Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Third Post--Vindicated

I spent twenty minutes googling someone I thought I'd forgotten, gotten past. Why?

I'm caught up in this melodrama, nostalgia. I keep looking back at the past, because the future doesn't have what i think i need in it. I keep tossing glances over my shoulder and turning into a salt pillar. I keep...

It's not quite compulsion. It used to be. Now it's just loneliness. That's a kinder word, at any rate.

I feel like I should be better at being me than I am. I've been working at it for the past score plus three, and I've been doing especially well in the recent past. But i alternate between feeling hopeful and feeling broken. Vital and useless. Up and down.

It's this ambivalence that's driving me crazy. I can't seem to stay in one mode for more than a few days. I keep swinging back and forth, on that razor-thin wire. I am the Pendulum. I am the Pit. I am Vincent Price's worst f-ing day.

I think this back-and-forthness that I cannot escape is why I like the new Dashboard song so much. Because it's both depressing and hopeful. It's struggling to pick a side.

I keep hearing people tell me what I can be. My potential. My responsibility. But it all becomes hollow. I can't hear what I can be. I hear what I am. And what I am holds only the bare minimum of functionality.

I want to be the "together" guy, who's got the maturity to fulfill all his adult responsibilities. He meets his obligations, he is aware of every deadline, every expectation. He comes through with flying colors. And everyone is impressed by him. He's an astronaut.

And I'm not. I'm plain old Dave, struggling to make things work the way they're supposed to. And the saddest part is that I can't even attribute my half-function on being a superhero. There's no good reason for dropping the ball. I'm not saving children from burning buildings, or rescuing damsels. I'm dragging my feet through my life, ashamed of all of it.

I spent twenty minutes looking for some trace of the Dave I was, the one with dreams within reach, with an unblemished future ahead of him. The Dave who was adored by the one he adored. But the search came up empty.

Hope dangles on a string
Like slow spinning redemption
Winding in and winding out
The shine of it has caught my eye

And roped me in
So mesmerizing, so hypnotizing
I am captivated, I am

I am selfish
I am wrong
I am right
I swear I'm right
I swear I knew it all along

And I am flawed
But I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself

So clear
Like the diamond in your ring
Cut to mirror your intentions
Oversized and overwhelmed
The shine of which has caught my eye

And rendered me
So isolated, so motivated
I am certain now that I am


So turn
Up the corners of your lips
Part them and feel my finger tips
Trace the moment, fall forever
Defense is paper thin
Just one touch and I'd be in
Too deep now to ever swim against the current
So let me slip away (3x)
So let me slip against the current
So let me slip away (4x)


Slight hope
It dangles on a string
Like slow spinning redemption...

Second Post--"Third-person Auto."

He never thought of himself as the type to fret, but fret he did.

He'd been turned down for another credit card. It certainly wasn't the first time that had happened, and he knew it wouldn't be the last. But for some reason, this particular rejection hurt him. And it scared him. Somehow, it seemed more real than before. Before, he was unemployed, or living with his parents, or fresh from college. There was always the easy excuse, the "real" reason it happened. But now he was on his own, well-employed, and drowning. He couldn't cling to the solace of student status. He was an "adult." And that made him responsible.

He tapped away on the computer, pulling up his bank account. Not much. Not good. The credit card company had cited his bad credit history, as well as the fact that more than one account in his name was past due. He chuckled coldly. "More than one" sounded almost benign. He counted them out mentally: power, phone, cable, student loans (twice over). Yeah, "more than one" is about right. Fortunately, he remembered that he'd already paid his car insurance, or that would have been added to the list.

He thought of his empty pantry and his less-than-half-full gas tank, and sighed. There's just not enough to go around. He'd already used all the forbearance that the loan companies were willing to afford him. He was at the end of his line, and it was dragging him.

There was no good reason for his situation. He would have been the first to admit this, if cornered. He made enough money to cover his bills, with a little left over. But that little just didn't stretch. But instead of controlling his spending, he embraced denial. He went for weeks before justifying his bank book, out of simple, shameful fear. Because he knew what he was doing, and he was afraid of having to accept the fruit of his actions. So he avoided the bank statements. He avoided the creditors' calls. He hid as best as he could. And he kept holding out hope for some sort of miracle. He even bought a lottery ticket for the big jackpot--something he had never even considered before. Of course, in the grand scheme, this was a small thing. But it was a symptom of the underlying illness. He didn't want to work for what he got. And he certainly did not want to deny himself what his heart (or stomach) desired.

In the last week, he calculated, he had spent about one hundred dollars on a few CDs, a few lunches, and some movies. One hundred dollars that would have appeased the power, phone, and cable companies.

The worst of it, the worst of the guilt, came from church. After all, he believed in what he believed very strongly. And part of that belief and the obedience of that belief involved giving a portion back. His God demanded it. And he wasn't coughing it up. He tried to justify this to himself, saying that God doesn't want gifts given joylessly. This half-truth almost convinced him, but after a while it tore to pieces. And he realized that, on top of not paying his debts, he was robbing his God.

He sat at his desk, his head in his hands, and started having George Bailey thoughts. His life insurance policy was actually large enough to cover all of his debts. His parents, the beneficiaries of the policy, would have enough left over to take that trip to Austrailia that they always dreamed about.

