Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Whew. Didn't think I'd get in. Good thing the basement windows are easy to break.

Manders, I left the shrubbery on the back porch. It's got a nice little fence around it.

So you want to see pictures? Okay, here are pictures:


Be sure to read all the captions. I make funnies.

And tomorrow, my rant about why Flickr is a jerk for not letting me upload pics for free.

Monday, October 30, 2006

*another approach*

okay. just gotta...climb up on the garbage can... and reach the window sill...

"...c'mon, it was open earlier..."


Whoa. Okay. Take it easy, Dave.


Al...most... got... it... op--





*picking the lock*

Can't get the... Try to twist the thing... with the paper clip...


"OUCH! Blasted pin! AARGHH!"


"You crazy dames--let me IN!!!!!"

[ *** ]

Wait. Why's the door locked?

*bang bang bang*

"Lemme in! C'mon guys, this isn't funny!"


"Seriously. It's my blog. Open the door."




"Open up!"


"I'm not going anywhere. You're gonna have to come out sometime!"






"I've got pictures! I've got stories! And if you don't let me in, you don't get to hear or see ANYTHING."

*sitting on the front stoop pouting*

[ *** ]

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm gone, man, SOLID gone!

I'm winging my way out to the desert this afternoon. Back Monday. Behave yourselves while I'm gone. Make sure to lock up when you leave. And try not to destroy the place, huh? It took me weeks to get the nacho cheese stains out of the rug back in June. (I'm looking at you, Justin.)

Peace and grace.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What He Should Have Told Himself.

That 97% of the time, when you're bitten by the "luv" bug, it's no worse than a 24-hour virus, with rare occurences of lightheadedness and flushing. That time and conversation are the best way to dispel crushes. That he was probably just so excited at the possibility of being smitten by someone that he got, as the song goes, "hooked on a feeling." That he should really get to know the person more before getting so goofy about them. That a five-year age difference is still pretty large when you're in your twenties.

That he really really really shouldn't post everything going through his head, especially not stuff like this, lest he develop a reputation akin to Kittie Bennett. And no one takes Kittie seriously.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What He Tells Himself.

That he shouldn't get too excited when she tells him that she's going to be his neighbor soon. That, for all he knows, she has a boyfriend. That she may not have any form of religious faith, or for that matter may be involved in something strange or heretical. They still haven't even addressed that subject. That her hair is captivating. That he needs to take a breath. Or a walk. That she may just be acting nice to him, because she's a nice person. That she probably just wants to be friends. That she would offer anyone else a nightly ride to the trainstop in her car. That it's not that big of a deal, and he should just chill out. That she's a really sweet girl. That asking her out would only make their work situation weird and uncomfortable--but only if she says "no." That all these events seem to be spinning toward each other in a strangely timed manner. That he still needs to chill out and not get ahead of himself. That getting ahead of himself is what has always been his downfall, because he tries to rush through the getting-to-know-you stages and right into the future-thinking stages. That sometimes a car ride is just a car ride. That she laughs at all his stupid jokes, and he can't figure out if it's out of pity or something else. That surprising her with coffee that morning was a good "move," but his motives may have been a little murky. That maybe he should just try being her friend before he starts planning how to ask her out. That he loves that she likes his favorite band. That sitting on a downtown train platform grinning like an imbecile is likely to get you beaten up, no matter what the reason. That it's been too long since he's felt this way about anyone, and he has really missed it. That he can't let himself put her or anyone else up on that well-worn pedestal and hope that anything good or lasting can come of it. Never again. That he needs to stop overthinking this. That he misses seeing her and dreads it, at the same time. That he should keep all of this to himself. That he shouldn't hit "publish."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Open letter to an unfamiliar vocalist.


I don't know you. I've never even heard your voice. But something about the way you look at me through the camera, face just turned away, eyes distrustful, arms folded and shoulders defensively hunched, makes me wonder if hearing you speak would be my undoing.

Normally, I could write it off as further manifestation for my love of and infatuation with red-headed girls, especially those who wear such beauty in braids, but there is something more going on. More than your auburn locks and your full lips and your fair skin. It's those world-wary eyes that make me stop in my tracks and consider what kind of bitter tears you must have shed before you finely honed your defenses.

You probably wouldn't like me. You probably would despise my faith or my politics or my taste in music. You would no doubt find me shallow or simple or entirely too boring to be worth your thought. That's okay, I don't take it personally. Some people of certain temperaments just don't mix well with others.

