Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Letter to 2011

Dear 2011,

Before you go, I just want to say thanks for being so good to me. You're older brother, 2010, walloped me in the face, kicked me in the shins, and wrenched my guts into a thousand knots. Then you came in, bandaged my wounds, and poured out goodness upon my head near to the point of drowning. What I have done to earn your favor I am uncertain, but my gratitude is yours.

It is doubtful that I can select one instance you brought to me that was best. You returned to me my kitty! You showed me BaltimoreCaliforniaChicagoWashington D.C. You shed a new light upon my own city. What once was dull, grey, and cold is now a mural of color and wonder worthy of the Sistine Chapel. Book Club, education, roommates, family, old friends and new...these things brought to me joy astounding. And this other particular someone might just be tops as well. Frosting on this already sweetened cake. So many more blessings you dropped at my feet go unmentioned. I stand in awe at the goodness and cannot say thank you enough.

When the clock strikes twelve and Auld Lang Syne resounds through the crowd, I'll be a bit sad to see you go. Your little sister, though? 2012? She's waiting just outside the door and her gifts are already piled high. I see them peeking through the window. I've heard her knocking. I think she's getting anxious and wants to come in. I shall receive her with open arms.

Farewell, friend. Thanks for everything.





Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Balancing Humanity

I've been going to yoga on Monday evenings lately. Last night as I was there, somewhere between my downward dog and pigeon, I decided once a week may not be enough. It occurred to me that I love yoga. My friends have been proclaiming its wonders for years, and I've gone with them from time to time. But it hadn't really clicked until recently. I discovered the poetic nature about it. The fluid motions mimic dance, giving the body both wellness and art. At the same time, I am both weak and strong. My muscles quiver as they work to sustain my posture, feeling both that they will collapse at any given moment yet continue to hold me upright. As I ache to return to a relaxed state, I feel my body grow stronger. Sweat drips from my brow and my body thanks me for the challenge. Afterward, I feel strong to the core and balanced both physically and mentally.

It is the notion of balance that strikes me, I think, and more than just that which I experience from yoga. In several matters in my life, balance has been playing a more important role, and I am oh so grateful for it. I want to say that Christians are terrible at balance, but I am hesitant to throw a blanket statement out there. It could be simply my personal experience, but really, I think that I am not alone in this. Please, correct me if I am wrong and am the only one who has felt completely off balance as a result of modern evangelicalism. 

Here are my thoughts. Christianity, at least as portrayed by modern evangelicalism, scarcely allows for balance. To allow for balance allows for being human, and we certainly can't be having that now, can we? For years and years, my perception was always to strive to "be holy because I am holy." (Lev 11:44/1 Peter 1:16) and to "put to death the self." So, I'm still working out the theological implications of these verses, but from what I've seen and recently experienced, modern evangelicalism has taken them way off course and used them to beat the bloody hell out of those who seek to be holistic followers of The Way. Obviously, "being holy," and "dying to self" aren't bad ideas. The bad idea is that somehow we are able to, and should, do these things on our own. 

This leads to nothing but loss and devastation.

We (Christians, collectively, or perhaps just me) are told repeatedly that we are not doing enough. So we strive continually to do more and more to put to death the self. In the end, we wind up doing just that. When we attempt to kill the self in us, death of self is achieved. Our "self" becomes corroded in our quest for holiness and we end up hallowed shells of who we could and are meant to be.  However, when we stop striving, seek balance, and allow ourselves to be the self God created us to be, there is life...abundantly.

This is something I've been mulling over for quite some time now, but recently has been in the forefront of my mind. It first caught my attention when I was reading C.S. Lewis. I believe it was in Mere Christianity when he states, "We were never intended to be purely spiritual beings." When I read that, it was like a previously unknown window had just been opened in a dingy, barricaded cellar. Fresh air filled my lungs and I suddenly had an inkling that it was possible to be...normal. To be human. To be me.

Despite the fact that our created bodies and minds have needs, modern evangelicalism tells us these needs are bad. We are taught to keep ourselves constantly in check for fear of "falling away." Again, keeping one's self in check is not a bad idea. However, often "keeping yourself in check" ends up simply denying the self most things and starving our physical and emotional selves to near anorexia. Moderation is not in the vocabulary of many evangelicals. The verse "Don't give the devil a foothold," gets thrown around a lot. So in order to keep that darned devil away, it's best to just avoid anything that remotely looks like it might be something he's dangling in front of our face. It's best to just live our lives in a little sheltered box, making sure to stab whatever aspect of human nature dares to raise its ugly head in us and kill it dead. 

No. 
Wait. 
Don't do that!

Live! Find balance! Go to church. Pray. Worship. Fellowship. These are good things. But then...Eat. Drink. Be merry. Taste. Touch. Feel. Listen. Love. Be moved. Experience this life as it unfolds before you. Be yourself. It's okay, it's who you were created to be.




Saturday, December 17, 2011

Advent

Ahh, a return to blogging.
So long it's been, friend. It's nice to see you.
I just posted my final paper for my media administration and management class, which means I have no grad school to worry about for the next few weeks. It also means I can return to my normal granola self. It was a quick and unsurprising lesson that business classes and I don't mix. But fortunately, it's now laid to rest and I can spend my sleepless (due to work) nights finally pondering this season of Advent that has sneaked up upon me.
Because, inevitably, this time of year, I'll occasionally catch a fleeting thought of the weight of it all and need to just sit and contemplate the wonder.
I didn't grow up in a church that talked much about Advent. My experience of it was limited to little chocolate treats taken out of colorfully decorated cardboard calendars. But then something marvelous happened: I started studying theology.
During my time as a theology student at the University of Sioux Falls my brain often took in more than it could handle. I would often walk out of classes barely able to speak, in total awe of this new found wonderment I was suddenly allowed to question and mull over. One such class that consistently had me walking out, mouth agape, needing to simply sit and process was a class on Exodus with Dr. Brian Gregg. Thinking back on it, this may have been the most formative class of my entire education and perhaps entire life. There was Israel, an entire nation, wandering in the desert with nothing but some manna and the hope of a promise. Those that know me know well that I suffer from the blessing of wanderlust. Needless to say, Israel and I seemed to have a lot in common.
It was near the end of that semester when I found myself singing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" in church on Sunday evening. It was a song I had heard countless times before. But this time the lyrics hit me like a truck barreling down the highway. The theological weight of the song bowled me over and it has since become my favorite Christmas carol. Nay, Advent song.
Ransom captive Israel. Mourning in lonely exile. God, come be with us.
What a thought, that God, this unknown, imperceivable, inconceivable, distant thing, decided to become one of us, so that we might have light. We might have hope. We might have home. I'll never understand it and will most like simply sit, this time each year, and contemplate the beautiful madness of it all.

What great Hope is this
That finds us here
In mourning and lonely exile
And tells us to
Rejoice
Rejoice
For though we are captive
We have been ransomed
By nothing less than a
Light that shreds the darkness
Turns mourning to dancing
And brings the exiled home

Rejoice
Rejoice
Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel


This, my favorite version of my favorite Advent/Christmas song. I hope you enjoy it and allow yourself to simply sit and contemplate the idea of God made man.



