Eicha – Tisha B’Av

Tonight and tomorrow is Tisha B’Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.  It is a fast day, a day of mourning for the destruction of the two temples in Jerusalem, the Bar Kochba revolt failing, the siege of Jerusalem, and more.

Two years ago when I was studying in Israel, I spent the eve of Tisha B’Av in Israel.  I went with a friend to Jerusalem and we visited the Kotel (Western Wall) before going to the City of David, the site of the original founding of Jerusalem by King David, to hear the Book of Lamentations, Megillat Eichah, read.  It was a deeply moving and spiritual experience.

Sitting on the ground by custom, thousands of Jews recited the Book of Lamentations in Jerusalem's Old City on Tisha B'Av to commemorate the destruction of the two Holy Temples in ancient Jerusalem, July 19, 2010. (Abir Sultan / Flash90 / JTA)

Tonight I went to Tisha B’Av services at my synagogue.  I was reflecting on the powerful and meaningful words and the thoughts shared by my rabbi.  I enjoyed thinking about some of the older members of my congregation and how they have shared with me as well as my friends and family.  I thought about how lucky I am not to be living through the horrors described by Jeremiah.

The short article below is from the JTA about Tisha B’Av and modern issues in Israel:

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israelis flocked to Jerusalem’s Old City to observe Tisha B’Av, the fast day that commemorates the destruction of the Holy Temple.

A new poll released before Tisha B’Av showed that some 22 percent of Israelis would fast on the day and another 52 percent would refrain from going out with friends.

Israeli law requires that recreational spots be closed on Tisha B’Av; 18 percent of poll respondents called that “religious coercion.”

The Ynet-Gesher poll surveyed 505 Hebrew-speaking Jewish Israelis. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

Jewish tradition says that the Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred; the poll asked which groups are the most hated in Israeli society. Fifty-four percent of respondents answered Arabs, 37 percent named the haredi Orthodox, 8 percent religious and 1 percent Tel Avivians.

Some 42 percent of respondents said they believed that the religious-secular issue is the worst source of tension in Israeli society, while 41 percent said it was the Jewish-Arab situation. Another 9 percent said the worst source of tension is between settlers and the rest of the country, while 8 percent said it was the tension between rich and poor.

“May it be Thy will that the Temple be speedily rebuilt in our days”.  Jews say this three times a day in prayers.  TIME offers some interesting thoughts on what it means with the modern State of Israel.

אני מתגעגע לישראל

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The Banner Ranch

Part of me would love to live in some rural area.  I find an appeal in the middle of nowhere lifestyle that I can’t really describe.  So many times I hear rural/country/”hick” lifestyles demeaned, but as I thought about it this weekend, I do not think I would know how to live in many different situations.

I spent a good part of the weekend at my friend’s ranch/land/farm in the middle of nowhere Missouri.  My friend Justin and his family have some land off of Indian Trail State Forest (there is basically no information on that place online).  There nearest town that we drove through on the way there was Cherryville, which from what we could tell as one main store and three churches.

A picture of the cabin at the Baner Ranch from an earlier high school trip.

Since I first joined Troop 310 in 1999, we would go out there and shoot guns, make fires, play poker, hang out, etc.  When we got older, they got ATVs and we would start riding those.  It got harder to get people together once we all went to college, but we have been back a few times.  It was great going back this weekend.  I really love that land and the openness and freedom it represents.

We watched an amazing heat lightning storm on Friday night from the back of a pickup (with a tractor tire in the bed haha), rode ATVs (on roads, on trails, and in the middle of the forest), shot guns (.22 rifle, .308 rifle, .50 blackpowder pistol – 1700s era), picked blackberries, saw the Banner’s new vineyard, and reminisced about old times.  We had a dutch oven roast and a dutch oven cobbler.  It’s been a while since I have been able to say that.

It was certainly strange though not having our whole old group there.  It was also weird to not to have any parents there.  When we used to go out there, we always had a parent come with us. for extra supervision with the guns and whatnot (we were younger) and so they could enjoy it as well.  Mr. Banner (Justin’s dad) would also help get stuff ready for us and help with clean up – even in later years.  This time though we had to take care of everything ourselves.  Apparently that’s what happens when you grow up.

