Friday, December 30, 2005

A link to a stupid article and me whining: an all-around great read

Like most of the posts on here, this one comes for no real reason and with no specific purpose. I've been reading in "my" room. The one in my parents' house that I dormified so that I could have my own space. It's nice. Except that I'm 24 and living in my parents' house. I wish I knew what life was really about. How to do it. People. Sure, I really do think that life is about people. But I don't really know what the hell that means. I have friends in town, but they're mostly in high school. If I hang out with them too much I get in trouble. I don't think I should, since I do live with my parents. Basicly I'm at their level. Maybe a little more mature. Sometimes. So I read. That's my outlet. But that's pretty lame. I think reading is good, worthwhile, and all sorts of other things, but a replacement for actually being with people? Nope. This is pretty much how I felt when I was staying with my brother. The best friends I had were Potok characters. Now they're members of the Karamozov family. I wish I knew what to do about it, but I don't.

And then there's this: as I finish writing this post I think about all of the people around the world who are actually facing hardship. None of them are spoiled enough to think about "what life's really about" or similar shit. And then, and then, I look back at a few sentences and hate my writing, when that's the thing I think I might like to do most. And the story that this links to might be the highlight of my night, since it plays a big part in my weekend: fantasy basketball.

Friday, December 16, 2005

More linking, this time to a Leonard Pitts article

This is about the "war on Christmas." It's really good, and what's most amazing is...nevermind, it's not too long. Just read it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Another link, a different perspective

Joe wanted me to link to the New Yorker article that ripped on Jacobs, so I did.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Another link to something by Alan Jacobs

I know that most of the people who were consistently checking in with my blog are gone because I have alienated them, but I wanted to link to this article even if it only serves to give me quick access to it in the future. This is a review/essay about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by Dr. Alan Jacobs. I don't know what else to say about it except that it's quite insightful, and very helpful to my thinking about reading and about Harry.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Popularity on life's grandest scale: an NBA arena

Things basically started when Jason asked me if I wanted to shoot a free throw during a time out in the second quarter. The catch was that I would be blind-folded. When he asked me, my immediate response was positive. Of course I want the chance to make a shot in front of a stadium full of people. But then I thought about it and realized that I didn't want to miss a shot in front of a stadium full of people. Given my basketball history and skill level, the second option seemed far more likely. But, as tends to happen, I decided the opportunity was worth the risk. He told me that we'd be meeting his friend Paul at gate A12 with nine minutes to go in the second quarter. With that, I sat down to relax and watch the game.

Except of course I couldn't relax. My nerves were wreaking all sorts of havoc on my body, making me quite uncomfortable, until the Blazers started playing really well. And then my stomach didn't hurt so much. Things went like that for a while. I sat there enjoying the game, every once in a while visualizing Michael Jordan making a free throw in Portland with his eyes closed or imagining all of those times in goal that I had to make big saves. Then we started off to rendezvous with Paul. The nerves came back.

We met Paul and he led us into the bowels of the Rose Garden. As we walked he explained to me exactly what would happen. I would get out to the line, I would get a chance to look at the hoop, I would put some black ski goggles over my eyes, and then I would have thirty seconds to put a basketball in the hoop. Event staff would be placing the balls in my hands, and they would be helping me by telling me if I needed to shoot weaker or stronger, to the left or to the right. As Paul told me all of this I realized that I would have a very small chance unless I made the first one, because the first one would be the only one that was purely based on my senses. As we walked I told Paul and Jason what I thought, and they had no response. When we got to the floor Todd, Paul's boss, explained everything to me again. The only difference was that Todd told me not to leave if I didn't make it during the thirty seconds. They would give me one last chance with my eyes open. At that my nerves really kicked in, because I couldn't imagine much more pressure than missing a bunch of free throws without seeing, and then getting one shot while seeing. The only way I could enjoy the minutes until my chance was to watch the game. Which I did. From the corner of the court.

As I watched Rasheed Wallace and Zach Randolph bang bodies not more than 20 yards from me, my nerves settled into a steady burn. The whistle for the third timeout was blown and Todd told me to get out on the court with him. Goggles in hand I followed him onto the floor.

We got to the line and Todd introduced me to the crowd. "With us tonight is Josh, all the way from Roseburg," rang through the stadium and brought my nerves back to the prominent place of my throat. Then Todd mentioned the time that Michael Jordan made his free throw with his eyes shut, and that to commemorate that, if I made one free throw in thirty seconds without being able to see, I would get a brand new pair of Jordan brand shoes.