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dreamers Beware

dreaming is dangerous
as it gives way to hope
and hope
as we know
has a way
of slipping in unnoticed
and lifting one up
high
high
high
off the ground
where distance beyond borders becomes visable
and tiny dirt roads can be seen
careening off to find it

this the most terrifying place of all
for it is a
long
long
long
way down
should you fall


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Brothers & Sons & This American Daughter

If I ever write a memoir, the first line is going to be, "I was supposed to be a rodeo queen."
Which quite honestly is the truth. I remember at one point in time my mother mentioned that her plans for me were to "rodeo hard."
Whoops.
I've apologized to my parents occasionally for turning out completely opposite of what they were hoping for. But it seems children have minds of their own and end up doing what they want. Mine (should they end up existing) may want to be, God-forbid, reality TV stars or money-hungry corporate salesmen. Blech!
I was supposed to be a rodeo queen, but then I started going to punk shows. Then hardcore shows. The post-hardcore shows. And now? Very few shows, sadly. But there are a few bands I really must see live someday. Among them include: Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes,The Swell Season, and My Morning Jacket. I think you'll see a trend. Beardy boys playing music from their roots. From my roots.
I have to say, I'm a fan of this new folksy, old-timey trend music is in right now. Some argue that bands are focusing too much on where music has been, and not where it's going, but I think these guys, and others, are doing a good job at blending the old with the new. Holding on to what's been great while embracing what's to come, musically.
And it works for me personally as well. My rodeo queen turned hardcore mistress turned borderline-but-hopefully-not-quite-a-hipster self is revelling in this neo-hillbilly style. It encompasses all that I've been, loved, left behind, and look forward to. And it does so rather harmoniously, if I do say so myself. And quite frankly, it makes me want to dance. And perhaps the most exciting bit of all, my mother and I can finally agree on what to listen to!
Here are a few favorites:




Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What's Your Passion?

I can't really complain about my evening. Aside from getting some concert tickets, I purchased bus tickets to Chicago for $10.50, some self-adhesive mustaches for the yet-to-be-planned mustache party (couldn't pass them up for $1!), perused some used books, munched some tacos, laughed til my side hurt at Jon Stewart, geeked out at Stephen Colbert's Harry Potter reference, and soaked up the imensity of Radiohead on the The Colbert Report. All in all, a good night.
But, even as I sit here,  contented with my evening, my heart swells at the thought of my step-dad and his sister, as about now they are probably opening their eyes, giving sleep the hoof with one final yawn, zipping up their luggage, and heading out for day five of their 11 day European tour. I've said this multiple times in the last 5 days, but I am so excited for them. Jim and Charla work so hard here in the heartland. So hard, they very rarely get to escape it, even to other parts of the U.S. But in a moment of what I'm going to call "clarity," Charla looked around and said something like "Hey. I think there might be more to life. Jim, let's go see the world."
And they went.
And my heart, as mentioned above, swelled.
It swelled because they are doing what I love above anything in the world: traveling. It swelled because their eyes are going to be opened in the way that only travel can. (Mark Twain seems to agree with me.) It swelled because by them taking this trip, somehow I feel more connected to them. And I feel more connected to them because, no matter their thoughts on this trip, they are partaking in what I can only call my passion.
Google (or use one of those cool, old, bulky things known as a "dictionary") the word "passion" and you'll see a heavy relation to the word "suffer." Indeed, the very root of the word means "suffer."
Funny, suffering is not usually what comes to mind when I hear the word "passion."
I blame Hollywood.
But put a "The" in front of it, and you find a pretty intense image of passion as suffering.
Buddhists also link passion and suffering, though their method is to elimante passion (desires) so as to eliminate suffering. Probably why I'm not a Buddhist. Nice temples, though. But I get it. I get why one would wish to eliminate passions/desires. As we've seen in the etymology of the word, to have passion can ulitimately cause suffering. I've seen it. I've been apart of it. I've prayed and cryed and begged for longings to be taken away from me. Having unfulfilled passion hurts. A lot. It hurts so much it often feels like your heart is going to rip itself out of your ribcage, burst through your chest, and hurtle itself to the floor in a temper-tantrum-like protest.
(Reminder-"passion" doesn't only refer to "lusty desire for another person"..or even have to be about a person at all)
But on the flip side, passion, when fulfilled, brings life. The night I broke into the U2 concert. The few precious days I get to be at the ocean. The moment I clear security, strap on my backpack, and for the love that is all pure, holy, and good, get to travel. These moments when passion is fulfilled are the moments that  make my blood pulse in my veins so hard I can feel it. They cause my legs to do unintentional jumping and dancing motions. They make my words come out in a short, somewhat unitelligible manner. (More than they already do.) In short, I am alive, and it is things such as travel, music, writing, the ocean, nature, and yes, sometimes even my bookclub that bring me life.
But I've noticed...
SO many people are content to live a passionless existance. "What brings you life?" they are asked. And they shrug. They don't know. They haven't thought about it. And I'm blown away. I am disheartened and honestly quite sad for them. I mean, I guess if they're happy, fine, go along with what works for you. But I don't get it. I cannot fathom a passionless life. I can't do it. I refuse to do it.
So, if you haven't thought about what brings you life, what you are passionate about, what makes your heart hurt with longing without it and swells to the point of bursting with it, I urge you to think about it. And if you know what you're passionate about, share them here. Or at least with someone. And then, find a way to incorporate it into your life today. Because your life deserves more than a shrug.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Farmer's Market

Oh, the Farmer's Market. There's no better way to spend an autumn Saturday morning than sipping a fresh cup of coffee and perusing the tables chalk full of fruits, veggies, flowers, and bread. A plentiful harvest is truly something to be thankful for. (Now, if only there was a holiday to celebrate such things!)
My kitchen in need of some fresh veggies, I strolled through the market this Saturday last. I was rewarded with the warmth of the sun, greetings from friends, smells so delectable, and a backpack full of goods grown and made right here at home. I'm eager to turn them into something even more scrumptious.
Aside from the standard foods such as cucumbers, zucchinis, and squash (which I no doubt purchased), I decided the sweet potato pasta sounded too good to pass up. Especially when the hutterite patroness gave me a Korean recipe for which it should be used. Sweet potato noodles, some sweet bell peppers from the neighboring booth, steak, and some sesame oil all tossed together to form a world of deliciousness. I can't wait to make it.
Also, good European rye bread can be hard to come by, but fortunately there is a German man who sold me some. Rye bread, butter, havarti cheese, and some cucumbers and you've got yourself a tasty snack. Follow it up with a cup of coffee and let out a contented sigh.
Sure, I could head to the local supermarket and purchase these things. But the freshness is lacking, local farmers aren't supported, and the sun won't shine on my back as I'm sampling the finest heirloom tomatoes around. (FYI-they come from Gilkerson Gardens. Upon eating one, I literally said aloud, "Oh yeah, this is what a tomato is supposed to taste like." But you have to go to the Tuesday market to get those.)
Winter is just around the corner. The stalks and leaves with whither away and we'll be left to eat the much less tasty supermarket vegetables grown in some other country. According to my calculations, there are 5 Saturday morning farmer's markets left. I'd better stock up. And I should really learn how to can. Time to call my grandpa and take some lessons. And run away with his garden veggies. 










