Thursday, November 05, 2009

I Keep Coming Back To Two Crosses

I've been gone a while... or actually, here a while, but not getting on blogspot for a while.

However, I've been thinking a lot about the Columbine cross controversy from about 10 years back. I guess it's just something that snagged in my brain back when I first heard about it.

So when I have a free moment I google and read and try to get the story. My understanding of the whole thing right now is sketchy, but essentially someone asked a carpenter from Illinois to make 15 crosses for the 13 Columbine victims and the two shooters. I'm sketchy on who did the asking, but this carpenter apparently did this for victims of violence, something he started after his father-in-law and friend were killed.

For a long time I thought it was all his idea, but apparently he was asked. He put the two shooters' names in a different font, to set them apart.

One of the victim's father was angry enough to tear the two crosses down. This carpenter came and took the 13 remaining crosses, but then ended up bringing them back.

I don't know why this story keeps banging around my head. It just does. I'm intrigued. I think the whole thing sums up something that's very wrong with humans, spiritually speaking.

I would like to be able to put this into words sometime. Maybe sometime when I'm not trying to get grad school stuff done, or whatever else is taking up my time.

In other news... Well, if you're on fb, there's no need to share other news. There's no real other news, I guess. Less than two months left in 2009!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Why Must I Be Sad?

I'm not sad. That's a They Might Be Giants Song that was going through my head just now for reasons that I may clear up by the time I get to the end of this rambling post...

Anyway, check out how I don't post here much. Done checking? Cool.

Here's a list of things I haven't written about, but thought about while away from the computer: Evidence shows that my brother Wade is a good big brother (on average--he ain't perfect or nothin'); I have to have a poll on here for people to say it matters to them that I eat right and exercise and try to get healthy, because I'll never do it for myself--but I'll do it for others; vacation is coming to an end and I have little to show about it; my life must be less stressful, because I have fingernails; how do you apologize to people you've hurt horribly when you think an apology is going to pale in comparison to the horribleness that was you on a rage rampage; and more...

But now I'm writing because I couldn't sleep (from 2:30 to about 3:10 there was a concert in my room as I tried to remember lyrics to songs to put myself to sleep--I didn't work) and I was looking at different things I'd written. Since I don't have all my files off the old computer yet, I don't have a lot of stuff available... so I went to the old posts from 2005 and 2006.

Reading through those made that TMBG song start going through my head.

A friend told me, "You'll never be that happy again," and I'm afraid she's right.

At any rate, reading these things did actually cause me to feel better about life--I haven't forgotten how awful things were when I lived in that house and was digging my way out of robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul-ville, but reading things I wrote while I was there put my part of my brain back in it so the compare/contrast was much easier.

The up side of pizza delivery: I thought more. I think I do my best thinking while driving. There's no TV to drown out my brain. I think I need to start making some "thinking time" part of my day... but what are the odds?

The other thing I have to do is start going to church regularly. I've had some horrible times this summer, and I know it's because I've gotten out of that practice of being in church every week. Get me--I'm actually one of those people who says his life is better if he goes to church each week. When did that happen? But I know it's what's missing.

What's missing from Ch__ch? U R!

Anyway, I think I've reached that special time of the early morning when I can actually fall asleep without a sleep aid. Wish me luck on getting up and getting to the school in the morning--I have furniture-moving I want to do before we go back next week.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ranting Like A Crazy Person

So I'm on facebook, and this person I knew in high school has posted this as his status:

Is sad to hear that a former student and athlete was killed today in an auto accident today. Good kid. Her dad is a pastor and hopefully she had made a commitment to Christ.

It's like Krakatoa in my head right now. Having heard something VERY similar at my aunt's funeral, I had to tackle myself and hold myself to the floor in order to keep myself from clicking "Comment" and ranting like a crazy person.

At the very least, I want to comment, "Having heard something very similar at my aunt's funeral, I hope God in her infinite wisdom gave you at least enough sense not to say something that pompous and pious and other p-words (along with pthoughtless) to members of her family."

And that is SO the very least. Krakatoa, remember?

So, comment away, folks. Thoughts? I can't type any more, or this may be my most crazy rant ever.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's 2:40A.M.

It's 2:40 in the morning. It's June 24th. I'm awake. If you're reading this and halfway sane and not going through some health issue or life trauma right now, I imagine you're asleep as I type this--or maybe in another time zone.

This is the first summer in a while where I haven't taught XLT (that's Summer School to you non-NKCSD folks... and NKCSD is North Kansas City School District--for you same folks). Also, my life is so different now, I find myself living it a little differently.

