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!”

Monday, May 9, 2011

Waves (Or, The Day I Saw God)

The following is an essay I wrote a few years ago. I may or may not fix it up. Here it is in first draft format. We'll see if a second draft comes along. 

In 1923, poet William Carlos Williams wrote, “so much depends upon a red wheelbarrow.” Well, pardon the thievery, Mr. Williams,  but I must insist, that in fact, so much depends upon the ocean. Until last year, I’d forgotten how big the ocean is. It sounds a silly thing to say, I know. Obviously the ocean is gigantic, who forgets that? Though large it is, it is the vastness that makes me stand in awe. It is here, gazing upon the ocean, mouth agape at its awesomeness, that one stares into the face of an entity infinitely bigger than the self. Together, here, on the shore of the sea, Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, and others find a commonality in the immensity of such a sight. Though perhaps others experience different, I saw God at the Ocean.

I awoke in the apartment that was still quite foreign to me, in a city I couldn’t yet tell would be home. Shifting on the futon my hosts had so graciously allowed me for the week, I stared at the grey hovering masses of mist and cloud passing the window, wondering what I might do with my time that bleak Sunday morning. The previous Sunday morning found me snug in the bed of the wicker room, while my grandmother busily placed the Christmas decorations back in what would be their cardboard homes for the next 12 months. Just weeks prior to that, my college diploma was plopped in my hands, my roommates had moved on, and the end of an era came crashing down around me.

Not more than a month earlier, I was to be found sitting at a desk three times a week studying the book of Genesis. Being in so much contact with Abraham at the end of an era is a precarious thing when you’re the owner of a restless heart, or you’ve just quit your job, and have nearly everything you own in your car. Or all of the above.

So six days after deciding to move to Seattle and three days after arriving there, I listened to the hum of the city below me. Seeing as how I couldn’t look for a job or a place to live as it was Sunday, I came up with the only logical solution. I was going to the Ocean. Geography will tell you that Seattle is not situated directly next to the Pacific Ocean. Growing up in a Midwestern landlocked state will tell you that is not important when you’ve just driven 1500 miles. What’s 100 more?

After a lunch at Barbara’s by the Sea, a quaint little cafĂ©’ overlooking the docks, I pulled my car into a parking lot next to the breaking wall. As I opened my door my ears were greeted by the sound of thunderous waves demanding to know why I hadn’t been to visit in so long. I ran to them as after a long lost love. They were a long lost love, and we had found each other at last. And we embraced.

I stood at the edge of the water, staring into the infinite sea. I waited. At any given moment I would be engulfed, the vastness would overtake me and I would be swept out to sea, forever to be with my beloved. But, alas, the waves landed consistently at my feet, making fall in the same place they had collapsed daily for millennia upon millennia. This would not be the day I would be taken. Today, only my toes would taste its frigid kiss, my nostrils seduced with its cool salty air.

I drew back from the line where water met earth. I pulled my scarf nearer, as the January wind blew in harshly against my face. I found myself entranced by broken sea shells that littered the shore. I felt an affinity for their beautiful brokenness and saw myself in them. I took my place on a piece of driftwood, piled up with thousands of other pieces the ocean had enticed in some far off land and spit out miles away from home. The dull grey sky loomed overhead.

And then, they arrived. Silhouette’s down the shore, making their way toward my ocean. I burned with anger that others would infringe on my interlude with the sea. I’d have cast stones, had my good Midwestern upbringing not thought it impolite. Yet as I sneered, the two silhouettes took their places silently on the sandy shore, assuming the same position I found myself in, gazing at the boundless sea, waiting to be engulfed, swept up by their beloved. Then suddenly, as if granted permission after a silent prayer, a single silhouette strode toward water. His shadowy surfboard hit the waves and he sailed away from the shore. He paddled farther out and my heart chased him, envious of his ability to be joined with the water. As he made his home among the waves, my eyes found their way to his companion, sitting silently on the shore, still, as I was, contemplating the sea. The sky began to send us a mist. Neither of us moved. The sight was too grand. From behind the mist came the setting sun. No bright orb present, but an orange glowing curtain draping itself over us. The radiant mist hung heavily as even the infinite waters were absorbed by the light. What were Moses’ thoughts when God placed him in a cleft and passed by in all his glory? Here sat mortals contemplating the infinite, the infinite then dwarfed by the divine. Surely, this is how Moses saw, nestled in the cleft, eyes upon the ocean of God.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Werewolves, Rockstars, and Wild Flowers

I saw Mogwai on Saturday night. As expected, I stood enraptured, soaking in the beauty of the music and the unison of bobbing heads. While they were playing, I'm guessing because of the magnitude of the show, I wondered if it was a strange fact that I wanted to pick them wild flowers. I decided it wasn't (with the help of some friends, old and new.) The fellows of Mogwai seem to be the sort of chaps that would enjoy some wild flowers in their touring outfit. I could be wrong. They could laugh in the face of those who would bring them flowers. But I don't think they would.
Also, during the show, I decided that if there happens to be a bright and/or white tunnel to whatever happens to be heaven, Mogwai would be playing during the procession. (Sigur Ros would be perhaps an acceptable alternative.) Shortly after thinking this, they played my favorite song from their new album, with the video for the song (which I hadn't yet seen) on the screen above them. The end of the video made me think my decision was correct...and consequently, made me smile and very very happy. Then again, just seeing and attempting to absorb Mogwai made me very very happy. Here is that video. Soak it up.