My Bounty



Friday, September 23, 2011

Way Back Home

This is amazing.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The World That Lives Just On The News

I just now found this poem I wrote nearly 10 years ago to the day. I had just finished my internship in Seattle (my first foray into the big wide beautifully ugly world) and was taking a poetry class at the University of Nebraska. I only have one copy and I keep losing it, so the fact that I just found it right now excites me greatly. It is the original hard copy I turned in to the professor and has all his notes and commentary, which even today is flattering. The prof also told me to submit it for publication. I never did. Not really sure why.  I'm putting it here so that there is less pressure to not lose the only copy I have, though I need to make a conscious effort to keep this one because it's filled from top to bottom with the professor's comments. The poem is in the form of Sestina, which is comprised of 39 lines with the same words ending the lines in each stanza in varying order. It was my first work outside of high school poetry. I was 19 years old, with fresh eyes and a yearning to save the world.
Here's the poem:

Sadness each night on the five o'clock news
Another innocent victim lies cold
Death and destruction, sickness and pain
Why does the world scream? Anger loves fear
Fear loves anger, each feeds on each other in
a cycle of pain that, my God, I wish someday would

end. A beaten mother covers her bruises. She would
leave if the fear he would kill her would leave. New
bruises every morning. As she drives into
work, she tries to find an excuse. Her child, cold
and hungry, cries in the backseat. Life for them is fear.
As she looks out the window, more pain

is all that she sees. For the man on the corner, pain
is all he knows. A bench of wood
for a bed, his eyes are so vacant they show no fear
No emotion at all. A crumpled jacket that's far from new
is all he has for warmth...and a pillow. Cold
eats away at his frail bones as he stares into

nothing. As the woman drives further into
the city, she tries to block out the pain
while more heartache stands out in the cold.
The foreign man walking out on the sidewalk would
weep if there were any tears left to cry. His new
baby boy and his wife have passed on. His nation's fear

of change has killed them. Most are afraid,
so they hide their beliefs, so they are not forced into
exile...or death. The man has escaped to a new
Promised Land, but not without paying the price. His pain
will live on with each mother and child he would
see on the street, until his own body is cold.

Next to the man stands a woman who's cold.
For not many clothes she has on. Her greatest fear
is her health that is fading, as the disease would
soon take her life. Her time on the streets got her into
a mess, where there was only one way to survive. Pain
had to be ignored, as each new night brought in someone new.

This world lives on the news and it seems very cold
Yet we turn our backs on the pain and the fear
and pretend it's not the world we live in...or ever would.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why One Should Always Keep Paper and Pen (or My Hatred For Microsoft Word)

By the time this damn things opens
And a blank white screen appears
I've forgotten what it was
I wanted to say
And my Nobel Prize goes out the window

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Help Me Finish This Story

I need your help.
I've been working on this story (off and on) for a couple of weeks now. The trouble is, I can't seem to decide how to end it.
Let me clarify.
This story is called Jumprope Politics. As you read, you'll notice it's a rather obvious allegory for the polarization occurring in the United States political system. The trouble I'm having with ending it is that I am torn between the boys (gov't) being remorseful for their actions or being sly and snide, continuing to plot further antics. They seem shy at first, but that's because they've just been busted.  Are they really sorry or thieving punks just waiting for the adults to leave them to their plotting and selfish endeavors once more?
I'm torn between what I think is realistic and what I hope for.
So, finish my story!
Write your own ending! (Use the comment section)
I'll pick one, and maybe there can be a prize of some sort. A printed and bound version of it or something. Or coffee or beer or something. You know, whatever. :)
Tell your friends! Let's have fun with this!
Here is the story. Pick up where I end.


Despite recess ending over an hour before, two oversized 4th graders from Washington Elementary remained fixed at their game. Billy Clifton and Georgie Baum each pulled mightily from either end of a purple nylon jump rope that was showing extensive wear near its middle. Hidden behind the bushes, they had evaded their teacher, Mr. Samson, as he marched the remaining student body back into the classroom. As their peers sweated over fractions, beads of perspiration formed a crown round each boy’s head as he kept his feet firmly planted, angled his body near parallel to the ground, and insisted through clenched teeth that he would not surrender.
Finally the rope snapped in two, sending Billy and Georgie soaring through the air, each landing with a great thud on the ground.  Holding back tears, each boy slowly pushed himself up from the soil. Georgie’s knee oozed a small stream of blood, Billy’s elbow began to develop an instant bruise.
“You big dumb smelly ass, Billy! I’m telling Principal Burgher you made me bleed!”
“Oooh, I’m really scared!” Billy retorted. “Go ahead, Dumbo! If you weren’t so fat, you wouldn’ta broke the rope.”
At this, Georgie lunged and seized Billy by the shirtsleeve pulling him to the ground once more. Entwined, each boy did his best to bring his fist to his opponent’s torso as they writhed and flopped in the playground dust.
“That’s enough, boys!” boomed Mr. Samson’s voice as he pulled the still swinging boys from each other’s grasps.  Holding them at arm’s length, Mr. Samson escorted the duo to their awaiting principal a few feet away. She did not look pleased. He left them to her stare and made his way back into the school.
The boys stood at her feet, Georgie digging his foot into the dirt, Billy suddenly fascinated by his fingernails.
“Sit.”
 Ms. Burgher spoke quietly, but sternly and with great authority. Georgie and Billy quickly took their place on the hard ground, eyes studying the soil beneath them. Dry and cracked, ants scrambled in and out of the crevasses and both boys felt just as small. Surely it was only a matter of time before Ms. Burgher would bring out a magnifying glass and let the sun do its work. They braced themselves for the scolding that was sure to come.
But Ms. Burgher did not speak.
She simply stood, one half of the rope dangling from each hand. Its once brilliant purple fibers now muddied and ruined. She laid each broken piece in front of each of them.  Billy and Georgie shifted uncomfortably, unsure what action to take. Should they speak? Should they continue to wait? The longer Ms. Burgher’s eyes bored into them, the more impossible to stay still.
It was then that Mr. Samson re-emerged from the school; a small girl clutched his hand as he led her toward them. Her face was smudged with dirt and grime, clean streaks present only from the tears that had cleansed away the filth. Her dress had at one time been lavender, soft and lovely, but was now a dull sort of grey. The dingy lace collar clung on by a few scarce threads here and there. Her knees showed dried scabs and mosquito bites. Her toes were evident through shoes too small. Her hair hung stringy and greasy in her eyes as she stared at the dirt below.
“I believe the two of you have something that belongs to Susie, is that true?” Ms. Burgher asked.
Georgie and Billy nodded their heads.
“And how did the two of you come to be in possession of Susie’s new jumprope?”
Several moments passed before Billy finally managed to squeak out the words, “We took it from her.”
“I see,” said Ms. Burgher. “And what reason do you have for taking this little girl’s toy? This is the only toy she has, and she brought it to share with her schoolmates. You, boys, have now not only robbed Susie of her brand new jump rope, but have ruined the opportunity for others to play as well. What have you to say for yourselves?"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm Like So Totally Guilty Of This, You Know?