He immediately dismissed these thoughts as foolish. Of all the cowardices he was guilty of, that option would be the worst. No, he had to press on, embracing the consequences of his poor habits, no matter how grim. It was his responsibility, and he would bear it. Even if it destroyed him.

The radio began playing the song "Loser." And he heard it with new ears.

First Post--Lunchtime Links

I'm trying to work up something interesting for this evening, so don't flake out and not come back. But in the meantime, I have a heapin' helpin' of fun links for you fun fun folks.

I found this cartoon's site from...somewhere. (As soon as I figure out where, I'll post the necessary credit.) It reminds me of a conservative "Doonesbury" cartoon. Maybe not as polished graphically, but I think it's pretty funny.

For those of you who despise Christian apocalyptic fiction (and rightly so), this parody will make you smile. And it's not as offensive as I expected it to be. I think the funniest part is that the writing style employed is dead-on. These guys could have ghost-written "Tribulation Force."

I plan on posting a Spiderman 2 review later, but in the meantime, the folks of McSweeney's have done it again--an open letter from a would-be hero that is almost as funny as the one from the garden gnomes.

Also for those who like funny movie parodies, Jen at Gennesaret led me to this page, which contains the latest Harry Potter adventure reduced to fifteen minutes of eye-watering, nose-snorting hilarity. If you've seen the movie, you will enjoy this immensely. (NOTE: This page does contain some bad language and naughty references--no, not THAT bad, but bad enough--so those of you who have not had your souls seared into callousness about such things had best not risk eternal damnation by reading it; but then again, if you've seen the movie, you're already going to hell, so no worries--you're too far gone to rescue. Thanks.)

(I was kidding about the "going to hell" bit.)

Did I tell you I'm moving? Yes, indeed. To the Medical Center area of Houston (five minutes from work) and within walking distance of Six Flags Astroworld (or "Astro-land" as the cool kids call it!). Wanna see? Here you go.

Guess that's it. More later. Right now, my chicken salad is approaching room-temperature. Time to eat.

Monday, June 28, 2004

A Severe Lack of Perspective

I am about to leave, and will save getting into this for another time if you like, but my recent visit to Houston's Holocaust Museum has reaffirmed my belief that those who carelessly compare George W. Bush to Adolph Hitler are clearly suffering from a rather dangerous lack of historical perspective. Here are three quick comparisons to argue with me about:

1) When the National Socialist Party came to power, one of its first acts was to outlaw the opposition party. Is it still legal to be a Democrat? The last time I checked, yes. Not only that, but it appears it's chic to be one.

2) Not only did the Nazi party outlaw opposition political parties, but it routinely jailed and executed political dissidents. If Bush was the new Hitler, Ted Kennedy, Michael Moore, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and John Kerry would all be behind bars. (And please spare me the comparison of Gitmo detainees to political dissidents. The Nazis were arresting people who simply publicly "dissented and disagreed" as HRC does, not just people who planned violence against them.)

3) One famous practice of Hitler's Reich was the burn books that either critiqued the regime or that were deemed "inappropriate" for the German people. Say what you will about the FCC, but there are no book burnings. You can still read "Lolita" in America. "Angels in America" is still being performed. And the last time I was in Barnes and Noble, the "Current Events" table had no less than a dozen pointedly anti-Bush books and only two neutral or pro-Bush books (Jon Gibson's look at the media and Sean Hannity's "Let Freedom Ring"). In a country accused of turning into a Fascist regime, this would not exist.

Three simple examples of how Bush-bashers love using incendiary rhetoric that sounds good and excites the masses, but doesn't even live on the same planet as reality.

Look, there's a lot about Bush's policies that I don't like. But to call him the new Hitler is to reveal your own ignorance of history and to dismiss the real suffering of Holocaust survivors under the regime of an actual madman.

General Nonsense

I'd like to take a moment to show some love to some folk.

I got to spend Saturday with my dear friend Trevor Taylor. Now, I've known Trev for six years, and he's still one of my favorite people, even if I hardly ever hear from him. And he's still just as cool as ever. So much love to Trev. You rock, bruddah. Oh, and since you've finally posted again, I'll resurrect your blog from the "blog graveyard" i've created, and put it back in the Known Friends list. Just keep it up.

But I didn't hang with Trevor alone. I also got to spend the afternoon with Amanda Proctor, a righteous chick in her own right. I knew her as an fairly familiar acquaintance before, but I'm getting to know her a little more each time i talk/hang with her, and she's 100% quality. Good choice, Trev.

So there's that.

I'd also like to send some love to my friends living in the Russian Federation 1 Time Zone (GMT+2). If you are who I think you are, paz y gracia to you and yours. You guys are wicked cool, and I look forward to seeing you on this side of the big pond, when you come back. You owe me coffee, after all. And if you're not the fun folk I know from past employment...well, welcome anyway. And you don't owe me coffee. Although, I'll accept it if you offer it.

"So much to say"

That's generally how I feel. Like I'm about to burst at the seams with words of varying importance. During the nine hours I'm bound to my employer, it hurts the most, because when you're editing and proofing medical documents, you can't follow the impulse to break into sonnets, or to list possible side effects of cancer treatment in terza rima. The bosses generally frown on explaining benefits in haiku. The bosses generally frown, generally.

