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Archive for August, 2006

And I Love Living

And when cry it means water is coming out of my eyes, and when I laugh it means my emotions have connected with my muscles, and when I feel my heart it means my soul is wounded, and when I see clouds it means there are millions of gallons of water above me, and when I fly it means that I still have a working imagination, and when I drive it means that distance is all relative, and when I see it means that my eyes are open, and when I walk it means that I still control my feet and that’s also what wiggling my toes means, and when I reminisce it means I have been, and when I plan it means I might be, and when I hug it means I have connected, and when I regret it means I can do better, and when I sit it means I have stood, and when I stand it means i have sat, and when I love it means I have seen beauty, and when I have lost it means I had, and when I give it means I love, and when I laugh it means my mind can’t contain it, and when I praise it means I have been amazed, and when I am amazed, I realize who I am.

I am nothing, but I have learned how to live. And that means that all of this means more than I’ll ever know.

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Just seven days ago I rearranged my room. I returned from the Road Trip to a bedroom missing a piece of furniture – my long had desk which I gifted to my sister. I took her car to california, she took my desk to her apartment.

Let’s pretend it was fair, shall we?

So i had crap (the metaphorical kind) exploded upon my room, and I had to organize it. I love a good organizing challenge. My dorm room last year was fantastic. Something like 12″ x 6″ and I’m supposed to live there comfortably? Oh but I did, and sometimes it even felt homey.

So I rearranged my room, in a very minimalistic fashion, disregarding my almost-but-not-quite-a-bed I had received from my Grandparents when they moved, and keeping the rest. In the end, my bed lay to one side of the room, my small desk lay to the other side, and my recliner was smack in the middle of my bay window. It was quite good.

But tonight I demolished all of that, deconstructing the placement of all these things step by step, re-placing them into carefully packed boxes. It is a fantastic adventure, deciding what in your life is worth taking and what is worth leaving when all of it is needed to create a true feeling of comfort.

My DVD’s are winning out this year again, with the addition of my CD’s, which stayed at home last year. Gone is my oversized CRT monitor, new is a crate-box filing thing that will store all my important reciepts, tax records, and journals. If you break into my dorm room, steal the cd’s and not the crate please. Please too leave the Sufjan Steven’s CD’s, and maybe the Arcade Fire, and definitely my collection of Ben Folds. The rest you can take, unless you are feeling overwhelmingly generous, in which case leave the Jets to Brazil, and Derek Halet. On second thought, take Derek Halet, I’ll replace his CD and you need to hear it.

But please, really, just don’t steal anything from me.

These boxes will soon be packed into my car, where they will remain for a few days while I go visit Paul, the one good friend I haven’t seen this summer.

Then, seven days from now (HA! the title makes sense) I will leave his house and head back down to Dayton, TN, to start the school year.

Actually this was supposed to be about my love of packing, but it dovetailed a bit. Here though:

I love packing! Oh packing packing, how you comple…

I felt like being cheesy, sorry. Packing is a joy in my life though, I enjoy the pre-processing of “I have to fit all of this, into this” part. I work it all out in my head, playing with configurations and so on, until I have a feasible one. Then I attempt it. More often than not, everything falls into place.

And as Hannibal from the A-Team always said, I love it when a plan comes together.

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I’m not one to hop all over blogosphere bandwagons, but this scandal that has broken out about photo manipulation in news services is too good to pass up. Check out Jeff Harrell’s site, (original post here, then here, finally here)for more information, then go over to this page for a full roundup. Best parts are the staged death and the passion of the toys.

The Adnan Hajj story is basically over. A Reuters photographer used Photoshop or a similar tool to fake at least two photographs, and the news agency, to their credit, pulled all nine hundred and twenty of his photos from their library pending an investigation.

But the bigger story — the story of faked news coming out of Lebanon during the recent Israel-Hezbollah war — is just getting warmed up.

For example, Michelle Malkin has the story of a New York Times photographer, Tyler Hicks, apparently running a false, or at the very least intensely misleading, photograph of a “body” being pulled from the rubble of a bombed building. Except other photographs taken by Hicks the same day appear to show that “body” walking around, fit as a fiddle.