I hope to go back out there soon.  Spending time with people I have been friends with since 5th grade has definitely been a highlight of this summer.  As we all go different places, I hope we can continue to come back together.

Five/Six Weeks Out Of Ten

Well, I am now more than half way through my internship at Build-A-Bear Workshop.  I cannot believe how fast this summer is going.  It seems as though I just got home from Denver, yet so much has happened.  This internship has been a great experience so far and I am looking forward to the second half.

Below is a list of the projects I have been working on so far.  Some of these have been more involved on my part whereas others were more being a part of conference calls/meetings and offering my thoughts and suggestions.

  • Updated Merchandising Assortment Guide (MAG)
  • Updated and branded prospective franchisee materials
  • Prepared Board of Directors PowerPoint presentation
  • Compiled international store profit/loss analysis
  • Analyzed seasonal global sales by country and product
  • Created a “toolkit” to assist franchisees in driving sales during Quarter 4 / 2010 Holidays that involved compilation and creation of resources from across the company
  • Helped plan the 2010 International Operations Summit
  • Organized store information (pictures, blueprints)
  • Researched 2011 International Licensing Opportunities
  • Analyzed international supply chain/inventory flow and product loads by country as a tool for assessing the international franchise model
  • Assisted franchisees in developing inventory forecasts, turnover, and ordering projections
  • Reviewed new store proposal/design and real estate opportunities
  • Offered feedback on business plans submitted by prospective franchisees
  • Communicated regularly with franchisees worldwide

I have also met with, spoken on the phone, and/or emailed people in every continent except Antarctica.  I’m pretty excited about that.

As I have been developing the Holiday Toolkit, I looked for resources to use in writing introductions to each section.  One such resource is Maxine Clark’s book, “The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company With Heart“.  Here is one quote I would like to share:

Bosses are in charge and dictatorial.  Leaders listen to what their employees have to say and create a climate of reciprocal respect.

I have been lucky to work for leaders.  I hope that trend continues.  I am excited to see where the rest of this summer will lead…

The Happy Wanderer

So many camp songs seem to have been forgotten.  I’d love to help bring them back.  I think they bring the staff together, help improve morale, and increase dedication to the camp and to the experience.  Camp songs are also just plain fun.

I realize this past weekend at camp that many of my favorites seem to have been forgotten.  Brian Hackworth and I led one of my favorites (although, yes, I do have a lot of favorites) at dinner pass-out on Sunday night.  It’s called “The Happy Wanderer”:

I love to go a wandering
Along the mountain track
And as I go I love to sing
My knapsack on my back

Chorus:
Valderi, Valdera, Valderi
Vader-ha-ha-ha-ha
Valderi, Valdera,
My knapsack on my back

Chorus

I wave my hand to all I see
And they wave back to me (Hi there)
And the black birds call so loud and sweet
From every greenwood tree (With spirit)

Chorus

Oh may I go a wandering
Until the day I die (He’s dead)
And may I always laugh and sing
Beneath God’s clear blue skies (‘Till the end)
Beneath God’s clear blue skies

A Favorite Song For Summer 2010

In addition to one of my favorite current songs, Airplanes by B.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams, there is another song that has been stuck in my head and reminds me of summer.  It just has that let loose, enjoy yourself, make the most of where you are and who you are with feel.  The song is “California Gurls” by Katy Perry ft. Snoog Dog.  It is also currently #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The music video is rather scandalous and ironically reminds of my Candyland and Alice in Wonderland…

Here are the lyrics:

[Snoop Dogg]
Greetings loved ones
Let’s take a journey

[Katy Perry – Verse 1]
I know a place
Where the grass is really greener
Warm, wet and wild
There must be somethin’ in the water
Sippin’ gin and juice
Layin’ underneath the palm trees (Undone)
The boys
Break their necks
Try’na creep a little sneak peek (At us)

You could travel the world
But nothing comes close
To the Golden Coast
Once you party with us
You’ll be falling in love
Oooooh oh oooooh

[Katy Perry – Chorus]
California girls
We’re unforgettable
Daisy Dukes
Bikinis on top
Sun-kissed skin
So hot
We’ll melt your Popsicle
Oooooh oh oooooh

