Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...



No matter what they say, bald is still beautiful.

Out of stock?!?!?!?!

Aaaahhh, the Rocket!

That's a pretty good sight of Telperion and Laurelin, don't you think?

posted by Bolo | 11:55 PM
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Home: Being Broken

This time, I had a hard time going home. Usually, it's the other way around; usually, I find myself itching and squirming, vainly trying to suppress my inner child from asking, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" Somehow, I had spawned another inner brat that kept whining, "But why do I have to leave? Can't I stay?"

Yes, I jest. Be aware, though, that I do so in a most serious manner.

I was afraid of going home. In many ways, it's no longer the home I once left behind. In many ways, I'm no longer the same John Letoto that left home behind. Still, change itself was not what scared me; no, it was the type of change that left me feeling inadequate and clingy.

In the somewhat-controversial movie Juno, the title character finds herself asking deep, soul-shaking questions about love and faithfulness. In essence, she wanted to know if love was worth the loving, or if love would only end up shattered and broken. In the years since I've left home, I've watched many of those I know and love as they've felt the foundations of their faith cracking beneath them. I've listened to their voices, heard the tears in their words, and wondered to myself what in the world I was doing so far away...or what I would do if I sat close by...or if there was even anything I could do. I've sat by with silent frowns as friends gave up the dreams they once grinned about, the joys they once sacrificed everything for.

Stephen R. Donaldson writes about Thomas Covenant, his fictitious, unbelieving protagonist: "There's only one way to hurt a man who's lost everything. Give him back something broken." I've not come close to losing everything, but I will unashamedly say that I feel a huge hole inside of me when I think about home. No, not the fact that I'm not there; that's not a sacrifice. The void I feel aching inside is filled with the faces of people I think of late at night, people I love, people who've seen their hopes falter and fade. Do they know Christ? Do they know what it is to desire Him above all else? Some don't, and some do. When I left home, I felt like I was the one being broken; since leaving, I've seen those at home being broken, torn in two, and it's rare that they've been put back together. It hurts to go home and see so many broken lives, it really does.

A lot of those I've spoken to here find out I'm from Hawai'i and say something like, "Boy, going there to do ministry really must be suffering for Jesus!" They say that with a sarcastic grin on their face.

I want to wipe that grin off with my fist.

To many, the idea of ministering to a prostitute in Hawai'i must be better than doing so in Kentucky. They don't realize that that prostitute is a girl that used to work with me in the grocery store. They think of ministering to families of suicide victims in paradise and think it must be better than anywhere else. I think of those families and remember that I went to high school with some of the kids. It's a gross generalization, of course, but the point remains: Going home just isn't easy anymore.

posted by Bolo | 11:56 PM
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Bright Kid

posted by Bolo | 11:01 PM
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Sustenance Acquisition

A bag of oatmeal cookies; three-quarters of a cherry turnover; whatever was left in Amber's styrofoam box of food. That was what one trip over to Mullins brought me. Quite nice, if I do say so myself.

posted by Bolo | 10:36 PM
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Ultimate Oldness

Today's games were a nice and glorious reminder that I'm not quite so young as I used to be. No big deal, mind you, as the games were played in deliriously delightful weather :)

posted by Bolo | 6:21 PM
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I just talked with these two on the phone. They love me :)

posted by Bolo | 8:01 PM
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posted by Bolo | 11:14 PM
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Funky First

It's nearly May, and I just played a game of frisbee on the J-Bowl for the first time this year. Wow.

posted by Bolo | 8:31 PM
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May will be one heck of a month. I have a better chance of stopping a gushing fire hydrant with my mouth than wrapping my head around God's glory...but that doesn't mean I won't try. Fullerton gave me a book; sweet! The fire hydrant, that is. Protein tastes better in beef or chicken than it does in larvae. McClurg would say he's lost his high range, then go and pull a Brainard on us. One month, O'Neal, one month! Coffey's 2003/2004 album is a definite must-see. Seeing that I missed him while he was here, I think I have even more incentive to fly out to PA to meet the infamous C.B. in person. Not that those other two aren't incentive enough, already. Believe it or not, I've been to Sunergos just once in the past month. That Pablo kid is growing up. That cow may be healed soon...sweet.

posted by Bolo | 10:44 PM
2 speakage


Azuki Beans?

