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The MAnderson Report

New Year...New Adventures. Let's see what 2017 has up it's sleeve....

Updated: 2017-09-10T02:52:04.586-07:00


Project: Talkin' Through 2017!


Welcome back, old friend.  It's been a few years.  Over 3 to be exact.  I'm not 100% sure why I'm back, but I am hoping it will help me sort out a little project I am starting today that I hope will last the entire year.  It's all about using social media and technology in 2017 BETTER.Here is my lengthy post explaining it all from Facebook this past Sunday (you can skip to the entire post if you've already read it - there is just a little more to read below that):--------------------------------------------------- So here's the's 2017 and I've decided that I want to try something. It might take a few words to explain, so stick with me. This past year, I've looked around and had a tough time recognizing the world I'm living in. It's definitely not the world I grew up in in Idaho back in the 70s & 80s - but it's not even the world I knew in the early 2000s just after I had moved to Washington D.C. I think it's a combination of a lot of things, and we could take hours discussing and debating what we each think it is or where the change came from and who or what is to blame, but I think at the core, a lot of it deals with communication - or the lack thereof. Real communication....not likes on pictures and retweets on 140-words and sassy comments on posted article. We don't talk like we used to with co-workers and friends and neighbors - we don't write...really write...notes and letters and cards like we used to - we don't take time to strike up a conversation with a stranger or a friend we've grown apart from (if for no other reason than just the passage of time) because the speed of our lives "just doesn't allow it.' A lot of blame has been put on the addiction we have as a society to our technology - our computers and our tablets and our phones - as well as the time-sucking power (for lack of a better phrase) of the world of 'social media.' I think that there is something to be said for that, as one who has spent (wasted?) more than his fair share of time on the apps and web pages of his favorite outlets. But I've also been thinking recently how truly amazing social media is - how, when used as a force of good (as opposed to a force of bad or even just a regular ol' force of 'wasting time'), it can bridge worlds and differences - it can teach and lift and inspire and heal. Then I start thinking that maybe it's just easier for us to blame it on the negatives, and then continue to hide in our own little corners of our own little e-worlds, blissfully wasting time and shutting ourselves off a little bit more each day. So in 2017, I'm going to try, in my world and in my way, to use technology and social media for good: to communicate and connect and reach out BETTER. And I'm hoping that somewhere out there, in the realm of my e-world, there are 52 people who are willing to come along with me. Here's how: Once a week, for the next 51 weeks (I'm going to double one of the weeks since I missed the actual first week of the year dreaming this thing up), I want to have a FaceTime (or Skype, or Facebook Video Messenger, or Gchat Video) chat with someone in my life. The conversation will be guided a lot by the two of us - maybe you want to ask me about living in Sweden, maybe I want to ask you about growing up in Des Moines, maybe you want to ask me about my miserable sports career in Blackfoot, maybe I want to ask you about the picture you posted of your recent trip; the chat will be as light or as heavy as we want. The possibilities really are quite endless. I'm going to plan for up to one hour a week - 52 hours out of the entire 2017 - to commit to these chats. We may not take that much time - I'd like to think we can at least hit 30 minutes - but we will take it on a week-by-week basis. My hour with you will be other-technology free (barring a work emergency - but I'm going to try and schedule these in my non-work times...we'll see.) I won't be surfing Facebook or reading Apple News while we're speaking. and I would hope you won't be, either. [...]

Episode 7: Photos from Gotland



Behind The Scenes of Episode 7


Friends!  I'm sorry for the delay - in both my pictures from Mora (episode 6) and my behind-the-scenes in Gotland (episode 7)!   I have been having WAY too much fun traveling around Sweden and visiting friends and family and find myself too tired to write each night as I fall into bed!   But I am sitting down this morning and making sure I get my notes and thoughts on episode 7 written down!   Thank you all for following along and I can't wait to see you at the finale next week!!!!-When the koffert said we were going to Gotland Island, I had no idea what to expect...and Gotland just continued to be full of surprises as we spent time on the island.    To those of you who have never been to Gotland, I say do yourself a favor and book the trip now for this summer!   It's part history lesson (with all the old windmills and churches and burial mounds and the walled city of Visby) and part commercial vacation destination (with beaches and shopping and food and water parks and put put golf courses) - but it is ALL fascinating and fantastic!  It was such a pleasure to spend our last time in Sweden on Gotland Island!-The food in the koffert was called safron pancake...and it's a dish native to Gotland.   The funny thing is, when we opened it and realized we were supposed to try it, there was the goat cheese sitting on top of it, so being the dumb tourists that we are, we figured that we were supposed to eat them together.  So we did.   And it was hysterical to see the crew reacting behind the cameras because CLEARLY you're not supposed to eat them together.   I actually thought it was delicious anyway (because come on....cheese makes everything delicious!) but I now know that it is NOT meant to be eaten together.  -I really think the safron pancake is best described as kind of a cornbread casserole....or like spoon cornbread, for those of you who know what I'm talking about.   It's sweet-ish and delicious...and although it was good in the pan, it was even BETTER at the restaurant with cream and blackberries.  I could eat that stuff every day.-I STILL stand by my contention that Becky was just being contrary with the safron pancake JUST to be contrary.  There is NO WAY she actually tasted it at first to decide that she hated it.   I think it was just more dramatic and interesting to hate it if we liked it.   Because much like staying with strangers (episode 4), she came around in the end.   I could be wrong...but you don't go from a safron pancake tantrum one day to ordering 2 the very next day.   They both really basically tasted exactly the same.   But I still love you Becky. -The ferry to Gotland was PACKED!   (There were even a couple of women's roller derby teams onboard!  How exciting is that!?  Shane talked to them - they were heading to Gotland for team retreats!)  It was nice to take the 3+ hour trip and hang out with crew and cast friends and chat and laugh.-If you can't tell when we're on the deck of the ship - only one person was NOT too happy to be on the boat.  John is NOT a fan of boats - and wasn't too happy to be on the open Baltic Sea.  But he's a trooper and he made it!-VISBY.   IS.   A.  SPECTACULAR.  LITTLE.   CITY.    I felt like I was on a movie set the whole time we were there.-So as we were walking toward our little stuga, in the episode, you will see a white little house to our left (as I am talking about campers and all of us sharing one).   Somehow, as we walked along the path, we ended up going into that little white house first....and thinking it was going to be where we were staying.   What the building is turns out to be a community tv room, basically, for the campground.  It has a tv, like 4 couches, a ping pong table, and cold stone floors. &nb[...]

