Thursday, July 1, 2010

A New Home

I've blogged for about two years now. The nature of posts has shifted dramatically over that time. Twitter, Tumblr, and podcasting opportunities have altered my way of communicating as well as changing my communication needs. Therefore, I've found a new home for my thoughts. Some of the Monster Meditation posts may make the move over, but I think that my dialogue in The Brain Cave will be of a different caliber, more focused and most of my posts will remain here and only here. I do hope to see you meander over and see what's buzzing in my head.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Bible: Day One

A friend of mine was going to read through the entire Bible over the summer. I thought that was pretty groovy. I know there are still sections that I've not read (or not in context). Also, there are always so many stories and pieces that I have forgotten or remembered incorrectly. So far, after one day, I've read the first 16 chapters of Genesis. Good stuff.

Genesis 1-3
Creation of the World, Adam and Eve, Fall of Man

Genesis 4
Cain and Abel, first murder

Genesis 5
Adam's Descendants, Long life spans, Enoch walks with God

Genesis 6-10
Noah and Repopulating the Earth, A year on the boat, Origin of nations and peoples

Genesis 11
Tower of Babel, a monument to man's power, language origins

Genesis 12
Promises to Abram, Abram in Egypt (lying about wife)

Genesis 13-14
Abram and Lot, the first recorded war

Genesis 15
God promises Abram a great nation

Genesis 16
Sarai gives Abram Haggar as a wife, Haggar speaks with God

Moving through scripture this fast is fascinating. Putting these stories so close together puts a whole new perspective on most of them. The time line interests me, and the "firsts" are just so interesting.

The posts here may not be always deep throughout this endeavor, but I want to try to keep a record of what I go over each day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Smart Phones: Batman's Greatest Gadget

While teaching, I created in my head a new kind of villain-The Grammarian. A cruel fiend that, like the Riddler, would like leave clues behind. However, his clues would all be something that only a true linguist and language commander would ever have a chance to decipher. I pictured Batman screaming in the night, "Why didn't I learn to diagram?" I realized that all of Batman's gadgets are created and designed for very specific functions and he always must return to the lab for a lot of the tough stuff.

Why doesn't Batman have a smartphone? Is Gotham so outdated? Is Batman too proud? I thought of the later scenes of The Dark Knight when Bruce Wayne utilizes cell phone technology to plug his eyes and ears into the heart of the city. Had he a smartphone, he probably could have checked Twitter, seen that The Joker was trending, and tracked him down just as quickly. Think of all the riddles he always has to figure out, the time wasted wracking his brain. Just run a Google search. Riddler apprehended in no time. Apparently, Batman is a digital immigrant.

But really, maybe this is Batman's real super-power. In a world where technology rules and controversy explodes over the overuse of said tech, Batman lives and relies on it, but doesn't seem to demonstrate a short attention span, he has an excellent memory, and he lacks the impulses to update his status.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Church has Died

I am friends with a great many Christians. They are group whose company I've enjoyed for years. However, I've been feeling a concern for many of them lately. I do not fear that they are straying from the throne of God only to meander into Satan's clutches or anything like that, but there is something happening.

It's a story that is replayed quite frequently among people I know. Friday night hits and the group starts slipping away to go home. Somebody, usually my wife, calls out, "See you in Sabbath School tomorrow."

There is a shifty-foot filled silence as eyes dart about the room. "Yeah, we'll try to be there."

It seems that sleep is the ultimate deterrent for most I know. This issue has been something that has bothered me for more than four years. At that time, most of the people that would choose sleep over church were college students who would say up front, "Nine-thirty? That's so early. I'll still be in bed." God wouldn't wake up early for you either, was my usual response. Since then, I've tried to tone it down. What bothers me is that if something demands your time, such as a job or school, I know that people get up and move. But there is something casual enough about church that allows so many people to roll over and sleep on.

This whole irritation magnified a few months ago. Having a 3 month old child is no simple thing. And getting said child ready to go anywhere is task that doubles my normal preparation time. Still, my wife and I do what it takes (getting up early, mostly) to get our whole family to church. Never before has sleep been a more enticing option, and yet we still do what we can to make it to our Bible study classes as close to on time as possible. With this is mind, my rage (maybe righteous indignation) flares. How hard is it to get up in the morning? If I can make it with a child, then I see no reason others can't do the same thing without such a time-handicap.