I didn't have cable television for several years. I didn't have decent access to the web (I was a dial-up dude up until the end of November, 2008). I wasn't on facebook when I only had dial-up; everything is SO slow on dial up, which used to be just fine back in the day.

So it's summer vacation time. I watch a lot of television. I spend time on facebook. I surf the net looking for recipes and books and music and information about authors and read about friends and wonder what wonderful things humans will come up with long after I'm gone, and reflect on the things that weren't around when I was 16 that I have trouble imagining living without now.

And yeah, they're just things. Trust me, if Mark Riggs can live without cable for over five years, Mark Riggs can probably live without just about any modern convenience.

Except functioning toilets. Oh, I could live without them, but I'd really really really really rather not.

I'm also spending this summer getting my house put together, and training myself to mean "my house" when I say "my house". Making the first payment helped a lot. I'm pretty much there at this point, but my "Don't get settled in" attitude from... oh, 1985 or so up until this past May... is hard to shake off. And at the same time there's this feeling of, "This is your house! When you put up the pictures, you need to get it right!"

But this isn't what inspired me to write. I saw The Wilders on Saturday night, and it made me wish I was doing something more than what I'm doing. Sometimes I think I might be a huge amount of wasted potential... not that I have a huge amount of potential, but I'm huge, and I have potential, and it's wasted... oh, you get the idea.

And it's not from a lack of projects... I've got a friend who wants me to finish writing something I started several months ago. I've got another thing I want to write. I've got... rhythm...

Wow. That cursor flashed for a while.

I'm realizing I don't really have an excuse right now. Maybe that's why I sat down to type this. I'm a person that has to process thing through communication, I guess (maybe we all are; I don't know). I originally was feeling all philosophical about how I was born in the morning, yet I feel like such a night person, but now I'm thinking I need to take that crack-down attitude I had about working extra jobs to try to get life back on track, and use that to start getting things done I want to do.

Which will admittedly be difficult, because I'm not very good at doing things for myself. That's not to say I'm not a selfish jerk, because I am. I'm saying I'm more apt to DO something for someone else. For me, I'm more apt to let me relax and hang out.

Well, I'm glad you could all be here while I worked that out.

Also: Isn't it strange how I'm a night person, but was born in the morning? Or is that how it's supposed to work?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Grumpy Old Man And The Other Shoe (A Story For Future Times?)

So I have a house, and I'm all about the "Hooray, house!" and people keep noticing I don't really seem to be all about the "Hooray, house!"

And I figured out this week I've become a grumpy middle-aged man.

So can you imagine what sort of grumpy old man I'll be, should I survive to old-man-dom?

And I live my life waiting for the other shoe to drop. (Well, now I'm more interested in the etymology of that expression, but I'm still waiting for that other shoe to drop, no matter what the origin of the expression.)

So I really am WAY excited to be a homeowner, but that excitement is hidden behind the me that's listening for that other shoe. Or the next shoe.

Life is a infinipede, and there's always another shoe. Or so I have come to believe, apparently.

I guess the wiser man would suggest having a good time until the other shoe drops, and stop waiting for it.

Okay, I'm tired, but I wanted to share those thoughts with the people of the world for no particular reason other than to warn them to stay out of my yard in the future, as I'm likely to yell at them to get out of it if I catch them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

There Are Days...

There are days I think, "This is the day I'm gonna turn my life around! I'm gonna get caught up on everything I need to get done! I'm gonna fix everything wrong in my life that I've been meaning to fix! I'm gonna build the bridges that I've burned over the past however-many years! I'm gonna--I wonder what's on t.v. right now?"

There are days when I'm not sure what day it is, and I'm not sure how upset I should be about it.

There are days when I remember the me of a day several years ago, and that me and this me are like to overhead transparencies lined up over each other, and I can see how different this me is from that me, and it's an odd feeling of surprise, happiness, disappointment, regret, and joy. There's a word for that particular mix of feelings, but there are no vowels in that word, so we can't pronounce it.

There are days when I question whether or not a free public education for all is a good idea. These days are usually non-summer weekdays. I tend to go on to wonder if the culture of "school is bad, and I hate going" would change if it were possible to say, "You're right. Go get a job. Nike needs someone to put together their shoes, I think." I wonder how long it would take for things to turn around if we were also allowed to say a month later to that young'n beggging to come back, "Um... no. Try that Nike thing for a year first. It might grow on you." Or, would the workplace become the babysitter that we used to be before the Golden Era of "A Free Public Education for Everyone Who Knows How to Act Right at Least 75% of the Time and Promise to Show Up With an Attitude to Learn at Least 75% of the Time"? The world will never know... Mostly because I don't think an era would ever have that long of a name, Golden or not.

