Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Moving, Calvinism, and the art of ham and bacon.

Hi neighbors. It's time to do this thing. In the past two weeks I have thought of many clever and awesomely awesome things to blog about but, after just now eating that ham, bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, my memory for anything else awesome has been triple-wiped from my memory. But that still leaves me here in front of this computer with a goal unmet. I can definitely tell you a few things about my life these days... I'll go from there. Ready? Skadoosh. 1. I'm sneezing my face off. Why? Because I'm genetically inferior to most humanoids and once something has been predestined, there's not much you can do about it, buddy-boy. See, I'm a presbyterian now and that means that before there was a speck of dust in the universe, my ass was Calvin'd right into a life of sneezing and wheezing at the faintest presence of old dust. Part of the problem/hugh-blessing is that we just moved to a bigger apartment (we now have what the people of Texas like to call, "a bedroom.") and much boxes were utilized in this move. Boxes are to my immune system as Mufasa is to limping wildebeest calf. 2. Other than that... Hey! The Pope resigned! That's pretty big news. I suppose my catholic friends are feeling a little bit of loss since they no longer have an idol to worship. I mean, that would really suck if my Lord and Savior were to just up and quit. I feel for the Cathy's. I really do. Just joking-- about the idol worship part. I actually do feel sorry for them. Anyways, Relax! I know the Catholics don't worship the pope. Sheesh. Whataya take me for? I know perfectly well that they never worshiped the Ratzinator. They totally worship Mary, always have. Everybody knows that. Aahhhh, I'm just joking again. They don't worship Mary. For realz. They just venerate her. Venerate is a fancy word for many of us and most of us think we think we know what it means but most times we only kind of know what it means because we never really use venerate in our daily sentences and it's closest cousins are generate or incinerate which aren't much help in knowing the real meaning of venerate. If you need to clarify further without looking it up, what you really need to know is this: Catholics venerate Mary as Protestants venerate Jesus. However, from time to time, if there is a statue of Mary when she is holding the baby Jesus, then Jesus gets in on the veneration action. So there you have it. I came, I blogged, I kicked some misconceptions-of-our-Catholic-brothers butt. And I sneezed whilst i typed. Nah, I'm not going to capitalize that last I. I've lost the energy. System... crash.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Take a bow, Steve.

Oh man. It's been a few days now since the Mac maestro went on to the great circuit board in the sky, and I'm still depressed about it. I've been waiting to not be depressed so I can reflect without any sappy or silly sentiment. But I've still yet to break the bummed state. Maybe it's because I'm sitting here typing on the greatest laptop computer ever designed by a member of the human race. A computer that I used, only two months ago, to write a play using a screenwriting program that I downloaded off of the app store.

Maybe it's because I've just updated to iOS 5 on the techno-miracle that is the iPhone and I just finished watching The Incredibles for the 13th time and someday, I can't wait to introduce my little girl to Buzz Lightyear. And I've got Jobs to thank for that.

That's why I'm depressed, I guess...

Or maybe it's because for the past 15 years I've been a huge mac fan. Not just because they make great products, but since I found out that the company was turned around by one man's vision and creativity. That kind of stuff inspires me. And every year after his first year back at Apple's helm, Steve put out something that pretty much that made me guiltlessly happy, (whatever that word means) even for the briefest of moments. If it wasn't some new film editing software or music editing software it was a new Pixar film. Steve was a real friend to the poor artist. Being that consistently brilliant and innovate on an immense scale and somehow not managing to screw up the world? That's not a gift that a lot of people have.

I think that's why comparisons to Walt Disney and Barnum are being made. Like these two great men, Steve was a magician and entertainer of sorts. But he was also a bunch of paradoxes. He was a giant personality that lived to connect people but he also preferred solitude. He was a billionaire that lived in a huge house... with no furniture, until he got married. He was a computer nerd but he had a flare for aesthetics. He dared to think that efficiency and beauty could produce a dynamo synergy in technology.

I'm also bummed because I know that without vision, the people perish. That means that in about 5 years, Job's ideas will dry up and Apple will start its slow decline into money-controlled-and-motivated mediocrity. It stayed great because Jobs believed in his people and he was also hard on them. We live in an age of entitlement. People want to hear that they are a genius and that whatever they produce needs no improvement. Steve Jobs said that his job wasn't to tell people how great they were. His job was to take a bunch of really great and talented people and get them to make something better than they thought was possible.

I'm also sad because about 5 years ago, I watched his Stanford address, before everyone knew about it and it only had about 300,000 youtube hits, and though I didn't agree with some of the philosophies, that talk sort of set me on a new course:Yeah, I guess you could say that it influenced my life. Again, not something that's happened to me very often.