This is becoming a rant, not what I intended. Reality is, I fear for communal spirituality. In college, I was all for skipping church, all the while declaring, "Going to church doesn't make you a holy person." Though I still believe that, I've found that a community of believers is more than beneficial--it is spiritually mature. Church is a place to reestablish faith, and in many cases, defend it. To find God in the morning among people who carry their own beliefs, so way off-base, is an excellent exercise to engage in. Also, my wife and I often try to get other searching-for-God Christians to attend. My wife's sister, for instance, brought her boyfriend (for all practical purposes, an atheist) one week. The room was nearly empty. My closest friends did not attend. Nothing in my recent history has pissed me off so thoroughly. Here's a situation that requires a gathering of Christians to show an example, to dispel many pre-conceived ideas. But when the time came, they chose to stay home. They were ready and willing to socialize afterwards, but by that time I was furious, brooding, and crabby.

As I said earlier, I do not fear for the salvation of any of my friends. Our conversations smell of spirituality, and our Bible studies seem ripe with blessings. But there appears to be a lack of concern for church, an issue I've never before concerned myself with. Recent times have shown me, though, that when Christians don't gather together, damage is done. Whether it be in the minds of the few that blog their frustrations weeks after the fact, or the damage is done among the searching, the damage still exists and strains to maim relationships and weaken holiness.

Fatherhood: Loneliness

The greatest irony of having a new person join your life forever is how lonely you can become. Playing off my last post, life is more lonely ow than ever before. I have a son (still fun to say), but so much has changed that I have felt pangs of loneliness that I haven't felt since high school (which so sucks).

I thrive on social gatherings. I need them. It is a rare day that I will say, "You know, I want to stay by myself for tonight." During my first four years of marriage, my wife and I have been social butterflies flitting between groups every weekend, and often during the week. We'd stay up late, play games, have 24-hour movie festivals. Now the boy has arrived, and so much has changed.

I'll never say that I'm not thrill to have my son. I'd take him in a heartbeat over anybody else I know. But there is no denying that he has been a handicap to our social activities. This is no surprise. Yet, I am still stunned by the magnitude of the impact he has had. V mixes well with our friends, they love him much. But what drives me bonkers is knowing we have to go home early and that I know we've been left out of other plans. This is the high school feeling all over again. "Don't you like me? I thought we were cool." Bleh.

As mentioned in my other post, I know there is no malice being slid back and forth, but the brain and heart can take off in all sorts of different directions and pull your logic and reason with them.

I mentioned in my last post that there will soon be another father in my social arena. This thrills me to no end. If nothing else, these posts are a way to sort through my thoughts and goofy feelings. But before too long, I'll be able to actually have a conversation about them. For fatherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me. But it has been the most trying experience in ways I never would have expected.

My Own Road

Satan's being a brain fuggler again.

Through the last month, I've felt it--the devil is messing with my head. March is usually in my top four months of the year, but not so this year. Instead it has been a month of panic, guilt, depression, and meltdown. Reasons for the turmoil are already being assembled in future postings, but one of the main reasons is this--I'm on my own road.

For me, sharing a common human experience is one of the most important realizations for me. It's what drew me to literature, writing, and language. Growing up, I shied away from most literature because I saw it as the musings of the pompous and snotty--pricks that could never have an understanding of what I had to deal with in life. It wasn't until college when a brilliant professors made it all click for me, spun that magical thread that showed me how I was connected to everybody, that out there, somewhere, hundreds, if not thousand and even millions, of people know what I go through daily (sort of like I Heart Huckabees, but less crazy). Lately, however, I've been feeling a lot more of the solitude of life.

I dealt with this when my wife was pregnant. For this reason, I loved lamaze classes because it let me connect with people, I rediscovered that thread. Now, that thread seems to have disappeared. Being the only expecting couple among my friends was tricky. What my wife dealt with was unknowable by any of the other wives, and the anxiety of becoming a father was unknowable among the husbands.

It's happening again now that my son is here. It's interesting to see how the dynamic of the group has changed. Some of it may have been unavoidable even without a child, but with a car seat in the back and a diaper bag across the shoulder, it feels more obvious. None of the changes were intentional or malicious, but they are very real and quite odd to deal with.