All of this wasn't helping to calm me down, but then a strange thing happened. Todd told me to take one last look at the hoop, so I did. The funny thing about NBA arenas is that the hoops aren't right in front of a wall. In fact, there's a lot of space between the backboard and the nearest background. This serves to make it look a lot closer than a normal hoop, or at least it did for me. Which in turn served to ease my nerves. All of the sudden I was confident of my ability to get the ball to the hoop. My only concerns were putting it up straight and putting it up with enough touch that a bad shot had a better chance of going in. With that, I pantomimed one shot, and put on the goggles.

Todd handed me a ball, asked if I could see anything--which I couldn't--and asked if I was ready. I said I was, and he did the old "ready, GO!" thing. I had decided to do my normal free throw routine, something that any who've seen me shoot might not have advised since I don't make too many, and proceeded to spin the ball and dribble twice. Then I put up my shot. It felt good, but immediately I put my hands out for the next ball. After what seemed like a long time, I heard an explosion of noise as the crowd let me know that my first shot had gone in. Apparently they gave me a new ball at the same time, but I didn't remember that until I saw the pictures later. I was so dumbstruck by the idea that I had made the shot that I just stood there. When Todd proclaimed that I'd made it I ripped off the goggles. I have never felt quite like I felt with the whole Rose Garden cheering for me.

As we left the court I was congratulated by the front row ticket holders and VIPs. They gave me my certificate for my Jordans, and Jason and I walked back up to our section at the top. On the way every person who saw me gawked and congratulated me, complimenting my tremendous basketball skills. Our group screamed when I got back, as some hadn't even known where I was going when I left. As I sat down I tried to recreate what had just happened, but I couldn't. I decided a while ago that I would stop referring to new experiences as surreal, but that's what it was. It seemed like it never even happened. My stomach didn't calm down until the next morning.

The moral of the story: I rock when put in front of big crowds.
Therefore: we're getting the band back together and doing arena rock.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

my most recent theological worldview

You scored as Neo orthodox. You are neo-orthodox. You reject the human-centredness and scepticism of liberal theology, but neither do you go to the other extreme and make the Bible the central issue for faith. You believe that Christ is God's most important revelation to humanity, and the Trinity is hugely important in your theology. The Bible is also important because it points us to the revelation of Christ. You are influenced by Karl Barth and P T Forsyth.

Roman Catholic


Neo orthodox




Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


Reformed Evangelical






What's your theological worldview?
created with

Friday, September 30, 2005

another change in location

it's been a really long time since i've posted. i started school this week. i'm quite excited about all three of my classes, and expect to get a ton from them. there may be a bit more excitement for my class "theology, pop culture and the emerging church," which i wasn't even that excited about to begin with. the professor used to tour with AC/DC, among others. at the moment i'm sitting in stephen's dorm room. i've been living here since i got back from phoenix. this certainly isn't the ideal situation for many reasons, but it will suffice until i have a job, at which i will hopefully be able to find a cheapish room somewhere. on the job front: i had an interview with 24hour fitness the other day, and it seems likely that i'll be working there very soon. in other news: i'm headed to chicago october 20-23 for a wedding. i can't wait to get out there and see jacob and the rest of my long-time wheaton friends, especially the dignan boys. oh yeah, the wedding should be good too. and perhaps another dignan reunion show? i'm only imagining it right now. so far i'm not too impressed with seminarians of the female persuasion. actually, i haven't been drawn to many of the seminarians at all. there are a few guys i've clicked with already that should become friends to some degree, but with me living down here that degree might be small. i think that's about all. i've been to the beach once, at night, so i may venture out there today to cool off. it's been so hot here the last few days. pretty ridiculous.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

quick quote from reading Yancey

“Where there is no longer any opportunity for doubt, there is no longer any opportunity for faith either.” Paul Tournier, quoted in Dissapointment with God, by Philip Yancey.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Another Coffeeshop Bum

I think I'm back to updating weekly, which is a vast improvement upon how often I had been updating. In this installment I'll be putting some links up of things I've been into recently, and trying to set them up permanently on the side. Also, I have no idea what I'm going to talk about, so I should get to the links.

