Wednesday, May 28, 2003

And now, the Great Apology

I found out, yes, Amanda, that I missed Graduation.

I'm sorry, seniors.

I love you guys.

Not much else to say.
"Childe Roland to the Darke Blogspot Came..."

Quick word for you Dark Tower fans. While you're eagerly anticipating the fifth installment of Mr. King's epic (which is entitled "The Wolves of Mana" or Mala or Llama or something), you should check out his newest short-story collection Everything's Eventual. It's a great collection anyway, but one of the stories is a hundred-page novella of Roland's adventures while he's chasing Walter, the Man in Black. It takes place sometime after the flashback in book four, but before the start of The Gunslinger. It was really good (of course) and made me wish all the more that he'd hurry up and put out the other books.

So there you go.
Well, then...

I don't know. Didn't have a clever title for the opener.

Doing well. Thanks for asking.

I return to NCS Pearson for more test-grading fun and excitement on Monday. Five days a week, 8-4:30? It will almost feel like I'm gainfully employed again.

Um... let's see.

Saw an advanced screening of "The Italian Job." (And, funny, every time I hear the title, I think of the Eddie Izzard bit on Toni's CD. Hm.) But no. I saw it for free, at the POSHEST MOVIE THEATER IN THE WORLD. Or at least, that I've ever seen. Edwards Palace Grand Marquee Cinema, two blocks from the Compaq Center. All you Houston-ites, should check it out. (I've begun a boycott of the word "Houstonian." Plus, Houston-ite sounds cooler. Well, I think it does.)

Go see "The Italian Job." It was a great flick. I enjoyed it mucho.

Um... guess that's all the basic stuff. Job hunting. Hanging out with the Doudts and the Ozmans. The old "crew". The old "posse". Who seem to be "heck"-bent on getting themselves lynched. But anyway.

That's all. I have the fun exciting life.

Calgon, take me away.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Literary News

Both personal and general.

On the homefront, I have started writing again regularly. Poetry and short fiction. The poetry's turning out better, but I'm slowly getting back into the groove with the prose. And I've started journaling again. But this time on a purely non-professional level. The reason is mainly therapeutic, which i think is okay. If you are in a funk you can't get out of, or are brave enough to admit your funk is a depression, start journaling. Just be completely honest. Since it's private there's little fear in that. But be honest, let your true feeling's out, and you'll not only start to feel better, but sometimes you'll stumble on a breakthrough. You'll read over the page, and think, "so that's what the real problem is, that's what I've been denying, or hiding, for so long." At least, that's what is starting to happen to me.

In more general news, I'm reading three or four books right now, and need to finish them all by a week from Saturday. I just finished the most amazing Christian book I've read in a long time. I stopped reading Christian non-fiction (some call it Christian self-help), devotional type books. Mainly because I think they're almost all full of crap. But my old roommate and biggest blessing recently told me about a book that was changing his life. It's Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge, the author of The Divine Romance... or the "Sacred" one... I always get them confused.

While my reading of the book has not transformed my life, it's definitely impacted it. In the book, Eldredge talks about what it means to be a Christian man. And in no uncertain terms, he censures modern Christianity and the modern church for more-or-less emasculating the idea of a Christian man. In the heart of every man, he writes, there is an inherent desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. This is evident in young boys at play. And this is how God created us and desires us to be. But society and the church have forced men to be satisfied with being "A Nice Guy." And that, at its heart, is sadly wrong. As you can see, the book is pretty powerful. Those of you who might be flinching at the thought of more male chest-beating need not worry, and should check out the book for yourselves. It also has a lot to say about the heart of a woman, and how it was designed. Pretty interesting.

As for other books on my shelf, I just started a book called "Christ and Creativity" by Michael Card. It focuses on Christ's creative nature, and is an encouragement of Christians who pursue the arts. On a more secular note, I am thirty pages from finishing "Nine Stories" by J.D. Salinger (which, I have to say, I like a whole lot better than "The Catcher in the Rye"). I'm also trying to finish "On the Road" by Kerouac and squeeze in one more Salinger before June. Why the June 1st deadline? Have you forgotten? My summer reading project: "The Lord of the Rings". And I will succeed.***

Anything else? I don't think so. I'll keep you posted though. And hey, while we're on the subject of writing, POST MORE. ALL OF YOU. I MEAN IT.

***Editor's Note: About halfway through that post, I started using quotation marks instead of italics when naming book titles. For those of you who were paying attention, you realized that this was, of course, incorrect. However, it just seemed to be entirely too much trouble to stop typing and scroll the mouse over to the Italics button, and there is no "hotkey" combo on Blogger for it. So, yes, it was laziness, pure and simple. So sue me.
Weekly Update, I guess

It's taken me a week to get back to the computer at the library. So here's a quick round up.

Last Thursday: Went to the Doudt's Bible Study and got to see several of my loyal Tenth grade readers. I enjoyed visiting with y'all very very much. I hope I didn't bore you to death with the impromptu sermon.

Friday: work.

Saturday: work.

Sunday: Church, then i saw The Matrix: Reloaded twice, once with my dad and again with Brent and Mike. More on that later.

Monday: Job hunting and general goofing off.

Tuesday: More job hunting, more goofing off, plus the season finale of "24".

Wednesday: Even more job hunting, and still more goofing off.

Thursday: My sister Olivia graduated from pre-school, with all the pomp and circumstance that entails. Cute. I suppose.

And now I'm here.

Feels like you lived that week right along with me, doesn't it...

Now onto other things:

The Matrix: Reloaded: All I can say is, wow. It was phenomenal. But the thing is, the first time I saw it, I didn't really think so. I mean, I thought it was cool, the fight scenes were rad, but I was trying so hard to keep up with the plot that I got tired. Plus there were crying babies in the theatre, and women screaming profanities at the parents of the afore-mentioned babies. That kind of takes away from the experience. (That's a whole 'nother rant, which I'll deliver later.) But the second time I saw the movie... Remember the second time you saw the first one? How much more you got, the little puns and jokes you picked up on? How much cooler it was? Same thing here. My advice, then, is, if you are a fan of the first chapter, but weren't really that impressed with the second, go see it again as soon as possible. I guarentee you will love it all the more. If not, email me and yell at me a while. S'okay. But anyway. Loved the flick. Can't wait for the last one.

(Content note: Yeah, there's a five or six minute sequence in which it flips back and forth from a dance party bump-and-grind-a-thon in Zion with some semi-transparent clothing, to Neo and Trinity doing their thing sans clothing. While the directors thought it vital to contrast the humanity of these people to the cold efficiency of the machines, just take my word for it and go get some popcorn. Or some air. Or go to the restroom. All you need to get from the scene is Neo is afraid of losing Trinity. That's pretty much it. And so, the nasty. I don't know.)

As for discussing the startling revelations of the movie, I'll save that for a while, for those of you QUASI-fans who haven't seen the movie yet. Hate to spoil it for ya. But yes, we WILL discuss later.

Now on to my mini-rant: What the HECK is wrong with people? There were people bringing in babies and toddlers to see this R-rated movie. And this is not the first time. Almost every R-rated movie I've ever seen in the theatre where there's more than a half-dozen people there, there is always at least one person bringing along a child pre-teen or younger. What are people thinking? That the whole "rating system" thing is just something stupid that the government is doing to annoy them? (Like Speed limits?) The ratings are there for a reason. But no one cares. No one heeds. I anticipate that the audience for Terminator 3 will be evenly split between viewers above and below the age of fourteen. And I just shake my head.

In other news, I have free passes for an advance screening of "The Italian Job." Anybody want one? Speak up, I can't hear you. Oh well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Musical Observation

I've been listening to my favorite band, Counting Crows, for a while now. And I've discovered a thematic progression through their albums. Come with me on the journey, won't you?

1. August and Everything After--the end of a relationship
2. Recovering the Satellites--a few months afterwards, when the pain is still felt
3. This Desert Life--dealing with loneliness, wondering if love can be found again
4. Hard Candy--a wiser, sadder examination of the emptiness of superficial relationships/flings, which expresses a deeper longing for true love and a real connection

(I didn't include the live album, obviously, cuz...that would just be silly.)

Kinda makes you think, eh? Do you agree or disagree? Lemme know what your take is on each of the albums. I'd be interested to hear other interpretations.
"Three posts in one day??? He must be MAD!!!"

Why yes. Yes i am.

Or at least that's the consensus view.

When you are told by the people you care about that they think you need counselling and possibly anti-depressants, is that a sign that your "funk" is more than a passing phase? I'm beginning to think so.

Don't worry about me, my straightjacket fits nicely.

Just kidding. Seriously, don't worry about me.

Manders, I think you and I both are on the same hormonal train. Except for me it happens almost yearly.

But yeah. Crazy depression. Sleeping twelve hours a day, never motivated to do anything or change anything. Wake up every morning/afternoon with a frustrated groan, and collapse every night into fitful, dream-filled sleep.

Maybe I really am a writer. I just haven't been writing enough.

But things are changing for me. I'm getting out of this phase, slowly. What I need really is to find my place in it all. Because right now, i'm just a "wayfaring stranger" as the hymn goes.

(I really like that hymn, actually. First heard it my freshman year at OBU, when the Honors 101 class was reading "Cold Mountain" by Stephen Frazier [i think]. If you're interested, here are the lyrics.)
Music, Movies, Theater, and World Events...

a.k.a. "What's going on outside of my life?"


Have you heard the new single from Evanescence, "Everybody's Fool"? It's rad. I listened to their disc again recently. Good stuff, really. Even though my favorite element of the band is the now absent pianist David Hodges (who got a name-drop in the latest issue of Relevant Magazine, well done him).

