Saturday, September 30, 2006

full house

there are 10 people staying at my house right now. it's a bit crazy.
there's my immediate fam, my grandma, uncle and cousin (the two of them are here to get my cousin set up at school), and three of my brother's high school buddies. they're having a grand reunion. that means they play old video games all night (eric pulled to old super nintendo out of the closet), reminisce about high school and work as many popculture references/quotes into conversation as possible. and i thought i was pretty good - they can have a complete conversation based on simpsons quotes alone. it's hard for me to keep up. it's fun to have them around.

i've been reading a lot lately. just started christ plays in ten thousand places by eugene peterson. i'm realizing that i'll always be learning, that i always want to be learning regardless of wether i'm in school or not. i'm afraid of forgetting what i've learned at regent. i'm afraid i'll be smushed back into the mold that our larger consumer culture forces us into. the siren cry of money and materialism is strong. i think that is why i need community of people that share christ-like values, to stand together.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

i rather feel like expressing myself...

a sign from the heavens

to avoid paying for parking at a's games, my brother and i usually park in the BART parking lot and walk over to the stadium. and we always drove by this house to get to the lot - it's been there for as long as i can remember. i noticed that it was going to be torn down, so i snapped a photo of it before the demolition. philsophize away about this handy evangelism tool/method.

it's just this regular house, i wonder how the owner decided to attach this message to the wall. i particularly like the flames adorning the word "hell." and perhaps the dish network system should also be associated with the dangers of hell.

hello, my name is...

tonight was the first small group bible study i've been to in a long time. all part of my new quest to get me some community - i wore a nametag and everything; i hate wearing nametags. didn't have any awkward small talk, lord be praised. i was curious to see how things would be, you know, post-theological education and all.

i've got some problems with how we do bible study - "we" being a general pronoun for the average church. let's go through a book of the bible, one chapter per week and make our best (largely uneducated) guesses at what the scripture is getting at. and with our western perspective, that means diving in from our contemporary viewpoint, jumping around to different verses, and immediately measuring ourselves against the passage. "do i live up to this passage?" (the answer: of course we don't, otherwise we wouldn't need grace), and so on. we were spending time in the word, but not really soaking it in so much. it had kind of a bull-in-a-china-shop feel to me in approaching scripture.

it made me appreciate the practice of lectio divina - of reading the word out loud, spending time in silence, soaking in the passage in a contemplative manner and letting it speak to us. and THEN sharing with each other.

i squirmed internally. i tried not to dominate the conversation. i know i know more than them, but that does not give me license to do my own bull in a china shop act. doesn't seem right to me. i'll go back, i guess. i want to meet people, after all, and be more involved at this church. this will not be my main source of intellectual stimulation, however. kind of a weird situation to find myself in.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

sweet victory. finally.

ladies and gentlemen, your Oakland Athletics, 2006 AL West champs. it's about damn time. post-season, here we come!

me fail english? that's unpossible!


got another in-class exercise back in copyediting class. i haven't seen that much red ink since ... oh i don't know, high school ... no, grade school - ooh, i got it, one of my calculus tests in college (i got a d- in that class). apparently, i have no grasp of the english language. and i thought i had done well on it until i saw the corrections. my teacher isn't really big on encouragement. she sounds like marge simpson's mom. at least how i think she would sound.

seriously, i thought i was a grammar geek before. folks, i am being led into new worlds of grammar geekdom that i have never conceived of before - when to italicize, capitalize, use an apostrophe, insert a comma... blablabla. and i'm not really sure i want to go down this path.

i just find this really galling, you know, because i'm a writer. i love words. words are important to me. i know words.

i cursed during most of the drive home. 30 minutes.
i don't know. maybe it's a sign. writers have more fun.

i met with my spiritual director friend today. she lent me a copy of "what color is your parachute?" it's one of those really big job search books. check it - it's personally autographed to her from the author. apparently he lives in my hometown, and is christian and spoken at new college berkeley several times on vocation (she's the director of the school - think regent on a very small scale). and the book is all based within a biblical perspective of vocation. this is all news to me. i had it confused with "who moved my cheese?" i've actually read that one and though it was kind of dumb.

