Saturday, September 29, 2007

guilty pleasure

at some point during my long unemployment over the past year, i started watching this show. must have gotten sick of all the law and order reruns. like i can actually turn the tv on to law and order and have actually seen the episode already - which is hard to do considering it's like one of the longest running shows on tv right now. so... without a trace... the brief synopsis: a missing persons FBI unit. need i explain further...

the unfolding of a missing person's story each episode is interesting, as are the struggles in the lives of the main characters. the show kind of demands a suspension of disbelief, because they immediately mount a massive manhunt usually before the person has been missing for 48 hours - which is what i always thought was the minimum time before you could report a missing person (i don't know how i know that, i probably got it from another police drama show). and that 16 or more people would be working on a single missing person case. but i keep watching it. perhaps it plays on the thought if you disappeared would anyone notice line of thinking that most people have wondered that at one time or another. i'd be interested in the show searching for a prostitute who has disappeared, or a similar person, because these things happen all the time with little concern from people at large. it would be good to bring this issue more to the front of people's thoughts.

on the other hand, i would love to see a parody in which they get all revved up to find a missing person, only for the person to show up nonchalantly after going out to get a sandwich or catching a movie double billing at the theater down the street. because thinking things like that make me laugh.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

being ordinary

the garrison keillor reading was last monday night. the man spins a good yarn; granted, his meandering way of telling a story - one that goes of on many tangents and somehow fits together under a them by the end of the story - isn't for everyone. but i like it, a straight line between two points maybe the fastest, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best. and a lot of the time we encounter God while we are stuck on what feels like a tangent in our lives. that last sentence is probably one i could take to heart more as i feel a bit like i am on a bizarre tangential direction in my own life. some days i am more agreeable to it than others. and that is how we pass our days.

i think what i like about keillor is what he stated in the Q&A time when asked about his writing. he said he is fascinated by the "middleness/ordinariness." we live in the middle, in the in-between times. we are ordinary, and find much goodness and things that are extraordinary in the middle of our lives.

he was introduced as a "religious humorist" and a "funny theologian." it made me want to ask who, if any, theologians influenced him in this way. because those adjectives and nouns sure as hell don't get paired together very often. he responded that before any of those things, he is a writer first. the man wields irony and wit gracefully. also he sported red socks and red sneakers with his sober navy blue suit, a trademark of his that i had not known about before.

the other day i was catching up with one of my former co-workers. i miss the bizarre mix of people there a little bit (and certainly not the chaos and drama, though these have been replaced in different ways in my present situation). she asked about my job and i was describing the kids to her and what i do. at one point, she grabbed my arm, and said, "i know these are your people and what not, and i don't want to offend you, but how come you're so normal?" this has not been the first time someone has made a comment like this to me in regards to faith (and there have been plenty of other times where i have not been so "normal" about faith). i never know quite how to respond; though i do take it as a bit of a compliment. it's just something i've been turning around in my head since it happened. because if there's one thing i know i'm good at, it's thinking about stuff for long periods of time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

national punctuation day

we missed it. alas. there's always next year.

Monday, September 24, 2007

shake and bake

not a huge football fan, but i can appreciate flashy little plays like this. skip ahead to the :30 second mark to get the closeup of the replay. also the kicker's name is colt david, which only someone from texas could be named, really.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

full disclosure

laid up with heartburn. ugh. i looked up natural remedies online and a lot of them contradict each other. alas. this too shall pass.

today during sunday school, i shared a bit about my life with the kids. against my better judgement, i showed them these pictures.

1) my friend j.t.'s junior prom. i'm a senior in this picture; i didn't go to my own junior prom. my school was big enough that we did seperate formal dances for the juniors and seniors. about a month later i went to my senior ball, but i couldn't find a picture from that. we are awkward.

2) the soccer picture from my final year of playing. note the semi-confused look on my face. i suspect i looked like this much of the time that year. why am i not wearing shin guards? i have no idea. my high school is visible in the back ground. i was also a goalie for most of this season, so i barely even wore my regular jersey.

the kids seemed to appreciate it. i'm all for freely admitting my foibles and letting them see i'm a regular human being. i also read them a section from my arts thesis project - the time i made a total fool of myself in front of 200 people with a "comedy" routine. i think they liked that too.

as for things on this job front, i have agreed to stay at the church through january. they've suspended the search for the rest of this year and made me full-fledged staff. i felt affirmed in the work i have been doing, and i feel pretty okay about this as we continue to figure out this job and calling and such. and i have some stability and hope to be more disciplined about writing. feel free to harass me about that.

i finished eat pray love yesterday. while the author is in italy, she is asked what her word is. example: for the city of rome, it is "sex." after i read that, i've been thinking about what my word would be ('cause it ain't sex, that's for sure). in regards to this job at this point in time, it would be "play." i get to play at this job. i get to be funny and creative. and the kids are great. well, exhausting, but great at the same time. so we'll see...