A Promise





Now if I can just figure out how to make that happen...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thoughts In Airplanes While Up In The Sky


Somewhere I presume over the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. Listening to Zeppelin’s “Going to California,” because I am.
Ah….traveling.  This is what I need. Somehow the chaos centers me. The moment I walked into the airport, I somehow felt at peace, more with and more like myself. Just being there, walking in, bags in tow, seeing people scurrying this way and that, it makes me stop and think, “This is right.”
Folks keep asking me if I’ve decided what I’m going to do with my life. First family, now even friends are posing the question. The fact that I’m nearing 30, unmarried, unsettled, this does not bode well for most people. It is, in fact, strange and people perhaps have begun to wonder what is wrong with me. I sometimes wonder what is wrong with me.  Then, in these instances when I feel most like myself, I am able to remember, I am able to articulate, “Nothing. This is me, and I love it.” Even those who have met me momentarily are able to see that this is what I need to be doing.  I need to be out in the world, observing, processing, writing, ever in wonder of this vast and varied world. I miss this greatly about being in Korea-the mentality that one does not need to surrender to the great “American Dream” involving settling into dometicality and a single location. These two things are two of my greatest fears. I want to want them. Really, I do. But this, being out, traveling, wandering, exploring….this is who I am.
I meant to start writing immediately upon hitting 10,000 feet after departing Sioux Falls. My mind was already alive and churning madly with thoughts of the need for travel, being at home in travel, as well as a general political geeking out and further contemplating polarization. See, while awaiting my flight out of Sioux Falls, I stopped to fill up my water bottle from the fountain. I turned around to see a recognizable face, so when I did a double take by turning around again, I was shocked to see the very tall and rather tan Senator John Thune waiting behind me.
“Hi, how are you?” he asked.
“Hey!” I beamed cheerfully, totally politically crushing. “Good! How are you?” That was pretty much the extent of our conversation despite a host of other thoughts simultaneously careening through my head. Thoughts such as
Did you get my letter?
Do you need a staff writer?
Do you remember me from camp?
Can we talk about polarization?
I continued to dance around in line, due to the 12 ounces of caffeinated coffee I had just ingested, trying not to gawk at him. It was then that cemented the idea that I really do need to amass my writing on a professional website and print business cards for such a time as this. It would be so handy to be able to whip one out, hand it over, have its recipient pour over my writing and be completely taken aback by it and demand I write for them, while paying me a pretty fee no less.
But, alas, I did not have such life changing business cards. So I just got on the plane and immediately took out my notebook and began scribbling down all the thoughts I would soon be typing once electronic devices were permitted.
But those thoughts have been put aside until now, this second leg of the journey, the flight from Denver to Sacramento. Because as much as I like to put in my headphones, block out the world, and hammer out my  inner thoughts on little black keys, I even more enjoy conversations with strangers on airplanes, particularly when they are with a young Catholic priest who wears combat boots and has the Dead Kennedy’s on his iphone.
As Tyler Durden was to the Narrator, Father Peter was “by far the most interesting single serving friend I’ve ever met.” Wearing his priestly collar, looking friendly and roughly my age, I struck up conversation even prior to take-off.
Rather than the basic, "Hello, where are you going today? " I just pointed to the collar. “Does that mean stimulating theological conversation throughout the flight?” I asked. He laughed and agreed that would be enjoyable.
After admitting a lack of intellectual theological conversation in my life as of late, mostly due to my lack of continued theological education, we dove right into the Pope. Hmm, perhaps that’s not the best choice of words given unfortunate light Catholic priests have cast upon them. As conversation does, it evolved from papal authority, to “calls” from God, to intellect and reason (or lack thereof) within the Faith, to books to be read, and music to be heard. Quality music this fellow enjoys, and band names were exchanged for each of us to check out. Hoorah, new music!
And in an intuitive manner that I’m not sure stems from seminary training or his personal nature, he pretty much pinpointed me as in need of constant travel, confirming that this need will not relent, but will need constant tending throughout my life. How right he is. We soon started to descend and it seemed to me the flight went too quickly. These sorts of instances with strangers are what draw me to this traveling thing. They are rare, precious, and to be cherished. “Don’t talk to strangers,” is great and necessary advice when one is a child, but should be a discarded mentality shortly thereafter.

It is when traveling that I most feel the blessings and I daresay even the presence of God poured out upon me. Someone call up Lonely Planet and tell them I need a job.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

God?

To believe or not to believe? That is the question...for a lot of folks anyway. I've pretty much given up the argument. Still, I found the responses interesting. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Night I Saw U2

I’ve been trying to write about Saturday night off and on for about 36 hours. It’s not coming easily. Words can be a bitch somedays. How do you put words to something that encompasses so much more than what they offer? That void where words fail…this is the place for art, for music.  So to write about that thing that fills in the wordless void?
I don’t know. I’m struggling.
I want to breathtakingly describe those precious hours. I want to remind myself, I want to share with you that feeling of absolute excitement that left me jumping in an erratic and giddy manner. I want you to understand fully that sense of awe and wonder and beauty that lead to being able to do nothing but stand completely still and allow whatever the hell it is that moves through music move into you. God, I think. There are differing opinions.
 But to recreate those moments, and moments similar, I think not even the best writer can put into words. Those moments are not what words are for.  But still….still I try to write.
I keep trying to write about my experience, about the details of what happened. About how when “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” started, I leaned over to my friend and said “Sorry if I start crying. I’m an emotional sap and music has a strong effect on me.” And how I was reminded the next day by another friend that “That’s what music is for.”
I want people to know the simple joy of been standing outside, content with the excitement of being so near, the sound and the monitors making it seem we were there. The brick walls of the stadium seemed like nothing but a thick paper separating us from such an event. Because, when tickets sell out in 20 minutes for a fairly substantial price, being this close is what you know will be the closet you will ever come to seeing them live.
Until it’s not.
I want you to read these words and your eyes grow wide as you see the unattended gates, know that fraction of a moment  when it’s now or never, feel the air rush past your face as you run through rain and crwod, ignoring that secrurity guard who is yelling powerlessly at this homeless mob who have suddenly been let in on Thanksgiving dinner. I want your mouth to drop agape at that moment you realize…We’re in.
I want people who read this to feel the rain pouring down on their heads, feel their clothes soaking wet, hanging heavily from limb and torso. I want them to feel the anxiousness of lightning bolts striking around the stadium, to tremble at the immensity of thunder that came from above… and from the kits of Larry Mullen, Jr. I want you to see the look of pure happiness on Adam Clayton’s face, despite 30 years of limelight and lots of the same songs. I want you to do a little dance for joy when you realize, “Oh my God, The Edge is right there.” I want you to feel the movement of 60,000 people fall into a silent stillness while the first notes of “With Or Without You,” began. To know the power of 60,000 people singing “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” To see the power of lanterns held aloft, circling the stage, in a beacon of hope while Bono urges us to “Be Strong. Walk on.” I want you to be totally absorbed in a chorus of Cohen’s “Hallelujah” only to be swept into a place “Where The Streets Have No Name.”
I want my words to have the power that Bono’s words have…when millions of people worldwide, and tens of thousands around me, sing them, word for word. When his influence is such that people are moved into action to seek justice, fight AIDS, poverty, hunger. His words effect me, they bring me to a place beauty, hope, strength. But he has more than words, he has that undeniable power of music, which bring me to those same places.
So as I try feebly to use my own words to describe they seem so insignificant. Words are just not enough. And so, despite the poor quality, I leave you with the best thing that I can to share the evening with you: Two videos I took from some outstanding, unexpected, much appreciated seats at the U2 concert I wasn’t supposed to see.  It’s the best I can do. It's not much. Because it was too much.