anyway, besides getting that book from her, she also lent me gilead by marilynne robinson which i've heard is very good. but i digress: our conversation was quite good. it's good to talk. and to be listened to. and to discover which ways God is calling me. feeling that tendency to let the job define me, instead of maybe the other way around. or something like that. sometimes the rest of life gets too loud for me to be able to think, and so it's good that i'm meeting with her.

sigh. i guess we'll see, huh?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

future tense

okay vancouver homies...

i just got a wedding invitation from a good buddy of mine. the wedding is in seattle. in december.
since seattle is so much closer to vancouver than danville is, i thought i'd drop by. how's everyone's first week of december looking? i know most of you fools aren't in school anymore, so having finals is no excuse for at least one night at the wolf and hound for cheap pitchers of beer. or an occasion of this variety. (rice-firsts, please delay your departure from vancouver for a few days)

just thought i'd float that out there. this is a shameless attempt to get people to comment. here's what worked last time: grey's anatomy. there.

and - the a's LOST. AGAIN. (many swear words here)

Monday, September 25, 2006

indian summer

it's 90 degrees out.
what the heck?
i forgot that summer extends into october here.

also the stupid a's lost their stupid game yesterday to the stupid angels. so their stupid magic number is still 2. terrible playing yesterday - they looked like they were asleep out there. this does not bode well for the playoffs. at least i had one more chocolate malt with a wooden spoon before the season ends.

fake plastic trees

community. man, i haven't heard that word bandied about in a while. we used to say it so much at Regent that it really didn't hold much meaning for me after a while. sometimes the community there was cloying, much like spending too much time with your own family in a small space like on a road trip.

of course, in a school setting, community is served up on a platter. misery loves company to some degree - makes me think of the many times i've stayed up far too late at the last minute working on papers - at least i knew the weed was suffering along with me, or annie when we'd share a table and frantic looks on our faces typing our thesis projects. then we'd all go to the pub, or to mac's late at night for junk food.

and now? well now, i actually have to go out looking for community. the horror! not something easy for me the introvert. yesterday ashley had to serve in the prayer room after church and i loitered around for her before dinner. i haven't felt that self conscious about not knowing anyone in a long long time. i even had a brief awkward courtesy conversation with some well-meaning soul, and i wanted to run away. chalk it up to my social anxiety disorder (is that a real thing? i made it up one day and liked how it sounded). but then i talked to some people that had actually spent some time at regent, and their faces lit up with recognition. and that somehow was like a lifeline - i'm slowly realizing how out of community i am and how much i miss it. actually the whole service was quite encouraging in ways that i hadn't encountered in a while, not since i had left vancouver. for one, i actually agreed with their theology, which, you know, is nice.

mostly i was reassured to find having values and things in common with people that i thought i wouldn't be able to find quite so easily. which i haven't been able to find, and was afraid i wouldn't find; i thought maybe regent had made me more of an stranger in a strange land than i already was, being a christian and all.

the church is hosting this conference "jesus and evangelical power" and the speakers are from uganda, el salvador, cairo and calcutta. i'm quite impressed. voices from the majority world telling american evangelical where we're getting it wrong and getting it right. i'm looking forward to going.

this whole post-regent life is slow in coming together. i thought i had a strategy, only to have it turned upside down by my life coaching friend. which was kind of annoying, but good. i guess i pay her to do that. there is more than one way to look at something, which is a simple fact that i seem to forget a lot.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

america's past-time

The Oakland A's magic number to clinch the AL west division: 2
*meaning that, at the game tomorrow vs. the angels, the title could be ours!
will i be at the game? yes
was i at today's game, hoping it today would be the day? yes
the nachos were subpar this time around. very disappointing.

also, i am 5.5 points up on the rest of the teams in my fantasy baseball league. what???? that's insane.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

my thursday nights are booked

my new addiction. it's not very often that a show can make me laugh and cry from one moment to the next. yes, i have choked up watching this show; i am a sap. i have a crush on all of the characters.

but like jeff wrote, if you call me tomorrow, don't expect an answer.

