Thursday, March 30, 2006

A cool little exercise for poetry

So I finally found a good use for the newspaper. I don't usually buy the newspaper, but they've been sending me free ones, in an attempt to get me to sign up for their weekend deal and all that crap. I like knowing what's going on in the world. I just don't like reading about it. haha. No really, I just don't find newspaperstories interesting. I like world news, but it often gets sidelined into little tidbit sections that are not only not very thorough, but are sometimes slanted. I really just don't care to hear about stupid sports teams or the problems we're having with road rage. But I did come up with a fancy use for the paper. It could be a trick you could use with any writing, but the paper is often available and it's something you can write on without caring about it. So I underlined every fifth word. Then I started a poem, in which each line started with every fifth word in a newspaper article and was five syllables long. I don't know why five and five seemed to fit, but it did. It was different and it got me to think outside of my own usual parameters. But it gave me guidelines, so that I was forced to come up with something specific. Here's the (roughly) finished product, if you're interested:

That dress that you wear
plans to uncork me,
the wine spilling forth,
that flows down my face.
Piloted through the
white expanse of sky,
two layers of cloud -
a flight to heaven
that lets me down fast.
Is it just me that
spends my life dreaming?
Life, like a bottle,
in its case of gold.
He fell in the depths
Accompanied her
into elation.

It doesn't always make a lot of sense. But I think there's some good thematic material there and it flows okay. It's more interesting and better than some of my other recent stuff. (recent being the past year or so, during which poetry has not been on my list of grand schemes). So try it out, if you like to do poetry. It's a fun little exercise. Another one, which I tried once before, is to take your social security number, and each line has to have the number of syllables respective to the digits of your number. Can't let that one get out, though. haha. Anyway, that's all for now.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I had no expectations for this movie, as I entered the theater last night. I hadn't heard anything about the movie, other than that it was good and I should see it. I hadn't seen any previews, and I had no idea who the actors or the director were. I have to say that I was impressed, the more so because the movie sparked tons and tons of conversation after seeing it with my brother and some friends. Munich was the kind of movie that takes stamina. But it's nonetheless masterfully enthralling and disturbing and thought-provoking on many levels. If you're patient and willing to immerse yourself in all the details and the plodding depths of thought and story and relationship and heart, then this is definitely the movie for you.

The fight in Israel/Palestine, has been going on for quite some time now. And the question is never answered, who has the right to be there? Same with the most important question, can they ever achieve peace? One act of violence in Munich escalates into an international viral infection of hatred and divisiveness. Good men and women go crazy as they take up arms against their enemies, and they feel their souls slipping away from them, as the crisis goes on and there seems to be no end. They kill one leader, only for five more worse ones to take his place. And all the while, they learn that these people are the same as them, longing for their home and fighting for their families. There are no answers and there is no resolution. There is only confusion in this mass struggle. There is only the heart of each man and woman, beating and pumping, as they fight and as they die, trying to live their lives as well as they can, yet unable to stop the violence and hatred even within themselves. Depressing? I guess, a bit. But there was love in there as well. The love of family, of husband and wife and mother and daughter and father and son. Despite the global perspective telling us that all people are equally important, everyone looks to their own family first. Is this bad? Is it wrong?

I myself have never connected with a "people" like Jews connect with their people and Arabs connect with theirs. I'm white: a little Irish, a little Slovenian, a bit Swedish, french and German, and maybe a few other things. But I don't have a people. I'm American, but I don't think of Americans as my people. I don't feel like they're an extension of my family. For me this indepth look at peoples is an eye-opener, because it touches on something I don't understand, and perhaps many other white American folks don't either. A people tied to the land is something I don't understand. And individuals tied to a people is something I do not comprehend. I thought we were all just people. I can see how we all have certain differences in culture and my culture more closely matches that of other white americans, but I don't feel tied to them in any way. African Americans feel connected with their slave ancestors, as well as their tribal African ones. But I feel nothing for my European immigrant ancestors, and even less for white slave owners, with whom I possibly share no ancestry at all. And that's not to say that my family did not cause suffering or that they did not suffer. But they are not me. I do not feel tied to them. I feel tied to my father and mother and my broher and sister and a little less to my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. But beyond that, it is all cultural comfort and no family connection. I do not see other whites and immediately assume we have some sort of connection (much the opposite).

I don't know why I'm going on about this, but the movie reveals something that is, I believe, foreign to the culture to which I relate.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


'Twas bryllig, and ye slythy toves
Did gire and gymble in ye wabe:
All mimsy were ye borogoves;
And ye mome raths outgrabe.