Friday, July 22, 2011

Music Snobbery (Why Pop Radio Blows and Music Snobs Have A Handle on Something Grand)

I’m sorry if you think I’m pretentious. There’s more than a good chance I come across that way. I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve discovered I’m a self-proclaimed snob. And I think I am not alone. There are countless others out there in the world just like me, strutting around with our heads held high, sure to make it known that we like what we like and it’s better than what you like. Again, we’re not trying to be rude (okay, some of us get off on being rude, but I don’t count myself as one of them. I actually worry about being rude.) but we just happen to be thoroughly convinced that what we like IS better than what others around us like, for good reason. Let me clarify, folks like me who know what they like, which is most likely contrary to what is popular with the general masses, are the ones who come across rude or pretentious mainly because what we like is in fact not what is embraced by most of society.

What is the meaning of all this blathering, you may be asking. Let me back up a bit. As per usual, this blog post is simply stemming from things that have been stewing around in my head for quite some time. Usually, after things have been stewing for quite some time, something I see, hear, overhear, or somet unknown muse sends a spark and the whole batch of stew erupts like a gas station falling victim to a careless smoker (a la Zoolander). Suddenly all that has been swimming around in my mind comes spewing out of my fingertips and into words read here or elsewhere. As I’m bad (aka lazy) about editing, I fear that often these words stay a jumbled unorganized mess, but since I know what I’m saying, I simply leave them be. There’s always time for editing, I tell myself. It’s nice to tell yourself things sometimes. This is not where I’m going with my self-proclaimed snobbery post, but is indeed a preview into the chaotic inner-workings of my mind. Perhaps what you read here or hear me say in person will now make a bit more sense with the knowledge that most of what’s written and spoken by me is simply verbally processed spew…which in itself aids in the mental processing, uh, process.

All that to say, as I was on my way to my coffee shop the other afternoon, something lit the match and the gas station erupted and now I’m spewing wordy flames, sorting out the idea that somehow it became okay for music to cease to be art and instead become a mindless opiate for the masses. And that’s when I started to think about how I sound (and probably am) really pretentious. Yet, I remain firm in my convictions.

The music I like, the music my friends like, and that several of my friends make, is in fact better than most of what is heard on popular radio. Let me clarify by what I mean by “better.” Let’s be honest, if we’re basing what is considered “good” music solely on numbers sold and amounts of money amassed, then the majority of true music is not considered good, and therefore definitely not better than what’s on popular radio. But herein lies the problem. Good music doesn’t sell. I mean, it does, but not nearly in the amounts that its popular counterpart does. I suppose that what I mean by “better,” is mostly “higher quality.” So if good music doesn’t make millions of dollars, what constitutes as good/true music?

One word: artistry.

It is the time, dedication, hard work, and yes even natural abilities that makes one a good musician.

Just because someone puts on a pair scrubs, tosses a stethoscope around their neck, that doesn’t make them a nurse. In the same fashion, just because a person is handed a guitar, a microphone, or even a recording contract, that doesn’t make them a musician. I hesitate to even use the term “recording artist” as the word “artist” is involved. If it didn’t make them sound like a small woodwind instrument given to elementary school students, I would just call them “recorders.” So…what do we call the individuals who get so much radio play today, but do very little besides gyrate their bodies while scantily clad? Who cares! It’s sexy, and sex sells. And besides sex and money, what really matters anyway?

I’d like to know who is responsible for deciding music no longer needs to have any sort of quality before being fed to the masses and punch them in the face. You know, if I wasn’t a borderline pacifist. Maybe I can just glare at them intensely and make them uncomfortable with my unwavering stare. But it’s not just their fault. Folks line up to buy this fabricated crap (Well, not so much anymore. Now they click their little keys and make sure gratification is nothing but instant.) The masses feed the industry that feeds the masses.

Okay, obviously not all popular music is terrible. It’s catchy and thus fun to listen to. That has to count for something. I’d say it’s fun to dance to, which given the right crowd, it can be. But dancing these days has turned into nothing more than rubbing against one another’s genitals in a public space with lots of flashing lights…and generally really off-beat.

I often have people ask me how I learn about the musicians that I listen to. It starts with turning off the radio. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Wanna find out about good music? Turn off the radio! Hmm, no, turn off pop radio. Feel free to leave it on the classic rock station, the classical music station, or NPR (I promise they’ll play you good music and not turn you into a flailing socialist.) Also, stations like KEXP and The Current do a good job at playing music that wasn’t written in 45 minutes by some dude with a computer in a cubicle. Though, theoretically, they’re tied to public radio, so return to the NPR comment and move on.

Fellow music snob friends help, too. It’s important to keep the cycle flowing of telling folks you know about a new band you just heard, so that they may return the favor. And on and on it goes. And you know, the internet might have a little something out there about music. I’m not sure. It’s pretty vast.

Let my conclude by showing you two videos. One is of mega popular multimillion dollar pop star Rihanna. “Her” song “Rude Boy,” was a chart topper written by several dudes (okay, in her defense, she helped) whose native language isn’t even English. Hope you don’t have to dial 1 to understand the lyrics, cuz you know, it would be absurd to be a multi-lingual nation. Wait….that’s off topic and being saved for another blog. Honestly, I think I’d prefer Rihanna’s song in another language. If I couldn’t understand it, I wouldn’t feel the need to douse my eardrums in Holy Water every time I’m unfortunate enough to fall within earshot. Obviously, singing about sex isn’t a bad thing. It’s a totally natural event that people think about on a daily basis. Good music and art and the like lose their power if they aren’t engaging in that which makes us human, both good and bad. But, if I want to hear a woman describe how she’ll give her man an erection, I’ll just hang around the condom aisle in Wal-mart.



The second video is by Drew Grow (formerly of the band Five O’Clock People) who while makes a decent living, continues to play sold out shows to possibly hundreds of people. He is a working artist, constantly developing his craft. Ever evolving as an artist and human, rather than changing with the passing trends. I chose to pair Drew Grow with Rihanna relatively arbitrarily. He just came on my ipod as I’m finish up this post. So I went to his website where he has a post that touches on things similar what you’ve just read. He, as a quality musician should, wrestles with the larger questions and struggles of life and invites his listeners to do the same. He, like a quality musician should, convies emotion and moves his listeners, with and without words.(Close your eyes and listen instead of watching the video.) He might even talk about sex sometimes, who knows. He's playing here with The Portland Cello Project who also find themselves to be pretty outstanding musicians. He also often plays with a band and together they are called Drew Grow and the Pastor's Wives, if you should feel so inclined to check them out. You should feel so inclined. :)



I know stylistically these two songs are super different. Apples and oranges if you will. I'm not so much focusing on that though. For the moment, ignore style. Focus on quality.

