понедельник, января 30, 2006

I'm engaged. It's cool. I like it.

It happened like this:

Alana and I had been in Bishkek for about three days and I was tired of carrying the ring (bulky little box) in my pocket everywhere looking for a great place to ask her. Plus I had 10000 tenge stolen from me on our way into B-kek, so I was a little skittish still. Also, making plans really doesn't happen in central asia. You can't just whip up some elaborate romantic scheme because as soon as you count on something to work here, it doesn't. So I had to bide my time. In the park? In the mountains? At Fat Boys?

Nope. I asked Alana to marry me in Carla and Tracy's kitchen, right after breakfast Saturday. She was suprised and said yes. That's really all there is to it.

понедельник, января 23, 2006


HOLY FREAKING CRAP! I am very excited about the 'Hawks making it to the Super Bowl before I was 75. On the other hand I'm surrounded by thousands of kilomiters of frozen steppe and might be the lonliest Seattle sports fan on the planet.

Oh yeah, congratualtions Brady and Erin! The race is really on now. August 5th, huh?

Go marraige! Go Seahawks!

суббота, января 21, 2006

Yest Visa!

Astana is the coldest place on earth. Well, the last two times I've been there anyway. -37c is practically -37f (I think Jon calls it "minus ungodly) and it was windy today. I'm wearing 12 geese worth of down and Alana's got an entire sheep on, but we were still cold. Still, our trip today went super-smooth and we got our visas! Of course, the lady filled them out in front of us, which took some of the magic out of the visa process. The plan now is to leave Tuesday and return on the Saturday after next (almost two weeks).

вторник, января 17, 2006

Dick Montgomery

Dick Montgomery is a pretty normal name. He also is my uncle. Dick died recently. (I also laugh at the discrepancies on basic facts between all the stories I link to here.)

"They kept saying he was a normal guy, but I think they meant ordinary. No normal guy has 18 kids. Ordinary men ("Elijah was a man just like us") can live extra-ordinary lives when it's all given over to Jesus. The testimony was this: that Dick lived by faith not by sight, that his heart was pure and his conscience clean before God. So he was ready--whether he knew it or not, to be with Jesus. Asher said that was a good thing, because if Jesus hadn't taken him home, Dick would never have stopped adopting children and never have gotten any rest." - Shirley

Now rest and work are one. Godspeed, Dick.

воскресенье, января 15, 2006

Go Seahawks!

This is the season I've been waiting for all my life! Woo hoo!

Also, Alana, Jon, Faye and I went to the symphony last night. It was a new years party for old new years, basically. They played stuff from the Nutcracker, some Mussogorsky and Berstein (West Side Story) and a ton of other stuff. We also got champagne! All for about $2. Of course, we thought the show was at 6pm, learned it was at 5pm, hurried to get there (taxi with a flat tire didn't help) and then discovered when we arrived, the show started at 6pm after all. Sweet. That's what happens when the tickets still have rubles printed on them.

четверг, января 12, 2006


Articles like this make me mad. Jon’s already sounded off on this, but once I read it… well, here I am. Mom, you know how I get sometimes. You might not enjoy reading this one. I apologize for the abusive use of caps lock, bold and itlaic print.

It’s a man without a penis giving sex advice, basically.

It makes me want to flip out and kill people, in a Christ’s-love-be-with you sort of way. His intentions are good maybe, but sadly… he has no [unforgivable swear + ing] clue. Seriously, no [unforgivable swear + ing] clue. He makes four points.

1) First, he writes about being made in Gods image and not having sex with prostitutes. Great—God’s standard is very clear here. When he writes, “Are you bearing well the image and name of a holy God by the way you conduct your relationships with the opposite sex?”, I think I understand and agree with him. However, in light of the rest of the essay, he’s really hinting that Godly people aren’t sexual. I’m pretty sure gender and sex are inherently part of our image bearing. Idiot.

