Blue skies, smiling at me, nothing but blue skies, do I see…

We got the house.
As in, we got the house.
As in, there is a building. A real building. Four walls, a roof, a door… a real house.
And not just any house.
A spectacular house.

A letter to our Realtor

Here’s a letter I wrote to a couple we may be buying a house from in Baltimore.

Hello Mr. & Mrs. _________

My name is Benjamin, and my realtor, Steve Hane, invited me to tell you a bit of our story.

My fiance� Tamika and I have been looking for a place for quite some time now. I’m a graphic designer and work for a large non-profit organization called “National Fatherhood Initiative” (a program that helps dads to be better dads) and Tamika works as a high school coach and full-time substitute teacher. She’s working on getting her teacher certification so she can teach in the Baltimore school district.

We met in college, and became best friends, but didn’t start dating until after college. We both lived and worked in the Harrisburg area, and got to spend a lot of time with one another as the summer went on. We knew we wanted to get married since we started expressing feelings for one another; and last Thanksgiving I asked permission from her father (we’re fortunate to have very supportive parents) and officially proposed to her. I didn’t have a ring at that time, but we both knew the timing was right to start preparing for the wedding.

I knew I still wanted to get her an engagement ring, though, so I began designing one for her that was my own creation and had it made. The jeweler finished it and it arrived last week.
This past Monday on Memorial Day, I knew that I was going to give her the ring, but she wanted to look at some houses in the Baltimore area.

So, I arranged for us to meet Steve in the morning, and planned to surprise her by having both our parents show up at Patterson Park after we were done house-looking.
The three of us drove around for a while looking at different houses, but didn’t find anything. Finally we gave up and went to the real estate office to cool off and get some lunch.

I had told Steve ahead of time that we needed to go early so I could meet our parents and to play along, but just before we were about to leave Steve found your property online. We looked through the listing and as Steve read us the details Tamika and I both knew it was right. But we had so little time!

We rushed over to the house, and we’re absolutely stunned. If Tamika and I had designed a house for us to live in ourselves, this is what it would look like. We are both so excited that a house like this might could be ours!
I had to pull Tamika away (we must have gone through the house 5 times!) and we drove over to the Pagoda in Patterson Park, and our parents were waiting for us there.
She was so surprised. She never expected anything like that, or for both of our parents to be there! Our parents had never officially met before, because mine live in Connecticut and work as Bible Translators for a Native American tribe in Quebec. So, amid everyone, I got down on my knee and gave her the ring.

That’s our story! (at least a small part of it)
I’m looking foreword to going through this process with you, and can’t wait to talk to you both.
Thanks so much,

Rip van Winkle


Talk about getting back some sleep…
I went to take a nap around 6:30 yesterday afternoon… and slept until 7:30 this morning. Tamika was supposed to call and wake me up after half an hour, and she says she did, but that I was so tired that she just let me sleep. She’s always looking out for me. I ended up waking up spontaneously at 1:00 AM, but I watched the making of Matrix Revolutions until I was able to sleep again. I like that movie! I’m glad I finally got to see it. It’s amazing! I really want to see V for Vendetta now to see what the Wachowski brothers do in that film. I now own all 3 Matrix films as well as the Animatrix, which I paid a total of about 15$ for. Hurray for pawn shops and EBay.

I didn’t realize that I was that tired! I really have been worn out lately… I’ve been trying to do a million things… get the ring for Tamika, get my EIN for Zerflin to become a bonafide business, wedding stuff like invitations, photographer… going through the process trying to figure out how to buy a house and get a mortgage… and on top of that about a dozen graphics projects that are currently up in the air.
I usually end up shutting down and zoning out, and battling temptation; but I’ve been doing lots better.

Remember when I wrote about that horrible Chinese food I ate? Well, I added Dave Broussard on the e-mail group I have that I send out links to this journal (for those who don’t have DeviantArt). He’s the guy I’m designing this for:

His site is sort of up now, it’s here: [link]
Anyhow, he was intrigued by my journal that he read ALL of them. I was pretty surprised, frankly, there is a LOT of text on here!
He lives around here, and so the next day he took me out to Jen’s Chinese Restaurant for lunch and it was AWESOME! It is some of the best Chinese foor I’ve ever had. I had Seafood & Meat combo on pan fried noodles, and it was heavenly…
He and I have become pretty good friends since then, and he’s invited me to a men’s group that’s been meeting every Thursday evening that has done wonders for me. It’s been really good to connect with other men and to talk about issues that they’re struggling with.

