Saturday, May 27, 2006

Lots of Thoughts

"We are the target market
We set the corporate target
We are slaves of what we want
We are numb and amused and
We're just used to bad news and
We are slaves of what we want"

What I love about Switchfoot is that they are always setting the bar higher, always reaching for the stars and always challenging us to move away from comfort, luxury, and complacency, and to delve into the unknown, the mystery, and the wind of the spirit (at least that's how I interpret it into my own current perspective).

Here they bring up some very interesting thoughts. Lots of people blame the media or advertisers or whatnot for screwing up this society. If they don't say it out loud or actually acknowledge it as an opinion they hold, they at least feel it in such away that there is some amount of bitterness toward the world, toward corporate America, for feeding us too much junk. But keep in mind, they do so, not because they hate us and want us to suffer, but because they are going to do everything in their power to find out what it is that we want and sell it to us to make a profit. So who are we to complain if we buy what they're selling. Are we slaves to their system? No, we're slaves to ourselves, we're slaves to our wants, and we're not supposed to be that way. It hits closely with things I've been thinking about, in terms of addictions. In "What the Bleep" they claim that we, consciously or subconsciously, actually create situations in which we can experience the emotional reaction that we are addicted to. To illustrate this, they showed a girl swinging around and causing a server to spill a wine glass all over her bridesmaid's dress, at which point she moans and wails about how she knew something like this would happen to her and how such things always happen to her. A lot of us would be skeptical, saying, clearly she wouldn't purposely flail her arms around for that express purpose. The tendencies of physiological, emotional states cannot be so powerful as to foce fate to such a purpose, to create her reality for her. But what if they're right? What if the things that happen to us happen because we expect them to happen. Not so much that we expect it, I guess, but because our bodies are addicted to the feelings we get from them.

We're numb and amused and used to bad news. Is that true? Instead of getting up and changing things for the better, do we become addicted to the stink of bad news? Do we crave it? Do we crave disapointment and failure just as much as we feel the ache of that missing something that's eatiing us up inside because we know we're not supposed to be this way? Do we go through withdrawals when we start to emerge into something greater? I know sometimes I feel a sense of nostalgia for what I considered "deep" feelings, ones which were heavy and morose, self-pitying and self-deprecating. As I attempt to put such thoughts and feelings behind me, I start to feel superficial or I start to "miss" my dark side. Maybe it's just one of those days. I have been thinking too much, and I've spent most of the day reading.

Really, I just wish I really understood how this world works, how we work. Those questions in "What the Bleep" haunt me daily: who are we, where do we come from, where are we going, what should we do? I know christianity has made claims to answer those questions, and I have not lost faith, but they have always struck me as trite, even since I was in high school. When people asked such questions, the phrase, "Jesus is the answer" never really did it for me. It was just an easy way to dodge the question. That way you don't have to go into specifics, you don't have to do anything or really know anything or search anything. You just had to think about some unknown figure with the label that we know as "Jesus" and hope you had the right version of him in Sunday school. Or maybe that didn't matter, as long as you had the name. I don't know. I never liked it.

Geez, I keep thinking I'm going to end this post, and then I keep going. My mind just keeps whirring tonight. I can't enjoy many of the activities I usually enjoy, for some reason. Except reading. I've been readin the DaVinci Code all day.


Last night I saw "V for Vendetta." I think my biggest reaction right now is saying, "I have to see that again." There was so much in it, and I'm not usually the type to not follow along, but there was a lot that I feel I didn't take in properly. That being said, it was an excellent movie. Perhaps it was a movie for the conspiracy theorist or the radical artist, but I suppose I have a little of both swimming around inside me. Artistically speaking, I was dumbstruck. When V first comes on the scene and he speaks to Evie, he speaks in an amazing string of poetry that utilizes a plethora of words with the letter "v". Usually, alliteration is not all that impressive to me, because it tends to be trite or just silly, but this was amazing. I couldn't believe it. After the first few lines, I was impressed, but he kept going, and then he kept going, and I couldn't believe it. I was laughing out loud in amazement. I'm well aware that most of you reading this might be thinking what a nut I am and how such a scene is not really worthy of such rave reviews. But I guess I'm a nut, and I love poetry, plays on words, grandiose language, and a wonderful mixing of Shakespeare thrown in.