Behind the Scenes Thoughts: Episode 6


Hello everybody!  Welcome to a behind the scenes look of Episode 6...coming to you LIVE from the shores of Lake Siljan in beautiful Mora, Sweden!  It's been an amazing weekend experiencing Dalrna again - this time in the cold of late November - and meeting some of the relatives I've had a chance to connect with online since getting home from Sweden this summer.  (Many of them are from other branches of our Swedish family tree here in Sweden - branches that the show didn't collect research on!)   It was an fantastic weekend and a fantastic episode!-The drive from Karlstad up to Mora was breathtaking at every turn!  Just another beautiful day driving around Sweden to be thankful for.  (I think it was about a 3-4 hour drive...with incredible scenery along every mile!)-I love opening the Amerikakoffert this episode because we all look like we just rolled out of bed and into the park.  And kinda of, that's true.   When we made the plan to drive from Karlstad to Mora, we were told it was an easy day to drive up.  So we left late, stopped for food, took our time...thinking that we would have a day of leisure upon arrival - which gave everyone the freedom to just be relaxed in appearance and not worry about contacts and dressing "up".   But about 45 minutes outside of Mora, we started getting calls asking where we were and we needed to hurry...and instead of having a day of relaxation, we went straight into filming!  So you see us in all of our roadtrip glory (which for me is also my day-to-day-in-Sweden glory, for the most part.)   But after the koffert, we broke into our two groups and went to the Zorn Museum (John, Lori and Dawn) and the outdoor village museum (also a Zorn museum)(with Shane, Becky and I), so it was definitely NOT a day of leisure!  -I think the genuine excitement you see in our faces when we find out we're going to make our own Dala horses is probably one of the most genuine reactions of the season.   I mean...honestly....WHO gets to do that!???  WE DID!-This is another episode where the editing of what we did and when we actually did it is all over the place, so it looks like my clothing choices are all over the place.  I know no one probably notices it - except me - but I just wanted to put it out there.   I actually really love seeing they take what we actually filmed and slice it up and string it together to tell the narrative each week!-Also for the record...I knew what the Swedish flag looked like before coming here.  My castmates made it sound like all we know is the Dala horse back home...but being the Olympic fanatic that I am, and the flag fanatic that I am, I have long been aware of the Swedish flag.   Just let the record state that.  Thanks.-The outdoor museum Shane, Becky and I went to was INCREDIBLE!  It really looked like this cool 'Game of Thrones' village on the edge of Lake Siljan!  Some of my most favorite moments here never made it on camera.  When we first walked into the outdoor space, the first little courtyard area had this big water well, with a bucket on this big swinging arm, and becky and I started laughing and being silly that it was like Cinderella at the she and I started singing that song from Disney's Cinderella (when she sings into the well and the echo answers her): "I"m wishing...for the one I find"   And Becky played the Cinderella role (NATURALLY) and I was the echo.   I don't know why it struck us as so funny, but spent WAY more time than we should have doing it.  It was pretty hysterical - and I thought for SURE would make the cut.  But it didn't...which really is probably best.-One of my most favorite personal, spiritual moments this whole adventure was sitting in that park that day - both talking to Shane and Becky by the tree...and sharing more of my life with them - and then again when[...]

Episode 5 In Photos


Enjoy my collection of photos from Episode 5!!!A Morning In KarlstadA Day With DonnezTeam Competition Day  A Soccer Game With FriendsMore Sights Around Karlstad Elimination ChallengeSaying Goodbye to Mike  Goodbye Karlstad![...]

Behind-the-Scenes Thoughts on Episode 5!!!


Well Episode 5 has come and gone - and what an episode it was!   It's amazing to me that, even though I lived through all of these moments and I know what is coming, I am still consumed by the emotions of everything that happens all over again....from the joy of the bus ride with Donnez to the excitement of the full-impact dancing in Molkom to the stress and sadness of the elimination challenge.   I really loved this episode and so much of the things we go to do in it!  But on the same note, it was definitely tough to see Mike leave because we had become pretty close in the weeks leading up to Karlstad.   But that is how this thing works - so we regroup and move on to next week!   Until we get to next week, please enjoy my collection of thoughts, observations and feelings as they pertain to Episode 5!-First off, the drive from Trollhättan to Karlstad was so spectacular!  We left directly after the driving elimination at the end of episode 4 and drove up to Karlstad and the views around Lake Vänern as we drove were fantastic!  I really loved our time driving around Sweden and seeing the beautiful countryside.-We didn't realize it but in the opening scene where we are walking towards the Amerikakoffert, you could see our hotel in the background.   We had gotten in the van that morning, drove to a location and were told to we sat around the van and waited...and then they changed the location of the koffert - so we loaded up again and drove some more until they dropped us off and we set up for the shot.  It wasn't until a couple of days later when I was walking around and exploring Karlstad that I realized they had basically driven us in a huge loop and we had ended up filming a half block away from out hotel.  Never a dull moment when it comes to live TV.-This was a pretty amazing koffert!  There were 3 scarfs and soccer tickets, and I quickly put dibs on wanting to go.  None of the girls really wanted to go, but Shane and Mike both seemed to want to go, too, so I feel like we ended up getting them kind of by default.  And I was really happy it was the two of them who were going to go also.-The thing that was in the trunk that wasn't really shown or touched upon was meat to bbq (pre-marinated meats in vacuum sealed bags) and one-time grills (engångsgrill).  Funny side note - the guys from Donnez told us a story on the tour bus about a guy NOT from Sweden one time who knew about the engångsgrill - a disposable grill for bbq'ing - and who kept getting it confused with the phrase 'en gång till' - which I guess means 'one more time' or like 'encore' basically.   They said it was very confusing for him.  So the night of the barn dance, whenever I was up near the stage and a song ended, I would clap and shout really loud, "engångsgrill!"   to be silly.   And the guys in the band would laugh.   Everyone else around me just thought I was a crazy American shouting 'ONE TIME GRILL!' for no reason and then dancing off.  HA!  It was awesome.-So the sequence of events as they ACTUALLY happened in Karlstad are as follows:  Day 1 - Amerikakoffert, ride with Donnez tour bus, set up Donnez show, .go to eat and learn to dance with the 2 groups and then the night ended with the big barn dance.  Day 2 - Team Challenge day, then the 2 groups split up (John and the ladies to the animal park and the tattoo parlor, and the 3 of us to the soccer game) and then back to the hotel for the night.  Day 3 - Elimination challenge day, saying goodbye to Mike, one last night in Karlstad, low key night.  Day 4 - Leave Karlstad and head North.  I only lay this all out for you in case you're following my fashion choices and wondering why I change clothes so much.  I don't really - it's all just edited that way.  :)-The drive from where we got on th[...]

