- I love Christmas movies (watched the following with Dad and Carrie: The Grinch, Die Hard, The Santa Clause, Elf, Die Hard 2, and Christmas Vacation). Late nights, needless to say.
- I was thinking to myself, Who says you have to have turkey on Thanksgiving Day? Why not pizza, or tuna or peanut butter and jelly? Then I realized that I love - maybe more than anything in the world - left over turkey sandwhiches. Oh man want one right now!! Dumb thought.

I think that is all for now friends. Thanks for checking back in. I will not delay 2 weeks next time! It's nice to be back in Boone.....

Happy Birthday Andy Howard!


Highlights, lowlights, and Christmas lights

Clever title, I know. I was going to wait on another story from Grandma Casebeer to write, but alas, nothing has shown up in my email from her...............yet. You'll be the first to know!

Some highlights since last Friday:
- Men's retreat with Banner Elk Christian Fellowship @ the Doe River Gorge.
- A little background info....I knew approximately 3 out of 34 people on this trip, 1 of which was showing up a day late. Not that it bothered or worried me, but I'm just throwing it out there. 1 person I knew was Alan Yawn, YL Area Director here in town. He is a great guy, and is basically the reason I went. Anyway, we stayed at the Doe River Gorge for 2 nights, and of course had great fellowship, prayer time, and hang time. But I did want to tell one story that I thought was pretty funny. Allow me to introduce Bo Barinowski. Bo is a man's man....a retired Army Ranger (he's only 44), Lt. Colonial, taught at West Point, you get the picture. He's big, strong, and looks lethal. But as anticipated, he's a teddy bear. Bo and I went on a hike on Saturday afternoon, and you hike way up the gorge on the old Tweetsie Railroad. It is awesome for a few reasons...you follow the river, you are looking down a huge gorge, you are going thru old tunnels and over old trussles 50 feet or more off of the river with nothing to hold on to. It is pretty awesome. So Bo and I get to the end of the railroad - about 3.5 miles out - and Bo decides that he wants to go down to the river and try and cross. Sounds fun, right? I thought so. But then again I'm an idiot so that doesn't count. So Bo and I climb down the gorge hanging onto trees and shrubs and falling most of the way, and finally make it to the river bed. Let me add that it is about 42 degrees and raining. But I am thinking to myself, well I'm with an Army Ranger, how much trouble can I get into? It is at this point that Bo jumps in the river, figuring this was the only way to cross. It was officially Man vs. Wild, Bo Barinowski style. It was at that moment that I said, Adios Bo! See you back at the cabin! I did. I ran back, wondering if Bo would make it out alive.

Needless to say , 2 hours later, Bo comes back in the cabin sogging wet, and says only the following before heading to the shower: "Bad idea."

- Another highlight would be seeing BJ Novak last night. He is most commonly known as "Ryan the Temp" on the show "The Office". But he did some stand up comedy last night at App State, and Ashley and I had a little date night and decided to go. Here is my thing with comedians. I have a very low expectation of them before I go. I don't know why. When I go to a movie I think, Man this is going to be good!! I am so excited to see this!! When I go to a stand up show I think, How is this dude going to make me laugh? And it never fails..............I am laughing hysterically within minutes. And it was the same last night...he was hilarious!

- Lowlight - might be selling Jimmy. He sucks and I hate him. His tires suck, the CD player stopped working, and he went on Craigslist two days ago. I am meeting a gal today at 1:30 who wants to look at him...will keep you posted. The only downside to this would be sharing a car again, but hey, that just means more time together, right?

- Christmas lights. It is officially Christmas Season at Queen Street (Ashley's house). I have mixed feelings (maybe mental issues) about this, but hear me out. In my family, it is quite commonly known that Christmas doesn't start until the last person leaves your house on Thanksgiving Day. We then run to the living room and put in the 1st Christmas CD of the season. Thanskgiving, done. Hello Christmas. We've been doing this for all 26 years of my life. Tree goes up and the lights go on the next day, and bam, here we are. But not in the world of Christi Mercer. I quote: "Thanksgiving and Christmas are just one big holiday for me". And what am I going to do, not go over to their house anymore? No way! So in one night their house went from normal mode to a Hallmark store....there is Christmas stuff everywhere! I fought it at first. I bitched and moaned and talked about how my family did this and that. She said, I don't care, you're in Boone now. Good point. But once I started putting some lights on the tree with Ash, and some ornaments on the tree with Christi and Kirbi...I felt like the Grinch: My heart grew 3 sizes that day. Or whatever he says. You know the scene - he transforms from the Grinch to the lover of all people and Christmas. The Christmas spirit was being injected into me against my will!! I confess...I enjoy the tree, and garland, and signs that say "__ Days Until Christmas". And I am putting lights on their bushes today. Did I cave in? Did I go against Casebeer Family Rules? How do I feel about this?

I'll tell you how I feel: "It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air." ~ W. T. Ellis

Welcome to the season, even if it is 7 days before Casebeer Go Time!


Smelly breath and more hippies

Ashley informed me yesterday I lately I have bad breath. I was offended and upset and I pouted and whined. Then she told me why: the damn tooth soap! She's right! I’m no dentist, but I am guessing that my hippie friend neglected to tell me that this magical soap would be detrimental this breath issue. Moral of the story? SAYONARA HIPPIE SOAP. Welcome back, Crest. Let your minty freshness rule my mouth for years to come!! Thanks to Ash I am now saved from embarassment!!

So Ashley and I have seen two concerts this week, both drastically different. Concert # 1 was of Tim Reynolds. For you music nerds out there like me, you’ll know that Tim is one of the country’s great guitarists – rock, blues, back-up, bluegrass, whatever. He can play it all, and he can play is amazingly. His “best known” album was playing an acoustic show with Dave Matthews, just the two of them. It is amazing. His concert in Boone was nothing like it. I was expecting some 32 year old music-y looking guy, and what we got was a 55 year old hippie (is there a theme here?) wearing an 80’s cutoff shirt and was 5 feet 3. This guy was the weirdest, creepiest looking musician I have seen in years. And some of his songs had words, mostly about sexual things or government overthrows, weird crap like that. Most of his songs were just music. However, the guy could shred! In the end, I didn’t really care that he was a nut-job. In fact I made Ashley go stand in the front row and take pictures because I was too embarrassed to do it myself. Needless to say, it was a funny experience for the two of us…looking like Banana Republic representatives at a hippie fest. Check Tim out below!

The next concert was last night, and it was awesome. It was at this thing called After Dark, and is a secret thing that happens on campuses all over the US. Long story short, there is a musician and a speaker, and that’s all you know, more or less. The musician was Dave Barnes, who I have wanted to see for a few years now. Funniest guy in concert. It is like watching a stand-up comedian play awesome music. I loved it. You should YouTube him, his videos are hilarious. On top of that, he’s a great musician too and a great songwriter, so it was awesome to just sit and enjoy a good concert. He did 2 sets, and in the middle was the speaker, who came out and talked about Jesus, which was very cool and had a big impact on lots of college kids there. After Dark is aimed mostly at un-churched people on college campuses, and this provides a pretty non-threatening way to hear about God. It’s a pretty cool concept.

