Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blog moved

This blog has been moved to Steven Held Design.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Arriving in Venice

Salve (hello) friends and family!

I have already received numerous replies from my first email and I appreciate all your comments. Since the last email I have been adjusting well to the time change. Although, I was awake at 4am this morning. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t so I got up and downloaded the 1400+ pics from off my camera and I posted quite a few of them to my facebook page. For those of you with facebook and for those that do not these links should take you there so you can see all of them:
Venice Italy
Venice Italy 2

So far I only have the first day and Venice uploaded. I’ll post more as I get to it. It takes forever... Also, I’ll be posting these emails and pictures to my blog at www.seaofsteve.blogspot.com as I find time. And finally, I will post pictures to www.flickr.com/stvheld

If any of you would like the original pictures I can send you copies through email or by discs. Just let me know.

And now let’s go to Venice!

March 13, 2009

We boarded another Lufthansa flight bound for Venice, Italy. This would be a much shorter flight and it was a smaller plane. I lucked out and got a window seat. On the way there I kept nodding off but I tried to peel my eyes open because outside the scenery was beautiful. I watched Germany drift away and the Alps suddenly appear. They were gorgeous from 30,000 ft. I watched little mountain villages pass by and was amazed at all the sheer mountain cliffs covered in glistening snow.

The mountains gave way to rolling hills and then suddenly a blue expanse of water reflected the sun. It was the Aegean Sea. As we neared Venice thousands of water inlets fingered through the land. Off in the hazy distance I could just make out the tiny city of Venice. Oh what fun! Now my insides were really tingling with excitement. Our plane touched down and I was itching to get off the plane.

In the Venice Airport we all rushed through to claim our bags. It took some time but soon the bags came out. I enjoyed looking at all the Italian ads and banners throughout the airport. They definitely don’t mind using the female body.

Once everyone had their bags and we had a potty break we went out and were greeted by Luca, our EF tour guide. He was about 27 years old with dark hair and was very Italian looking. He was excited to greet us and took us all outside to our tour bus. On the side of the bus it was written Lizzio. I eventually named our bus Lisa.

It was nearing sundown as we rode from the airport to our hotel on the outskirts of Venice. Along the way tiny vineyards and farms blurred by. I enjoyed seeing all the Italian homes. Many were brick and quite a few were falling apart. Luca explained that most aren’t lived in anymore. Those homes were beautiful though because the land was taking them over. Trees and vines covered and grew up through the roofs. Many had crumpled roofs and I loved all the textures and colors of their homes and land. Everything was green! Coming from Wyoming, where all we have is 6 different shades of brown, it was beautiful to see all the green and reds of the buildings. Outside the bus window the sun was going down and the sky was turning a deep dark blood red.

We finally arrived out our hotel. It was a small place with three stories. I had the top floor and a room all to myself because I was 23 and too old to stay with anyone else since 22 was the cut off age of being considered a student. I didn’t mind it too much and actually enjoyed having a quite place of my own to just drop my stuff off and relax in. When I was bored I would just hung out with the lovely ladies in their rooms.

After settling in, I went to the lobby. There I met a few of the Kansas group that would join our Wyoming group. My graphic design professor went to Kansas and so together they worked out this whole tour to Italy. After meeting a few people, I decided that I would take a stroll outside. By now the sun had gone down completely and it was lovely chilly night. I walked around the block and found a bank and a water fountain in the street. I didn’t venture to far because dinner was just a few minutes away.

I ran into the hotel to put my bag away but the stairs were clogged with everyone so I decided to take the elevator. It was small and looked like it could only fit about three people. I stepped inside and an older Italian women also got in with me. She said something in Italian and I thought she was asking what floor I wanted. I said trece (which was Spanish but figured it would be similar to Italian.) She looked like she didn’t understand so I pointed at the number and made a three with my fingers. She pushed my hand down and again said something. I nervously smiled and just rode up a floor with her. When we reached the 2nd floor she pushed me out and then continued to speak in Italian. I was totally lost and slightly scared but others in my group were there on the second floor watching me get berated by this women. I’ll never know what she said but it was a fun experience. I never did take the elevator again though.

For dinner, I sat with a group from Wyoming. Between all of us on the tour, we filled half of the tables in the small hotel ristorante. The old lady I had met in the elevator was there placing bread on the tables and filling up our water. She smiled at me and said buona sera (good evening). I understood that and figured she must like me or at the very least had totally forgotten that I was the one in the elevator. Soon younger Italian guys came by with a large plate of pasta with red sauce. They scooped out a handful on my plate. I grabbed a roll of bread which was delicious. It was hard on the outside but very soft on the inside. The pasta was very good too and they kept coming by offering more and more. Which I was delighted to have more and more because it was very good. Soon, they cleared our plates and I thought we were done but out come another plate with pork. I was nearly full from eating so much pasta but I couldn’t deny eating more Italian food. It too was very delicious.