So when that five o'clock whistle blows (in my mind), I should get excited. Now--NOW!--I have the time to scribble, to cobble ideas together into something useful, to spin and spin and spin.

And just as that five o'clock whistle in my head begins to blow, I immediately grow tired, as I'm doing now. And the tempter enters (small t) and says, just go home. Flip on the TV. Take it easy. You have time. Later on, you can do all that. But you're too tired (busy/frustrated/hungry) to worry about that now.

And the days when I give in to the tempter's persuasion cobble themselves together into weeks. The weeks are sewn into months. The months are stitched into a patchwork of wasted years. And already I see the pattern forming. The familiar threads that weave into a swirl of regret. I used to want to be a writer.

Wait--used to? Still! i scream, I still want to be a writer!

But the pattern becomes the habit becomes the lifestyle. The clever success(ion) of knots--knot writing, knot submitting work to publishers, knot pursuing my dreams, knot demanding more of myself, knot believing in myself, knot thinking i'm good enough. Knot, knot, knot.

The answer's as old as Alexander the Great. Square up to the impossible knots, draw my sword, and slash slash slash.

But the sword feels heavy today.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

"No, Donny, these men are nihilists. There's nothing to be afraid of."

So I just finished Fight Club recently (which was amazing, thanks), and I'm craving some more late-20th century nihilistic fiction. Anybody want to recommend any good, hopeless books? I was thinking of either finding some more Palahniuk, or maybe grabbing some Bret Easton Ellis. Suggestions?

A, B, C, Dave, E, F, G...

Act your age? you mean, instead of my shoe size? not often
Born on what day of the week? tuesday (had to look it up)
Chore you hate? laundry
Dad’s name? David Lee
Essential makeup item? eye-black (the only manly answer I could think of)
Favorite actor? just one? um...John Cusack...or Ed Norton
Gold or silver? silver
Hometown? Houston, TX
Instruments you play? I peck around on the piano... I'ma going to teach myself guitar this fall
Job? scientific editor at a major research hospital
Kids? not that I know of... just kidding. But someday.
Living arrangements? me by my lonesome, in a nice, roomy apartment
Mom’s name? Christina Marie
Need? I like Steph's answer: "no more unrequited love!" But otherwise, cake.
Overnight hospital stays? besides being born, none
Phobias? my sister has this Barbie head, with the hair that you can braid and whatnot; sometimes she puts one of her nightgowns on it, so it's this disembodied head floating around in a nightgown... creepy as hell
Quote you like? "I can see now I never really committed to Laura. I always had one foot out the door, and that prevented me from doing a lot of things, like thinking about my future and... I guess it made more sense to commit to nothing, keep my options open. And that's suicide. By tiny, tiny increments."
Siblings? two sisters (14 and 6)
Time you wake up? In theory, between 5 and 6:25
Unique talent? incredible memory for movie quotes and obscure info
Vegetable you refuse to eat? brussel sprouts are the devil's food
Worst habit? being overly sensitive...and biting my nails
X-rays you’ve had? several...broken bones, lung issues
Yummy food you make? chicken fettucini alfredo--BAM!!!
Zodiac Sign? libra (one of three, apparently)

(Thanks to Steph for this.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Desktop Confessional

I'm a terrible flirt.

I don't mean that I flirt all the time, aren't I so bad. I mean that I'm really crap at successfully flirting with girls. I don't know why it is, but it's infuriating.

Case in point: At a meeting today, where I was in charge of keeping the record (typing the minutes), there was a new girl in the room, one I hadn't seen before. Brunette, dark eyes, a bit of a pout, really cute. Our eyes met once, about halfway through.

Did I wink? Did I raise an eyebrow, showing curiosity or interest? Did i roll my eyes in a mischievous, 'geez i wish they'd give it a rest' sort of way?

No. Dave went into sixth-grader mode, and immediately looked away.

I can't figure out why this is. Possibly goes back to the middle-school, self-esteem thing, but really, that's old news and I'm pretty sure that I'm over all that, at least enough to function as a single twentysomething man-about-town.

There is the concern of creeping people out. I have done that. "Oh, yeah, the creepy making-eyes-at-complete-strangers guy. I've seen him."

But it's not just the eye-contact thing. A few days ago, at Metro, a girl walks up and sits down next to me, asks what I'm reading, starts to make conversation. Her name is Lauren, as I recall. She asked if I was in school. Where I worked. What I did there. Basic getting to know you questions, right?

And you would think that I would realize what was going on and engage in it. You would think that I would be polite and friendly, and ask her the same questions. But this was not so. Dave panics when strangers start talking to him, especially cute, blonde strangers. Dave stutters. Dave answers in as few syllables as possible.

It was like the Eddie Izzard bit about talking to girls in middle school: "Hello Sue! ...I've got legs! ...D'you like bread? ...I've got a French loaf! *THWACK* *running away* Bye--I love you!"

It was that bad. I reached that level of complete ineloquence. Finally, inexplicably, I said, "Um, I'm supposed to meet some people." "Oh," she says, "well, they're probably inside. Or just running late." "Right," I say. "Well, it's good talking to you." "Yeah, nice to meet you." And I walked away.