It is supposed to snow here on Sunday and Tuesday…am I ready? Is Jimmy ready? Will his worn out tires be able to handle the frozen roads of Boone? Time will tell, people. I’m sure I’ll have some idiot crash story to tell. Stay posted. And have a great weekend!


Asheville extravaganza!!

First of all, if you have never been to Asheville, NC, you should go sometime in your life. Or immediately. For a few reasons, really. #1 at the top of the list: Biltmore Estate. We'll get into that later. Pictures to follow. #2: Downtown. #3: Food. #4: Grove Park Inn. We'll start there, and go in reverse order.

Some background info on the trip before we dive in...for my birthday this year, one of Ashley's gifts was a round of golf at the Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa golf course. Being from Oregon, naturally I have never heard of this place. But after doing some research, I found out that it was designed by one of the world's most famous designers, Donald Ross. I have never played a Ross course, so this was instantly exciting for me. Then I come to find out that the Grove Park Inn is a Top Ten Spa destination in the world. This place is UNREAL. So anyway, here we go.

#4 - Grove Park Inn. Golf? 10. Bloody Mary on the 11th hole? A solid 9. Playing partner? Easily an 8+, maybe a 9-. Negative points for being a smoker - sorry if I offended any smokers. Jason was his name, he was from Alpharetta, GA. Ring any bells? That's right...he lives about 5 minutes away from Ashley's house in GA. Needless to say, he and I had some things in common, and he was a good golfer, so it made for a great day. Between us, we made 7 birdies I think. That always makes things more fun! But as for the golf itself, it was awesome. The course was hard, which I like, and it was in amazing condition, considering we are 2 weeks into November. I was seriously impressed with this place...and would easily go back to play again. The Spa (which we didn't really see the inside of) was amazing just to look at. Most of it is underground...grotto style. Not to be confused with ghetto style. We looked at some prices, just to be inquisitive.....uhh....about $250 for a 60 minute massage...that being the cheapest treatment you can get. Needless to say, Ashley spent her time in Starbucks writing lesson plans, dreaming about facials, peddies, and steamy hot tub. Clearly my stocks need to do a little better in order for us to make a return trip for anything other than golf!! Overall experience? 9.2

#3 - FOOD. I like food, and lots of it. In fact I am kind of getting fat, but that's beside the point. One of Ashley and I's great habits and traditions is finding fun, new, old, young, hip, whatever places to eat in new towns. The nature of our relationship has blessed us in the fact that we have been so many places together and coincidentally have eaten at a lot of great places. We found a place called Table in downtown Asheville (found it on OpenTable.com, great website. If you are a traveler, USE IT). It was small, upscale, fairly priced, and had great food. I had lobster risotto, Ashley had pork chops......But Asheville is supposedly known for it's food, and I can see why. Downtown is laden with small boutiquey restaurants...I didn't really see any chains at all in downtown, which was nice. But you can walk everywhere, get a good glass of wine or drink at tons of places, and it has the feel of a big city eating spot in a setting like Bend kind of. Overall eating experience (lunch at Bello, glass of wine before dinner at ZLounge, dinner at Table, after dinner drink at Zambra Tapas Bar)? 8.7

#2 - Downtown. This will be short and sweet, because I covered most of it already...but once you park, you don't get in your car again until you leave. I love that. It was $5 flat rate all day, and $1 after 7 PM all night. So that takes most of the guess work out of it. The buildings are old - Pearl District feeling - the streets are easy to navigate, and scenery is amazing. Overall downtown experience? 9.0

One now for #1...BILTMORE ESTATE. Let's start with some stats.
- Biggest house in the USA
- 8,000 acres (used to be 125,000, but the wife sold the rest to the government, which is now a National Forest that the Vanerbilt's head landscape guy started on his own, because he was bored, probably)
- 255 rooms, 43 bathrooms
- Built from 1889 to 1895, opened on Christmas Eve, 1895.
- Owner - George Vanderbilt, father of ONE. That's right, three people lived in it.
- Staff was 66 people.....living in the staff quarters....and 435 living in an adjacent villeage.
- 2.4 million cubic feet of living space....can anyone convert that into square footage for me, please?
- 95% self sustaining while people lived in it...they grew, caught, raised, all food and drink, and operated one of the largest dairies in America at the time.

Ok now for some descriptions. THIS PLACE IS HUGE. It is amazing and cooler than anything I've ever seen. The tour takes you thru about 40% of the "house", if you can even call it that. You see some bedrooms, the billiards room, the gun room, the cigar room, the kitchen (which has seperate rooms for: fruit, veggies, canned goods, baked goods, meat, walk-in fridge, its own cannery...), America's first in-house bowling alley, the first house with underwater lighting in the swimming pool, and the first and maybe only house with a fully functional PIPE ORGAN.

It was a crazy life back then...everyone had servants, and the servants had servants, and you had to have someone help get you dressed for every activity throughout the day, the meals were 7 course meals, your guests had trunks full of clothes and funny hats, you spoke with lots of funky words to try to be impressive, and so on. It was an amazing visit for Ashley and I. We spent about 7 hours on the estate, finishing up at the Winery. It is the 55th largest winery in the USA, and totally self contained on this esate.

It is so hard to describe, but I did my best. Ash and I really had a great weekend together, one of my favorites! After 2 months of living in the same town we aren't sick of each other, so that's good! I hope that sometime in your life you can see the Biltmore Estate. And make sure to get the little head-phone tour thingy...Ashley got one and relayed the info to me (we're cheapos) while I walked around in a daze trying to figure out what I would do if I lived there. Rollerblades made the list.

Overall Biltmore experience? 10.7

Overall weekend experience? 11

Enjoy the day!


Grandma Casebeer is the funniest human alive

You might think you know some funny people, or have some funny family members. I am telling you I have the trump card: Marcia Casebeer. She is one of the creative and funny people I have met, and the following story is one that she wrote me in response to my Halloween blog. Enjoy!

"I have always loved Halloween and when the boys were little I would tell them that Halloween was the ONLY time that witches and goblins could be "free" and have a "chance" to capture a little boy or a little girl--and THAT was why it was so necessary to "dress" up in a costume so that the witches would not REALIZE that you were a little boy or girl. Also we had "noise-makers" because the witches could stand the sound of the noisemakers--so the thing to do was to make a LOT of noise and keep your mask on at all times!!!! On the afternoon of Halloween I would go to a neighbors and use their phone to call home--and one of the boys would answer-and in a squeeky-crackly voice--I would say--"this is the WITCH and I will be watching you tonite!!!" After dinner Dick would take them out for the trick or treating and I would put on my "witches costume" and take a broom--and get on one of our bikes--and just ride around the neighborhood cackling etc.--and it would cause quite a commotion--but you could sure hear the "noisemakers" going full blast-and everyone had their costumes on!! Once home I would await their arrival and the stories of how many time they saw that witch go by--it was SPOOKY!!!
- I can only imagine this scene...3 boys and Grandpa running around yelling and banging things while this crazy woman is riding thru the neighborhood on her bike, cackling and laughing hysterically!! Anyway, continue reading, the next story is better.

