Monday, February 28, 2005

I Have This Hanging On My Wall By My Computer

Lobo #11

My books

I love books. I do. I'm not going to lie. I often find more enjoyment out of a good book then I do people. Today the weather was rather unpleasant-- translation: it was snowing-- big wet snow flakes. I don't mind snow so much, but I really don't like that kind of snow. Its tough to see when you drive and it is just rather unpleasant. So, I stayed home and I did a very geeky thing. I took all the books (probably a couple hundred maybe as many as a thousand) off my bookshelves, dusted the shelves and put the books on said shelves. As I did this I watched/listened Kenneth Branaugh's Henry V and then I watched listened to "Looking for Richard" (a documentary film done by Al Pacino about Richard III). I never really liked Shakespeare, but Doctor Stayton kind of fixed that. I had no choice but to like (perhaps better said Love) Shakespeare. She did just about everything she could to get me become a Bard-o-phile. I sat through her class on Monday nights (cutting into my tv wrestling time, I might add) and then she "sent" me to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada (Sherrah went, too. I guess it took. I'm still reading and watching Shakespeare-- at present I am reading Richard III. I want to read Henry V, but I have to slog through Henry IV parts 1 and 2, first (as per Stayton).

I also have quite a few theology books. I've "stolen" a few of them from my father's library, most of them are aplogetics. As I was cleaning my shelves I pulled down all my Greek and Hebrew books (they are left over from my abortive attempt at Semiary five years ago). I have often thought that I should just get rid of them, but I remember just enough (particularly Hebrew) that I can go back and do a little "translating." Every now and again when I'm reading the scriptures I find something that makes me go "hmmm, is that really what it says?" So, I go find the verse in the original language and attempt to translate it for myself. Its often an ugly process, but I have found it to be invigorating.

I've discovered that I don't have much in the way of novels. I have a small collection of art books and I have a shelf double stacked of paperbacks (that is where most of my novels are located). I got rid of a few books and I threw away a few things (mainly some old bottles and trinkets that don't mean much any more). I kept all the Camp Staff pictures, I looked at them and, sadly, I don't remember some of the people I worked with. I see their pictures, but I can't remember their names. I had forgotten about two "awards" I got at camp. I guess I can give a good "sermon" when necessary and am good at giving "impromptu speeches" for the life of me, though, I don't really remember why I was given those "awards." I'll have to ask someone sometime. I generally like to keep my mouth shut mainly because I developed a stutter while I was in high school and it really causes me some problems.

Speaking of high school... I realized today that it has been 13 years since I graduated from the hallowed halls of Nothern Garrett High School in Accident, Maryland. Wow, how the time has flown.

But I'm not talking about my high school experience (I went, but I don't particularly remember my high school years with great relish).

How did I get the topic of high school? I don't know. To tie this up in a somewhat nice neat bow: I read a lot in high school. There wasn't much else to do. I fell in love with books in high school. I used to drive my teachers nuts because I would sit in the back of the class with a Stephen King novel-- that might be why I kind of jsut barely squeaked through a couple of my classes. *chuckles* So be it.

Good Lord in Heaven...

I opened my email today and I saw this:
Campus Move Proposed

Concordia University at Austin’s consideration of a move to a Round Rock location was featured on the cover page of the Thursday, February 24th Austin American-Statesman.

The Board of Regents were in session all day Friday and discussed the proposal of the move.

President Tom Cedel noted in the article, “There are certainly a lot of questions now, but we’re treating it as a very real possibility.” The proposal is to move the university to a much larger tract in northeast Round Rock, as well as to consider the expanding of the current campus.

Too bad I live so far away from Texas. I'd love to be at that meeting. I assume that UT is offering to buy the campus... again (?)


Saturday, February 26, 2005

Getting Older Doesn't Get Easier, Does It?

I turn 31 tomorrow. Wow. I can remember when I was a kid sitting in class and letting my mind wander (it didn't take much for my mind to wander, by the way, still doesn't-- truth be told) and I would calculate how old I would be at a certain year and then wonder what I would be doing then. I always figured I'd be filthy rich with a pretty wife and a couple of kids. Well, I'm not filthy rich, not even a little dirty rich, I don't have a wife (or for that matter a girlfriend) and I certainly don't have any kids. I'm not complaining, actually. Its just interesting how what we think will happen and what does happen can be entirely different. Heck, who knew when I was sitting in my fifth grade class letting my brain wander that I'd be living in Indiana, or for that matter, that I lived in Texas for six years. To a Northeastern boy Texas was a different planet unto itself... whilst I lived there I confirmed as such.