Alright, by now, some might read this and say that I'm a big cornball or a big softy. I didn't even know the guy personally. Whatever, I still believe in a world where a single person, however imperfect, can inspire someone. And not just the the people the come from nothing, with no particularly great gift, or the firemen who risk their lives to save others. Those are inspiring heroes for sure and we owe so very much to all the ordinary heroes that pass us on the street every day.

I'm talking about the ones that are born geniuses and achieve the greater task of turning that genius toward the good of man and sharing it with all their might, rather than turning inward and bitter and angry and then move to the mountains and start mailing people bombs. Yes, sadly, many times it doesn't work out as well for the creative genius as it did for Jobs. Besides the Unibomber, have a look at Bobby Fisher: The man died a rancid old bigot, running from the US government for Tax evasion. Probably the greatest chess genius that ever lived. Died a nasty old, foul-mouthed anti-semite with a thousand more chess matches in him.

Yes, I know Jobs was no Saint and yes I've seen that little Facebook add that tells me that that millions die every day and there is no fanfare for them. But that doesn't mean that one cannot be saddened by the death of someone that you really admired. Jobs died an early and terrible and painful death. Painful for him and, I'm sure, painful for his family.

I suppose I'm sentimental enough to say that Jobs was, in a way, a hero of mine. It's hard to say exactly how, but I'm okay with that and I could give a crap if someone thinks that's dumb. Our world is too iconoclastic as it is. We live to rip people apart to feel better about ourselves. In the end, Steve Jobs left the world trying to make it a brighter and better place. He left it too soon, and we'll never see that next technological symphony, and I think in the end, selfishly, that's what really makes me sad.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

From The Texas Refugee Camp

Hi friends.

It's been an eventful week: Hurricanes, heat waves, US Open, Obama's Uncle was arrested for drinking too many Appletinis and driving... The usual stuff.

As I continuously defend my decision to flee the big apple and head to Texas, I would like to offer my thoughts about the hurricane and then proffer for some understanding concerning my decision to take the wife and child to the land of BBQ, big sunsets and Jumbo trons.

To help you understand, I would like to discuss two hurricanes with you. The two I'd like to discuss are Rita and Ike. (Katrina needs no discussing)

You see, Amber and I were in hurricane Rita. Rita, if you don't remember, was the Bramer bull of all hurricanes. Rita was a category 5 hurricane and the most powerful hurricane to ever hit the gulf and the 4th most powerful in recorded history of hurricanes. There were wind speeds of 235 mph with sustained wind at 185 mph strong. That's basically sitting through a 500 mile wide F3 tornado for 3 hours. Needless to say, the city was evacuated. But amazingly, here's what happened: Nada. The hurricane hit the land and fizzled like an Alka-seltzez in my dad's favorite Boomer Sooner glass jar/mug.

Praise God, right? Yes, for those that evacuated. But instead of being thankful, the squatters turned into the biggest pack of know-it-alls on the face of the earth and basically made all those that left town feel pretty dumb and faithless. But we evacuators endured and tried to forget the trauma of the evacuation. (That was hell all by itself.)

Then came Ike. Well, everyone who had fled Rita and got caught up in the largest traffic jam in US History (no kidding. Largest. EVER.) and were then subsequently ridiculed for evacuating, decided to take their chances and stayed home, waiting for the little-ole Categor 2 hurricane named Ike, (almost sounds like Tike, like, "Little Tike") to fizzle, too.

Long-story-short - IT DIDN'T. In fact, the squatters on Galveston Island and other places were greeted with the third costliest and damaging hurricane in Atlantic hurricane history. Many were sent to OZ. The island and all it's buildings, boats and bistros were pretty much wiped off the island like crumbs off a table. And that was just that island. The damage of hurricane Ike was bested only by the damage of Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew.

So, my friends, as I watched the news and observed New York's reaction to the monstrously huge hurricane ripping put the coast, I felt that NYC had that "about-to-experience-hurricane-armageddon-but-doesn't-know-it feeling to it. It had all the right ingredients for a horrible disaster... kind of like the people that lived on the beach in the movie JAWS -- It had a city that is totally unprepared for a hurricane; It had a population completely ignorant-bordering-on-arrogant about hurricanes; And finally, it had a Cat 2 hurricane with it's eye fixed on Rivendell. (Central Park)

It was when I heard that the Mayor was evacuating hospitals that I decided that I would accept the offer from my hurricane fearing family to fly us out and we were on a plane a day and a half before impact.

