Photo courtesy of Tyler over at The ClimbToday was a rough day. But honestly, it could have passed into a much darker realm but for a couple of wonderful things a few of you did for me today. I owe you all a little gratitude.

Regarding an email I received this morning...

This morning when I turned on my computer, I had an email from Eric McErlain in my inbox. I read his site every day and I've left him a couple of comments, but he and I have never really interacted at all. But this morning he sent me a quick note to express his condolences at the passing of my grandmother. Even if Mr. McErlain and I had developed some rapport over the last few months, I would have felt a happiness at his expression of sympathy. That he took the time from his day to send a message of condolence to someone of whom he has no knowledge strikes me as a gesture of extreme kindness. That kindness meant a lot to me today.

I immediately replied to his email expressing my thanks, but I realized this afternoon that the best way I could express my gratitude would be to try and increase his readership. Thus, if you're at all into sports, I strongly urge you to add Off-Wing Opinion to your daily reads. Off-Wing Opinion is one of the few blogs I make a point of reading every single day. His subject matter is compelling and he treats it with a great mix of personal injection and solid writing.

Mr. McErlain, if you see this: thank you again. What a kind thing for you to do.

Regarding a band name...

Jay Ricketts sent me an email today informing me that he's considering swiping my blog name for his band name. He gives me the leeway to weigh in on the matter, which I'll probably do the next time I post (sorry for the delay, Jay), but for the moment, I just have to say that I'm flattered. I named this blog "Hose Monster" in the most random and impulsive of ways, but it has since come to define in a way a lot of what I do here. I'm stoked that someone else likes it enough tell me it IS a great band name, especially compared to some of the others he's put up.

Supporting me in this endeavor I call the HM Blog...

Last night I posted a little something I conjured up in my head while walking home from the library. In the leaf-covered darkened streets, my mind can wonder and last night's walk resulted in a very brief story. Today a few of you left me some very kind comments that made me feel for a few minutes like I can actually make the words I know halfway express the things I feel sometimes, and that helps me foster a very strong sense of self. Thanks you guys for supporting me and letting me know that some times I do okay at this whole writing business.

And one quick kiss...

After class today, right when I seemed in the poorest of moods, my girlfriend came up to me next to my locker and placed a quick kiss on my lips. Sometimes the simplest things can make the biggest differences. Thanks Cannonball. And everyone else, just in case you couldn't tell already, yeah, I'm crazy about this girl.

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Thanks again everyone. This week has worked hard to test me on a number of levels, and your help is giving me a chance to stare it in the face and dare it to bring the best it has.

Photo above taken by Tyler. He has more great shots at his site. Take a look.