Archive for the 'Mankind Project' Category

I, Vagabond

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Well I had a little moment and thought I would do a brief post (not brief) just to catch you, dear reader, up on what’s going on with my life right now. It’s crazy complicated and I’m really tired. I don’t even have my contacts in but I thought I should post something quick anyway. (not quick – 1400 words long! wow!)

First off, let me apologize for falling off the wagon with the blog-a-day challenge. Things got crazy busy with the project I’ve been working on and I just lost focus on the important things in life – such as blogging, of course.

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Happy Birthday, Parker! And Stuff!

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Happy Birthday Parker! It’s your special day!

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My First NWTA Staffing

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

(can you find me in this picture?)

Last month, I had the privilege of going out to a small camp site in the woods somewhere in PA (Near Allentown I think?) to be a staff man on the New Warrior Training Adventure. If you recall, I did my my own weekend a year ago and it profoundly changed my life in many ways.

It rained pretty heavy for the first couple days, but by saturday and sunday, it cleared up nicely. That meant mud. But it was great. We also were blessed to have Rich Tosi, one of the Co-Founders of the Mankind Project on staff with us.

I was so stoked to be able to help support other men in their own work and to give them the opportunity to look within themselves and see what wasn’t working in their lives. I saw some amazing transformations that weekend in the eighteen initiates, and also for myself.

I learned a lot that weekend, and probably the biggest thing I took home with me was the knowledge that God will always provide. Things have a way of working out. I waste so much time worrying and fretting over things that aren’t in my control because I forget that my life is in The Lord’s hands and that things work out on His schedule. I just need to step back, give up some control to Him while doing what I can do to make things happen. That was a huge lesson for me at this time in my life and my state of unemployment. Things WILL work out. It’s my job to do all I can and then learn patience.

I had an amazing time staffing the New Warrior Training Adventure. Like most things with The Mankind Project, it was incredibly intense, physically and emotionally challenging, insightful and was a whole load of fun. I got to hang out with old friends and meet a lot of new ones. I’m anxiously looking forward to my next opportunity to staff. (But not until after I have a job! I promised Marylynn.) :)

Defending UP

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Current Mood:Angry emoticon Angry

This morning, a good friend of mine forwarded me an e-mail entitled “Pixar’s UP: Adorable or Deplorable?”. In the E-mail, Pixar was accused of “subtlely advancing the agenda of emasculating society” through “sins of omission” of “all fathers” as was relayed by his niece (?). Well this got to me (and yes, I’m angry about other stuff going on right now) and so I wrote a long-winded rant in defense of “UP”. I’m not going to post my friend’s e-mail out of respect of privacy, but since I spent a while crafting my response, I feel proud enough to post it here:



Dear *****,

I’m sad about your e-mail. I’m also confused. I can’t tell if you saw it yourself or if you’re just going off what someone else said. When I told you how much I loved UP, you were dismissive because “the characters seemed unendearing”. I remember you saying to the effect of “Andy Rooney and a Squinty-eyed little freak?”. (The kid is Asian, dude! I was shocked you would say something like that). I let that bother me for the rest of the day, because UP was a ray of sunlight during this trying time in my life.

I had a very different take on it. Yes, the Russel’s father was absent (something I can relate to too well) and he tried the to be the best scout he could to earn approval (another thing I can relate to). In the end, the deadbeat dad didn’t come through (amen), and the thing that touched me, is that the cranky old Carl took him under his wing and mentored him. He made a transition of taking the pain of his past and using his gold to bless and mentor this young boy. Then the end credits shows them doing all the things that Russel’s dad didn’t do with him – Fishing, eating ice cream, going to the movies, etc. I stayed through the credits and cried the whole time.

Disney’s track record of omitting father figures has bothered me for years. But keep in mind that this was a PIXAR movie. There’s a difference there, and I saw this as redemption for Disney’s sins of the past. Mentoring / father figures / hero worship is one of the core themes of this movie. Additionally, the mature themes of marriage, death, unrealized dreams, mourning, overcoming grief, disillusionment, surrogacy, disappointment, loneliness, old age, protection, forgiveness and passion are all very heavy prominent themes all throughout. I was in tears within the first ten minutes (and even before that if you count the short “partly cloudy”).

