Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Nightmare Worth Having

Tomorrow is Halloween, and I was getting annoyed with myself that I have not watched The Nightmare Before Christmas yet this year. In fact, I haven't even listened to the soundtrack lately. Luckily, my annoyances left me as my friend and I rode downtown to see it in 3-D.

It was awesome.

I didn't see Nightmare until my 4th year of college, and I was obsessed with it instantly. But I had never been able to see it on the big screen, so this was thrilling. With the 3-D, which doesn't use any silly little gimmicks, a lot of little details came through that is really hard to see otherwise. I've seen the movie well over ten times in the last three years, and my friend has seen it who knows how many times in his life, but we both we awed by the details that we had never noticed before.

The only real nightmare was that they charged me $11.50 to get in. Grr.

In other news, this week has been great. After my bathroom adventures on Tuesday, I spent the afternoon wandering through town, taking pictures of stuff. The leaves and weather have just left me breathless...momentarily. I read a blog from a friend I haven't heard from in a couple of months, and life is peachy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Toilet Talk: Crank it Up

I just had one of the most intriguing of restroom experiences. If you're thinking, "Yeah, this is what I hoped I'd be reading about today," I know, it's weird. Yesterday is spiritual confession and life-altering decisions, today is what went through my mind while dropping the kids off at the pool. Deal with it.

I'm at Scooter's, a coffee shop in Lincoln, Nebraska. After grading papers for over an hour, I felt that nature was calling me collect. I answered and was disappointed. As I entered the dookie den, the music got quieter. Strange, to me, that a place of business would decrease the noise factor when you're doing your business. Is it so one can concentrate more intently? Because the restroom is a place of raucous, cacophonous sounds, I thought a louder soundtrack would be appreciated. I would have love to have sung along with "Rain King," but it was barely audible and tinny. I say, "Crank it up."

But wait, that's not all. When I opened the door, the light flicked on automatically. I had experienced this before, of course, but never had I been stranded, sans pants, when the same light automatically flicked off. All of a sudden, I had a vague sense of what it is like to be stranded on a deserted island. There I was, perched on porcelain, alone. It's a kooky thing to be stuck in a foreign bathroom with not light. In my own home, there is always enough light to see where I pee. But now it was up to sonar. The joy in this was that with the light went the fan. With that extra noise gone, the music was much more intelligible.

"Just my luck," I thought. "I don't even know this song."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Life-Changing Experiences

Recently, I have been attending a seminar at my church. At first, I abhorred the idea of attending. The first couple were as boring as watching the effects of gravity on well-crafted statue of cheese. I dozed off a couple of times. Secondly, it was a seminar. Just the word makes me hate it. Too much information poorly presented. And that is exactly what it has been. However, God works regardless.

I have a crew of people that also find the seminar strange as it leaves us with a feeling of unease. Though there is a lot of material to go through, well under half is from scripture itself. And even though I believe God inspires hundreds and thousands of people, I want to see the direct connection to the scriptures (this can't be done when whipping through page after page of material). The joy of the posse that I share this common feeling with is that we release our hot wind filled bags after each session. We ask questions about what was said and how we don't feel comfortable with it. We freely share what bugs us about what we heard. We seek to discover what stirs our guts and makes us feel like we could spiritually hurl.

I am out of school for this week thanks to the first quarter break. I was able to take a Bible and sit down for two hours strait, searching for answer to some of the questions we had. I'm still looking. But I had a fantastic conversation with God. He showed me things today that cleared up a lot of questions unrelated to seminar, and I felt closer to Him than I have in months. I was also confronted, not for the first time, with the time-consuming practices that keep me from the most abundant life: video games. World of Warcraft has been the most prominent over the last year, but it is not the sole pillar of distraction. Therefore, I'm going for a covenant to avoid video games outside of social situations. This means that unless I am in a room with another person playing a game, I am allowed to join them in that game. Otherwise, I want to be free of such a time-waster.

Already, it's bizarre. I came home and didn't know what to do. I wonder what I used to do, and I can think of very few activities. Pray for me, please, that I stand strong on this.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Potential Last Words: Actions Really

I read an article in the paper today about a body that had been found in a creek. The person had been reported missing more than a month ago. Aside from a grotesque and probably squishy corpse, I wondered about the memory that will be held by this individual at the memorial (referred to as a celebration of life).

I wonder because the last time this person was seen alive, he was reported by his friends to be with them while they were heavily drinking and "maybe smoking marijuana." Apparently, he got angry, stormed off and was never seen again until he turned up in the creek. What is a celebration of life like when you know the person disappear while being drunk and high. What is to celebrate? I'm not saying that such a person can have worth celebrating, but with such a downer as a final impression...I don't know.

I've often heard that we need to be careful and treat every day as our last and whatever, and I hate when a cliche really does tell the truth. But I really do hope that whenever I kick off, people can say that I went out in a way that carries some amount of dignity.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Potential Last Words: The First

"I forgot I was in here."

A student who has become synonymous with distraction and disruption was asked to leave class today. Throughout this year, he has belted out a laugh that makes shudders flee my spine only to be replaced by seismic convulsions that lurched my soul. He pulled this little trick again today, and I told him that I was tired of his distraction. He left with the saying, "I forgot I was in here." I picture some idiot sealing his fate by pulling the pin from a grenade with trapped in a bank vault, or a Darwin Award winner who tried to throw a stick of dynamite out a car window-but the window was still rolled up.