In other news, both the Starlight forums and the Ethnic website are back up.
Starlight was my very first website I ever designed, and had a forum on there that was once pretty popular. I had people from all over the world coming on there and just hanging out. It fell into disrepair when the domain hosting for Zerflin went down, but recently I’ve been learning more about forum building, and I was able to revive it. It’s a pretty fun place, if you want to check it out. It’s here: [link]

Ethnic is also an online community, but it’s a lot more comprehensive. It’s a community for those interested in social change and finding solutions to the problems that harm our communities. It comes from the perspective that EVERYONE comes from an ethnic culture, and by viewing the issues though these lenses of equality and appreciation we might be able to come up with dialogue that will help us make steps to helping people.
It’s also got a library, a gallery and a regularly updated news forum that brings news from around the world about people of different ethnicities that you won’t hear in the common news.
If you’d like to check it out, visit it here: http://www.zerflin.us/ethnic/

Let me know what you think about these sites, and if I can improve them in any way! I’m planning on putting them up as deviations.


Poetry Ideas

The devil will tell you you 99 truths to tell you one lie.
The higher you get in the tree, the more people can see.
Give what is natural away.

Mixed Roots Business Card Birch Front.jpg
Mixed Roots Business Card Birch Front.jpg (Photo credit: benjancewicz)

See, I would be your Birch Tree if you would be my Mahogany
Or maybe even my Cedar
See, the hue of your skin tone is so deep
I can almost see the depth of your soul reflected in me
Being with you makes me want to do more than get a tan…

Pushin’ the Jag because you ran out of gas

You could be my star for the night
Before I move on
And shrink back into my meaningless life

Being in the pulpit don’t make you a saint,
Saying somethin’ you is, don’t make you somthin’ you ain’t.


To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in that suffering

English: Repent window, Mathon church, near to...
English: Repent window, Mathon church, near to Mathon, Herefordshire, Great Britain. Beneath the left side: Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and the right: “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Harambee Bible Study.

Matthew 5:3-10

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

2 Timothy 2:23-26

23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

  • Poor in Spirit: Those who are Humble.
  • Meek: Kindness & Gentleness (can save lives, and is not a weakness.
  • Thirst for Righteousness: You will always be thirsty, because the world cannot fill you.
  • Mercy: Luke 6:36-3736 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
    37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
    We pick and choose. You won’t be blessed if you don’t show mercy. Those who judge, can’t take judgement.
  • Peacemakers: Being peaceful is a State. Do something about it.
  • Persecuted: What are we providing to the enemy? When you’re standing for right, who cares? It’s ok! Don’t be popular, win souls not approval!

You must unlearn your definition of being blessed. To be blessed means to be spiritually prosperous. To be spiritually prosperous, you must chase God. If you’re not being blessed, what are you chasing after?

Grey Skies, Jettas, & Wiiskichaans

This past week has been garish, the worst in the entire existence of my conscious thought, honestly.
But it’s over.
Tamika and I had the best make-up period in the history of couples making up. My eyes were aching by Thursday from the sheer volume of saline that seeped from them. And they were kissed away so delicately and so gently and so lovingly that my soul was planted again and coaxed once again to grow.
In the entire history of the world, there were seven broken hearts that were completely healed. And this put them all to shame.
The wounds will heal, at least this I know. God formed me with a thick hide.

It rained, and rained, and rained. And it was COLD. I’ve doggedly stuck to my motorcycle, though, even though prices of gasoline have plummeted below 2.45$. Wow, 2.45$! I remember when it was 1.63$… Something like last YEAR…

It did rain terribly one day, though, and I used the excuse that I had sold 8 framed photographs and drawings at a block party at my church and that I needed the car to carry them around as a reason to drive to work. I’ve gotten into the habit of updating the information of the pieces I sell to read something like .:Hanging at such & such:.
I like it, it makes me happy. I don’t sell my pieces for very much, about 12.00$ for a 8.5×11 print. I like getting it out there, I like people to be able to decorate their homes.
I have been doing a whole lot of freelance work, though. My boss, Chris, hired me on the side to design the Huggins Website (www.hugginsprinting.com) which will be completely done at the end of this month. The website they have up now honestly isn’t bad, but it’s not easily updated. So they haven’t updated since 2003.

The persistence of the addiction had gone down quite a bit, and though the temptation is still there, I’ve been getting more and more support, and it’s enabled me to resist it.

