Showing posts from 2004

Retreat Information


So here's where I'll be from January 2nd - February 7th.

Gonzaga Eastern Point Retreat House
37 Niles Pond Road
Gloucester, MA 01930-4499


If you fancy sending something, please do - cards, letters, a file to saw through the bars on the windows.


Yeah, so this is my spiritual guru. He makes me hold this sign because I have "self-esteem" issues or something. Actually, ask me where I got's a good story. I made Bill here hold it in order that he, too, feel beautiful.

An Athlete?

Happy Holidays!

My friends, I have something most unnerving to share with you: I have what is known as "the athlete's foot."

While wholly dissimilar from "the diabetes" and having nothing to do at all with "the cancer" the athlete's foot is a common affliction among, well, athletes. True to its name, I have literally athlete's foot: it's on my left foot and not my right; were I to have it on both, I suppose I'd have to call it "the athelete's feet" which lacks entirely the nice ring of "the athlete's foot." This is such an amazing find, really, and just fitting with the end of my first semester as a Jesuit: I've discovered I have "feelingS," I like to cook, and I've gone to the gym where I seem to be on good footing in my quest to be an athlete.

Now, if my use of "the" preceeding the afflictions listed above is unnerving, you have Wilfred Brimley (Quaker Oats fellow) to blame for…

Fiesta at "La Casa Duns"

Hi all,

Since this blog was started in order to communicate with family and friends, I figure I should use it for that purpose. On December 26th, the Duns family will be hosting an After-Christmas party...intended to consume the alcohol left over from Christmas day, of course. So if you'll be in the Cleveland area, shoot me an email and I can provide more information or, if you so choose, just show up at the house sometime that evening.

Now, someone might say, isn't it rude to invite people over to your mother's house? My reply: Yes, and I don't care. Insofar as my family doesn't like me any more (they moved my books) and therefore are indicating that they don't want me in their house, I figure I'm an unwanted guest. Thus, I am within my rights as a rude interloper to invite OTHER people over, too. If hospitality were limited to only those that the host family desired to invite, then my brother would politic in such a way as to invite maybe three members o…

After Dinner Thoughts

Since I've been a derelict blogger these past few weeks, I thought it'd be nice to post TWICE in one day.


The routine of the novitiate is well established at this point, just in time for us to leave in four weeks for the 30-Day retreat. For those of you who don't know (and do care) this is the 30-day retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. It's a fun-filled month of prayer and reflection where you pretty well figure out how terrible a sinner you really are and that God still likes you. Oddly enough, that's a big revelation for a lot of people! For me, it's the opposite. I know God likes me, but I figure God'll need a full month to realize that I really do like him.

Next semester I will be returning to the classroom in order to instruct children in religion. When I was a young'n this involved making cards for everyone and his brother, singing practice for mass, and learning/saying that we love Jesus.


I will terror…

Missionary Experience

Hello Everyone!

I'm sorry that I've been away for a bit - the Oireachtas was a huge ordeal that really occupied a whole lot of my time and energy. Now that I'm back and things have settled down, I reckon I'll have more time to write.

So, let's have a quick re-cap of the weekend. It began with me waking up last Friday at 3:50 in the morning, leaving Loyola House at 4:15 in order to get to the airport by 5:00 am. Boarding the plane seemed a new and foreign experience...I sat in an area of the plane designated as "coach." It's a wild terrain, much different from the First-Class I'm used to flying on Continental. Surprisingly, I didn't find the savages back there to be too difficult to sit with; then again, the flight was only 35 minutes. Yes, I will have to fly with these people again very soon. It's nice to see how the "common folk" live.

Actually, the only benefit to sitting in the First Class section of any airline is that one g…

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I seem to have fallen into something of a rut in terms of oozing sarcasm, this will be a relatively short post.

So we've come to the big Oireachtas weekend. I'm pretty scared...three months is a long time to have gone without playing a feis and jumping into the biggest weekend of the year is pretty nerve-wracking. I'm really nervous!

I'd write more, but I should probably go and practice. With luck, I'll have many more emotions to report about AFTER the posts of late have lacked that chock-full-o-rage sentiment that is so endearing to so many. I hadn't thought I'd changed much since entrance day, but perhaps I have: I've lost my bitterness and anger. Sad, terribly was so charming.

Slainte to all!


Still here!