When we were transferred back to Coos Bay--and Scott was in the 3rd grade-Todd in the 2nd grade-for some reason I decided that I would visit their school the afternoon of Halloween--and they had not idea-none! So I got dressed up in my witches outfit-I had a really big witches hat-=and with my "nose" and "glasses" on you really-really could not tell it was me--and since their classes were all on the first floor of the school building-and because they had low windows--it was easy for me to crouch down and just run the length of their class room--with just the tip of my witch hat showing just above the window sill-and I could hear the teacher explaining something--and then hear a student say--look!! --there is a witch out there!!--and then others would see it--and the teacher would try to get them settled down and say it just could not be witch--by then I was off to the next classroom!! If I did this today-I would be arrested--anyway--this was going SO well that I went inside the school-got to Tood's class first--burst open the door-and with my broom -hopped up on a desk and shouted in a 'Horrible" voice-fee-fie-fo-fum--tonite I will get a little girl or boyium!!!-and off I would dash-to Scott's room-do the same-by now the two rooms were in an uproar-even the teachers--and THEN I saw the principal coming down the hall shouting --witch-witch--no don't go!!! So I stopped and he was laffing so hard--and asked if I would visit ALL the rooms-just quickly--and so I did--and THAT school was totally aware of the witch's "visit". When the boys got home--they could hardly wait to tell me about the witch--actually--ACTUALLY-coming to their school--and into their ROOMS!!!! It wasn't until we moved to Salem that I finally told them who the witch really was--and they had no idea!!!"

Imagine with me, if you will, a woman running outside of every classroom with only the tip of her hat showing. If you were a 2nd grader and saw that crap, I would be scared out of my mind. For Grandma? Mission accomplished! But this wasn't good enough for her...she runs into the school and into the class and up on a desk and singles out Todd Casebeer and cackles at him that she will eat him and get him later tonight. Could you imagine the sheer horror this must created? And at the same time, the sheer delight for Grandma?? Brilliant.

But she wasn't only Halloween tricks and pranks. When we were younger she would keep 4 grandkids busy for hours without spending a dime. We would go to Kueblers Furniture and she would pretend to be shopping while secretly we were all playing hide and seek. She would be talking to the salesman and every now and then would spot us and hiss "I see you!!!! go hide again!!!".

Another memory would be "fishing". She would announce that we were going to go fishing when we got to the house, and this would be so exciting. We would then spend the next 3 hours or so making the poles...out of things we found around the house...then by the time we were "ready" to go fishing, it would be time to go!! Genius!!

Anyway, this woman is hilarious. You would have to meet her to experience her story telling skills, and how good she is at writing poems at Christmas, and how great of a golfer she is (still plays multiple times a week, came within 7 shots of shooting her age a few years ago). Hopefully you'll get the chance in your lifetime, if you already haven't, to meet the one and only Grandma Casebeer.

In other news, was that election night crazy or what? It is illiciting responses from people that are just downright dumb. Here are some highlights of things I've heard from around Boone and the nation:
- The end of the world is here
- Praise the Lord that I don't have to worry about filling up my car with gas or paying my mortgage anymore.
- Are we living in Revelation?
- Packing up my stuff, moving to Canada
- Be back in 4 years
- Palin 2012

I mean, come on people. I thought Obama did an amazing job in his acceptance speech, and couldn't help think while he was talking that I was witnessing probably one of the top 5 most historic speeches in American History. Pretty cool to think about, and watch, and experience.

That's all I've got for today...if you have any responses for Grandma, post them or email them to me and I'll forward them on! Enjoy the sun if you live in Boone!!


Politics and shout-outs and new pictures!

Well it was inevitable...I had to write about the election at some point. I'll be brief and not profound. My brother and I made a bet yesterday: What time is McCain going to concede to Obama? I went with 6pm EST, he with 8pm PST. I'm guessing he'll win, mainly because he's smarter than me. I voted - absentee - for McCain for a variety of reasons that I will not go into, but we will see what happens tonight!

Election days are exciting. It wreaks of change, and it sometimes tastes a little sour. I say that because it seems like everyone walking around has to get their opinion out on a day like today, and sometimes do it in an abrasive way. I'm at Espresso News right now and everyone is trying to get their point across to someone else. Sometimes I could care less who wins - the economy is bad but guess what? One single person isn't going to fix it by themselves. It will turn around, it always has and always will. Everyone just needs to calm down, go vote, and see what happens. Tomorrow is for being upset or jubilant or "I told you so's". Ok enough politics! On to shout-outs!

So this last weekend I experienced my very first App State football game. A little background on the team...they have won 3 straight National Championships at the D1-AA level (my Alma Mater USD is a D1-AA football teamm too). They have this guy named Armanti Edwards who is a better version of Dennis Dixon (former Oregon Duck). He dominates games. If they did not have Armanti, they would not be where they are, simply put. The guy does it all. Stats from last game: 17-19 367 yards passing, 73 yards rushing, 4 TD's. Oh and he sat most of the 4th quarter. Anyway, Ashley's best friend Alex Whitaker came to town with new hubby Jay (shoutout #1). They are YL staffers in Surrey County, and we like them. Also in town for the game was the infamous Janelle Rose Knox (shoutout #2 - everyone calls her by her full name all the time, I'm not sure why, but I'm going to do the same). JRK, as I will now branch out and call her, lives in Wake County and teaches 4th graders. She lets them blog everyday so I now instantly like her. Another funny thing about NC - this state is pretty much defined by counties. I'm not sure why. Where do you live? Watauga County. Where are you from? Catawba County (Christi Mercer, roommate of Ashley O'Dea, and also shoutout #3). Where do you teach? Wilkes County. Oh my friend lives in Avery County.......get the point? It is strange and kind of cool. I'm going to tell people from now on that I am from Deschutes County and grew up in Marion County, and let them decifer what that means.

I'm done rambling for today. Mainly beacuse I'm out of topics. And I should go work. Have fun watching the festivities tonight, and good luck to whoever you are rooting for! I'l be closely following the Smith-Merkley battle in Oregon, the Soucek-Tarleton battle for the House in North Carolina, and of course, the battle for the Vice President of the United States.

Go America!


What are YOU going to be for Halloween?

Halloween.....what a strange holiday. As a kid, heaven. A chance to show off your creativity and eat endless amounts of candy. As an adult, just an excxuse to be someone other than yourself for a night, and have some fun doing it. But Halloween has created some funny memories for me. Some highlights of my Halloween career:

- My first few years in costumes I believe were as either a clown or possibly a sheep. Maybe a tiger. I could be way off base here - I don't really recall most of my childhood - but I remember being a clown. And a tiger. And a ghost. Or something.

- One year, my mom dressed my brother and I up as girls. Sisters. Ha. Ha. Very funny. We were convincing though - fooled my Uncle Chris, he had no idea who or what we were. Mom putt makeup on us, ear rings, leggings, the whole deal. It was humiliating, as I look back on it...but I'm sure created some laughs around the neighborhood!