A Day For Polka Pig


So many of my best memories from my time in Sweden come from things that we saw and did OFF camera - exploring the incredible cathedral in Linköping one rainy day alone, bike riding around Stockholm with Shane and Becky, dancing with those school girls in Söderköping and hanging out at the pizza shop with those school boys in Trollhättan (reported in previous blog posts), and the list goes on and on. Another one of those memories comes from our trip over to Gothenburg - the city we visited during episode 4.   On our way there, we stopped in a beautiful little town called Gränna...for lunch, for exploring, for shopping and for some polkagris (a red and white pepermint stick candy - the name which literally translates to 'polka pig' in Swedish.)After we ate a delicious lunch in town, Mike, Shane and I took a walk down to see Lake Vättern - and what we initially thought was going to be an easy walk ("I see the water right over there...let's just walk towards it.") turned out to be not as easy as we we walked down various streets, across school playgrounds and through people's yards.  But the pictures and the views were worth it!  And I broke off from the other two on my walk back and found the most amazing little yarn shop with the nicest ladies sitting inside knitting.  They showed me the store and we talked about the fact that I crochet (they were NOT ready for that bit of information) and they let me spin some yarn from some local wool.  I SPUN YARN.  It.  Was.  Awesome.   Actually one of my biggest regrets of the whole summer was NOT buying something from them! But man oh man am I so glad we stopped in Gränna...and that I stopped in that little shop!Since it wasn't on the episode, my pictures and thoughts on Gränna have just been laying around....UNTIL NOW!   Enjoy a few shots from in and around our day in the town of polka pig!!!!  Heading into Gränna...just off the freeway Our driver, St. Eric, leads the way in to buy some polkagris Polkagris wars!!!! The onsite factory at the first polkagris factory we visited The Polkagris Man John and Shane share a moment outside the shop happy shoppers! Dianne and I posing Becky showing us how to really pose WAIT!  how did this get in here!? Farewell, polkagriskokeri!!! Looking out at the lake city center of Gränna main street of Gränna looking out over the houses to the lake looking back up to Gränna from the lake more of the lakeMike posing with the lake in the backA panoramic view of the lake area[...]

iPhone Saves The Day


Our night with the Dejevik family really took off when the kids, Clara and Oscar, and I dove into playing with my iPhone.  We took pictures, we listened to music, we played games, and we used my translation app, SayHi, to talk to each other between Swedish and English.  I love this picture - it's a happy reminder of a really happy night.

Episode 4: Behind-The-Scenes in Pictures!!!


Howdy everybody!  Welcome to a photographic look at Episode 4 of AFS 2013!    Today's pictures start with a stop BEFORE we got to Gothenburg.   The night before we took the train into town, we stayed outside of Gothenburg in a small town called Alingsås - which is where the potato was introduced to Sweden...which was of particular interest to THIS Idaho guy. A Night In AlingsåsTrain Trip to AmerikakoffertShrimp DinnerMoving In With The Dejevik FamilyTeam Competition: LAUNDRY DAY!The Beautiful Home and Grounds of our Competition Hosts - The Stroem FamilyTaco Dinner Night!Going to School and WorkSaying Goodbye to the DejeviksSwedish School of Humor Y'all!  An Eva Cassidy Evening!??!  WHY did I miss this!?!?!?Elimination Challenge DayTHANK YOU for taking a look behind the scenes with me this week!!!!See you in Karlstad![...]

Behind-The-Scenes: Thoughts on Episode 4!!!


Welcome to Episode 4, friends!  I hope you enjoyed this week's show  It is so strange to watch this journey each week and to see people go home...but I can remember after each elimination how NICE it was to have less and less people and luggage in the van.    This episode was actually really strange for me to watch because so much of it was out of order from how we filmed my mind kept trying to remember the order we had actually filmed it in!   But lots of good stuff happened in this let's get started:-SO excited to be heading to Gothenburg!  Such a beautiful city - and excited to be on the FRONT side of Sweden!-I loved watching us walk along the path to the Amerikakoffert - because if you could actually see where the trunk was, it was back BEHIND us in that first walking scene after the train...and we walked back and forth on that path for a while filming.  It was just so funny to see us walking away from where the trunk was when I watched the show today.  Silly editing!-In the letter from the box, for some reason, I actually clued in to what our team challenge was going to be.  So when we were in our teams and had our meeting, I said, "I think the challenge is going to do with laundry."   I don't know how or why it happened - but I was expecting a laundry challenge of some sort...and man was I right.-I really can't tell you how excited I was to make it to a point in the competition to stay with a Swedish family!  I couldn't wait to get to their house and hang out with them!-So the dinner with the shrimp is one of those things that is SO out of place in the episode, as far as timing.  We actually filmed that the evening AFTER we stayed with the Swedish family - and AFTER our Swedish school on humor that week.-I love this dinner because in the background of the restaurant, at the other 2 tables in the room, are many of the crew of the show who weren't working that night!  They got all dressed up and got a free shrimp dinner!  It was so much fun to have them there and interact with them when they weren't worrying about work.-In full disclosure, I was really worried about this dinner.  I am NOT a seafood eater...but when I came to Sweden, I promised myself that I would try EVERYTHING they put in front of me.  But still, when I got to the table, I noticed that it was pretty much JUST the big bowls of shrimp - and alcohol.  Well since I don't drink, either, I was thinking this was going to be a bust of a night for me.  I tried 5 of the shrimp - and they were fine...and then I realized that there were baskets of bread and plates of cheese on the table, too.  So I had like 5 cheese sandwiches and LOTS of water to make it through the evening.  I appreciated the shrimp - but I NEVER want to work that hard to get to my food!-One of the things I'm sad this dinner DIDN'T show was the drinking songs we sang after we ate!  With the help of some of the crew, and with the help of a lot of alcohol at our table, we had a fun sing-a-long which we were told is pretty standard at a setting and at a meal like this one.-It's so funny because for as much Dianne was hoping there wouldn't be "screaming children", I was so hoping to get a family with kids!   I have 14 nieces and nephews and I have always connected with kids.  So my fingers were crossed as we walked up that there would be kids!-The family we stayed with are Jonas and Johanna Dejevik - and their kids Oscar who is 7 and Clara who is 3.   The entire family was SO welcoming and warm - and made our time with them just about as wonderful as you can get!  I can't wait to see them again in a couple of weeks when I return to Sweden!-I know I tweeted about this before - but I loved[...]