A Christian Review of Books and Culture

the New Pantagruel (former Wheaton Philosophy professor Dr. Joshua Hochschild is heavily involved with this one)

GetReligion a great blog that links to articles about religion

Timothy McSweeney's great satire and other stuff

My myspace

I'm sitting in My Coffee, that hideaway for me in Roseburg, looking out the window at the clouds. I am excited for the possibility of rain, and not just because I like it. Part of the reason I look forward to rain, or sun, or snow, or any other weather pattern, is that I want a change from whatever the current pattern is. I really want some rain. Two weeks or so and I'll be heading down to Fuller. I still don't know what I'll do about housing, and I'm still a little apprehensive about my potential work situation. But I am so ready to get out of here. I've been listening to the song Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap (from the group Frou Frou) a ton recently. The last link is to my myspace profile which has the video for that song on it. While I was trying to find a free version of the audio to link this page to, I found out that the song had been on the season finale of The OC. Go ahead and get elitist on me, but I enjoy the show, and that helped explain why I've been so addicted to this song since Eric sent it to me. The combination of music and image is pretty incredible, and The OC does a great job of matching songs with scenes. Two of my favorite songs from the past year--the aforementioned Hide and Seek and Fix You by Coldplay--were first played during really powerful scenes on The OC. All that to describe my connection to this song, which is one that sort of makes me sad and happy at the same time, embodying my simultaneous feelings of anticipation and anxiety towards moving. It would be so much easier if I were heading back to Wheaton. Of course, once I got there it might not be any easier at all. But for now, it certainly seems like that's the case. And I think that it would be easier if Jamie and Eric were coming out this fall, but who knows if that's true. Maybe more time apart will give Dignan more staying power once we're back together.

(Quick sidenote: there's a pretty girl who came in a few minutes ago who seems to be staring at me. I have no idea what to do. Nevermind, she's getting two coffees, so one is probably for a boyfriend. Maybe even a husband. And now, walking out the door. Too late for me.)

I think that this post was just derailed by my hormones. It's funny how existential crises can be put down by biological functions. Maybe that's the trick, I need to be around more girls, er, women who are my age. Yeah, that could be quite helpful. As long as that they're not rich/spoiled/snobby/girly southern California women. Hmm, that could be a predicament, as I'm moving down to southern California. Shoot. Well, that was a post anyway.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Trying to find Ms. Pac-Man

I’ve been trying to imagine Jacob in Wheaton for the last few days. He and I have talked several times—well, communicated several times via email, blog, and phone—and that’s given me the chance to picture him in specific Wheaton situations. I can visualize the awkward freshman mingling that happens. Guys prancing over to the Ladies’ floors, these same females cavorting on the east side with the guys. I can even conjure up the exact way these opposing forces view each other, with the gotta-find-a-mate-cyborg character Jacob described in his blog. I can hear the orientation committee members utilizing spiritual sounding words so as to impress the newbies with Wheaton’s uber-awareness of the other realm. The intonation as they talk about “the LORD” and how they decided to do something because “the spirit LED me there” echos through my mind. This is the same stuff my friend Shane wrote about in The Record last year, and subsequently posted on his blog. My mind has no trouble envisioning people walking around asking the big three: What’s your name? What’s your major? Where are you from? (Of course the fourth question is Will you marry me? Haha. (No, seriously, will you marry me? You’re perfect for me; you just don’t know it yet. Let’s at least agree to start courting. No? I have to talk to your dad first? I can do that. What? You were kidding. Haha, me too. Heh, hehe, we sure are funny. This isn’t uncomfortable at all.)) And the whole time they’re doing this they look like pac-men. Most Wheaton students smile so terribly hard during the first week that they have to tip their heads back to speak. It’s as if the lower half of their faces are paralyzed in this grin that spends all day trying to convince anyone who will see it that it’s owner is the nicest, most sincere, most Christ-like, happiest, most perfect possible spouse, in the whole world. Hence the pac-man-talk. Instead of mouths opening like normal humans, the top of the head tilts back as if to gobble up white dots and flashing fruit. I can picture the new Todd M. Beamer center, with it’s gaudy wall sculpture of its namesake walking with his family on a beach, shamelessly reveling in the terrorism-inspired culture of fear. (Yeah, that was way over the top. But every once in a while I have to say something really ridiculous. Maybe my problem is more with the idea that most Wheaton buildings are usually named after people who have done amazing things for the Kingdom of God—however that can be decided—and Beamer did something that united the kingdom of Bush.) My flip-flops can feel the pedway underfoot as I imagine Jacob walking down to the BGC and then along College Ave. towards downtown Wheaton. Even my emotions well up in me as the sentimentality of Jacob meeting cool Wheaton students for the first time hits.