Shape of Days

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A friend recently asked me to help her overcome her writers block by me writing. It didn’t make sense, but I obliged because it was a good exercise. She merely wanted a paragraph about a shipwreck, and something else which I forgot. So this was my paragraph:

On the fortieth day, the shipwrecked crew cemented their diplomacy agreement and began anew on setting up a goverment. The parties were fairly evenly split, around 19 to 17, but each had a member of the other that had been taken during their flirtations with party-based anarchy. There wasn’t much humiliation that could be felt by these poor souls, but upon the realization that each had a comrade of the other side, those poor captive comrades became the butt of all possible jokes. On the 300th day, this turned against them, because the formerly captive comrade, now a member of the military class and serving under the governing class in the 3 class democracy system ratified by both parties, had the position of co-lookout. The Senior Lookout spotted a plane, but his co-lookout, still quite humiliated from 237 days before when his jailers found it hilarious to constantly yell “We’re saved! there’s a plane over there!” which he fell for 28 times that day, but never again. Only, that 300th day there really was a plane, but since he didn’t believe the Senior Lookout, the Alert Verification Protocol was unmet, and an alarm was not sounded.

It was a ramble, that’s why there are a couple continuity grammar mistakes, but the concept was humorous to me.

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Under the weather

I woke up unable to swallow this morning, so I won’t be writing much today. I’m feeling rather crappy.

Yet still I”m at work, because it’s my last week and i have these projects with deadlines. I think next summer I’m going to try and get different types of jobs…

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Bedtime lyrics

This is where the ipod jumped, as i started the playlist.

though we’re strangers still i love you
i love you more than your mask
and you know you have to trust this
to be true
and i know that’s much to ask

to lay down your fears
come and join this feast
he has called us here
you and me

and may peace rain down from heaven
like little pieces of the sky
little keepers of the promise
on these souls the drought has dried
in his blood and in his body
in this bread and in this wine

peace to you, peace of Christ to you

though i love you, still we’re strangers
prisoners in these lonely hearts
though our blindness separates us
still a light shines in the dark

and his outstreched arms
are still strong enough to reach
behind these prison bars
to set us free

so may peace rain down from heaven
like little pieces of the sky
little keepers of the promise
on these souls the drought has dried
in his blood and in his body
in this bread and in this wine

peace to you, Peace of Christ to you

A beautiful comfort, but also a beautiful reminder of what friendship is.

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Evil

I think the worst thing about making an honest examination of evil is the part where you must recognize you are evil. To read of the atrocities of this past century – referred to in Os Guiness’s book Unspeakable as the most evil century in the history of mankind – is to recognize that the people who committed those acts are my brothers.

He quotes Eleonore Stump, and I’ll repost her thoughts because it is what is running through my head at the moment.

How could anyone steal at gunpoint food meant for starving children? How could anyone rape a ten-year-old girl? How could anyone bear to steal money from disabled workers or get rich by selling a product he knows will damage the health of thousands? But people do these things, and much worse things as well. We ourselves – you and I, that is – are members of the species that does such things.

It calls to my mind the song John Wayne Gacy Jr., about the serial killer, by Sufjan Stevens. Upon recounting the killer’s horrid story, Stevens ends with the lines

And in my best behaviour
I am really just like him,
look beneath the floorboards
for the secrets I have hid.

There is no comforting way to deal with this subject. Not even as a Christian, who hangs onto the hope of God’s grace, can I soothe my soul. Grace and salvation have no impact until we truly, honestly, horridly look upon ourselves.

What’s more, each of us has evils we have committed that we hide so protectively. With the same desperation that a mother protects her baby, we protect our worst parts only with a motivation of fear and not love.

Or maybe we hide them to excuse them, justifying them in our heads and ignoring them in our introspection. So good are we at convincing ourselves of innate goodness. I am a wonderful person, those things are not who we are, we are who we want to be.

I am not saying that the evil in our lives defines us, for that is a lie many people believe – in the same vein as the lie above that our goodness defines us. What defines us is all too often a seperate but connected subject.

The heart of what I speak of is simply that we lose context of how to deal with evil, especially within us. The truth is as stated above, we are the same species as the worst of the worst, and whatever resides within them resides in some manner, within us.

And that is ultimately what we must deal with. It is what I am dreadfully afraid to deal with. I must own up to these things I have done, I must admit to them. I must recognize that they were evil, they caused suffering or will cause suffering. I must accept responsibility.

I do not like that, and it is partly why the reading of this book has changed my evening. Evil is so much easier to swallow in abstract and philosophic form. But evil cannot be considered simply in the abstract, because evil is not abstract.

So I begin this examination of evil, by reading this book and probably afterwards delving into further writings by other authors. And the context I must remember is that I am not simply trying to understand the existence of foreign or historic evils like wars and genocides and the constant atrocities in the world.

I am actually attempting to understand who I am, and what is within me that must be dealt with me. As Guiness puts it – I must answer not only the question Where is God, but also Where is Man.

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