In closing, we left because we didn't want to take our chances with doom. Nothing happened though, and praise God for that. But here's the sad part about it. This should serve as a warning to those in NYC about the power of hurricanes. But it won't. Another Ike will roll around again sometime in the future and everyone will stay and people will drown.

I do know that the only thing I'll do different when that day comes is fly Jetblue.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ping

Hello (cue echo)

It's been a while. I'm dipping my toe back into the blog world. I've learned a lot in the past year and I feel that I should share some of what I've learned. I've journeyed long mountainous roads, learned spirituality from croaking frogs and whistling reeds and Oprah reruns. I am much wiser than before. I promise. TRUSSSST me. Eckhart Tolle, step aside. There's a new guru in town, and one that doesn't talk through his German congested nose and laugh at his own lost-in-translation jokes.

But not really. I'm really back here by accident. Kind of. More like, "Wouldya look at all those safari links I don't use anymore. Why exactly do I have a link for a pyro remote? There's my blog!"

I stopped blogging for a while for a few reasons. First, it was really bothering me. I hated checking stats and I hated watching other bloggers check their stats and then blog about how they don't really care about sats or fans or whatever. (I guess that was several reasons.) Second, because my blog background was acting up and I was too lazy to fix it. So I tried a new format and this one works okay. Whatev's. It is actually easier to read. Amiright? Also, I got tired of griping. Believe it or not, I am pretty positive person. Something happens when I blog. I immediately want to make fun of people or gripe about something or brag about Apple. And that's just not me. Or not me anymore. Until today.

But I'm here typing a little and it feels alright, I guess. Kind of like going back to an old neighborhood and being flooded with a bunch of insecurity and whatever else that was felt during that time.

But life is good. We are enjoying the heck out of our time here in the city.

Not sure where this will go from here, but... HI THERE! Hope you guys are rocking and jammin and making babies and living your dreams and cutting old Joel Osteen some slack!


Shalom.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The iPad: The Jury is In

Well, I've made my decision.

This morning I went straight to the NY Times over a cup of coffee, sitting on my deck in 68 degree heaven. Hey, I'm not saying that I deserve all that goodness, I'm just saying maybe you don't. Hehe.

Last night, to unwind before bed, I played chess and Scrabble and browsed the Wikipedia for whatever the heck caught my attention. I then flipped on the ABC free viewer and caught up on a few shows. Then I went to Netflix and watched a little bit of the Wrath of Khan, naturally. Last Sunday my printer broke so my flautist just read the pdf from the iPad. Next week a visually impaired choir member will use the ipad to read his words better.

Is the iPad going to replace my laptop? Not right now, but probably, most certainly. But what is is? It's not an iphone, it's not a laptop... it is something new. It's what Steve does. He creates something new that we need and we wouldn't want to go without. Pixar... the first commercially available personal computers... iPods... iPhones... laptops... and now this. Love him, envy him, disagree with him or hate him, the guy has some legacy.

Is the iPad necessary for existence? Of course not. Is a computer necessary for existence? Of course not. Are cars, televisions, credit cards, telephones, or microwaves? nope, nope and nope x 3. But like all of these things that make our lives easier and somewhat more strange and complicated at the same time, the iPad is a marvel. It's worth every penny (debit or credit card penny, that is.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Flash Me

Am I really watching Courtney Love play guitar on the tube with a Beck look-a-like?

It is interesting to see the evolution of the rockstar. Personally, I think that if we want a new generation of true rockstars wielding original music, the internet and itunes needs to explode. Oh, and fedoras will need to be banned from Nashville, as well as hair gel and polyester shirts and tanning beds.

What I want to really see is some fat guy with a bandana and pajamas blowing everyone out of the water with his out-and-out skills. I want to see some weird black guy playing the national anthem with his teeth and it sounds like a friggin guitar orchestra. I want to be wowed. Not only by content, but I want to see some flash. But gone are those days. Does anyone know how to play a scale on the guitar anymore?

Plus, everything is by comparison. Just like Broadway right now. EVERYONE wants to sound like two different singers: Kristen Chenoweth and Sutton Steven K Bernstein Foster... with at smattering of Elphaba. Don't get me wrong, I really like those two artists a whole lot, I just like to hear them do themselves... that sounded weird. You get my drift though.

So in other news... According to the new unauthorized biography of Oprah, It appears Oprah had some wild hanky-shpanky with John Tesh back in the day. And can I say thank you for that info? Because THAT is some serious TMI right there. I could have gone my whole livin' life and not known that. Same kind of thing happens when I go to a seeker friendly church where the pastor gives a sermon series on how God wants us to have some good hot-and-Godly sex with our wives. (Imagine "wives" spoken with a southern draw.) I really hate those sermons. As my friend Brant Hansen noted, it's really kind of gross to imagine deacon Bill with his wife Karen having plump Godly relation as they cuddle more and more with each subtle pastoral ever-so-SUBTLE double entendre.