California girls
We’re undeniable
Fine, fresh, fierce
We got it on lock
Westcoast represent
Now put your hands up
Oooooh oh oooooh

[Katy Perry – Verse 2]
Sex on the beach
We don’t mind sand in our Stilettos
We freak
In my Jeep
Snoop Doggy Dogg on the stereo (Oh oh)

You could travel the world
But nothing comes close
To the Golden Coast
Once you party with us
You’ll be falling in love
Oooooh oh oooooh

[Katy Perry – Chorus]
California girls
We’re unforgettable
Daisy Dukes
Bikinis on top
Sun-kissed skin
So hot
We’ll melt your Popsicle
Oooooh oh oooooh

California gurls
We’re undeniable
Fine, fresh, fierce
We got it on lock
Westcoast represent
Now put your hands up
Oooooh oh oooooh

[Snoop Dogg – Verse 3]
Toned, tanned
Fit and ready
Turn it up ’cause it’s gettin’ heavy
Wild, wild Westcoast
These are the girls I love the most
I mean the ones
I mean like she’s the one
Kiss her
Touch her
Squeeze her buns

The girl’s a freak
She drives a Jeep
and lives on the beach
I’m okay
I won’t play
I love the Bay
Just like I love L.A.
Venice Beach
And Palm Springs
Summertime is everything

Homeboys
Hangin’ out
All that ass
Hangin’ out
Bikinis, tankinis, martinis
No weenies
Just a king
And a queen-ie
Katy my lady
(Yeah)
You’re lookin’ here baby
(Uh huh)
I’m all up on you
‘Cause you representin’ California
(Ohhh yeahh)

[Katy Perry – Chorus]
California gurls
We’re unforgettable
Daisy Dukes
Bikinis on top
Sun-kissed skin
So hot
We’ll melt your Popsicle
Oooooh oh oooooh

California gurls
We’re undeniable
Fine, fresh, fierce
We got it on lock
Westcoast represent
(Westcoast, Westcoast)
Now put your hands up
Oooooh oh oooooh

Snoop Dogg:
(Californiaaa, Californiaaa)
California girls man
I wish they all could be
California girls
(Californiaaa)
I really wish
You all could be
California girls
(Californiaaa, girls)

DU, Me, and My Friends on VEVO!

During DU’s May Days, OneRepublic was on campus.  I posted the videos that I took of their impromptu concert, but now OneRepublic has posted their video of the event via VEVO on YouTube!  It’s pretty awesome.

The video includes the song “Secrets” – the new single that is pretty awesome.  Check it out.  There are some shots of me and many of my friends.  While I seem to be making fantastic (:-\) faces every time the camera comes to me, this is still a pretty cool thing the band did and good publicity for DU.

Another Great Weekend

I had a great weekend at camp.  I really do love that place.  I think I might be interested in working again if I had a job lined up early enough with a set start date that would be after the end of camp.  There are quite a few things I still am interested in doing at camp and several traditions (some would say necessary parts of the staff experience) that I would like to bring back.

There was another Dad ‘N’ Lad this weekend and once again, I helped in the aquatics area.  It was a bit different this time though as Camps Famous Eagle and Gamble combined forces for one Dad ‘N’ Lad.  I have not worked at Camp Gamble since 2004 and I now remember how much that beach needs to be improved.  Nevertheless, it was a good time and  loved watching the faces of Scouts who were so happy to be spending time in the water with their dads.  There was one Scout in particular who would get out of the water, walk around the dock, jump in, splash his dad, and repeat – over and over.  He constantly had a smile on his face and would laugh to me the whole time.  I gave him a few ideas and he kept coming over.  He was on top of the world.

Of course, there are always those who do not figure out the system.  My good friend Eric Gill is someone who is not afraid to share what is on his mind.  Every once in a while, we says something pretty amusing.  When Scouts complained about waiting at the buddy board to check in to the aquatics area, he said “This is not McDonald’s Playplace.  We have rules here!”  It was pretty amusing.