kickin' it old school

so i'm rattling around in my old jeep cherokee these days. i try to drive as little as possible, but sometimes i just have to escape my house, so i feel like i am accomplishing something. and what do i listen to while i drive? well, the car just has a tape deck (remember cassette tapes?) and the most current tape in there is a mix tape comprised of "Spiceworld" the Spice Girls' second album. remember the spice girls? man, they had some catchy tunes.

but the most frightening thing is not that i am actually listening to it, but that I STILL REMEMBER THE WORDS to a lot of the songs. topping that, my middle brother can tell which spice girl is singing in each song. we liked them, but in a kind of ironic way, in that is was so easy to hate them.

my youngest brother is the one responsible for this mix tape (he must have been 12 at the time), which also contains such hits as "karma police" by radiohead,"we are the champions" by queen, "hey mickey" by toni basil, and a large part of adam sandler stand-up (lunch lady blues, etc.). it is the worst mix tape i have ever heard.

you are now supremely jealous to learn that I HAVE SEEN THE SPICE GIRLS IN CONCERT. oh yes. 1998. if you don't think that is amazingly funny, then i don't want to be friends with you. get off my blog.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

people i like

a few friends celebrated birthdays recently. wish i could've been around to join the festivities for such cool people. why can't we all live on the same street in the same town anymore?

sara is now 29 years of age. sara enjoys donuts (boston cremes rule!) and mysterious german tonics but hates exercising in direct sunlight. she'll kick your ass in a game of "name that 80's sitcom theme song."

at 6'4", dave is exactly 12 inches taller than me. he likes banana-flavored liquer, singing in bars with blind piano players and drinkin' beer before systematic c class. he's got 29 years under his belt.

stevie likes using overly large appliances, "billy jean" by michael jackson and wearing flesh-toned shorts. he makes wicked good soup. i believe steve is 28.

i did not make up any of these facts. glad to know people like these, makes life far more interesting. happy belated birthday! this special post is in lieu of birthday presents, by the way. you can thank me later.

creativity: it's like squeezing water from rocks

i just chugged a pepsi beause i was having a caffeine withdrawal headache. now i will probably have a caffeine induced headache. you can't win.

well... i have editing class tonight. and i still haven't done my homework, which is true to my study habits. i have to confess that i'm not totally sold on this copyediting-as-a-career thing. perhaps it's that my teacher is less than dynamic. perhaps it is that we are in the most decrepit depressing classroom on the berkeley campus. perhaps it's that i took a bit of a beating on my first editing test and my pride is stung. perhaps this stuff is more exicting in actual practice than in description (say, like explaining each editing symbol). or perhaps i am discovering that i need more of an avenue to be creative than this particular job.

i finally read sleeping with bread. (hat tip to bw for telling me about the book). so i am trying to be attentive to what is life-giving and what is life-draining and why this is the case - hence the previous paragraph. it has been helpful in this whole limbo time. also, my life coach is helping me to visualize my goals and priorities; she is encouraging my to day dream about jobs i would like to have; which i think has never really happened before. yes, i have a life coach. she's quite good. i am also meeting with a spiritual director; she's also quite good. both have been former teachers of mine; i respect them both a great deal. i am glad to have voices of guidance and wisdom at this time.

my brother is moved in to his place in san diego ("which is german for a whale's vagina.") and about to start school. i am quite jealous (not about the school part), as i am in my old room in my parent's house which is still partly a storage room. it is frustrating not to have my own space in the way that i would like it to be.

next post: with photos! i promise!

Monday, September 18, 2006

the kids are all right

i've visited with some of my old youth group kids. in fact, it only took about 5 minutes for one of them to express a desire to punch me in the face. he really meant, it's good to see you again. being the midst of their hyperactivity is shocking but in a good way. it's fun to see how they've grown over the past 3 years.