That settles it. Lewis Carroll was cracked. I've spent the entire time reading this book wondering if there would be some deeper meaning that we should all pay attention to. But I think he just made up some random stuff. He was on drugs and he saw some crazy #@*!%, and then he wrote it all down in his stories. I enjoyed some of the word play, because it meshes with my kind of humor. For instance, the name of a certain poem was called 'Haddocks' Eyes', but the actual name of the poem is 'The Aged, Aged Man.' And still worse, the poem itself is called, 'Ways and Means', but the poem actually is 'A-sitting On A Gate.' As much as I enjoy the way we use language and twisting it all around, it actually gets really tedious with every single character correcting Alice on the things she says. Ah, well. At least the entire book was not like "Jabberwocky". That's it for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. When I write books for a living, I'm going to choose the longest titles possible for my works. I think that's funny. Then there will be no surprises concerning what the book is actually about. Alright, cool.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Pride and Prejudice

I first read the book "Pride and Prejudice" in my first or second year of college, for an English class, and it not only stands out as the best part of that course, it is to this day among my favorite works of literature. Today I was pleased to find out that the new movie rendition of this book with Keira Knightley is probably the best film rendition of a good book that I've ever seen. I did not have the greatest of expectations for this movie, since no movie lives up to a book's standards, and I rarely enjoy Hollywood dramas, due to their inability to be discreet and their sacrifice of romance for sex. I know this may sound like I am such a girl, but if I watch a movie, I'd much rather see something emotional than something sexual.

Let me begin by saying that I should be in bed right now, but I wanted to write down my thoughts on this film while they are still fresh in my mind. In my opinion, this movie has not gotten nearly enough acclaim as it deserves, which is evidenced by a packed room at the two-dollar theater in Hopkins, at which this film has already been playing for weeks, heightened by the fact that it is already out on video. But let me explain several reasons I absolutely loved this drama.

Let's start with the characters: Keira Knightley - I had no doubts that Keira Knightley could look beautiful. She has great poise, which is, believe it or not, something I find rather sexy and very alluring. But beyond good looks, this was the best I've seen her so far, though that is rather limited as of yet. She plays Miss Elizabeth Bennet superbly; she's entrancing, emotional, fiery, thoughtful, and everything Miss Bennett should be. Elizabeth's sister Jane is likewise fit for the part. She successfully plays the beautiful oldest daughter, who is not in the least full of herself, but is difficult to really read, comes across as rather unemotional in public and reserves her expressiveness for her closest sister - she's the perfect Jane.

Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy are likewise perfect for their roles. The gradual insights we get into Darcy's character are wonderfully done, starting off with the first impression of the "miserable" man, and moving on to the somewhat shy, witty, compassionate lover.

Perhaps the most wonderful surprise to me was the appearance of Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet. It was interesting to see a somewhat softer side of Donald, but still have the great talent and that look in his eye that tells you there's much more than what's on the surface. He was also very entertaining.

Now on to the story. What I loved about the story, in addition to the glorious scenes of nature and of castles and manors, was the way it stayed true to both the plot and the themes of the book, which is what made it one of my favorites. The thing is, there is this tendency in people to make judgements and have stubborn opinions about other people. These opinions and judgements are rarely based on personal knowledge and experience, but rather find their roots in gossip, appearance, and first impressions. It happens all the time, and is nicely expressed near the end when Elizabeth tells her father how wrong she was about Darcy, how foolish she had been, how foolish Darcy had been. It comes up everywhere. Darcy dismisses Elizabeth at their first encounter as "not handsome enough to tempt me." Likewise she believes he is a "miserable" man who owns the "miserable half" of some important place or other. (Not up on all the details - bad jake). He does not smile; he does not dance; he avoids conversation. Then of course there is Mr. Wickham, who convincingly lies about his misfortunes and passes himself as a sort of gentlemanly type of man. Everyone thinks well of him, except Mr. Darcy, who of course is not well-esteemed by the misinformed Bennets. The truth comes out over time. Wickham is a bit of a wastrel, taking advantage of a good thing when he can, running away with a young Bennet and causing a scandal, which is in turn patched up by the generous Mr. Darcy, though no one knows of it. It turns out Darcy is compassionate. He didn't dance or talk with anyone that first night, not because he was mean or hates people, but because he is shy and he is not good with strangers. Elizabeth rightly suggests that he practice. Elizabeth, Darcy finds, is more than meets the eye, and her "tolerable" beauty becomes hypnotic and stunning, as her quick mind, her stubborn fiery nature, and her strong assurance come to the surface in their various encounters. Mrs. Bennet, likewise, is assumed to be a ridiculous woman who cares about nothing but status and wealth. But we learn that she is a poor woman who cares deeply for her five wonderful daughters.