- One year I was a witch's hat..............yes, just the hat. I'm pretty sure it didn't have arms, which made trick-or-treating confusing and difficult. Props to Mema for creating that outfit, though!

- Another year my friend Em was Garth from Wayne's World...we still laugh about that one. I think his sister was a black Jamaican hippie that year....

- A classic outfit one year, as my mom just reminded me via Gchat this morning....we were CALIFORNIA RAISINS. You remember..."I heard it thru the grapevine..." I bet you've never been one of those!! Mema, again, on the outfit creation. She was brilliant.

- In college, I was slightly more sophisticated....I was Steve Irwin, aka The Croc Hunter. It actually was a pretty dang good outfit, if you ask me. It was replete with a puppet crocodile and a rubber snake around my neck. And reeeeallly short shorts.

- Our neighborhood was pretty sweet for trick-or-treating.....a few houses went all out. My neighbor - Jim Litchfield - grew these pumpkins that were big enough for me to fit IN TO until I was about 7. They were HUGE. And he carved them with these elaborate patterns, it was amazing.

- Then there was the guy who never gave treats...............only tricks.

- Andrew Elliot's parents always did this haunted house thing on their front porch, and it legitimately scared me until I was like 16.

- Dentist's never give good candy.......Litch, are you listening??? NO MORE TOOTHBRUSHES PLEASE. VERY FUNNY.

- Then of course, anyone who has lived in Salem has been to the infamous, world famous, Deaf School Haunted House. You talk about being scared......I am still scared when I take my cousins there. It is like 20 minutes long, winding all the way thru the basement of the cold, deaf school on Cherry Ave. People are popping out of no where all the time, and this creepy vampire guy follows you thru the whole thing...sometimes he is silent, sometimes he runs thru your group and pulls people and screams and yells.....freaky. At the end this deaf guy chased you with a fully functional and working chain saw until you couldn't stand it any longer. He chased us all the way to our car one time.

That about sums up my Halloween memories....anybody have any funny ones?? Feel free to post them! I'd love to hear some great outfits or stories....enjoy the weekend. I'll be going to my very first Appalachian State football game!! KICK APP, as they say around here.


Global warming my butt!

Let me be honest - it's freezing in Boone. October 27, 2008, first snowfall. It started flurrying yesterday about 6 PM, and we woke up this morning to a snow covered ground and cancelled school. I wish they cancelled work when it snowed, but I have no excuse since I work from my house. Which reminds me - I figured out the heat issue. It is now working. I don't have to use the stove anymore. However, when then wind blows really hard while I'm working, I can feel the cold air coming thru the cracks. Needless to say, when I leave the heat off at night (every night) the mornings are frigid and brutal. Anyway, sometimes I naively think that Global Warming is a bunch of crap when I hear that it snowed in Bend on Oct 9th, and in Boone last night. And when I hear that the Ice Caps in Antartica had their least amount of melt the last two years than the last 5 combined...or something like that. But then Ashley yells at me and makes me realize that is actually is an issue...and she's right. I've discovered she's right a lot. I'm just bitter than it's cold.

In other news, Ashley and I carved pumpkins last night. I won the speed round - taking the top off, taking out the guts, feeling proud - and she won the style round. Hers was clearly better than mine, which doesn't surprise me because I picked a design WAY too hard for me and got annoyed that it was taking me well over 2 hours to finish the stupid thing...so I cut corners and finished and now it truly looks scary because of how bad it looks. Suffice it say I am going with an easier, less ambitious design next year. (Pictures below). She is a perfectionist. And it paid off. She wins.

Last weekend Ashley and I headed to Windy Gap, a Young Life camp in North Carolina. It was a weekend of nostalgia for me. I realized how much I love YL camps and how much I believe in their mission. I always think to myself, Wouldn't life be easier if I just moved to a YL camp and lived there? Sometimes I think it would, but I realize that is not what I am called to do. Anyway, we were "AM Cooks", which meant we cooked and prepared and served breakfast and lunch to the servers, who took it out to the campers. The hours were 6 Am til about 2:30pm or so in the afternoon...maybe taking 15 minutes for breakfast and lunch. Basically.....brutal. But somehow no one seems to care or mind that they are tired and their feet hurt and they smell like bacon and hotwing sauce. They just keep going, keep serving food to serve the Lord in serving kids. It is amazing. We would serve 500 people per meal like it was no sweat off our backs. The campers have it good. It's like a resort - 5 star dining, swimming, frisbee golf, basketball, tennis, laughing, finding their "weekend fling", and hearing about God in a non threatening way. It's a great thing, and something I forsee myself being a part of in some way or another for a long time.

Random thought...I get to see my best friend John Olinger play a basketball game tonight. It is their first game of a 3 week or so tour. It will be a little bit of a trek - about 1.5 hours - but well worth it!

That's all from here...thanks for reading, sorry for the time in between...I got blogger's block. Hopefully that doesn't happen again!


Jimmy and other thoughts

Jimmy (my car - see picture below!)) finally got a license plate!!! Praise the Lord. Jimmy is now an Oregonian with Boone stickers all over him. I spent the last 10 days evading the Boone Police Force, SWAT team, State Troopers, and App State security guards. NO TICKET. It really was an unbelievable performance. I would be driving - no place or temp tag or anything - and see an officer and immediately turn on the nearest street and drive really fast. There were times when I honestly thought that the town was out to get me. Here are some examples:

- I am sitting at Espresso News, two cars get in a fender bender in the parking lot, call the police. The police person pulls up directly behind my car - I am watching this from the inside - gets out, looks at my car, and moves on!
- Car breaks down in the parking lot of my apartment, calls the police (for some unknown reason). Policeman does not notice my car sitting 3 feet from him with no plate on it!!
- Traffic jam on King Street (aka Main Street). Moving 3 MPH, Police officer at EVERY SINGLE INTERSECTION directing traffic. I drive by at least 8 officers, look the other way and pretend like I'm waving at someone, and somehow none of them noticed the empty plate or cared to call a buddy about it.

I'm lucky I tell you. Stupid, but lucky. But now I'm official!

Other random thoughts from this morning:
- Wine to Water - a non-profit here in town. Check them out. winetowater.org. They are an amazing organziation that is fighting the poor water epidemic in suffering countries - mainly Uganda and Cambodia. They build and dig wells to provide clean water to these communities(poor, unclean water accounts for nearly 75% of illness or death in those countries), and are currently working to build a water filtration facility in Northern Uganda. Each filter costs $100, and provides clean water for about 5,000 people and lasts at least 10 years with no maintenence. It's amazing what a simple $100 can do......hint hint....
- Heading to Windy Gap - it's North Carolina's Young Life camp - this weekend to do Work Crew. My old boss Ben Lambeth from Crooked Creek in Colorado now lives about an hour from Boone (we've hung out a few times and it has been great!). He asked Ashley and I to head up there with him for the weekend to work in the kitchen...can't wait!
- Newest favorite TV show - Biggest Loser. Great message, great results.
- I'm reading Don Miller's "Searching for God Knows What" currently, and it is great. It is all about how Christianity is a relational religion, not a set of rules and regulations. It is about Jesus walking around relating to people, and that He still does that today...thru the Bible, thru chuches, thru Young Life leaders, etc. Needless to say, I am digging it.