The problem with all of this is that it isn’t quite true. I can’t picture Jacob doing any of this. At every point I see myself instead of him. I can’t quite put my envy into words, this is the best I can do: any time I try to picture him in one of these situations, my mind replaces him with me. I’m not trying to do it. I wish I could stop. Life is no easier, post-college no simpler, near-graduate study no more imminent, by reliving Wheaton at every turn. Especially since I can’t really do it. There is to be no reliving of Wheaton. It’s quite done. Very finished. Absolutely over. Last year gave me false hope, having three classmates in such close proximity. This year will give me the real thing. Unless the Exley brothers make it out sooner than expected. No. No false hope. This is absurd how this sentimentality is making me write all of these fragments. My skills of communicating in our wonderful language are being corrupted by my own state as an emotional wreck. I suppose that Ben Folds isn’t helping write now, as the song Time pulses through my headphones.

Upon re-reading this before posting I see very well how unedited and bad the writing is. And yet I'm so happy to be posting that I can't let the general crappiness keep me from sending this into the cyber-universe.

Monday, August 15, 2005

joining the techno revolution

i'm making this post from my favorite coffee place, drinking a caramel machiatto and enjoying the free wifi. i just finished watching bottle rocket with jacob and josh, and i really need to give that a viewing at least once every two months. there are so many enjoyable lines in that movie, and i realized today that it pulls off showing us an important character only once but keeping her involved in the story.

i also finished the name of the rose, by umberto eco, last night. this was the most arduous reading undertaking that i attempted this summer. the book was only 500 pages, but it took nigh on three weeks. it was also hard coming off the heals of harry potter and the half-blood prince. i enjoyed the great mystery all the way through, and the unusual story-telling devices employed by eco in the telling. it was also fantastic for the quotes that i pulled out that pertain to theology and philosophy. i am going to paste a few of them:

“But why doesn’t the Gospel ever say that Christ laughed?” I asked, for no good reason. “Is Jorge right?”
“Legions of scholars have wondered whether Christ laughed. The question doesn’t interest me much. I believe he never laughed, because, omniscient as the son of God had to be, he knew how we Christians would behave. But here we are.” (161)

“Illness is not exorcised. It is destroyed.”
“With the body of the sick man.”
“If necessary.”
“You are the Devil,” William said then.
Jorge seemed not to understand. If he had been able to see, I would say he stared at his interlocutor with a dazed look. “I?” he said.
“Yes. They lied to you. The Devil is not the Prince of Matter; the Devil is the arrogance of the spirit, faith without smile, truth that is never seized by doubt. The Devil is grim because he knows where he is going, and, in moving, he always returns whence he came. You are the Devil, and like the Devil you live in darkness. If you wanted to convince me, you have failed. I hate you, Jorge, and if I could, I would lead you downstairs, across the ground, naked, with fowl’s feathers stuck in your asshole and your face painted like a juggler and a buffoon, so the whole monastery would laugh at you and be afraid no longer. I would like to smear honey all over you and then roll you in feathers, and take you on a leash to fairs, to say to all: He was announcing the truth to you and telling you that the truth has the taste of death, and you believed, not in his words, but in his grimness. And now I say to you that, in the infinite whirl of possible things, God allows you also to imagine a world where the presumed interpreter of the truth is nothing but a clumsy raven, who repeats words learned long ago.” (477)

“It was the greatest library in Christendom,” William said. “Now,” he added, “the Antichrist is truly at hand, because no learning will hinder him any more. For that matter, we have seen his face tonight.”
“Whose face?” I asked, dazed.
“Jorge, I mean. In that face, deformed by hatred of philosophy, I saw for the first time the portrait of the Antichrist, who does not come from the tribe of Judas, as his heralds have it, or from a far country. The Antichrist can be born from piety itself, from excessive love of God or of the truth, as the heretic is born from the saint and the possessed from the seer. Fear prophets, Adso, and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them. Jorge did a diabolical thing because he loved his truth so lewdly that he dared anything in order to destroy falsehood. Jorge feared the second book of Aristotle because it perhaps really did teach how to distort the face of every truth, so that we would not become slaves of our ghosts. Perhaps the mission of those who love mankind is to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth.” (491)

Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose. Harcourt Brace & Company, New York, 1983.