Other than that....

I got an ipad and it rules. Yes, it rules. I rules like a gold pinkie toe to a toeless Gangsta. I rules like a shiny new shopping cart to the homeless-and-proud guy that sits on my street corner reading book after book in the beautiful new york spring.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Dear Steve, I Hate You.

It's been 3 or 4 long days since I've held Job's T-Rex iPod in my hands. My first impressions were underwhelming. The room was too bright and scorching hot and it accented the already-billions of grimy fingerprints smeared all over the screen. Yes, I walked out of the room scoffing at Steve Jobs and feeling a little like Alice after she drank from her little bottle.

Whew. That was easy. I don't need it, want it, nor love it.

That was the first day.

Second day was spent bragging about how much I didn't want it.

That was the second day.

The third day was spent reading a few hundred reviews of the ipad so as to justify my don't-want-it of the piece of sorcery.

That was the third day.

On day four (today) I now confess that I full-on want it. I want to own one. Right now. I need one. I feel very much that I shall cry if I don't have one soon. I am impatiently awaiting the arrivals of the 3g versions so I can immediately have one. The experience is very much like the first time I tried Cashew Chicken in Springfield MO. I didn't see the big deal after the first dose. Within 6 hours I was back for more and had it almost every day for 3 years. I even bounced checks at the Cashew Kitty. I basically robbed Cashew Kitty the need was so fierce.

Right now, I wish that my beautiful MacBook Pro would transform into a sleek, fingerprint-streaked ipad. I want to play that highly pixelated Madden 09 game blown up to stupid proportions. I want to read a book on it. I want to drink more from the little bottle and tumble further into MacLand.

Darn you Jobs. Darn you to heck.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dances With Big Orange Dragon

Avatar Avatar Avatar.

First of, all I can think of when I see that name is a goofy cartoonish face given to me for my Yahoo Chat 5 years ago, the one I never use and always wish I hadn't created when it turns up from time to time on various Yahoo question/answer forums. Now that that's out of the way... no, wait. I'm on to something here.

That's just it. Cameron needs to hire some script writers. The film is riddled with banal/unimaginative mines everywhere! like, Unobtanium??? That's the name for the metal that is worth destroying the biggest tree in the universe??? It's the same problem I had with Titanic: crappy script. Let's say I want to write a musical... and I do. I am writing one now. But let's say that when the time comes to direct it, I decide to choreograph the thing myself. I may do an okay job according to the handbook of "How to stupidly Choreograph High school Christmas Showtime Choir Concerts" but according to Broadway standards, D+ at best.

I honestly think if Cameron were born 100 years earlier, he would have been the greatest silent film maker of all time. He is a visual virtuoso of the highest order. It was just. so. visually. stunning. HOWEVER, at times, I felt like I was looking at a giant Thomas Kinkade gallery while tripping on acid. (No, mom, I've never really tried acid. Though that fire-hot chili dad makes is pretty hallucination-inducing sometimes.)

So yes, visually, the film is almost what everyone is saying about it. I wasn't overwhelmed like I was as a young lad watching Han Solo navigate through that asteroid field and into the belly of the space worm, but I was definitely impressed, enthralled at times, even.

I won't own it because you really have to see it in the big IMAX to get the full effect. There are plenty of reviews out there for this film and everyone knows what they are doing when they go see it. They are seeing the real King Kong chained up. They are seeing the three legged man dance ballet. They are watching a film spectacle that is so spectacular in its achievements that you forget what achievements are there, like forgetting that the Navi are digitally rendered. What has been accomplished in that 3-D arena is truly magnificent. However, it is so real, that I wondered how much money might have been saved if they would have had elaborate costumes and digitally rendered the tail and so forth.

As a visual spectacle, the film is worth seeing. As a moving story... I've seen Pixar shorts that are 3 academy awards ahead of this one in originality. It is a HORRIBLE Dances with Wolves rip. Throw in a little Gorillas in the Mist, equip with the woman who played in that movie and you've got a tasty little 90's save-the-natives clich├ęd film stew.

The worst problem I had with the film is Cameron's anti-American propaganda. It was garish and downright stupid. Even the liberal New Yorkers snickered at Cameron's BLATANT whack at W's regime and our presence in the Middle East. No sly wink. No little reference that would make you "aha!" later... It was whack over the head with a cinematic stick. "AMERICA SUCKS AND I'M USING MY 300 ZILLION DOLLARS TO EXPRESS IT WITH MY BIGTIME TITANIC MOVIE POWERS. I'M THE KING OF THE EFFING WORLD." That nearly ruined the film for me, honestly.