played freeze tag for the first time in who knows how long when i babysat my friend's 2 boys. i thought i broke one of them when he asked me to launch him in the air off my shoulder. some things are best only attempted in the swimming pool. his younger brother kyle resisted brushing his teeth before bed with an act of civil disobedience; he curled up into a ball on the floor. i had exhausted my reserve of threats and cajoling, garrett offered to help. bending down close to his ear, he said, "kyle if you brush your teeth, i'll give you... money." kyle was off like a shot. garrett looked up at me, shook his head, and said with all the wisdom a 7 year old could muster, "works every time." after kyle rinsed, garrett forked over 6 cents. at bedtime, after i had wrestled them both through baths, i read them stories on the couch. sitting there reading "cloudy with a chance of meatballs" with two freshly scrubbed heads resting on my shoulders was a tranquilly perfect moment.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

life is a highway, and i hate it

sitting in a car for 9 hours sucks my will to live. back in san diego, this time to drop off the youngest brother for the fall quarter at ucsd. kind of wierd, i've never had to do this before, being the oldest and all. i did the first things first. anyway, the weather has been strangely reminiscent of vancouver, being in the 70s when it really should be in the 90s. convert that to celsius yourselves, people. i'm in america now and don't have to do or care about that kind of thing. my other brother and i, still being jobless, are plotting how to become youtube celebrities or how to create some kind of internet rumor/phenomenon. that kind of thing could pass for a resume builder in these crazy days. wish us luck, and that our rickety well-used old cars get us to where we need to go.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

back in the matrix

well, my computer is back (via fedex shipping, no less), with a brand spanking new hard drive. and because apple is apple, they threw in a new keyboard too - a lot of the letters on the keys had worn off. love that customer service.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

technology is not the answer

today's public service announcement: backup all your data. seriously.
my ibook g4 is currently being shipped off to get the hard disk repaired or possibly replaced. bizarrely, the breakdown occurred right when i was putting in my new replacement battery - i thought that was the culprit, but how could a battery do that? after two visits in one day to the genius bar at the apple store, they sent it off. i should get it back in a week or so. it is strange to be without my laptop, but i think it will be a good break. fitting since i just picked up my first reading of wendell berry from the library.

i was pretty gutted when i thought i would lose all the files on my computer. all of my regent papers (for what they are worth). photos from the past year of life. luckily i was able to pull all that stuff off and put it on an external hard drive. that was close.

Friday, September 08, 2006

i'm looking for a mr. jass ... first name, hugh

i've been spending a lot of time at the library. because i'm now 70 years old and afterward i go for the early bird special at denny's. actually, there's nothing wrong with that. and the library is free, with many mind-enriching things since mine is slowly turning to mush. i put many dvds on hold and then check the website to see when i get them. and this book was on the main page. and i laughed and laughed. this author obviously never saw that particular simpsons episode. or got a prank call from me.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


here's another video from okgo. it's from one of their older songs. wish i had moves like this.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

let's go a's

you know, sometimes it ain't bad being unemployed. if i had a job, i wouldn't be able to go to cheap ticket wednesday a's games. and the a's beat the rangers, 9-6.

tickets: $2 each. hot dogs: $1 each. (i consumed 2. bro consumed 4. dude's got an iron stomach.) i felt i was then justified to blow $7.50 on that there fat tire amber ale. reminds me of what i had to pay for a pint at dentry's after tax and tip - lame.

personal quote of the game:
(after seeing some guy's hockey t-shirt) "the nashville predators? is their mascot a creepy guy driving a van?"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

bobbling heads

it's frank thomas bobblehead night at the a's game. my brother is going, but i have to go to class. lame!
i was invited to go to the game tomorrow, which is a dollar dog wednesday. mmm... cheap hot dogs. wait, ew. but i'm still going to eat them because they're cheap.

suffering a lot of angst about driving everywhere. the chocolate factory appears to be in great need of barristas, as the manager asked me to come in for a try-out on thursday, whatever that means. i don't know if being able to say i work at a chocolate factory is really worth the driving. i will hazard the public transportation though. in such a car saturated culture, the public transportation tends to be neglected. i'll give it a try.

apparently my people who know people in the publishing world have passed my name on to even more people. perhaps one of these days i will actually get a solid lead. in the mean time i will enjoy my items i just picked up from the library: step into liquid - a surfing movie, and christ plays in ten thousand places by eugene peterson. and that's how we do theology in california. speaking of which, i need to rename my blog. we all knew this day would come but it is sad nonetheless.