Also new (at least for me) on the music scene: I picked up some used CD's at the CD Warehouse in Shawnee. Revolver by the Beatles (why didn't I have it already? i don't know--temporary insanity, i suppose), Ben Folds Live (I love it, but heavy profanity, so watch out, kids), Rock Spectacle by Barenaked Ladies (this is me in...grade nine?) and the first Black Eyed Sceva album (mid-90's alternative Christian music ROCKS!!!!). All good, which makes me happy. Also rediscovered the band PFR recently as well. If you have an old PFR disc, go listen to it again. They were really great. Are really great, because they got back together this year. So yes. Go, listen, enjoy.


Recent viewings: Identity (wowsa...all i can say... in my top five "Movies with Killer Endings"... you think you know what it's about, from the commercial? Believe me, you have NO idea.); A Mighty Wind (my new second favorite Christopher Guest movie, besides Guffman; and of all things, there's a really great poignant moment at the end); and of course, X2 (there's nothing I can say that will do this movie justice... Brian Singer is my hero... him and Alan Cummings, who nearly wooed me away from the Wolvie fan club... I have all new respect for Nightcrawler).

All three great films. Go see them. ("Identity" has massive language and violence [it's a murder mystery, what do you expect]; "Wind" has some language, and a few veiled sexual references; and "X2" has all the mutant violence you have come to expect, know... Rebecca Romijn-Stamos in blue paint...if that's a problem for you.)

And the real movie news: Matrix Reloaded opens tomorrow!!! I'm so psyched for this. Now, if you just can't wait to find out what happens, Time Magazine's cover story this week is about the making of the film and includes a basic synopsis of the new chapter. I briefly skimmed it (I just want to get a bare bones idea of what's gonna happen) and I was dumbfounded. Leave it to the Wachowski brothers to totally screw with your head. Oh, yeah. Buckle up, folks.


Briefly. Congratulations and many thanks to the cast and crew of OBU's production of The Adding Machine, for putting on the bravest and stylistically most complex show I've ever seen there. Well done, one and all. I'm dying to hear how the Dorland Awards turned out. It's almost three thirty this afternoon, so I'm guessing you all are just now waking from last night's revelry. Fill me in on the results, okay?


What is there to say? SARS is still scaring the masses in SE Asia. Al-Qaeda (they think) bombed the Saudi Arabian capitol of Riyadh, and opponents of President Bush are using it to argue that he is doing nothing about the war on terrorism. There are what, seventeen, eighteen Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination? Who can keep them straight anymore? Speaking of Moore, I think Michael Moore is the "big fat idiot", but then again, i'm just the raving conservative.

I'm tired of dealing with stupid people. Not ignorant people or uneducated people. Stupid people, who have no excuse for saying and doing stupid, senseless things.

Okay that's all.
And now back to real life...

So what has it been, less than a month? Wow. I'm early.

Lots...lots and lots to say, lots to talk about. Too much. But let's get started anyway.


Just got back this morning from a short trip to America's... well, I was going to quote Homer Simpson, but on second thought... Florida. My family went to Florida, home of "The Stupidest Tenth Graders in the World". Why oh why does a family of five go to Florida? What else? DISNEY WORLD.

I forgot how much fun that was. I had only been there once before, the famed and much discussed "eighth grade trip" (that was before they started sending all you CCCS kids to Washington D.C.--haha, suckers!). But I had forgotten how much fun the park actually is. My mom and sister couldn't go to the actual park with us (a death in the family occured our first night, and the two of them were desperately needed in Michigan), so it was just my dad, myself, and a demon-possessed five year old. My sister Olivia, who currently has the sarcastic mouth of an early teen. Ah, fun times. But we had a good time there. O. got her picture taken with six or seven Disney characters, including Cinderella, who was pretty hot. [Someone tell Elizabeth Mitchell to put in a good word for me with Cinderella, if she goes back there to work this summer?] Fun time had by all. Oh, and we found out that my sis is a roller coaster fanatic, which was good, because that meant that we could actually ride the fun rides. So yeah. Good times.


The afore mentioned family death was my cousin Dustin, who died of heart failure on the baseball field. He was born with a heart defect, and his past two years of smoking, drinking, and moderate drug use couldn't have helped him much. He was nineteen years old.
My real sorrow is for my Aunt Tempy, who is a sweet woman and has already gone through enough grief in her life. If you could, pray for her and her family.


As many of you know, I was recently in Oklahoma, seeing The Adding Machine and visiting old friends. Although difficult at some points, it was a very useful and constructive visit for me, in retrospect. Thank you to my friends who lended a compassionate ear and patient heart when I needed it. You are my second family, and i love you all dearly.


That's all the personal news. Next post: media commentary, world events, and other fun facts...