Not only did this movie touch on all the important points of the book that I remember, but these themes I have expressed above were masterfully delivered. Even though I am a guy, who usually enjoys Action and Adventure, Sci-fi and fantasy, I have no reservations when I say that Pride and Prejudice is now among both my favorite books and my favorite movies. If you have not yet had the opportunity, watch this movie. I won't promise it will change your life. But I will promise that it is beautiful and captivating. I did not get bored and I did not lose interest. I give it three billion stars... or... whatevver the highest one is.

stupid survey, which some girl told me I had to take, and because she said so, that makes it true.

I can't believe you're making me do this, Rachel. Well, here it is:

1 0 0 Q u e s t i o n s
01: ever tasted blood?: Other than my own? not that I remember.
02: Made out with JUST a friend?: not really
03: Been rejected?: I'm single, so... you figure it out
04: Been in love?: no, I guess not.
05: Been in lust? yeah, sure
06: Used someone?: open to philosophical interpretation
07: Been used?: see above
08: Had a crush on someone of the same sex?: nope
09: Fooled around with someone of the same sex?: nope
10: Been on a date? yeah
11: Done something you regret?: me? c'mon...

W h o w a s t h e l a s t p e r s o n t h a t . . .
12: You touched?: Shook hands with Mr. Hillestead earlier this evening.
13: You talked to?: see above
14: You hugged?: hmmm... mom, I think
15: You instant messaged?: my brother, I think
17: You yelled at: whoever it was that threw the plates in the wrong place at work.
18: You laughed at?: Rachel Lyles. You're so very good at Mafia, Rachel. *snigger*

D o y o u ?
20: Go to school? no
21: Have a crush?: not right now
22: Color your hair?: no
24: Have Piercings?: no
25: Have a boyfriend/girlfriend/both?: no
26: Floss daily?: um... I plead the fifth
27: Have a best bud?: not really
28: Ever get off the damn computer?: of course... I have to go to work.
29: Sprechen sie deutsche?: Ich spreche ein bischen, verstehe ein bischen. Aber Ich hab' sehr viel vergessen.
30: Hablas espanol?: un poco
31: Do you have a job?: a couple

G e n e r a l Q u e s t i o n s
32: Hobbies?: Does playing poker count?
33: Are you a people person?: I'm working on it
36: Have you been out of the country?: yes
37: When was the last time you went on vacation?: a month ago
38: Are you a virgin?: yes
39: Do you share a room?: no
40: Considered a life of crime?: not seriously
41: Considered being a hooker?: I don't think I'd make much money
42: Considered being a pimp?: In my off hours... no
43: Can you ride a bike?: you're killing me here
44: Can you swim?: yes
45: Schizophrenic?: no... yes... hey... stop it
46: Obsessive?: about some things
47: Obsessive compulsive?: no
48: Panic?: never
49: Anxiety?: no
50: Depressed?: I feel sad sometimes. But no, I don't think so
51: Suicidal?: never give up
52: Obsessed with Hate?: huh?
53: Dream of mutilated bodies?: no
54: Dream of doing those things instead of just seeing them?: those things? this question doesn't make sense

R a n d o m S t u f f . . .
55: If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?: With friends
56: What would you be doing?: Well, right now I'm really tired, so we'd be going to sleep, but not together.
57: Do you hate anyone?: I dislike some people's company. I think that's a little different.
58: What are you listening to?: Good ole' Johann Sebastian
59: Can you do anything freakish?: not really
61: Do you have a favorite animal?: white tigers

C u r r e n t l y :
62: Current Clothes: Green shirt. Brown corduroys. bare feet. crappy watch.
63: Current Mood: really tired. I should be in bed
64: Current Taste: saliva?
65: Current Hair: straight. pretty normal. down to ears
66: Current Annoyance: as always, stupid drivers. stupid anything, really.
67: Current Smell: snot?
68: Current thing I ought to be doing: sleeping. this is getting old
69: Current Desktop Picture: "Support the Municipality / We're Onto You"
70: Current Favorite Band: blah, blah, boring
71: Current Book: Alice etc.
72: Current DVD In Player: I put mine away when I'm done
73: Current Refreshment: nothing
74: Current Drama: this stupid survey

F a v o r i t e s :
75: Place: don't make me think
76: Food: make it stop
77: drink: I really liked that whiskey I had tonight.
78: Color: I'm torn
79: Shoes/Sandals: who cares?
80: Candy: are we there yet?
81: Animal: didn't we have this one?
82: Movie: it changes
83: Dance: are we there yet?
84: Vegetable: v... v... vega... vega-wha?

