Thursday, December 31, 2009
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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."
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
1 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 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
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
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
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
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
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
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
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
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
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
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
Friday, June 26, 2009
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.