But I quickly forgot about it and was absorbed once again into the VISUAL world.

Go see it. But prepared to feel like you just had mom's dressing that wasn't quite as good as every other year but still good but still wasn't as good as every other year... but still good. "Humph. There's always next year. Hey! Wanna go to Sherlock Holmes???"

Avatar, Grade: B

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Finished

Hello friends.

Wow, it has been a reaaaaaally long time here. It is really odd when you've done something for years and years and then you just stop and then go back to it. Like clipping your nose hair or toenails or something. One day you take off your socks and, "WOAH! Look at those suckers! Get out the bolt-cutters!"

So I finished my dissertation. I'm Dr. Ward. I handed it in. The University said yes. My committee said yes. My wife said, "HELL YES!"

It has been a long long long long haul here, friends. But I'm done. I've missed writing. Oddly, I haven't missed blogging. I've missed the interaction with my friends, but I've been terribly productive and that's a good thing.

But recent events have shaken me from my blumber. (blog+slumber). So, you might see a few entries splatter up here from time to time, but we'll see. Stay sharp. Stay liquid, but most of all, stay away from star golfers.

Yours,

Dr. Ward

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Goodbye 2.0

Okay, so I feel like my blog-resignation should be more purposed. Therefore, here's the dealio: I am not blogging again until I get my dissertation finished and signed. Just can't do it. Sooooo, every time you click over here looking for a new post (all 250,000 of you) and you don't see a new string of wisdom pearls, paragraphs of penultimate petunias, or thunders of thoughtful wisdom from on high... rattle off a quick prayer for me, would you? Dreams are better shared.

In short, I'm pulling a Oral Roberts... light. Consider it a blog fast, even though when and if I return (for real this time) things will be different and I may move to a new address or something like that.

Until my finished dissertation or my next farewell...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Three Reviews in Three Posts

I've seen three films since my last review and overall, I've been pretty pleased.

First off: Harry Potter and the Half Blooded Prince.

On the whole... not my favorite Potter film.

SPOILER ALERT:

I've always had a problem with this book. I hate the way Rowling kills Dumbledore. I hate hate hate hate it. Dumbledore basically arranges for his Kevorkian-style death. He dies a weak old man, disarmed by a dufus imbecile of a wizard and finally killed by Severus Snape because he wants to die and not get eaten and humiliated by the mean old werewolf.

That is not how a great wizard should die. Let me tell you how a great wizard should die: A great wizard dies plunging down an endless chasm stabbing a Balrog IN THE FACE with an Elven sword, and the sword is so amazing that it is called, "Glamdring, the Foe Hammer."

THAT IS HOW A WIZARD DIES.

Dumbledore should have gone down in a blaze of fire - yes weakened significantly - but fighting off a hundred death eaters, 3 dragons and 10 giants and doing it all to save the life of pansy-boy Harry. But nay. Rowling emasculated the greatest wizard in her tale (as she does every male character in her books - seriously, name one that isn't a wuss, or evil. The one that's not a wuss is a bachelor.) and then outed him later in a press conference. Notice that one witch who was taken out in an incredible duel with Voldemort and a few other powerful witches. Notice that the great duel of the last two books comes from Ron's mother and Bellatrix and the men basically blunder around.

Overall, the film slugged along and there wasn't NEAR enough Dumbeldore kicking butt. What we did get was pretty awesome, but there just wasn't enough magic in this film.

I liked it but I think it was my least favorite of the Potter films. They spent entirely too much time on all that love potion business.

Next Up: District 9.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Some thoughts on Bacon, Francis that is.

Amber and I made our way through an Exhibit of Francis Bacon at the Met Museum of Art this past Saturday.

I had a great time, but Bacon was a sick fellow. A very talented image poet, but ultimately, a sick chap. Of course, people have said the same things about me after hearing some of my "serious" compositions. It is no secret that I tend to gravitate to the macabre and I also happen to like scary movies. But there is a difference here. Bacon was an Atheist. I am not. And that really does make a difference. You can compose a macabre piece without nihilism.

I have long believed that sin is a kind of madness. It causes madness. I also believe that Judeo-Christian ethics have serve as the greatest moral compass that mankind has ever known. I also believe that man, though fractured, is capable of good things. This is because man was not totally ruined when he chose a path that was opposite to the will of his creator. This remnant of good is still a reflection of the goodness of our creator, as we were and are made in his Good image. I believe that man needed help to show him this path and he can chose again to take that path. That means, even at our absolute worst, we can still be compelled to do a good thing. Salvageable. Redeemable. Savable.