Episode 3: Behind-The-Scenes in Pictures!!!


Sometimes, you just gotta let the pictures do the talking!   Enjoy my personal shots (and 3 or 4 borrowed) from behind the scenes of episode 3!!!First day on the Göta Canal Matt and Shane's Home for a NightEveryone else's home for a nightI have to leave a comment on this...I walked up the stairs and there was Mike and John with their wives meeting on FaceTime!  It was awesome.  Technology RULES!COMPETITION DAY - Build A Canal!Emma and Annika - two of my favorite crew friends!GO YELLOW TEAM!COMMENCE BEAST MODE!Sweet, Sweet Victory!Second Day on the Göta Canal The Locks Reunited with the other teamMemorial to Baltazar von Platten - the creator of the CanalWELCOME to Motala, Tourists!Beautiful MotalaNational Day - 2013!I love a parade!I LOVE this film teamHysterical.Even MORE hysterical.Elimination LocationMike finds a driving range in the old factoryCreepy statues sitting and standing around the factorySafely back in the back of the van![...]

Some Behind-The-Scenes Thoughts on Episode 3!!!


 What an episode, friends!!!  If you're reading this, I'm once again going to assume you have watched Episode 3 and have come here to get some additional insight into the shenanigans we engaged in!!!  I don't want to hear anyone cry foul that something was ruined because you read this first!   That being said, this episode is pretty much the format you are going to see the next 5 episodes...meaning that it will be a combined episode of a team challenge and then an individual elimination challenge for the losing team - with some one ultimately being sent home each week.  It's tough (aaaaaaand sometimes not....) to say good bye, but that's the way this works, we all realized it when we signed up for it, so we will deal with it.   And now...some things I thought while I watched, or answers to questions people posed to me throughout the episode:-I WAS SO EXCITED THIS WAS TRADITIONAL COSTUME EPISODE!!!!  I just wanted to throw it out there.-One of the coolest things I have found out, after coming home and getting some papers from my dad that he had filed away, is that some of my ancestors who left Sweden actually took the path that WE took - travel the Göta Canal from basically outside of Stockholm CLEAR over to Göteborg - where they boarded ships for America.   Finding that out after I got home made our time on that Canal (shown in this episode) so much more special to me - as I realized that I was literally walking (or floating or sailing) in the steps of my ancestors.   This beautiful waterway will always carry a special place in my heart - because of the awesome experience I had on it, and how that links me to my ancestors!  And the COOLEST part is that there is NO way the producers of the show KNEW that that was the route my ancestors took when they were planning out the show.   Their focus on this area was on other contestants....but in the end, it ended up being a huge blessing to me, as well!!!!   THANKS CHRISTER & CO!-I thought I was a natural to read the letter in the trunk...but I found out very quickly that I read it WAY too quickly...and had to re-read it a few times slower.  I like to blame it on my excitement level!-So we were so excited to have the national anthem to listen to - but I later learned that the crew was so delighted by our antics holding up the flags and having a "patriotic Swedish" moment around the trunk that day because we were doing it to the wrong song!   HA!  We were doing it to "The Time of Blooming is Now Coming" - which, as it turns out, is NOT the national anthem, 'Du Gamla, Du Fria'.   BUT I think our hearts were in the right place. -That trunk is on the dock where just last episode, Becky, Laura and I sat around (earlier in the same day, actually) and speculated about what would happen at the elimination challenge..and then we hugged her and said 'See you later.'   Then she left, competed, really left, we ate lunch and then we came BACK to this dock to film the AmerikaKoffert for episode 3!   TV magic, people!-It was so exciting walking up to the boats!!!  We had 1 less person - just 4 on our team (Dianne, Dawn, Shane and I), so we had the smaller boat.  But it was PERFECT for us.   And our captain and his son were so nice!   You may see stars and stripes blankets - they had bought them just for our visit to the boat! (You can definitely see Dianne wrapped in one as we pull out.)-The plan for the boats, when we stopped in beautiful little Borensberg, was for each team to sleep on their boats for the night.   BUT - knowing there would be displeased castmates when that plan was announced, they had a hotel ready for anyone who didn't want to sleep on the boat. &nbs[...]

Episode 2: Behind The Scenes in Pictures


Here are a bunch of different pictures from around our first morning in Söderköping - when we opened the Amerikakoffert and rode the bikes and walked around town.  MAN I loved this beautiful little place.After opening the trunk and before we broke off into 'Team Ice Cream' and 'Team Hat Shopping', we had a delicious lunch at this cool hotel.  It was a good beginning to a long, long day."Team Ice Cream" explores the heart of Söderköping...including a delicious trip to Smultronstället - said to be one of the top 10 ice cream shops in the world!  How do they know these things?  I do not know.  But it WAS I support it.INSIDE John and Mike's romantic barn getawayScenes from in and around Thorstorps Gård - the beautiful Bed & Breakfast we spent a few days in.  I loved everything about this place...even the outhouse!  I didn't even mind walking to the "big house" to shower.  I would love to go back with friends and family.  Anyone in?!?!?Some scenes in and around THAT breakfast that everyone is talking about.  These are 2 of our segment producers, Jasper and Frida, and camerawoman Sandra.  They are all awesome.Scenes from our Horseshoe Afternoon.Here it time as "Cam" on 'Modern Family'.  Oh man...these pictures make me laugh every single time I look at them.Our proud finished products - with our awesome blacksmith friend!Our trip to the grocery store.   So I took a picture of the cool yellow and green produce circle thing because only 1/4 of it is actual produce!  The other 3 sides are mirrored.  I loved it.  We were also excited to find our first spread in a local newspaper.Friends chillin' before we eat crow.The Dinner of the Crow....and a fun night of friends laughing.  MUCH drinking ensued.Oh's an interview and probably talking with my hands.More post-crow-dinner hanging out.More shots from grocery store trip.  I didn't try the cream taco chips - but MAN I wish I had.  I LOVE creamy tacos. I?The morning of the first elimination we filmed our little group chats, talking about the challenge and then the team who would be competing had their own individual I went on a hike up to the top of an overlook.  I saw all of Söderköping from up there - and it was awesome.Walking around Söderköping - nervously waiting during the elimination challenge.THAT is the hill I climbed up.  It was cool More hanging out during the elimination.  The group of girls to on the left were some junior high school girls who were visiting Söderköping - and I saw them teaching each other a dance, so I had them teach me.  I will post the video on FB tomorrow.  It was awesome.   The group of boys on the right were a group of guys Shane I met who are all immigrants to Sweden from warn-torn countries.  They are all orphans - and the nicest group of guys we met in Sweden.  Although we were nervously awaiting word on who would leave AFS, we had a really fantastic day leading up to the goodbye.We also shopped in this ladies store.  Lots of shopping.Our delicious lunch - the last lunch - with Laura.  This is called Raggmunkar - it's potato pancake, pork belly and lingonberry.  I MISS IT SO MUCH!Saying good-bye to Laura one last time.The walk to the van without Laura.  Sad but beautiful day.[...]

