Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wishing for Rocks

After growing up in Colorado and moving to Nebraska, I make it a special point not to be a mountain snob. I had several friends that came to Nebraska for a while for college, and they were especially obnoxious about the scenery. "Nebraska sucks," they would say. "It needs mountains." Though I can't say it has been scientifically proven otherwise, I'm pretty sure jagged eye-candy on the horizon doesn't instantly improve quality of life in any given area. However, given the massive amounts of snow that have buried my town, I would really be into some mountains right now.

I think the appeal of the mountains is a general feeling of "I'm being earthy." There's something about having your view of the sky obstructed by something natural and massive and immovable (except by the mustard seed faith), and it makes you feel insignificant and privileged at the same time. Most of the time, I don't think much about not living in a mountainous region, but with the snow piled high, people bundled up, and my sitting in a coffee shop all morning, I really wish there were a a rocky canvas or two for the snow to dust and the sun to paint.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

If Fern Gully Were Good...

It would be Avatar.

I won't spend too much time on this already talked about film, but I had to say a few things.

1. See it in 3D. It's probably good either way, but the look will dig into your brain so much more if you pay the extra for the 3D experience.

2. If you've seen the trailer, you've seen the entire plot. It's one of my only complaints. And I don't blame James Cameron for this, I blame the studio for making a trailer that told you everything. See it because it is stunning, not to be surprised by the story itself.

3. As a friend of mine pointed out, "Can a movie be racist without being racist?" It's a good point. Why is it that Hollywood portrays all indigenous peoples as either Native American, African, or, as this film does, both. Is it so hard to try something new?

In other news, I worked at the zoo the other day. I spent about 4 hours with my friend Myndi to help her out the other day. I felt a crocodile, a seal, a wallaby, and I watched on otter poop--yes that's noteworthy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Birds are Hard Core

My Winter Break has begun. It doesn't really feel like it, but I haven't had to listen to obnoxious teenagers rapping along to some funky, fly artist without knowing it, and that's a bonus.

The project of the day, and throughout the week, is to complete the housing arrangements for Young Master Prindle's arrival. About two months ago, I spent a morning of frustration in his room, piecing together the far too many parts of his crib. I realized then that if fathers had to construct baby furniture as a precursor to having a child, there would be millions of fatherless children in the world today. The pieces are confusing enough (the crib has some pieces that I'm convinced were not correctly aligned when they were cut), but the instructions are intolerable. If they were my students' process essays, I'd fail them all.

Today's endeavors took me to the room with a glider chair and changing table to assemble. For the most part, both were easier than that crib. However, while the chair was wonderfully simple, the table frustrated me to know end. I'll admit to some errors as the operator's fault, but other that, the person jotting down instructions should be socked in the mouth. If your going to take the time to tell me that parts D need to have the slats facing in, then you should also tell me the the holes in parts D should be toward a certain direction. I put over half the thing together before realizing I had to go back and fix some things. I later had to go back at the end because the diagrams are always so convoluted with too many images and lines and dashes.

Birds don't have to deal with this when they do their nesting. If they had to create their nests in a similar fassion, matching stick C with twig F while parts A and Q intertwine themselves to create an indention where twigs B,D,H,I,N,W,L,S,X, and P cross, birds would give up living in the trees. Instead they have the God-given brilliance to figure out how to make something stable enough and safe enough to have kids in that doesn't make them want to squawk and tweet profanity for hours on end.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Days

I never had them growing up, and I got to the point where I almost thought they were some magical thing that people made up to supply students with hope. This week has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that such days exist and can come in abundance.

It snowed Sunday, nothing huge, but more than we've seen this season. Nothing on Monday, but people talked of a big falling starting Monday night. Tuesday, Wednesday, and, I just found out Thursday are all snow days for me. I can't express how incredible this is. And I don't have to.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cat Piss

I accidentally made my wife cry over the weekend. I mentioned the possibility of ridding our house of cats. I don't really want to lose them, they are incredibly awesome, and I love them greatly. However, the weekend brought about two urinary occasions that left me quite upset. Whenever my parents come to town, they seem to receive the brunt of my kitties' bladder venom. One such peeing escapade was in my parents' suitcase. It was on the floor, a place that I thought I was clear about when I said, "Don't leave anything on the floor." But the other was on Sunday morning when I was stripping sheets from the bed and found a big wet spot. Either my parents have bed-wetting issues or one of my cats has taken its bathroom behavior to new heights.

I hollered for my wife to come down because I needed to talk to her. I showed the sheet and made my claim that if this persists, we may need to be done with them.

I love my cats, and I would likely not care as much about their pissing practices. However, with child en route, I'm feeling like I should care more. Yeah, I can replace almost anything they can urinate on, but with a kid rolling around the floor, or not being able to get away from such a substance, I'm feeling the need to take it all seriously.

Plus, I don't want Jr. to get peed on...that would just suck.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend of Odd

Weather gets crazy in Nebraska. After living in Colorado and Texas, where the weather is pretty predictable, Nebraska has taken this many years to get used to. So when Saturday morning was gorgeous, I should have expected it to not last. Silly me. We wandered to the park, knowing that it was the ideal temperature (in the high 50s--good hoodie weather). Unfortunately, as soon as we got there, clouds rolled in and the wind decided it wanted to put on a show for us. Leaves leaped into our faces and the wind chilled us. Within 20 minutes, we threw the idea out and went back to my place. Sad. I was hoping for a quality fall afternoon, but no luck.

Watched Star Trek again on Saturday night. Tis so good. Which leads me to the next odd thing this weekend--New Moon. I know that it surprised everybody, but how does a vampire romance outsell The Dark Knight on its first day? I'm still in shock.

Sunday was a crazy day in which my mind was bent on putting things in the place. I didn't want to grade or do anything work related, but house projects were on my mind. So I moved a bed around, some shelves, did some laundry (but was so gracious to leave some for my wife to do), and finished off the leave sin my front yard.

The day was interrupted for a church meeting that went well, but was one of those that leaves a funny taste in your mouth.

Thanksgiving's coming. Three days of work. Praise be.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yes, Your Pregnancy.

My wife and I started Lamaze classes on Sunday. There were a couple of nice things about this as well as a sprinkling of irritations. I trudged in with a mindset of, "How long do we have to be here?" But the mood lightened considerably.

First of all, my science classes growing up were no good. As the instructor went through the anatomy of everything going on, I was actually interested. The instructor said multiple times that this was the dry part of the class, but I was plenty interested (and my imagination made a lot of jokes that I could never say in class). Moreover, I was struck by the miracle God sets in motion when all this fetal activity gets rolling.

Another breath of fresh air was the instructor's acknowledgment that the couples present were either one among a group of pregnant friends, or they were loner parents, traversing the parental landscape solo. I have a lot of friends, and most of them are married. I was surprised, however, that after my wife got preg-nified, that none followed suit. This mindset is probably because of my mother. "Once one of you gets pregnant, then everybody will be." Mom was wrong. It doesn't bother that none of our friends are getting knocked up, but there is a bizarre feeling when I realize that what my wife and I are going through, none of our friends will relate. It was nice to be in a place where bulbous bellies and blank-faced husbands gathered to prepared for the fetus festival.

Downsides included watching birth videos. The first I had ever seen were in college, after which I told my wife (then my girlfriend) that if she were to have my child, I would accompany her only if I had a blindfold on. Though I've matured a smidge, I could really deal without. I fear what else we may be watching in the weeks to come.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Tech

Yesterday, I took a trip down to the district office and picked up a brand new Mac Book. (Squeal!) Ever since, I've not wanted to leave along. I'm like Lennie taking puppies away from the mother, so hopefully I won't accidentally kill it. But I'm so thrilled. My last comp was a piece to be sure. It was slower than a herd of turtles wading through a peanut butter pond. It couldn't support half the stuff I had on it. But now, the world is my burrito. I have every new gadget, widget, and whatever else I need to flood the world with zaniness and, hopefully, a little insight. I'm really excited that I can create podcasts now if I want, and next week, I just might do that.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

People Who Can't Shut Up

Seven weeks. A student of mine spent seven weeks on one story, and he never completed it. One reason is that he didn't focus for any whole class period. The other is that he would not stop. As a writing teacher, my main focus with my students is on efficiency and effectiveness. Say what you need to say, say it clearly, say it well. Typically, students can't write more than 40 words on any given topic or event, but this fine gent is on the extreme opposite. In any given story, he clicks through his phone to ensure that every text message related to his story is accounted for. Every minute is spoken of, not in any great detail, but there it is, taking up space on the page. For this week, I told the student, "You're starting a new story. It can't go over 500 words." Because most student feign a heart attack at 500 words, I didn't expect today's comment.

"What if I go over 500 words?"

"Then we'll cut it down to 500."

The paper was at 800. "I'm kind of done, but I need to go back and add all the dialogue and stuff."

He keeps trying to add more into the story. It's about his weekend at NabrasKon, and I instructed him to write about one event. Just one. "What about one on Friday, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday?"