Friday, September 21, 2007

it was only a matter of time

well, the day has arrived - the canadian dollar is on par with the US dollar.

Monday, September 17, 2007

lake wobegon comes to california

all right, i confess, the first time i was invited to listen to "a prairie home companion," i completely scoffed and refused on the grounds that it sounded cheesy. but i can admit when i'm wrong, and have since got it in my podcast rotation. and i have come to enjoy garrison keillor's dulcet tones - if there ever was a face for the radio, it is keillor's, god love him. the man is hilarious.

so you can imagine my excitement in discovering that he is reading from his new book at the church across the street from where i work next week. always looking to be inspired by other writers.

my job

is to think of things like this...
a giant tic tac toe game on the side of our church building. inspired by hollywood squares.

and this...
i call it super bouncy ball chaos. sorry for the poor quality video. inspired by the sony bravia bouncy ball commercial.

and another game called "guess that screen name!" where i made kids guess whose email address was whose. say, like, and so on. one kid's was actually "curlyhairedmenace." haha!

inspired? perhaps. my philosophy is to think of things that would entertain me, so at least one person is having a good time. if they should so happen to enjoy it also, well, that's all the better.

words words and more words

i know,i know, i should be asleep at the time i write this. but my hand hurts because i was playing this stupid video game with my brother and now i'm too annoyed to sleep. fight night round three - it's awful and violent and graphic, and yet i am strangely addicted to it. i am ashamed. and i get so thoroughly enraged when my brother continually beats me.

i know i haven't written in a while. a lot has been happening. first some books i've been working through... i don't know how i found this first book; she's a local writer so i must have run across the name somewhere. anyway, i enjoyed this spiritual memoir, how the mystery of faith and prayer carries crittenden through the vagaries of life - the loss of her brother, a clinical depression, her parents' illnesses. it is a vulnerable story, because how can you not be talking about these things? some people may find it slow, but i found it free of sentimentality and beautifully simple prose.

i'm savoring my way through this book. i got tired of waiting for it to become available at the library, and went ahead and bought it. i blame the aforementioned wonderful used bookstore i work near. even new books are a bit cheaper than the cover price, making it that much harder to resist. anyway, enough people i knew had talked about it that love books as much as i do, so i went ahead and got it based on their praise. and it is funny. i have laughed out loud several times. for all the god-talk, i'd say it's more "spiritual" than it is "christian." i don't mind it so much, but i could see how some might have a problem with that. i'm right in the middle of it right now, but i find her voice refreshing, quirky and real. and i'd hope that whenever i get around to writing a book one day i sound a little bit like her.

so i'm on a memoir kick; i have been since i took that class last spring. seems like a lifetime ago already even though it was just 3 months ago. as i type this entry looking at these two books, i wonder if life is imitating art here... two women, single mid-thirties both writers, come to a bit of a crossroads. it sounds strangely familiar.

and with that we are on to me... school has started and youth programming has picked up. so instead of the 10 kids that showed up in the summer, they're coming out of the woodwork - last sunday there were like 50 kids in the room. and i stood up in front of them and thought, "who the heck are these people?" and i'm sure a lot of them were thinking the same thing about me. last thursday i sat in the back row during our first meeting and the kids were singing and my only thought was, "i'm in trouble now. i'm starting to like them." a part of me didn't want to, to be honest. and i had to laugh at myself, at this absurd situation i found myself in, of being in this room with these particular quirky awkward fragile beautiful teenagers at this particular time. as much as i didn't imagine/desire working at a church or even in youth ministry again, here i am. and i feel funny - like i am funny, frickin' hilarious and about a hundred times happier than i was at my last job (see march-june entries). beginning to make inroads to friendships with kids and other adults. and i say, "all right already God. jeez!"

of course other things nag at me and make it hard to breathe. like this job is mostly feasible as i continue to live with my parents and endure a commute. or if i lived in someone's closet with 5 other roommates - such is the cost of living in this area. and other such questions have a pretty good go at me when i try to go to sleep. ironically this is the highest paying job i've had so maybe i should have paid more attention in my career planning class in high school. at the same time, i say to hell with all that ulcer-causing crap. such are the things that keep me up at night. wondering. praying. waiting and seeing. always with the waiting and seeing. i'll probably read this tomorrow and be horrified at these half formed thoughts and delete them. or maybe not. but sweet oblivion calls for now...