There are days when I can't believe I'm 42. I feel both 12 and 72 at the same time.

There are days when I see a side of a student I've never seen before and remember that it's important to question everything you believe about a person... especially if they're about 13 or so.

There are days when I wonder if people who make decisions about lunch times really believe kids can eat a healthy meal in 6 minutes.

There are days when I have these moments of clarity that allow me to see all I should be thankful for when I've been nothing but cranky and judgemental, or angry and haughty, or just plain jerky. That's plain jerky, not beef.

There are days when I have all these thoughts I want to put on my blog, but feel I can't express them right... or well... or both.

There are days that I think of "What might have been," ranging from events in my lifetime that relate directly to me, to events before my time that don't relate directly to me... and everything in-between (and around... and over... and beside...)

There are days I bite off more than I can chew, but then manage to chew it anyway, mostly because of the ick factor of someone spitting out something they can't chew.

There are days I go through without a single quote from a Joss Whedon show going through my head. These are extremely rare, however.

There are days when I suddenly think about someone I know who is dead, and I wish more than anything for just another conversation with whichever one I suddenly thought of. Many of these people are relatives... and a few are friends. However, there aren't a lot of days I think to pick up the phone and talk to the living. I think this is poor planning on my part.

There are days I wish we had more hours in the day for sleeping. I'd dig a 30 hour day if I could get 6 more hours of sleep.

There are days where I know where I'm headed when I start a blog entry. This isn't one of them.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Random Quotes From the Book I'm Reading OR Why I'm So Sad Terry Pratchett Has Early Onset Alzheimer's

"The moon was on the way to being full. A gibbous moon, it's called. It's one of the duller phases of the moon and seldom gets illustrated. The full moon and crescent moon get all the publicity."

"Worried though he was, and he was worried to his boots, Rob Anybody grinned. If there's one thing a Feegle likes, it's knowing that wherever you strike, you're going to hit an enemy."

"Learnin' how not to do things is as hard as learning how to do them. Harder, maybe. There'd be a sight more frogs in this world if I didn't know how not to turn people into them."

"Tomorrow, your job is to change the world into a better place. Today, my job is to see that everyone gets there."

"It's an unfair world, child. Be glad you have friends."

All from A Hat Full of Sky, by Terry Pratchett. Some (okay, ALL) of it is better in context, and my favorite speech is WAY too long to type here. Just stop by a book store or library and read the bulk of pages 294 and 295! Better yet, read the whole book! (But you should read The Wee Free Men first...)

It's Not Easy Goin' Green

Here's a horrible thing I noticed about every time I go to the Scronics and get something to eat (which is more often than it should--bad enough I'm getting a Route 44 cherry-vanilla Dr. Pepper, but a grilled cheese sammich, too? yikesikins!), the bag they put the sandwich in is seriously used for the amount of time it takes them to put the sandwich and whatnot in the bag, hand it to me, me to turn the bag upside down to get sandwich and what not out, pull forward about... 6 yards or so to the trash can, and throw it away.

Okay, solution 1 is that I stop buying sammiches at the Scronics. And this will happen (or reduce in amount) when I have my place up north. It's just I'm often-times going somewhere other than Olathe after school (or after the after-school activities), and a quick sammich is the only way to go. But it's not going to happen forever and ever amen until I'm dead. So let's think...

I keep thinking I could save them and do something with them, but what do you do with a kinda-used paper bag from the Scronics. Handy if someone is hyperventilating, I suppose, but beyond that... I mean, there's a slight ick factor because it's been USED... ewwwwww...

Anywho, that's the homework assignment for this post. Spelling doesn't count (for real, check out some of the typos and/or spelling errors on my posts).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why I Haven't Been To Church Since October

First, that's not true. I've been to church several times since October... at least four, anyway. However, it wasn't my church. It was Dane's church--or Dane's and Ruth's church now.

This is going to be one of those posts where you wonder why I'm sharing so much. So if that makes you uncomfortable, go to STILL: Life and check out my funny picture from several weeks back.

Anyway, I went a little crazy at the end of October. I had just about reached the end of my imaginary rope, that was several miles below the end of my actual rope--I'd been fakin' it that long.

I had so much going on, and I was teetering on the edge of... something you don't want to teeter on the edge of.

