Saturday, January 28, 2006

Falling off the scaffolding and other interior decorating tips

This afternoon, I woke up - that's right, this afternoon, around 12:30 - and I played poker right away, winning 25 bucks for myself. Very nice, if I do say so. Then I took my shower and thought about what I might wish to do the rest of the day. When suddenly, I remembered, it's Saturday, and people are helping fix up the new space for the church. And they were doing stuff right at that moment, and I had totally forgotten about it until then. So I got dressed, had a small bite to eat and headed out for the a great time of moving furniture and climbing all over the scaffolding. That was the best part. Me and Luc, hammering in staples and shuffling projector cords across the high ceiling of the new church space. I'm guessing it was a good thirty feet up. I'm not really good at measuring with my eyes, but that's my guess. Lot's of joking around and pretending to fall off (wasn't really as bad as it sounds), we proceeded to take the scaffolding apart, which was really fun to try and maneuver and was most likely the most dangerous part of what we were doing. Then we all sat around eating pizza and talking, and still rearranging all the couches and chairs that make up the Solomon's Porch ambiance. I looked around and imagined all the people on a Sunday night who would be enjoying that space, and I was really excited. And no matter how it may sound on "paper", I am not actually the type to get overly excited about anything. I just don't always feel that grand anticipation of something upcoming. But I truly felt it today, like when I was first going off to college, or that time right before going on stage for a great production. It was a good time. Especially so, because I was never really thinking about girls, like I usually do, if I'm not suitably engaged in something.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


It's strange how I can at one moment be kicking myself for a stupid decision or something I say or agree to or suggest, which I immediately regret, and at the next moment (ie. a couple hours later) find out that that so-called mistake actually had purpose in life, that there was actually something to it. I'm not going to go into details, for reasons that are entirely my own. And it's my blog, so you have no right to get upset or to be nosy. But tonight I felt that way, and I just find it very strange. I've watched several episodes now of the TV show, Arrested Development, and it feels almost like that. I do something stupid, feel stupid about it, and then it works out, or I do something stupid, feel good about it because I don't think it's stupid, then find out it's stupid and feel pretty dumb, and then find out that I was right all along, and then I'm just so confused about life I just don't know how to think anymore. I guess what I'm rambling about is our ability to be wrong. I seem to have this ability to think so very clearly on an issue while still being entirely off base. It just seems like we should be able to be right when everything is clear and wrong only when our brains are all foggy. And let's not get all existential and pretend we don't know the difference. it's like when you're driving and your windshield is all foggy and you think you saw something crossing the street, so you slow down, only to find there was nothing there. Or of course the opposite may happen. But when you have a clear windshield, you don't worry about what you might be seeing or might not be seeing. If something is walking across the street in front of you, you can see it, because the windshield is clear. There's nothing blocking it up. When it seems like my mind is the same way, I think I should be able to correctly judge what I'm perceiving. But I'm not. And that's stupid, I think.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

sorry for the spoilers

I watched Lord of War last night. It was an amazing flick. Captivating and horrifying. Nicholas Cage achieves what is probably his best performance. But the very interesting character in the movie is his brother. The one who is conflicted. He goes into the arms business with his brother and struggles the entire time. He struggles with himself, with what they're doing, providing the resources for men, women and children to continue killing each other. Cage has every justification for every argument, most of which are shown to be empty lies by the reality that he lives. But all he wants is to survive, and the best way to survive, he claims, is to never go to war, especially with yourself. The younger brother was at war with himself his whole life, always fearful of the dog within him, the base instinct for violence and hate. Cage doesn't fight it. He lives his life for his arms dealing destiny, and he ends up losing everything that he loves. His brother dies. His family disowns him and his wife and son leave him. His brother dies in the process of fighting what I can only call "the good fight," albeit a bit twisted and messed up.

I say this movie is horrifying, for it is so on many levels. It is a horrifying display of both human failure and the global tolerance for violence and injustice. That a man could decide that the fight against human nature isn't worth fighting and that there is no hope of prevailing against the evil in this world is gutwrenching and intolerable. The movie plays on the adage that says that evil prevails when good men do nothing, and the conclusion of the so-called "Lord of War" is that evil prevails... period. My brother and I wish to travel to Africa and bless the people there. Much of the arms dealing in this movie takes place in Africa, the most war-torn, disease-ridden continent on earth. I want to go there and tell them that there is hope. That evil does not have to prevail. That good can actually overcome the terrors of this world. I want to bless them and honor them and help them find the peace of God.