That's about all I have for today...enjoy the sun while it is here!


The 31st Annual Woolly Worm Festival!!!

So I woke up on Sunday and I could see my breath for the first time............IN MY APARTMENT. I kid you not - it was that cold. I immediately tried to turn on the heat, and thus far has not produced any. So I turned on all 4 stove tops and that worked temporarily until I felt like I was going to burn the place down. Next attempt: the oven? Wear gloves permanently? Sleep in jeans and my Patagonia? Or maybe I should just talk to the landlord..........

In other news, Ashley and I went to the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, NC. Have you ever heard of a Woolly Worm? I hadn't. I bet you've seen one though - they are brown and black and fuzzy and crawl around on leaves and on the pavement sometimes. Well every year (31st Annual) they have a festival to celebrate this worm. And at the end, the winning worm predicts the weather for the next 13 weeks. Allegedly they have, so far, an 87% success rate. Who knew?? Here's how it goes down.

They have this huge stage, and it has 25 racing spots. Each 'racing spot' consists of: a place for a name plate. Each woolly worm of course has a name. Some of my favorites: R2D2, Zippo, Arwoolly Edwards (you'll only get that if you live in Boone), Paul, Ichabod Crane, C3PO, Rainbow Wormier, and Slick. Anyway, below the name plate is a 5 foot long string. The goal of the race is for your worm to beat all other worms UP the string to the "finish line". It costs $5 and you can race as many times as you want. Also on the stage is an announcer - like the announcers that you see at the Fair that announce the Clown water baloon gun shooting race, or the rubber ball horse race, you know what I'm talking about. They announce loud and fast it make it way more exciting than it really is. On top of that there are 2 judges with whistles that let everyone know who the winning worm is. It is amazing! Each heat winner moves on to the next race, and the over winner receives $1,000 cash and the chance to predict the weather! To give you the scale of it...last year there were around 2,500 racing worms. It's unreal. And it's 2 days long. My friend Kirbi's worm last year got on the string and went the wrong way - down instead of up. Happens all the time.

Needless to say, it was hilarous and fun. I took pictures, and will try to post some somwehere on this thing. Keep checking back! Until next time and more experiences, have a great day!



So today is my birthday. Happy Birhtday Alex, thank you. I was in the beginning stages of being depressed about having another birthday - I thought that started happening around age 40 - and my brother told me I was being an idiot. So I stopped. I woke up this morning to a surprise on my doorstep from Ashley...BANANA BREAD. I love that stuff. I instantly wolfed down half of the loaf and started this day off right! So props to Ashley, that stuff was good!

That made me start thinking of my favorite birthdays...and no, I'm not going to brag, this is actually going somewhere. And then that train of thought lead me to "Lists". Top 5's. Favorite whatevers. So I am going to list some lists. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to chime in at any time.

Top 5 Favorite Birthdays:
- Golf at Crosswater with Em, Scott Taylor, and Andy Howard. Well, 3 of us golfed, and Taylor just sat in the cart and smoked cigars and drank beer.
- 21st birthday in LA. 4 parents, 1 brother, 3 great friends...and Betty White and Nancy Raegan.
- Pendleton to Eugene to Black Butte in 1 day for 1 great weekend!
- 16th Birthday at that one place that our parents rented out for the 10 of us who had October Birthdays!

Top 5 Favorite Golf courses:
- Crosswater, Pacific Dunes, The Vintage, Sahalee, Pebble Beach (with Dad)

Top 5 Favorite memories with Em:
- Golfing at Hawk Creek in Neskowin in a torential downpour with Howard...and Em blowing the win on the last hole!
- Playing one on one to 200 points at McKinley...yes, 200 points. By 1's and 2's.
- Tennis at 2am at Illahe...epic battles.
- Ping Pong in his basement...calling timeouts (there are no timeouts in ping pong) and sweating so bad because of no A/C and it being 96 degrees outside
- Playing one on one BASEBALL. You'd think it's impossible, but not with Em and I. It was amazing.

Top 5 Memories with my brother:
- his wedding
- driving from LA to Salem in 12.5 hours. Left at 12AM, met Dad at McGraths downtown at 12:30 pm.
- playing tennis at Fairmount Park on those crappy courts
- NYC for Spring Break in 2004
- his visit to me while I was at Young Life camp in Colorado

Top 5 movies (I'll cheat a little on this one):
- Indiana Jones Trilogy, Scent of a Woman, Shawshank Redemption, The Goonies, The Little Mermaid

Top 5 Memories with John Olinger:
- Europe 2006, way too many competitive golf rounds at Illahe with Em and Wade, talking in Bend a few weeks ago, Palm Springs (twice I think), Work Week at Malibu

Top 5 Authors:
- Paul, Henri Nouwen, Donald Miller, Vince Flynn/James Patterson/David Baldacci (they are all the same, more or less), Roald Dahl

Top 5 Classes I took in college:
- Christian Marriage, Marketing (because of Professor Gerson, who was one of the only people on this earth who I knew that knew my Great Grandfather), Spanish 3 (again, the professor), Leadership and Entreprenuership, New Venture Finance

Top 5 Places I have visited (I'll brag on this one, sorry):
- Africa, Young Life's Malibu Club (Canada), Switzerland, Austria, Cuba

5 Best Places to eat in Bend:
- Baldy's BBQ, The Blacksmith, Longboard Louie's, Deschutes Brewery (only because of the Mac n Cheese), Croutons

5 Best Places to eat in Boone (so far):
- Chick Fil A, Black Cat, Char, Jimmy John's, Mellow Mushroom

Top 5 Places

Top 5 Memories with Mom:
- US Open in NYC, running/talking in Cape Town, finishing the Marine Corp Marathon (and all of the damn training runs and talk and everything that went in to it!!), San Francisco (what was that one broadway show we saw with Martin Short in it? Hilarious...), living mono e mono for 2 years at 1835 Alta View Drive

I guess I'll quit now...I could go on and on forever. I am sure all of you have great lists too! Feel free to post one or two of them in the comment section...would love to hear some thoughts on what your favorite things are! In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy birthday # 26. My mom already recounted what happened 26 years ago....for the 26th time. Enjoy the day!


Hippie Soap and the Bummer Hiccups

So Ashley and I went to Oktoberfest 2008 in Banner Elk, NC last weekend. We had been looking forward to this for a few reasons: the amazing weather, the arts and crafts they sell, the amazing changing of the leaves, and good beer. Or maybe that last reason was just me. Anyway, we went on Saturday and it did not dissapoint! In fact the pictures at the bottom of this page are from it. But one experience made me laugh, and potentially changed my life: the encounter with the hippie.

There was a soap stand among the arts and crafts at the fair portion of Oktoberfest. I have bought some home-and handmade soaps before, and really like them. They smell good and you are supporting local economy. But they didn't just sell soap. They sold deodorant, perfume, and of all things tooth soap. All handmade! So the guy who was running this joint was a hippie, and we got to talking. Turns out he was the most normal guy in the world. Used to work in Information Technology and is now a hippie. He and his wife had six kids and are now making soap and selling it for a living.

