The Most Important Post of My Life

29 Aug

Why in the world are you running that ungodly amount of miles??

Many of you have asked yourselves, or even asked me, this question when you see me complain about the heat on my running posts on Facebook. Up until this point, I may have not made it very clear. Well, here I am to rectify that. On October 9th, 2011, I will be running 26.2 miles in the Chicago Marathon. The reason? The purpose? Water.

It’s so very easy for us to take clean water for granted. Heck, I’ll sometimes spit water on the GROUND even while doing my long training runs. I’ll pour it over my head. I’ll splash it on my arms. And this is high quality spring water we’re talking about, people.

There are countless millions in Africa, however, who can walk close to 50 MILES just to get water that isn’t even close to as clean as what I poured on myself. We’re talking children walking and carrying giant 5 gallon drums of water almost every day. They’re walking twice the distance I’ll be running, just to get water for themselves and their families. 

Here’s where Team World Vision comes in. Instead of walking 50 miles for water, these kids can go to school and tend their gardens. They can enjoy their families. They can LIVE their lives. By running for World Vision, I am helping provide clean water wells built in their villages. More importantly, YOU can help provide these very same things, but without the need to run 26.2 miles. (How often is it in life that you get to utilize a scapegoat to get out of something difficult–WITH the scapegoat’s permission?!)

See the thing is, I can do the running. If you’d asked me that 4 months ago, I’d have said you were crazy, but it turns out if I just DO it, I really can do the running. So I’ve got that part covered. You can thank me later. What I CAN’T do is provide all the funds needed to sponsor these children. That is where (I pray) you come in. By sponsoring just one child, you help contribute to a single village in Africa in a BIG way. Your money doesn’t just go into a general fund, or just go to that child alone and leave other kids in the same village to fend for themselves.

World Vision takes the money from your monthly child sponsorship, and leverages it to: help build a clean water well in the village, to create an education system in the village, to jumpstart an agricultural program in that village, and funding business opportunities for the villagers to create an economy there–providing not only ongoing food for the everyone there, but a sustainable job pool for the other men and women in the village.

“Ok, Dan, you’re tugging a little too hard on my heartstrings…how do I actually help??”

Thank you for asking, Extraordinarily-Eager-and-Wonderfully-Amazing-Friend!

All you need to do is let me know you want to sponsor a child. If you even want a picture before you commit so you can see who you’d be sponsoring, I can email, text or describe the picture to you as well. Once you know you wanna do it, talk to me and I’ll take care of the rest!

“That is SO incredibly easy, Dan! But how much would it cost??”

You’re right, it IS easy! And thank you for asking, Fiscally-Responsible-and-Easy-Riding-Friend!

All it costs to sponsor a child is $35 a month. For those of you who are wary with your money, let me say a few things. First, this will be the cheapest “bill” you pay each month. I mean, Netflix is even rivaling this (am I RIGHT, everyone?!?! Can I get a WITNESS?!!). Second, this is not a “bill”, but an opportunity to make a very real impact on an entire village’s future (how cool is THAT?!).

Third, and most importantly, World Vision has been consistently ranked as one of the Most Fiscally Responsible ORGANIZATIONS in the world! Read that again–not just “Most Fiscally Responsible CHARITIES”, but Most Fiscally Responsible ORGANIZATIONS. That’s impressive.

In fact, 85% of their expenses in 2010 were paid directly to funding their clean water/educational/agricultural programs abroad. The rest went to enable them to fundraise and also to manage the organization. That is unheard of in almost any company. They are also extremely upfront with the breakdown and audits of their expenses (for more info, visit That way, you know your money is being put to good use.

If you’ve read this far, THANK YOU. I appreciate it more than you know. If you want to sponsor a child, DOUBLE THANK YOU. I encourage you to think and pray on it (but don’t delay too long–the marathon is on October 9th!!), and get creative! Go in on sponsoring a child with a group of friends, coworkers, your small group! Write to your sponsor child, and send them words of encouragement, prayers, and lovely notes and pictures! LOVE them and their future the way God loves you and your future.