Monday, September 04, 2006


a law of inertia: an object at rest tends to stay at rest.

especially when said object is me - i didn't leave the house today. but my copy editing class starts tomorrow. and i'm going to go see about a barrista job at a CHOCOLATE FACTORY. i mean, hello! a CHOCOLATE FACTORY! it's some old well known local brand; and there's a really nice cafe that serves lunch and dinner. here's hoping all that time i spent trying to pour a damn rosetta leaf at the well pay off. i've been craving chocolate lately.

the job search sputters along. the people who know people who know people haven't really panned out. time work on the inertia. i don't know though. while this time is hard, i am finding it valuable also. i'm still figuring out how my time at regent has changed me (something i suspect will continue to unfold and take on more meaning as time passes) and i feel lucky to have time to make decisions about how my life will take shape as i move forward. and about that future life? a priority is having a pub to walk to and lift a few pints with friends. because i really miss that.

comings and goings

when it's ungodly hot here, the powers that be decree a "spare the air day." to further encourage us not to use our cars unecessarily, all public transportation is free. my brothers and i took the BART into the city. it's always so much cooler on the other side of the berkeley hills. the air conditioning doesn't work in my brother's old benz - driving on the freeway to the BART station (kind of defeats the purpose to sparing the air, i know) it felt like we were in an industrial clothes dryer. horrible.

the three of us wandered around the city, ate sandwiches in north beach, and walked down a side street into chinatown. tried to manuver through the chaotic scene on the narrow and crowded sidewalk. they were unloading the fish deliveries to all the little markets. you know, the ones that have several types of fried animals hanging in the windows? the fish are still alive when they get to those stores; they must come straight from the docks. i looked up in time to see a slight chinese woman raise a huge mallet and repeatedly club a snapper that must have been at least 3 feet long. i could see its gills fanning in a vain attempt for oxygen. they fluttered like butterfly wings. and then it didn't move anymore. i scooted down the street faster.

i realized that i don't really know where my food is coming from. how different and visceral to see an animal slaughtered in front of you before dinner, than picking up a saran wrapped package from the row upon row of plastic at the supermarket. when i was house sitting with the chickens, i felt the warmth of freshly laid egg. my dad grew up on a farm. he seems happiest when he's puttering around in the back yard. he and my brothers are building a zen garden. i, on the other hand, have a black thumb.

and another thing, where does my garbage go? we get one large recycling container here, all the paper, plastic, glass, and metal goes into it. that means someone, somewhere has to pick through all of it and sort it all out. i went to the dump in vancouver when we were moving out of our house to get rid of all this junk we had accumulated. it was profoundly disturbing place where all the workers wore gas mask and goggles and your eyes burned from stench in this enormous warehouse. and it wasn't even the final resting place for the city garbage. it was packed into mack trucks and taken god knows where, probably some garbage barge out on the fraser river or some landfill out in the boonies where we wouldn't have to look at it. it's probably the same here in california.

yet i don't think most of the people in blithe suburbia are concerned with these things. food appears on a plate. stuff goes in the garbage and away. it's very clean, very convenient, and very detached from the realities of life and death and decay.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

if they don't win, it's a shame

another day, another a's game.

this time i went with my pal ashley. next to my brothers, i've seen most a's games with her. good times. there are a lot of thing i miss about vancouver, but this isn't one of them - i absolutely love being able to see pro baseball on a regular basis again. the a's lost today though - stupid orioles. since it was a day game and i wasn't freezing to death like i was the night before, i partook of a summer baseball staple - malted ice cream. note the wooden spoon - necessary for the authentic flavor experience. i know, i only take pictures of food and drink now. there a few things that feel more summery than kicking back in a stadium seat, with the sun shining down as you eat a chocolate malt and root root root for the home team. let's go oakland!

however, i may need to detox now after 2 days of stadium food. whatever, it was worth it. happy fatterday from me to you.

friday night lights

i went to an a's game with my bro tonight - he scored free tickets. that means i had nachos for dinner. mmm... liquid cheese. the a's won, and it was a fan appreciation night, so they let us on the field to watch a fireworks show. which was then followed by post game hot wings (cajun and hickory bbq flavors) at wing stop, a new establishment by the coliseum. a good way to pass a friday summer evening, a la fat friday nights with the kelleys and may '06 grilling/nacho month. mmm... fat.