Friday, August 12, 2005

it's funny you should say that...

last night i was laying (lying? i should know which one to use) in bed thinking about updating. yesterday i received a message via myspace from a band down in medford. it seems that they are looking for a bass player. i happen to be a bass player. they have released several ep's, and i really like their sound. they are also touring, although they have a bit of a break right now. they want me to come down and try out. i want to go down and try out. what i've been thinking a lot about are the possible consequences. say they really like my bass playing, and think i'd be fun to have in the band. also imagine that i like their music even more when i get there, and agree that they would be fun to play with. they are planning on touring more, and if i go down to fuller, i'm out of something before i even start. which makes sense if i'd also have to work and find housing and things like that. but, if they are really in talks with labels right now and are going to sign something soon to record and make a little bit of money--i mean a little, i know it won't be much--how can i not take the opportunity to play music right now? if we get into a decent tour, which means we can make a little money off of playing shows, and we're going non-stop, then my days would be filled with time in a vehicle to read and listen to music and hang-out with my new bandmates and make new music. that sounds pretty amazing to me, besides the fact that i'd be traveling a lot. i sent them a message back yesterday and haven't heard any more, so hopefully in the next few days they'll let me know when a good time to come down would be. and then, maybe, i'll be in a band again and not going back to school quite yet.

i really do like posting, i don't know why it's taken me so long to write something. it's gotten so pathetic that i even received one of those spam-comments for a singles service. ouch.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


click and read.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

A new story about scene girls (or at least the girls who watched my high school band play)

Sitting here at Brewed Awakenings has reminded me of an incident I hadn’t thought about in quite some time. One of the baristas here is a girl who went to Horizon High School with the rest of the guys in my band. She was a regular at our shows, probably not least of all because she wanted to marry our bass player. Actually, there was a fairly large group of girls from their school who came out to support us. (And yet, I was never able to capitalize on this and get a girlfriend. Ah, the myth of the Rock Star.) We played one show—one of our last local shows—at the church where we practiced. After the show we went to our drummer’s house for a bon fire and some good teenage flirting. It was here that Michal, the barista who never married our bass player, asked if I could give her a ride home.

Several things should be noted at this point in the story: the first is that the retelling of this is probably being affected by the fact that I keep looking up and noticing how cute she is. The second thing to be noted is that she wasn’t flirting with me. Despite the utter rejection from him, Michal was quite committed our bass player. The last thing to be noted—that is, until I remember some other things that need to be said—is that Michal and I had a history of sorts. Before the break-up of her family we lived in the same mobile home park. Her older brother and I were not friends. In fact, the closest thing to a fight I ever found myself in was with her brother. While playing football in the street like I always did, her brother had passed through the edge of our game on roller-blades. Our quarterback didn’t appreciate the interruption to our game, and threw the ball at him, knocking him off his feet and to the curb. Since I was the youngest of the players Michal’s brother chose me as the focus of his retaliation. But my status as the youngest player didn’t correspond to a size advantage for him. As it was I was not only taller and fatter than he was, but stronger as well. His push did nothing to me, but since he was still on his roller-blades it served to knock him off his feet and this time down to the street.

With this sort of history—that of her family viewing me as some kind of nemesis, perhaps even an arch one—it was a nice gesture of her to entrust herself to me and to my 1980 Buick Skylark, especially in what was becoming an increasingly wet night.

The beginning of our ride was not noteworthy except in its lack of unsettling awkwardness. Even now, as someone who can converse fairly confidently and comfortably with anyone, I seem to find myself in awkward situations when alone with girls. In high school I was much less confident and much more introverted. All that to say this: the lack of awkwardness in our silence was an unexpected and welcome companion. We drove along like this for seven and a half minutes or so, just riding and not feeling pressured to force conversation, watching the driving rain. And at the eight-minute mark, watching the flashing lights pull up behind us as we were pulled over.