Even if you can’t provide monetarily, I more than welcome your prayers as I complete this marathon and seek out even more life-changing sponsors! Thank you again for the part each of you have played and continue to play in my life, and I hope to hear from you so soon!


To contact me for sponsorship opportunities, please comment down below on this post, or email me at dan.clair [at] gmail [dot] com

Bootleg Tour Guides and Criminal Pizza.

29 Jun

Last week was a doozy! Lots of fun to be had, which you will hear about shortly. In other words, right after this quote:

Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. – David Starr Jordan

Mr. Starr Jordan has a great point. Apart from being distantly related to Starr Jones by first name twice removed, he has shown wisdom by saying this, and virtue by…saying this. If virtue is just doing what is next, I was incredibly virtuous last week when my Dad and step family was in town. There was a lot of “what do you guys wanna do next??” flying all over the place.

All I did was take them around the city and show them lots of touristy stuff, and we had a great time! It was very reaffirming, because literally EVERYTHING we did was “incredible” and “delicious” and “really fun” for them. Plus I got tons of free meals! And the ONLY thing I really did was help them navigate the public transit.

We saw a ton of great stuff. We went on a Wendella river boat architectural tour, which I still had never done, despite living here 8 months.

We were on a BOAT!

We also went and did the normal touristy stuff. You know, we hit Millennium Park, which is great if you have a thing for metallic, futuristic looking kidney beans. Also, if you like taking pictures of your reflection where you actually can’t tell where you are in the reflection, then the Bean is for you.

See it reflect!

Which got me thinking….if I marketed myself as a bootleg tour guide, I could totally cash in on tons of free deep dish pizza! Seriously, I don’t require ridiculous amounts of pay. All I ask is that you allow me to join you for eating deep dish pizza. I’ll even take you to the best place in town for it–no questions asked.

Although I don’t know why there’d be “questions asked” when going to eat deep dish…

If you REALLY wanna pay me money, then I wouldn’t refuse. But I mean, your dollar would go so much further if all you were providing me with was 2 slices of deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s. And that’s all it takes to fill a person up with this stuff. It’s grotesquely delicious.

It really shouldn’t be legal. In fact, I’d wager to say Lou Malnati’s is borderline criminal since they also run an interstate shipping gig on the side. They will ship frozen Lou Malnati’s pizzas to anywhere in the United States, making this undoubtedly the most publicly accepted “evil mom and pop” company in existence. Nothing compares.

Eat this and contribute to criminal deliciousness.

I’m gonna go work on my business proposal for starting a bootleg tour guide business. And I’m gonna try to avoid thinking about how delicious this pizza is.

**DISCLAIMER**: Lou Malnati’s is not a part of any crime syndicate. It is just dangerously delicious, nearly making it a crime to even exist. I love Lou Malnati’s and wouldn’t mind free pizza from them in the least.

What is your FAVORITE pizza??

Watch your phone, or it may be a Refrigovision.

24 Jun

After a long, but pleasant, week of being a tour guide to this wonderful city in which I live, I am happy to be back to blogging. So let’s jump into this, kids. Expanding upon our new categories, today we delve into the Philosophical.

Today’s Quote:

A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure.  ~Lee Segall

One watch, two watches…what about the guy (like me) who has no watch at all?? Does this mean I am not only “never quite sure,” but perhaps also, “completely outside the time/space continuum”??

The thing is, my phone serves as my watch. And my transit checker. And my video game machine. And my email. And my camera. And my texter. Oh yeah, and my phone…I forgot it does that.

So if so many people are using their phones as their watches now, where does that leave the watch business?? I mean, I guess they could start making watches that are also phones…

Hands-free at its best.

…but that’s definitely trampling on Dick Tracy’s territory.

Oh, well actually, it seems someone has already done this:

So wait, if everyone is getting into the business of combining things that don’t really need to be combined, what will we have next?! A refrigerator with a TV in it?? A Refrigovision??