Good and Evil. There is a difference, we all know it exists, but we can't really explain it scientifically. Bacon tries to embrace a Darwin outlook and say: there is no good and evil, only animal. All Darwinian explanations break down at Stephen Hawkings. Hawkings should have been killed long ago as he is weak and drains the pack of resources. Therefore, I believe that every act of man to disprove the existence of God ends in a kind of pure nonsense. It never works out.

But like it or not, I also believe that Darwin was the most influential mind of our time. He is a great and magnificent peak in humanity's vast range of scientific minds. Sadly, his influence is responsible for more mass deaths than any man in the history of the world. Man is reduced to simply another in a line of animals, and what's good for the pack is good for the individual. This of course is contrary to the idea of Christian love. If we were to abide by Darwin's idea of a perfect world, the weak would die, the less intelligent would be killed, and unattractive would be exiled. Now, no matter how much my instinct says, "YES, YES!" at times - as far as stupid drivers go - this is a tyrannical mindset. And some would say that it is me at my most animalistic.

And what about those animals? Even the animals aren't totally mad.

But take a painting of Bacon: Man is reduced to a sack of meat and bloody teeth. Cool looking, but no beast or bird thinks so madly. Just the opposite. Only one or two monkeys in the pack will go crazy and eat a baby monkey. Only a rogue lioness will secretly kill other cubs in the night. These are exceptions. According to Bacon, we are all exceptions and a vision of the mutilated is at the core of our real thoughts. To be "animal" is to be savage. Well, excuse me, my wife's dog Cromwell is far from your kind of savage. That dog wouldn't bite a flea. And there is no beast or creature that willingly bathes in piss (because he likes his piss more than water,) fantasizes about bloody teeth emerging from slabs of mutilated meat, or revels in the homoerotic blood of man's animal desire. There are a few exceptions to this; they are called necrophiliacs.

There isn't space here to examine the atheism of Darwin and its contradictions, but no matter how badly Bacon wishes to cling to this idea in his art, I say here and now: No art can convince me of an absence of God. The very God-despair that a painting of Bacon is meant to inspire, brings me instead to a meta view his sanity and the knowledge that there is such a thing as sanity, or deterioration of it, beauty, and creation.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Justice is Served on the Buffet










Sweet, sweet, Old Country Buffet... I can still remember me and my dad, we are both sitting in his car. It was the day I got that first job serving as busboy beyond your scummy geriatric gates. And there sits my dad, behind the steering wheel, grinning ear to ear as I unwrap my new busboy apron. He looks a little mischievous in his smile. His hand reaches over the armrest to shake mine. "Good for you, son. Your first job. I'm proud of you." I remember that good feeling. That feeling of how easy it all seemed. "Just scrape a few dishes and get paid for it."

How young and stupid I was.


And do you remember that one manager, Mike? Yeah, you know the one. He's your first manager at your first job. You are just a lowly, pimply busboy and he's the big cool manager working on his third divorce. He's got one of those big German mustaches and he's always flipping his wavy, dyed-blondish hair. He claims to have a back problem so he can't lift any heavy trays or anything that resembles help. He always seems to find a worker to belittle when there is a pretty girl going through the buffet line. Yeah, you know the one. The one that's being super sappy nice to you one minute and you think that you are going to keep your job so you can pay for your car insurance so you can take out that pretty girl in your gym class but then the next minute he's berating you for missing a spot on a salt shaker in front of the whole staff and you feel like you just might be single for the rest of your life.

Most nights, as you fall asleep, you have visions of kicking him where his legs connect and spitting in his putrid blonde hair, but at the end of the fantasy, you are still alone, and dreading the next day. Your only comfort is that its not just you he seems to hate/like. He hates that guy in the dishroom too... It's the middle aged guy doing dishes that everyone calls "disher-dad." Disher-dad. Yeah, there was always disher-dad who got it the worst. Ah, sweet memories. I would have felt sorry for you, disher-dad, but you would give us busboys dirty looks and murmur profanity and kick the cup racks whenever we would bring in our full carts of dishes, as if we dirtied those dishes ourselves. I wonder whatever happened to disher-dad.

Ahhhh. Sweet, sweet bankruptcy. Good old Buffet. Good old, terrible, disgusting, nightmarish, I-wish-I-could-blot-out-that-16th-year-of-my-life Old Country Buffet.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why I've Been Less Around

NT Wright on Blogging/Social Media from Bill Kinnon on Vimeo.

I've been trying to communicate this in different posts but N.T. sort of sums it up beautifully without being condescending or snarky.