"I just forgot I was in here."

I can't say I've acted appropriately in every situation, but I think I have always been aware enough of my surroundings to know when not to do something. And even though this student only got sent to the office, I get visions from Burn After Reading in which characters find themselves stuck in places they never should have been or situations they didn't mean to end up in.

Verdict: these horrible last words would flag a person as clumsy in speech or action, leaving them remembered as a simpleton.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Potential Last Words

I was at a memorial service yesterday for a friend who died at age 28 from cancer. It was a fantastic service and about as light as a memorial can be. Her life was truly celebrated, and that does her as much honor as I can imagine.

During a portion of the service, a note, left behind in her Bible, was read. I suppose it was because of the note that the service could be help in such peace. We were not told when the note was written, if it had been penned during her last times she knew. The idea occurred to me that we don't know when we'll be done, which of our words will be our last, and it got me to thinking of what my last words would likely be. Would they be uplifting, or a complaint? A joke? A noise resembling a young muskrat being stepped on? I suppose that wouldn't really be a last word (Not if you count the gurgling sound).

Lately, I've been so enveloped with life (not in the best of ways), that I've been running dry on material that would be even of slight interest. Therefore, periodically, I will leave you with some potential last words.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hurray For a New Week

I can't express how happy I am that last week is over. As I tried to blog on Friday (though I never got around to posting), last week was a madhouse: super busy, super exhausting, and ridiculously long.

I think after the devil got bored with moral conscience torture, he turned to the education system and said, "Let there be testing." It really is the antithesis of the glory of good. I had two weeks worth that ended last week, so there's just another thing to be happy about.

My wife gets back in town today, so that's awesome. A full week without is a bit too long. Though I enjoyed my cold cereal diet, I am ready to get back to my healthier, happier way of life.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

All Alone

So my wife is out of town for the rest of the week, leaving me eating only sandwiches, hot dogs, and cold cereal...and it's awesome. There's something about bachelor-ing it up every once in a while that's kind of nice. I think it's that everything is back to my own schedule. I get home and eat whatever whenever and do whatever I feel like. This isn't to say that my wife is a tyrant that dominates every bit of my life when she's home, but there's something different when you know you are the only person in the house. The cats love me more, I eat the cheaper brand of Fruit Loops, and I sprawl all over the bed. I know that I will soon look at this solitude as a curse, but for now, I'll be a slob of a bachelor and enjoy it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Rarity of Normalcy

I have to admit, today was kind of boring. After all of the busy-ness of last week as well as student drama, today seemed incredibly dull. I'm pretty sure that I prefer the dull, but it does make it a challenge to blog something interesting.

I suppose the only thing worth mentioning is how ridiculous some of my "cheerful" and loud students were. We were talking about people that go through their entire lives without having any real friends to listen to the problems and trials of life. "It's easy to make friends," they claimed. "You just have to try. If you aren't going to try, you don't deserve friends."


Just yipes.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Having a Heart

We've been watching Of Mice and Men over the last couple of days. It's interesting to see how different people react to Lennie and everything he does. I have some who find the film incredibly sad because Lennie is so innocent, and yet he faces so much trouble in his life. Others laugh while Lennie winces after his fight with Curley, all the while mocking those who feel sorry for him.

"It's fake," they chant as if it makes the condition of a character any better. They are cruel, heartless butt-faces to the 3rd degree.

My wife and I went and saw Burn After Reading two days ago, and with her, it became a different movie. Despite the hilarity of Pitt and McDormand, we couldn't help but notice the cruelty of the situation. The only characters that get what they want are the women who seem to be the least afflicted throughout the movie. This is by no means a statement of gender but a statement of the shallow, they that drag and ruin the lives of the innocent in their pursuits and desires. We had a sobering moment as we thought of those that would find the film to be a comedy only.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A F*@%ed Up World

I had talks with three different students yesterday that made my heart shrivel. One was convinced that he will not graduate from high school. He's in 10th grade right now and said his mom is making him drop out in his junior year to get his GED. Another said he'd been kicked out of his house because his parents were angry at him. He claims to have spent some nights in the park. Another has a whole new batch of issues.

What's wrong with people? Everyday I work with teenagers who fight an up-hill battle with life. They're kids, for crying out loud. They should get more of a chance than this. With all the state-of-the-art jerk faces around, it's no wonder. But how is it that people can be so self-centered to not realize what's going on or want to help.

I can't imagine how God must feel to see how humans have lost their humanity.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Not-So-Fun Size

Over a week? What's wrong with me? I would like to blame work for keeping me exhausted and forgetful of my blog-tastic duties.

Why are fun-size things so small? I was eating a bag of M&Ms the other day and the bag said "Fun Size." I would rip the top from the bag and let the sugar pills fall into my mouth, munch a few times, swallow, and long for more. There was no fun involved-just disappointment.

What would be more fun-a ball or a ball pit? Wave pool or ocean? The Kearney Arch or the St. Louis Arch?

I think that people should call such things as they are-a cheap bag of M&Ms, a cheap imitation of the ocean, a cheap landmark.

I am 200 miles from a crappy arch, 30 minutes from a urine-warm wave pool, and I want more M&Ms.