Oh, come on.

This is ridiculous. I vote that from now on we only use objects/devices/etc. for one thing and one thing only. I can’t imagine a time where I’d want to sit or stand in front of my refrigerator to watch The View.

…not that I watch The View.

I do, however, watch HGTV whenever possible, which is not very often since I don’t have a TV and I live in a closet. There is something extra awesome about watching people shop for multi-million dollar homes whilst yourself sleeping on an air mattress in a luxurious walk-in closet smaller than their regular-sized closets. Probably the best part of watching HGTV is trying to figure out how the network can justify showing people who–unlike MOST of America–have more disposable income than they know what to do with buying homes.

These same people are always choosing between 3 or 4 homes, and they always have a price range for themselves that is higher than the amount of money I have ever made in my entire life up to this point. And without fail, they always, always choose the one home that is above and beyond what they can comfortably spend.

Man, what a rant about HGTV.

Also, on an unrelated note, I find it’s sometimes difficult to properly and quickly say “HGTV” without making it sound like “HDTV”. Maybe it’s my Pittsburgh mush-mouth, but it’s the same concept that prevents me from saying my own name without making it sound like “dank lair”. I also have a friend, Mystery Jeff, who calls me that on purpose. (BeeTeeDubs, Mystery is a very talented writer, who is currently writing all about his LA adventures. That link is his blog…READ IT.)

I think I’ve rambled long enough for one day. I think I’m gonna go ponder becoming a tour guide, while reading a book that also serves as a napkin….which is every book….except ebooks.

The many Material faces of pizza.

17 Jun

Please, someone. Enjoy this day. It’s too beautiful not to do so. Today’s quote comes from the Material Girl, and kicks off a new initiative on I will forthwith be categorizing things a bit into celebrity quotes, philosophical quotes, inspirational quotes, and the Chicago ChiChronicles.

When I’m hungry, I eat. When I’m thirsty, I drink. When I feel like saying something, I say it.Madonna

Wow, I can’t believe this didn’t occur to me before. All those days I spent writhing in agony because I was hungry, and I could have just eaten and drank something? Not to mention the weeks on end I spent as a mute simply because I wasn’t sure I should say something. Gosh, it’s good to have that cleared up.

Honestly, though, as I thought about Madonna eating when she wants, and drinking when she wants, and saying things when she wants (and she is an expert in that last one), I googled ‘Madonna eating’ and found a treasure trove. Take a look at the many faces of Madonna eating…

This one is of Madonna thoughtfully eating tomatoes:

Here we see Madonna looking dumbfounded whilst eating spaghetti:

Ok, so these next several pictures depict Madonna’s different identities while eating pizza. To be honest, I was shocked at just how many pictures there were of this (seemingly) one time occurrence. I’ll do my best to interpret her personas during the event:

To start us off, I give you Sleepy Madonna. Seeing as she’s just tucking in to that slice of pizza, she’d better wake up. She’s got a long way to go.


This, as you can no doubt tell, is Dainty Madonna. Grabbing the pizza with naught but the very tips of her fingers, Madonna pulls out all the etiquette stops here.

Proper form is key...notice the extended pinky fingers.

Next up is My Dog Just Died Madonna. She looks as though she’s about to cry while eating that delicious looking pizza.

Someone get her a tissue...

As the pizza session devolves, she turns into Angry Madonna. This most likely happened because she’s in the denial stage of My Dog Just Died Madonna.

Angry Madonna...much less fun than Angry Birds.

The emotion of the day gets to her, and she spirals down into Crazy Madonna.

PiZZa mY fRIenD!@*!

She quickly regains sanity, and also picks up a maverick attitude. This, of course, is Elbows On The Table Madonna.

Not one, but TWO water glasses!

Finally, as Madonna considers the implications of all that’s happened at lunch, she thinks quickly and determines that she can avoid trouble by becoming Incognito Madonna.

No one knows who I am!