F u t u r e :
85: What do you want to be when you get older?: I'd still like to be human, but I guess a cyborg would be kinda cool.
86: Married?: sometime, I hope
87: Kids?: sometime well after 86
88: Living Where?: wherever. Somewhere warmer than here

T h i s o r T h a t :
89: Gay or straight?: straight
90: Boxers or Briefs?: boxers
91: Reading or Writing: both
92: Basketball or Baseball: no
93: Walking or Running?: sure
94: Face-to-face or Instant Messenger?: presence is important
95: Left or Right?: straight?
96: TV Shows or Movies?: movies. Unless it's 24
97: Britney or Christina?: ...
98: Rap or Rock?: rock
99: Day or Night?: It's night right now
100. What do people call you?: Jacob, Jake, Jakob, tall guy, hey you,

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Full Day

Today was probably one of the best days I've had in a long while. And it wasn't because I had one major event that was really really cool. The entire day was just very well-rounded and full of good things. This morning I got up early and met with Scott, a local Minneapolis Church-planter, sturting up stuff downtown Minneapolis. I used to work with Scott at camp, and since he's been in the cities for a while, I've been meeting with him every once in a while just to talk about stuff, which is really cool. He's a funny guy, and he's developing a cool perspective on things. He's still very passionate about reaching people, but he's disillusioned with the judgemental forms of Evangelicalism that have run rampant (the "you're going to hell" approach). So he's asking the questions of how to love people and connect with people who don't know the love of God that is in Jesus. He's also dealing with the need to shift paradigms in the way we look at church (those are my words for what he's dealing with), which I think is very cool.

Then I went to work, which was a fine time. I got along with my co-workers; I was in an agreeable mood most of the time.

Then I went to a Tai-Chi class. Kind of an introductory class that a friend invited me to. The teacher was really cool, and it was really really hard. My knees were seriously shaking by the time we finished warming up. Thankfully I was wearing loose windbreaker pants, and I don't think it was incredibly noticeable. But holy crap, there was so much bending the knees, it was excruciating. But to me that just meant it was challenging, and it really did feel good to do it. They were very slow simple forms, but he gave us a small idea of their application. After the free class (did I mention it was a one-time free class?:)) was over, some of us stood around and the guy talked about his movie-making career. Being an expert martial arts instructor, he is also into making kung fu movies and that kind of thing. It sounded really cool. The guy was in his forties and he looke like he was thirty. I definitely want to pursue the study in the future, given the time and the money.

And to top it off, I spent more than an hour and a half working on my story. I think that may be a record. But at the Scott's instigation this morning, I set my watch alarm for around 11:30, in order to set a time to devote to my writing. I did that for an hour, even though I had done more than a half hour previously in the evening.

So, with great satisfaction, I announce that today was a very positive, very full day, and I had a very good time. I hope this kind of thing continues.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

interesting question

"How was it that separate ancient societies all had the ability to shift giant blocks?"

just an interesting question from a shady site that will remain unnamed.

more on dreaming

Looking online at some dream meanings, which I take only with a grain of salt, I've had some small time to look up flying. Apparently, it indicates a sense of freedom, over an issue that was previously found constricting. I'm not sure what that would be, but I'm sure there are many options. Falling, on the other hand was interesting. Mainly because it's different if you're falling and worrying or if you're falling and unworried. I don't even know if my old dreams constitute falling, since it was more like floating. But I do remember that I wasn't really worried. I knew every time that I was going to land at the bottom of the stairway, but that doesn't mean I was content while doing it. I just wasn't worried or scared. Just thought that was interesting.


I just remembered a dream I've had more than once, and I wanted to write about it, because I love this dream. It's actually always different, but the theme is the same. For some reason, I have never really thought about these dreams outside of the time that I'm actually experiencing them. But I remembered just now that I often have dreams about flying. The funny thing was, the last time I had this dream, I was able to fly by flapping my wings. I don't know if these dreams mean anything. If anyone knows about what dreams supposedly mean, let me know. But I didn't experience them growing up. I used to dream more about falling than flying. I remember one in which I'd get up and walk out of my bedroom and I'd jump down a whole flight of stairs, and I'd float down to the bottom, but I'd still experience that sickening feeling of falling that I hate. I actually like heights and they don't make me woozy or anything. And I'm not really afraid to go sky-diving or bungee-jumping; I just don't think it would feel good. I've gone cliff-jumping before and the rush is kind of cool, but the sensation of your gut coming up your throat is just not pleasant.