For the rest of the movie, what to say... to say the movie had an "agenda" is possibly an understatement. I don't know what everyone has said about this movie. I know there was talk of a homosexual agenda, but I think it was much more than that. I think it was more of a freedom agenda. The facts that the "hero" purported terrorism and violence in the achievement of his aims and that he had his good friend tortured to take away her fear, hopefully makes you think. You want to disregard the whole thing because the man's actions are immoral and subversive, but you can't ignore his message: that people can't just sit back and let their freedom be taken from them in exchange for protection from greater dangers. Similarities to 9/11 and Homeland Security are too clear to ignore, with theories going around about the terrorist attacks being sanctioned by America's own government. Most of the people I know would disregard such notions as erroneous, and I do not adhere to them myself, but I tend to believe that anything is possible. And long before seeing this movie, actually soon after the attacks in 2001, the thing that really scared me was the heavy tightening of security. To me it seemed clear that, if taken to extremes or allowed to go unchecked, such measures could lead to very great loss of freedoms, and no one would complain, because it was for their own protection and everybody knew that.

Anyway, I could go on and on about my thoughts on that, but I won't. The movie was great. It made me think on many levels. Most importantly, I was intrigued with Evie finding herself "without fear." Someone could hold a gun to her head, and because she believed so strongly in what she did and because she knew she was loved and she was not afraid of death, she could defy them, and she did. It reminded me of the Bible verse, "Perfect love drives out all fear." Or the Coldplay song, "I'm gonna buy a gun and start a war, if you can tell me something worth fighting for." I think many people are looking for conviction like that. Does it only come through torture? or misfortune? I don't know. It sparked a lot of thoughts for me, and I hope it might spark conversation.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Something I'm really, really enjoying

I just want to say that I am really really enjoying kicking the snot out of my friends at board games on Sunday night.


Here's to all of you, my friends! :P

Drugs and Doctors

I don't know why I don't like going to the doctor. I went today to get a tetanus shot, since I haven't had one in 11 years and I'm going out of the country. I haven't actually been to the doctor for around 4 years. I don't get sick very often, and when I do, I don't worry about it and I end up okay. I haven't even had health insurance until quite recently. So I went to the doctor this morning... and I don't know what it is. I just don't like it. It's too... controling. It's too regulated. It's too sterile. There's too many drugs and it's too much money. And it just seems to be missing something. That fake raport the nurses so often use is irritating. I understand it's necessary to calm down nervous children (or adults with phobias), but I don't need some strange lady asking me about what I'm doing with myself, when she doesn't actually care and when I won't actually see her again. But I think that's just a minor irritant. As I was sitting in the little room alone, waiting for my shot, I saw all the pamphlets, all about diseases and drugs, and a sign that said that if you needed to refill your drugs, talk to your doctor today.
Here's my thing about drugs. We don't usually need them, and we should only use them if we really do. Our bodies were made to fight off infections. It's what they do. Now some people's bodies don't work the way they're supposed to, for various reasons. But way too many people, in my opinion, are taking way too many drugs. I just don't trust the drug companies, and I don't trust the ones that peddle their wares. It's a lucrative business, and the doctors make lots of money telling you all the shots that you need to take and all the drugs you need to take and all the visits you need to make to their offices. I don't like that kind of pressure. We wouldn't stand for that if a used car salesman told us to make regular visits and purchases, but since it's about our health, and since none of us really knows anything, we feel compelled to trust our doctors' advice. And since they're all in the same business (the drug peddling business), second opinions aren't what they're crached up to be.