It’s been quite the day for everyone. I wish there was this much fanfare every time I went to get a slice at Ian’s. This post really took a turn, and all because I google image searched. Maybe I should apply that principle to my daily life…

Oh, here’s one more, only of Madonna NOT eating…

Yikes! Muscles!(?)

As for me, I’m gonna go eat at Chick-fil-a, since the first one ever in Chicago JUST opened yesterday!! I’ll try and save you some waffle fries! ….(that’s not gonna happen)…

A crash course in honesty and hitting your head

15 Jun

Soooo, I’m back, friends. It’s been….basically 6 months since I last posted. I feel like being especially honest today, which is perfect, since today’s quote reads thusly:

I can’t tell a lie – not even when I hear one. – John Kendrick Bangs

The first thing I will be blatantly honest about today is:

I live here!

1) I am in love with Chicago. It’s been an interesting 7 months…and it’s incredible to realize it’s been 7 months. Everything about this city has been amazing so far. I’m pleased to say that I’ve found a family in my Soul City Church peeps. They have welcomed me and made me such a part of what’s going on in growing God’s church in the city. Check them out. I’m honored to know them.

2) I have easily seen over 100 improv shows since moving here, almost all of them free. As I’ve gotten to know the improv scene here, it’s really encouraged me to discover just how genuinely nice so many people in the improv community are. I don’t know why I even considered that it would be anything else but that, but in any case, I have been pleasantly surprised. Way to go, iO!

3) I really like walking. Ok, that sounds random, I know. But this is a HUGE BOON for me since most transportation here is highly reliant on walking. This is also helpful since walking is the precursor to running, which I will be doing a lot of over the next few months as I prepare for the 2011 Chicago Marathon. Now, I know what you’re thinking…ok, I actually have no idea what you’re thinking…but let me tell you, I am 50% thrilled to be doing this and 50% terrified. I am a HUGE DUDE. I am not made to run, but I’m liking it a lot.


Ok, so I’ve talked about things that I really like about Chicago. Now here are some things I’m having ill feelings toward.

1) I dislike when people won’t get out of the way, be it on a sidewalk, on the stairs leading to a train platform, or simply ANYWHERE. I never considered myself impatient with slow-walkers (as I’ve come to call them), but if I have to miss another train, be late to work, or be trapped in any kind of establishment simply because someone is completely oblivious to the giant standing/walking with long strides behind or next to them, I will seriously toss some shorties (as I’ve also come to call them).

2) I’m rather frustrated that this city has for the most part been made without tall people in mind. “Dan!” you say…”What could you possibly mean?? There are tall buildings everywhere! Surely those were made with tall people in mind!?” Well, you’d be right. But I’m rarely in skyscrapers. The problem comes with most forms of public transportation. Although I love living in a city where public transit exists in such a comprehensive way, I am not appreciative of the relative small scale they are built upon.

For instance, on buses, I often hit my head on the hand rails meant for standing passengers while on my way into or out of a seat. Also, I have to duck to get into the trains. Luckily, once on the train, the ceiling is high enough, but there have been some memorable times (that are fading due to head trauma) when in a rush to make a train I’ve run thru the doors, only to smash the top of my head into the metal doorway.

3) I honestly can’t think of another dislike, so I’ll talk about one more like: living next to the lake🙂 There’s nothing like running on the lakefront path. O2theM2theG.


Thanks for reading this, my grand return to the blogosphere! Tell your friends if you like it. And if you don’t like it, keep your freaking mouth shut. Also, stay tuned for periodic special segments detailing observations about life in Chicago called the “Chicago ChiChronicles”.

In the meantime, Spread the Love, Keep the Peace, and Wipe Your Feet. (I think I’ll also make up a sign-off phrase on the spot at the end of each post from now on…so don’t judge)

Curiosity killed my ability to type ‘curiosity’

30 Dec

Welcome to the last hours of 2010.  If you haven’t completed your 2010 resolutions yet, you have a little bit of time left.  I just want to say thank you to all my readers; it’s been a crazy year, and it’s been really exciting.  Here’s one way you could make my New Year more awesome: tell others about and subscribe yourself!!  Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter.  There’s a button to the right, or search for me @danclair.

