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A beautiful shot of men playing backgammon in a coffeeshop in Greece. Photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis

A beautiful shot of men playing backgammon in a coffeeshop in Greece. Photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis.

It was a cold, nasty, raining Saturday in Asheville/Black Mountain yesterday. But the fiance and myself made the most of it, spending a good chunk of the day at the brand new Dynamite Roasting Co., right outside of downtown. We enjoyed a half decaf/half Columbian blend of coffee from the french press, and he kicked my butt at some backgammon. The coffee bar/roastery is housed in an old home that was once gutted to make a fireplace showroom. Today the modest old furniture and undorned counter are arranged around a beautiful black and red roasting drum. There is a turntable inthe corner, on top of a couple of crates full of old records. It’s fantastic.

After coffee, we walked across the street to Philly’s, the Hungarian-American sandwich shop adjacent to the Mobile Medic, and ordered one cheesesteak (with banana peppers) to split. Let’s just say it put the sunshine in my rainy day.

So go check out Dynamite. It’s well worth parking in a muddy pothole.

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Right now there is about three inches of snow on my porch. It’s the first decent sticking snow we’ve had all winter, and it’s beautiful. It kinda makes me want to go to bed and wish for Christmas.

The new experience of the day today was my attendance at the local Rotary Club. I went as a guest of my coworker, who attends regularly on behalf of our organization. The first thing that struck me was the homogeneity of the group. The overwhelming majority was of one race, one gender, and on generation. It really makes me wonder what is going to happen to groups like Rotary and to all the good work they do when this generation ages out — maybe something to worry about sooner rather than later. Nevertheless the food was delicious (Swedish meatballs are one of my favorites), the student-of-the-month presentation was heartwarming and the program was interesting. One of the Rotarians had recently spent some time in Tanzania, visiting churches and a brand new hospital.

What I liked most about his presentation was the photo slideshow. After many study abroad and mission trip spiels, it never fails to amaze me how colorful and bright and clean these people’s clothes are. First off it makes me think that if we all still used the sun instead of dryers, that products like Clorox2 would not be necessary. Second, it makes me kinda jealous of this whole form of expression that they have that we do not. I know that people in the Global North use fashion to express themselves, often to a fault, but it doesn’t match the colors and the symbolism and the importance that cloth and pattern has for people in poorer parts of the world.

Of course this isn’t the only message I got from Rotary today, but it was the part that stuck with me. In other news, my friend Anoop Desai made it to the next round of American Idol. Normally I am not a fan, but it’s pretty exciting when you’re watching every montage for a familiar face. Rock on, Anoop Dog. Peace.

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The early riser failed miserably this morning, but the sleeping in was nice. No use punishing myself this early in the game. But I guess for it to work well, I will have to hit 7 on weekends too.

First alarm: 7:04 a.m.
Got up: 9:30 a.m.
Extra activity: n/a
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs on toast

Last night was an evening of new experiences. I went to the Rankin Vault after work to send off a coworker who has found a real job and will be moving away this weekend. Then a bunch of us wandered over to the Asheville Arts Council opening of Jonas Gerard paintings (very bright, very expensive, but great).

The town of Black Mountain was having their Holly Jolly event, where all the shops stay open until 9 p.m., and the whole town comes out to mill about and “shop.” The sidewalks were teeming with high schoolers: Think American Graffiti in winter, without the cars or any of the coolness. We also checked out the new White Horse venue in town. It has great potential, I think, especially since it’s nonsmoking and serves hotdogs.

This afternoon is the Black Mountain Christmas parade, in which Montreat Conference Center will be making it’s debut appearance. I think it will be a whole lot of fun, I only wish it were warmer out.

Grateful for a non-traveling, non-busy weekend. With basketball. Peace.

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