Gaaaaah. I even thought, the thought even crossed my mind, "Invite her to sit with you, idiot!" But I didn't. I lost my cool. I freaked.

This is a weird thing for me, beyond reasonable explanation. You who know me well know that I'm loud, I'm gregarious, I'm rarely embarrassed in public. I'll be the one to do silly, embarrassing things, just to embarrass those around me.

So why is it that I have such a problem lately? This crippling shyness when it comes to meeting girls?

Reminds me of a great exchange from a really awful movie. A guy and girl talking about the night they first met:
"You were interested in me?"
"Of course I was. Didn't you notice the way I ignored you all night?"
"There *was* something compelling about your indifference."
What I'm saying, right? (Bonus points for anyone that can identify the awful movie this is from.)

That's me. Roughly the same MO since sixth grade. If I'm really into you, I'll completely ignore you for a while, then maybe say hi to you once in a while after that. Because the worst thing is to be the guy who just follows a girl like a lost puppy. That's just pathetic. Right?

Yeah. Pathetic.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

"not for you"

there was a reason why
i never read my mutterings
to large groups at readings
held in smoky coffee houses,
but i never could express
it until recently

(thanks for clearing this
up for me)

the reason is
i'm a feedback junkie
hooked on your favor.

i realized in a flash of
blinding self-perception
that i would gladly rip my
pumping heart from my chest,
veins and all,
and spin it on my finger like a ball,
just to catch your fickled eye.

i would jump through flaming
hooped prose, dancing gracefully between
metaphor and irony, juggling
description, throwing it all
skyward and catching it with
a flourish and a bow,
just to see you smile and nod.

this bothers me greatly.

i have dusty notebooks in my
deskdrawers full of poems that only
two have seen, the one i loved and
the one i trusted

last week, as i was packing,
i opened one and flipped
past a few aborted ideas and
sophomoric exercises, until i
came across something startling

i wrote a poem that i'm really rather proud of
but i'll never let you see it
because it is not for you.


Something more substantial later.

But to tide you over now...

A really interesting critique of "Farenheit 9/11" (no, I won't link it) by a Slate Magazine writer (again, no link) who could by no means be called a conservative. Proof that maybe there are some critical thinkers on the left side of the aisle, after all. (I'm just kidding, folks. Geez, you lefties are easy to irritate.)

An article about the second greatest Elizabethan playwright; though it says nothing about the theories surrounding Shakespeare's real identity. (You former students of mine should be nodding in recognition.)

Another Slate article about the so-called "dodgeball phenomenon" that actually explores the *gasp* positive aspects of the schoolyard pastime. Shocking.

I've also discovered some fun blogs by writerly/teacherly types.

Monday, June 21, 2004


raindrop ideas slide down my nose
and neck, are shrugged off, and

they pelt my head with such
force that they shatter, like glass,
they scatter to the wind like chaff,
to the world's four dusty corners

i need to carry a notebook
or a tiny tape recorder,
like the kind spies use in movies
to catch secret bits of

because i have thoughts, these
thoughts, these ideas like
darts whizzing past, glancing
off my chin, grazing my
earlobes, so close i can nearly
hear them

it would be more constructive to
write them down and use them,
like real writers do (I'm told),
and one day while reading at NYU
to say, "i first got the idea for
this poem" and so and so and so

but at least it's reassuring that
they still whiz past, still prick
me like arrows, still draw blood and
remind me that i can still feel

(i learned that if you hit
a statue with a brick, it won't
say ouch, or flinch.)

Thursday, June 17, 2004

"I like the music, the beat's in my head..."

Because Lucas did it, I'll do it too. No, not impregnate his wife. That's already done.

I mean, post a non-ordered Top Ten CD List.

" *Gasp* You mean, you're going to pin yourself down to a list of favorite CD's, Dave?"

Well, not "pin down" exactly. Since every person's list is different, and since any new CD has the potential of being a Top Ten contender, I will qualify the list by calling it...

(in no particular order)

I'm going to be lazy and not link to anywhere. If you really want to find out more, Google it yourself, you lazy bums.

1) Counting Crows: their full catalogue. Luke did a combo; so can I. My favorite band as well. I even loved "Hard Candy."

2) Wallflowers: Bringing Down the Horse. A soulful, bittersweet album that includes several outstanding tracks. "Sixth Avenue Heartache" alone could justify this album being on the list.

3) Over the Rhine: Ohio. My co-workers are sick of this album. This is because I play it every. single. day. For those familiar, I prefer the first disc.

4) Ben Folds: Ben Folds Live. A man, a piano, and an adoring crowd who sings along on almost every song. Somehow Ben is able to compensate for the lack of accompanying instruments and voices. I prefer almost every version of the BFF tracks on this album to the originals.

5) U2: All That You Can't Leave Behind*. Some purists say that old U2 (pre-1990) is superior, but I have to disagree. The wiser, sometimes world-weary sentiments on the later U2 albums belie a life and career in and out of the spotlight. And this album is the perfect combination of grief and hope, culminating in a rumination on the nature of grace.

6) Barenaked Ladies: All Their Greatest Hits (1991-2001). I love every song on this album. And as corny and immature as their music can be, they can also be heartbreakingly sincere. "What a Good Boy" is absolute beauty.