First night in town and already there's trouble with translation.

posted by Bolo | 10:57 PM
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Needing Pancakes

For the record, today has definitely ended up feeling like a 40 Acres kind of day.

posted by Bolo | 11:41 PM
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Home: 'Aina

I've been back from home for over a week now. One would think that a week is sufficient time to swallow and digest everything from the trip, but my soul seems to churn through things much more slowly than I'd like at times. That doesn't necessarily make reflection hard, it just makes it a much more deliberate process.

That said, I think I'm going to do this in small portions, and in no particular order. There are aspects of the trip that I'll reflect upon freely and publicly; other aspects will be deliberated quietly and privately, and at most will be merely alluded to here. That said, I'll make my first bit of reflection an easy one.

Most people think of Hawai'i in vague, general terms. There's very little specifity to their thoughts, mostly because they've never actually experienced specific aspects of Hawai'i for themselves. Moon Pie had it right when he would continually point out that the pictures just didn't do the experience justice: there was always so much more to it than what the lens captured!

I'm not married. Never been married, not anywhere close to being married. No, this is not a lead-in to a pathetic plea for a date, but a lead-in to what will hopefully be a clear illustration. You see, for many married couples, if they were to be separated for any length of time, they'd likely experience a lot of pain. Being that I've never been married, it's really difficult for me to understand this sort of separation experientially. Sure, I've been separated from family and friends for years now, but such a separation is much different, I'm sure. Married couples can think of specific ways their spouse will look at them, speak to them, and generally act toward them. I? Well, I can shrug my shoulders and observe, "Well, it must be nice being able to count on eating an extra half a plate of food when you go out."

Being from Hawai'i -- and loving it tremendously -- has given me specific memories I can smile at when I think of my home. My friends from here, for the most part, have no idea what I'm talking about when I tell them that food there is just better. Nor, for that matter, can they relate to me when I tell them that I'd often watch a glorious sunset -- while surfing. They ask me questions about how far the beach is from where I lived, which immediately tells me that they never lived on an island, as no one who lived on an island ever asks that sort of question. You see, there's an intimate relationship I have with my home, one that transcends anything any visitor could ever gain.

Thus, being at home for a short time makes leaving even harder. I didn't sweat my way up Olomana, nor did I sit in the lineup at Kewalo's day after day after day as I used to. There was no chance to sit and hear the waves at Point Panic crash beneath me as the moon rose up over the Ko'olau mountain range behind me. A paddle out between the Mokuloa islands did not come to fruition, and would have loved to have lingered longer at Hale'iwa, Sandy's, Blowhole, 'Aiea, Nu'uanu, Pipeline, and Kewalo's.

Yet, somehow, those few short moments were enough...and are enough. Enough for what, you ask? Enough for me to close my eyes and taste the salty ocean, hear the crashing of the waves, smell the flowers near the shore, feel the lull and pull of the currents, and know that home is still just where I left it.

And...I smile.

posted by Bolo | 11:15 PM
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This was sooooo not nice. Whoever took this video should feel really, really, really guilty.

Should feel guilty...not the same as actually feeling guilty.

posted by Bolo | 11:42 PM
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Psalm 103
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle. The LORD performs righteous judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowleges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them. The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. Bless the LORD, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word! Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you who serve Him, doing His will. Bless the LORD, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion; bless the LORD, O my soul!

This psalm has been a steady read for the past week; each reading has become more and more rich, more and more profound. David seems to see and savor with depth and sage wisdom, clearly able to extol the holy name of the LORD and humbly declare the frailty of man. He seems to taste and see that the LORD is indeed good, and is sharing here what is overflowing from his heart. Yes, David here seems to be content with the goodness of God, and is giving us an example of what we should all sound like in such contentment.