However during our conversation I couldn't stop thinking about the Tooth Soap that was hiding in the corner. I asked him about it. He went on to explain all of the bad and tooth damaging things that are in Crest and all of the other toothpastes out there, and that Tooth Soap is not only all natural, but are actually better for your teeth. I said, really? He said, Yes, there are things in toothpaste that don't protect your teeth and actually damage them. My wife and six kids have been using the same bar for over a year. It is amazing. I thought, Gross, same bar, 8 people, but said, Wow, how much does it cost? Like $500 bucks? He said, No, $4. I looked at his teeth. They were amazingly white and shiny. I mean, really white. Especially for a hippie!

So Ashley and I thought about it for a minute, and pulled the trigger. I am officialy now a user of Tooth Soap. Aka Hippie Soap. (Litch, are you reading this? Any thoughts?) So far, so good. My teeth feel cleaner than they ever have! I do have to say that brushing your teeth with soap is strange. It reminds me of the time my dad washed my mouth out with a bar of Zest for cussing at Mike Long when I was 4. It was gross and scarred me for life.

Upon returning from the Fest (beer was great, riding the ski lift to the top of Sugar Mountain was sweet, and the weather was amazing), we went to the Boone Saloon with some of Ashley's friends who were in town for the night. We were sitting around drinking beer when friend Megan noticed a guy sulking in the corner. She looked at him for a few seconds, and then walked straight up to him and said, You are trying to get rid of the hiccups, aren't you?

How she knew this I have no idea. I was amazed. He said, Yes I am. She said, I know how to get rid of the hiccups. Do you trust me? Dangerous question from a stranger, I might add. He said, Yes.

Picture this if you will: One girl plugging his nose. Another girl with a finger in each of his ears. And the Hiccup man chugging an entire bottle of water. And Ashley and I falling out of our chairs laughing. But as you can probably guess by now, it worked. He no longer had the hiccups.

He came over to our table and said, Man, I'm not drunk or anything. I have only had 3 beers and f***ing got the bummer hiccups!!! I probably look like a dumbass but I'm not even drunk! I hate the bummer hiccups! I thought to myself, Well no, you looked like a dumbass with 2 girls plugging your ears and nose, but that's neither here nor there. Point in fact, he actually was not drunk. I asked, Bummer hiccups? He said, Yeah, you know, when the hiccups sneak up on you when you aren't even drunk.

Bummer hiccups. New term, folks. Has that ever happened to you? I can relate. I hate the bummer hiccups. They suck bigtime.

But I love hippie soap!


Random things from random days.

Hello. I decided to write a hybrid blog today. I feel like I have written a lot since I have been here, and wanted to post of few of my journal entries from some different days...hopefully you'll find one or two or all or none of them interesting. Hopefully I don't offend anyone! Enjoy.
This town is weird. Pretty much in every way possible. But in it's own cool way. Take for instance the new Guinness World Record Boone just set for “Most People Dressed like Daniel Boone in the Same Place” about 2 weeks ago. Over 400 people looking like Daniel Boone. In one place. Strange. Then there is the wacky mix of locals vs. ASU students. A town full of country hicks vs. a town full of eccentrics. Hippies, freaks, gays, straights, normals, creative minds, country boys all fill up this crazy little town called Boone. It is an awesome, eclectic mix. I have not seen anything like it! It is random, cool, trying to break out of the 70's and into the new
millennium, but also being a funky old mountain town at the same time. There is golf, moutain biking, rafting skiing, running, and fishing for outdoor activities, to name a few. There are good places to eat (CHIK FIL A), great coffee shops, and a few good bars (and a LOT of real crappy ones). Just stay away from Klondike Bar is what I hear. I'm more of a Boone Saloon guy.

All this to say I feel slightly weird here. A little out of place. I talk different, dress different, think different and act different. Not that it is a bad thing; just weird. I’ve never really felt this way before. San Diego, Salem, Bend – there has always been a 'place' for me. This sounds like a pity party – it’s not! Just an observation. I can handle it, I can adapt. I can grow a beard and wear funny clothes too!
I don’t have much to say today really. I bought a car though, so that’s nice. 2000 GMC Blue Jimmy, who will from now on be referred to as “Jim”. You know exaclty which car I'm talking about, because you used to see them everywhere. Now I have one. Jim runs ok – needs new tires and a wash big time. The doors are kind of broken, the A/C doesn't work, and the gas gague is broken…but he’s getting a detailing tomorrow, so hopefully he’ll make it out alive. My dream of the Craigs List Land Rover that I had been lusting over for 2 weeks ended for 2 reasons. First, I’m impatient. I jumped the gun because I hadn't heard back from the owner. And because I wanted a car. Secondly, it was probably a fraud. Oh well.
Stereotypes and Starbucks.
I was thinking those things in the shower this morning for some reason. My thought: People who drink Starbucks are generaly stereotyped as being “rich, affluent, ‘with it’, in the know, cool”. At least in my feeble mind. When I see someone walk around with a Starbucks cup I think they are cool and proud of what they are drinking. I think they have their life together. I think that I want one too. When I see someone walk around drinking out of a McDonalds cup, I think they are cheap. Why is that? Why does that little cup make all the difference? I think that is interesting. Maybe Starbucks has brainwashed the world somehow and made us all think that their cups and coffee and things are so much better than anything the world has to offer. Maybe they have drugged the espresso. Who knows? I mean there has been all sorts of coffee studies – the blind taste tests and what not. And it seems that Starbucks never wins. McDonald's always does. Or Seattle's Best. But never Starbucks. So why does it all rest on the cop that we carry? What if they did "cup studies" like they do coffee studies? Personal image studies?
More thoughts.
I really thought that my windows were going to blow in last night and that I was going to die. It was incredibly windy and stormy, just without the rain. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like a tornado was lurking right outside my 2nd story crappartment. I have never heard anything like this before; it was not as awe-inspiring as I thought it would be. It was more scary than anything else.
I like tradition. Ritual is different than tradition in my eyes. Ritual seems very religious to me, as opposed to tradition, which is just something you do because that’s all you know or because it’s fun to keep something going. I have a tradition with Katie (Myers) Selbak. We have been participating in this tradition for at least 10 years…maybe even a few more. It started with me – for whatever reason – giving her a card and a single rose for her birthday, which is exactly one week before mine. (Her birthday is today, by the way). To my great surprise, she did the exact same thing for me on my birthday, and I really liked it. The greatest part about this is that neither of us has missed one single rose giving. And she has lived in Corvallis, Salem, and Portland, and I have lived in San Diego, Salem, and Bend for our respective birthdays. I got the rose issue taken care of this year thru her dad, Bob. I am wondering how she’ll figure out how to deliver a rose to Boone…

Other traditions I like in recent years (in no particular order): playing cards with the guys, Fantasy Basketball, drawing cards to see who has to be the “DD” at Christmas at Grandma’s house (Carrie has lost 3 years in a row!!), golf with Wade, the Annual Black Butte trips, Big Town Hero when visiting Salem (Court Street too, for that matter), the birthday cutting cake knife that Uncle Jim made (great story!!), the car races at Grandma’s, $35 in the mail from Grandma on our birthday (no more, no less, ever), the 4 games of cards dad and I always play (Spades, Gin, Crazy 8’s, Casino), and Battle at Bandon (ie Jacobs Cup). I can’t think of any more right now, but I really do like traditions.
More to come later...thanks for reading!
Happy birthday to: Lauren Dalton, Bryan Maletis, Andrew Vijarro.
Have a great day!