One last note is needed at this time. My Camel Brown Buick Skylark used to shimmy. I enjoyed it, and thought it was cool to have my car dancing to my music as I drove. But most of my friends entered my car with trepidation, consumed with a fear akin to that of a woman who once followed me home to tell me that my right rear tire was about to come off. Because of these fears I decided to get my car fixed. But in doing so the mechanic had to disconnect the speedometer. Unfortunately he had forgotten to reconnect it, and I had been remiss in getting it connected myself. Instead I had been driving at whatever speed felt right, generally going with the flow of traffic.

Due to the rain there was a genuine lack of traffic, and hence a lack of flow by which to judge my speed. The officer pulled me over because, as it turned out, I was driving about 65 in a posted 50 zone, in an old car, in the pouring rain. The nice feel of comfortable silence was at this point overtaken by the awkward kind. I had never been pulled over, and now the first time I was actually taking a girl somewhere—even if it was home—I was being pulled over. All the baggage of me as nemesis that Michal had overcome to ask me for a ride came pouring back onto the carousel of her mind. Not only was I an enemy, I was irresponsible and endangering her safety.

I explained my reason for speeding to the officer, which was basically that I didn’t know I was speeding. He took my license, at which time he realized that he worked with my dad and that I was most likely telling the truth. I didn’t get a ticket, just a warning and a reminder that I really needed to get my speedometer fixed. My response was one of genuine thanks for letting me know how fast I was going. And for ruining my self-esteem in front of a girl.

I forgot to thank him audibly for the second part, and for absolutely ruining the last six and three-quarters minutes of our ride. As we continued on our way there were several nervous attempts at conversation, but her responses were all thickly veiled attacks on my misogynist character. Endangering the life of a high school girl! Forcing her to endure the shame of being seen with a speeder! She pretended to be nice as I dropped her off at home. Just like she pretended to be nice when she poured my coffee today. I suppose right now is my chance at redemption. I could apologize, ask her to let me make it up to her by taking her out some time—did I mention how cute she looks right now? —for lunch or dinner or a movie.

Or coffee.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

coming soon

i have a pretty crappy rough draft of a short story i wrote coming soon, maybe even tomorrow. also, i've been writing a few other things that i may post.

Monday, May 30, 2005

the last phoenix post

i'm taking off tomorrow, and my apartment is almost all packed up. tonight i'm going to pf changs with the guys for one last night of teacher fun. (thanks to a student who gave me a gift certificate as a year-end "thank you") it should be a good time. then i'll come back here, finish packing, go to bed, get up in the morning and grab anything that's left, clean everything that hasn't been cleaned, and take off. the end. i'll see all you roseburgers in a few days.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

yearbook signing party

today after school there was a party so that students could sign yearbooks. i attended, and signed lots and lots of yearbooks. it was fun. at the same time, and this was partly because of the music that they were playing, i couldn't help but feel like i was actually in high school again. it was crazy. i'm NOT. sometimes i have to remind myself of that. i didn't say anything worth saying in the yearbooks. i never know what to say, so i write meaningless drivel. "i enjoyed having you in class." "good luck and have fun next year." "(some random inside joke that's too obscure for the person i intend to read it)." stuff like that. i don't know how to fix this. i didn't want to just write trite "christian" phrases, but i also started feeling pretty pathetic, being a teacher at a christian school, and not really saying anything different from what non-christian high schoolers might be writing to each other--without the innuendo. i admire jacob's ability to ask hard questions, and i wish i had that unabashedness, and that level of awareness of my own questions. i don't know if i wish i had the same ones, but i do wish i really knew what i was thinking and wondering about.

i recently finished the count of monte cristo and a heartbreaking work of staggering genius. the first was very good--i mean, it is a classic--and the second was amazing. it's basically a memoir written by a man who's parents died when he was twentythree, leaving him to raise his seven year old brother, with some help from his twentyfour year old sister and twentyseven year old brother. amazing. not for the faint of heart, or for those who will be offended by pure, raw, often profane emotion. amazing book.

i'm almost done with teaching, and i'm really really excited about that. two weeks until i'm in oregon again, and that's exciting.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

flying to dallas

right now i'm trying to decide if i drop almost four hundred dollars for the combination of flying to dallas for alec's wedding and then flying to seattle the next day for dan's. i have the money, and it's not going to get any cheaper, but it feels like it's so expensive. no, i need to do it. as soon as i call my parents and see if they want to get a fun seattle trip out of it. yep, that's what i'm doing.