The Brah Conundrum: A letter to my Best Brahs

Listen Brahs, there's been a lot of fussing about who is my number 1 Brah lately and well, I'm getting a little tired of to be honest. Totally tired of it. So here's the deal: All my Brahs mean something different to me, each and every one ya. I love that about you guys. You are all so different, even different in your color. I've got my Latino brah, dark brown and a serious danger to women up north, and my yellow brah, tons of fun and totally serves as a cheat-sheet for any math problem... etc. etc.

But some of you have been demanding that I declare my favorite and number 1 Brah... and I just can't do that. Honestly it works better if I divide you into subsets of number 1, as each of you are totally suited for different occasions.

So, you are all number 1, but...

Bob, you are my "A" Brah. I love to hang with you when I'm feeling heavy and need to get some things off my chest. You are totally a born psychologist.

Fred, you are my "B" Brah. I love just hanging and going to a killer action movie with you man. Just good clean fun all around.

James, you are my "C" Brah. You really are the master at having fun right up to the line of crazy. But let me remind you: I AM A MARRIED MAN. I don't like certain attention to be drawn to myself. You are a single guy and its just hard for you to get that sometimes. But I still love you Brah.

Ned, you are my "D" Brah. You are just ridiculously funny. You can't help but draw attention to yourself. You are just naturally over-endowed with too much personality. But you've got a real modest side to you as well and its that slightly embarrassed-about-your-personality side that is just so durn cool.

Joey, you are my "training" Brah. I can truly attribute all my physical fitness to your relentless training. But no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get as ripped as you. How does someone that is only 5 feet 5 inches get so ripped? I think you should quit wearing those sole-inserts to be taller by the way. Be proud of your height brah.

And last but totally not least, Aaron, you are my "Sports" Brah. There isn't a sport that I can win playing you. Somehow you just keep things together no matter how wild the game gets or how hard the play is. Amazing.


So there it is, fellas. I hope that puts to rest the "Main-Brah" questions. You are all my Brahs. And each one of you is cherished and appreciated.

Your Brah,

Seth.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Off

Monday is my day off. Well, not really. I teach a lesson or sometimes a few make up lessons on Monday, but compared to the other days of the week, it is my day off.

I have been a pretty sparse blogger in the past few months because the level of busy-ness has gone through the roof. I spend most Mondays answering emails and trying to get caught up.

Today, I FINALLY returned my friend Tan's camera. Every time I've tried to return it... well, it doesn't happen. The man has been nicely reminding me now for 4 months. If I were him, I'd be sending me a summons. Well today, I returned that sucker. And boy oh boy, does that feel good. It was becoming a little pile of black guilt. But no more. Sent that sucker. The end.

NYC has been pretty dreamy this summer. Barely above the 80 marker for the whole month of July. Of course now that I've said that, it will probably turn into a giant grill and cook us all in the next two days. I've refrained from bragging to my Oklahoma and Texas friends because the weather has been downright dangerously hot where they are. I think it was over 100 for two weeks straight in Houston. Old people dropping like flies.

Amber has been busy auditioning and Nannying and other than that, we've been having a hay old time.

Well, that's about it for today. Nothing more to report other than I am now living 99% sugar free. I've felt better and haven't been so moody, and I now rarely need naps. Plus I've lost weight.

Anywho, here is the last picture I took with Tan's great camera before it went back into the box. This is me, very tired, very oily, guilty, post-workout sweaty and three days overdue a beard trim. Also a little scary. Do I really look like this all the time? Sheesh. Seems a little intense and brooding. Maybe I should lighten up a bit.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Iphone 3.0 Review

Okay, someones got to say it. Just like some one had to say it about the 3rd Indy installment:

3.0 ... IT SUCKS.

I hate hate hate it.

Landscape Typing: I've used the landscape typing a grand total of 3 times. Mainly, because it takes 3 minutes for the friggin screen to adjust to landscape. I could have typed the ENTIRE alphabet by the time it adjusts. Besides, I'm so used to typing the other way now, the landscape seems like I'm using the blind man feature.

Search Feature: The search feature is a good idea (duh, its been standard on every piece of apple equipment for the past 8 years) but its location is totally annoying. Why in the world they decided to give it its own screen directly LEFT of the home screen is beyond me. It should be as simple as spotlight is on OSX. Instead it is irritatingly in the way. I've accidentally scrolled too far at least 100 times now and I haven't MEANT to use it once. I am happy about the search feature in the mail. Finally. But again - something that should have been included in the first go around. And the search feature is a simple entry box in the mail feature. Easy. Chellooooo???

Voice Recording: I've used it twice, both times just to say that I've used it. I suppose its good feature but nothing to write home about.

Cut/Copy/Paste: Yaaaaaaaawwwwwn. Something that should have been there in the first Iphone. Its sort of like finally getting a G.I. Joe for Christmas when you are 19. And here, again, it is IN THE WAY. I don't want to see that feature pop up on the screen EVERY SINGLE TIME I press the screen to select a letter. It should pop up after at least 2 seconds of holding the screen, not automatically. I guess they thought we'd be so excited about finally getting to cut and paste that we'd be doing it every time we touched the screen.

Overall, I give 3.0 a big C------ and a barf bag in a pear tree. It is definitely the WORST piece of Apple software designed in YEARS. It has turned my little black monolith of joy into a black monolith of sloooOOOOoooowwwneeesssssss. I'm striking out 5 times as much in my baseball game because it mucks up the program. I have YET to score a perfect score in world cup Ping Pong since I upgraded, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is NOT cool.

I'm downgrading until they work these bugs out and put that dang search PAGE somewhere else.

Shaaaaaaaammmme on you, Apple. Steve is off for a few months buying out some poor slob's place in the liver transplant waiting list and you put this piece of Microsoft-esque CRAP out? I'm Ron Burgandy???

They should have called this software number 2.0 (Cue fart and flush sound bite.)

Been there.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Don't Eat Me.

I'm a little offended by this advertisement. It's a little disrespectful, not to mention unrealistic. If I don't take resveratrol then I am going to look like this? Better yet, its all just going to catch up with me and I'm going to age 100 years in a second and scare the crap out of everyone around me? That would be kind of awesome, come to think of it.

If I were this old lady I think I'd be suing someone for using my image as a warning label. Crap, the old woman looks like she is 200 years old. I imagine she's lived a long and full life. And shoot, she may have lived through a concentration camp. Who knows? And there's just no getting around it folks: WE ARE ALL GOING TO BE OLD. WE WILL ALL GET WRINKLES. WE WILL ALL GET BRITTLE. WE WILL ALL DIE SOMEDAY looking much older than we did at 30.

I'm not trying to build a case for sitting around on your butt and waiting to die, but I am saying this: Old age WILL catch up to you. There is NO escaping it. No botox or nose job or liposuction or new resveratrol pill will save you from the wrinkles or saggy ass. The question is, will you age with dignity and with a determination to stay as healthy and positive as you can? Or will you grow old scraping the dirt as age drags you to each year. Will you make your life miserable staring at the new wrinkles in the mirror and then everyone else's life miserable trying to live out some thing you were too chicken to do when you were young? (Not that doing that is bad; it's good! But you sure can make it easier on the people around you by not trying to do it swimming in narcissism.)

Nothing wrong with staying healthy. And there is nothing wrong with growing older. Those two things can coexist. But sooner or later, we all croak of the latter. And that's just all there is to it. Might as well enjoy the ride to the cliff the best we can. (See UP!)

I think some basic, cliche principles can help you grow old with joy and dignity:

(At least, this is what I've learned from really old and really healthy people.)

1. Love God
2. Eat healthy.
3. Drink some wine every day.
4. EXERCISE ONCE A DAY. Go for a brisk walk, at least.
5. Spend time talking to a friend or family, in person, every day.
6. Be passionate about something. God has made you creative. Make something. Write something. Play something. Whatever it is, do it as if there is no tomorrow.
7. Give freely. Give to others. Give to your church. Give wisely and joyfully. And if you can, give anonymously.
8. Read something. Read a poem, a proverb, the first chapter of a classic novel, a Far Side cartoon.
9. Turn off the tube and talk to each other. So many families never speak 20 words as the whole night is ruled by blinking boob-box.
10. Your turn. What are some of your suggestions? What are some things you are doing that you feel help you in leading a healthier, happier life?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The News from My Couch

It's been raining a bunch up here. Oh great, one of thoooooose posts. Too bad. Its the weather or nothing.

I don't mind rain I suppose. I'd prefer it to the 1000 degrees cooking everyone else I know. But a little sunshine never hurt nobody. Except when you fall asleep in it... naked.

This will be our first 4th of July in NYC and I'm looking forward to it. This time last year I was dodging Mullet-deer, fighting off man-sized moths, and listening to the sweet sounds of decapitated copperheads while I played Merry Old Land of OZ.

Hopefully this year will be a little less prehistoric. Although, I wouldn't trade last summer's adventures for all the money under my couch cushion. I have been keeping up with Jenny Wiley's theater production this summer and it really looks and sounds incredible! Good people down there in that town. Probably the nicest people I've ever met.

Oh, this past week my dad retired from the pastorate after 40 years of pastoring churches. It has been a looooong and fun ride. What a guy.