Recently, I've discovered something: I actually miss Texas. I'm not sure why. I think part of it is because of the blogs I've been reading. Friends I had while in college and at a camp are writing and I think its them I miss more then Texas. I do miss bar-b-que and an ice cold Shiner Bock, but I don't really miss the heat-- actually this winter made me realize that might have in fact missed Texas winters.

I have the movie Slacker in my collection of DVDs. Its a great movie it takes place in and around Austin. I was watching it the other day I noticed something I hadn't heard before. I don't know what kind of birds they were, I used to call them Cow Birds, but they were large, brown, somewhatshiney birds that sounded like they had a very nasty case of bird laryngitis. They didn't chirp so much as scream and squak. These birds were every where in Austin. For as ugly as they were I used to love them. They made me feel like I was at home. They were my friends, that sounds strange, doesn't it? I used to walk around Austin a lot, mainly because I didn't have a car for a goodly portion of my time there, but the other reason was I just liked to walk. I wore out a pair of Doc Marten boots from walking Austin, quite literally. Back to the birds, sorry about the digression. I was watching the movie and I heard these birds squaking (am I spelling that wrong? It just looks wrong... oh well...) through out the film and I just started chuckling to myself. It brought some great memories.

Speaking of my DVD collection. Some of the newest additions:

Branded to Kill. A Japanese gangster movie.

Hamlet. What more can you say about that?

Richard III, probably one of my favorite plays by the Bard.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Two Poems

winter poem

snow covers all—
silent & soft like a
cat treading
on a ledge

autumn resting trees
hold court their
bark covered arms
thrust upward in
& their thin fingers
reach to the sky
the grey clouds

fat flakes rest on
the sidewalk &
whiten my shoulders:
an atmospheric

the still sound of winter
surrounds me &
the cold, snow-filled
air burns my lungs
as i breath

nada es nada

poems do not write themselves
they are nothing but
blanks on a page
waiting to be written

poems are nothing
poets are nothing
nothing is nothing


I have always been a loner. Matter of fact I have, at times, revelled in being a loner. I quite like it. I've been a watcher and a "noter of life." In short I participate, but more often than not only on the periphery. Because of my "loner-ness" I tend to be viewed as "standoffish." Sometimes I'm thought of being rude and even, believe it or not, thinking of myself as being better then others. All of this is not true. I just feel more comfortable looking in instead of looking out. This has served me well, though.

One of the toughest things for me to do when I was in college and working at a summer camp was to "share the peace" during our communion service on Thursday nights. I would often slip off to the side and watch as everyone else hugged and shook hands, I tried to make myself as unseen as possible. For the most part I think, my fellow camp counselors understood this. A couple times I ventured out and into the mix, but not very often.

My loner-like tendendies have been useful to me, though. I'm the guy that tends to notice someone else on the outside looking in. I can see it in their face, they want to participate, but they don't know how. I'll go over to them and say its alright go ahead and I've been known to take them by the hand and take them into the mix of whatever is going on-- doing the exact thing I hated have done to me. A few years back I had the opportunity to work on a servant trip to a town in Oklahoma. There were hundreds of kids and adults there. At night after working on houses all day we would gather in this big school gym and have a devotion of some kind. One night they had a particularly powerful devotion that left everyone a little bit wrung out. The finale was for everyone to do a basic "share the peace of the Lord" thing, so everyone moved in and started hugging and shaking hands and talking. Everyone that is, but me. I didn't feel it. Well, I did, but I didn't. I needed to watch it. To see it. To see all those people revel in the Lord. And I did. And then I saw a girl on top of the gym bleachers crying. No one was around her. She was all alone. Crying.

There is a story from Acts 8 about Phillip hearing the Holy Spirit tell him to go and talk to the Ethpoian eunuch. Philip sees the man sitting in a chariot reading Isiah 53 and he didn't understand what he was reading so Philip explained it to him. I saw this girl crying and after a minute of hesitation I started up the stairs. I came in from the left, for some reason I felt it would be better if I didn't come at her from straight on. I sat down next to her and put my hand on her shoulder. She looked at me with tears rolling down her cheeks. She'd been crying hard. I smiled and maybe even chuckled a little and said "Its alright." I asked her what was wrong. She told me about her brother who was in his early twenties and a raging alcoholic. He was sick with the disease. His body was being ravaged and she was scared for him. I remember her saying distinctly "He's throwing up blood." What do you say to that? Nothing, I decided. Let her talk it out. So she did, with a little prodding. She held my hand the whole time. Crushing it I might add. (My hand throbbed all next day). She calmed down a bit and I asked her simply if she'd like to pray.