Hi all,

Sorry I've not written in a few days. I've had an incessant cough that has pretty well sapped my energy. Besides, I've been practicing for the Big O that begins TWO WEEKS from today.

On the whole, there's not much to report. I just saw a picture taken of me just over a year ago and I'm absolutely horrified by how much hair I've lost. It's really pathetic. I'm thinking that I'm going to try to regrow it using ancient and forbidden Jesuit hair-regrowth tricks. I reckon it's like using the Force, but even more powerful. If it works, I'll start clinics where we teach the technique and then I'll have infomercials featuring me and my testimonial. I'll try to post the old picture later today.

Well, that's about it. I have a few more treble jigs to learn today and four more slip jigs. Perhaps a reel or two....that should do it, I guess.

Hope all is well with everyone and, for many of you, I can't wait to see you at the Oir…

Happy Halloween!

As you'll see below, I've posted several recent pictures.

Not much to report about. I've been practicing quite a little bit for the big O (Oireachtas = Or-rock-tis). Apart from music practice, the day-to-day life here is pretty much the same: I go out and work with the elderly, eat, go to the gym, eat, pray every now and again, go to Mass, eat, etc. Pretty humdrum, I'd say.

So I celebrated my 25th birthday. The only good thing I can say about being 25 is that I'm now allowed to rent cars from Hertz and Enterprise. Prety lame, but at least it's a benchmark.

It's pretty sad that I have nothing witty or biting to say (some might add that I"ve never really had anything witty or biting to say in the first place). I'm in sort of a holding pattern, which is good.

I'm off to the mall to buy a batery for my watch. I hope all of you are well and that you have a safe and happy Halloween. And, please God, don't give out cheap candy like Smarteez or P…
The Jesuits are thinking of updating their habit to be "with the times." This is a prototype. Like it?
Eric Sundrup and I after a trip to the Holocaust museum.
A recent picture of our motley crew.
Relaxing at Omena. Now, imagine me with an accordion and 4,000 Irish dancers and you'll have the Oireachtas.


That's right all:

I'm Back.

For the last two months, I've gone through the whole mourning cycle of my feis life. Today, however, my passion for Irish dancing was resurrected when I was informed that the Jesuits would allow me to play at the Mid-American Oireachtas this Thanksgiving. YEAH! I get to fly to Chicago at 6:09 am on Friday, the 26th and fly home at 11:00 pm on Sunday night...and I couldn't be happier.

So what does this entail? I have to practice my sets, dust off the old metronome, and prepare myself for all of the glitter, synthetic hair, and sock-glue one can possibly imagine. I'd like to make some glib comments or some witty observations, but I'm too happy even for sarcasm. It's just very exciting to have this opportunity to tap into what has, sadly, become normalcy for me: the insanity of Irish dancing.

So in addition to getting buff at the gym, I'll now be trying to sharpen my musical skills. I'm somewhat ashamed to say that I've …


Hi All,

I've had several requests for my address at Loyola House, so here it is:

Ryan Duns
Loyola House
2599 Harvard Road
Berkley, MI 48072-1512

Three Times a Pattern, Four Times a Streak

Yo yo yo,

Yes, so I've achieved something remarkable with my life: I've established a going-to-the-gym streak! Four times in a row, and tomorrow will make for the fifth visit to the mecca of muscle. Going to the gym is sort of like going to church: you hate the thought of it on the way, you really hate it during the middle of it, but when it's all over, you're glad you went.

Tomorrow will established another streak: four times I'll go to the gym freezing my ballz off because I WILL NOT go into the locker room. I must have been attacked by a tribe of crazy old naked men at some point in my life (probably the estranged husbands of the Amazons) and now have this real hang-up about going into a locker room. Luckily, I have repressed that memory (along with, I'm sure, MANY other terrible memories) and shall continue blithely along this path of life.

Nursing home update: they are still old. This is, I reckon, one of those jobs that you can't really do much to cha…

Quick Update

Hi All!

Not much of note to report. We began our hospital experiments this week, and I am stationed at a local nursing home. It's really nice, actually, though on my first day I learned what may turn out to be an immutable truth: old men have dirty, dirty, dirty minds. Really dirty. I'm not going into detail here, but be sure to ask me about it sometime.

YMCA Update: I've gone twice!