But still there's something that causes me to linger over your snapshot for a moment more, fascinated by some elusive quality in your eyes that makes me wish I could know you better for the simple benefit of learning what it is that captures me so.

Anyway, here's to you, miss. God grant you peace.


Friday, October 20, 2006


One of the questions I have struggled with over the past fifteen months of teaching the 20's bible study at church was how much time I should spend on preparing, planning, and carrying out this ministry. "Should," meaning, how much is expected of me. It's a horrible question; I hate even verbalizing it, because it makes me sound like I'm just trying to do the bare minimum. In a way, I think that may be part of the motivation.

But as a single man who is balancing two jobs, running my own meager household, contemplating a writing career of some kind, and maintaining friendships and family relationships (not even factoring the question of dating and other such social interactions), I find myself wondering how much of a slice this should comprise.

I finally posed this question to a few married-adult teachers, during a teachers' conference thing at church last week. One was a married woman who wasn't teaching at the time, but had in the past; the other was, as I later learned, the married-adult Bible study minister guy (on par with my SunSco "boss," the singles minister).

What the woman said was that, yes, when she taught, the ministry touched many areas of her life. It was incorporated into a lot of her time.

The man concurred, and they both agreed that part of my problem and frustration is that I don't have any kind of support person in class, who can help with the coordination and planning (which are clearly not my gifts).

Nevertheless, I realized over the course of the evening that I've lately been giving less effort toward preparation and planning, and that my class has been suffering because of it.

Then, a few days later, I was reading in Paul's first letter to Timothy, and he writes:
"11Command and teach these things. 12Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." (emphasis added)

That word "wholly" jumped out at me. If I consider the last few months, I have to admit that I haven't been devoted to the work, let alone wholly devoted. Part of the problem has been my attitude. I've been so turned inward that I spend more time feeling sorry for myself or feeling bitter at the non-participants in the group than I have in prayer for them and in study, and as a result, my teaching and caring have dried up. I've become selfish and distracted.

Maybe part of the reason I was so hesitant to give myself wholly to this place of ministry God has led me to, is that to do so means I'd have to give up some things. I'd have to give up my personal agenda, my selfishness, my comfort. My plans for the future, my preferred approach to dealing with life. I'd have to start living a more ordered and outward-focused life. And that's not very easy or comfortable. Lately, I've been all about ease and comfort. What I slowly realized is that serving myself and my own desires left me cold, disconnected, and hopeless.

So, I'm recommitting to take the plunge. To devote myself wholly to the work of the kingdom. And to trust that when I do that, "all these things" will fall into place.

I've been devoted before. I've been committed before. But never completely. Never wholly. And that last bastion of self, like a little yeast, works its way through the whole dough, spoiling the batch. I don't want to be spoiled for service, because I let my self-regard and personal agenda trump my obedience to God.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

TV Rant-let

So I'm watching my videotaped episode of "Gilmore Girls" last night. (Stop snickering; I like the writing, and I think both female leads are attractive. That's a manly enough reason for watching...right?) And I see something that has started happening this season and that leaves me a little ill at ease.

The episode is sponsored by "Aerie," the girls/ladies line of clothing at American Eagle. So at some point during each episode they have two minutes of inane commentary by "the Aerie girls"--six girls of appropriately diverse ethnicity and physical make-up (though none overweight, that I can remember... interesting). And they sit around a bland pastel living room on couches, comfy chairs, and pillows, and make painfully obvious comments about the goings on of the program.

The effect, I assume, is that you feel like you're watching the show with your "girlfriends" and are gabbing about what you like or don't like. Except that all your "girlfriends" are boring and incapable of deep critical thought. (And maybe yours are; I can't say.)

Example dialogue: "Lorelai better watch out for Christopher. He's hurt her before."

Wow. Didja come up with that all by yourself, or was a TV guide from two seasons ago consulted?

I think what bothers me most about these "Aerie girl" moments (okay, second-most, beside the achingly UNinsightful dialogue) is that it pretty much confirms what I and others like me have tried to deny: that "Gilmore Girls" is an irredeemably girly show. For guys, there's no way to justify watching it, where you don't feel like you're trying to excuse an embarrassing habit.

The "Aerie" phenomenon pushes the show clearly into the "Cinematherapy" vein of Lifetime-Network-like programming. And what does the Lifetime Network provide? That's right: "television for women."

The amusing irony is that these girls are exactly the type of girls that the main characters on the show would shun and summarily mock, using literary and pop culture references sure to elude the subjects of their derision.

Anyway, I'm just bothered by this a little.

Plus, Christopher is good for Lorelai right now. Luke should have developed some backbone and taken the lead in the relationship, instead of passively letting Lorelai set the tone and the terms.

So there.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The PBB Cool Ten (10/15-10/21)

10. The Detroit Tigers. For only the third time in 15 years, I'm cheering for an AL team to win the Fall Classic (the others being the Twins in '91 and the BoSox in '04--mainly because I hate the Braves and The Enemy(TM) ). Go Tigers!
9. Podcasts. I currently have a few nice sermon podcasts subscribed to so far (Mark Driscoll, Alistair Begg, my home church's Wednesday night service). If you have any you like, lemme know.
8. Getting up on time and getting to work early. Puts the whole day in a good light.
7. Nick Hornby's newest novel, "A Long Way Down." It's no "High Fidelity," but it's okay. And "okay" for Hornby is better than "good" for most other writers not named King or Coupland.
6. Chipotle burritos. Bad for the diet; good for the tummy.
5. It's almost fall; which means, it's almost not unbearably hot. Looking forward to that.
4. New digital cameras that will enable more pictures shared with blog readers. You betcha.
3. The new Skillet album. Their best one ever. Seriously.
2. Birthday dinners with family. It's a good time.
1. God will lift up your head.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Insecurity on display. (UPDATED)

The birthday thread. A day early, since I won't be online tomorrow.


Update: A musical interlude-- "What a drag it is getting old..."

Well, Mick and Keith should know...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"But you work in a hospital!"

I didn't think I was able to shock my coworkers, but I did, somehow.

This shocking admission had nothing to do with past history or any news of dating or moving or quitting. (By the way, there is no news on any of those fronts. Just in case you were wondering.)

I was able to elicit gasps and dropped jaws because of one simple statement: I don't believe in evolution.

You're all stunned, I know.

Normally, our little lunch group discusses the latest office gossip, or what was on TV the night before. Sometimes, the married people would complain about their spouses. In rare instances, they would turn their steely eyes to me, and critique my appearance, clothes, lack of social life, and so on. (Really, it's not that bad; I can thank them for the best-looking dress-up outfit in my closet.)

For some reason, yesterday, the subject turned to religion and stayed there. To give you a little background, the group consisted of myself (evangelical Christian, Baptist persuasion, and a Bible study leader), Coworker B (another professing Christian of the Baptist variety), Coworker C (a mildly participating Methodist who would freely admit he doesn't take it seriously), and Coworker D (a quasi-agnostic who was raised in a small sectarian church and quickly abandoned organized faith).

The conversation hit a lot of points that I don't remember now, but one point was when the agnostic expressed incredulity that anyone could believe the Bible to be the literal Word of God. Things like the six-day Creation just didn't make sense, she insisted. Her argument was that putting the Bible in the hands of men ensured that it is not now what God supposedly wrote then. Too many translations, too many mistakes.

Now, I've had a few discussions with this person before, one in particular when she was verbose and tipsy on a business trip. We covered her entire theological position at that point. Whew. So this didn't shock me, and I didn't throw tables over and drive her out with whip and righteous indignation. What I instead countered with is that I believe that the Book is the Word of God, and that, when faithfully translated from the original manuscripts, it is the version of the Word that we are meant to have.

(This is my basic approach to inerrancy: the Bible is the perfect and immutable Word of God, and is the Final Authority for life. It can be trusted and taken literally, with an understanding of basic literary principles, like hyperbole, metaphor, and provenance. Any questions about authenticity or mistranslation for me boil down to this--if it's been faithfully translated as best as is possible, it's the Book we're meant to have in this era, and we should give it all the authority that the early church gave the original manuscripts.)

The Methodist (C), at this point, agreed with her (D) and said that while he believed in God, he thought that God used evolution to create the world. I told him that I know some Christians do believe in that, what they call "theistic evolution." He then went on to say that he had to believe in a "First Cause" (though he didn't put it so succintly).

At this point, the other Baptist (B) said, "I don't believe in evolution."

Stunned silence from the other two.

I added, "I don't either."

More shocked looks. Actual dropped jaws.

(C) sputtered to her, "But...you work in a hospital!"

(D) turned to me, "How can you not believe in evolution?"

I shrugged, "I don't. I believe in microevolution--changes within a species. But full blown evolution? Nope."

(C) turned to me. "Didn't you take any anthropology classes in college?"

I laughed. And the conversation continued, but that was pretty much the gist of it. I didn't launch into a reasoned defense, Lee-Stroebel-style. The two just shook their heads at us, and the conversation moved on. There was a jab later when geographical distance was somehow brought up, and (D) said to (B), "You do believe the world is round, right?" To which (B) replied with a well-argued, "Shut up."

The more I thought about this, the more it puzzled me. Granted, we'd never all sat down and cleared up our approaches to the origin of species. But they know I'm a Christian, and a pretty conservative one theologically, so I didn't think this would surprise them.

Is it so strange to not believe in evolution? (And I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but still.)

The thing about theistic evolution, like C espouses, is that I think it takes away man's special status as God's image-bearer. I brought this up to C, who started talking about how man is evolving into God's image. That evolution's final result was man (or some enhanced version of man) with the mental capabilities to truly bear God's image. At this point, I saw we were talking two different languages. His view of man progressing toward a bright future, versus mine of mankind growing darker and darker until the return of Christ ends the slide and restores order.

As for the whole Genesis account issue, the fact is, I know of no good reason not to believe the Book on this. So what if the earth appears to be millions of years old? Doesn't it seem like a pulled punch if you give credit to a Supreme Being kicking off the Big Bang but then saying He's not good enough to create a finished product ex nihilo? I mean, I know the theories that other Christians espouse, the "gap" theory, the "day-age" theory, but that just seems like intellectual gymnastics trying to satisfy the demands of "science." My attitude is that science has never been an exact science, so to speak. We put so much faith in it because it makes us look smart. But there are some things we just can't know, some things we will never figure out.

I suppose this approach could be considered by some to be anti-intellectual, and I can see their point. But I think of myself, not so much as "anti-intellectual" (I will never tell you to not use your God-given mind), but rather as "trying-not-to-drive-myself-crazy-about-big-questions-I-can't-handle." I have enough humility to say that I can't figure some things out, and that's okay.

I don't know where exactly I was going with this post. Maybe it's my frustration that there seem to be only two permissible settings in faith, as decided by the culture: you can either be an educated, nuanced, private, non-offensive, non-assertive, passive, "spiritual" person; or you can be an assertive, in-your-face-with-a-can-of-mace, wild-eyed, anti-intellectual, stubborn, uneducated, simple, literalist, bullhorn-wielding "fundie."

I know, that's a vast overstatement, but that's how it feels. Those are the only two types of Christians that most folks outside the faith seem to acknowledge.

And I think my coworkers were shocked because I wasn't as cut-and-dried in the first position as they thought. Not believing in evolution is only the first step. The next thing you know, I'll be spouting some nonsense about Jesus being the only way to God, right?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I will, and often. That's just how I roll.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Because I clearly couldn't keep this "all-serious blogging" thing up very long.

Anyone excited about any TV shows this fall? Anything that surprised you in terms of really good/bad quality programming? Any new "must-see" shows? Chat about it in the comments.

[Disclaimer: I am going to do a little more TV blogging again, but it won't become as pervasive as this summer's much-maligned "RS:SN" series of posts. Just the occasional observation/reaction post.]

If you can't think of anything to say, I'll take your reaction to any of the following:

New Shows I'm Currently Digging:
Studio 60
The Class

Returning Shows I'm Digging:
How I Met Your Mother

Returning Shows I'm on the Verge of Abandoning to Watch "House" Instead:
Gilmore Girls

Monday, October 09, 2006

Inviting Mockery and Derision.

I have nothing substantial to post right now--or rather, not much time to post something substantial, assuming I have anything to say. Substantially. Nevermind.

So instead I'll post the tracklist of a really random mix CD that I made in April 2005 from the songs on my compy at the time, which I "found" this morning.

Submitted for your snarky commentary:

1) "All Along the Watchtower (live)," Dave Matthews Band
2) "Don't Change Your Plans," Ben Folds Five
3) "Air," Ben Folds Five
4) "But Anyway (live)," Blues Traveller
5) "Ballad of a Thin Man," Bob Dylan
6) "Things Have Changed," Bob Dylan
7) "The World I Know," Collective Soul
8) "Who Wants to Live Forever," Queen
9) "Heroes," The Wallflowers
10) "How," Lisa Loeb
11) "Southside," Moby and Gwen Stefani
12) "Open All Night (live)," Counting Crows
13) "Man of Constant Sorrow," The Soggy Bottom Boys
14) "Sleepwalker," The Wallflowers
15) "The Freshman," The Verve Pipe

Friday, October 06, 2006

So far, so good...

Okay, while the hammer has fallen on many of my daily web visits, Blogger is still in the clear, as are most blogs, as far as I can tell. Here's hoping the Man doesn't catch wise.


WEEKEND ASSIGNMENT: Things could use a little sprucing up around here, and one of the things that could be updated is the website's tagline.

Currently, it's the quote from T. S. Eliot: "...Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before the taking of a toast and tea." --Eliot, "Prufrock"

Can you think of a better one? More clever, more fitting of the page?

This is your assignment over the weekend. What do you, the readers, think should be PBB's slogan?

I can't guarentee that I'll pick one, or even that I'll change it at all. I'm just open to suggestions.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

Okay, friends, here's what's shakin down.

I got an institution-wide email from my current place of business, informing all employees that they are cracking down on internet usage due to high bandwidth issues. (Yeah, right.)

This means that, effective tomorrow, I won't have access to sports sites (sayonara, ESPN), online music sites and players (so long, Pandora and AOL), online media players (buh-bye, YouTube), personals and dating (nice knowin ya, MySpace), online games, real estate, and other things.

Undoubtedly, their internet sting will catch Blogger and all my lovely TV/Smallville/Cubs pages in its web, too.

So, this may be my last transmission for a while.

If it turns out Blogger has evaded their grasp, I'll give you the all-clear tomorrow, when this horrible lockdown takes effect. Otherwise, it will be the occasional audio post until I can make other arrangements for myself.

Until now, internet at home has not really been an option, for various reasons. Now, it may become a necessity. Yes, I said it, a necessity.

So, for the time being, farewell, my friends and comrades. Keep fighting. The blog revolution is far from won. Don't let the Man get you down.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rant Monday

Fair warning.

Rant #1: Phone Etiquette.

For those of you who don't know, I have a part-time job in the evenings working at a theatre. My job is to call up past subscribers and theatre-goers and offer them a chance to subscribe for the upcoming season. Yes, it's pretty much telemarketing, but NO, it's not cold-calling. These are people who actually go to the theatre and like it, so it's not as hard of a sell as one would expect. Plus, I have a sexy voice. Which helps.

But yeah, it's telemarketing. And there's a mostly-deserved stigma about it. Don't worry, I'm not that guy. I don't harrass, and when you tell me you're not interested, I pretty much take it without a fight (unlike some callers).

People are defensive, when it comes to phone sales. I totally understand. But this doesn't mean that the rules of politeness are suspended when it comes to telemarketers.

I've gotten flat-out hung-up-on, yelled at, cut off, put on hold indefinitely. But that's not even the worst.

You know what really gets me? The people who say, "Well, it's not a good time, call me back on Thursday," and then avoid me like the plague. I call back, because I honestly think you may be interested, and you don't pick up for a few days. Then finally, you pick up the phone just to hang it up immediately. OR you pick it up just to say, "Stop calling me!"

You friggin' told me to, JACK.

So here's the deal, consumers of America--if a person calls you up trying to sell you something (whether it's something you'd want, or not), I'd like you to remember a few key points:
  • The person on the phone is a real person. They should be treated like a real person--not spoken down to or verbally abused. Of course, if you do that to telemarketers, you probably do that to restaurant waitstaff, which makes you a grade-A jerk.
  • If you don't want what they're selling, DO NOT tell them you'll a) think about it; b) talk to your sig. other, or c) call them back at the number they offer. Instilling false hope of a sale=not cool. Especially for those of us who work on partial or full comission. Time wasted with you is missed opportunity to get rent money, capice?
  • And never EVER tell someone to call you back, if you don't want them to call you back. Not interested? Grow some stones and say, "no, thank you." Don't jerk around some person on the phone just because you're too cowardly to say "no." It won't hurt our feelings, and it probably won't make us homicidal. But you know what will? Stringing us along.
  • At the end of the call, after you've made it clear that you are not interested, do not simply hang up. Just because no business is being transacted doesn't mean that the rules of common courtesy are suspended. Thank them, say goodbye, and then hang up. (Caveat: If they keep talking or won't take "no" for an answer, then thank them, say goodbye, and hang up, even if they're still talking. Courtesy works both ways.) But don't just say, "Not interested." *CLICK* Because that's just rude.
Can you do that, America? Can you handle actually being civil to people who are just trying to do their friggin job and make a living? Is that so terribly difficult?

Look, if you don't like telemarketers, there are resources for that, like no-call lists and whatnot. But rudeness and jackassery are not the answer.

All we are saying, is give politeness a chance.

That's it. Rant #1 over.