As the only father in my social circle (but there's another on the way. Yippee.), I feel I am on my own road that is heading in not a different direction, just a different route. Maybe I'm taking Route 66 while the others are blazing along the interstate. I don't know. Whatever it is, though, I feel a unique tug and direction to my life right now that I'm not sensing from the others I hang out with. More of this to come in soon-coming, perhaps slightly depressing posts.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Irony of Privacy

I was all bent out of shape not too long ago about censorship and concealing information on my blog. Then I realized nobody really reads my blog. Those who do are the grooviest people around, and they certainly judge me not by any sort of offensive, cooky, or whatever that I write. So, life goes on. Some things that I do want people to read will likely be published here and on Tumblr, but life will likely continue on the way it used to.

Thanks to the readers who actually take the time to sort through my thoughts. You are a sexy lot.


Recently, I've been reading through some of the old testament books in hope to reconnect with some of the old and "Seriously? I've never heard of that" stories. I skipped past the book of Moses (though I know there are scads of stories and tidbits I don't know about) and took off with Joshua, finishing up through Ruth most recently.

Ruth, a book I had previously struggled with to find lasting value, grabbed hold of my mind this time through. Ruth's devotion to her mother-in-law, Naomi, slid by as a point of truth I've heard too many times to interest me. However, between the two I came to another gem.

After losing her sons, Naomi is heading back to her homeland. Ruth, the wife of one her Naomi's sons, is ready to travel with her away from everything she knows. Here we find the most famous passage from the book--"Your people will be my people, your God my God." This comes after naomi suggests that Ruth stay with her people, to return to her former way of life. "Your reason for associating with me is gone, so why don't you return to what you know," is the kind of idea I've been playing with for a while. I believe that Naomi suggested Ruth stay in Moab (her home country) for noble and kind reasons, but I this idea of changing between different ways of life has stuck with me.

Why do people join churches? Reasons abound, but what interests me is how they are treated when they come. Do "God's people" ever suggest returning to an older way of life. I hope not, but I'd bet my toenails that it happens all the time in the nonverbals, indirect comments. Had Ruth listened to Naomi, she would not have gone down in history as David's great-grandmother, she would likely have not stayed familiar with the God of Israel, she would have gone back to a Moabite's way of life (Moab was often in conflict with Israel), and her soul may have been lost. Tragically, not everybody, I'd say most, who come through the church doors are looking for stability, to lose something in their life as well as gain something. This transplanting of lives takes time and leaves people mighty fragile as they search, question, wonder, and crave. A line from Wislawa Szymborska's poem "A Contribution to Statisics:"

"Out of a hundred people...

-thirty-five, which is a lot,
and understanding

worthy of compassion

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Bela Fleck" or "An Omaha Trip Worth Taking"

I first heard of Bela Fleck in 2001, and it was really through the Flecktones bassist, Victor Wooten, that my fascination with Fleck began. Since then, I've ended up with three different Flecktones albums (Left of Cool, Little Worlds, and The Hidden Land), the Live at the Quick dvd, and given his albums as gifts. During a summer while I was in Colorado, the Flecktones came to the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln. Since then, I've waited and hoped for the time Bela Fleck would return to the area.

I'm tired of driving to Omaha. For anyone who knows me and knows about my Christmas/New Year treks to Omaha, I've become so tired of driving back and forth, putting hundreds of miles on my car, and spending hours of of life listening to music or not (this part can be pretty worthwhile).

Finally, Bela Fleck returned to the area. And finally, I was all too happy to journey to Omaha. It snowed the afternoon before I went, and I worried for a bit that I may be in for a longer journey than I had bargained for. However, the drive went splendidly and I got to talk tot my brother in Guam for over an hour (only the third conversation we've had since he left last summer).

The Holland Performing Arts Center itself was worth the drive. The hall was absolutely beautiful, and I could have sat and stared around for a long time. Design of such places intrigues me and brings me thoughts of the eternal. My brain drifted often to the thought of God's throne room. If people could create such a fantastic place, how much more magnificent will Heaven be?

I sat on the ground floor next to a couple on a first or nearly-first date. She was nice. He seemed like a tool. "I've been to almost every major city in the country," I heard him say. Who cares? Anyhow, when he left to go to the restroom, I talk with her for a while. She was from Kansas City and had never heard of Bela Fleck. "What brings a person from Kansas City to see a banjo player they've never heard of?" She enjoyed her evening, though, and said that it was worth the trip.

And worth it it was. I could feel myself getting a sore throat while I was there, and I was ill the following two days. Worth it.