So while I was trying to juggle school, grad school, tutoring, directing the children's choirs, paying bills, waiting for grad school loans, robbing Peter, putting off Paul a little longer, and so on and so forth, the last straw landed on that camel's back.

It came in the form of an e-mail from someone at the church (and I think copied to several someones at the church... but I'm not sure and my old computer isn't here right now), and I tried really hard to count to 100 before I hit "Reply all" and started typing.

I got to 0.000013, I think.

Anyway, I sent a Vitriol Special to all parties concerned, and essentially told them to piss off and leave me alone until further notice.

Then my life turned around a little, the a little more... then there was a fire, and that sucked, but then there was more life-turning-around-ed-ness... but by then I was hanging in Olathe, and there ain't no way I'm driving up north of a Sunday when I'm already doing it of a Monday thru Friday.

Anyway, I have to make a decision when I move up north in a few weeks. Do I go back to say "Hey" to the people I made an ass of myself in front of, or do I just find another church and move on with my life.

I know wherever I go, volunteering is off the table for a while. What I feel I need right now is some good hard thought about the Bible and my faith in general, seriously. I would love to help, but my helping hand has too many chunks of flesh bitten out of it right now, I think, and I don't have the time or energy to nurse it back to health.

Selfish, no?

I don't know. Feel free to comment, if there's anyone out there who reads these posts o' mine any more. I know when I go to Dane's (and Ruth's) church, I miss having that.

I don't know. So it goes. All the live-long day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Random Beautiful Moment

Life is life of late. Probably worse since mid-October or so in some ways, but better since November or so in others. Worse since mid-December is still other ways, but better since early January in others.

So it's life, right?

Anyway, tonight found myself in a beautiful moment, and I thought to share it here with anyone who stumbles across it (or who comes here from my reference to it on facebook).

I took Jordan to a movie tonight. (Last House on the Left, actually... there was much debate in front of the theatre about what to see (I wanted Knowing or Push, she wanted Last House on the Left now or Push now and Last House on the Left with a friend (a boy!) later...

Whatever, the beautiful moment was actually on the way to the theatre.

She brought along a CD. I would love to tell you the name of the band/artist, but I can't. I do know it was track 4 that brought on the beautiful moment.

She said, "Listen to this," and cued up the aforementioned track, then proceeded to sing along with it.

I will fail miserably describing this moment, and let me start ensuring that by first pointing out how badly I'm going to suck at it.

From the instant she started singing, I was in the land of the beautiful moment. It wasn't that her voice was really great or really awful. It was just a combination of things. She was really matching the style of the woman singing, and her voice just sounded so... I don't know... beautiful, really.

I seriously had to fight back a big reaction. I finally asked her if she was going to sing this in a talent show, and she said she couldn't sing without the CD. She turned it down but continued singing, and she did indeed sound like what I'd call the 14-year-old girl singing... not very confident, very exposed in the moment, and so on. (That was probably the peak of the beautiful moment for me, I think.)

She turned the CD back up, and I said I still thought she sounded good, and she just needed to sing with confidence and so on and so forth...

But there was something really beautiful about the whole moment. I wish I could express it better than I've tried here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From the F to the Y to the I

Just a little ketchup time...

Still staying with Ben & Tricia. Closer to having north-of-the-river digs.

Not a lot else to report right now, I guess.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I've Got News and News

I've given up quantifying/categorizing everything that's happening to me. I'm going to take a neutral approach, I think.

So, it turns out that the second bedroom upstairs (which was closed up during the fire) is full of surprises.

First, in the poor light that has been available to me upstairs to date, it looked like everything was pretty much same as ever... but, now that I have managed to get to the shades/blinds (yes, the room was THAT full of stuff I needed to sort through and file away in "save" and "trash" piles) I see that nothing in there has survived.

Second, I found my Pictionary and Scattegories games. They're not that much worse for wear, so they will be two of the very few things I'll be keeping from that room.

No beds, no love seat, no... well, pretty much no anything that was in there. I'll only save it if it seems just heartless not to keep it--or foolish.

Now I have no bed. So watch this space (and my facebook) for your opportunity to get rid of stuff you were just going to have to pay someone to haul away. When I get a place lined up, I'll make a list of everything I could use, and you--yes, YOU--could have the chance to get rid of your practically new but really worthless junk! Or the old junk, even.

And here's the moment from this whole thing that killed me a little inside: The last thing my mom ever bought for me (a sort of winter vest thingy) is toast--actually it's half of the last thing she ever bought me, but I already knew the shirt was toast.

So it goes.

To quote Death in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather,