Saturday, July 15, 2017

PCC 2017, Pt. 1: I Found You Again

The air smelled of sweat and slightly stale chips dipped in cheese sauce.

We congregated in a semicircle, not completely understanding what had played out before our very eyes.

Cries of "Did that really just happen?" mixed with the ever pungent taste of feeling like you've been denied something that was rightfully yours.


It really had just happened. 

The All-Stars Basketball Game had ended with a score of 51 to 51.

A tie.

With the business end of a bright orange trumpet pressed up against my neck, a fleeting thought crossed my mind as Elder Morton warned the girls I was standing with to avoid taking pictures with us ugly boys.

How did I get here?

Let's go back.



I had started to come for several consecutive years, but somewhere along the line, I stopped attending.

It wasn't that I didn't value PCC.

I had met my first girlfriend at PCC.

I had made and maintained so many friends that I still call the best of the best to this day, at PCC.

I can call back to numerous sermons, like "Hotdog Distractions" and "Preparing the Welcome Mat", that I will never forget hearing preached, at PCC.

It just somehow slipped away.

But not this year.

This year, I felt a burning in my soul.

I thought it was indigestion, but it soon became evident that the only remedy to this blistering flame was a visit to...

Pacific Coast Camp.


One day we were just talking about it.

The next morning, Caleb and I were getting up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 to heave to in Caleb's car.

It was quite a serene ride, as I remember it.

Nessun Dorma by Chris Botti playing on the radio, the pink morning clouds giving way to the rosy blue sky.

We arrived at the Blue Lot economy parking and drove until we found a suitable friend for Caleb's Chrysler 300; a Ford Fiesta ST (parked to the right).

Caleb claimed he'd remember what letter we parked by.

I took a picture anyway.

We were flying.

I mean we were booking it.

No, I mean like we got through security in a flash.

Turns out, that was to be the only thing quick about our day.

We arrived at our gate with hours to spare and set about getting breakfast, catching up on text messages, and otherwise enjoying not being at work.

Until the announcement came over the waiting area intercom.

"Yes, all passengers on Southwest flight 1812 with service to Los Angeles, your flight is going to be delayed due to your plane being behind schedule. Your new departure time is 12:00 pm."

It was 7:45. Our flight had originally been leaving at 9:30 am. Now we had almost a 5-hour wait until our plane left.

"Well, at least it can't get worse!"

No wait, it CAN.

Our plane eventually got into port but because of some engine troubles, they were snagging a plane from a San Fransisco flight and rerouting those travelers to yet another flight.

Which means that we weren't leaving PDX until 1:30.


That meant we had some time on our hands.

Seeing as you can only argue with your rental car agency about the logic behind the fact that just because you want to change your car rental pickup time to a couple hours later, results in your price for the weekend rental jumping up to $3,300 dollars, I had to find something to do.

So I decided to explore the half of PDX that (A.) I had not had time to see, and (B.) Because I have never flown internationally, I hadn't had the chance to see.

Thankful that that day I had chosen my Cole Haan Zero Grand Wingtips to wear, I loaded up my backpack and set off walking.

A few of you international travelers that have been to PDX will recognize this view.

I had no idea that my airport had taxidermy,

a statue dedicated to our late Governor, Victor G. Atiyeh,

and a fully restored classic Corvette in a restaurant that I could only see the back of without going back through security.

I've definitely walked further, but I can safely say I've never walked that far in an airport before.

After an arduously long time, they announced it was finally time to leave. 

I didn't let my hopes get too high until I actually walked down the gangway, cause the Southwest agents had pulled this stunt before.

But it turned out, they were serious this time.

Berry Mary, arguably the best lip balm that Scrubs Outlet produces. 

Did I ever tell you how it got its name? Nay! It's creation??

I mentioned the last post about the layover the Marchbanks had in Portland, and that we visited Blue Star Donuts.


There was this amazing donut we tried, called the Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk.

Hesitant to have those two flavors running concurrently in the same bite, but after tasting it, soon decided it was the best donut I had ever tasted in my life. The rosemary and raspberry melted together is an amazing duo of milky heaven. 

It even induced Stephanie into a gourmet donut stupor. 

"Give me morrrrre."

So I got to thinking. 

What would be better than a lip balm that put those two flavors together and reminded me of this splendidly tasty day??

After some discussion with Stephanie, some drippings of essential oils, and some outside input on the name, Scrubs released the Berry Mary flavor and never looked back. 

Just for me. 

Or something like that. 


We landed without further fanfare and as it seemed to be the theme of the day, waited around for a car rental bus that almost didn't come, but obviously eventually did. 