After dinner, I led a group around the block to the ATM and we also found a pay phone. Many of the girls wanted to call home and tell their families that they had arrived safely in Italy. However, we couldn’t figure out how to get the phone to work. We stood there punching buttons just like the directions indicated but were only greeted by weird beeps and dings. Finally, Loni was able to figure it out and helped the others. Stephanie and I were the only ones that didn’t call home. We had both told our parents we would email if we could but that if you didn’t here from us it meant we were having a great time. And obviously, since you never heard from me I had a splendid time. = )

It was quiet out on the streets. A few people were out walking their dogs but for the most part it was completely dead.

We walked back to the hotel and prepared for bed. Luca gave us a time to wake up so that we could get ready, have breakfast and load the bus in the morning. I got up to my room and set my alarm clock for 7am and when I hit my pillow I was off into the world of dreams.

That’s all for now. Ciao! Next will be the lovely city of Venice.

Con affetto,

Ciao Ciao!

Buon giorno! (good morning) family and friends!

I say buon giorno even though it’s later here because I absolutely loved that word and so even though it should be buon pomeriggio (good afternoon) I say it because I miss it so much! Oh... I wanna go back to Italy... The subject Ciao Ciao is also befitting because it means both hello and bye. Since I’m writing to you all for the first time and also saying goodbye to Italy Ciao! Ciao!

I’m a bit sad being back but I’m also very glad I’m FINISHED flying around the world and can finally rest and reflect on my time there. I just took a little jog after getting back because it was so lovely here in Wyoming, (if you can actually believe that). A jog sounded very good after being scrunched up like a sardine on plane flights all of yesterday. I also really need to work off all that pasta and gelato from Italy! Mmmmhmmm Hehe... I’m definitely a few inches wider then when you last saw me = ) No bueno! After I wrote this email I called everyone from our group and we’re all going to meet for a picnic and enjoy the spring weather.

Italy was absolutely breathtaking! Ohhhhh....... I cannot even tell you how glad I am that I was able to make that journey and see everything that I did. I have so many wonderful memories and experiences. I made many new friends and got to know others even more. Our group was wonderful and I had the best time being surrounded by a group of beautiful ladies from Wyoming. = ) I wrote everyday in my journal and I’ll share some of what I wrote with you all as I find the time. I know many of you are anxiously awaiting my novel like emails like the ones I sent out from my visit to Japan a few years ago. I don’t know if I can live up to those monolithic emails again but I will surely attempt it. They have been a great keepsake of all my memories.

Italy definitely made all my art history studies come to life and the inner boy inside of me jump for joy! I experienced pure joy and had the breath knocked out of me countless times after seeing things like Michelangelo’s David, Botticello’s Venus, the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s paintings, and stunning sunsets. I was satiated beyond belief by all the art. Now I’m in an art withdrawal. It all seems like a dream, a very lovely dream and I cannot wait to go back! Thinking back on everything now, I am actually very glad I grew up in Colorado/Wyoming because I can go to Italy and really truly appreciate all the art. The Italians grow up with all of this around them and to them it is just everyday normal stuff. But not for me! For me it was I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E and it was by far one of the greatest experiences of my life. Italy was a buffet of art for both my eyes and my soul. I tried my very best to feast upon it all during my short time there.

So... anyway, without further ado... I will write about Day 1.

March 12, 2009

Today I tried to sleep in a bit but I couldn’t. Italy was on my mind. I skipped all of my classes for that day because I wanted to just rest and prepare for my trip. I don’t think I would’ve paid attention anyway. As noon drew ever closer my gut wrapped itself in knots. I’m going to Italy!!! Whoo hoo!

I called everyone I was driving down to Denver and told them I would pick them up soon. I made a few quick errands and then picked up Gary, Stephanie, and Loni. Then it was off to Denver. We packed all our suitcases into my car. Actually it was more like stuffing and jamming them into my car. I was glad to have Gary come along with just two small duffel bags or we would not have all fit. I packed light but took a huge suitcase for souvenirs.