The leaves are changing here in Boone. They started the inevitable process about 10 das ago, and it is quite a sight, really. There are so many trees here it is ridiculous, but it is nice because it reminds me of The Valley. But these trees are different. Not as many Doug Firs – if any – and no aspens (like Bend). There are conifers and some pines, and lots of leafy ones that create what looks like a painter’s palate on a mountainside. They are woven into the mountainside as God knew exactly what He was doing when they were planted or grew or however they got there.

I am looking at this huge hill right now, and there has got to be at least 20 different colored trees on it. There are 4 shades of red, 3 yellows, a few oranges, and lots of greens. No pink or blue or black, thank goodness. Fall has a distinct color to it I feel like. I wouldn't call it pastels, but it is something like that. Of course, pastels don’t greens I don’t think. But that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, I feel like looking at this hill is reminding me of something familiar, and making me feel connected somehow. Maybe it is because I am used to the leaves changing so vividly every year. Or maybe it is because I expect it, and if it didn’t happen then I wouldn’t feel like I belong where I am. I would feel out of place and not myself.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t really like San Diego. The leaves didn’t change, and there was no fall. Or winter, or spring, for that matter. It was all the same all the time. And I felt trapped in this strange serenity. Some people love that and will never leave. But not in Bend, or Boone, or Salem. Things change and change is good. Changes stirs up something in people, for better or worse. It seems like attitudes change and mindsets shift or something, but something happens when the leaves change. And I like it.


Humorous Correspondence

Every day in my junk email I receive something from "prayermanager", which is mail from "Liveprayer.com". It was founded by Bill Keller. I had an interesting correspondence with them this morning about his thoughts on "The Shack". Have you read it? It is pretty good. It also has stirred up some controversy lately regarding the author's thoughts on God. The following is my emails back and forth. This post is VERY long!! Just a fair warning!!

10/07/08 Daily Devotional. "The Shack" is NOT a Christian novel, but simply more New Age heresy. Things have not really changed since the first days of the church over 2,000 years ago. One of the problems Paul dealt with often were those who perverted the Absolute Truth of the Bible with writings that purported to be Christian. All throughout these past 2,000 years men have written books about the Christian faith that compromised the Truth of the Bible. We have never been so ripe for these types of heretical books as in the year 2008, with the better part of 2 generations having never even gone to church and the large percentage of those who do, being Biblically illiterate. So it is no wonder that a huge best selling "Christian novel," "The Shack," is the latest in a long line of heretical books promoting anti-Biblical ideas.
William P. Young, the author of "The Shack," is the son of missionaries whose dad also pastored churches in Canada. He went to Bible College and later graduated with an undergraduate degree in Religion from Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon. However, there is absolutely no information available on his theology. "The Shack" is an allegorical fictional novel.
It conveys postmodern spiritual ideas and teachings that challenge Biblical Christianity, all in the name of God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Much like New Age author James Redfield's book "The Celestine Prophecy,"
"The Shack" is a fictional vehicle for upending certain Biblical concepts and presenting contrary spiritual scenarios. Young's book moves through a very engaging and emotional story to eventually present the New Age teaching that God is "in" everything. God is not "in" everyone and everything. The Bible makes it clear that man is not divine and that man is not God!
"The Shack" presents many of the same New Age concepts and ideas that plague the controversial Bible paraphrase The Message, written by Eugene Peterson who enthusiastically endorsed "The Shack," as well as Rhonda Byrne's "The Secret" that I warned you about years ago and was heavily promoted by the queen of the New Age gurus Oprah, New Age leader Benjamin Cr me's, "The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom," and New Age matriarch Alice Bailey, in her book "The Reappearance of the Christ."
This "God in everything" immanence is why The Shack is such a deceptive book. It teaches this same heresy. This is most apparent when he uses the person of "Jesus" to suddenly introduce the foundational teaching of the New Spirituality, God is "in" everything. Using the New Age term "ground of being" to describe "God," the "Jesus" of The Shack states: "God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things.." (p. 112)
This false teaching about a "God" who "dwells in, around, and through all things" is the kind of New Age leaven that Paul warned about. Clearly, the "Jesus" of The Shack is not Jesus Christ of the Bible. The apostle Paul warned the Corinthians that they were vulnerable and extremely susceptible to "another Jesus" and "another gospel" and "another spirit" that were not from God (2 Corinthians 2:11).
In the Bible, Jesus warned that spiritual deception would be a sign before His return. He further warned that there would be those who would even come in His name, pretending to be Him (Matthew 24:3-5;24). William Young's mixing of truth and error can become very confusing to readers, and God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33).
We are living in such perilous times and satan is busy using tools like "The Shack" to lead people astray, many searching for real truth in their lives.
This is why I am like a broken record every day to challenge people to get out into the world and take the REAL TRUTH of the Bible to people. They are hurting, looking for answers. Why do you think books like this are so popular? It doesn't help when you have people like Pat Robertson featuring Young on The 700 Club, not to rebuke or chastise his New Age concepts, but to promote his book.
This is why I come down so hard on cotton candy preachers like Osteen, expose Masonic cult member Robert Schuller who promotes many of these same New Age concepts and even sells New Age garbage in his crystal church's bookstore, warn you about these watered down, compromised seeker/purpose driven/emergent church movements geared to attract bodies and not souls.
People are looking for life changing answers, and the ONLY place they will find those answers are in the Bible!!!
Listen, there is SO much material out there. My word of wisdom for you today is this. First, know who the author is. Research them and find out what their theology is. If you can't find it, STAY AWAY! You wouldn't go to a stranger for open heart surgery, why look for Biblical Truth from someone you don't even know. If the book isn't tied to Scripture, have any sort of Scriptural references (from credible translations and not these perverted paraphrase Bibles), STAY AWAY! I don't care how clever man thinks he is, there is no substitution for the Word of God!!! It is the ONLY Truth there is that can truly change hearts and lives.
I love you and care about you so much. "The Shack" has touched the hearts and emotions of many people. While there are many other examples of the author's unbiblical teachings, the heretical New Age concept that "God dwells in, and around, and through all things" is in and by itself enough to make this book dangerous. To allow yourself to get carried away by this story, while disregarding the book's New Age concepts, is the kind of compromise that has invaded the church today.
I have learned over these many years of ministry to be very leery of anything that is embraced by the world and becomes wildly popular by the masses. The fact is, the pure Truth of the Bible is NOT something this lost world gravitates to. They want something that feels good, makes them happy for a moment, helps them through a difficult time, without making any real commitment or sacrifice in return. That is why the spiritual crack of our day, these New Age teachings are so popular. Sacrifice and service don't sell, success and satisfaction does!!!
I will be praying for those who are caught up in "The Shack," that the Lord will put the right people in their lives to help guide them to the real Truth of His Word.
Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
Bill Keller
Founder liveprayer.com
(My email back to Bill)
Hello Mr. Keller.
I am a little perturbed at your daily devotional “lesson” today. Having read “The Shack” for what it is – a work of fiction – I thought you were too tough of a critic and certainly very biased. And at times, not scripturally based yourself.
I have met Paul Young, and have talked with him about his book. These aren't his exact thoughts, they are mine. But he is a very down to earth follower of Christ, like yourself. His intentions were good in writing this book. A few points you might find interesting:
1) This fictional book was meant as a story for his kids, not as a “New Age Heresy”. There was no intent for this to be a “Christian novel”, as you claim it is. Sure you might find it in the Christian section of Borders just because it has the word “God” in it, but it was written for his children as a fictional novel. It was not written as a “vehicle for upending certain biblical concepts”.
2) Romans 8:10-12 reads: But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And the spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies thru His spirit, who lives in you. I guess I am a little confused by your train of thought that Jesus does not live in us once we hand our lives over to Him. That’s what giving our lives to Christ is – salvation – a relationship with the God head three in one. In every translation that I found of that passage there is some mention of Christ either “living in us” or “dwelling in us” or “taking up residence in us”.
3) Jesus of “the Shack” is clearly not the Jesus Christ of the bible. No kidding. He wasn’t meant to be. It is a fictional book!
4) God is the “ground of all being”. Please see Genesis 1.
5) God created everything and dwells in us once we give our lives to him. He is omnipotent. Or am I off base here?
If you could please explain your train of thinking scripturally I would be opening to hearing it. I believe in a God who walks in this life with me, not one who sits on a throne a dictates what is happening. I believe that Jesus and the Holy Spirit live in me and give me wisdom and guidance and comfort (Proverbs), and I did not learn this from “The Shack”.
I also don’t think that Satan is using this book for his purposes. I also don’t believe that God is using it to bring people to salvation. I believe the book is creating good, however. I believe that “The Shack” is making people at least think about God, and think that if there is something else out there that is greater than them, and better than them, that they might look in to it. And THAT is good. That is not evil.
Comparing Paul Young to Joseph Smith is a little bit of a cheap shot, don’t you think? He’s just a guy who wrote a fictional book, not a guy who created a cult.
I will be praying for you too, Bill.
Alex Casebeer
PS What are some “many examples of the author’s unbiblical teachings”? Would you please send them to me? I would like to know.
it is Biblically illiterate folks like yourself who make marketing such garbage so easy...go do some homework my friend..type in The Shack heresy..and you can do the research for yourself..it is dangerous..and if the author didn't do it intentionally..he out of sheer ignorance..created a book that is leading people AWAY form the true Christ..and into New Age teachings from hell..you are right..I am biased..for the TRUTH of the Bible..period..
Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
Bill Keller
Founder, http://www.liveprayer.com/
You failed to answer any of my questions.
Or respond to any of my facts or points I made. Genesis 1? Romans? Anything?
Instead of attacking me, maybe, just maybe we can have a conversation. Feel free to call.
listen...Dr. Keller gets over 40,000 emails a DAY..most are for prayer..there are 700 of here who answer them...we are a prayer ministry..over 2.4 MILLION people worldwide read what Dr. Keller writes every day..we don't ahve time for "conversations" with everyone who agrees or disagrees with what he writes..if you want to defend this heretical garbage..knock yourself out..sadly..this is the state of the church today..people defending anti-Biblical works,,my suggestion..go spend some time with God..and a real book..the BIBLE
Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
Bill Keller
Founder, http://www.liveprayer.com/
Dear nameless:
Such a loving and welcoming “ministry” you have! It sure makes me want to keep reading what Bill writes! Is this how you respond to everyone?
As “people of a prayer ministry”, maybe adopting a little more loving attitude would benefit all 700 of you…and the 2.4 million readers.
Well, 2,399,999 now. You just lost one of them.
Hold on I have a prayer request!! Can you pray that I continue to seek and follow God’s will for my life?
Thank you,
it is your loss..not ours..but I will pray the Lord gives you better discernment..
Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
Bill Keller
Founder, http://www.liveprayer.com/
Dear the one who has no name:
Aren’t we trying to win hearts for the Kingdom? Win hearts for the Love of God? Save souls that are lost and have no hope?
I didn’t ask for prayer for discernment! But thanks anyway, discernment is good.