No. I don't need it. Even I, in all of my nerdy glory (I thought of grade points as experience points yesterday), don't need to read about your weekend that much. Focus on the small things. Make them interesting. Make them effective. Make them efficient. I conference with him on Friday. I'll be sharpening the knife.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So Far, I Like It

After day one of new class tactics, I think I will really enjoy it. For Comp, time flies by, and I have a scheduled time to yell at people when they don't turn things in. The only downside I'm seeing is that I have to stay organized and know what I'm going to say for each student before our conferences. So far, this hasn't been an issue. Today, I actually worked ahead (wasn't planning on that), and I had some dead parts in our conversation. I had a student ask me if I wanted her to come back after I knew what I wanted to say.

In General English, life was great for me. My co-teacher has volunteered to take the half of the class that never wants to do anything. My half isn't great, but they are a quiet bunch and mostly want to at least have something to do.

My biggest fear right now is taking a day off. For Gen English, it won't be bad, but I don't want to miss a day of conferences ever. So I guess I'll keep plugging along and hope that nothing unexpected shows up.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Trying New Things

This week, I'm starting something new with my classes. This seems to happen every year. I'll start the year, things will go pretty well, but I'll find that something is missing, and I go into trying something different.

In composition, the name of the game is conferences. I've split my classes into five equal groups, one group for each day of the week. Each day I'll meet with the people in that day's respective group. Each student will receive feedback specific to their work ethic and ability. Overall, I hope that this cuts down my grade time because I actually talk to each student every week.

In general English, I'm splitting the class into two. One side is made of students who have decided to move ahead and read on their own--basically, those who want to learn. And the other section are those that couldn't give two farts for education. With a co-teacher, one that hopefully shows up on time, we will trade off with the groups and work with them at different paces. This is not going to be as easy as composition, but will hopefully be more beneficial to those who want to learn something.

I didn't sleep too well last night, so I'm pretty tired. I may fall dead tonight..then rise from the dead to live again tomorrow.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Heading for the Weekend

It's getting closer. I can almost taste it. Though this weekend will be like so many before it and load me up with a lot of things to do, I welcome it anyway. I preach tomorrow and still need to pull my sermon together. On Sunday, I'll have plenty o' grading to do. But aside from that, no real plans. Wife has a baby shower on Sunday, and I should probably rake up the million and a half leaves in our back yard. In my spare time, if I'm not totally exhausted, I'll write.

My writing has been fun, but I didn't get a chance to do any last night at all. Instead I went and saw Where the Wild Thing Are. If you haven't seen it yet, go. For me, there were so many levels to connect with. There were the childhood remembrances, but I've heard a lot of people talk of that. What thrilled me were the creatures. It makes me sad that so few creatures are created anymore. With the rise of CGI, the beauty and art form has suffered, and with the talent of the Jim Henson company, I could cry that they don't have more opportunities to demonstrate their magic.

Anyhow, I must do work stuff again (lame).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I Feel Alive Again

Even though I love Ray Bradbury and the earthy ideas that may lead back to a better way of life, I love my computer. For the last three weeks, I've been without laptop, and it has driven me a bit batty. My blog has suffered horribly, I haven't graded as much, and writing seems like a hassle because I'm stuck at home. But all of that is behind me now. Super-awesome friend of mine told me yesterday that she has a "spare." The story is something along the lines of, "I got one through the district, lost it, thought it was stolen, got a new one, old one showed up. New one was better than old one, so I have the original just hanging around."

Now it hangs around with me. Though there are elements that haven't been updated in at least two years, I'm thrilled to be plugged into that nebulous, electrified web.

Wrote more for NaNoWriMo last night. I'm having some fun with it and keep getting more ideas to play with. Tis good to write again even if I am way behind my goal.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Back to School and NaNoWriMo

Well, school started back yesterday, and I'm glad it did. It was really nice to have something to distract my brain from the weirdness that plagued it last week. However, I was reminded that there are some really brainless people out there. We are filling out forms for the PLAN test (pre-ACT) for my 10th graders. Part of the forms ask for students to identify whether or not the are affiliated with a religion. I've never see so many confused people. "I don't know what to put down." I would ask what church they went to and they would look at me and say, "I have no idea." I know that I wasn't always too observant growing up. But some of these kids go to church every week, and they have no idea what church they go to. Sad.

Even though I told myself I didn't have time, I signed up for NaNoWriMo again. We'll see how it goes. I stated on my idea and feel weird writing so much about vampires, werewolves, and zombies. It's not my usual style or interest, but if things work the way I hope, it could be pretty cool. Well, gotta go. Peace, home-fries.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hurray! A Week Off!


Things are weird right now. School is out for the week so I can sleep in all the way up to 7:00 now. But with time off comes the pile of grading that I stupidly made for myself. I had all the assignments due by last Friday so I could have the time to grade them over the week. That made sense. But now it's about the last thing I want to do--a reality made worse by the idea that a majority of my students did not do their assignments correctly, so I've got to decide how much time I want to spend digging around on GoogleDocs to find what they turned in and what is just hanging around. Wow, that was a long sentence. The other thing that's weird about having a week off is I'm saying things like, "It's already Tuesday." Only when you have time off do you get so worked up by the second day of the work week.

I finished reading Mark Buchanan's The Rest of God. People need to read this guy's books. He's about as entertaining and insightful as a writer can be. And with this book in particular, my identity as a Seventh-day Adventist is made all the stronger (though also needs to be taken more seriously). Find any of his books, they're worth your time.

Weirdest thing--I went to California this weekend to perform the ceremony at my brother's wedding. In short, there was no wedding, and the weekend was instead plagued by emotional awkwardness. It's a good thing in the long run, but it's really stuck in my head (can't imagine how much worse for my brother).

Hopefully, life picks up and I get things done. I'm planning on getting cats to the vet, getting contacts that actually help me see, rearranging a good chunk of my house, and seeing some movies that need to be seen.

Friday, October 9, 2009

50 Hour Week

Parent Teacher conferences are always a real pain. It's not that the parents are so bad. It's not that I don't want to see parents (because I do; way better that talking over the phone). The bane of it all is the extra eight hours I have to put in over the first two days.

I don't know what would make this necessary nuisance any better. Maybe line it up with a break or a long weekend. That would be awesome anyway because so many take a day off anyhow by the end of the week (apparently we have 8 teachers for which they couldn't find subs).

Luckily, my classes remain chill throughout the day and this weekend requires little to nothing of me. I will grade and read, play games, and not have to teach a Sabbath School lesson or preach. Stress should reduce, and life will be peachy.

In other news, I'm getting the itch to write again, but I'm truly distraught about how to go about it. Ideas are coming and going on a week that I can't focus on much of anything. And with my laptop urinated on and my destruction of my mouse for my desktop, I'm not sure how things will come to be (I've even been jotting down things by hand...BY HAND! It's all caveman-ish.).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Things that make you go, "@#$^%&!!"

Last night I went to see Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D--good times. Though I can agree with a friend of mine that they are not my favorite of the Pixar crew (pretty sure Up will go uncontested for quite a while), but these two flicks are still pretty sweet. First of all, I haven't watched either in years, so to revisit them in a theater with the bonus of 3D was a great little outing. The downside to the evening is that it led for a later night than usual, and with that, my day has decided to seize me.

I woke up late. I was expecting that. I rushed to get ready and was about to get out the door when I noticed a funk steaming from my take-home-stuff-from-work bag. I think I had noticed it the night before when I went to the basement to feed the cats, but I couldn't identify a source, so I thought nothing of it. Now, with me fighting to get out the door, the smell was unmistakably familiar--urine.

"You've got to be kidding me."

In my bag, a folder full of graded papers and my school laptop marinated in a puddle of piss. It was a moment when I couldn't even think of a swear to fit my irritation. My wife felt horrible for me, but obviously her sympathy was all she could offer. I wipe the machine free of most of its foul feline coating and popped the battery out figuring that it could be anywhere among the cracks. Eventually I wrapped it in a grocery bag and headed for work.

Couple of hours later, and nothing has improved much. People have asked me if it still works. "I don't know," I tell them. "I'm afraid to check." Eventually, I did. I clicked the battery back in, plugged it into a wall, and it squealed at me. The sound was like a whale song, but higher pitched and furious. I picture a guy listening to the sounds in a room and interpreting. "Mmm...she's angry."

I'm angry.

Parent teacher conferences are tonight and that machine has my student records on it. Luckily, I know my students fairly well by now and we can talk about character and work ethic more than assignments.

The only other joy of today is that the computer guy at school was very cool about the who thing. I'm on a list to get a new computer by the end of the month anyhow, so my old one was going to be gotten rid of anyway. I'll be without a laptop now for a couple of weeks, he says, but after that, I'll have a better machine.