7) Jars of Clay: Much Afraid. I don't know why I fell in love with this album when I did. But I still love it. Melancholy and wistful, this album is a sweet-sounding sigh, and a welcome contrast to the peaches-and-cream Christian music of the era.

8) Don Chaffer: What You Don't Know. I've been a fan of Waterdeep since college, and Don's solo project is as good or better than the stuff he did with Waterdeep. Some songs aren't as catchy as "Take Jericho" or "Sweet River Roll", but there's a real heart and soul at the bottom.

9) Grant-Lee Phillips: Virginia Creeper. I've listened to this one over fifty times, and I still haveto fight the urge to play it daily, right after Ohio. Awesome.

10) Seth Woods: The Sky is Cyan. The truth is my favorite song of his isn't even on this disc, but it's still a great debut album. I look forward to hearing more from this guy in the future.

*Thanks to Josh for catching my error. The U2 tour for this album was called the "Elevation" tour, and so was the concert DVD. Dave wasn't paying attention and called the album "Elevation" as well, but this is certainly not accurate. Many thanks to clever readers like Josh who catch these things.

"Hello, Ohio, the back roads..."

Good morning all.

I wanted to take a moment to welcome the new and returning readers, as well as those who may be lurking, or have recently come out of the shadows. I appreciate you all very very much. As you've seen, I have days where I feel hopeless and restless, and question the point of ever posting again. But at the end of the day, I like hearing from you guys, and I like being able to communicate with you, however minimally, through this format. So, here's the pledge: barring any unforeseen major life events, if you keep reading, I'll keep writing. I'm renewing my contract with you. Picking up my two-year option. I'll be around these old blue buildings for a while longer. So rest assured, the few who fretted my disappearance. No worries.

I really appreciate the feedback from the poll question. Please keep commenting, especially those of you who don't comment often. See, I have this...friend who is curious about the subject. Yeah, that's the ticket.

General news: I need to find an apartment. My lease is up at the end of next month. Prayers would help, thanks.

How about them Pistons!! I'm so a bandwagon fan now, I will gladly admit that. Anyone who beats the Lakers in the Finals rocks my ever-lovin face off. And they smoked the Lakers. It was beautiful.

Well done, Cubbies, winning the past three games against the Astros. Winning tonight would be a four-game-series sweep. Let's go, boys.

I feel like i should comment on the Southern Baptist Convention debacle, but I don't know enough about it to do so, so that will have to wait. Manders mentioned it, so you could check her opinions on the issues. Myles wrote a bit about it too, you can check that out. In fact, you should read his page. Good stuff. He likes Bill Mallonee and VOL, so that should be some indie cred right there.

Indie cred--the most valued currency in the post-modern age.

Despite Jess' mocking, I still like 50 First Dates. Rented it last night. Funny stuff.

I'm thinking of going to see "Saved!" this weekend. While my Southern Baptist instincts immediately say, "no! can't watch it! must protest it! picket signs and fiery rhetoric! yeeeeeaaaaaaaa! *Howard-Dean-scream* ", I feel oddly compelled. I think it's because I grew up in Christian schools, and I've seen the evil underbelly of private education, from both sides of the "big desk". One article I read mentioned that the writer/director had a similar background. I'm curious to see a less-graceful take on the Christian school system. Could be interesting, especially in light of the recent failed attempt on the part of some SBC members to convince the conference to pull there kids from public schools and put them in Christian schools. Plus, I think it could be a good barometer for seeing how non-believers think of Christians, the "relevance" movement, and faith in general. Not to say that any film takes the place of face-to-face interaction, but you get the idea. Thoughts? Anyone seen the film yet?

Oh, hey, I promised you a story about the Singles ministry at church, didn't I? I guess I could oblige. Well, a disaster was averted last week. See, the youngest sector of the Singles Department at church (ages approximately 20-29) have decided to distance themselves a bit from the Singles Department et al., and forge our own identity, to perhaps boost attendance a bit. The problem was that after two meetings, we were still struggling for a name and a cohesive mission statement. Too many cooks, and all that. Finally, someone decided they wanted to name the group after the Greek word for "house," the pronounciation of which is similar to the sound dolphins make. And as it turns out, I wasn't the only one who hated it. In fact, most of the group hated it. So on Saturday's meeting, it was overwhelmingly voted down, and replaced by an idea that I helped form. I was pleased. That being accomplished, we went out for Mexican food, then came back to Tony's house to watch "Along Came Polly" (which was awful). Then went out again and played pool for two hours. A good Saturday.

Wow, that was a wicked boring story. Apologies. I'll try to make it up to you somehow.

But since i can't think of a way to do so, I'll distract you and run away while you're back is turned.

*pointing* "HEY LOOK!!!"

*footsteps retreating*

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

"My God, My God..."

A little eisegesis (personal interpretation, right?) for your Tuesday afternoon.

If you have some level of basic Biblical knowledge, you are aware that Jesus, while suffering on the cross, said something like "my God, my God, why have you abandoned/forsaken me?" If you have had any further training, you should have been informed that this is actually a quote from Psalm 22:1. I've heard a lot of Biblical scholar-types discuss how David is in fact prophesying the words of Christ, being moved by the Spirit to do so. Indeed, the whole chapter can be lined up with the actual events surrounding the crucifixion, either explicitly or figuratively.