You’re free to like what you like, and we're all going to stick with what we like anyway. But I'm going to  stick with quality artistry. (Okay, with the occasional guilty pleasure of music that falls short of the title of “good,” because, damn, that mass-pleasing music is catchy!)

At last, the soap-box is free now. I’m off it.

++It should be noted that simply because someone writes and sings a song in a language other than their own, it doesn’t have to suck. Example here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quote

“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”
--Barbara Kingsolver--

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Bit of Excitement

While I'm not going to see the mighty Led Zeppelin, we are however taking a long overdue family vacation. I can already taste the fresh salmon. Begging, pleading, needing a reunion with that which I love the most...The Sea.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Imprisoned Bees and the Terror of Mercy


I see metaphor everwhere I go.

I just released a bee trapped inside the coffee shop. There he buzzed and buzzed, constantly hitting the window, desperately trying to get out. He could see the other side, but to get there? He had no idea how to go about it. He just repeatedly threw himself into the glass. Occasionally, he would rest on the sill, ever staring out at where he once had been; separated unwillingly from the place he belonged.

He was trapped. No matter how hard he tried, he could not break through the pane.

So finally, I rose from my seat, retrieved an empty cup from the barista, and confined the poor thing inside. I placed a thick piece of a newsletter under the cup between rim and window. The bee now found himself in total and complete darkness. A darkness he neither asked for nor desired.

For what I imagine to be terrorizing and agonizing seconds, an eternity in bee-time, the bee remained in this strange new petrifying new environment. You know, because I’m sure bees can consciously feel and comprehend human emotion. ;) His life was over. It was only seconds until he was squashed, he was certain.
Then suddenly, the temperature changed. It was surprisingly warm inside the cup and somehow less dark. Light was trying to sneak through the thick sides. In a single instant, all at once, the paper cell door was flung from place, light and the warm July air flooded in, and the bee found himself flying in the brightness of the sun. No longer crashing into his glass prison, this strange gigantic being that his bee friends had said squashed so many, had instead see him free. The terror was all for naught. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Every Tear is a Waterfall

Yep. Turns out I still love Coldplay.
I just moments ago finished watching the video for thier new song "Every Tear is a Waterfall." I liked it so much I apparently had to rush right on over here and write about it.
And by write, I mean process, usually. So here I go.

First...I'm going to go watch/listen to it one more time.

Yep. Still liked it. Though this time I was able to avert my eyes a bit. The first time I watched enraptured. This second time I was able to look away, not because of the bright flashy colors, but because I started thinking about the song, about music, about what this particular song means, about how dancy it is, about life.

Honestly, when I first saw the title "Every Tear is a Waterfall," I was a little hesitant. It's a pretty cheesey title. I had my doubts. I waited a while to watch the video, which would also be the first time I would hear the song. I wanted to be able to give it my full attention, and I'm often doing other things or only half awake while putzing around on this internet thing. I kind of imagined it to be a fluffy little piece about how it's okay to cry or you're beautiful just they way you are sort of thing. And I suppose those fluffy pieces have thier place. But I don't think that's the fate of this new Coldplay song. For one, it's way too danceable to be fluffy piano-y elevator crap. Unless there's a dance party in the elevator. Then it's perfect.

Bah! Coldplay is so damn hopeful! Their songs are happy and uplifting and not in the painful KLOVE way. And the word that came to mind during this song was "beauty." Perhaps because I find waterfalls to be some of the most beautiful things one earth. (Unless they're being chased...then they're a bitch.)
If every tear is a waterfall, then every single one of us emits beauty. (Some of us fairly regularly.) Beauty when we're happy. Beauty when we're sad. "You can't hurt me, hurt me bad."
Kids are dancing and there's singing coming from underneath the rubble.

No matter what, there is life, and there is beauty in that life. And here, within that life, "Heaven is in sight." and "My heart is beating and my pulses start cathedrals in my heart."
I'll leave out the excellent theology of that last line. That's a whole other thought process.

Jonny Buckland: Not that you'll ever read this, but that riff...yeah. Good job. <3

Lots of times, I wish I was a musician, because so often, music proclaims what words cannot. And so, I'll cease with the words for now and you should watch the video. And then go listen to more music or do whatever it is that moves you to soak up beauty.




Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Book Club Is Better Than Yours

"It’s 20 inches from side to side!"

Just one of the many fantastic quotes uttered from my book club last night. I might be a little bit in love with them. Honestly, it is this group and my group of friends that keep me sane (as much as possible) and grounded here in Sioux Falls.

I started the book club, officially known as Books, Beer, and Bitchin’ Camaraderie (BBBC) because…well, because I needed to. It seems that after university finding intellectual stimulation can be a bear. While Sioux Falls has many fine qualities, creative and intellectual stimulation is in limited supply. The lack of those things was taking a toll on me, thus I decided to do something about it. I created an event on facebook with the initial invitation reading, “Tired of the lack of books, beer, and bitchin’ camaraderie! Me too!” (It should be noted that the “bitchin’” portion of the title is in reference to “cool,” not for “come to my house and bitch about your life”) Apparently, others did in fact feel the same and thus the BBBC was born. And it has taken off and going even better than I had hoped or imagined. We met for the first time three weeks ago at my house, where witty banter and creative intellect reigned supreme. (It also inspired me to start watching Dr. Who.) We decided the first book we would read would be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Most of us had read it before, but we decided it would be a good first book to get people talking and get comfortable with one another. It proved to do that swimmingly. Lee’s novel lent itself to a lively, diverse, and all out enrapturing conversation ranging from language as culture (particularly the “n-word”) to sexuality and dating to school board elections to identifying ourselves with particular characters. It was interesting to see the varied lenses through which we all inevitably read the book. I naturally gravitated toward the religious tones. One of us is Native American and serves on the Diversity Council and she naturally gravitated toward the ethnic minority themes. Still others read from a feminist point of view, themes of justice, and the pure literary genius of the book. Of course these were just the beginnings of the thoughts, ideas, and conversations that took place outside on a warm June evening.
If my BBBC friends are anything like me, there were more ideas and realizations running through our heads that we either chose to keep to ourselves or didn’t get a chance to share. (We have a tendency to talk a lot and the evolution of conversation occurs quite rapidly.)

This is the beauty of literature. We all come to it with our own lives shaping the way in which we read the same words. We then share our thoughts, our hearts, and inevitably our lives with one another. Ideas flourish. Relationships are made and strengthened. Community is built. Lives are enlightened and enriched.

To you, my fellow BBBC members, I am immensely grateful. You add life to my life.

To others, if you would like to join us, shoot me an email! We would love to have you. Your life will be enriched, I guarantee. Pick up a copy of Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg, as that’s what we’re reading for next time, grab a bottle or two of your favorite brew, and come join in the conversation. (And seeing as how it's by Simon Pegg, I propose a viewing of Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead following discussion.)

Oh, and if you’re wondering, it was the pizza a few of us ordered around midnight turned out to be a right giant. (We decided we needed snacks as we watched the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird after all the discussion) As we burst out laughing when we saw the beast, the pizza guy proudly boasted that “it’s 20 inches from side to side!”