Pulling up to the car rental agency, we were greeted with a line of waiting patrons that snaked through the office and from the outside, to around the corner. 

Like I said, the theme of the day. 

Lest I end this post on a dreary note, I will regale yet one more story. 

When I got up to the counter, it came out that they didn't have any cars left available in the category that I had reserved. Instead, they were going to have to swap me to another comparably priced car.

But here's the silver lining. 

Had I gotten the car that I originally reserved, I would not have been able to cart around the awesome crew that we hung with on Saturday, the day after camp ended. 

I knew something good would come out of the mix-up, I just didn't know I'd have to wait until camp was over to find out just how. 

When they handed me the keys to my Toyota 4Runner, I just smiled. 


It had been a long day, and we weren't going to make it in time for church. 

But we were here and headed for Ventura.

And nothing could've stopped us from being happier than a chubby kid in a candy store.

Cause PCC was just ahead. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

There Is Always A Better Way: Riding The Scrubway

When I, as a young impressionable child, was met a with a predicament that seemed too impractical for reasonable efficiency, I had a motto. 

Like when we first started playing Airsoft. 

After a volley of shots to the face, we were left with stinging lips and eventually, I received half of my front incisor shattered to pieces....

I muttered to myself as I spat out bits of white enamel....

"There has to be a better way."

While there may be those that have a liking for welts on their lips, I soon found sweet solace in wearing a paintball mask whenever we played Airsoft around the neighborhood.

Or like when my Mom got a "smartphone."

We all had different versions of not-so-smart phones; Rants, Rumors and other popular Sprint phones.

But when my Mom got a smartphone, we figured all our troubles were over.

That was hardly the case.

I've long since forgotten the name of her smartphone, but what I have not forgotten is the confusing interface, the despair over the app download setup, the vibrating touch feedback that was obviously released before it had been perfected, and the precious few times that it actually worked like it was supposed to.

"There has to be a better way."


I held my first baby iPhone.

We've come a long way since then, but from the start, I knew that it was what I had been looking for.

Always easy to use, the continuity that Apple provides is second to none and provides the user experience that my little heart yearned to see.

Just call me the Nikola Tesla of the early 2000's.

Except I didn't actually invent anything.

But that isn't my point.

I didn't say that I was good at inventing solutions for these gaps in logic that I saw. I merely made a point of acknowledging that there was a gap.

The tipping point of finding a better solution comes only when you are able to fully recognize when you've found that "way more perfectly."

Otherwise, you'll walk right past the love of your life, and never even realized she existed.

Pardon the analogy.


Sometimes being an optimist makes you sound like a pessimist.

You sound pessimistic when you say, "This is dumb guys, there has to be a better way."

But what you're actually hearing is optimism.

You're saying you fully believe that you know there is a better way of doing what you deem needing a better way to do it.

And when that way is found out and implemented, your pessimistic-sounding-optimistic-self will be assured...

That there is always a better way. 


I have personally struggled in this area of my life for years.

I've always had problems with chapped lips.

As a kid, I licked my lips which made them worse, and as an adult, I used various sorts and brands of lip balms.

Between highly commercialized brands to natural sounding remedies, I was still left with lip moisturizer that either had to be applied every couple minutes in order to stay moist, adverse reactions to the ingredients that were in the chapstick, or ones that actually made my dry lips worse.

Not exactly the way I dreamed it could have been.


It was a hot day.

It was a really hot day.

It was one of those hot days where no matter how much water you drank, you still felt dehydrated.

I sat on a large tree stump and bit my cracked chops.

I looked down at the ground.

The dusty earth beneath my feet seemed to sympathize with me, yet at the same time, it seemed to mock me in my misery.

 Almost as if I was attempting to apologize to my impoverished lips, I looked up to the sky and made a heavenly plea, a silent one that my soul could only speak,

"There has to be a better way."


You know what?

I finally found that better way.

Actually, it found me.

It's not just any way.

It's the Scrubway.*


Let's start at the beginning.

It all started with a ride in a convertible Camaro with the Scrubs Team.

Actually wait, no it didn't.

It really all started last August.

My little Scrublets (who were just known as Stephanie and Shalay at the time), had spent several days being deprived of sleep.

Needing something crazy yet productive to do, they set out to make a lifetime supply of homemade, natural chapstick.

Just like in WW2, one thing led to another, and we dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

I mean, Scrubs Outlet was born.

But before I get to how great of a product they sell, I want to finish telling you how I first came in contact with their product.

It was at the beginning of the year, and the Marchbanks had two layovers in Portland, on their way to and from an Idaho wedding.

Caleb was tied up the first week, so I made the quick trip by myself.

The second time up, however, we had plenty of layover time, and much to go do and see.