Some Truths From Episode 2!!!!


So another week of my GREAT Swedish Adventure is in the books...and hopefully if you're reading this, you've watched the episode!  This was an interesting week/episode in Sweden because it really WAS the first time we were faced with someone going home...which made it all seem so much more real!   Here are a bunch of random thoughts from behind the scenes of episode 2 - based on questions and comments from family and friends after the show.-The town we went to this week, Söderköping, is really one of the cutest little places we visited.  There was a lot of talk while we were there that it seemed magical.  It felt like a little town cut out of a Disney movie.   AND it had the most amazing ice cream shop - which they say is one of the top 10 in the world.  -So that really was a dead crow in the box - and that really was the crow that we ended up eating later in the episode.   The crew was very good about keeping it cool and safe for us - but thank you to those who were concerned with the crow just sitting out in the trunk for hours on end.   Initially, we all thought it was a prop crow until John said "It's a real crow."  I guess the dried blood in its head should've told us it was real.-Shane and John both tried to big bike.   Shane actually came home with scars on his shins from his attempt to ride the bike.  Quite the souvenir.-While the one group went shopping for hats, my group was out trying the ice cream at the famous ice cream shop,  Smultronstället.   It was really delicious...and we ate a lot of it because it was a warm day and the ice cream kept melting as we were doing out takes - so the crew had to buy us a few rounds of it to get everything done.    YOU WOULD BE SURPRISED how much complaining there was about someone telling you you had to have MORE ice cream.   I'm looking at you, ladies!   Even when someone else was buying and you didn't even have to eat any...just carry it as a prop in some of the shots on camera.  -The cool place we stayed here is called Thorstorps Gård - and it was in the most beautiful serene setting.   I even loved our little house that the guys stayed in.  It was a great stop on our trip for sure!-FOR THE RECORD:  Those "tough guys" who went to the barn didn't last too long.   It was cold and I think they were miserable.   Mike ended up back in the little house on the roll-away bed they had provided for us, and I think John slept out on the grass behind the house.   So much for their great plan.  BUT it did make good tv...climbing up the ladder with a box of beers into hay as far as the eye could see.   So manly and cool.  :)-The breakfast where Eric talks about his mother and father was one of the most contentious things I have ever been a part of.   The editing was very good - because it actually pieced together Eric's basic story.   But what it missed was the anger that we had to deal with in Eric being here.   Eric felt like he was wronged the minute he got off the plane, and he spent the next few days LOOKING to be offended by everyone and everything around him.  By the time we got to this breakfast, and we were asked to talk about the reality that someone would be going home soon, it turned into Eric almost giving a farewell he was going to throw the competition and go home.   I was not really happy about that...not because I wanted him to stay but because it had only been a week, and we had all agreed to 6 weeks at that means if he wanted to go home after 1 [...]

Episode 1: Behind The Scenes in Pictures


L:  Arrival at Arlanda!  Flat Buncey enjoys being here!  R:  Fast new friends!L:  A beautiful AND delicious sandwich I ate while waiting at the airport to go to our next stop.  R:  Festis.  Yum.A collection of shots from when we met Anders the first time.  The school kids walked by and were very excited we were filming in their town!  These ruins were SO COOL!This is a collection of shots from when my group got to wander around "downtown" Sigtuna.   The food on that plate was SO delicious.  Basically instead of a plate full of meatballs, it's just one BIG ol' meatball.  Man it was good.  Also, that is a picture of Shane and Becky tasting the water in the lake.  Genius.  HOW did that not make it on Episode 1?!?  HA!A variety of shots from Herresta Lada, the first place we stayed in Sweden.  IT WAS INCREDIBLE!  By far one of my most favorite places we stayed in ALL of Sweden.   I wanna go back!  Who wants to come along!?Opening our first Amerika koffert was SO MUCH FUN!   It was a fun way to get this adventure kicked into high gear!!!Remember the scene with the 4 guys walking around smelling flowers?  Yep.  We did that.Our FIRST breakfast in Sweden!!!!  SUCH an incredible morning with perfect weather!Becky gets ready to head off on her special day!I took this on my phone our first night in Sweden.  I wasn't tired so I went outside - at 12:45am - and saw sunlight in the distance.  I feel in love.So....a pack of wild hyenas walk onto a train....and rode it all the way to Central Station in Stockholm!Adventures OUTSIDE the ABBA Museum!HEAVEN.Delicious lunch with cast and crew friends after the ABBA Museum!!!  We really had such a lovely day together!  I want to go back to there!SCENES from SWEDISH SCHOOL!  This schoolhouse was SO cute and it was a lot of fun learning about Swedish!  And MAN...Anders really broke that chalk for ME!Getting set up and ready to find out our first teams!New friends!While we waited for the fire at the barn (which we didn't know was a fire at this point), Shane, Mike and I just walked over to a little church and hung out and chatted.  It was a nice way to take our mind off the first competition.While the fire burned at the barn, we spent time hanging out with our genealogist and friend, Helena Stark, and just chillin' with each other....rolling down hills....smelling the lilacs...and celebrating the RED TEAM!FINALLY - it was time to head to the competition sight...which the trip alone to get there was incredible!Somehow, even the place of the fire was beautiful!!!!Here are some shots of the competition - how I saw it that day!  The pictures don't even do justice to how beautiful the field was - and the day was - AND how beautiful WINNING was!Views from post-competition.  I especially LOVE the shot of Mike being interviewed in the middle of that field with the pathway of sun streaming in.  MAN take my breath away!Post-competition fika to wrap up a long, incredible day!   I especially love the picture of Shane, Kilmeny (our American friend from the crew), me and my Great Great Grandfather!A few random closing shots - from our stay at Herresta Lada.  Shane kept breaking chairs and the other 2 shots are after Becky returned home from her special day...sharing her story with us all!  THANK YOU ALL for watching Episode 1 and for your support of the show!!!!Can't wait to continue to share this journey with you all.[...]