I had a great time reminiscing about old camp experiences, stories, songs, etc. with Tim Weaver, Brian Hackworth, and Ray Kreienkamp who were also down at camp with me.  Tim and Brian and I have worked together, beginning in 2004.  Someone said something this weekend that reminded me of one of my favorite stories from my first year:

We were always warned not to speed in camp.  Pat Martchink, Director of Camping and Ranch Director knows the Farmington Police and the Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers in the area pretty well.  We were told (by older staff members, it was our first year on staff) that Pat had a radar gun (which he got for free from his police friends, of course) and would hide in the bushes and trees at the entrance of S-F to catch speeders.  Clearly this was not true – but we believed it, at least for a while.  We were also told that if you got a ticket while under contract, that you had better call Pat and let him know asap once it happened – or he would find out first.  That one actually happened a few times.  Ah, the good ole days…

I did not want to leave S-F yesterday evening.  Now that I have spent a few weekends down there, I am getting to know the staff and starting to feel a part of it, even if it is in a minor way.  I think a number of them were actually upset that I was leaving.  I do hope to be able to spend one more weekend down there.  It’s never enough, but at least I am starting to value and treasure the small things that I have previously taken for granted.

Quote #13

Another quality saying from Build-A-Bear Workshop.  I like inspirational things such as this.  Clearly life involves commitment and effort.  And I tend to feel tired way too often…

“Nunca llegará muy lejos, de seguro, quien nunca sienta cansancio”
– Miguel de Unamuno

And that means: “He who has never felt tired, will never get very far”.

A Bit of S-F History & The Camp Sakima Song

S-F Scout Ranch has three Boy Scout camps.  Camp Famous Eagle was the first (1966), followed by Camp Sakima (1966), and then a few years later Camp Gamble opened (1970).  I’ve worked at Camp Gamble (2004) and Camp Famous Eagle (2006-2009).  The camps have traditionally been on a rotation (4 years open, 2 years closed) that leaves two camps fully open for summer camp and one camp closed for summer camp to “regrow” and “rejuvenate” that is also used for NYLT.

Last summer, Camp Famous Eagle was supposed to close at the end of the summer and Camp Sakima was supposed to open this summer.  For a variety of reasons, this did not happen and Camp Sakima is closed (as of now) until capital projects have been completed.  As such, the Camp Famous Eagle staff did not move over to Camp Sakima – which would have also affected me if I would have gone back to camp staff.  I would have liked to have worked at all three Boy Scout camps, but oh well.

I have posted the Camp Gamble and Camp Famous Eagle songs and they are receiving a fair number of hits.  I figured that I may as well post the third camp song as well.

This song has a name, beyond Camp Sakima Song.  Here is “The Spirit of Sakima”:

From a bridge upon the water
You can see the moon on high
As it travels slowly westward
‘Cross the wide Missouri sky
As the oak and hick’ry campfire
Casts its scent upon the air
You will dream of Camp Sakima
And you’ll wish that you were there

When you see a crimson sunset
Crystal waters, skies of blue
When the wind blows through the forest
Camp Sakima’s calling you

Makes no difference where you travel
Where on earth you choose to roam
You will sometimes feel a presence
When you know that you’re alone
You may search in vain to find it
Though you’ll never see it once
But sometimes between the setting
And the rising of the sun
You will hear a ghostly echo
Of a voice so clear and true
It’s the spirit of Sakima
And it’s calling me and you

Meeting the BearQuarters – Part 1

Today the interns had a three hour session during which different directors, managers, supervisors, etc. from around the BearQuarters (headquarters) shared what they do in their departments and in their roles.  It was interesting to see how it all fits together and how so few people do so much.

Below are a few notes that I took, some more serious than others ( 🙂 ):

  • International likes fun vocabulary words.  Today’s word: “pachanga” – Spanish for”a rowdy celebration”.
  • Build-A-Bear posts jobs/looks for applicants on Monster, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
  • Build-A-Bear has extremely low turnover and hires an even smaller percentage of applicants.  Besides the fact that the company is awesome, I’m sure that this has to do with the fact that it is one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.
  • Communication is never perfect – but what can we do better next time?
  • Who is our Guest?  Everything starts with our Guests – a.k.a. customer service is key!
  • Build-A-Bear has some pretty exciting licensing agreements – including fruit snacks!  There is also a new “craftshop” series of products coming to Michael’s in September.

We will continue the conversation with Meet the BQ Part 2 next week.