So yeah, I don't the whole system: doctors, their offices, their staff, their wares. I respect people who go into the trade, because I think a majority go into it for the right reasons, though I'm sure plenty do because it's a wealthy occupation. I just don't trust the system. I'm believing more and more in Patch Adams style of medicine. If only we could all see more butterflies and be happy.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Dreaming of Tomato Seeds

Last night I dreamed about tomato seeds. Here's the thing: I helped my parents a little bit with gardening, because I kind of want to get into it myself, if I can find the time, and possibly a warmer climate. But I was really interested in figuring out how to harvest my own seeds, instead of buying them at the store. So I looked online, and after searching for quite some time, sifting through all the sites that told you how to grow tomatoes from seed, to find one that was actually about growing and preparing seeds yourself, I finally found one that explained what to do for a variety of vegetable plants. And then as I slept last night, I actually dreamed that I was doing it. I had some tomato pulp in a jar, and for some reason I shook it up (which I'm sure I was not instructed to do), and the tomato seeds separated from the pulp, and there were magically tons more seeds that filled the entire jar. It was bizarre. It's not exactly bizarre to dream about something you're thinking about before you go to bed, but then again, I usually dream about people and running away from or chasing things. I usually dream more about a lot of movement and action, which usually is all a blur and makes very little sense. But this was so vivid and so unfocused on anything I usually carry away from dreams, that I just think it was bizarre. I don't know. Anyway, that's it. gardening is cool.

Monday, May 15, 2006

memoirs... kinda

I found a poem that I wrote a few years ago, sometime while I was at Solomon's Porch. I wanted to post it on here, both because it shows in some way where I was at at the time, and it's a testament to how far I've come.

I thought me honest. My odd compunction to hide from all my darkness, yet keep myself from confidence in the dawn

I thought me honest, but now I cannot tell if all my gloom is just a sham and all my hope is just a lie, a bitter stubbornness, to cling to dreams that have died and with nostalgia dwell in yesterday's smile.

Deny, I think, is just the word. Deny and fool the world that is my mind. Deny and fail to best the watching world.

But who will grasp my wretching spirit, when reality, unforeseen and unprepared, descends upon me?

Who will hold my trembling hand, when blackness covers what I thought was my future?

Alone will I be, and alone will I endure, 'til maybe will the morning shine.

I was looking through old things, finding stuff I needed to throw away, before I move and put a bunch of my stuff in storage (or in some space in an empty house/whatever). I actually found a letter from a girl that I was crazy about for a couple of years during college, and all the memories flooded back to me, and all the feelings I felt and all the ways I tormented myself. And I looked at some of my writings, my journals about spiritual things, from way back in high school, and it hit me heavily what a different person I am today. How time has had its ravages on my dreams and stolen my faith in the future. But at the same time, I feel I am in a better place. I am poised to grapple with destiny and become my true self, and my faith in our loving God is no less pure or true. But I also realized that a lot of the questions I was asking at the time, I am still asking today. How do I know what God is saying to me? How can I follow his spirit? What does he want me to do with my life, with myself? These questions continually haunt me. But today, though I do not believe I have the answers, I do believe I have what it takes. And I feel a greater sense of responsibility for my future, encouraged by a greater sense of power.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New Age Whackiness?

The following is an excerpt that I came across, searching the web and studying weirdo ideas:

"To achieve Self-realization, happiness, inner peace, success, happy relationships, and GOD-realization all attachments and addictions must be let go of. As Buddha said, "All suffering comes from attachment." It is amazing all the things we get attached to. All negative emotions can be traced to attachment. All failed relationships can be traced to attachment. To pass the fourth initiation, in its fullest sense of the term one must become a "renunciate", which means living in this world but not of this world. One must learn to have super-strong preferences in life but not attachments. The nature of preference is that you go after them with all your heart and soul and mind and might but if you don't get them you are still happy.
In matters of love, that which you share and then let go of will come back if it is meant to be. If it doesn't come back it is not GOD's will. This is the law of life. That which you try and hold onto you lose. This is one of the key principles in understanding the laws of manifestation.
Whatever you are attached or addicted to in life no matter what it is, be it people, material things, future events, sex, money, ad infinitum, change these things to preferences. Some go too far in the other direction and become totally detached with no preferences. This is not good either for they are not involved in life. It is important to have a total passion for life and for all your goals, preferences and priorities, but the key is to be happy and have inner peace regardless of what happens, instead of fighting life. This whole lesson is truly the fourth great spiritual test of the spiritual path."