My Reality TV Debut


Tonight the reality TV show that I was part of filming in Sweden aired on Swedish TV. Talk about a wild ride!   It was such a thrill to watch the show and to live tweet during the broadcast with fans of the show watching in Sweden!  I've compiled a list of thoughts and answers to many questions I received from viewers, family and friends as they watched about things "behind the scenes."-I have NO idea why there was no Skype response from me.   Maybe it because of technical failure when they recorded it.  Maybe it just wasn't that exciting.  Maybe they figured there was enough of me in the rest of the episode.  Whatever the reason, it was the question I got asked the most as people watched the premiere.  No response could've been more dramatic and pageant-worthy as Laura's response, so I'm totally fine not being on there!-The thing we learned early in filming a reality tv show is that there are so many takes of the same thing...mostly to get many different camera angles - and secondly because we probably mess up a lot.  But I was reminded watching Episode 1 how LONG it actually took us to get off the plane, through immigration, get out bags and get OUT to where our relatives were standing.   Each segment as we moved through the airport had to be shot multiple times.  But it was really fun...especially because we were filming AND with this new group of people!-Most of us were on the same flight from Newark, so it was fun to see who actually walked up to be part of the group!  I did a pretty good job of guessing!-When we walked out in Arrivals and saw the people standing there with our names, I don't think it originally registered with ANYONE in the cast that they were real relatives.  In full disclosure, the first time we walked out, we actually walked right past them.  HA!  It's so embarrassing to write...but I just don't think any of us thought there would actually be people there to meet us.  We felt like maybe they were "extras" hired to just stand with our names on a board.  BOY were we wrong!-We each only had about 2 minutes with our relative who was waiting there.   That's not much time - especially when you're a new country...and don't speak the language.  But we made it work!  My relative, Nina, was such a good sport!-Our walk around Sigtuna was so much fun.   The crew really just filmed us as we wandered around, looking around the little town...and oft times, doing stupid things.  That list included, but was not limited to:  looking in windows (as you saw on the episode), drinking water from the lake, not knowing what garbage can was, trying on silly hats, and basically just being kind of loud Americans.  But all of our walk around Sigtuna was completely the 5 of us experiencing it for ourselves...unprompted by the crew.-The treasures in the koffert (trunk) were very exciting - but there were a couple of things we never really saw or used in the of which I thought for sure would show up because of our reactions to it.  It was a box of Swedish candies...and as we all started tasting them, there were some serious feelings/reactions to the salted black licorice that Swedes like.  Some of our group liked it - but to me, it was miserable.  Some of the other candy was really good though.   -If you don't know, you need to know that my reaction to ABBA was 110% real and me.  I have loved ABBA forever.   There is just a happiness to their music that cannot be denied!  As my friend, Judy Hut, messaged me about last[...]

My Secret Unbelievable Summer Vacation

2013-10-18T12:10:26.807-07:00's been awhile, hasn't it?  I originally intended to make 2013 a year to jump back into this blog and my writing...which I have always found kinda therapeutic.  But then life got it I tried to figure out WHAT is next in my life...and that vision of restarting all of this was just a memory in the rear view mirror of my life.   (SUCH this summer I took a trip.  It was an epic adventure that I applied for back in January 2013 (audition video at the end of this post), I was offered back in March 2013 and I left for in May 2013.   For awhile I had to be tight-lipped about what it actually was...and then once the I was IN the actual experience and after I got home, I had to be tight-lipped about most of the details of the adventure.    That turns out to be a LOT of tight-lippedness.Well I am relaunching my writing because finally, after all of this time, I am able to start talking about the experience I had.    This Summer, I was part of a reality TV show filmed in Sweden to be shown on Swedish TV called "Allt för Sverige"  (Everything for Sweden).  The premise of the show is 10 Americans (with Swedish ancestry) are brought to Sweden to travel the country and learn about their family history and their heritage.   There was a competition element, so each week, someone was eliminated from the show, and the ultimate winner got the chance to meet a group of their living Swedish relatives.   The travels and the competitions and the outcomes are all things that I have had to keep silent.   Starting tomorrow in Sweden (and hopefully soon after here in the States on YouTube), the show will begin to air and I can start to talk about the experiences as they happened, episode by episode.My plan for my blog is to have posts that I will put up after each episode that will talk about them from MY perspective and from the contestants side.   It will include behind-the-scenes antics and information, as well as many of the thousands of pictures I took and haven't really been able to show!   I am excited for you to see Sweden up close and personal from my experiences - both on the show and here as well!I also wanted to start up the writing again before the show started to air because in the show, you will probably learn things about me that some of us have never talked about before.  Things like:  I stopped drinking Diet Coke over a year ago...and I am just fine.   I sometimes have a slight potty mouth...and Swedish TV doesn't edit that stuff.  (Don't worry - it wasn't anything too bad.)   I do not like all...but I was willing to try everything that was given to me in Sweden...because my mama raised me well.   But beyond those things are 2 bigger ones:  First, I identify myself as a gay guy...and after wrestling with it for 25 years, I started coming out to friends (about 15 years ago) and finally to family (more recently)...and it is something that is a part of my life today.  I am comfortable and open about it, and I don't feel like it is something I have to hide anymore.  That being said, it also isn't something that I identify myself as only...but it is one thing on a long, long list of things that make me me.   Secondly, most of you know I grew up in a good Mormon (Latter-Day Saint) home in Idaho and I served a 2-year Mormon mission for the church.  Well, about 8 years ago, I took a step away from the Church as a whole as I tried to figure out who I was and how I fit into it all.    Th[...]



for all the negative that is put out there in the universe about the internet and social media and smart phones taking us away from "real life" and "genuine face-to-face connections with people" (which definitely has some merit to it), i had to stop and take note tonight, as i walked into my house, and reflect on how much GOOD that whole world of technology has done for ME...this week alone!

-the world of facebook got me in touch with an old mission companion of mine, russ lyman, from our days in the west virginia charleston mission for the LDS church.  18 years later, thanks to social media, we were able to catch up over dinner at masa 14 here in washington dc while he was in town on business, and spend about 3 hours talking, laughing, reminiscing, and catching up on a tuesday night.