Or is he?

This might also be the words of one who is commanding his soul to worship, a soul that is in dire straits and in need of a rock to stand upon. His words are words of truth, words that the blinded and stumbling man can speak to himself and to others in the midst of worldly pain. Yea, these words might also be the words of one who, having once tasted of the goodness of God, is now once more longing with fervor, knowning that nothing else on earth will satisfy, that nothing else is worthy of such praise.

posted by Bolo | 8:35 AM
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Push, Push

My nephews are the helpful sort, aren't they?

posted by Bolo | 1:12 PM
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He can wake me up any morning he wants to.

posted by Bolo | 12:53 AM
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Parting, Meeting

In the past two weeks I've given many hugs and received many hugs in return. I've held my nieces, zerberted my nephews. My dad and my mom, my sisters and my brother and their significant others, as well as countless friends, both old and new, have been objects of my contemplation at one point or another. Through it all, I've come to realize yet again that I've been blessed with a lot of people who love me. Many of those who know me best love me for reasons I can't fathom, and quite frankly, it sometimes hurts to contemplate that kind of love.

I saw the pain in his eyes after I hugged him; it mirrored what I knew to be in my own. We were parting for but a little while, but I knew what my parting meant to him.

She seemed to hold on tight, then tighter so as to hide her tears in my shoulder. It shouldn't have shocked me, but it did. I suppose I hadn't realized just how much she looked to me to ease her pain.

At the first, his eyes conveyed bewilderment, distrust. By the end, his smile was like a balm to my soul, encouraging me to remember why I labor.

He loves me so much, yet I know he doesn't know how to convey that. Oh, if he'd only understand how much I love him; he doesn't have to earn it, and I wouldn't want him to try!

I've become used to leaving my family and my friends. I didn't say it was easy, just that I've become used to it. The hugs become more fervent, the words become more heartfelt. It's good that it hurts; if it didn't, the staying probably wasn't worth it in the first place.

He's changed since we last saw one another. Yet, that doesn't matter; it's like we never left in the first place.

The confusion she carries is not something I envy. I wish I could be humble enough to tell her what she wants to hear...what she needs to hear.

Saying hard words is never easy, especially when the outcome is uncertain. I'm glad he said them, though, because if he hadn't, they would've been his to bear longer. Quite frankly, that is not something I'd want him to bear alone. It's always been my joy to labor on his behalf, and I daresay it's been his joy to labor on my behalf. The reason becomes clearer when those labors become harder, when we begin to realize that the joys of the world after are far better.

We meet to part, but part to meet
When earthly labors are complete,
To join in yet more blest employ,
In an eternal world of joy.

-Basil Manly, Jr., from Soldiers of Christ in Truth Arrayed

posted by Bolo | 1:14 AM
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Driving Dementia

Who says driving in traffic is boring?

posted by Bolo | 11:07 PM
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Wakey Wakey

*Yawn*. Ok. I admit it. Spring is beautiful in Kentucky.

But not as beautiful as in Hawai'i...


posted by Bolo | 8:04 AM
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Thoughts: Homeage