We started out at Blue Star Donuts, found our way to a coffee shop, and eventually had a late breakfast at the Pacific Pie Company.

I'm not sure exactly at what point the deal was struck, but somewhere along the way Stephanie pulled out her polaroid and snapped a shot that I wanted.

But she wanted to take it home and along with a map for the background, take some still photos of the polaroids she'd taken that day, for an epic old-timey travel photo.

So I agreed, with stipulations.

She could take the Polaroid I had claimed if she mailed it back along with some of her lip balm.

I had heard about the stuff that she and Shaley made, and here was my chance to get a risk free trial, with no out of pocket expenses if it didn't meet up to my standards of excellence.

I had faith though.

But I definitely didn't know that this would be the end of a decade-long search for the lip balm that actually worked for me.

A couple weeks later, this came in the mail.

I decided to put it to the ultimate test.

One of the things that always disappointed me about other lip balms (and lotion for that matter) is when I would put some on before I went to bed and I would wake up the next morning feeling as dry as I had the night before.

I had started to think that maybe the dream of going to sleep and waking up with lips that weren't dry as a dehydrated apple left out in the sun for a month was a fable I was predestined to never experience.

But Scrubs blasted that theory out of the water.

Berry Mary lip balm shone brighter than the sun on the 4th day of Creation.

I don't know how to properly tell you how well this stuff worked over the venue of a blog, but just know that you have to truly try it for yourself to fully get my message.

In the time that I have been using Scrubs lip balm since I receieved it in the mail, Berry Mary has upheld my first impression: this stuff works.

Why does it work?

Besides having their own unique recipe that you won't find anywhere else, the all-natural ingredients in their product are unsurpassed.

Their lip balm only has 4 ingredients in it.

Shea butter, beeswax, sweet almond oil, and the essential oil that your particular selection calls for.

It also doesn't work like so many other lip balms do.

Let me quote from an essay on the subject.

"The answer lies in the ingredients. “Lip balms with humectants such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin make lips worse,” says dermatologist Leslie Baumann, MD. “These ingredients pull moisture out of the skin, especially in a dry environment, and then the water evaporates away.” Confusing, considering we regularly apply these ingredients to our face to keep it well-hydrated.

Here’s the thing: Humectant ingredients need to be offset by occlusive ingredients to work their moisturizing magic. Occlusive agents, like beeswax, shea butter, and various oils, create a physical barrier to prevent water loss. “Humectants hold on to water, and occlusives keep it from evaporating,” explains Dr. Baumann. Without occlusives, the moisture that the humectants pull out simply vanishes on the surface of the skin, leaving lips drier than they were in the first place."

It works good, and its good stuff.

Makes absolute sense when you think about it.


Why do a whole blog post about a lip balm that really works?

What a silly question to ask.

I'll answer it anyways.

Because I know that somewhere out there, there is another Jacob who is ever searching, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.

There really is an answer to all the lonely lost dry lips out there.

And hands.

And boring baths.

Men, women, small children......

Please let me formally introduce you to your new best Internet friends.

Owners, Founders, and Creators at large, the team at Scrubs Outlet are working natural miracles every day. 

If you go to their Etsy page, you too can have your very own Jacob "better way" moment.

Not only do they make fantastic lip balm, they have an entire array of products available on their Etsy page.

Lip balm, cure cream, and some of the meanest bath bombs you've ever seen, with ingredients ranging from Epsom salts, essential oils, and activated charcoal. 

(As a side note, I want to pay tribute to all those lives that have been lost in the making of bath bombs. It's a tricky business, especially when you're under pressure and are sleep deprived, and you're working with such explosive ingredient. 
Friends, you won't be forgotten. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten, and Scrubs Outlets honors your memory today.)

I haven't even mentioned the best part yet.

The Scrubs Team is going to be at Pacific Coast Camp this year. 

If you want the chance to get your hands on some of the meanest bath bombs...

And find your own better way lip balm

all with free shipping...

Find one of the Scrubs Team (or myself), and they'll make it happen. 

And since I really believe that this is the end for someone's hopeless searching, I've set up a Scholorship fund at Scrubs. I will personally pay for the first 5 people that mention they heard about Scrubs on my blog, and want to try a lip balm for the first time.

Just try it. 

It's my way of helping pass along this better way, just as it was handed down to me. 

You know what?

That's it. 

I and the Scrubs will see you at PCC. 

Bring your lips.

*This blogger was not reimbursed for his endorsement of this product or brand. No federal endorsement implied. 

And if you can't make it to PCC, just enter JAKESPAKE into the promo slot on their Etsy page and get 15% off your order of lip balm, bath bombs, or cure cream.