To me, the fact that the explorer character turned out to be the villain emphasized the disillusionment that one receives from placing a hero on a pedestal. It didn’t undermine Carl and Ellie’s dream. And it started the chain of events that caused Carl to introspect and realize that it wasn’t too late to start a new adventure – in mentoring Russell.

I saw the undoubtedly PRO-masculine message in this movie. It was far from deplorable and so much more than adorable. It held a very deep and touching message that made me feel golden for days. I gushed about it to my friends on staff at the NWTA a week later because of it’s pro-masculine and uplifting message. I can honestly say now that it’s one of my favorite movies ever.

I don’t know if your niece and I saw the same movie. I didn’t see any emasculation or “subtle agenda advancing”. UP was the best movie I’ve seen all year and hands-down the best Pixar film to date. I can’t remember the last movie I saw that affected me so deeply, especially when it comes to my own father wounds.

With the near-universal praise that Up has (rightfully) received I judge that many of those who are critical are simply being contrary for the sake of being contrary. Or perhaps they are holding Pixar films to an impossible standard, while letting other mediocre, timely, pop-culture referencing fluff like “Shrek” “Chicken Little” or “Madagascar” (Dreamworks & Disney I’m looking at you) pass for decent entertainment for our kids. That’s deplorable.

In the so-called “Summer of Sh*t” (not my words, but true), Up stands out as a freaking diamond. It would in any other year as well.


Helping Out With New Warriors

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Current Mood:Playful emoticon Playful

Mankind ProjectSo this weekend the Philly Mankind Project (MKP) held another NWTA (New Warrior Training Adventure). They usually have 2-3 per year. I went through on my own weekend last year and if you read my post, you can see how much it meant to me. It was awesome. I love MKP and so I wanted give back for all that I’ve gotten. Because of weird transitional phase our life is in right now, I didn’t apply to staff. And since the weekend came around and we were still around, I went up to volunteer some service. I was what they call a Man of Service (or MOS if you will). I was only able to spend Saturday there, but other men were up from Thursday to Sunday afternoon. Basically, I helped do dishes, prepare food and clean up. There was also plenty of time to get together, meet new friends, play cards and hang out. It was awesome.

Some of the other MOS rolling meat in the kitchen.  These guys are seriously awesome.
Some of the other MOS rolling meat in the kitchen. These guys are seriously awesome.

We built a Temple of Lunchmeat.
We built a Temple of Lunchmeat. It was a force to be reckoned with. (Whatever that means).

YUK IT UP, GUYS!  A candid moment with Jeff and Keith.  To be honest, I was laughing too.  Laughing until my head hurt.  What's so funny?  I'll tell you later.
YUK IT UP, GUYS! A candid moment with Jeff and Keith. To be honest, I was laughing too. Laughing until my head hurt. What’s so funny? I’ll tell you later.

Some of my brothers from I-Group.  I love these guys to death.
Some of my brothers from I-Group. I love these guys to death.

I only got a few pics taken, but the whole day was awesome. I’m looking forward to the next one so I can spend all weekend there. Thanks guys!

25 Things

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Okay, I’ve been tagged with this little meme on Facebook about 5 times (?) or so now, so I think I should return the favor. Let’s see how I do…

25 things you may or may not know about me.

1. I’ve never stayed in a hospital or had to go to the ER. In fact, I wasn’t even born in a hospital (I was born at home).

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NWP Friends & Family gathering

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Current Mood:Happy emoticon Happy

Buster ready to swim

Yesterday morning, I threw the kids into the van and drove them out to the Philly New Warriors Community friends and family weekend gathering. Marylynn was going up to the temple with her friend Jen, and so I saw a great opportunity for some fun family bonding time (man that made me sound so old!).

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My New Warriors Training Adventure

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Current Mood:Esctatic emoticon Esctatic

The Mankind ProjectMe at the end of New WarriorsI admit I’m hesitant to write about this because I’m people might think I’ve become some kind of new-agey self-help nut, but I say, “screw it”. Since Marylynn was brave enough to post about her therapy this morning, then I’ll take a similar step.

So yesterday I got back from attending an experiential men’s weekend called the New Warriors Training Adventure and it was truly a life changing experience.

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