Nine and half hours to go before I head home...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Writing Makes Me Giddy

So, it's not a lot of words, and it didn't take a real long time, but I just had a blast. I'm part of a group working on a collaborative web comic (something I was a bit unsure of given my lack of artistic know-how. But I just jotted down some ideas for three comics, and I think they're just dandy. And if they aren't, it was fun anyway.

I miss writing a great deal. With November a month away, I've been seeing people talk about and sign up for NaNoWriMo, and I hang my head in knowing that their isn't a thirsty penguin's chance in the Sahara that I'll be able to take the time to dive back into writing any decent amount of time until I get a school break (and even then, I'll likely be grading on all my back-assignments). So thank you Broken-Heart Bear for the taste of the good writing life.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Testing Day

Today is the first day in which we administer the Writing Graduation Demonstration Exam. For me this is one of the biggest days of the year as it determines which students I will have for years to come and which will be let loose upon the teachers who have to worry so little about writing deficiencies. From what I've seen so far today, I am pleased. Though many fine students will be disappearing from my classroom at the end of the semester or the end of the year, I am thrilled to see many of them move on to higher level classes that will challenge them and mold them into breathing, thinking, meat-bags that may do something with their lives that may come back and benefit me.

On the other hand, I can also see among the pages the students that will be my new BFFs for the next two years or more--those that either can't write well (I don't have a problem with them) and those who won't try (the most frustrating human beings on the planet).

So overall, it's a bit of a bizarre day as I watch them test away. But on the plus side, I'm cranking out more graded papers today than I have in weeks. Testing instead of teaching has a few benefits.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Different Feeling to Responsibility

A week ago or so, I put a plan into motion to relieve the pastors of my church of their typical preaching duties. As I talked to my senior pastor, he thought of more ways to utilize me and the rest of the church elders. End result: Elders run communion this week, and elders search and assign speakers for November. I got an email from my pastor today stating that the speaking duty for communion was mine. As often as I speak in my church. This one feels quite different for a couple of reasons.

1. In the Seventh-day Adventist church, communion comes around every three months. It's an event of great significance that doesn't always inspire the awe and respect it should. For me to speak at this puts a new responsibility on my shoulders--to set the tone that exudes the reverence such a ceremony should have (a feat I'll have to repeat in a month when I conduct my brother's wedding ceremony).

2. Whenever I speak, it is on whatever I feel God has given me to say. This time, I'm given the topic--Communion--that leads to the ceremonial foot-washing--a part of the service whose significance has eluded me for years. Already, the Spirit has been giving me great things to say, so it's all very exciting. But again, a new responsibility.

3. Ten minutes. Because of washing feet, extra prayers, bread munching, and "wine" slurping, I'm suppose to keep my message to ten minutes. If anybody knows me, or has seen me speak, this limit is a joke, an impossibility.

Fortunately, God will work. I am beyond fortunate to have him use me for His glory.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monster Meditation: Psalm 15

1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

2 He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart

3 and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,

4 who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,

5 who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.

Along every Christian walk (or for any other religion I suppose), people want to know about the specifics. The "What must I do to be saved" mentality floats around the consciousnesses of millions. Strangely enough, though, most people don't speak it aloud. Aside from the rich, young ruler and a handful of other Biblical folk, you won't hear very many people plainly ask, "What do I have to do to be at peace with God?" Anymore, I think this sprouts from a fear of following a religion from fear instead of love. I think it sounds that way. If you do such and such a thing, you'll have eternal happiness. Choosing a religion sounds like too much of a self-centered choice.

But maybe that's why we get our instructions in these kind of vague terms. Psalm 15 is a decent sized list that doesn't offer any specifics. Despite this, I think the message is very clear. Really the self-centered issues comes up when you struggle with these ideas. Do we know what it means to walk blamelessly? Probably, if we think about it for a little while. What about not casting slurs on our fellow humans? I think that is quite plain. Despising that which is vile? If we take a moment to think of these things, we should be able to find a path that leads to God's throne.

Maybe we want something simpler. By breaking down these ideas to smaller bits, we find an instruction manual, something we can follow without thinking. With God, however, thinking is where He meets us. It's where He wants us to be. Love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul, mind, and body. The rest is just details.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend Update


I hate being that guy that posts just to tell people how busy he is, so I won't come right out and say it...but wow.

The weekend seemed a bit wacky. Saturday was mostly good, but Sunday left my head spinning. I awoke and cleaned up a bit around the house. Left the house around 9:30 and graded for a couple of hours. This is pretty standard Sunday fare, but I was annoyed that after two full hours of grading that I have at least that much more to do. I don't think that it's because I've fallen behind (though I'm not taking the time right now to remedy the situation), but it's starting to settle in that my current class load requires a lot more time to grade...a lot more time.

I mowed the lawn for the first time since early July. Surprisingly it wasn't awful. I only took care of the front (the back is a whole other beast), and I expected my allergies to declare war on me all over again. Luckily though, I finished that fairly quickly and, thanks to my gorgeous wife's awesomeness in buying me new drugs, allergies never entered the picture.

We're trying to get things ready for the fetus. So my wife was way busier than I was (feeling guilty for even whining right now). But there was a good chunk of the day dedicated to clearing out the spare room as we prep it for Squishface when he arrives.

Church had an ice cream social on Sunday also. So I had to drive around town to pick up massive tubs of sweet, sugary goodness and then help serve it all up. And with a church board meeting tonight and another two events next weekend, church will continue to dominate our time.

Finally got to settle down, and we watched Last Crusade. Dang the movie is awesome--simply, purely awesome. More than anything, I realized this time through how groovy the stunt work is, and I missed the days when a film had elaborate action sequences that required dozens of people to tumble, yell, and fall. Then I missed the integrity that Spielberg and Lucas used to have.

By far the best thing of the weekend, though, and it totally made up for this whole whine-fest happened Saturday night. My wife has been trying to get me to feel the fetus kick for weeks. On Saturday night, while watching Return of the Jedi, I finally did. It's a weird experience. If you didn't know there was a kid swimming around in there, you'd never notice. But it was really cool to be able to feel something alive in there. I think he was just so excited that my wife was finally catching up on her Star Wars that he couldn't stay still and wanted to affirm what was happening.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monster Meditation: Psalm 12

On Friday, I didn't get on the internet at all. I'd like to say that this was because I found wonderful things to do instead that benefited the human race, but no such luck. It really bothered me, because Psalm 12 has such a gem that I want to explore further. So, you get it today.

1 Help, LORD, for the godly are no more;
the faithful have vanished from among men.

2 Everyone lies to his neighbor;
their flattering lips speak with deception.

3 May the LORD cut off all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue

4 that says, "We will triumph with our tongues;
we own our lips—who is our master?"

5 "Because of the oppression of the weak
and the groaning of the needy,
I will now arise," says the LORD.
"I will protect them from those who malign them."

6 And the words of the LORD are flawless,
like silver refined in a furnace of clay,
purified seven times.

7 O LORD, you will keep us safe
and protect us from such people forever.

8 The wicked freely strut about
when what is vile is honored among men.

I can't begin to calculate how many times I've heard a "We're going to hell in a hand basket" type of phrase after watching the nightly news. The idea of this world (or at least country) going to pot has surrounded me as I grew up in the church. It's inevitable, after all, that this world will eventually end--or change entirely (kind of a "The good man who was your father ceased to exist" kind of thing). But while we sit in our pews and gripe about the condition of the planet and those that inhabit it, I don't think I've ever heard an explanation.

Verse 8. People in many churches talk about Satan's hold on our lives when they discuss the wretched life quality of our world. But David points out here that everything that oppresses the good people of Earth stems from other people. Because people have the choice to serve God or Satan, the blame, though still tracking back to Satan, lies with those that tolerate--no, accept and adore--horrible things.

To me, the sad thing is truly that so many people know this to be true. Turn on the TV or radio and you can witness the blame game. While the streets and airwaves are crowded with slander, people don't stop to think that they are part of the problem. Really, where people should direct themselves is toward a place where they won't play the same game as those they have come to despise. As Christ did not play by the rules of those that killed Him, so should the righteous not play by the rules of the wicked that surround them and lead the planet down the ever-darkening road.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Monster Meditation: Psalm 10 (and a bit on 11)

1 Why, O LORD, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.

3 He boasts of the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD.

4 In his pride the wicked does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

5 His ways are always prosperous;
he is haughty and your laws are far from him;
he sneers at all his enemies.

6 He says to himself, "Nothing will shake me;
I'll always be happy and never have trouble."

7 His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.

8 He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent,
watching in secret for his victims.

9 He lies in wait like a lion in cover;
he lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.

10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.

11 He says to himself, "God has forgotten;
he covers his face and never sees."

12 Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.

13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
"He won't call me to account"?

14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief;
you consider it to take it in hand.
The victim commits himself to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.

15 Break the arm of the wicked and evil man;
call him to account for his wickedness
that would not be found out.

16 The LORD is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.

17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

Over the last several years, I seem to have been becoming a humanitarian. I think it has to do with being a teacher and seeing how poorly a lot of people have it. Or maybe it was when I taught Pop Culture Studies specifically and focused on the cultural side of issues that we've been dealing with for decades if not centuries. Regardless, I love how this psalm deals with the issue.