I like the Y. That's the hipster lingo shortening the already short acronym of YMCA. I am dismayed to say that I am a terrible weakling, but that also gives me hope: I can't get any weaker, and I can only get stronger.

Immutable truth of the Y: Old men like to be naked. It's disgusting. I walked into what appeared to be a geriatric orgy or pow-wow on Friday....and it was just shower time. Totally not my bag. I understand now something of martyrdom.

Okay, I need to go and make my lunch so that I can avoid the mystery-meat extravaganza that awaits us at the nursing home. Yesterday we…

Sad Tidings

Well, my friends, I have something most terrible to confess.

It's worse than me giving up Teen Titans (Happy Barthog Day, DREW!!)

It's worse than me leaving the Jesuits.

It's worse than my deciding to be Amish

I got a membership at the YMCA.

Yeah, so I've realized that I am probably the only person under the sun who could qualify for worker's compensation due to injuries sustained while playing the accordion. I am such a huge loser, to be sure, but damn it I'm in a lot of pain! The muscles in my back are absolutely useless so I'm either going to suffer arthritis in my old age (which isn't far off) or I can seek to remedy the situation by going to the gym. I'm choosing the latter option.

So tomorrow I'm going to the YMCA. I'd better be greeted by a sailor, a garbage man, a cop, and an Injun and there had better be singing. Lots of singing.

Let's there anything fun to talk about?

No. I'm so sad about this...I'm actually go…

More bits

Greetings everyone!

First off, Kudos to Mrs. Koczera for sending us some non-fair trade coffee. The blood, sweat, and tears of children that go into each and every batch of Dunkin Donut's coffee gives it that capitalist flavor we all know and love so well.

After almost a month, I have finally had a meal here that I didn't quite fancy: quail. There were all these quail carcasses lying upon a bed of stuffing. There legs were spread wide open to the heavens (I felt like a FOWL Gynocologist) and, if I didn't know better, I'd have thought I was in Pet Cemetery. It was pretty scary. Besides, unless you eat the bones of these things, there's not much to them in terms of substance. Thank God for Little Cesar's Pizza.

Apart from that and the crusade I recently called against the Moonies, all is going rather well. I've undergone tremendous growth, too: the Eucharist is not the same thing as Euchre, the card game. I believe in God (there's a thought).

Okay, now le…
A little sesiun at Tom Blake's house on Friday. Kudos to Tom and Mary Bryan!!
Part of the band. There's that bishop in the polo shirt. See, who'd have thought? That's Br. Boynton on the fiddle.

Hooray for Detroit!

Introducing the First Year Class from the Detroit Province!!
Back Row: Adam DeLeon, Denis Weber, Ryan Duns, Jon Dawe, Drew Marquard
Front Row: Kevin Koehler and John Petit


Hello again!

So, I'm back from our Big Big Trip to Midland, Ontario.

Many important things happened there, thereby scuttling plans for my scathing expose on the Amish. Do not be fear, however - I shall return to their insidious practices in the near future. Point to ponder: The Amish have a vast sour cream fortune derived from the sale of YODER'S Sour Cream. Yes, Yoder's. Now answer me this, oh Cheshire Cat: Do they have some magic hermetic sealing fairy that comes by and both pasteurizes and seals their product? No, I didn't think so. They have ELECTRICITY. Hypocrites, all of them. And where does this money go? I'll tell you: Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, Norelco Razors, and I have it on good authority that they are the majority owners of Slim Jim beef jerky. Leave it to the Amish.

Now, to other pressing issues. We had a very fun evening on Saturday, especially after we saw the schismatic Saint Pius X seminarians. They were cassocks (dresses) and they look mean. I mean,…
Now, behold my holy splendor. To be sure, it won't last.

A Picture Share!

Wheres Ryan?

Trip to Midland

While I think of it:

I'll be in Midland, Ontario (that's in Canada, for those of you who are geographically retarded), for the weekend. Not that I post so often that you'd miss me, but in case you're curious, you now know.

Next week, I must remember to relay the findings of my investigative report into the nocturnal drinking habits of the Amish. An image as a foretaste of what is to come:

Boots, Bonnets, Buggies, and a Mennonite Lust fueled by tons of Good Ol' PBR - Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Nothing but the finest, Jedediah.


Fair Trade Coffee

Hello again!