This time I would like prayer for discipline. Sometimes I struggle with having quiet times every day, and need to do a better job at that.
Thank you,
winning souls is what we do here every day..not with New Age garbage like the Shack..but the BIBLE..be blessed..
Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
Bill Keller
Founder, http://www.liveprayer.com/
Dear Unknown:
I am glad you win souls every day! I’m a little disappointed that you didn’t try harder with me. I feel attacked and disrespected! But I didn’t say that I win souls with The Shack. I use the Bible too, just like you!
But as you instructed me, I will be blessed. I feel blessed every day already! Do you have any prayer requests? I would like to pray for you directly.
Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
Alex Casebeer
Matthew 5:44
be blessed..
Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
Bill Keller
Founder, http://www.liveprayer.com/
Booooo!!! Are you done? I still have questions unanswered!
LOL..no..done wasting my time..what a tool you are..
Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
Bill Keller
Founder, http://www.liveprayer.com/
I am shocked.
How can you be so bitter and unfriendly and work for a ministry? Just doesn’t make sense to me. And it is a horrible representation of the person and character of Jesus Christ. You really should do some bible reading yourself!
Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
Alex Casebeer
Matthew 5:44
LOL!!!..you defend new age garbage and want to be taken seriously..give me a break..move on son...
Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
Bill Keller
Founder, http://www.liveprayer.com/
New Age Garbage New Age Garbage…..Nameless, I wish you would use your own words and thoughts and ideas instead of living out of the back pocket of Big Bad Bill Keller! Hold on let me count the times you used the phrase “New Age Garbage” in our “conversations”………..............counting….........……..4 times!! And I really didn’t even defend "The Shack"...just asked for responses to Bill’s “devotional” – which you, or he, never gave!
Thanks for the advice, dad.
Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
Alex Casebeer
Matthew 5:44
no ..your daddy is clearly satan...run along before a house falls on you
Know that I am praying for you, be richly blessed,
Bill Keller
Founder, http://www.liveprayer.com/
Dear nameless person:
What is this, the Wizard of Oz? Houses don’t fall on people like they did on Dorothy!! Clearly you don’t have anything better to do than attack me, who was just searching for some simple answers from a devotional that your boss wrote. I didn’t realize that it would be this hard!
I hope you have found as much enjoyment in our conversations as I have!
There you have it. I found it to be rather interesting, and funny, and tragic. But needless to say, I guess I'll stop reading Daily Devotional now...
Thanks for reading, if you made it this far! More to come later from Boone...they all won't be this long, I promise!!!