Lylie totally ran that red, but he had a good reason to be distracted. Even the rain managed to bid us a "good riddance!" Flights home are always long, no matter how short they are...but they're never short. Just a few moments in Hawai'i, and already Ricky proclaims his primary objective. "Which one is Uncle John?" First meal: Alicia's wasabi masago poke, which Ricky and Moon ate up. "Are you saying I'm a beautiful monkey?" What are azuki beans? Lyle? If you're gonna go, at least you go with a view, right, Boss? Boots & Kimo's verdict: even better than expected. Like Makana says, "Uncle Ricky fall in the water!" What did Moon Pie learn? In Hawai'i, you'll get a party in your mouth, cultural lessons on the TV screen, and a new card game you'll have to pay attention to all at once. Is it just me, or did we all lose count of how many times Alton started a sentence with, "Oh, but if you're from the Mainland..." Really, none of us minded the fact that a Beggin' Strip was eaten by a non-canine creature. Lava can be a little hot, don't you think? I think it's safe to say that that school up on the hill has a decent view, among other things. Young's was an overwhelming choice for a do-over. Melton's tan is like a full-body connect-the-dots henna tattoo...except for the red parts. "Just keep going, guys." Hiking in nearly total darkness isn't as bad as I thought it would be. "I don't remember a creek bed." What exactly can he kiss, Ricky? Yes, it's like this every day...gorgeous. Kev, you would make the coolest homeless guy I know. Since Malia's two boys bear more than a passing resemblance to each other, I asked Garrett, "Isn't it illegal to have the same kid twice?" So much for the sunrise. Cindy who? How can you not be moved by the Arizona Memorial? Lunch with Alton = amazing. Yes, I played middle blocker. No, I'm not joking. C'mon, Moon, we thought God is in Control was one of your favorites! Journey songs were not meant to be sung in rounds; Journey songs should not be sung in rounds, especially on accident. When in doubt, get both the loco-moco and the blueberry crepes, right, Gary? Paddling out at Kewalo's with Boss was strangely lonely without 'Drew. Twenty-two humans ranging in age from 77 years to 4 months old do not make for the greatest of picture-taking circumstances, but I think we did just fine. An even application of sunscreen is key, Lyle! See Steak Sauce? Check! Yes, Mr. Mikami, it's just hypothetical. I think. Yup, we counted at least twenty people lined up just before midnight at Miki's. Hey, I worked in the medical field once upon a time, really I did! Nothing made that tour sound so good as that sound coming from the "entertainment". Hawaiian food = 'ono! The reminder about the need for unity in the body was a reminder I needed...and still need. Gina's does not disappoint! Seriously, I was grabbing the sticker, Boss! Karen took out her whole family; I knew she had it in her. Dang, that house on Haku Street was packed. Talk about old faces: Ganigans, Kwongs, Saigusas...made me feel 20 again. Well, almost. Leaving stinks. So, I probably left half a suitcase behind...oops. Like I've said before, HNL is the best and worst place in the world, but Sunday night, it was the worst. Good thing we were just two gates down! The whining started in SFO, but cold blasts in ORD weren't helping us, either. Pat way! Seriously, three for three, it had to be us. Yeah, we're back...sort of.

posted by Bolo | 4:38 PM
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Home: Imaged

posted by Bolo | 11:58 PM
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Koen supposedly looks like his Uncle Johnny. He's undoubtedly more socially advanced, as he actually knows what it means to answer his phone ;)

posted by Bolo | 1:09 PM
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For You, 'Drew

Look who it is, none other than Pat Sczebel himself! He very nearly grabbed me as I boarded the plane in Chicago...what a guy! Of course, the first thing out of his mouth wasn't, "John, how are you doing?" Nor was it, "Hey, it's good to see you!" For that matter, it wasn't as though I was asking and saying those things, either. No, the first thing he asked was, "Is Andrew coming?"

Like I said...what a guy!

posted by Bolo | 1:29 AM
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Go! Irish!

posted by Bolo | 10:49 PM
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Back again...

posted by Bolo | 5:05 PM
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Bed Heads

Eh, Mikams, since your blog is now kinda officially dead, can I have your bed when you get tired of it, too?

Just a thought.


posted by Bolo | 8:26 AM
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This should be almost all of us. I think. These days, it's getting harder and harder to just rattle off who belongs in our family pictures -- the fact that we've averaged one per decade during my lifetime doesn't necessarily help.

At least this time, my face hadn't kissed the reef during my latest surf session...

posted by Bolo | 7:54 AM
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Uch Rips!

Check out the last picture. 'Drew was with us yesterday!

posted by Bolo | 2:34 PM
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For you, 'Drew...

posted by Bolo | 1:30 PM
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Mauka, Makai

posted by Bolo | 4:22 PM
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