-another connection a few years ago on the world of facebook was with my old centennial high school choir teacher, barb oldenburg, from meridian, idaho.  21 years after graduating from the halls of CHS, through the magic of using the 'find a friend' feature, i was able to sit down at jaleo in crystal city/arlington, virginia and talk about the tapas, a life in the arts and memories from the halls and classrooms of centennial.  one of the more delightful wednesday nights i have had in awhile...topped off with a toasted marshmallow milkshake from good stuff eatery.  perfect.

-connecting with old high school classmates has been one of the biggest delight with the world of social media.  and tonight for the second time in under a year and always with facebook to thank,  i was able to enjoy a meal and lots of laughs with a fellow patriot from the class of '92, samuel blaine...back in town for work, and ready for another night of eating that included lots of chips and salsa and cheese...all provided by cactus cantina on a thursday night.

it made to stop to think with so many great experiences like these in a single week, could it be that social media and the internet might not be the problem....but instead how we choose to use them?  just some food for thought...which is the best kind of food after my week of eating and socializing.

my top 10 professional theater experiences


so i've been sorting through the past 8 or so years of theater moments in my mind, and i thought it would be a fun little walk down memory lane for me to go through and choose my favorite 10 experiences from my career on stage.  there is no science to these choices....i just went through everything i had done (from workshops to dc fringe shows from education programs to main stage full blown productions) and put my favorite 10 in numerical order.  so, without further ado...i give you tonight's Top Ten list.#10:  Detective McDevitt/History on Foot with Ford's Theatre(2011 & 2012)i started this exciting program a little over a year ago with the ford's education department, and i have to admit that after i learned the 31 pages of information and script, i have grown to really love it.  the program is also coupled with a classroom version that i do via skype to classrooms around the country in a small studio in front of a green screen at the ford's administrative offices...and i love it as much as the walking tour.  the tour tells the story of the conspirators involved in the lincoln assassination, and traces the steps of where they all were and what was going on in washington that night.   (it is also a program that, although i am technically "retired" from theater, i will be continuing to do in the immediate future because i love and the people i work with in the ford's education department.)  #9:  Grease at Olney Theatre Center(fall 2011)i've never been a huge fan of the movie or stage show 'grease'.  sure i like the music, but ultimately, it's a really terrible show with a really terrible message that says lose your standards and morals to be cool.  but who the summer of 2011, my good friend bobby smith, famed actor and director, asked me if i would come up to olney theatre center and play the role of vince fontaine in the production he was directing.   and boy am i glad i did for a few reasons - none of which were my awesome wig or suit.  first off, the company of actors was the most energetic and fun group i have worked with probably ever.  like just thinking about how high energy they were makes me tired right now.  second, i got to spend a lot of time with the ever-delightful delores king williams, who played the other "adult authority figure" in the show.  and finally, i was on stage for a total of like 12 minutes.  literally.  10 minutes right at the top of act 2...and then another 2 minutes at the very very end of the show.  the rest of the time i sat in my special red chair in the green room and watched tv, read books and magazines, laughed with gannon o'brien and just hung out.  it was, for all intents and purposes, the greatest and easiest contract i have ever worked...and i was thrilled to be a part of the experience.#8: Orphie and the Book of Heroes Reading - Kennedy Center(2012)last fall, i got a call from the kennedy center theater for young audiences office, asking me if i could be a last minute replacement in their reading of a new musical at their annual page to stage festival.   after hearing about the show and the cast (comprised of people i really love working with), i said sure.  and it. was. awesome.  the show is a new musical for young audiences called 'orphie and the book of hereos' about a young girl in ancient greece looking for a girl hero among all the male heroes.  i got to play a mean boy, a siren, and a pegasus flight attendant.  type-casting!  the book a[...]

a final bow....for now...


8 1/2 years ago, i fell into what i thought was a dream:  the opportunity to make a living as a stage performer.  doing theater and getting paid...two things that, up until that point, had never been spoken in the same sentence in my life.   after a bit of careful consideration, i decided that it was something i simply had to do.  so i quit my "real" job, packed some bags and set out on the adventure of what would soon be known in my life as "living the dream"....or as a few of my friends like to call it, being LTD.and what a dream it has been!  for a kid from idaho, who never really thought he would ever get to do anything like this in his life, there have been so many wonderful moments and memories throughout it all.  from an almost 2 year national tour of a musical to performing at the white house for the president and first lady, from performing on the stages at the kennedy center for the performing arts to performing my most favorite musical, "1776", on one of the most famous stages in american history, ford's theatre, i have found a way over the past 8 1/2 years to make a living by getting paid to do theater.  isn't that ridiculously awesome? with that quest to 'live the dream' came some challenges and "consequences", as well.  (many of which make sense, but i didn't really think about when i jumped in head first.)   because being an actor is oft times very "short term" employment (many contracts run anywhere from 2-5 months, normally), you are always on the look out for the next gig and the next gig and then the next gig.  (can you imagine if office jobs were like that?  only 2 or 3 months long ever?  and you just had to keep lining them up?  awful.)  also, because you are an actor who wants to work, that means you have to take jobs when they come.   it doesn't matter if they coincide with holidays and vacations and family events.  for the most part, you take the jobs and you keep getting jobs because you are available and present and work hard.  and no matter how much you work, chances are high that the money isn't that you probably will have a 2nd (and 3rd or 4th) job to make ends meet...and to fill in the spaces when you can't find that "next gig" for awhile.  but these are all things that you learn to accept because in the end, you want the chance to tell the stories or sing the songs or wear the costumes or be in the spotlight...or a combination of them all.i have accepted these "conditions" of the job and have apologized over the years for missing holidays and gatherings and trips and events...and the people in my life have been wonderful and understanding and very supportive at every turn.  i really have been blessed through it all with an amazing foundation of support from people who i have always felt were cheering me on and rooting for my success.2012 was a year of record for me for a couple of is that i got the chance to do 2 shows that i really, truly love and have been dying to do ("1776" and "Seussical"), and the other is that after it's all said and done and the costumes are put away and the lights are turned off, i have decided to put this adventure of "living the dream" away for awhile (may be a year, or 5 or 12) and focus on the parts of my life that have been patiently waiting in the wings.i think this all came about because 2012 was definitely a year of change within my family.  my oldest niece got married - my 3 oldest nephews all graduated from [...]

