Saturday, November 29, 2008

torn diary page

i wasted two-thirds of a Saturday watching
sitcoms. i suppose there were smarter things
to do, a more adult-like list, like laundry,
or budgeting, or putting up my Christmas tree.
but i sat, staring at my computer screen,
watching The Office and laughing by myself
inside an empty, cold apartment. well, not empty, not really,
i'm surrounded by a crowd of books stacked on shelves
and floors, and by the door there is a mob of magazines packed
in a rack. in fact, i also have a multitude of nice CDs, some
DVDs, and of course a gang of vinyl records, which
i spin when i want to appreciate the "old school."

but between me and you and the old lamp post,
i have to admit i'd trade them all, books, albums,
magazines, butterscotch candies, sole ownership of
the remote control, i'd put them all down on the table
and shake hands to seal the deal and exchange the lot for
someone to laugh with when i watch The Office
on my laptop computer, a shoulder to bury my face in
as Michael Scott makes a fool of himself,
a hand to grasp as Jim and Pam dance around
their feelings, and two cool eyes to gaze into when
the credits roll.

really. take the lot. that's my offer. all these petty prizes
i've acquired, because Art and Paul were liars,
see, no man is a rock or island,
unless he's elba, or patmos, or off-hours alcatraz.
and piles of creature comforts and pleasant diversions
are cold tokens of a life built around solitude.
really, take it all away and replace them with
a quiet conversation on the train, and maybe a breathy
"good night" whispered in a cell phone,
with an "i love you like my next heartbeat" as the
silent subtext.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm about to leave...

...but I felt like I needed to at least say hi.


What's going on with me? Not much. I have the next two days off for the Thanksgiving holiday--you'd better believe i'm thankful for THAT--and then the weekend.

I'll try to post a bit more later in the week.

That's all. I'm hungry. Time for lunch.

Here are some treats for you.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Until I can write something entertaining for you, here's a look at my off-hours during last week's work trip.



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Help me stay awake, I'm fallin'...

It's midnight, Cinderella.

I'm flying to Orlando tomor--well, okay, today. In ten-plus hours. Work conference. I'm looking forward to getting away for a few days. The nine-hours-a-day of panel lectures and workshops aren't laugh-a-minute, but it's essentially a work-reimbursed vacation. I'll get to visit Disney World tomorrow night, and eat at some nice restaurants. That'll be nice.

This week has been busy. There's always a lot to do, and... okay, I'll stop. I imagine it gets old hearing me say the same things every day. Work's busy. I'm tired. Too much to do. Blah blah blah. And each of you lovely readers would say the same things, because my life isn't terribly special. Everybody's got a job that gets stressful and hectic. Everybody could use more rest. So why should I waste your time and mine tell you what you already know?

So here's what's out of the ordinary in my world.

--My family's dealing with (or about to deal with) another bit of disappointment. And I want to be strong, and have faith, and be positive. But the only responses I can muster right now are frustration with the situation and God's elusiveness in it, and the rage I feel toward the unrighteous who cause such things to happen. I want to call on God, like the Psalmist did, to be the defender of my family, but for His own unknown reasons He sees fit to strike us. Since I have a hard time being mad at God, I'm focusing my anger on the person "responsible" for this situation. Not necessarily healthy, or justifiably Christ-like. But that's what it is. It sucks. The whole situation sucks.

--I had a bit of a weird health scare a few weeks ago. After a few days, the issue suddenly resolved, and the doctor didn't have any explanations. I have a referral to go get some follow-up tests done, but I almost don't want to (for fear, ironically, that my insurance won't cover it--as well as the fear of finding out something worse). I know I should just make the appointment, but I'm having a hard time with it. Maybe it's the first real time I've confronted my own mortality. I don't know. The thing is, because of my weight, I can't get life insurance, and if something were to happen to me, I'd leave my family with a mess of debt to clean up. I need to have a plan in place to cover that, until I can get the debt taken care of. And until that plan is in place, I really should be more vigilant about my health.