Greg (Berte’s husband) has been working on the Wiiskichaan with me a lot, and last time I visited we took the carburetor apart. I’m getting more comfortable with him, and he with me, and it’s been giving me the opportunity to ask him more questions about what he’s doing and how things work with my motorcycle. I still don’t feel like I have much of any intuitive mechanical knowledge when it comes to engines, but I’m slowly getting better. Together we figured out why my choke was messed up. It was set to idle regularly when it was fully open, so naturally, when the choke was closed when the motor is warmed up, like it’s supposed to, the engine stalled for lack of air. We adjusted it, and he showed me how the vacuum diaphragm worked, and said I could expect to get a lot more mileage, since now the engine wasn’t revving so high when it was standing still.
The throttle still goes high when I’m stopped, but Greg believes that’s because the throttle cable is bent and wrapped around the wiring so much that it doesn’t slide well enough. I was thinking to myself that I might also be able to put some graphite down it so it slides easier.
I asked him to look at my chain as well. On my trip to Canada the chain fell of in Vermont. The guy at a Yamaha shop that was nearby said my back wheel was not tight enough and so he tightened it. However, months later, my chain fell off, and has been falling off more and more lately. I’ve been able to pop it back on, much like I would pop the chain back on a bicycle. Greg was shocked when he saw my chain. He said normally chains have about ½ an inch of play (which means they move about ½ inch of up and down movement in the middle of the chain). My chain had about 3 inches.
I went out and bought a new chain (about 35$) and hopefully I’ll get to put it on this week.

Tamika left her Jetta’s sunroof open on the week that she was in the Bahamas, and with all the rain, it kinda filled up with water and stinks. And THEN when she started it, the engine light not only came up, but blinked. Upon looking up what a blinking engine light meant, I discovered that when an engine light blinks, the problem is so bad that the onboard computer thinks the problem is so bad that it might hurt the engine. So tomorrow, I’m going to drive the Jetta to work. I found out that unbeknownst to most people, AdvanceAuto, provides FREE computer checkups from their shops. And there’s one right next to Huggins. I’m hoping it’s ok. I’ve been letting her drive my Passat in the meantime. I don’t mind in the least because I have my beloved motorcycle. :D

Lazy Labour Day


Well, I’ve sifted through 200 of the 650 pieces of art I need to go through, and all 300 of the journals that were piled up.

And I’ve discovered my internet connection is a tad to slow to upload anything. Rats.

I haven’t really done much of anything all day, except read deviations. I made some Eggs & HotDogs for Tamika when she came by on her break. I feel very unmotivated, but I guess I’m detoxing from everything at work.

:P My brain still feels like mush. I should turn on the radio and listen to NPR or something and clean.

My computer really is a piece of junk. The monitor is tiny, and it’s actually being held together with duct tape. My next computer will be a Mac with OSX Tiger on it. I was actually debating about riding the motorcycle to work so I could use my computer there.


I’m going to clean.

Life as a Designer


I got to talk with my parents the other day, and they expressed a little concern that I wasn’t updating my DA account lately.
I honestly didn’t know they looked at it that much (they rarely comment on my work) but it warms my heart that they do… So I’ll try to update more.

Working at Huggins as a designer is a lot of fun. It’s pretty similar to doing graphic design classwork, except I have multiple projects instead of just one at a time (though I guess I did in school too, just with different classes) and rather than being able to learn how a professor grades or what they expect, you have to guess that from every customer.
It’s difficult, but it’s not hard once you get the hang of it. And also, you get to learn what the different Huggins Salesmen are like and what kinds of customers they get.
The best customers are the ones who have absolutely no idea what they want, because mostly they just trust your judgment on things. I get a lot more freedom and get to stretch my abilities more.

Recently I was involved with a play called “The Maafa: What it means to Speak Life”. It’s a play put on by one of the members of my church (African American) and so naturally I have to play the token white guy.
It was been really really tough for me to do, especially since my two big roles are a wannabe Black Panther member and a slave buyer (among a few others). It literally goes against every fiber of my being, but I’ve slowly been able to resolve myself enough to be able to get into my characters. I came to the realization that the reason my characters exist at all in the play is to poke fun and body-slam historical actualities of the way white people were, and a lot of people need to realize that.
Plus, where else could I make a complete idiot of occidentally-minded people and have the audience think it was awesome? :)

Tamika and I have been doing wonderfully, and I’ve pretty much come the conclusion that by this time next year (Lord willing) we’ll be engaged. Money is still very tight right now, which is probably the main reason I haven’t done anything about it sooner; but it has been good for us to learn more about each other. With each day I learn more and more that I am absolutely in love with her.
Oh what a feeling! (cheesy 70’s ballad music in the background.

I’m still living in Lemoyne ([link]), and I am growing into my house. I’d still rather be across the river, but I like my home. I’ve been getting rid of more and more stuff, and am trying to live simply and inexpensively. As a matter of fact, this weekend I’m having a yardsale (or joining in) with my landlady and her son. It’s a cozy little place. I don’t quite have a kitchen table yet, but if you don’t mind eating off the coffee table, stop by for a visit.