If I have any critical complaint with the Psalms, it's that David (and the others, but he does it a lot) pulls a mood 180 so often. I realize that when looking to God's face, your problems become smaller (if they don't just disappear), but still. I like to see things as they happen--slowing down the moment. Psalm 10 slows it down and I don't get the feel the writer comes out of his or her spiritual funk for no reason. Instead, I feel that the writer is proclaiming a call to God to work in favor of the oppressed.

This thrills me. I think mostly because I have so many times heard the comment, "How can bad things happen to good people?" I think the question is bogus anyhow, but even if it weren't, this Psalm addresses that so well. In the first eleven verses the write is obviously distraught over how much is going on without any evident intervention from on high. But once verse twelve hits, God is brought into the equation--a God that hears, that cares, that won't let things carry on as they are. This is one of those things that seems to rely on "the patience of the saints."

Psalm 11 continues in this idea with David writing about how ridiculous it is to cower from the powers that may oppress the people of God. Verse seven makes me smile. Justice, it seems, is what everybody looks for in this world. Almost anything is acceptable, so long as justice is involved. However, whereas many would argue over what justice is and when it is right, God looks on to the poor and beaten down, those that have been looking to Him for help, but have been caught in circumstances that will not free them, and He prepares for their freedom, their salvation.

1 In the LORD I take refuge.
How then can you say to me:
"Flee like a bird to your mountain.

2 For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows
at the upright in heart.

3 When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?"

4 The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD is on his heavenly throne.
He observes the sons of men;
his eyes examine them.

5 The LORD examines the righteous,
but the wicked and those who love violence
his soul hates.

6 On the wicked he will rain
fiery coals and burning sulfur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.

7 For the LORD is righteous,
he loves justice;
upright men will see his face.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monster Meditation: Psalm 8

1 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.

2 From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:

7 all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

I'll work a retro-active thought summary on Psalms 5-7 another day. But this one is so good, and I meant to have it up on Friday, so I'm going with it.

This Psalm hit at the right time of my theological labyrinth. This is the aspect of God I prefer to spend more time on. Even though there vengeful, wrathful characteristics exist, Psalm 8 present how,I think, we are to experience God. I will continue to try to work out the hard core side of God, but this is the God I see when things are sailing smooth, that is to say, when I'm being the kind of person I'm supposed to be.

This psalm holds one of my favorite lines in scripture. Verses 3-5 are beyond astounding to me. The first thing that thrills me is the image I get of God creating with His fingers, like he finger painted the universe into existence (may explain the blotchy character of so many nebulae. But on top of that, all of these things that an artist may love, he looks at us--little more than snowmen made of mud--and He gives us everything. As I contemplate the sacrifice of Christ and how I should treat all those around me, this is the idea that rises to the top of my thought pool. Regardless of how many things that so many people do, they are held higher in God's eyes than I can imagine any of us deserve.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Theological Labyrinth

A few weeks ago, a friend at work asked me about a billboard she had seen on the west end of town. It read, "The Antichrist changed the day of worship to Sunday. The day of worship is Saturday." It ended with a "call this number for more information" and was sponsored by my church--not my church specifically (at least I hope not), but my denomination. As my friend told me about this, I hung my head in shame. I really don't like the tactics many churches use to get people's attention. Scaring people into belief needs to go no further than Plan 9.

Since that time, I've decided to study out the Antichrist and what it means in scripture--not a task that takes a small amount of time. So I've been trying to take time every night to dig through Revelation 12 and 13 and work out the symbols (and trying not to consult any kind of we've-got-it-all-figured out sources.

On top of this, my reading of the Psalms have led into some interesting waters as far as my thought process goes. For some reason, I didn't expect to run into any walls theologically speaking while reading the Psalms. But some of the things that David writes bamboozles me. So for now, I'm keeping up with reading the Psalms (very eager for tomorrow's), but some may not be posted for a while (want to sort things out a bit more in my brain).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Good Times

Over the last almost-week, life has been pretty sweet. School started--which is kind of lame be cause I have to work--but I feel alive. I know, Cheesy City. But it does feel awesome to be in the classroom again, especially because I have a very low concentration of juice boxes in my classes. So I get to talk all I want, have a mostly captive audience, and the juice boxes I do have provide me with entertaining things with which to update my twitter ("You've got to be shitting me").

Last Thursday also brought me good times as a crew got together and went to RiffTrax Live. RiffTrax is one of the best things to happen to movies--mostly because so many movies are so very awful. To watch Plan 9 from Outer Space on a big screen was amusing enough, but laughing along with so many people is a pretty good time (except when they laughed hysterically at stuff that was pretty amusing and likely overwhelmed a line that would have been truly hilarious). Also Jonathan Coulton is a now an artist that I want to get into a bit more since I've had his awesome Future and Zombie songs get in my head.

The weekend also led to some groovy mini-golf. I don't even know when the last time was that I played that. Nine people in our group, and it was a blast, and I've been wanting to go back so bad ever since.

The week is starting out pretty well, now, but I've got allergies that are waging war against my face. It's pretty much lousy, but I suppose I'll live.

Monster Meditation: Psalm 4

1 Answer me when I call to you,
O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.

2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?

3 Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord will hear when I call to him.

4 In your anger do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.

5 Offer right sacrifices
and trust in the LORD.

6 Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?"
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.

7 You have filled my heart with greater joy
than when their grain and new wine abound.

8 I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O Lord,
make me dwell in safety.

My favorite thing about this psalm is how David doesn't sound angry or vengeful. There's no jaw or tooth breaking requests here at all. Instead I feel that the tone is one of pleading. David seems to be calling out to the enemies of God and sincerely asking them to think about what they are doing and turn to God. With God as David's safe place to dwell, David is comfortable and reassured of the might of his God.

This is the kind of attitude I need more often--to call my "enemies" (usually students or parents that drive me nuts) back to something better. More often, I just grumble and gripe--exalting my own smarts and reason above theirs. I pray that God gives me the heart and mind to look toward others more compassionately.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Monster Meditation: Psalm 3

1 O Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!

2 Many are saying of me,
"God will not deliver him."

3 But you are a shield around me, O Lord;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

4 To the Lord I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.

5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

6 I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.

7 Arise, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

8 From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

I'm thrilled to not have tens of thousands of enemies chasing me down and craving my demise. This psalm, because of the pursuit (this is David running from the forces of his own son, Absalom), carries a hefty load of power. The first two verses sound frantic, or maybe just David struck with the gravity of the situation. But he moves quickly to his hope and salvation. Verse three's comparison to God as a shield is all sorts of cool. I don't picture it so much as a typical shield from movies or from Warcraft, but more like a shield from Diddy Kong Racing--a brightly colored, swirling number of rays that allow no harm to come to you and knock enemies back if they touch it. This shield, for David, is so trustworthy, so sturdy, that despite the masses that gather to hunt him down, he can sleep peacefully. I don't know that I have that much faith or not. I suppose I'm blessed to have not had to test it in such dire circumstances. Either way, this faith and assurance is remarkable.

Verse seven seems to get violent, and I wasn't entirely sure how to receive it. It makes me think of the curb-stomp in American History X (what with the breaking teeth and all). Then the idea settled on me--God means business. However people want to paint God, the fact will remain that God does not tolerate rebellion. Nowadays, we wait for Christ's coming and the end of the thousand years for the obliteration of evil. But God also watches out for those who are true to Him (as said in Psalm 1). I don't think it makes God out to be any more harsh, but rather protective. Like a parent, He will do what he must to protect His children. Unfortunately, Satan often has so much of a hold, such an implantation of hate stuck into so many, the only way to protect people from the clutches of evil will be to eliminate those that are evil.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Monster Meditation: Psalm Two

1 Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
against the LORD
and against his Anointed One.

3 "Let us break their chains," they say,
"and throw off their fetters."

4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.

5 Then he rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,

6 "I have installed my King
on Zion, my holy hill."

7 I will proclaim the decree of the LORD :
He said to me, "You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.

8 Ask of me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.

9 You will rule them with an iron scepter;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery."

10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear
and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry
and you be destroyed in your way,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

I've heard many arguments and debates about the nature of God, and most of those, at some point or another, bring up the differences between the God displayed in the Old Testament and the God in the New Testament. This psalm clearly brings that debate back into focus. The psalm present a laughing, scoffing, wrath-flaring entity that is rather off-putting and sends me into a whole new world of questions--the biggest one being, "Why don't we see God doing this now?" To be clear, I have no desire to see a vengeful God rampaging about demolishing everybody who opposes Him (the world would be nearly empty), but I do wonder why. There seem to be many people who think of God only as He is presented here, or verses four through six, anyway. This may be the results of our slackerly duty as Christians to promote God's character, but otherwise, I've seen nothing to really solidify the idea of a God who looks at the world and burns with irritation.