--Last week, I re-read Romans 12:1, and realized that "presenting your body as a living sacrifice" isn't just some spiritual metaphor. It also actually means, "Treat your body as if it belongs to God." Stewardship, in other words. I'm sure if you had told me this in the past, I would have assented. But it took that last time to really have it sink in--taking care of this body IS worship of God. I want to slap myself in the forehead and say "Duh, Dave." So next week, after I return from the conference, it's back to work. For real, this time. Hold me accountable. And you may say, "Dave, that week is Thanksgiving, and the next month will be filled with holiday treats." I know. But if i wait until the new year, I won't get started. Might as well attack this issue at the most inopportune time, so that it's all downhill from there.

--My spiritual life has its ups and downs. Times of strength and good decisions and feeling confident that I'm growing and maturing, and times of weakness, bad decisions, and constantly feeling like I've gotten nowhere. These last few days have been the latter.

--I'm wearing a collared polo-type shirt. Green, blue and white stripes. One of my favorites to wear to work or church. It has an inkstain. I left a pen in the wash a few weeks ago. Twenty-eight years old, and I still leave pens in the wash. I need a wife, if for no other reason that sometimes I just can't be trusted to function on my own. Okay, yeah, and the whole "love" thing.

--My back hurts. I need a new bed. My mattress and box spring are broken down and should have been retired months ago. Five years. It's been a good run.

--It's 12:20. The dryer timer just went off. Time to see if my clothes need another tumble before the bleach load goes in. Just three more cycles. Then sleep for a few hours before I'm up for my flight. Or I make do with the clothes I've got. We'll see if pragmatism wins out.

Say goodnight, Gracie. ("Goodnight, Gracie.")

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pre-Conference Linky Love

Randomness, GO!
  • An instructional video for bloggers.
  • A preview for the upcoming season of LOST, premiering January 21st.
  • Whenever I tell a lame joke, I hear this in my head.
  • Apparently Joaquin Phoenix is done with movies. I have to say, I'm terribly, terribly vexed.
  • I think Joel Hodgson of MST3K is a national treasure. (Okay, maybe I'm overstating, but he's pretty cool nonetheless.)
  • The King says dudes read books, too. As an avid reader, I concur. (Obviously; otherwise I wouldn't use words like "avid" or "concur.")
  • This helped ease the post-election pain quite a bit. (Yes, you Obama supporters can laugh too.)
  • You may have been hearing about the town of Batman, Turkey, suing DC Comics for use of the name "Batman." Well, then there's this guy. He may think he's clever, but signing checks and queuing up to renew his driver's license just got a lot more difficult.
  • Adam Duritz displays bad judgment. (No, not his hair--jerk.)
  • Christopher Hitchens tries to pop some of the Obama-euphoria. (He's just biased against messiahs, I think.)
  • Suddenly Agent Smith doesn't seem as intimidating.
  • Colbert was robbed and should demand a recount. I guess it goes to show that J. Jonah Jamison was in the tank for Obama, like the rest of the media.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...

I've got a couple of things to post today, but i've gotta do some work first.

Just wanted to check in and say: Be back in a few hours, and--


Will, you should have stayed an extra hour and watched.

And it wasn't even the bulk of the episode that was so amazing, though I did enjoy "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Chloe."

But the last five minutes or so--daaaaaaaaaang.

And then the trailer for next week--DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG.

Wow. Cannot Wait.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why Government-Controlled Health Care is A Bad Idea...

...and can be morally corrupt.

A German doctor was denied residency in Austrailia. Why? Because his mentally disabled son was considered too much of a burden on the system.

Stop and consider that, you who support nationalized healthcare.

The government decided who was WORTHY of their care. And the boy, through no fault of his own, was deemed UNDESIRABLE.

If you aren't chilled by the implications of such a decision, you are utterly blind.

Now tell me that socialized health care is a good idea.

Never forget this: Anything you depend on the government to give you, the government can also take away from you.

[H-T: Say Anything]

Why The Last Season of "Alias" Makes Me Worry About "Lost"

[Today's post is a discussion about the TV shows "Alias" and "LOST." If you're not interested in these shows, or you don't want to be spoiled about the end of the former, consider this your spoiler warning.]