my simple plan in 2013


blogging in 2012 did NOT go as i had planned.  i had grand visions of what i was going to accomplish last you can see from my splattering of posts through january 2012 and maybe a couple in february 2012.  and then there was silence...which is pretty hysterical if you go back and read about all of the projects that i was launching last year on my quest for happiness.  it was going to be a grand march to the throne of joy!  if they gave points for good intentions, i think i'd be winning.sadly, it turns out points are not awarded in the intentions category.  i wouldn't exactly say i'm losing because of it, but still, 2012 is littered with the things i didn't do:-blog through the year.  making it to february 15 isn't even really a valiant effort.-finish my 3 random magazines a month challenge.  it started out strong...but it petered out in may.-finish my 'picture a day for a year' project.  the best showing of my failed projects...i made it to mid-august.  but still missed the last third of the year.-attend my oldest niece's wedding.  i hate using the excuse of work...but work.-attend my 3 oldest nephew's graduations.  more work.-attend my 20 year high school reunion.  stupid work.-work at the london olympics.  SURE it was somewhat of a pipe dream...but so was vancouver 2010, and i was there.-travel much...if at all.  i mean, a quick trip to nyc or philly...or the virginia suburubs doesn't really count.don't get me wrong - there were a lot of wonderful things that went right in 2012.  all i'm saying is that the grand plans i had last year at this time were interrupted by life marching in 2013, i'm not going to make a lot of grand plans.  they don't appear to do me much good.  here is my very loose and general plan:  i want to continue to focus on being happy...i want to write more....and i want to find what is the next "thing" for me.  (in the next week or so, i will write more about this, as i take a huge step away from my 8 year career as a professional actor and start on a road to...something...else.)i still find a lot of joy in i'll set aside the gimmicks and failures of 2012 and hopefully get back to the basics of just writing my thoughts and observations and experiences.  i don't even really need anyone to read them...i just want to do it for me.i can't wait to see how far i get![...]

stepping off the path


i want to know more. not about anything in particular....just about the world around me. it's a pretty incredible world...and is full of so much to explore. there is a lot that i just don't get...and beyond that, there is just a lot that exists that i don't even know about. so i can't even get it!so part of my plan for a happier 2012 (which is going really well, actually...thanks for asking..) is to expand my mind. (please save the wisecracks!) i want to step off the path and explore more of the world around me - and find more of that happiness that comes through the process of in january i started a project along these lines that i read about in a book last year. (i kind of took it and adapted it to my life and my plan for increased happiness in 2012...and it works for me!) i went to my local barnes & noble and i stood in the magazine section and i chose 3 magazines about things that i know nothing about. nothing. and i spent the rest of the month reading i was a subscriber who just got their long-awaited new copy of that month's periodical. but aside from that, i spent the month telling people about this new project and not only talking to them about how it fits into my plan, but about the things i was learning in the magazines.i am going to do this once a month...and thanks to the generosity of some friends as a birthday gift in january, i got a couple of gift cards to help out with the first couple months. (your average magazine is gonna run you $5-$8, so it's not a CHEAP plan to increase happiness...but i feel like it's a worthwhile investment.)(gift cards to B&N are always accepted here at the manderson report....)so let me tell you about my january start. i had a couple of set backs when i first went to get my magazines, because the line was long and i was meeting people and couldn't i quickly replaced 'LaCrosse International' and 'Metal Jewerly Making'...and when i returned a couple of days later, i couldn't find them! (were they bought? cancelled? misplaced? I will never know!) so i stood and waited for something to speak to me, and eventually, i walked out of B&N with: Track and Field News, Moment - Jewish Politics Culture Religion, and Backyard Poultry. (you can see all 3 below.)i don't really know what i expected to my bar was pretty low going into it. but this exercise of stepping off the beaten path of my life was a fascinating, informative and really happy experience.-TRACK AND FIELD NEWS taught me all about the collegiate recruiting world of track around the country, as well as the argument in the sport of the 3-per-nation rule competing at world and olympic events versus the truest top athletes in the world (it's a HUGE debate!) i also learned who to watch on Team USA for this summer at the london 2012 summer games. AND i ended up with a poster of dwight phillips (triple jumper?) fold out, if anyone wants it.-MOMENT was named by elie wiesel after a vibrant independent jewish magazine (Der Moment) in warsaw, poland from 1910-1093. It was the most fascinating find to me because of two articles i read in it: one that was an inside look into the lives of jews living in iran today (a photo essay that was so interesting) AND an incredible article/story about a catholic priest who has made it his "holy mission" to travel across eastern europe - mostly in the ukraine - to identify the unmarked and sometimes unknown graves of more than 1.5 million jews murdered duri[...]

catching up on 2012 in pictures....


january 23, 2012
life. organized. for a moment.

january 22, 2012
gold mine of old photos FOUND!

january 21, 2012
sneak peek of new ford's center for education and leadership

january 20, 2012
feeble attempt at winter, mother nature...

january 19, 2012
yarn. duh.

four-thousand words


my year of pictures continues...

january 15, 2012
the fleet

january 16, 2012
i live in a rough neighborhood.

january 17, 2012
the window is speaking to me.

january 18, 2012
something for everyone in the various shops in georgetown.

the unexpected hero


yesterday, i was walking in georgetown and i stopped into a small candy store that had posted that they were closing and having a clearance sale. don't mind if i do.

as i stepped in, i found myself the only customer in the store, and got a quick hello from the woman in charge who was trying to keep track of her very active grandson, who seemed to be about 4 years old. he would run from the back of the store to the front of the store to the back again, on a never-ending loop, while grandma shouted warnings the entire time, "don't trip!" "watch out for that gentleman!" "not too fast!"

after what seemed like 100 trips back and forth while i scanned the gummis and clusters, the little boy stopped RIGHT beside me and i could feel him starting at me. i turned and said, "well hello there." and he said "you. look. like. BATMAN!" and took off running again.

now i think we can all agree that i look like a LOT of things, but BATMAN would be no where on that list. (and knowing how honest kids can be, i can only be thankful that something else didn't come out of his mouth.) i can't for the life of me think what would possess him to see Batman in me and my layers of black and brown winter clothes, but it was a delightful surprise, nonetheless.

as i left the store, with a new-found desire to fight injustice and protect the unprotected and this little man continuing his laps, i said "see ya, buddy!" and he replied without even missing a beat, "bye BATMAN!"

i'm happy being a superhero for a day...even if it is to just one kid, hopped up on sugar at his grandma's failing candy store.

now, to the bat bus! were did i put my farecard?