I put this up here, because I'm struck, both with the weirdness of the lingo and the overtones of Christian beliefs that I have heard or fostered for years. I distinctly remember watching a clip of Dr. Dobson, talking about relationships and saying, if you love something, let it go: if it comes back, it's yours - if not, it was never yours to begin with. Sound similar? Try telling Dobson he has a lot in common with New Age thinkers and dabblers in Eastern religions. Ha ha. I don't know about "GOD-realization." I'm certainly not willing to allow for it in my worldview, but don't you think we might have something to learn from these kinds of people? Living life, letting go of attachments, but living with passions and priorities, it all seems like pretty good advice, whether dealing with money, career, sex, alcohol. Most of us, I think, need to be stronger people psychologically. We've tried to be spiritual and "loving," but we don't seem to know what to do with ourselves, if our situations change. It seems like it's just advocating self-control, a little quality that I've heard is a fruit of the Spirit.

I've wondered before, what could the church have achieved, if instead of slamming the door on the New Age movements of the late 80's and 90's, actually involved itself in conversation with them. We might have made inroads with many people, who now see us as backward/intolerant/judgemental. Not that I'm all about worrying how people see us. But I think we may have benefited from such an exchange as well.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

More From David Copperfield

"My dear young friend," said Mr. Micawber, "I am older than you; a man of some experience in life, and - and of some experience, in short, in difficulties, generally speaking. At present, and until something turns up (which I am, I may say, hourly expecting), I have nothing to bestow but advice. Still my advice is so far worth taking, that - in short, that I have never taken it myself, and am the" - Here Mr. Micawber, who had been beaming and smiling, all over his head and face, up to the present moment, checked himself and frowned - "the miserable wretch you behold...
...My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do to-day. Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!"

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Butters has some of the best lines on South Park.

"No, my parents won't let me take homeless people home anymore."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

David Copperfield excerpt

"Little Em'ly and I made a cloak of an old wrapper, and sat under it for the rest of the journey. Ah, how I loved her! What happiness (I thought) if we were married, and were going away anywhere to live among the trees and in the fields, never growing older, never growing wiser, children ever, rambling hand in hand through sunshine and among flowery meadows, laying down our heads on moss at night, in a sweet sleep of purity and peace, and buried by the birds when we were dead! Some such picture, with no real world in it, bright with the light of our innocence, and vague as the stars afar off, was in my mind all the way. I am glad to think there were two such guileless hearts at Peggotty's marriage as little Em'ly's and mine. I am glad to think the Loves and Graces took such airy forms in its homely procession."

That's why I love to read Dickens. That's just a little excerpt from "David Copperfield." He has such a witty way about him, but he can also capture a memory so beautifully. If you like to read, you should read Dickens.


I asked God on Monday what it is that I'm lacking. I know I'm lacking something, when I feel stuck in a rut. When I can't seem to motivate myself to do the things I love and to accomplish the things I hope for, I know there's something missing. So I pleaded with God to tell me what it was. The thought came to mind: discipline. Ugh. I used to think I was a disciplined person. I think what I really meant by that was that I worked well with discipline. Anyway, it was kind of a "Duh" moment, as an old friend of mine used to call it. But discipline. Anybody can say they need more discipline. Stop sitting around in front of the tv or the computer. Get out, accomplish your goals. But who can motivate themselves to do it all? I know there are some, but they don't work at Don Pablo's, unless they're upper management.

So anyway, with the realization that I am in desperate need of greater discipline in my life, I took out my Microsoft Works Calendar and took a look at Tuesday's schedule, as of yet unmarked (because I have not heretofore used this program. I proceeded to plan my whole day, including work, going for a run after work, eating, writing, playing guitar, and playing poker, and reading Charles Dickens' "David Copperfield." On Tuesday, not everything went exactly according to plan. But I felt more motivated. I kept looking at the clock, seeing what was next, and when the time came around, I would switch to the next activity. I felt very accomplished. Just imagine if I were able to do this for myself everyday. I might actually do well. I've always known that I work better in a structured environment. I don't know why that is. I'm hesitant to live that way, because I don't want to exclude spontaneity from my life, but I realize that there is more room for spontaneity if I'm actually doing something with myself. Interruptions are always welcome. But laziness is not something I want to devote my life to, so I'm putting a stop to it.

I wrote up the schedule for today as well, and I plan continue to do so for each day from now on. And right now is actually my time to work on writing, so I'll have to end this now. I really hope I can keep this up. If this lasts more than a week and I'm not tired of doing it, I'll be very happy about it.