2) Next, he goes on about protecting (not defrauding, is the term he likes) our sisters in Christ. He’s really big on the ‘sisters’ thing. This is his point: “…there should be no difference in standards of physical intimacy between the single man's conduct with a single woman and my standards as an already married man.” In general, yes! I have no business fooling around with women. But that is NOT because our sexuality is dangerous and wrong but because the level of commitment and emotional intimacy make such physical interaction inappropriate. Idiot! Commitment, emotional and physical intimacy all work together—if any of the three is significantly less than the other you have a disturbed relationship and something will give. (Now that I’m an expert!) Why are long-distance relationships so hard? Not because you can’t feel each other up whenever you want—but because you hit a wall in communication. You can’t see how they’re feeling, you can’t hold their hand when you say you’re sorry or hear each other laugh of cry. KILLING YOUR SEXUALITY IS NOT HOLINESS! Gosh.

3) We need to guard our hearts, minds, and bodies for marriage. OK, how? “If you have failed or are failing in this area, then remember your calling and resolve to stop now and prepare yourself for marriage.” When has resolving to stop now ever worked as and anti-sin strategy? Basically he’s telling men to try harder and not trust the grace of Jesus. In the masturbating world, we call this the “white knuckle” approach. It doesn’t work. Freedom in Christ be damned.

4) Last, the idiot talks of the “Marriage Bank”. It doesn’t open until you’re married, but men can make deposits early by being holy. Women make withdrawals. What the hell? And why is the guy the only one making deposits and the woman the only one making withdrawals? Don’t men trust and depend on their wives too? Where does the woman’s holiness go? The “Marriage Mayonaise Jar”? Under the “Marriage Mattress”? Gah!

I’ve lost a lot of respect for Focus on the Family for posting this kind of crap, even though it comes from a book edited by John Piper (et al). Screw diversity of thought. Some people are idiots. Also, what is going on with the picture at the top of the page? Talk about mixed signals!

Am I giving into a spirit of criticism? Damn right I am. I am sick and tired of Christian “men” who take this no-balls approach to life. “Men” who don’t love or trust Jesus enough to deal with their past and equate the Way with keeping your head down (think about it…). Take this sentence, for example: “Do you think it would be acceptable or unacceptable for me to have a meal with a woman not my wife and engage in extended conversation about each other's lives (likes/dislikes/struggles/pasts)?” The “correct” answer is no, even if you’re not married.

Don’t talk to girls. Don’t think about girls. Don’t spend time with girls. And for God’s sake don’t touch girls! This is your holiness, for I am Matt Schmucker and my yoke is not at all easy and my burden is crushing, crushing, crushing men into the ground. Idiot.

Good thing freedom in Christ is real instead of this idiot schmuck’s theology. Better resources include Jesus, LFL and Stephen Foster’s chapter on “Sexuality and Singleness” in his book Money, Sex and Power.

среда, января 11, 2006

Frozen Snot

-35c (-25f) is very cold. Even without the wind. 20 or 30 minutes is about all my face can take.

среда, января 04, 2006

Cnovom Godom

I love New Years in the former Soviet Union. It’s just so… unregulated! It’s a wonderful thing, this freedom to shoot off whatever overly large and dangerous firework you want in your own courtyard. I breathed in the smell of burning, heard the sounds of explosions and drunk shouts. I had sparks and ash rain on my head from the balconies above. I’m pretty sure I saw fireworks bounce off windows.

It was rad. And a little scary, but mostly rad.

I have never felt more patriotic, or more sad for the current state of total wussiness in America. Damn lawyers. I blame them.

This is the paradox of central asia—deep rooted Islamic conservatism on one hand, total Russian (Western) secularness and depravity. There is crippling bureaucracy and corruption on one hand and yet the reality on the street is a free-for-all since the laws are rarely enforced even if they exist.

It’s kind of like the old west, only with apartment blocks.