Also...as every good book store has a cat, we've adopted the neighborhood cat who straggles into my yard from time to time as the BBBC mascot. We named him Vinny, short for Vincent, due to his red hair and missing ear. I think you'll find him adorable.

Vinny the Kitty

It's 20 inches from side to side!

"What the f@*k are we going to do with all this pizza?!"


Thursday, June 23, 2011

2 Songs

These are two songs I can't get out of my head, and I'm not complaining.

The Death Cab for Cutie song is my present anthem. The Decemberists song is just really good and insanely catchy. I'm a little bit in love with Colin Meloy's voice. (The Decemberists)



Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sonnets Un-Won

A few weeks ago the radio program Studio 360 featured Arthur Philips' book The Tragedy of Arthur in which Phillips penned an entirely fake Shakespeare play. Apparently, he did it quite convincingly, or so say the scholars he consulted. So, the good folks at Studio 360 and Phillips issued a challenge for listeners to submit their own sonnets. The winner's poem would be read on the air.
I did not win.
My 16th century vocabulary is not up to snuff. And realistically, Shakespeare isn't my favorite. (Which is nearly a crime for many English nerds across the globe.) The winner was much more eloquently versed in the ways of Bill S. But I submitted a couple of sonnets just for fun. Too contemporary to pass as Shakespeare, which I'm okay with, and one had failed iambic pentameter anyway. Here are the two sonnets I submitted.


Wounded Friendship/ Tattered Cloth

Alas! No more shall it be let to mend
For silver thread lies tangled on the floor
Unraveled, a heap, the much hidden ends,
Lay in wait with vain hope to restore

The wardrobe that once was brilliant, it shone
From time, effort, and meticulous care
Devoted to keeping it from being outgrown
Now pauper what was once debonair

The greatest of tailors cannot right what was torn
Only the wearers can sift through the mess
So threading untangled shall not be born
For its keepers refuse to address

Gaping holes in the garments, moth-eaten and frayed
Silver thread for the mending, in dust remains staid

Mark Zuckerburg is My Big Brother

Lord Zuckerberg and your brainiac crew:
Surely you're sly as ten thousand foxes
For certainly it was well known by you
The sick addiction tiny red boxes

Would stir in the minds of weak-willed, poor saps
Such as myself, all my friends, and my kin
Seldom a moment we move from our laps
The book of faces now ingrained within

Too firm your grasp! I barely can stand it!
Ever at hand electronic device
Let’s be honest, I rarely unhand it
These social affairs, though, come at a price

Mr. Zuckerberg, we beg you be kind
It’s our dirty secrets you’ve been consigned



Thursday, June 2, 2011

100th Post-An Announcement

Well well well, it seems like I've reached a relatively minor milestone. This, friends, is my 100th post on waitawaitabide. I was trying to think of some clever way of celebrating this "momentous occasion," like trying to summarize my blog in 100 words or writing a cutesy little poem using "100" in each line or stanza or something. But I'm tossing those ideas to the wind. I’m instead using my 100th post to make my little announcement promised in my last post.
So here it is: in an effort to remind myself of the non-sucky aspects of Sioux Falls and the surrounding areas, as well as to clue residents and passers-by in to these places, I'm starting a website, writing about the non-sucky aspects of Sioux Falls. 
Most of you know that I keep trying to flee Sioux Falls and keep accidentally ending up back here. Well, I’ve decided for the time being that it’s too exhausting to keep fighting and trying to leave. And after a visit from my friend Ray from Alaska a few weeks ago, I was reminded that I really enjoy sharing the places I love around here with folks from elsewhere. Thus, the website idea was born in an effort to share the cool local places Sioux Falls does indeed have to offer.  It will have reviews of restaurants, coffee shops, shops, bars, places of interest, and outdoor locations. I use the term “review” loosely, because I’m not so much critiquing these places as just sharing what they are like and why folks should check them out. The website will also have a section called “Sioux Falls Submits,” where people can send in memories of Sioux Falls and the region, as well as their own creative writing and photographs.
And to be quite honest, another reason I’m starting this website is so that some fancy writer folks will stumble upon it and decide to pay me gobs of money to either continue in the website or come write for them. (Ahem…Dear Argus Leader…You are lacking in quality writing and local features. Please hire me. “The Link,” could use some work.)
I’m shooting for something like a mid-July launch date. I need to write quite a few more pieces and figure out the whole setting up of the website thing. 
Anyway, I’m really looking forward to my upcoming venture. Any help, writing, or advice would come in handy. To give you an idea of how features on the site will read, what follows below is the first piece I’ve written for the site, featuring Black Sheep Coffee.

Black Sheep Coffee
Walk into Black Sheep Coffee and then stop. Stop, take a deep breath, and inhale the sweet sweet aroma that can only be coffee. Breathe it in, for that scent is one of the most comforting and pleasant scents known to humankind. You know you want it. Don’t be shy. Walk up to the counter, order yourself a warm steamy cup of Ethiopian roast or perhaps a chai, a toddy, green tea, mocha, or any other of the delectable beverages on hand, then settle in and make yourself at home.  
Once you’ve got that all enticing cup of joe in your hand, soak up the Black Sheep atmosphere. For a really good time, engage yourself in a battle to the animated death by playing Ms. Pac-Man.  The glorious time sucking joy of 1980’s memorabilia stands against the western wall begging for patrons to step right up, gobble some cherries, and flee from cutesy ghosts. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I know of no other place in Sioux Falls where you can absorb gobs of caffeine and childhood nostalgia at the very same time.
However, if chomping orbs isn’t your thing, Black Sheep is to be enjoyed for several other reasons. Settle in for a game of chess or cozy up with a book. (If you’ve forgotten your own, use one of theirs. A book shelf stands on either side of Ms. Pac-Man for your reading enjoyment. ) Take in the work of local artists or catch a set by local, regional, and national musicians. Should no musical acts be on hand that evening, never fear! The baristas will keep your head bobbing to the finest tunes or fill that very same head with valuable knowledge from NPR.
Black Sheep is one of the few places in Sioux Falls that roasts their own beans. Upon walking in, you’ll see the large red roaster, standing on guard to greet you with the promise of the freshest cup of coffee you’ll find in the city. If you’re really lucky, Corey will be ever near the monstrous machine, roasting the newly arrived beans to perfection.
If your trip to Black Sheep is during the fortunate non-winter months, sit out back on the patio to soak up the sun, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, and engross yourself in merriment of coffee, friends, and the goodness of life. Just don’t trample the garden!
So get your caffeine fix while supporting local business: go to Black Sheep Coffee. You should, Sioux Falls. You just might like it. 


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Look Up And Just To The Left

No No. Too Far. That's your lamp. I mean on this web page. I've just added a links page! My friends are much much more talented than me, so you should look at their stuff and support their work. As I continue to gather more of their websites, the page will continue to be updated, so check back often.

Also, stay tuned for some exciting news in the wide wide writing world of Sioux Falls. To Be Announced.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lenny Bruce Is Not Afraid!