So I finished watching the TV series "Alias" this weekend, and since I'm doing so, oh, two and a half years later than the rest of the viewing public, I have no one but you darlings to discuss this with.

Actually, the lateness of such viewing is actually convenient, because I can use my thoughts about Alias to discuss the current TV phenomenon, LOST.

For those who are unfamiliar with Alias, a brief primer: Sydney Bristow is a secret agent working (along with her father) as part of a "black ops" division of the CIA--or so she thinks, until one day it is revealed to her that she and others have been victims of a horrible ruse, and her employer SD-6 is actually a terrorist/underworld organization. She goes to the actual CIA with her information, and is tasked to work as a double agent (as her father does) in the hopes of one day taking down this rogue organization.

Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well that's because it is.

But this is really just the plot of the first two seasons. In subsequent years, there are other organizations. As one falls, another takes its place. All manner of tragedy befalls Sydney and those she cares for, including deaths of loved ones (some multiple times), abduction and memory loss, and countless betrayals (seriously, literally dozens and dozens of major betrayals).
Through the entire series, there is a plot constant: the prophecies of ancient Italian visionary Milo Rambaldi (written as a cross between DaVinci and Nostrodamus), whose fifteenth-century predictions include detailed schematics of 21st century technologies and events. The heart of Rambaldi's prophecies, however, involves Sydney herself. She's proven to be "The Chosen One," and holds pretty much the fate of the world in her hands. Multiple times.

From the very beginning, the missions and intrigues of the show involved hunting, discovering, stealing, or stealing back devices that Rambaldi made and hid hundreds of years before. Some are part of a grand machine, others are part of smaller machines that do...random stuff. The point being, there was ALWAYS a Rambaldi device to find, steal, steal back, or destroy.

Some characters refused to accept the prophecies as being true; others blindly followed them, insisting that their destiny was to bring Rambaldi's visions to fulfillment.

By the end of the series, I have to admit I felt like the Rambaldi angle was played out. And when the final showdown was Irena Derevko (Syd's mom, a Soviet double-agent/career manipulator) falling through a skylight trying to reach a sphere full of immortality-elixir, I was left a bit cold. So much of the show swirled around what Rambaldi's endgame was--and then his real endgame--and then his REALLY REAL endgame--until finally it was revealed to be simply about immortality. Seriously? That's what five years has gotten me?

It was a fabulous show with some incredible, expectation-defying moments. But in the end, the promise of a momentous payoff was not kept. Jack (Syd's dad) blows himself up to trap the treacherous Sloane in an underground cavern (where he's stuck for eternity, having been revived by Rambaldi's forever-juice). Irena dies. Marshall and Rachel and the others go on with their lives. And the coda of the episode is Syd and Vaughn walking along the beach with their two kids and their friend and former associate Dixon. The end? Yeah, that's all folks.

So here's why I'm worried about LOST:

Alias was created by J.J. Abrams, who was executive producer of the show. Abrams also created LOST, though the executive producing reins have been handed to Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. Nevertheless, there are some similarities.

The question of faith vs. doubt: In Alias, the idea being debated was Rambaldi's prophecies and the idea of fate versus choice. In Lost, Jack and Locke are pitted against each other as the man of science and man of faith, and Locke insists that his fate is to stay on the island.

The MacGuffin: Alfred Hitchcock coined the term "macguffin" to describe an object that everyone's seeking or fighting over but whose purpose isn't clearly defined. In the behind-the-scenes features on the Alias DVDs, one of the show's creators admitted that Rambaldi was first created as simply a MacGuffin for the characters to run after, and later became something important or vital to the show. In LOST, the MacGuffin may be the Island itself. Or the Smoke Monster. Or Dharma. Or Jacob. Or the four-toed statue. Or the numbers. Or the Others. In short, there are so many ideas or entities of seemly-vital importance that really haven't been described.