Then again, maybe that's why there are so many atheists who scoff at the religious folk of the world. Would it be better, then, to see God's fury from time to time on this planet, signs that show He is there and He has an opinion about the way things are done.

Another, thought. I've heard the Psalms as being prophetic. This psalm is loaded with apparent allusion to the Christ. If that is the case, then it may be that God's wrath that we see flaring up is really the pouring out of His wrath prior to the Second Coming. This would put an entirely new spin on the text and would lead me to focus a lot more on the "Blessed are all who take refuge in him" line and the lines preceding it (verses ten and eleven). Regardless of one's view of God, it boils down to whether or not you wish to serve God or not server God. If you are one to gather together against the Lord, I don't suppose you can expect too pleasant of an outcome, but just like in Psalm 1, we are left the option to change paths.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Monster Meditation: Psalm 1

Two years ago when I started teaching at North Star, I began reading the Psalms. Everyday, I would read through another psalm--multiple times when I could. For some reason, though, I only read through the first 45. So with today being the first day students have arrived, I decided I should try again and continue throughout the year. As I go, I also would like to capture my thoughts here.

Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

I preached this summer on meditation and about how frequently people neglect the practice of it. So with this psalm, that was one of the first things to stand out to me. To delight in any sort of rules and regulations seems backwards to me. But I figure when laws are fully understood and practiced correctly, laws form something that is no longer something that I have to be annoyed with, but rather embrace. Despite my urges to break any of God's law--stupid human nature--I can look at them as a higher standard that, if followed, creates a system for me to latch onto, even root myself into.

I also like the image of the wicked being like chaff. This imagery is repeated throughout scripture, but today, I got a new picture in my head. I see the wicked flailing through life, with no perceived direction--taken wherever life sends them--with goals in mind that only applies to the life at hand.

Finally, verse six adds a dash of hope for me. On my first reading, I got the sense that God watches over good people and let's the sinners fizzle out. But, after a few times through, I noticed that it is the ways of these different people that are affected. God watches the way or path of the righteous. It's like a well-lit mountain road with plenty of shelters or places to contact any authorities in case of emergency. The way of the wicked is a place on which people venture with no life lines, with nothing to save them if something should happen. The hope factor comes in when I realize that a person can switch ways, and in doing so, switch their ultimate destination.

Friday, August 14, 2009

There Was a Whoosh Sound...

...and with it went my summer, leaving me parked in my school building like Dorothy was left in Oz (except I didn't kill a witch upon entry--not a bad idea though). I look forward to the beginning of school because it hasn't changed much from when I came as a student--I see friends that I haven't seen since last Spring. This is awesome, primarily because teachers love to talk to teachers. I feel sorry for my wife from time to time when she hangs out with me and a group of teacher-friends (constant griping, usually).

I also like school because, usually, it equips me with writing material. There are so many nutty people that wander these halls that I don't even have to think anymore when I sit down to write. These first days, though, are insane, leaving me with little time to do much of anything. Starting next week, though, I will likely be posting every day again with silly happenings and psychotic activities of my young scholars.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Going Back

So, with my feeling like my laptop will soon die, I've avoided doing anything on it at all. Unfortunately, I've had enough going on in the last week to write about, I feel totally lame for not stealing my wife's computer to do my blogging. Oh well.

Aside from my sister-in-law and my youngest brother moving to Lincoln (later blog), the next big business item is my job. Today marks the day that I return to work. Nothing more exciting than meetings today (yippee!), but soon my classrooms will resound with stimpy-stompy of colossal, adolescent feet.

In that vein, I had another teacher nightmare last night. The last one I had a week or more ago involved students working beyond my expectations, leaving my plans in ruins. I got angry at them for progressing too quickly and they called the principal to come in the room and yell at me. By the time the principal arrived, the students had all left, and I was trying to put on a shirt (I don't know when I lost my original shirt, but at that point, the shirt was gone).

Last night's was more terrifying. I dreamed that I had a schedule conflict for my first class--teaching composition (which really is on my schedule) and co-teaching with another with another English Ten teacher. They were both schedule during the same time (first class of the day), and I decided to commit to the co-teaching. I was soon sought out and barked at quite harshly by administration for neglecting my composition duties.

It's been a not entirely too strange addition in my most recent line of bizarre dreams. Last week I had to flee a team of assassins that somebody had hired to kill me. The dream had a very Samurai Jack/Dexter's Lab feel. Very strange.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Literary Drawfism

I should have been talking about this all week: Bring the Ink is an online literary magazine that just launched late last week. In their first issue, I was granted a space to wedge in one of my Substitute Chronicles. Go check it out. There are some of the other pieces I've not had the chance to read through yet, but the ones I have are pretty awesome. So go there.

In a similar vein, I went with my wife to Nebraska City yesterday to hear my friend present his lecture on Magical Realism and do a reading from his novel. It was stellar. Also, I heard the reading of another incredible writer, Aaron Stueve. As I listened to these two brilliant roam through their words, I felt inspired and very tiny. I enjoy writing, but as I put on my bio for Bring the Ink, I am a dabbler. I like being a dabbler--means I don't feel a lot of pressure for my writing. But if anything, yesterday taught me in my small state, that I have lost some of the importance and power of words (and maybe communication as a whole).

Despite feeling a bit inferior, the inspiration that smacked me upside the head was awesome. I've got a lot of work to do on some of my writings, and with any luck, I will complete them.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Last Friday, my wife came home and had a hankering for some MMORPG action. We hadn't played World of Warcraft sine January, and truly, I was convinced that I'd not play it again, that I'd have the willpower to resist the urge. 


With her reopening her account, I've tried to avoid contact with with the life-sucking force that is WoW. But I've found that, really, I just want to be around my wife while she plays. In the months without WoW, we have spent more time watching TV and movies, playing Catan (an equally powerful life-sucker), or playing video games in the basement (separate TVs, but the same room at least). So I fear that I will succumb to the siren call of Warcraft once again. As soon as I get my PC back from my computer-savvy friend, I'm sure I'll hop online and begin the lengthy process of downloading who knows how many patches that have come out since January.

It's saddens me a bit to know that I am willingly going to plunge back into the Warcraft World, but with Star Wars: The Old Republic on its way, I know that I wouldn't be holding out for much longer anyhow. Fair well, analog world.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Should Have Been Updating

Usually, if I don't update, it's because nothing is going on. In the last week, however, my life is packed full of stuff, and all along the way I was thinking, "I need to blog this." Mostly it all boils down to my fear that my laptop (the one from work) will die soon. I don't know how old it is, but I've seen a lot of people I work with shriek with rage as one by one, their older work laptops flicker out. So I've been trying to not use it much this week and instead wait for my wife to come home with her much nicer, much newer laptop on which I feel safe.

By far the coolest and most important thing I've been involved with since last week was my church's community outreach on Sunday. We connected with Lincoln's city mission and sponsored a day at the park for parent's and kids who don't get the opportunity to run around and forget about life. To watch it was like watching a good sunrise. Kids were having a blast, adults were having a good time, and a billion hot dogs were eaten. My favorite moment was a three or four-year-old who dropped an egg during an egg toss. His faced scrunched, his fists balled, and he stomped the hell out of that egg. Yolk flew and splattered. Then he smiled the biggest smile.

I also had some thoughts about stupid people that might make a quality reflection, my wife started her World of Warcraft account again (making me want to follow her lead), and my brother went to Guam yesterday. So, because I've heard that people have often enjoyed my typically short entries, I'll leave you with this and get back to these other things tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back Home

On Monday, my wife, fetus, and I returned to Nebraska. I don't know what I'll do with Colorado--each time I go back, it appeals to me more and more. I love where I live, but you can't compare Nebraska to Colorado (unless it's the third of Colorado that is east of Denver and is far more hideous than the completely flat state I now call home).

But being back has already been great. I've had meetings (not necessarily great) that started yesterday and will continue until Friday. These are to set new testing for English Ten teachers in the district, and it has been way more fun than I would have thought possible. Working with quality folk makes all the difference in the world...and I get paid more (yea!).

I played Risk for the first time in maybe a year. That game so rules. The hardest part for me anymore is choosing a color. I always took green until I met my wife who would punt a puppy if she didn't play green. My older brother was always red, and my other brother was always black--so those colors don't feel right if I try to be either of those. So I moved to yellow--a color that I figured would never be desired by anybody. I mean, who chooses to be yellow. So it became my color of choice for a few years. Enter Chris Smith. When he and his wife moved to Lincoln, life was awesome, but it brought an unforeseen darkness into the land of Risk. The first time we played together, he reached for the color that he lovingly refers to as "the PeePees." So again I was a man without a color. All that's left is blue and gray. Anybody can choose blue, and gray seems kind of woosy. Alas, I will forever live in torment.