Maybe he’s not a human. Maybe he’s some sort of Angelic cyborg. This is the only logical conclusion I can come to about Harold Camping. It’s either that, or you know, he’s wrong. And people are wrong all the time, there’s nothing out of the ordinary about that, so let’s go with the angelic cyborg thing, because that’s just more fun. And if he is an angelic cyborg, than he can be excused from the whole, “No one knows the day,” verse found all over Scripture, as that seems pretty directed toward the humans. It says nothing about an angelic cyborg not knowing the day. So, perhaps Harold “Angelic Cyborg” Camping really does know the date of the end of the world, and I should stop writing this, leave my job, and go sing “Kumbaya” with my family until the earth shakes, the house falls down, and we find ourselves on fluffy white clouds making our way up to heaven. Because, that’s biblical you know, fluffy white clouds and heaven being “up.”
No…no wait. I think I might be thinking about a Pixar movie. And that was balloons, not clouds, so I guess we’re all sorts of confused.
But anyway, there are always going to be quacks out there who claim to know things about the end of the world, the day of the rapture, and answers to other "theological" questions. And quite frankly, it's fun to mock them, mostly because it's so damn easy. But, realistically, I suppose that's not the right thing to do, what with the whole loving one's enemies thing. Mockery probably falls a little short of love, enemy or not. So...well...um...what happens when you really have no plans to stop something you know is wrong? Because,  to be honest...I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep mocking this May 21st Rapture business. 
But on the other hand, this whole craziness has got me thinking. The world is most likely not going to end tonight. But it could. Why not? It could end tomorrow just as easily. Volatile nations could start setting off nukes at any moment. Or you or I could just die driving to the grocery store. What it comes down to really, is  we just never know what each day is going to bring.  It's so easy to take life for granted, when it's much too fragile to do so. So tell your friends and family that you love them. Tell them how much they mean to you, not because the world is going to go up in smoke, but simply because one of them might not be here tomorrow. No one knows the day or the hour...of anything really. Life is precious. Love your people...and some other ones too. 

Good luck surviving this apocalypse known as life. I'll see ya'll round the bend. Love to all. <3


Friday, May 20, 2011

An Evolutionary Soundtrack for the Apocalypse


So, via Studio 360 I have discovered that hipster magazine, L.A. Record is collecting soundtracks to the apocalypse (happening already tomorrow, you know!) from its readers. Here is my list. You may notice an evolutionary story unfolding from it, seeing as how if this actually is the apocalypse, we should move from mockery and despair to hope. Um...I'm kinda of betting on being around on Sunday, though. (Actually, I'm thinking that if I'm around on Sunday, the only song necessary will be American Idiot, by Green Day. That Camping fellow is American, yes?) Comment with the songs you would play!

  1. Auto Rock-Mogwai (Because you need an epic intro)
  2. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It-REM (Obvious, isn't it?)
  3. The Angel of Death Came to David’s Room-mewithoutYou
  4. Apocalypse Now- Squad Five-0 (This song is impossible to find on the net. Apparently it didn't survive to the technological age. How very punk rock of it.)
  5. Hard Rock Hallelujah-Lordi (It's the aROCKalypse!)
  6. I Think I’m Going To Hell-My Morning Jacket
  7. The Battle of Evermore-Led Zeppelin
  8. Goodbye, Cruel World-Pink Floyd
  9. Greet Death-Explosions in the Sky
  10. Death Will Never Conquer-Coldplay
  11. Are You The One I’ve Been Waiting For?-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  12. Come All Ye Weary-Thrice
  13. Blackbird-The Beatles
  14. When The Man Comes Around-Johnny Cash
  15. Sorrow-Bad Religion (Jon Foreman of Switchfoot does a nice version as well.)
  16. Here Comes The Sun-The Beatles
  17. Daylight-Brave Saint Saturn (This generally stands as my all time favorite song.)
  18. Where The Streets Have No Name-U2
  19. Glosoli-Sigur Ros (Because I imaging just standing in awe upon arrival)
  20. Amazing Grace-Dropkick Murphys (Because after the awe wears off a bit, you realize it's a party and if Heaven's a party, I picture it more like this than harps and togas)
Or just click here for the whole youtube playlist. Enjoy your remaining hours on earth. Catch ya'll...you know, wherever.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Headline: Ignore the Smoke! Focus On Your Family!

If I ever get to write for The Onion, it would read something like this. It should be known that the "detrimental issues," mentioned in the following story were in fact taken straight from the parenting forum on the Focus on the Family website.


In a recent merger of children’s megastore Kids We B and Colorado based Focus on the Family, the company is pleased to announce The Focomatic 1955; the first in a line of what’s expected to be highly profitable products allowing parents to literally do nothing  but focus on their families. Shaped much like the 3D viewfinders made popular by children growing up in the 1980’s, by holding the device up to their faces and peering through the cross-shaped optical holes, parents are able to see their children at all times, no matter the location, near or far, night or day.

“It really is a fantastic invention,” says Donald S. Windle, new CEO of the recently merged companies, now known singly as We B Family Inc. Despite sirens raging down the street to extinguish the fire at the Ragtag Homeless Shelter, Windle was gracious enough to take the time to meet with this reporter at his downtown Colorado Springs office.  “We’re very excited about what this could mean for maintaining the spiritual well-being of those most likely to go astray.” Windle begins. He speaks animatedly regarding his company’s new invention. “You know, teenagers and gays and what not. We believe that constant supervision will lead to earlier intervention and thus the thwarting of detrimental issues such boys wearing girls’ clothes, boys and girls wearing earrings sized larger than normal, 17 year olds who want to go to prom or watch the Grammys, or the music of that M and M fellow. You can’t be too careful, you know? These kids are our future! We need to dictate their every move so they don’t end up seriously backsliding and doing something like falling hopelessly in love with someone their same gender who then sign up to adopt unwanted Haitian orphans with special needs. It ends up being a trickledown effect, if you think about it. Not only are teenagers rescued from the harrows of hell, but those orphans are rescued from the horrors of….well, whatever sort of life, if you could call it that, they would have with those people. You can see then, how vital our product becomes.”
The Focomatic 1955 is slated to hit shelves nationwide in a few weeks, but Windle affirms that they have already had countless calls regarding the device, along with the optional earpiece allowing parents to hear every word spoken by their child and surrounding friends, again no matter place or time.  “We’ve had to create a million more apparatuses than expected,” Windle boasts.  “Stores are already issuing rain checks for a product that hasn’t even been released.”
It is rumored that due out early next year is the BuzzWord, a device which will actually allow parents to physically intervene from distances up to three miles. “Now, I can’t say too much,” begins Windle, “but little Timmy will be quite shocked,” Windle pauses here and gives a sly wink and smirks, “when he realizes how powerfully bad those negative Nancy words can be. You know, those ones that generally have four letters? You can bet his language will soon be as clean as a preacher’s pulpit. I probably shouldn’t say too much more about that. We’ve still got to work things out with the Legal department on that one.”
Regarding the expected large profit margin, Windle waves his hands dismissively. “ We've got some ideas up our sleeves.”  Enhancing the Focomatic and BuzzWord, the development of new and more advanced devices, and potentially a brand new retreat center on the Oahu coast, to name a few.  When questioned about the latter, Windle responds, “We want to make sure our staff members are properly rested so as to avoid burnout. It’s a hard job, saving American families. It wears on a person.”
No Haitian orphans, then?
“Oh, heaven’s no!” Windle exclaims. “God’ll take care of them!”