Anyways, on to today’s quote:

Gossip is when you hear something you like about someone you don’t. – Earl Wilson, 1907 – 1987

I try my hardest not to gossip.  In fact, I really don’t like gossip much at all.  I am curious to a fault, however.  This results in me inadvertently causing others to gossip.  I’m the type who just won’t stop asking questions until my curiosity has been satiated.  For that reason, it’s probably best not to put me in a government job.  Or really just anything that requires a whole lot of confidentiality.  Darn my curiosity.  Darn it’s difficult to type curiosity.  (my hands slow down every time I go to type it)

It must be true that curiosity killed the cat, because curiosity slaps me in the face sometimes.  Usually when I’m being too questiony, my friends will (thankfully) politely tell me to back the crap off.  I’m never nosy with people I don’t know well.  Probably because I’m too shy.  I know I don’t come off as a shy person, but the first couple months of knowing someone, I am extremely reserved compared to later in the friendship.  I think I’m trying to size them up.  I don’t do it consciously; it’s really a reflex.  Not that it’s served me well in any tangible way (hence, lack of girlfriend).  I’m usually terrible at reading people of whom I am fond.  It takes a good long while before I can tell how someone may react to a situation.  Once I figure it out, though, it’s so great!  I have several friends who I can almost guarantee what they would say or do in a particular context.  This has served me well in improv, WHICH, by the way, I will be starting to do again on SUNDAY!  My Level 1 improv class at iO is starting this Sunday at noon!  It’s just too bad it’ll take me so long to get to know everyone.  Gotta hit my stride asap.

Hey guess what.  This is an abrupt ending to my post.  Bye.

Question of the Day:

Do you ever gossip?? BE HONEST!

CTA Survival Skills.

23 Dec

Merry Christmas!  It’s only 2 days away, and I doubt I’ll be blogging again before then.  So there was your Christmas greeting.  Today’s quote:

I’ve always found that you can control people better if you don’t see too much of them. Mackenzie King, 1874 – 1950


I’ve never really been all that interested in controlling people.  It probably stems from my deep-rooted aversion to being a jerk.  I would much rather band together as a team to overcome obstacles.  That’s why sometimes when I’m riding the CTA buses, I take an inconspicuous look around and try to size people up.  Usually, being inconspicuous is best, lest the other passengers mistake me for a creeper.

Stop looking at me, SWAN.

I sometimes imagine what it would be like if a bus disaster were to befall us.  You know, earthquake, killer tree pheremones, Dennis Hopper, cannibals; the normal disaster stuff that would force people trapped on a bus together to rely on each other for survival.

Most of the people on a public bus are not really fit for survival.  Or then again, maybe they are, based on their very presence on the bus in the first place.  The instinct/skills required for a successful bus ride are threefold.

Firstly, you need a healthy respect for life.  If you don’t value your life or the lives of others, you will have a hard time getting the most out of a bus ride.  This is because the tension between life and death created by a bus ride will give you a spiritual experience.

Secondly, you need weapons training.

Thirdly, you need an exhaustive knowledge of the street layout of Chicago.  The CTA does not do a noteworthy job of alerting you when a certain stop is coming up, requiring you to develop the gift of foresight in order to avoid what I like to call the ‘Missed Stop Walk of Shame’.

Come on, after that panicked flailing to reach the stop request, then the hurried shoving through the crowd on the bus to the door, everyone knows why you’re out of breath and exasperated.  You missed your stop, and now you have to brave the slush of winter without waterproof boots (of which I now have a pair, never fear).


So look around, take note of the build of those sitting nearest you, do your best to predict their leadership skills, and hope for the best as you hop the bus this holiday season.


Question of the Day:

What disaster situation would cause you to band together with complete strangers?

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