I discovered quickly that she knew who I was. Most people did. I had written nickname that I had picked up along the way "Pnut" on the back of my shirt. No one knew my name, but they all knew I was "pnut." (I've discovered the its easier to talk to someone named Pnut as opposed to a Karl). Any way this girl said she did want to pray. So we went to a dark corner away from the rest of the group and we prayed. I asked her if she wanted "to dial or hang up?" She didn't get that, I translated: you wanna start, or finish? She started and as she prayed she cried and crushed my hands, again. After she was done praying and letting the hurt out, I hung up. I ended the prayer by asking for God's blessings on her and her brother adn asked that God guide and be with her. When it was done the tears had stopped and smile was blazed across her face. A thousand pound weight must of been lifted from her shoulders. She hugged me in a bearhug and thanked me.

A few days later I found a note in an envelope. She thanked me for being there and then said "Thank you for being my angel the other night." I was flabbergasted. I wasn't anyones angel, I was just a loner who happened to see someone in need.

That's how the Lord uses me. I'm a listener and a watcher. I listen to people and they tell me things that they don't usually tell other people, I don't know why-- its one of my peculiar gifts.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Taking it Down a Notch

I woke up this morning, grudgingly. I could hear rain outside my window and I just wasn't down with rain today. I had somethings to do that required walking around and I didn't want to get all wet. It was cold, too. A cold nasty rain. Bluch. I got up, put I got up with protest. But it was my day off, so that made it that much better. Any day not at work is a good day, right? Not always, but sometimes.

I went to downtown Indianapolis today. I'm starting grad school this summer. I had some questions that I needed to get answered, but I also went to just feel the school. When I was looking for a college to attend after highschool I went many different schools. I didn't realize it then, but I do now. I went to get a feel for the school. When it comes to a college each one says the can do this or that for you, but in the end its the "feeling" you get the makes you decide to apply or not. Well, I applied and was accepted to grad school, but I never really spent much time on campus. So I did that today. I went and sat in the library for a while and then went to the student union and ate lunch there and then went back to the library and sat down, again. Listening to it all. Getting a feel for it. And it felt good. It felt very good to be there. Some of the fear and uneasiness left a bit.

I left the campus and headed home. I stopped off at best buy and poked around for a good long time. I went in with no agenda, meaning I didn't have anything I really wanted to buy. That's can be dangerous for me sometimes. I ended up with two dvds and a cd. And they are:

and last, but not least:

I've always been a U2 fan. Though, I think that they never quite reached the same level in their albums that they did in Joshua Tree, though their song "Wanderer" with Johnny Cash is one of my favorite songs.

The Wall is just a great movie. I have it on video, but I've wanted it on DVD for a while. Today seemed like a good day to do it. The other film, Short Cuts, I know nothing about. Really. Nothing. It just sounded cool and it has a great cast in it. Its a Criterion Collection DVD and I just love Criterion disks. This one is even a bit cooler because it has a paper back of short stories by Raymond Carver that came with it. I certainly thing it was worth the money.

Camp Weird Dreams and Other Stuff

I've been sitting here for the last Idon'tknowhowlong going through Netflix picking movies to put on my queue. I'm not sure why I keep putting movies on my queue, I have over 140 in there waiting to be watched. I never really liked going to video store. I could walk around for hours on end and not find anything I really wanted. Bah! So, be it.

I had weird dreams last night. I started looking at air fares for a weekend trip to Texas this summer. I've been thinking about going down to the bbq that the camp I used to work puts on every year. As I get further from the camp experience I realize how much it really affected me. I find myself mining a nugget of truth or understanding almost weekly, sometimes daily, that I learned when I was there and am able to put to use now. When I have a problem or a task I need to work I often look at it as a challenge course element and when I make a mistake I can hear the words "rule broken" echo through my head.

I had weird dreams last night that dealt with camp. One that I remember was seeing all the cabins, but they were being forced out by a large subdivision. There were others, I'm sure, but that's the one I remember.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Quotes from the Front Page of My Online Diary

"... This has all the hallmarks of postmodern thought. It is pompous, verbose, and incoherent."

-- Dinesh D'Souza
Letters to a Young Conservative
"...I always suspected that democracy would come to this... A firm rule must be imposed upon our nation before it destroys itself. The United States needs some theology and geometry, some taste and decency. I suspect that we are teetering on the edge of the abyss."