But consider this also: Jesus, being perfect, did not start cursing God and spewing anger at those around him, when any of us would likely have done so in that situation. Instead, Jesus used the Bible to express what he was going through, and in doing so he fulfilled prophesy.

God has really been confronting me with the power of words recently. The Bible talks about how the power of life and death is in the tongue, and how we cannot take that lightly, since we will all be held accountable for every careless word we've said. Some of you may not know, but I kinda developed a profanity habit in college, and though I've made attempts to quell that, it keeps coming back. And I've really been convicted by the fact that there needs to be no place for it in my life.

So as I have been thinking of all this, I came across the Crucifixion story. Jesus was able to use the Bible to express himself in any situation. Whether in good times or bad.

What I'm trying to say is, we tend to wrongly think that the Bible can't apply to every area of life, to every season, every situation. When we are faced with dark times, when we despair, we shrug off Scripture, thinking that all it will give us are trite sayings (like so many of our fellow believers do). But the fact is that God understands our frustration, loneliness, and despair; and books like Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations prove that. These are real emotions that need to be dealt with squarely. And the Bible, contrary to our assumptions, doesn't sidestep dark times and sad hearts. It confronts them. It examines them. And it finally gives hope for them.

And I think that's pretty freakin rad.

"Your favorite music gets me down..."

I would like to stop for a moment and gush like the rabid-fan that I am.

I love the Counting Crows.

I know, I know, the whole motif of the site seems to suggest as much.

But I haven't reiterated lately how much I love the Crows.

I spent a good hour this morning, watching almost every video they have on the website.

(For the unaware, yes, under "Discography" there's an option to check out the "videography." Every video they've made, except for two, are available there. The only two not there are "Catapult" and the brand-new-brand-new "Accidentally in Love" video.)

But yes. I love the Crows. No matter how depressing their music gets, I love it. Awesome. Awesome.

Okay. I'm done. Thanks.

Monday, June 14, 2004

PBB Reader's Opinion Poll #27

This is for you single folk (or you married folk who still remember what it was like to be single):

"What are your thoughts on dating someone your age, who is a single parent? What concerns would you have if you were thinking of pursuing a serious relationship with the parent of a toddler? Those of you who have children, what concerns/problems/issues have you run into, in the dating 'scene'?"

Why am I asking this question? ...oh, no reason...

Thursday, June 10, 2004

"I drove by at like 9:30 and saw your light on... were you working that whole time?"

I'm in a better mood today, readers. However, my present circumstances are not conducive for marathon posting, so the previously promised posts will have to be postponed or severely truncated.

...And since I promised, I guess I have to deliver. I can't guarantee the "clever/brilliant" bit, though.

Sunday School Ignorance: There was some discussion about the direction of the SS class in the context of the entire "Singles" department. (I'm classified as a "single." Ugh. Might as well call me Delnor.) I'm part of the committee working on planning out the new focus and direction of the class. Things aren't going well. We're meeting again on Saturday. But what angered me so was a comment during a side conversation the other day, in which some of the girls in the class started complaining about there being so many single mothers in the class. They didn't like how there were always little kids at the group events, and one even went as far as to worry what kind of impression a visitor would get from seeing so many unwed mothers in the class. (*GASP* You mean that people at church are...human??? NO, surely not!!!) It was all I could do to be civil from that point on. In the end, I was arguing that if the question was inclusion or exclusion, we needed to include as many people as are willing to come. The others in the conversation thought that single mothers should be giving their own special small group/class. "To minister to their particular needs." What a crock. I'm still angry.

Disappointing Revelation: Turns out Vibe-Girl was involved in this conversation. She came across as high-strung, easily irritated, and not really fond of children. Three big fat red flags. I'm let down a bit by this. But really, it just confirms what I have been thinking: there's nothing I should pursue there. *sigh*

Guess Who's Coming to Houston: Exciting news of the week--Josh and Tiffany Cain, the newly minted couple, are moving down here to the Bayou City to work at A.D. I'm so excited. I enjoy them quite a lot. The move is planned for the end of the month, which is fast approaching. So that's tres exciting.

"Dave, it's half past seven": Yeah, no crap. I'm still at work, kiddies. Probably will be here until after nine. Why, you ask? Well, the honest answer is I didn't get as much done this week as I needed to, and now I'm having to cram tonight, since I have the day off tomorrow. The hospital where I work is part of the University of Texas System, and considered a state entity. And the Governor said that state agencies are closed tomorrow for the National Day of Mourning for President Reagan. So I get the day off tomorrow--and all it costs me is a night spent fretting over unfinished projects.

I've been here for 11 hours so far. Gee--it's like I'm a high-school teacher again. Because, believe it or not, you CCCS brats, I spent 14 hours a day in that classroom, at least six days a week. And not a single one of you appreciated that. No, no, you just complained. Boo hoo, he's so hard on us. Especially you who just graduated. Grrr...

Sorry. Flashbacks, man. It's scary.

It's 7:34. I'm in my office, listening to Films about Ghosts. "Einstein on the Beach" right now. I'm starving. I didn't have much to eat at noon.

Okay. That's it. Raiding the snack machine.