I would recommend the movie, "Lord of War", to any adult. We need to be shocked. We need to be horrified. We need to know that there are people who believe that evil will always prevail and the only recourse in life is to merely survive and get what you can before you're done.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Tonight was a great night. Nothing special really happened, though maybe you might call the season premiere of 24 kinda special. But actually I had to tape it, so I could attend church tonight, and it turned out it went a little later than 9:00 - more than the 5 minute cushion I gave it, and it clipped off the last... oh... the last minute. so I missed whatever it is that happened when they were staring at the helicopter carrying the Russian guy. But at church tonight, somehow, I was just happy. I don't know why, and I wish I could pinpoint some specific reason, some kind of formula I must have taken, which could produce this reaction. But I don't know what it is. I just wasn't worried about anything, and I felt good and right about everything - the people I talked to, the thoughts I was thinking. I felt levelheaded beyond what I've known for a while.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Lights will guide you home

Fix You
by coldplay

When you try your best, but you don't succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse
When the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

High up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
If you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Today was just kind of blah. The highlight of my day was going to our church leadership meeting. It was nice for me to be able to hear from more people at the church I work at, which I'm liking more as time goes on and feeling more comfortable in. But work was blagh. Seriously, if a woman is going to breast-feed her child in a public place (ie. the restaurant I work at), she should AT LEAST have the decency to COVER UP.

I'm not going to talk any more on that point. I think you get the picture. So anyway. I wanted to stay until 4 or 4:30 at work today, maybe make some more money, maybe flirt with some girls from the night crew (obviously the more important reason), but they made me go home. It was really between me and one other girl - we both wanted to stay, so of course we do the only fair thing we can think of - we flip a coin. And of course, as happens every time this same server and I decide things with random chance, she wins. I'm not exaggerating or just complaining and saying something always happens a certain way because it happened today and it just makes it seem like a lot. She and I have both commented on it several times: she always wins. If we both want to stay she stays; if we both want to leave, she leaves. It's just always the way the coin tosses. On top of that, I think she jinxed me today, because I keep losing at poker. And it's not that I'm getting okay hands and just making stupid decisions. I've seriously been getting unlucky and screwed over at ever turn. I lost about 5 tournaments online today. The best hand I got was pocket 6's, the entire time. Oh, and that was the hand I lost one of the tournaments on. go figure. So, yeah... I was jinxed. I made some good bluffs, though. very impressive ones. That was good. not good enough, but it feels good when that last guy folds to your big bet when you have absolutely nothing. It's got to be convincing, of course... and you can't do it when the other guy has a great hand.

So that was my day today. Nothing else iinteresting happened, and I didn't accomplish anything either. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Maybe I should come on here more often and say what I've accomplished. The shame would probably motivate me quite nicely. Okay. So next time, I'll say something I've accomplished. Sounds good.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A year from now

A friend of mine asked me where I saw myself a year from now, and like her, I really had to decide that I could not say with any amount of certainty at all. That is so exciting to me, that I don't know how to express it. I love change. which is weird, because I'm such a structured person. I tend to perform well in routine. But I do not grow as much. And of course, I love growth. Sometimes, I want to be the greatest man in the world - but then I think that would be a bit too much pressure and I don't think it would be all that fun. So I rethink that particular idea. I always want to be greater than I am, which is one of the things I have always respected myself for. Whether I have lived up to that desire is another question, but the want has always been there. I believe every person has the potential to be more than they are, to gain, not just in wisdom and experience, which seems to happen naturally with time for most people (with some exceptions, of course), but also in strength of purpose and store of love and faith. It is nice to think that I have come to the point that I'm at, and in the last few years, I see progress. I wish I could be more specific, but there are many ways in which I am a new person from the one who graduated and moved back to Minnesota. Obviously, as anyone who truly knows me can tell you, I have not yet "arrived" anywbere (and I won't go into how we define anywhere). But I feel good about it. Now if circumstances would just start to work out more, I'd like that a lot too.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

going out.

I had a lady tell me at work once, in an almost angry, upset voice, "You need to lighten up!" I thought it was funny, kind of ironic. It was like when Jeff C. pushed Andy Allnut against the wall and yelled, "YOU need to SETTLE DOWN, Allnut!" Meanwhile, Andy merely stared in astonishment and ended up laughing in scorn. Now despite the irony of someone saying I need to lighten up in a tone that was anything but light with little reason for saying anything of the sort other than that I had had a busy, stressful day, and apparently didn't joke around with her enough at her stupid boring table. Despite all this and my indignation, which I cleverly hid behing the response, "Okay," as I smiled on her way out the door.

But the fact is, I do have a pretty serious side, with which there is nothing wrong - I like seriousness. But while I have no trouble laughing with good frequency and relaxing peacefully, it may sometimes be true that I actually do just need to lighten up. But I'm not conceding in any way that that ridiculous woman was in any way right at that time. She took my lack of energy on a Saturday morning a bit wrong. I'm talking about my habit of thinking about things too much and not getting out enough to just relax and have a good time, for which I alluded to my need in a previous post.