As Harry's Shave Club would say,

"Just our way of saying thanks."

<The Scrubs Team>
(including me too, cause if they sell a lot of stuff at PCC I'm going to demand that they make me an honorary member)


Monday, May 8, 2017

Beaver, Oregon; A Little Niagara Please.

I think a rule of life is that you find the best things when you aren't even looking.

Take the invention of the slinky for an example. 

Mr. Richard James, mild-mannered naval engineer. 

Not even kind of looking for a best selling toy. 

Just goes and knocks one of his springs (used for keeping fragile equipment steady on shifting ships) 
off a shelf and watches as Slink does his walking move that he is famous for nowdays. 

Add a little marketization...

Sometimes you find really neat stuff when you least expect it. 

Like little towns named after nocturnal semiaquatic rodents.


My first introduction to Beaver was work-related, on a cold, sunny morning.

On my drive back to McMinnville, I saw a sign for "Niagara Falls".

I don't claim to be a mapologist, but I knew I hadn't driven far enough to be anywhere close to Canada. 

I knew I had to find out just what this sign was all about. 

So two months later we set off. 

Me and Dad with Argos in Sam's Jeep, Caleb and Mom with Maggy in her Scion. 

From my initial inspection of the road leading to the Niagara Falls trailhead, I knew that neither a FWD Scion or even my AWD Infiniti would carry us all the way over the potholes, tree limbs and mud pits that we would have to cross. 

I besieged Sam to let me take one from his collection and he thought his Renegade would do the trick.

I've made a few disparaging comments about the Jeep Patriot that I rented in Fontana, but I recant any negative remarks I made towards the Jeep company as a whole. 

I had initially wanted a Renegade before I bought my Infiniti, but I hadn't actually spent a good deal of time driving it, or seeing what it could do offroad.

I left the Renegade that day, loving it 10x more than I ever had in my life. 

It had guts when you gunned it, plenty of room to carry all my stuff, good gas-mileage and the offroad mud setting worked great. 

Anyways, me and Dad were in the Jeep with the rest behind us, and we're trying to keep Argos from getting carsick. 

You've met Argos, right?

Yea, that's him. 

He gets sick and tosses his cookies when he rides in cars for long periods of time. 

Keeping an 80-pound dog looking out the window is just as hard as it sounds. 

So guess what. 

His kibbles and bits went to orbit. #justlikejohnglenn

Our caravan had to stop.

My pictures of the dogs are lacking. They wouldn't hold still. 

The road to the trailhead lived up to what I had expected and it took us a good 20 minutes on the muddy road to finally reach where we could all pile out of the car.

Dad took Argos several feet ahead of me and Caleb, and we performed as a protective barrier between them and Mom with Maggy in the back.

It's not that the two dogs don't get along...

It was just that Argos was so excited to be in the wild, I had to keep a good grip on the back of Dad's jacket so he didn't go flying down the trail when Argos decided it was time to move forward.
He was, rightly, quite excited.

Or maybe Argos was just trying to get away from Dad's neon reflective jacket.

The trail was a bit exciting at some points with parts crumbling off the side of the incline and some steep wet spots...but we sure weren't going to get lost. 

The predictors called for a slight chance of rain, but it was actually sunny most of the time. 

We never quite lost sight of Dad.

 It's not like we could've even if we'd wanted to with that jacket he had on. 

Maggy's first but not last excision into the wild. Next stop for her? 
The beach.

This was nature's quiet way of saying "If you can't fit through here, you're probably too out of shape to make the hike back. You better just turn around."

A Tree-Root Monster being born.

Proportionately, Maggy was pulling about 3 times harder than Argos.
She was also apparently levitating too.

The sign said that it was only a mile hike, but everyone was acting like I had tricked them into a 15-mile hike.....

I will admit, there was a lot of elevation change. 

Then somebody heard water.....they all stopped wanting to lynch me and looked up....

This is the smaller Pheasant Creek Falls up above, and below is Niagara Falls.

It was beautiful out there.

Caleb is still a stud when he's not even paying attention. 

The sad part about leaving the falls was two-fold. 

Not only did we have to leave the impressive sights,

but as I remembered it, if the path is mostly downhill on the way there....

That means it's uphill all the way back.

But that was the only way I was getting to my tuna sandwich. 

My Dad, the 60-year-old Marine, along with his military wife of 36, and their wolf of not even 1 year.

Caleb, who was feeling as energetic as my parents were feeling tired, continued to run on ahead with Argos, turn around, and start shouting at us to pick up the pace, all in an Irish accent.

I'm sure the people walking by were completely amazed at how loud our foreign exchange student could get when he shouted.

Argo's muddy paws. He didn't seem to mind.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...