In other news, I'm going back to Aikido today. I haven't been thrown around in two weeks, so I'm thrilled, though I'll likely be sore tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I have always held the opinion that Colorado (along with Texas) is the most arrogant state in the country. And though I've been frequently annoyed with Colorado-natives wandering into Nebraska, or anywhere else that doesn't have mountains, and reminding people of their lousy scenery, I can totally see where they get it from.

On Wednesday, we went down south to Durango. It's close to a four hour drive, but more than half of it is through some of the most beautiful country you've ever seen (pictures coming later). It was fantastic--so much so that I can't really explain it in any other way. Durango is a touristy town, but it's awesome because the attractions are generally low-key and native-performed. So we had a great time going to the Bar D Chuckwagon and coming home to stop in Ouray--probably my favorite Colorado town--to eat at a stellar Mexican restaurant.

Now it's pure relaxation day. We may go see Public Enemies this afternoon and head back into the mountains tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Road Trip And Books

I'm in Colorado now. The main thing I have to say is, "I forgot how miserable humidity can make life." Summers in Lincoln usually aren't that bad according to a thermometer, but with the humidity, I kind of want to die sometimes. The last few weeks, Lincoln has been in the 80s I think, but has felt like hanging out in the bowels of Satan. We rolled into Grand Junction today when it was 90 degrees and it felt awesome--just great. I stepped into the shade and instantly felt cool.

Anyhow, it feels good to be back in Colorado and hanging out with my parents. Had some homemade icecream (pure awesome) and we're trying to figure out what we're going to do for the rest of the week.

In the car, I got a lot of reading done. I read out loud for part of it--Serman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Alexie is just one of those author's that everybody needs to check out. Aside from being a groovy writer, he brings the Native American life into your brain. The first book I read (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) of his was hilarious, but with Lone Ranger, you definately get a lot more of a depressing reality.

Also, I finished Big Fish. The film by Burton has been at the top of my list for years (though Pan's Labyrinth has been fighting for the number one spot), so I've been wanting to check out the book for quite a while. The two compliment each other well. And I liked the book quite a bit, but Wallace isn't the most stellar writer, so with a Summer filled with Bradbury, McCarthy, Alexie, and DiCamillo, Wallace just doesn't stand up as well. It's still worth while, but I like how the film took the material and wove a more cohesive story from it.

I'll try to keep updated throughout the week, but like I said yesterday, things might get busy. So at least I'll try to get some pictures up.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Ought to be Packing

Today my wife, fetus, and I are heading to Colorado. This is a vacation that we've been working on for quite a while. It started with my parents' idea of trying an Alaska cruise (suggested two years ago), but with economic insanity and other financial restrictions, we opted for a visit to the folks' place and gallavent about the mountains and nearby sights. It's going to be awesome. So I'll be out there for a week, so I don't know how often I'll get to update. So I should be packing things as our departure time is about three hours from now, but I wanted to rave a bit about Away We Go.

This film is great, though I don't know how everybody will react to it. Really, it's a fantastic flick for the sake of mirroring a lot of what my wife and I are experiencing. The story follows a couple with their first child on the way as they try to figure the best place to settle down and start a family. It is a legitimately good time, and rather humorous (if you like John Krasinski, you can't go wrong here). But the thing that really stuck in my brain were the similarities between either the story and characters and my life. For instance:

1. In the movie, Burt and Verona find out that the only family they have in town is moving to another continent a month before the baby is born. My brother and his wife are moving to Guam and will be missing the arrival of our kid.

2. Some friends of Burt and Verona miscarry. I found out that some good friends of mine who we expecting also recently miscarried.

3. Burt in general reminds me of the way things work in my brain. I don't act like Burt usually (though there were some blaring similarities), but the things he did in the film mirror much of what goes on in my head.

Anyhow, go check it out. I'll try to see it again if it's still around another week. It definitely has that indie film flair, but not in such a way that you can tell the crew were trying to strike and be different for different's sake. And with a summer of such a crap-load of lousy movies, this should rank pretty high on your list.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tenure Class

As it stands right now, I have to really screw something up to not have tenure. I'm embarking on my third year, and I've slogged through the most worthless four days of my existence to lay hold of the golden status that grants me eternal job security. Speaking of worthless, let me expound on just how awful these days have been.


When will people realize that that's all it is--a theory. Tuesday began with the Oompa Loompa standing at the font of a multipurpose room in a local elementary school with her tiny hand held as high as it would go. But from the moment we went silent, she began spouting out every piece of educational jargon in the book. Jargon is all ready the scum that grows in the nether regions of any career field, but why do the high-ups feel the need to spout these vomitous bits every chance they get? Is it superiority complexes? Likely. "I've been to school for a thousand years and have lost touch of reality. Let me show you these complicated words I've discovered."

Blah blah blah...

Most of the time, it's not the argon that is in itself horrible--it's the lack of creativity. I hear the words you're saying. Try some new ones now. I heard the words "collegiality," and "repertoire" enough times that if they were pennies, I could have fed all of China for a week. Use a different word. Seriously. It's not that hard to say something different that means the same thing.

Practice what you preach.

There was one poster that listed either facts or suggestions to run a quality classroom. The first thing on the list was "The teacher talks too much." The instructor spent the first 45 minutes talking about her family, especially her son, Nicaragua Nick. The second thing on the list said, "Get to the point." Her 45 minute spiel was for a purpose (according to her). Nobody knows what it was.

On it went for four days. Four. Life hath not sucked so much. I may take some time on Monday to show some of the things we did to stay sane. But my battery is all but dead. So I'll have to post this.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Honest Modesty

So I went to lunch with Ted Kooser yesterday. My department chair won a lunch for four people with him, and I was among the group that got to go and hang out with the former poet laureate. And the first thing that I noticed and what is sticky with me the longest was how darn humble that man is. As a writer, I feel it a challenge to not be excited about my writings, even if I know they're not astounding. But here's a man who has won a Pulitzer, served two terms as National Poet Laureate, and lives in a dinky little town north of Lincoln that loves eating at the cafe in town. He works in a little building that he bought for $1,000 where he spends his days, reading, writing, painting, and/or napping. But when we talked to him, he always directed our attention to the town and people around him. With his paintings (which are quite good), he smiled as he told us that he would never try to sell them, but paints for his own sake and sometimes just gives them away. He has a way about him to truly bring out the charm of a small town, and it made me want to live in a tiny place (maybe Lander, Wyoming, as my wife would love).

You rock, Ted.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Let the Kids Blow it Up

I swear I had posted on Monday. Sorry, folks. 

Well, there's a lot to yammer on about this week--reflections on the best amateur fireworks show I've seen, the most horrid and vomit-inducing class I've taken in recent years, and my lunch with former American Poet Laureate Ted Kooser. I've decided to talk about Ted tomorrow and build up my thoughts on my current class (they are many, though in the same vein of hatred and boredom), leaving tonight's post about fireworks.

I've liked 4th of July all my life, but I don't know that I've loved it. It's always been fun and had been a good reason for my mom to make homemade ice cream (peach--it's the bomb-diggity). But growing up in Colorado meant we never got a lot of leeway in the explosives department. With fear of forrest fires, the biggest things we could set off were fountains, and as cool as some of those can be, they stay entertaining for only so long. I'm told that Nebraska has restrictions, but compared to firework famine that Colorado endures every year, I was about to witness the clashing of heavenly bodies.

New theory, the best fireworks show you'll see will result in leaving high schoolers in charge of everything. On Saturday, we had a church youth group 4th of July party in Bennet. Tell, the host as it was, is a fireworks fanatic. This kid's parents give him his birthday and Christmas presents in the form of fireworks--and he knows how to put on a show. I was excited to see things blow up in the sky, but Tell and his friends coordinated several "light and run away" moments that left a platforms a-blazin' with several fountains sprayin' and artillery shells booming. On the second stage, other families brought their fireworks piles. In this arena, the result was a man tying Black Cats into a nine foot-long bull whip and waving them around his head while they sparked, sprayed, and smoked.

The finale of the night was a group of kids making a pipe bomb from several artillery shells and taping them into a launching tube. They set it off in the street, and the blast sprayed about 100 feet in every direction. I'm pretty sure I now have plans for every summer now. 

Friday, July 3, 2009

Yard Work and Smash Bros.

So I've beat Mario Galaxy and finished The Road. Both are awesome and should be partaken of. So now I'm moving on to new and not quite as awesome things. Tuesday and Thursday were my yard work days. Tuesday wasn't anything special--just put down a bunch of paper in an area behind my garage. It usually grows to be weed central. The guy who owned the house before us kept his dog in the area, and it would be a great place to store a boat or something. But I've no hound or boat, so it's been a worthless chunk of land that just looks awful. Yesterday was more of the real work. I got to haul around 26 bags of mulch and throw them on our long, empty flower beds. I don't know if they guy before us even had anything in those, but they've been an even bigger weed issue, so it was high time I did something about it. Now it all looks so pretty. Unfortunately for me, I'll probably have to keep the yard work schedule. Other duties that I've outright neglected have come to a point that can no more be tolerated. Gutters need cleaned, dead seed pods and stick still litter my back porch. The beads in the front of the house needs some addressing. And since I'll probably have to start watering my lawn, I'll have to start mowing more often (yippee).

In other news, I've started playing Smash Bros. Brawl. Smash Bros. Melee accounted for many an almost failed class in college, and I've not really played any Smashy goodness since. But since my brother is leaving and left me his stuff, it's back in my possession. A friend of mine and I played for a could of hours on Wednesday, and yesterday...I don't even know. It's not as awesome as Mario Galaxy if you have to play alone, but you add other players, and I don't think there's a game I'd rather play. Luckily, my other friends have jobs, so I won't get sucked in entirely and lose myself to the power of the Smash.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bad Eyes

I had an eye exam yesterday. Like any exam, there's nothing too fun about them, but this one was especially irritating. My eyes are worse then they were last year. It's a frustration I don't know how to deal with. Since 5th grade, I've had glasses, and my eyes have been in decline ever since. I had thought they had leveled out by now (haven't changed prescription in quite a few years). Part of my thought processed went over the idea of going entirely blind. I don't expect it any time soon, but what if it did happen? What would I miss the most? Sunsets? Sunrises? Blossoming trees? My cats doing stupid stuff? My wife? To think about it, it all would be unfortunate. The mundane would appear fantastic if one had never seen it. I suppose I would have to look to my other sense. What would I indulge in. I love music, but if hearing became my primary detection device, would I want music on much? Unfortunately, the other sense don't seem to be set for detection as much as experience enhancers. There are too many things that you wouldn't want to experience first by touch (fire, ice, swords, sharks) or smell (farts and pickles). I don't think it's even possible to taste most things as a first experience ("Oh, here's the lamp!").

I think of the people healed in Scripture and look to the day when I won't need stupid contacts to see. That will be sweeter than anything I can imagine.

Monday, June 29, 2009

First day of Summer

It's here! Finally, three weeks after school is out, I truly get my Summer break. My class is done and I have no real obligations. I'm sitting in a coffee shop with nowhere that I need to be. Throughout the week, I'll be doing some yard work stuff (yippee-skippy), and I've got an eye appointment, with a few errands to run, but now I can hang out, write about the things going on inside my head and begin working more on writing a iRiffs script. I'll be updating the blog more consistently, but I have no idea how much stuff will be awesome for you to check out. Whatevs.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Reading and the Wii

My brother is moving to Guam. It's crazy to think that in a bit over a month he'll be on the other side of the planet. In the meantime, though, he's been trying to find cheap/free places to store his stuff. Most went to his in-laws' place. But to me, he gave all his movies, music, his TV, video games, and consoles. I've completely rearranged my basement and life in the aftermath. The Wii and I haven't had a lot of encounters, though I've found it pleasant on all occasions. But now that I have it, and on a better TV than ever before, I'm lost with Mario.

On the more intellectual side, I've been reading more this Summer (finally). I'm currently in the middle of The Road (that reads funny). It's awesome. I'm near a hundred pages in and I don't really want to stop reading.

Here's the conundrum: I love Mario and I love The Road. So what's a guy to do? I'm torn. It's like I'm in a crappy chick-flick and I can't decide between the fun, exciting person with no future, or the deep, meaningful relationship that doesn't bore me, necessarily, but sometimes does put me to sleep (my biggest complaint about my life--maybe to be explored another time).

I guess for now I will cheat on both and indulge as much as I can without one knowing how much I love the other...this is getting weird. I better stop now.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Movie Sadness

I realized this week that movies suck this summer. Star Trek was groovy, Up thrilled my soul. But now, I don't know if there's anything else I'm excited to see until 9. I totally sucks. Maybe last year spoiled me. With Iron Man, The Dark Knight, Get Smart, Wall-E, Kung Fu Panda, Tropic Thunder, and Hellboy II, I had something to look forward to. It's not even that they all delivered as I had hoped, but I at least looked forward to them. This summer is giving me nothing. I'm trying to be excited about Transformers, but I wasn't a fan of the first one, so I don't think I'll care all that much about this one.

I know I'm not the only one feeling this, but is it being too whiny? Must I suck it up and move on with my life--try a new medium for entertainment? Even then, it won't be the same. Movies have a special even t feeling to them that other media lack (unless you're a fan of particular young adult novel series, but even the big ones there are now concluded).

On the plus side, maybe it will save me some money.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So, for being Summer, I'm amazed at how busy I am. It's probably because last Summer was centered entirely on World of Warcraft, but I honestly feel quite busy so far. I've been taking a class through the university that focuses on ways to utilize technology in a writing class. It is awesome. When I think of any of the classes I've had that are supposed to enhance my teaching and classroom activities, I kind of want to throw up--they've just all been so horrid. This, however, is just plain fun. We've been dinking around with podcasting, iMovie, Comic Life, Wordle, wikis, nings, blogs, Twitter. The list goes on. It's made me realized what a nerd I truly am. Not just a Star Wars, video game kind of nerd, but a Dexter's Lab kind of nerd. I'm seriously just loving everything we've gone over.

This is the last week of the class, so I'm hoping that things calm down a bit more for me. I did my final presentation yesterday, so already, I feel like I have more time (hence my return to the blogging). Unfortunately, I have to take another class in about two weeks. And after this tech class, I fear that the next will be disappointing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer Times not Lazy Time

So I've been looking forward to Summer (as every teacher does), but I never figured I'd be as busy as I am. I'm in the middle of a summer class which takes up my morning (more on that later) and I've been working on a bunch of stuff with my house in the afternoons. It's been a good schedule, but it's driving me a bit crazy that I'm not actually getting the time for what I was planning to do, namely writing and reading. Luckily, I was able to drag my carcass out of bed and get to Bagels and Joe to do some writing for about an hour and a half before my class. It felt good. Hopefully I can keep that up and maybe even get up earlier and find a place that opens earlier to go and spend my time at.

Otherwise, I went down to the University last night for Jazz in June. I recommend. It was just nice to go, grab an awesome cheeseburger, and chill with people with a band doing their thing up front. I think I'll be going to the other concerts throughout the month.

Anyhow, it's class time, so I'll see you back here tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Three More Days

As of this morning, I have three more days of this school year. Just thinking about it has made my head explode twice (very messy).

Finals are my favorite time of year because it makes a lot of students care for the first time all year. And this year, as an added bonus, I'm making all but one class diagram sentences, which thrills me more than anyone could imagine.

With these last days, I'm starting to get all excited for the summer and my summer happenings. Starting next week, I'll be taking a class that gets me some graduate hours. It's gonna be sweet, yet bizarre to be back in a classroom as a student. Otherwise, I swear by my right earlobe that I will read. Every summer I aim to read like a fiend, and every summer starts well before it crashed in a flurry of unread pages.

And writing. With the class happening throughout June, it throws off my writing hopes a bit. I like to write in the morning, right when the coffee shops open up and stay for at least two hours. Unfortunately, most coffee shops around here don't open until 7:oo. So I'd only get an hour in before I've get to get to class. Lame. Hopefully I'll still get something good done by getting together with my friend for a writing group.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Camping and Up

Went camping this weekend for the first time in I don't know how many years. It was a pretty good time despite having half of the crew sick. What I did notice, for me, is that I love the night time when camping, and have little to no love for the day time. At night, with the fire, smoke, and cool evening air, life is awesome. During the day, however, the fire loses its magic, the smoke is a hassle, and the air is far from cool. I didn't want to do anything except lay there and wait for the next breeze (which didn't come by too often). Still, it was a good time and it made my weekend seem extra long.

On Sunday, I went and saw Up. Go see it. I remember when Shrek came out and my mom was so thrilled that they had put in so many "adult" jokes into a kid's movie. Up does that even more and take the material outside of the comedic. The first 20 minutes were outright sad and we see Carl's whole life leading up to his being required to move to a retirement home (reminded me of About Schmidt). But the rest of the movie is quite funny, exciting, and touching. Of the summer Blockbusters (of which I've only seen Wolverine and Star Trek), Up should be at the top of your list.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Don't Know How to React

I got a class from my brother last night. We've lived in the same town since his first year of college, and even though we don't see each other all that often, it's been kind of nice to have him there. But now he's moving. I knew he would be. His wife has graduated and they've been looking to relocate to a place where they are more likely to both get work. Possibilities have been California, Oklahoma, and Guam. Yep, that's right, Guam.

So he calls me last night to tell me that they're near 100% sure that they'll be living over-seas. It's bizarre, mostly, to know that I'll be related to somebody who lives beyond the realms of a road trip. It's cool, I guess, but it's just plain bizarre--I have no real reaction. A huge part of me says, "You sure you want to do that?" while another part says, "Well, that's pretty groovy. And if you feel God calling you there, more power to you."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Last Wednesday, a student had her iPod stolen from her purse. She sits right next to the door, rarely stays in her seat, and doesn't seem to focus on a whole lot. When she realized the iPod was stolen (after class and after most of the class had walked by her purse), she nearly melted down. I understand that. Having things stolen is a cruel and horrible thing. What sucks more, though, is that now, almost a week later, she has returned to class and is questioning and accusing everybody. One student was officially questioned and searched last week. Nothing was found on him, so now the victim is trying to play investigator. She accuses everyone, and frankly, everyone is getting pissed.