Today, I'd like to raise our social consciences by discussing fair trade coffee. We here at the novitate drink FTC (snazzy acronym), and I'd like to give my review:

it tastes like my grandmother's basement smells.

It has a dank, musty body with hints of mildew and a smattering of PineSol.

In short, it's rather wretched.

I have a feeling that there is a colony of Colombians who are living in a lavish hacienda who are LAUGHING at the great charade of FTC. They say (in Spanish), "Holy Frijole, Senor! Those Americans are so stupid. We can sell them sheeeeet coffee and tell them that it's going to help poor people, and they'll buy it!"

My advice: Bring out the caffeine signal and bring back Juan Valdez. The fallen hero of morning pick-me-ups, I have faith that he will be the Messiah of the coffee industry who'll bring us good tasting, socially conscious coffee.

In this, I have my hope. To the heavens I turn my eyes and the prayers for this…


Hello all,

I've received several emails and posts indicating that my readership may have ballooned into the double-digits. This is great. And yet, now that I know that there're more readers out there I'm beginning to have performance anxiety. I just can't get my wittiness up....alas, there is no Viagra type drug for this; there is but the unfathomable depths of rage and fury and sarcasm that flows beneath my oh-so-sanguine demeanor. It'll have to do for now.

I was wrong about this week's topic in religious life class. Chastity will be discussed later with Sister Theresa (ain't got nun, aint gonna to get nun). This week we are plumbing the topic of OBEDIENCE (in Ryan world, this translates as COMPROMISE). While there are many beautiful and lovely arguments for obedience, I don't want to relay them to you because it would mean that I would have either to acknowledge and/or appropriate them. Thus, I defer to my own wisdom: Where there is my will, there is …

Too Early, again

Good morning Folks!

I write as though to a large audience, but I reckon there are, oh, about 7 people who read this. So I'm probably writing this for my own therapeutic purposes but, who knows? Perhaps someone will discover my inane ramblings and offer me a book deal. Or a sitcom. Or a place on Hollywood Squares.

So tomorrow marks the one-month mark of being in the Jesuits. I don't feel any holier. I think that's good, though. It's a big lifestyle change, to be sure: it's hard not to think, come each weekend, about which feis I'd be at and with whom I'd be spending my weekend.

Anyway, I'm still damn bald. I totally dig this look. In a way, I think I do it my own form of Ryan justice - a lethal hybrid of Kojak and Christopher Lowell. It's like being on COPS-lite where instead of "putting a cap in a perpetrator's ass" we do decorative things like arts and crafts.

So my agenda for today:

Religious Life class. Today's topic is "…

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Hello Everyone,

As some of you might have noticed, I've been going bald. Yes, bald. Who'd have thought? It only started about SEVEN years ago and it's been getting progressively worse.

Now, my allopecia (that's the fancy way of saying that I am on the pilgrimage to look like a cue-ball) has been the source of much pain in my life. Thus, I have shaved my head.

Yep, shaved it.


Damn near bald.

I should have a number tatooed on my arm and sent to Auschwitz or Dachau.

Actually, it doesn't look too bad. If I get a chance, I'll take a picture of it and post it for all to behold.

I think my response to "Why did you shave your head?" will be: To be in solidarity with the poor and to save money. I can now wash my entire body with Dial body wash. That is, of course, if I utilize the mesh shower-scrubber.

Now, for my observation about life outside for the normal people (read: laity or non-Jesuits). I should like to think that if I left the SJ'…

Dr Shea (Dr Strange)

Wow, two posts in one day.

I had dinner with Dr. Shea tonight. Dr. Shea, or Dr. Mengela as I like to refer to him, is a funny sort of fellow. He sat for an entire meal playing with a ladybug. He talked to it, petted it, and I began to get a strange feeling that there was someone at our dinner table who wasn't keeping chastity too well...I guess it's okay as it is a LADYbug.

But this isn't the first thing to raise questions. Just the other day he was running around catching flying ants. Who does that? Then he put them in empty soda bottles and froze them. Then he mailed them to an equally deranged friend. Thank God I studied Religion and not biology.

John Shea, you should not have told me that you read my blog. Now I must make fun of you.

Forgive me.



Hello Everyone,

In her inimitable fashion, Anne has asked yet another good question: What (or who??) is this Manualia that you do?

First, Manualia is not a small Hispanic child. Manualia does not come to our house to do dishes, clean in the corners, or set mouse traps. How sad, how sad.

Manualia is a Latin word for "Physical Labor." Physical. Labor. Ryan. Hard to imagine.

My "Saturday morning manualia" involves being the librarian. I work with books. Of course I'm building my arm muscles by lifting huge tomes and moving them from shelf to shelf. But for those of you with over-active imaginations, just imagine me standing shirtless in the midst of a field, the morning sun reflecting off of my rippling muscles, so shiny as to demand sunglasses. I lean on my pitchfork and call off to Pa to bring some slop for the hogs....Yeah, this is a really hard image to maintain.

So that's manualia. Some guys vacuum, some clean cars, Ryan organizes books.

As for my evenin…

Answering Questions

Anne asked a very good question: what are my living arrangements like?

Let me tell you. I have my own room, also known as a CELL, where I have a bed, a desk, a sink, a cross, a bookshelf, my clothes, a nightstand, and two lamps. It's quite cozy - plenty of room for me and the ol'Holy Spirit.

I share a toilet and shower (bucket and hose) with another guy. He's nice, except that he's like an abominable snowman and sheds in the shower, so most mornings I wake up only to find his leavings in the I collect each strand of fallen hair, dry it carefully, and apply a liberal dose of Elmer's Glue to it and affix it to my own head. It's not quite a weave, but I'm looking pretty stylish.

Now, we share one pair of underwear between us. I wear them on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and he has Tuesday, THursday, and Saturday. We wash them on Sunday. Supposedly good behavior merits us our own toothbrush AND two pairs of boxers. One can only hope.

Meals are…

Awake Again...

Good morning!

In a house with 26 guys, who'd have thought that I'd be the one to bring in the paper and make the coffee? I even made rice-krispie treats last night...oh God, I'm turning into a domestic dynamo.

So, let's see what's new. Things are going very well, though the workload has gone from "0 to 60" in just days. We've loads-of-fun Vatican II documents to read, books on the history of the Jesuits, Spanish language classes, classes on the Constitutions of the Jesuits, morning prayer, daily Eucharist, and I think there's stuff I'm forgetting.

Let me say this, though: despite the work that needs to be done, it's certainly less difficult that going to school and it is inordinately more fun. There's something to be said for slogging through "Gaudium et Spes" with 13 other guys, none of whom likes it! Not that we talk about Church documents at meals (we decidedly do not), but there's a sense of solidarity that grows when…

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Morning Folks!

It's now 6:42 in the morning. Yes, 6:42. I haven't seen this side of 7:00 in a long, long time...not since I was in high school, I think. To give some perspective on the gravity of this situation, consider this: as of just a month ago, I'd be going to bed and hour or two before this.

Why, Ryan, are you up so early?

Because I'm going to Mass. At 7:00 IN THE MORNING. And then I'll have breakfast (though I'm enjoying my tea right now). I'd rather *celebrate* the Eucharist rather than sit there, numbed by sleep.

Yeah, so what else. Today is sort of the first day of the real novitiate. These last two weeks I've had considerable downtime to relax and get to know the other novices. Today, however, begins the regular ordo where we have classes (religious life at 8:30, a course on the history of the Jesuits, a course on the Constitutions of the Jesuits, Spanish, etc.) every day. It'll be nice to get into a regular routine, but this routine in…

Open for Comment!

I didn't realize this blog was set for comments by registered users only. It's been changed; any demented soul who wants to pester Ryan can now do so with impunity.

A Picture Share!

This weeks team. Monkey in a Coma rules!

A Picture Share!

Prejesuit Ryan
The First Year Class.

Three Cheers for the Blog!

Hello Everyone!

I'm trying this post as an experiment. Instead of having to write a number of emails every day (who would ever of thought that I was popular) Anne Hall thought that this would be a good way for us to stay connected. We can have sort of a whole forum dedicated to discussing all of the oh-so-interesting things that I do here in Detroit...

So, let the games begin! As I go along, I'm sure I'll post some pictures. Later today I'll try to post our "class picture" from entrance day.



A Picture Share!

Bumping into old friends

He has an effects pedal named after him

The Melvins - last night's show. JL's review: In the words of Dr. Evil, "Mag-mah".

No excuses

Here you go, your very own blog. Now you won't wear out your fingers on repeated emails to the multitudes. Let everyone know how you're doing, but save the good stuff for me.