Well, tonight, I did, and though I feel really kind of stupid talking about how proud I am of the fact that I left my apartment and went out to have a good time on a Wednesday night where I would normally sit at home reading, what can I say? I needed to get out, and I actually had a fun time. Jessie is going to be very mad at me when she reads of this, because it turns out I ended up going to a place that she has suggested to me before, to which I indeed had no interest in going. But I went to play poker, alright? I just went to play poker. And then after I got fifth place out of about 15 guys, which earned me no winnings, but cost me nothing anyway, I proceeded to attempt mingling. Somehow I found the courage to approach a couple girls and join them at their little table. Introductions made, I proceeded to sit at said table, while the girls went back and forth between meeting friends, country-line dancing out on the floor, an rejoining me at the table. Eventually, I even danced with both of these girls and a couple others, and I had a fun time. Somehow I even managed to NOT THINK too hard or be too serious. They may have thought I was the most boring bloke on the block, but that's alright. I had a good time. And dancing country may even be growing on me. who knows. It felt pretty bizarre, though.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Wedding Crashers.

Sometimes it's just really hard to differentiate illusion from real life. I watched the movie "Wedding Crashers" tonight. I've been on what I guess is my second annual movie kick month, where I buy a movie pass at blockbuster and rent unlimited movies two at a time for a month, and I watch on or two almost every night. I know it's a big time taker-upper, but what can I say. I'm catching up, and I like movies. Especially when they make me think. Now I won't suggest that Wedding Crashers is a make-you-think kind of movie. It's hilarious and uplifting and all that jazz. The totally awesome chick breaks up with her stupid jerk boyfriend, who gets his lights knocked out at the end. And that's awesome. But that's just the part that really gets me. I love watching stuff like this, because it is encouraging, it inspires me to believe that good things like that can happen - the truly great guy can actually end up wth the amazing girl. But when we buy into stories like these, are we fooling ourselves? I'd like to go out on a limb and say no, but I don't have the experience to back it up. I only know a few truly great couples who love one another throughout their lives and who live with and for each other through every difficulty and good time alike. And these examples are enough to tell me it's possible, even that I may have a good chance. But time keeps sliding by. I keep pulling the motor cord and it revs up but never catches. Once I try to idle it just slips away. So... illusion or reality. A friend of mine said a couple months ago, thank God for television. I thought that was really weird, considering that most people can generally agree that tv has sucked the life out of far too many Americans, at least, and I'm sure a lot in the rest of the world, as well. But he said it and continued to expound that there are so many people struggling with life that it is good for them to have the good stories on tv that convince them that good things are possible.

So I'm watching Wedding Crashers, and not only is Owen Wilson's girl really really gorgeous, but she is a totally stellar chick. She laughs when stuffy people are all staring silently. She's not cheesy - good sense of humor - she's beautiful, wants to save the world and rescue everyone from poverty and all that kind of amazing stuff that I totally dig in a girl. But she's got this killer loser of a boyfriend, and she and John (Owen Wilson) hit it off real well. They have the kind of chemistry that people wish for, dream about - at least I do. They have fun, they talk serious, they cover for each other and help each other out. And I have to wonder. How does this happen??? It's just a movie, a story, contrived, scripted. They're just acting. No one can actually be like that, connect like that. Or can they? I don't know. It makes me believe. It makes me doubt everything. It makes me hope. It makes me despair. Is it a story that should inspire or a story that lies? Is it a display of a truth that I've never known, or is it made up, wishes and fairy tales, someone's imaginary reality, an alternative to their own miserable existence? I'm not sure I want to know. I just want to experience it firsthand. But even if it really truly happens, I'm certainly not anything like John Whatshiswhosit.

Okay. That settles it. I need to get out. I just have to understand that that's the basic problem. I need to get out of this apartment, stop starinng at my computer and go be witty and charming and serious and funny and whatever. Or at least say hi to some people.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Mime Show

I never knew a mime show could be so awesome. It still amazes me, a day and a half later, how funny one man can be with just a big fake rock. No words, just motions and a prop, and it is constantly entertaining. How is that possible?

It makes me think of humor. Some people I know only know a few sorts of humor. Like people I knew in Junior high (not friends - I didn't have friends then), they think something is funny if (1) someone is insulted or (2) the topic of conversation is somehow related to something perverse or sexual. Of course, the best form of humor for these types is some combination of the two. If you can insult someone in a way that is as crude as possible, then you've got their attention. The insulting thing doesn't bother me too much, if it's witty and in good form, not coarse or spiteful. But seriously, it's not the only thing to do. Let me introduce these types out there to my friend with the rock. He doesn't even need to speak. All he needs is a rock. Now that takes talent.