i've been sick again for the last few days. it feels like the bronchitis came back, but i can't be too sure. i will say that i've been getting better as today has gone on. but being sick doesn't make school go by any better, rather it makes me yearn even more for the time (less than a month, now!) when i'll be done teaching and back in roseburg doing whatever it is i can find to do. and then only a few short months and i'm back in school. that makes me quite happy. i think that's all.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

wheaton re-visited

at the moment i am waiting for my (ex)roommate andrew to come pick me up, and then we are going to coffee or breakfast or something like that. so far while i've been here i've hung out with a lot of people, which is fantastic. it's amazing how invested i still am in the individuals who live here. i sat in on a class yesterday, and it got me really excited for this fall when i'm in class again. ahh, how i miss school. jacob, i've told some of my friends that you're going to be here next year, so don't feel awkward if they just come up to you and introduce themselves. i don't know that i really have much else to say. it's nice to be back, and as always, it's completely normal and utterly weird. los burritos is on tap i long for los. it's been since december, and i need a good fix.

Monday, April 18, 2005

frigem fragem blasted network

the other night i posted at school. and then when i went to edit a tehe that should have said the, it blocked me from getting back here. yes, that made me ecstatic. mainly i think that i said school was going pretty well, and then i listed a bunch i've recently read so that others can go read them now. extremely loud and incredibly close by jonathan safron foer is probably my favorite book for the moment, although my name is asher lev by chaim potok and the amazing adventures of kavalier and clay by michael chabon are close behind. apparently i'm a big fan of jewish authors. i suppose that's about all i have to say right now. stupid "network administrator."

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


i wrote a bunch last night and then my browser unexpectedly quit on me, so now i'm writing a quick blog from my lunch. i'm in the midst of day three as a real teacher, and things are going quite well. i'm pretty proud of the way lessons are going, and i think students are leaving every class period knowing more than when they came in. also, i only have 15 pages left in the book survivor by chuck palahniuk, and it's competing with choke and diary as my favorite of his works. that's all for now, i need to either get lunch or help students.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

we all suck

i'm sitting here with jacob, talking about stuff. sorry i suck at updating. no promises, as they always turn me into a liar.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

verbal constipation

i think i binge and purge when it comes to words. in the last few weeks i finished my third and fourth chuck palahniuk books and two anne lamott books. now i'm hoping i can spew my own words out for all to read. i don't know how soon i'll post short stories here, but i'm going to start writing every day and working on really crappy first drafts. i don't have much else to say. i leave for san francisco monday afternoon to help chaperone a mission trip. and i'm done teaching first graders. good news all around, really. i wish that i were better about updating this, hopefully i come back soon.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


my ear hurts so very much right now.

the pain is absolutely excruciating.

really, this is probably the worst pain i have felt in quite some time. i would suggest that the last time i felt pain that hurt this much was when i thought i broke my leg sophomore year playing soccer.

it feels like i'm trying to pass my bass amp through my ear...while someone is playing really crappy loud bass through it.

webmd just told me that i need to contact a health professional immediately. sure, with no insurance. i'm right on it.

hopefully i can fall asleep tonight.

Monday, January 31, 2005

reading and other such endeavors are no substitute for the people from "home"

i read the entire book choke, by chuck palahniuk, yesterday. it was fantastic. if you get offended easily...wait...if it doesn't take a LOT to offend you, then you shouldn't read it. but if you can handle a fair amount, then take a look. palahniuk is an amazing story-teller, and his themes are fantastic. his stuff is really funny, but also very inciteful, and it asks the kinds of questions that everyone should be asking. so there's a plug, like what jacob did recently.

i got to talk to krispin and jacob and ashley on the phone, all from my parents' house, because krispin was in roseburg this weekend. his post since returning to beaverton captured so well how i feel about the place that i had trouble finishing my day at school. well, that and the fact that the little cretins are trying to prove their citizenship in the underworld. gosh. they ruin me.

i don't have much else to say. i finished the problem of pain, by c.s. lewis, today. good stuff. now i think i'm going to read a play called w;t [wit] that luke recommended, and finish organizing a bunch of papers the first graders will take home tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

the queen of scene girls revisited

okay, so i assmed that "my readers" would understand by my silence what happened with the queen of scene girls. apparently not. quick story: she was kind of with a guy, or a bunch of them, or something like that. in addition, I DON'T ASK GIRLS OUT! geez, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you should know this. if you've known me for a while, you should know this. so, in case you didn't figure it out from everything i just wrote, I DON'T ASK GIRLS OUT!