After the show, I got to meet Bela. He's a cool guy. I had nothing for him to sign, and at first, I didn't much care. I'm not too into getting a signature if I get to meet the person. But as I stood in line, waiting my time with the Banjo King, I became self-conscious. Nothing for him to sign. Would he care? Probably not, but what if? With a very nice lady holding my place in line, I ducked out and ran to the merchandise table and bought more than I needed. I figured, if I'm going to have him sign something, he shall sign many things. I almost kept buying because I wouldn't mind getting my hands on the documentary. But I was spending up to 50 bucks, and that's more than I wanted. He signed them happily, thanked me for coming out. Earlier in the evening I had thought, "I wonder if he has ever dabbled in the idea of producing a crazy banjo gospel project." So I asked him. "That could be pretty cool," he said. "I could get a gospel quartet together and that would sound really cool." So I claim it now: if it happens, I told him to.

The drive home was accompanied by Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba. It was the best drive from Omaha I've probably ever had. My senses were tingling from the show, my mind sharp and alert. I've never been one for concerts (much to my wife's dismay), but seeing Bela Fleck along with such brilliant musicians makes me eager to see more and more shows. My standard now is exceedingly high, with the likes of Trace Bundy being one of few who will satisfy my musical performance hunger, but I am more on the look out for quality, unfamiliar sounds to sate my musical nature.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Beginning next school year, I officially get to teach a pop culture class. I taught such as a class while I was a student teacher a couple of years ago. Right now, I am unofficially teaching the class under a "General Literature" title. As I'm working my way through things on a trial run, I've come up against a notion that bothers me a bit: how should a Pop Culture class be taught to make sure that it isn't a history class. When I worked with the class before, it was just a smidge away from a history class (and an awesome one at that) that started with a 1950s culture and proceeded through the decades to examine how our culture came to be what it is. But for me and my stylings, I feel the need to firmly establish it as an English class.

My ideas came slowly over the past few weeks and started taking root over the weekend. It will take a load of work on my part, but my plan is as follows:

Our culture is several things. Our is a culture of fear, a culture of youth, a culture of infatuation. Culture can be dissected into several themes, each with a history to back it up. A culture of civil injustice. A culture of music. A culture of rebellion. A culture of media.

I want to establish units around a certain type of culture that has at one point or another made a significant impact on our culture as a whole.

I ask you, oh awesome reader, to add any other cultures you can think of for such a class.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

An Interesting Issue of Privacy

I like producing material. I enjoy writing because I enjoy the thought of people reading what I have to say. Since the creation of this page, I have been thrilled with every new person that mentions that they've read it, and even when my best friends talk to me about my blog, my heart beats a little bit faster with the knowledge that my words are not sucked into the internet as light into a black hole.

This lead to self-promotion, slight as it may have been. And with Twitter and now Tumblr, I can write something that is immediately published in two or three places, spreading my written word round the web. Has it become too much. I've felt several times now the urge to write something down, post it, wait to see if anybody shares similar thoughts or if inspiration reaches through them and jerks on the chords of their heart. But my hands stay, hovering over the keys. Though most of the people reading such things would look upon it in interest, I know where my sphere of influence reaches, and in the depths of Facebook, family and fellow church members await my proclamations, and I find that I've worked myself into a corner that requires my censorship. I've spent the time wanting to have my words accessible, not to be read and revered, but noticed. Now, when I am capable of tossing thoughts like kittens in a cotton factory, I worry who will walk in and find me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Big Ol' Stack of Work

I never enjoy taking days off work. Catching up afterward is such a hassle, it rarely seems worth it. Taking five days off in a row has a greatly amplified effect. My work stack of papers and things to sort out upon my return to work is daunting, indeed. I spent about half an hour just sorting papers without having the chance to grade any of them. I have two student assistants--something I would never consider having if not for my work load. I don't know any of my students' names.

The difference between this and any other day-off conundrum is that this time it was totally worth it. With my son at home, I want nothing more but to be there. If there were a way to work at home, I would take it up in a second. leaving home is harder than ever before and I have to take the time before I mosey out the door to sit and just watch him sleep. He's such a stud and he's the most worthwhile thing to look at since I met my wife.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vincent Isaiah Prindle

I have a son.

It's my new favorite thing to say.

I have a son.

