One Scouter's journey discovering Orthodox Ecclesiology and the World (of Scouting and more!) This blog is over 20 years old and my views, experiences, thoughts, and opinions have changed a lot over the years and likely will continue to do as I learn more. This is a blog about a journey, sometimes taking wrong paths, not about arriving a final destination.
Once upon a time, my youngest son was errantly called Cereal by a substitute teacher, who could not pronounce his name. Seeing that he is a skateboarding enthusiast, and some of the skaters he admires have nicknames like Bam, Benson, Blinky, Boo, Bucky, Dune, Gator, Holmes, Horsey, Jinx, Manchild, Mutt, Ollie, Pork Loin, Slomo, Sluggo, Spanky, Steak, Wee-Man, Yelawolf, Zorlac, etc. he decided to roll with it.
As I mentioned in my last post, I recently shattered my ankle, damaging a lot of the soft tissue in my lower leg and foot. I have had home health nurses and physical therapists visiting my home three times a week since then to help me get to the point where I am now walking with a very cool yet functional cane.
My physical therapist and I were talking about the stories behind the stories in the Bible, such as how the reason that Jesus used dirt to make the blind man see was because the blind man was born without eyes and Christ was showing us that he was God by making human organs from the dust, like he did when he created Adam in the Garden of Eden on the sixth day.
He, being unaware of many of these connections, yet fascinated by them, asked for books that would show him more. Thus I suggested the following six books for him:
If you or anyone you know are interested in the connections of the Old Testament to the New Testament, or the stories behind the stories in The Holy Writ, check out these books and articles, which will help you see what previously was unseen to you.
For those of you who don't know, I have wide feet. When getting back into skating, I found that Vans are now way too narrow (Yes, even the pro models - I confirmed with Vans that they intentionally have made all of their shoes narrower in order to save on materials, thus increasing profit). and I cannot wear them. I finally found that the vegan suede Vallelys by Cariuma stretched to fit my wide feet and stood up to a beating.
In May, I suffered a triple ankle fracture and dislocation and am finally walking after 6 months of recovery and healing with strenuous PT (physical therapy). However my left foot and ankle are now wider than before and I no longer can even get my Cariuma Vallely skate shoes on. Cariuma confirmed that the vegan suede Vallely shoes were their best shoes for wide feet and refunded the camel coloured pair I had on pre-order (I currently have charcoal and black Vallely shoes). So I reached out to the subreddit, r/OldSkaters, for suggestions for truly wide shoes.
Shoe #1 was the Etnies Marana. I was excited by its fashion-forward looks, but unfortunately, I could not even put my foot in it, just like my Cariuma Vallelys. Immediate return. Etnies Footwear confirmed this was their widest shoe.
Shoe #2 was the DC Court Graffiks. They looked nice, and thankfully, I could get my foot in, but the toe box was way too narrow. Sent them back. DC Shoes confirmed this was their widest shoe.
Shoe #3 was the Osiris D3 2001s arrived and they were a chonky shoe that seemed to fit good with a wider toe-box but, while comfortable as-is, will definitely require some breaking in at the upper over the toes and at the achilles tendon area. Osiris Shoes confirmed this was their widest shoe.
Shoe #4 was the Globe Mens Tilt Skate Shoe. I could get my foot in with some pushing, but then it slid in nicely. It felt really good... ...until my toes hit the toe-box. Immediately I felt compressing pressure on my pinky toe. Not only on my recovering broken ankle, but the good foot too. While these looked good, there was no way I would be able to wear them. Globe Shoes did not respond to my query on if this was their widest shoe or not.
And so the winner is...
...Based on my experience, for people with wide feet, your best choice is going to be the Osiris D3 2001 Skate Shoes, and I went with the Gold/Grey/Beige colorway model. If your toes are small, you might be able to get away with the Globe Tilt or the DC Court Graffik Skateboard Shoes, but the Etnies Marana is a definite no go, no way, no how. I hope this helps someone out there struggling to find good quality wide skate shoes like I was.
If you are a part of any Orthodox Church (Eastern or Oriental) in the USA, please click on the link below to take part in a large national survey. It's about the effects of the pandemic on parish life, and is funded by the Louisville Institute. Your responses are strictly anonymous. Please also pass this on to any Orthodox friends or relatives; the more participants, the more meaningful the data will be! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PandemicAndYourParishNow
Are you wondering how to donate and help Ukraine besides prayer, and don't want your money to errantly end up in the hands of scammers? You can donate money that will 100% go the Ukrainian people, without any executive or administration fees to pay anyone a salary through the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA at https://www.uocofusa.org/news_220224_1 marking your donations with the comment, "LET’S HELP UKRAINE". They have already used this money to get everyday supplies and medical supplies to the people of Ukraine and evacuate an orphanage of children and their teachers to Poland with the donations that they have received so far. If you prefer to donate with Facebook's own platform, you can do so at the Facebook page of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA at https://www.facebook.com/uocofusa.
Cancel culture is real and both the left and right are guilty of using it against their perceived enemies. Sometimes it can be used to shutdown a harmful practice, but often times it can also be harmful to the innocent. In my lifetime I remember BADD (Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons) trying to shut down D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) in the 1980's due to the Satanic Panic, which has been proven to be a false and unnecessary panic. My Dungeon Master's (referee's) parents bought into it and did not allow their son to play D&D anymore at his house. Instead we had to play a Christian RPG (Role-Playing Game) called Dragon Raid at his house. We still played Dungeons & Dragons at my house, because my parents did not buy into the panic. You can read more about the fraudulent Satanic Panic and attempts to cancel D&D at https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26328105
Recently a priest's blog was removed from Ancient Faith Radio after multiple warnings about not posting about partisan politics. This was not a case of internet opinion charging him before he was in a court of law, but a company that warned a content provider to stop a prohibited activity over and over until they felt they had to remove him. People cried "Cancel Culture" but this is NOT cancel culture. He was removed from one platform, no judgement was made upon him as a bad person, and AFR even offered to help him set up his blog at new platform. AFR only made a statement about it because the priest had made one first, claiming he was cancelled (Which he has now, thankfully retracted). I am not even a fan of AFR, but these are facts, which I will not twist because I like and respect the priest in question.
However in the modern day, there are actual victims of cancel culture in the world. The problem is that this is done off of accusations, not someone being found guilty in a court of law. In fact, one of these cancelled creators, Zak Smith, actually ended up suing his accusers and was found that he was being defamed and that the accusers had to pay-up and/or post retractions to their accusations. But those facts were not important to the Twitter troll mobs who keep spreading the accusations (only made on social media) and as such, no one will publish Zak's work. Zak, thankfully, makes lots of money from his art, but the TTRPG is missing out by not having his Adventure Campaigns which are also works of art. There are others that are also being cancelled and it is hurting their ability to make a living for them and their family. To this end, I recently interviewed Zak, being a fan or his art and writing and wanting to get the facts of his story from his POV without the interviewer (me) passing judgement. WARNING: This interview has adult language and talks about adult situations.
We need to be patient and let the facts come out in courts of law when accusations are made and remember, at least in America, that people are considered innocent until proven guilty. We don't need a litany of Heart Queens yelling, "Off with their head" anytime anyone is accused of anything bad.
For almost 20 years I had been looking for book 4 in The Monastery Builders series, and yesterday, I finally go it! Let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. This is an incredible hagiographical series that I recommend for all Orthodox Christians. They were all published and printed with the blessing of His Grace, ALYPY, Bishop of Chicago, Detroit, and Middle America of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).
Here are links to all five books of The Monastery Builders series. Unfortunately, since it has long been out of print, they are not all available at good prices or even available at all.