Anyway, the sensation of falling is really neither here nor there. I like my more recent dreams of flying much better. One thing about them, which I find very interesting, is that they always involve a great amount of willpower. Whenever I fly in my dreams, it's not like a superman kind of flying, where I just lift my hand up and I'm automatically shooting up into the sky. Sometimes I'm flapping my arms or sometimes they're just splayed out to the sides. But always it involves an effort of the mind. I know the power of the mind is an issue that's been in the forefront of my life evaluation and consciousness, but it still strkes me as interesting that rises to the surface in the form of flying dreams. I don't remember what all happens while I'm flying. I remember a lot of clouds and wind in my last one. I'm never gazing down at the sites. I'm usually just above the trees. It's a great feeling. Anyone remember the movie, The Boy Who Could Fly? I don't remember it, but I remember that it was a movie. I do remember the boy flying out his window, or maybe that was just my imagination. Anyway, I have whacky dreams. I find them fascinating.

Friday, March 10, 2006


I created my own little solitaire game tonight. It's kind of fun, and it's really simple. I've already lost once and won once, so initial tests show there's a good balance to it. It could possibly be too easy. I'll have to see if I need to change things up a little bit. whatever. that's all for now.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Today's events, in no particular order, or... chronologically

Today I spilled/dropped three drinks. They crashed to the floor. Thankfully, they didn't mess up any of the rest of my tray, with all the food that was on it, nor did I drop anything else. My balance was fine. I didn't trip or lose my grip on the tray. The glasses just fell, adding to an already stressful situation. I had about four tables come in in the last fifteen or twenty minutes before 4 o'clock, as did my co-worker. But amazingly, I did well enough that people really liked my service and tipped me really well. I don't know how that works. Despite the fact that I got visibly and audibly frustrated with my manager, who was not paying attention, I felt really good about the day. Then I went to our little community group that meets on Tuesday nights and it was awesome too. There's something special about these people I meet with. Something sincere and raw and uplifting. It's not like they've got their lives all together or that they have the most amazing insights, or that we always talk about important things or anything really special happens that I've seen. It just feels good. The conversations and the humor and the eating and relaxing and playing are like what life should be, in my estimation. I am always happy when I'm with them. I'm always laughing and smiling more than at any other time or in any other place, without forcing or trying to be positive. It's very nice. I hope it continues as much as possible. It's kind of the highlight of my week.

Monday, March 06, 2006

the Power of Music

After a conversation with some people over lunch about the power of music, I've decided to listen to more Bach, which according to some study was concluded to be even better than Mozart for children's development. And though I'm no longer a child, I still think it could be helpful for the furtherance of my mind and my energy and everything else. That, at least is my hope. I'm listening to it right now, and though I feel no greater sense of drive towards making my goals happen, I do feel a greater sense of clarity, like my brain is just better right now than it usually is. It could easily be my imagination, since that is what I expected to happen, but it still feels that way, and I'm going to continue with the experiment.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

For Lent

For Lent, I am giving up Online Poker games. I think this will be good for me, especially since I have felt especially frustrated with the way poker has been going for me recently. I keep getting screwed out of pots I had great odds to win. Damn chance. It's never been my greatest ally. Seem to have to work for everything. But I guess that's fine. This will give me more time to devote my attention to my writing, which has still not been going all that great.

Anyway, last year was the first time that I ever did anything for Lent. I didn't really grow up with that tradition, even though I knew about it. But last year I heard a couple of other people talking about what they were giving up, or I think I asked someone who I knew was catholic. And on the spot I decided I'd do it, too, since I'd been getting more into the idea of healthy traditions like that. So I gave up television, which was really really great. I loved not watching stupid tv shows for no other reason than having the time to do so. I thought of doing that again this year, but I have a couple of shows that I want to finish out their seasons (especially 24, the best show on television - ever). So I thought the online poker thing would be the best choice for me, since I spend a lot of time on it, and I seem to just break even for now. I'm careful about gambling, and it's never become a problem for me or hurt my finances, and I have th self-control to keep it from becoming so, but sometimes it's a big waste of time.

So that's my Lent decision, which I made this morning of Ash Wednesday. I think it will be fun.