The meaning of it all: For a while it seemed like Alias was moving toward something--an idea or concept that bound the story together. While it was presumably Rambaldi for years, in the end, it was merely... well, there really wasn't an overarching theme. Love? Motherhood? "Truth takes time"? By the time the last episode ended, I wasn't sure there was an overarching theme, other than a few ideas about loyalty, choosing love over power, or maybe the question of fate. In LOST, it seems like there's going to be an overarching idea. There is a story being told. The question that remains is, what story is it, and what does it mean? Only time will tell, I guess. We have 2 more seasons to find out.


Maybe I'm being a naysayer. But I really like LOST, and I hope that my final assessment of the series will be better than my feelings about Alias--a great show that promised a monster of a payoff but couldn't deliver on the expectations the first three years created.

I guess on January 21st, we'll find out what happens next.

What do you think? Will Cuse/Lindelof deliver on the hopes fans have for LOST? Or should we start moderating our expectations now?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Coming this week

I've got three "draft-mode" posts in the kitty already, of topics ranging from politics to personal life to television. I'll have a linky love sometime this week, and then either next week or the following week, I'll begin a series of short discussions of the list I posted on Tuesday night: the principles of America's greatness. I had some questions about what i meant by those, and i want to dig into that a little bit.

So all this to say, some actual really-real postage coming, with few if any videos. I'm finally finding things to say, it seems. How about that.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

At last, it comes to an end.

The election, not the world.

I have a few things to say, in response to tonight's events.

I'm an American. I'm proud to be an American. I'm not going to run off to Canada, like other disgruntled voters have said in the past.

As the incoming results are confirming, Barack Obama is my next president. I will never utter the words "Not My President." Like great men in the military have said, you respect the office/uniform, if not the man. I don't agree with many of his ideals, I'm concerned about his future decisions, but like it or not, he's my president. Like I said four years ago--if you refuse to accept a political defeat, you are rejecting democracy. To paraphrase Hunter Thompson, "ya buys yer ticket and takes yer ride." And American democracy wins.


To my friends on the left, I have just a few requests:

Don't just do better; do good.

And please don't forget where America's greatness comes from:
  • Its freedom from, not just its freedom to.
  • Its individualism, not its collectivism.
  • The pursuit of happiness, not the guarantee of it.
  • The free expression of religion, not the full muzzling of it.
  • The benevolence of neighbors, not the benefaction of governments.
  • The value of personal responsibility, not perpetual victimhood.
  • The core principles of life, liberty, and democracy--values that have been the bedrock of American self-governance since the beginning.
  • The commitment to nobility, integrity, and courage, from the greatest to the least of us.

Don't lose sight of these things. Embrace these values.

Do good.


That's all I have to say. No matter who sits in the White House, God sits on His throne.

I'll say it again, and keep saying it, even if Charlie Rangel doesn't agree with me:

No savior but Jesus.

G'night folks.

Monday, November 03, 2008

What's left to say?

[Great big snip, here.]

If you read this post before 8:20 PM CST, I'd like to apologize. I'm sorry.

That's not the type of thing I want to display. It was ugly, it was bitter, it was confrontational.

I lost sight of Romans 12:21--Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The "evil" I'm referring to here isn't one candidate or another. It isn't even the followers of one candidate or another. It's the meanness of political invective, and the dark sarcasm I found myself slipping into.

The thing I keep telling people, the thing I need to remind myself, is that while this election has important implications, I believe in something that will last longer than the election, or the presidential term, or this country itself.

I believe that no matter who wins, Jesus is still Lord, the word of God is still true, the Church will withstand not only a Republican or Democrat presidency but even the gates of hell itself, and the Kingdom of God that is both now and not yet will stand forever with Jesus Christ its one and only King. Amen.

So I'm not going to worry. I'm not going to complain. I'm not going to sarcastically assign blame. I'm not going to descend into a dark and nihilistic humour.

Tomorrow, since I have already voted, I will go to the dentist and doctor, get my hair cut and car serviced, watch some "Alias" (season 5, almost done!), and spend the evening with my family, where I will speak only that which is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to the hearers.

Hold me to it, my friends. (And for the record, I've been using that phrase for years before Johnny Mac stole it out from under me. I will not relinquish it, McCain!)

Peace and grace to you, today, tomorrow, and in the days ahead.

[No messiah but Jesus.]