On the way down I took it easy. I was in no rush. Our flight wasn’t until later. We were leaving early just to make sure we got there on time and to relax and have lunch in Denver. The trip down was going just fine until a little bit past Ft. Collins. All of a sudden the car in front of me slammed on their brakes. Ahead of us every car also had their brake lights on. Red lights snaked up the road. I slammed down on my pedal hard and immediately slowed waaaaayy down. Quickly we came to a dead stop. I nervously watched as many cars behind me swerved and went into the ditch since they couldn’t stop in time. Then it was bumper to bumper. We inched forward. Stopped. Inched a few then stopped. Urgggghhh.... I cranked up the radio and we all had a mini dance party for a few minutes laughing and trying to pass the time. Soon, we discovered it was because of a very bad accident. After getting past it the road immediately became unclogged and we were once again off to Denver at a good steady pace. However, that little jam took up a lot of time so we decided to eat at P.F. Changs, a really good Chinese restaurant just outside of Loveland. I would’ve gone to Olive Garden but hey we would soon be having true authentic Italian very soon. Chinese just sounded good!

Now normally I wouldn’t go into all of this detail about traveling except that the experience at P.F. Changs was fun and memberable and so I wrote about it in my journal and I didn’t want to forget it. Our waiter, a dark spikey haired guy with perfect spikes was quite the hoot. He came to our table and every single time gave a play-by-play of what he was about to do. This was to the point of becoming almost abnoxious because it was really everything he was going to do. It was just really funny and we all laughed about it. I dunno... I guess you just had to be there.

We arrived at the Denver Intl’ Airport. With our luggage in tow we met the rest of our group and then stood in line for security. We were flying to Frankfurt, Germany on Lufthansa airlines. I was extra stoked about flying to Germany since I have German heritage and it would be the first country I would see in Europe. We boarded at 6:15pm.

The plane was huge! It had three rows with 3 seats on either side and 4 seats in the middle row. I unfortunately was stuck in the middle. I sat next to a guy from Poland and a girl from somewhere. I think she was American. She never talked to me. It was crowded and I attempted to settle in for the nearly 9 hr flight.

I was just excited to be back in a plane. It’s always fun for me and I get extra anxious awaiting for take-off. I love when the engines roar to life and the feeling of being pushed back in my seat as we kiss the ground goodbye.

They fed as well on the flight. We had two meals and I had lots of orange juice. Mmmmm.... I love orange juice! I don’t remember what we ate because I didn’t write that down in my journal but I assure you it was good.

I enjoyed watching the GPS map on the screens on front of me. It marked a trail of our path to Germany. I was bummed that this flight didn’t have cameras on the nose, belly, and sides of the plane like on my flight to Japan. Since I was no where near any windows that would’ve made it more fun but I had other means of entertaining myself like sleeping and watching a few movies.

We arrived in Germany. It was now March 13th and I felt like crap. A whole day of my life is gone. I didn’t care because I was in Germany! WOW I was jittery and jumping for joy. My first time in Europe! I couldn’t wait to stretch my legs and get outside! A group of us decided to go with me outside of the airport to touch some dirt to prove we were in Germany. It is just something silly I wanted to do. We had to go through security again but it was totally worth it. Now I can truly say I was in Germany and not just at an airport. We even got our passports stamped from Germany. Whoo hoo!

It was very nice too just to breath some fresh air. However, it was a bit disheartening to be surrounding by so much cigarette smoke from everyone outside. Which, I later learned was an experience I would have to get used to as even all of Italy smoked a bunch too. We had four hours to kill on our layover in Germany.

I walked around the airport with Hannah and Steph. We stopped at an ATM and I withdrew my first $100 in Euro. Then we sat down and had a German beer. It was a Beck’s light beer. Yeah very good and relaxing. I loved walking around and hearing German spoken. Then I slept underneath an airport bench to stretch out while we all waited for our flight to Venice, Italy!

Even though it was now March 13 this all happened on the same day. With the flight to Germany we lost so much time and I was awake for so many hours. I was kind of messed up but too excited to care. I didn’t have jet lag too bad because I was running on pure excitement I was just sick of being in a plane for so long. After taking a nap and just talking with everyone in our group, we finally boarded the plane to Venice. I’ll write about that in my next email.

That’s all for now. Ciao!

P.S. Pictures are to come soon.
P.P.S. Also, feel free to forward this email on to anyone you want, I’m sure I missed quite a few but I hope I got you all.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I am going out on a limb here and writing this but it is such an important concept and one that I have been studying relentlessly this year. I live with a Mormon roommate and his belief and mine do not correlate with one another. I also lived with a Catholic for many years. Both of them believed that baptism is essential albeit a requirement of salvation. I however disagree. Baptism is important but salvation comes by faith and repentance alone.

A lot of different faiths believe that baptism is meant to also be part of the salvation process. Despite the fact that faith stands alone in the vast majority of passages as necessary for salvation, there are a few verses which connect baptism and faith together as necessary for salvation. 1 Peter 3:21 is often cited as evidence for salvation by baptism. However, when this verse and others are carefully studied and taken in context it becomes clear that baptism is not necessary for salvation. Scripture interprets scripture and it is very important to read a verse in context. Understanding this verse in context with the rest of Scripture, you would see that water is a visual sign that symbolizes baptism of the Holy Spirit. Water baptism alone cannot save us.

Baptism is a very important subject because the religions that claim it is a requirement for salvation make it absolutely necessary for salvation. Anyone who is not baptized cannot be saved, and thus no hope can come to anyone in prison, anyone minutes away from death, or anyone alone with no one to baptize them. This is grossly wrong.

God requires certain things for salvation and if the requirements are not met there is no salvation. So what is required for Salvation?

Bearing fruit and baptism are critical for a relationship with Jesus; however, as the parable of the talents shows us in Mathew 25:14-30, God has given more to some and less to others. This has many applications, however, for the issue of baptism this relates to time. A person at the edge of death does not have time to bear fruit and become baptized. Therefore, bearing fruit and being baptized, although very important, cannot be a requirement for salvation. The thief next to Jesus on the cross was not baptized nor bore fruit, yet Jesus assured him that he would be in paradise with Him. (Luke 23:32-43) This example shows us that if the thief was saved through belief and repentance, then those are the requirements of salvation. God would not set different standards for us. The Bible indicates one standard; belief and repentance.

With belief (faith) and repentance comes the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is necessary for salvation (Acts 11:15-17, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 1 Corinthians 12:3, Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 4:30). And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14. There is a significant difference between John the Baptist’s baptism with water and Jesus Christ’s baptism of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 3:11 and Acts 1:5 are just two examples of this difference in baptisms. John indicates that his baptism with water is lesser in comparison to Jesus’ baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is made clear from Scripture that without the Holy Spirit a person cannot be saved. Acts 19:1-7 is a perfect example of how baptism with water alone does not mean that a person has the Holy Spirit within them.

So, what is the purpose of baptism if it is not a requirement for salvation? One of the purposes is that it is a sign of what has taken place in our hearts. First, we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, and then we are baptized as a sign to everyone that we are a new creation in Christ. Baptism is essentially the New Covenant version of the Old Covenant circumcision. Circumcision was a sign to the people that a person was a Jew and was sanctified before the Lord. G.I. Williamson in The Westminister Confession of Faith – for study courses, describes how the bloody sign of circumcision of the Old Covenant is now the bloodless sign of baptism of the New Covenant. Paul in Colossians 2:11-12 and Philippians 3:3 connects circumcision and baptism together. Romans 2:25-29 and Romans 4:9-12 describe the spiritual aspect behind circumcision. This directly correlates to the spiritual aspect of baptism. Water baptism itself does not mean that you are justified by God just like circumcision by itself does not mean that one was justified by God.

I encourage anyone reading this to not just read my words but to pick up the Bible and see what the word of the Lord says. There are numerous other passages that I have not quoted that also relate to this subject. I also accept any comments/debate about what I have written. I am not a theologian but just hungry for God's word and seek to bring others to His glorious kingdom. I only ask that you do not slander me because of my beliefs. If you feel you can prove otherwise then by all means I am up for a healthy debate.

Special thanks to my friend Jason Tyser for his research into this subject as well. Most of what is written here has been adapted from his research and study.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Here are two posters I designed in my graphic design class. Our project was to design in two different and unique styles of historic poster designs seen throughout history. They needed to be two different styles but use the same concept and imagery. Since my sustainability project has been on the top of my mind, I thought I would do a poster to reduce your impact on earth.

My two designs are: First, New York style cut paper design. Second: Deconstruction.

And yes that is my foot. : ) Click to see the poster larger.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Lessons learned on sustainability

This sustainable journal has taught me a number of things. As I sit back and reflect upon everything this semester, I think the most valuable lesson I have learned is actually that of patience and persistence. Changing your lifestyle and becoming more green is not simple. You cannot just flip a switch. It requires constant attention and efforts to maintain. Can I say that I am 100% green now? Heavens no. However, from where I was when I first began this sustainable project to where I am at now is a major step forward and one that I am proud I have endeavored. I'm happy to see many of the green initiatives I undertook have actually paid off. These things such as reducing my heat to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, turning off lights and unplugging appliances when not in use, and riding my bike instead of driving have saved me tremendous amounts of money. I average about $30 a month in savings. This isn't much but overtime that builds up and really makes me appreciate the amount I was wasting beforehand.

I have discovered new things that I love to do and things that were difficult to maintain. One of these was recycling. I started a paper recycling box and a plastic milk jug box. Personally, it was difficult to begin recycling. I was so used to just throwing everything away before. It was so simple and easy to just toss everything. It was also a very hard habit to break and begin the recycling effort. Through these last few months, I have literally forced myself to recycle. The day I started this effort, I dumped all of my trash cans and looked for material that could be recycled. I wanted to recycle everything but after dumping my trash, I learned that nearly 80% of it was paper. Paper was easy enough to separate and recycle so I decided that I would only recycle paper. Then as I got more into it I started to recycle milk jugs too. In the entire process I have become more aware of what I purchase and specifically try to buy products that I can easily recycle. Though, I have found that recycling milk jugs is kind of funny. At least in Laramie, they only recycle the milk jug. The lids they do not accept. Obviously, I know, that there are a lot more things I could recycle but I wanted to start with the things I could manage. Plus, I noticed that paper was the biggest thing I wasted. It really surprised me. Now I can really see how much paper I wasted before when I look into my recycling bin.

Not every effort was hard. I actually enjoyed some sustainability efforts. Becoming sustainable is really about changing bad lifestyles and replacing them with conserving ones. I discovered one that I really enjoyed was cooking instead of going out to eat. My roommate and I both undertook this project and decided we would each have a designated night to cook on. This would save us on food costs and time spent cooking. It also was a great time to spend time with one another through our busy schedules. This has saved a lot of money and was a great sustainable idea. It was by far my most favorite of all of my sustainable efforts and it wasn't hard at all, unless you think cooking is hard. Some nights I was tempted to not want to cook and instead go out to eat but I forced myself to cook and ended with a great sustainable idea.

A few of my efforts I know that I will not be able to maintain going forward from this sustainability project. I could hardly manage to maintain these things while I was doing this sustainability effort. The hardest one was unplugging unused appliances. While this did save my a lot on my electricity bill, it was very difficult to remember to unplug all my unused appliances, especially late at night. However, there are a few appliances that I will continue to do this on like my cell phone charger, toaster, and television. These appliances were easier to remember to unplug. I only use my cell phone charger to charge my phone so I can easily just plug that in and out when I need it. The toaster is along the same lines. The television is easy for me too because I have it now plugged into a surge protector that I can just flip a switch and have it turned off and unplugged. However, I found it not feasible to turn off and unplug my computer every night. Things that were just too time consuming really weren't worth the effort. I'd like to not waste electricity but some things just aren't as easily managed. This is especially evident with all the other little devices that are plugged in such as lamps and my microwave. It was a good project to do but I cannot maintain unplugging everything.

Overall, I got a lot out of this sustainability effort and was glad to be forced to under go it. I challenge anyone out there to just for a month try to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. Your eyes will surely be opened to a number of things you have never realized before.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


In class on Monday we talked about eco-tourism. Eco-tourism is the responsible travel to areas with the intent to conserve the environment and sustain the local culture and welfare of the native people there. Thanks to a comment on my blog earlier I was given a link to Conservation International, which has an entire eco-tourism website. Eco-tourism sounds like a great idea, but just exactly what does it mean? How do you know where to go and what to see? Just what do you do on an eco-tourism vacation? Luckily, Conservation International has resources on these topics of eco-tourism. They provide articles and news, popular destinations, and tips and tricks to make your own vacation more eco friendly.

I think this is a great concept and something I can relate to. I'm from Wyoming, most famous for being the home of Yellowstone. I'm also a kayaker. I enjoy being outdoors and camping and I've seen firsthand just how destructive people can be when I'm out and about paddling down a river or hiking in a forest. One person might not make that much of a difference but bring in thousands, millions in the case of Yellowstone, and it adds up very quickly. Multiply that by the ineptitude of some towards the environment and suddenly there are serious problems. Everyone likes to take vacations. But the truth is, some vacations aren't so great for the environment. Many of the amazing places in the world are slowly but surely being affected and aren't as pristine as they once were. Add to that the environmental impact of flying, driving, hiking and everything else that goes into them, and soon enough, vacations don't seem like such a great idea. Which is why eco-tourism is so promising.