Have a good weekend, kiddies. I'll talk to you on Monday.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

"Do I disappoint you? Leave a bad taste in your mouth?"

Tomorrow I'll tell you about some things that were said by members of my Sunday School class that royally pissed me off.

Tomorrow I may tell you about some disappointing revelations concerning prospective future companions.

Tomorrow I will discuss my exciting social news, including a brief bit about some folks who will soon move down here to the harsh climes of the Gulf Coast.

Tomorrow I will entertain you with my wit, astound you with my insight, and reaffirm in your mind that I can be rather brilliant at times.

But today I'm tired, and restless, and frustrated. Today I feel like crap, I look like crap, and I'm tired of dealing with the crap I'm getting from everyone else.

So today, I'll tell you about nothing important. I'm in too honest a mood, like Russell Hammond. Today I'll sit and sulk. Cuz that's what people who write blogs do from time to time. They sit, and they sulk. They take themselves too seriously, like Mike/Kelli say.

So I apologize for not being more interesting today. I need to work on that.

To finish, in lieu of angry whining, I'll end with a quote garned from my latest acquisition, the infinitely rad 10th Anniversary Edition Reality Bites DVD:

Lelaina: "I was really gonna be something by the age of 23."

Troy: "Honey, all you have to be by the age of 23 is yourself."

Lelaina: "I don't know who that is anymore."

Monday, June 07, 2004

If you really want to cheer me up...

...any (or all) of the following would work:

Reality Bites 10th Anniversary Edition DVD: I've been waiting for this for a while. It comes out tomorrow. I'll bet Jess camps out at Barnes and Noble the night before, just to be the first in line.

Dark Tower VI: The Song of Susannah: Also released tomorrow. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy the King? Cuz I do.

The other five in hardback: Because all I have right now are the first four in paperback. I'm gonna have to break down and buy hardback for Book Five, since the paperback release isn't until next January, and I just can't wait that long. So any help in this area would be appreciated.

Beautiful Girls (DVD): I saw this on TV this weekend (apparently, so did Lady M) and it reminded me how much I really really enjoy this film. So yes. Gimme gimme.

Last but not least: Just a namedrop, shout-out, or general encouragement. On your website or mine--either works. Just to let me know you're there. That always cheers me up.

But I like gifts quite a lot too.

Portents and Omens

"Where is the horse and the rider?
Where is the horn that was blowing?
They have passed like rain on the mountains,
Like wind in the meadow.
The days have gone down in the west,
Behind the hills, into shadow...
How did it come to this?"

I'm in a rather melancholy place today.

So first it was Sarah, and now Jenn. And I must ask myself what this means. And if I should follow suit.

Their reasons held an element of common purpose. They both came to the conclusion that life should be lived in the real world, rather than through the phone line. There are things that they don't want to share with the world. The community of bloggers is too public. And I agree with this ideas.

Jenn said that her blog has been a major part of her life, "as silly or pathetic as it sounds." But it doesn't, Jenn. And that may be because I feel the same way. But in any case, I don't think it's silly. Or pathetic.

There are all these empty chairs around empty tables, bloggers that have gone on to live outside of this little imaginary box of sound and fury. Because they came to the conclusion that in the end, all of their blogged sound and fury signifies nothing. At least, when compared with life and "real" relationships.

As you faithful few know, I'm often floating down the same stream. Me and my silly "bridge". My stupid meaningless site counter that gives me more pride than any imaginary thing should. But the reality of all of this is...people move on. Those of you in high school and college will graduate and "grow up." Those of you who are past college will marry, will have children and/or careers, will get so caught up in living your lives (how dare you!) that blogging will mean less and less, until you forget that you haven't posted in six months or more.

It will happen. This form of communication, this manner of expression, it will pass away, it will become less like art and more like noise. And you'll walk away someday, if you haven't already. So will I.

The million-dollar question: Sooner...or later?


Well, I'm still here, aren't I?

Goodbye, Jenn. Good luck. I'll miss hearing about you. --d.

Friday, June 04, 2004

"We Few, We Happy Few..."

This Sunday marks the sixtieth anniversary of the D-Day invasion, sometimes called a day that changed the course of history. This Allied offensive was the beginning of a major campaign that ultimately led to the defeat of Nazi Germany.

D-Day has been memorialized in words and images. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielburg not only created a horrific and stunningly realistic film account of the Second World War and the brave men who fought it, but also led the effort in creating a memorial to honor the heroes of that war, in Washington D.C.

But only in recent years has some light been shed on the heroics that took place during the hours before the boats landed on Utah and Omaha Beach. Stephen Ambrose wrote about the men of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 101st Airborne, and their heroic drop behind enemy lines to help pave the way for the Allied invasion. In his book, Ambrose interviewed every surviving member of this group that he could find, so much of the book is really in the words of the heroes themselves.

While I would normally tell you to read the book, which is outstanding, I know most of you won't do that. So instead, I strongly encourage you to go to your nearest Blockbuster or Hollywood Video on Saturday night, and rent the first VHS tape or DVD of this miniseries, which fleshes out the story of these daring men. The first two episodes of the miniseries cover their training, and their pre-dawn drop into occupied Normandy. If you have time, it'd be well worth it to watch the other eight episodes of this series, but at least check out the first two, just to gain some insight into the life of a soldier at this time, and the real courage it took for these men to do their duty.

Their story is still amazing to me.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I'm much more impressed with this than I should be

Pop... soda... or coke? What do you call it? Turns out, these terms are truly regional. Fortunately for us, someone took the time to find this out.

A county-by-county breakdown.

(I stared at this for a good five minutes. I'm not sure why.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Vanity of Vanities

I have a small confession to make.

I'm a site counter junkie.

I started using one casually, last Thursday. I thought, "it's no big deal, it's just down there, below the links, out of the way. I'll forget it's even there." In truth, it was a vanity thing. I was curious to see how many people checked my page.

But I didn't stop there. I started clicking on the counter, getting details about how often my site's being pulled up, what Google combinations pull my pages up, how many of the page visits are from the same people.

It got a little out of hand. I began to check it first, before I'd check for comments. It was instant gratification for a former comment hound.

See? See??? This is how they get you. Comment boxes are the gateway drug that lead to site counters. God, what's next? I can hardly imagine.

Is there an AA group for this?
"Hi, I'm Dave, and I'm a site counter addict."

Hi, Dave.

"Artifacts (revisited)" or, "I am Jack's second-hand bookmark"

Newest used-book artifact I've discovered:

An unused boarding pass for a flight from Houston to Las Vegas, with a matching (used) return boarding pass stub, dated two days later. I was puzzled by these. So, like my literary forebears, I tried to make sense of the madness by writing about it. So I'm halfway into yet another short story. I think I may finish this one--i'm curious to see how it ends.

Oh, by the way, the book in which I found these two items? Fight Club. How badass is that.

And no, the name on the ticket stubs was not Tyler Durden. Cuz I checked.

"My name is Jonas..."

So, seeing as how I'm the king of getting in on something about a decade after everyone else, I think it's only fitting that I'm now (re)discovering the absolute beauty that is Weezer.

I picked up the blue album for ten bucks at CD Warehouse early last week, and have listened to it at least twice a day ever since.

Wow. So awesome.

Go ahead, make fun if you must. But I won't hear you. I'm too busy reveling in the alt-rock toffee-covered goodness that is Weezer.

And now a post that pales in comparison...

After that, it feels almost foolish to talk about unimportant things. But I'll steam ahead.

Movie Recommendations:

50 First Dates--I know, I know, it's stupid fluff rom-com, but it was still funny. It also sports a great soundtrack. Once you get past the first few moderate gross-out gags, it really turns into a sweet story with a good heart. And it's a Hollywood rarity, in that it shows that love means commitment--even when your significant other can't remember who you are.

Shrek 2--I've heard some folk complain that it's not as good as the original. I really didn't go in trying to compare them, I just expected it to be funny and irreverent. I wasn't disappointed. I'll likely purchase this one when it hits DVD release. I have the feeling I'll be watching it over and over. For those of you who've seen it, I think my favorite joke was the "catnip" gag. Go ahead, laugh with me, that's it. Thanks.

Big Fish was also freaking great, but I don't want to write any more about movies.

In other news...

Um, go Cubs. Thanks for beating the Astros finally, after two humiliating defeats. It's been difficult to work around here, with the boss gloating and all. Keep it up.

And now, two fun items that get their own posts.


I want to tell you about Meselech.

Meselech is a little girl who turned 7 this past February. She lives with her relatives and two sisters. She likes to play house. She helps at home by learning to do small tasks. She is currently good health.

But she's living on a continent being ravaged by AIDS.

Meselech lives in Ethiopia. Her relatives struggle to provide enough for the family. She's not in school. She has limited access to medical care, even more limited access to clean water. Her country has been plagued by famine and internal strife.

I look into her eyes and my heart cracks. No seven year old should have eyes so cold and joyless. But no seven year old should have to look into the face of death on a daily basis, as people around her die from a preventable disease, or starvation, or violence.

I turn to my God and I demand an answer. "Why have You allowed this to happen, You who are so powerful and mighty to save?"

My God looks me square in the soul and replies, "Why have you allowed it, you who are so rich and able to serve?"

I shrug my shoulders. "I'm nobody. Just one person. I can't save the world from hunger and disease. But You, You are God, You must do this."

My God waves his hand, gesturing to the people of the earth. "I am Spirit. I cannot hold the hand of the lonely, pour a bowl of soup for the hungry, or give medicine to the sick. But you, you are human, you must do this."

I shake my head at my God and say, "But you are God. You can do all things!"

My God shakes his head at me, and says, "You are my servant. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength."

I finally reply, "I'm not going to win this argument, am I?"

My God smiles and says, "No. Do you love me? Feed my sheep."

I ask, "But aren't we all the sheep of your pasture?"

My God nods, and says, "But you have to start with one, don't you?"

"I suppose."

My God grins. "Here is the first. Her name is Meselech. I love her and gave myself up for her."


Even if that dialogue didn't exactly take place, it pretty much did. The final back-breaking straw was the simple question posed by the Spirit while I was at a rock concert: "After all that I've provided for you, the posh job, the safety and comfort of your life, can you honestly say that you can't afford to give to one of the least of these? It's too much of a sacrifice for you?"

And I had no answer.

Pray for Meselech and others like her.

But then, do more than just pray. Go here.