Friday, September 14, 2007

but i still love technology, always and forever

a screen shot from today's ichat session with lara and sienna. sienna is practicing her academy awards acceptance speech with one of jeff's old soccer tropies. they grow up so fast, folks. please disregard my head in the corner.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

poetry as insurgent art

i work 2 blocks away from my favorite used bookstore, which is dangerous. i'm' going to have to seriously regulate my visits there. anyway, i saw this poem being handed out. it's by Lawrence Ferlinghetti who, apparently is a san francisco/beat poet icon. he's doing a reading next week. i'm there.

Poetry as Insurgent Art
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for in such an age? What is
the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to
save it.

If you would be a poet, create works
capable of answering the challenge of
apocalyptic times, even if this
means sounding apocalyptic.

You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are
Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson, and
Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda
and Mayakovski and Pasolini, you are an
American or non-American, you can
conquer the conquerors with words.

If you would be a poet, write living
newspapers. Be a reporter from outer space,
filing dispatches to some supreme
managing editor who believes in full
disclosure and has a low tolerance for

Friday, September 07, 2007

i need a social life

because will ferrell makes me laugh that much

and we keep playing this for whoever wanders into our office. (once josh mcdonald talked like this for a whole evening at the pub and i laughed every time. oh the memories)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

good storytelling

right. so a few entries back, i wanted your thoughts on "commuter church." i find the concept interesting, as i have been attending and now work at such a place. for sure, this is not the ideal situation for me... however if i were to attend a local church in the town i grew up in, i would surely put out my eyes in frustration. 30 minutes in a car each way, is also not ideal, but gets me closer to people that are closer to how i see things. there are good things happening there, and has its drawbacks like all churches. it's just all those darn people in them.

so... i've been wondering how to pass the time in the car without being blinded by road rage or totally spaced out. i borrowed a cd to learn italian - random, yes, but i think italian sounds cool. it started off easy, like "Buonasera/Good evening" then about 3 seconds later "excuse me but could you tell me how to get to the nearest hotel with a balcony?" not so helpful. i was not inspired.

what has kept me laughing and faintly inspired to keep writing/thinking are the podcasts on my ipod: this american life (which my brother claims is the only thing people listen to when they talk about npr), a prarie home companion's news from lake wobegon (i'm not from the midwest, so this is a new discovery), NPR religion. an new addition is WNYC's Radiolab, on the recommendation from this american life (honestly, i'd do whatever ira glass told me). radiolab is like a more science-y TAL but just as interesting. anyway, listening to them has given me an appreciation for the oral/aural tradition of story telling. perhaps another avenue for writing? we'll see.

anyway, back to radiolab, i'd recommend the june 7th podcast, "memory & forgetting." there's interesting stuff about how we remember things, experiments with lab rats concerning memory, just how subjective/fluid our memories are, and so on. the most intriguing story is towards the end, about englishman clive wearing. a gifted conductor & musicologist (though i don't even really know what a musicologist is) fell ill to a virus that affected his brain and memory. seen the film memento? this guy is living it (well, without the shooting of people). his wife deborah, would visit him, and he'd greet her as if he hadn't seen her in years (seeing her and conducting music are the only things that he has any vague recollection of) then she'd go home and there would be 20 messages from him asking to see her, in each message he is unaware of the other messages he'd left. holding a conversation with him is difficult. the man is not anchored in time; life starts over every few minutes. hard to imagine being him, or being married to him. amazingly she is still with him and wrote a memoir about it - "forever today." go have a listen. i'm tempted to get the book too. what are we without our memories?

tongue in cheek

i remember about this time 2 years ago (how time flies) with my crazy dreadlocked housemate, sitting around our back deck trying to come up with funny ideas for a certain student publication.

God's Lesser Known Preferential Options
Diet Coke
Gay Marriage
the short
the serial comma?

I'll leave you guy guess which ones were mine and which one's were dan's. in poor taste perhaps, though if you know dan, he never has much truck with that kind of thing (good taste, i mean, have you seen the guy's t-shirts? really!) - and i kind of wanted to rattle some cages to see what would happen. besides, random theological humor doesn't really have legs outside that crowd (and sometimes regular theology doesn't either). we never ended up using this, which was fine since i had enough ruffled feathers to deal with then.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

on brevity

i notice that my sporadic posts of late have been on the short side (opening the door for height jokes here, people). changing circumstances (rather that unsatisfying circumstances have NOT changed), a challenging/new/extroverted job has left me with little energy left to write. this frustrates me to no end, thus consuming more precious energy.

here is where you are wondering if i am going to shut this blog down, leaving nary a ripple on the internet. no, no, that is not the case. i don't know if my brain is atrophying or what. if you all out there might leave me some suggestions on what you would like me to write about, that might help. comment away.


"where joy and terror meet ... that's where religion begins."
-garrison keillor (i know he's been around for a while, but i just started listening to his podcasts - funny stuff)