There is nothing I've felt that is so amazing or surreal or insane or holy. Since his arrival, I've had so many thoughts and feelings that I don't even know how to process them all. "My wife and I made that." "My wife was a rockstar and pushed that out." "He's so little." Then a floodgate bursts and I'm speechless--lost in the sea of emotion.

So far my favorite thing about him is his tiny hands. When he grabs on to my finger, and I know that's all he can hold, it just undoes me. I love wrapping him into his little burrito. I love just holding him and doing nothing at all.

Work has been a little nutty. Planning for an absence and not knowing when that absence will begin was driving me crazy. And as it turned out, it has all happened right before a new semester, so I have a sub starting my classes for me right now. Planning that about drove me bonkers. To top that off, I got a call just before eight o'clock this morning to tell me that my plans were not to be found because the internet was down at the school (I had emailed all my plans to my sub). The beauty of it was I didn't care. The sub is awesome, and if my plans don't get done just so, whoopty-doo. It doesn't matter to me at all.

Because I have a son.

Friday, January 8, 2010

My Twitter and My Blog

Last night I went wandering through my blog posts over the last year and a half, reading comments and taking note of how frequently I would update and how my thoughts were developed. Among the post, I noticed how many were just odd occurrences and student mishaps. "Why haven't I written post like these in so long?" The answer: Twitter.

I hopped on the tweeting wagon last summer during a tech class, having no idea that I would actually use the thing, let only use it frequently. And though my tweets started as bad Facebook-esque posts (i.e. I'm eating candy again!), they have turned into a home for student antics and stupidity. Now, instead of producing a web log entry to show how I am responding or to show my reflections on the sad state of the world, I cram them into 140 characters and let my followers respond and reflect.

There is a benefit to all of this. More people read my tweets than read my blog (because my tweets double as my Facebook updates), and therefore more folk get to laugh at what goes on in my school life. Also, time is saved (when I began blogging my posts took me forever to craft, but that's another writing issue I've got to deal with).

I do want to blog more often and more thoughtfully. The depth issue may be resolved with the near arrival of Young Master Prindle (I can't begin to think what my brain will do when he arrives, and he may give me more to write about also). I suppose for now though, I will have to settle for a few posts a month unless otherwise inspired.

So feel free to bring it on, Muse.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

First Work Week of the Year

Lincoln Public Schools ranks in the dumbest of districts in the category of planning. When we take our time off around Christmas, we have to return to finish the first semester. This is stupid for several reasons that can be easily foreseen (such as students' forgetting everything before the take the final for any given class). This year, however, poor planning could not have been entirely avoided. As our semester leaks into 2010 (pronounced twenty-ten if you know what's good for you), Lincoln find itself in another run of snow days. Just as it did right before our Winter Break, we have had three snow days that have left us baffled as to how to best end the semester. The days we have, by the way, are not so much connected to the snow, but to the temperature which is reaching its icy fingers down into the negatives (a "feels like" -20). I don't know when that will clear up, but as it stands, we have had to work twice this week back from break. Nutty. I don't know that it would be any better had the semester ended sooner, but at least I would not have to deal with students strolling in on finals day asking, "What are we doing?" Because for that, I don't know what I could give them and consider it fair.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bring it on 2010

I'm very technical when it comes to the new year. The joy and romance and tradition that many people put on means very little to me. It simply means that it's 2010 now instead of 2009. In that mindset, I rarely set up any kind of resolution system, for I feel that resolutions are like so many rules--made to be broken. However, I did get a wave of inspiration this morning, a romance that I'm pretty sure was the result of sitting and thinking that at any time my wife and I will have a permanent house guest. The idea of living for two has been a mighty powerful force that comes in waves and knocks me around, rolling me on the floor of reality and stealing my breath. So with young Prindle soon to be arriving, I've been thinking of ways to enrich my life in ways that benefit ore than just me.

33 Push-ups daily
50 Sit-ups daily
Write 2500 words per week
Write/revise one poem/song per week
Schedule one photo shoot per month
Memorize at least one hymn per month
Learn a new song per month
Prepare one sermon per month regardless of my obligation to preach it
Read at least one Ellen White book

Other ideas went through my brain, but I wasn't sure how to put them in a way for me to quantify. For example, I want to put more focus into the martial arts, maybe get to the point where I'm picking up a new discipline. I want to be the best dad in the known galaxy. I want to record music and make podcasts. The list is already large enough that people could tell me that it is too much, but I figure that if these are worth doing, then I can and need to make them happen.