One girl told me she won't be back for the rest of the week because she can't stand being asked one more time. Of course, that's no good.

Another student had an iPod stolen today, but she is just sad and bummed out. No swearing, no accusing, nothing irrational.

The first girl stolen from, carried another iPod with her in class today...

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm glad it's Monday...Weird.

I generally take side with the "I hate Mondays" crowd. But for some reason, I'm really happy to be at work. There seems to be just enough going on at home or in my personal life that has kept me either on-edge, worried about something, or just stupidly busy. I haven't been able to get the grading done that I need, I've had a lot on my mind about tenure, and I've finally started thinking seriously about looking into Master's work. The frantic busy times of my Sundays have made it very difficult to put energy into any of it.

At work, I'm diagramming sentences (something I've always been nerdy about) and I'm getting more time to relax. I've been able to put myself at ease more thoroughly than I have been able to do this weekend.

Also, I had time to read a good chunk of scripture. Hebrews 12 is just plain groovy, and got me highlighting all sorts of juicy spiritual tidbits.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oh No! Work!

I've always considered myself a bit lazy. I often wait before plunging into anything and then take the way that seems the easiest. But if being a teacher has taught me anything, it's that I'm a frickin' busy bee compared to the slothful work ethic of my students.

I have my composition kids writing one paragraph corresponding to a subject that begins with each letter of the alphabet. By the end of one week, students will have 26 paragraphs. I've never seen anybody freak out so much. The word seems to have spread to some of my other classes. "How could you do that?" they scream, as if I've led a marching band over a field of infants.

Then, today, I told my English Ten that they will likely have to write out 15-16 paragraphs for their take-home Lord of the Flies Test. They didn't freak out quite as much, but those who had been talking instead of taking notes had to scoop their slackened jaws from the floor.

It's the sadist in me that leads me to writing. It's thrills me to see them dip into what they consider suffering. I don't even try to tell them it's because they'll have bigger things to write in college or that it will do them well in the long run. I just want to become a figure of a mean, old man.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Registered Trademark

I hate the symbol for trademark and registered trademark. I especially hate how they clutter up the symbols and logos. This is especially true of the many awesome looking designs that frequent our media. My annoyance began a few years ago when I got a new hat with the Batman logo on it. I still like it plenty, but I hate how there's a little, yellow squiggle on the top right hand side of the bat. This little TM blotches our visual landscape and I'm not going to take it.

Then another thought came to me: can anybody use the trademark or registered trademark whenever they want? Are those symbols registered trademarks? I would like to just start putting those marks around my name. Can I do that? If they are registered trademarks, they should have an endless chain of circled "R"s that fade off into infinity.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Graduation and Star Trek

I want out of school so bad. Yesterday, my brother's wife graduated from college. With the ceremonies and the like, I really felt like school should be out. Alas, I have anther 3 weeks and finals after that...grumble.

The weekend was not a restful one. We stayed up a bit later than normal because my parents were in town, and there was a bit of family drama on top of it...grumble again.

This was all relieved a bit, though with Sunday evening. My wife and I went with some friends to see Star Trek. I've never been a Trek fan. I've always like science fiction, but being a Star Wars fanatic makes me feel like a traitor if I soak in the Trekkie culture. I just realized the Trekkie is an recognized word...weird. Anyhow, the movie was awesome. I heard some negativities on Facebook after we got home from some other folks I know. I disagree with the nay-sayers on this one. For anyone to create, or recreate (which was what the Facebook critic was griping about), a new installment of a decades old franchise that is fresh, entertaining, and hasn't destroyed the integrity of the franchise (Lucas should take lessons) is no small thing. It makes me kind of want to get into the other movies and the series more, something that Hollywood would have definitely wanted.

Time to get back to grading.

Friday, May 8, 2009

From Wolverine to Lord of the Flies and Beyond

I said I'd talk Tuesday about Wolverine, and as tends to happen, life got in the way and I lost myself in whirl of my week. So here are the thoughts of all sorts of things this week.

Wolverine: I've tried to make myself think better of it since I saw it last weekend, and though I'm coming closer to not hating it, I still have images of young or normal Wolverine looking straight up into a sky camera and yelling "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Another teaacher said he saw it and thought it was pretty good. I experienced this kind of thing last year when Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hit theaters. This other teacher tosses in little bits he knows about Wolverine and says how well the movie captured it. It really only bothered him that they made Logan from Northern Territories instead of Ontario (this teacher is Canadian and apparently wants to make sure this fact is straight).

Film Snob: Sitting in the theater for the first time in about two months, and on a Saturday night no less, I realized how much of a snob I am. As people crowded around me and their banter filled my ears, I began to hunch in my seat, trying to shield myself from these people feel is crucial film knowledge. In particular, the people right behind commented on the slides and advertisements that flashed on the screen. "Orlando Bloom has Elven script tattooed around his wrist," the screen informed us.

"Actually," the patron behind me added, "all the actors in that movie got tattoos like that."

"Really?" asked his friends, in obvious awe of his vast and powerful intellect.

I began to think of David Sedaris' essay about theaters in Europe that are perfectly silent that play old classics all day. I craved that. With Wolverine being especially crappy, I really, really craved that. Instead though I thought about Shepherd book's information about the special ring of hell for people who talk in theaters...that made me smile.

Christ Figure: We recently read the part of The Lord of the Flies where Simon staggers into the chanting savage tribe and gets beaten to death. This in mind, we spent a day to talk about the use of a Christ figure. It was a thrill to be able to talk so much about Christ. It pops up from time to time, but I don't get to go into any details about things. This allowed the opportunity to say a great deal more than normal on the subject. In each class, students asked in one way or another if this way something that we could even be talking about at school. As one student put it: "Is this English or church?" My favorite parts were that students said more than I did about who Jesus was and the good news that his story is.

Misrepresentation: With my wife's magazine poised to boost and praise Christian schools, she and I talked a lot about common beliefs about public school from people who have never set foot in one. "I can't say the name of Jesus, or else..." That kind of thing. It is really too bad that there is so much fear about unleashing kids to the evil place of public school while not understanding how much can be done in those places.

Parents: My folks will be in town this weekend for my brother's wife's college graduation. It will be groovy. I've not seen my parents since Christmas and it seems that it's been about as long since I seen my brother and his wife. Though this makes for a busy weekend, it should mean it's a good one.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rage is Sad

On the corner next to the downtown movie theater, there frequently stands a man with a cross. Every Saturday night, members from a local church stand downtown and preach out warnings to those who might indulge in the less classy forms of entertainment. Typically, I hear a cross-wielding man say things like, "Think of the things you can catch from just one night of pleasure. Is it worth it?"

I've always thought it a weird thing to preach about in front of the movie theater. If that's the message, I'd mosey down to the strip club a few blocks away.

Regardless of the message or the methodology, I feel a sense of pity and admiration. First of all, they are acting on something they feel is right. In a way they have deemed appropriate, they stand at the corner and throw out John the Baptist's message of "Repent." For that, I admire.

This last weekend, though, I began the feel the pity. Often, this preacher is approached by the rudest of the rude. They laugh, swear, mock, question. As my wife and I walked by on the way to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine (I'll talk about this tomorrow), I heard the voice of the angriest observer.

"Where the fuck did Adam and Ever come from?"

There was nothing casual about the question. It was yelled, spat out in contempt. A friend added, "Where did God come from?"

"Yeah," the antagonist yelled. "Where the fuck did God come from?"

The man with the cross (more admiration) didn't get angry at all. He responded with quick little bits that his attackers wouldn't hear.

As I walked on, the pity fell on me. These scoffers won't listen. They never will. They are likely to never accept the idea that God has always been and will always be. They aren't looking for truth. They search for the lies and the lies only. For what reasons I don't know. Unless the receive a Paul-esque experience (the Almighty Christ knocking them to the ground and blinding them), they are likely to stand outside of the new Jerusalem and still bellow, "Where did you come from?"

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hurray for Taste!

I have a sticky note at eye level in my cubicle. "Pray" is all it says. I started this a few weeks ago to help me focus on the Almighty a bit more frequently. It works pretty well, but like this blog, sometimes I don't know what to say to God (I know, sometimes I just need to not say anything). But today, while I was eating almonds and dried mango, I was smacked with the thrill of taste.

I thanked God then for taste. It blows my mind that our world can have such a variety of sensations, but even so much variety for just one of our sense is incredible. I don't even know what all to say about it, but God is a stud for making so many things that taste so different, and then to have so many things mix so well to get more tastes.

Slow down and taste.