Tamika and I were recently blessed with cars! She got a candy-coloured red 97 Volkwagen Jetta, and I got a maroon V6 96 Volkwagen Passat. They are really beautiful cars. I’ve been trying to take really good care of them. I got the manuals for both and have been doing my best to make sure they stay in shape. We just took Tamika’s to Firestone the other day, and she has a few things that need to be tuned up, so pray that we’re able to get the money for that. I haven’t taken my car for it’s first checkup yet, but I know that it needs leaks repaired with oil and steering fluid. But they run beautifully, and we’re so blessed to have them.

I just got done fixing up my motorcycle, and surprised Tamika with it last week. I’d been working on it secretly for about 2 or 3 months with Greg, the husband of my old boss at Messiah, and finally got everything done on it. Now all I need to do is get it inspected and go for my liscence test (I have a permit now). She said that riding the motorcycle was one of the things she really liked doing when we first started being friends, and had been gently pestering me about it all summer. She was floored.

That’s pretty much the news on this end,
Thanks so much for all your prayers!



I’d just like to say that I have the best girlfriend in the world.
I don’t care what y’all say. I got the best.
She stopped by today just to say hi, brought me Wendy’s (cheeseburger, baked potato, root beer, & ice cream), and sat in quiet awe while I worked on a design I’ve been doing for PIAA.
And she stared at me. just smiling.
It made me feel good, it was just a peaceful I-like-being-with-you smile.

I’ve been running ragged lately, with the play, and trying to do enough at work so i get the money for my bills.
And now with Tamika’s lil sister Natalia here, I’ve had to either leave early or stay late so I can either drop her off or pick her up for Soccer Camp.

Tamika just got a new car, a shiny 1997 VW Jetta with a sunroof, and she’s giving me her Golf.

I DO need to smile more.
Thanks, Sto.

I gotta go, the play is about to begin.

Opening NIGHT!

Hot & Sticky


Had a long practice for “What it Means to Speak Life”, the play that I’m in this coming Tues, Wed & Thurs.

Tamika asked me to come over at 9 before I drove to the rehearsal.
She had been very moody the night before, and wanted a hug and to apologize.
I don’t mind it, and honestly I feel bad for girls since they had to deal with that once a month. And no, I’m not being sarcastic. It’s a little rough when I’ve had a crummy day myself, but working together is what it’s all about, right?

The play went smoothly, and I packed the back of my rockin’ Corolla FX (snicker) with my costumes. I brought my beret for the Black Panther scene. I’m glad I saved it, it was from when I was in Cadets in Canada.

We practiced in a church that used to be a school next to Harambee (my church) and fortunately they had air conditioning. It was HOT today.

I’m really bonding with a lot of the cast members, most of whom are neo black nationalists. They are such deep and passionate people, and are making great friends.

I finished rehearsal at around 4:30 (we started at 10) and rushed to Home Depot to meet Tamika on her supper break.
She apologized again, and I took her out to Wendy’s. We talked about stuff that was bugging her and worked out plans to pick up her car.

She’s getting a mint condition red 1997 VW Jetta from Philly, and she’s letting me have her old 86 VW Golf.

Her friend Joy is coming tomorrow, and Tamika is inviting her to church with us (Tamika got Sunday off for the first time in a long time). I told Tamika I might go down to Berte’s house, and she asked if I would take the Golf so I could get it vacuumed out with Berte’s shop vac.
I dropped her off and went down to Berte’s.
Greg has pneumonia and so I just vegged with him for a while, and he ordered some gaskets for the fuel-stop on my motorcycle.
I already got it insured, retitled, and registered, so it’s about ready to go. All I have to do is do the finishing touches (getting the tank back on and the horn connected) and I’ll be ready for inspection.

I vacuumed out her car and watched some of the “Blue Collar Comedy” with them on TV. Some of it was funny, but a lot of it was stinkin’ offensive.
At one point, the “Cable Guy” sang a Christmas song about “illegal aliens getting green cards, learning how to drive, and then learning some !@#$ english.”
The crowd went wild. They gave him a standing ovation.

I mean, bloody hell.
Every bloody white person on this continent is an illegal alien. They just KILLED OFF the original inhabitants.

Maybe that’s one of my biggest problems with a president like Bush. He caters to people like that. People who are oppressive to other people.
While Americans get treated like royalty in other countries. What a bunch of crap.
People have told me to my face: “If you don’t like it, leave.”
No problem. Get me a ticket, and be on the next flight. The only reason I’m here is because I was suckered into taking out a Student Loan.
There’s nothing that could convince me to stay on this sinking ship.

I bit my tongue. Berte & Greg are wonderfully nice people. Berte and I are the best of friends, but we dissagree on some politics. Berte & Greg were in the Navy for a long time, which gives one a lot of pride in their homeland.

I drove home, and Tamika came by to drop off my car.
She seemed abrasive, but I was probably just tired and sensitive.
I think I’ll call her.