-- Ignatius J. Reilly
Confederacy of Dunces
John Kennedy Toole

Teaching literature, art... whatever name we're going to have-- after we give up literature-- teaching books is a strange occupation because its teaching pleasure...

-- Leslie Fiedler (Literary Critic)

You can't possibly enjoy being so ignorant. It's not bliss. Bliss is putting a lit match to every fart of Art Dogma this gassy century has seen fit to squeak out. And learning how. Divine

--The Cheesemonkeys
Chip Kidd

lady will you come with me into
the extremely little house of
my mind.

--E.E. Cummings

Say it! No ideas but in things.
--William Carlos Williams

"... I don't find life gloomy!" She cries "To me, books and people and things are endlessly fascinating. Don't you think so?"

-- Walker Percy

"Have you noticed that the narrower the view the more you see?... It bothers you a bit, too, doesn't it? You are shy with me. But you like my window and my little view, I can see."

-- Walker Percy

"... it's a great adventure you've embarked on. Books are a wonderful avocation, wonderful. You know, some people think it is all right to go out and play golf every morning, and I don't want to criticize, but there is no substitute for great books..."

-- taken from Used and Rare
by Lawrence & Nancy Goldstone

I am concentration itself: I exist in a universe
where there is nothing but sex, death, and typewriting.

-- Billy Collins

"I already think you are crazy.... (b)ut if as you say, the world's a mental hospital, you might just be the perfect ringmaster for this little traveling circus."

-- Kinky Friedman
Steppin' On A Rainbow

"... you must begin a reading program immediately so that you may understand the crises of our age," Ignatius said solemnly "Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius, of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. That mostly is dangerous propaganda. Now that I think about it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians, too. For the contemporary period, you should study some selected comic books.... I recommend Batman expecially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he's found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman."

-- Ignatius Reilly
Confederacy of Dunces
John Kennedy Toole

I'm quite illiterate, but I read a lot.

-- Holden Caufield
Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger

Monday, February 07, 2005

I got Honky Tonked

When I was a kid I used to enjoy watching wrestling. There was on wrestler that I always kind of found to be silly, but his finishing move was always quite a lot of fun. That wrestler was The Honky Tonk Man. He would often swing his guitar over the head of an opponent and, admist the debris of shattered guitar, would pin his opponent 1...2...3.

I just got Honky Tonked.

I just read the following verse from Isaiah:
“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

“I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
-- Isaiah 42:6-8

I've just spent the last few minutes reading it, over and over again. Getting re-Honky Tonked. What more can you say to that? There is nothing more.

Then there is this in the next verse:
See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”

And further down in the chapter is this little nugget:
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them. (v. 16)

I can tell you from experience: that is MOST certainly true with my walk. I have gone to places that scared me the death (in a Spirtual sense) and felt things that made me numb for days... I've learned to hold onto that hand and when I've let go I haven't much liked what happened.

Friday, February 04, 2005

One of Those "Wow" Moments

The other night I was reading my Bible. I have been working my way through the Old Testement on my quest to read the whole Bible from cover to cover. This is not as easy as it sounds, but I'm doing pretty well. I'm probably halfway through. I was, and still am reading, Isiah. As I was reading I fell upon this:
Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying "This is the way; walk in it." Isiah 30:20, 21

I just read that over and over again. I was amazed. I grabbed a highlighter and highlighted the passage. And then I thought about a passage in James:
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life thatGod has promised to those who know him. When tempted, no one should say "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed... James 1:12, 13

Which lead me to Proverbs 17:3 "The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart."

Then there is this nugget from Romans three, verse 22:
This righteousness from comes through faitih in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified FREELY by his grace through redemption that came by Jesus Christ.

Who says that God doesn't speak to us through His Word. I get a kick out of it when I hear someone say that the Bible is an outdated archaic book. I'll bet dollars to donuts the person that said that hasn't read a word of it. Its these kinds of verses the keep my ship upright and correct.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Spring cometh... soon

I just noticed something. I'm a little slow on the uptake, but I noticed it any way. Its 5:46 pm and its just starting to get dark-- the days are getting longer. That's so nice. These short winter days kind of wear on a guy after a while. I'm ready for spring this year. Winter was fun, but I'm ready for spring. There are some spots of snow on the ground, but its mainly deadgrass so far. In the next few weeks the trees will wake up and the leaves will start to bud.

Baseball season starts soon and I'm quite excited about that.