some day, some day, some day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

the life aquatic with (insert name here)

i finally saw the life aquatic with steve zissou. i enjoyed it, but was slightly disappointed, although my disappointment has been fading since the final 20 minutes, and now is nearly gone. it made me miss family and friends. i was surprised at that, actually, and on the drive home from the theater i realized that all the fuss over physical touch being important is not made for no reason. that was a very meandering sentence that tried to say this: i miss hugs. as much as i can be annoyed by people who are always touching other people, i really do need some sort of physical touch, and i haven't had any since i was in roseburg. wow.

also, qickly since i need to go to bed, i liked the idea of life as an adventure in community that the movie put forth at the end. well, i guess it was out there throughout the movie, but it became as close to explicit as a wes anderson theme will get at the end. stanley hauerwas talks about life being an adventure in community, particularly for the church, and it was cool to be reminded of that in such a profound way by a movie.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

zao, scene kids, and the queen of scene chicks

tonight i went to a metal show. it's not really my cup of tea, but one of the bands playing, fear before the march of flames, played with my band a year ago and i thought it'd be cool to support them. also, the headlining band, zao, is legendary, and i decided i couldn't pass up a chance to see them. so i went. it was fun. zao really is amazing, and fear played really well too. the other two bands were okay, but it would be true to say that between my bandmates and krispin my appreciation for metal has been developed into a (gasp) affection. so there's that.

the bands were pretty good, but one part of the show that i didn't enjoy was the abundance of scene kids. emo haircuts, tight jeans, look identical to everyone's the same as being in abercrombie and fitch, only the look is different. (and it's really not that different). needless to say, i was very annoyed by them all. but there was one phenomenon that made being around them worthwhile...

at a lot of rock shows there is some sort of pit. it's either for moshing, or for kicking/punching/elbowing/flailing. the latter option is what they do at metal shows. during the zao set this pit was even bigger, so that more people could be acting out the culture's currrent version of fight club. at one point a girl i had seen earlier, probably about my age, walked into the middle of the pit. she just stood there. this is not proper ettiqette. i kept waiting for someone to ram into her. but no one did. she owned the whole crowd. certainly she was attractive: bobbed bleach-blonde hair, vest, and a beautiful face. but it was still amazing to see the scene kids bend to her whim. it got better when one of the biggest guys at the show decided to stand back to back with her--as she is watching the band--to make sure no one blindsides her. unreal. so that happened, and i thought you all should know about it.

and once again, zao really does rock.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

walking opposite the flow of traffic is hazardous to one's health. (or perhaps it's the cigarette)

As I pulled up, Morgan was walking toward me on the opposite side of the street. Of course I didn’t know then that his name was Morgan, I only knew what I could tell from his appearance. Better said, I only knew what I made up about him based on his appearance. I stared at him as I would stare at any out-of-place object, trying to figure out where he was supposed to be, or whose place he was in, or maybe even if I was in the right place. He wasn’t supposed to be in front of the church. He wasn’t supposed to be in front of the church because he didn’t want to be there. I didn’t know that he didn’t want to be there, he just looked like he didn’t want to be anywhere near a church. Maybe I decided this because he had his hood pulled tightly over his head to keep the rain from dousing his cigarette. No one with a hood on could want to be near a church.

As I stopped driving, he stopped walking.

As I got out to walk opposite the direction I’d been driving, he turned around and walked toward me, still on the other side of the street.

As I crossed the street, he turned back around and fell in-line behind me.

As I walked inside, he continued to tail me. He followed me up the stairs, a few paces behind, and through the doorway into the worship center. Once inside I headed to the front—to the stage—and he sat in the back. My comfort had stayed behind me in the car, so I grabbed my guitar to ease the tension in my own mind. After a few notes—notes that didn’t ease any tension whatsoever—I put the guitar down and moved to the front edge of the stage.

As I sat down Morgan lost status as an out-of-place object, his voice ringing in the empty room.

“What’s your name?”

“Cornelius,” I said. “What’s yours?”

Social convention was introducing us.

“I’m Morgan.”

As Morgan named himself he became completely human. He was no longer an out-of-place object, but he was still out-of-place. Our dialogue continued, and I tried to make sense of him being inside the church.

“So, what do you believe?” he asked me.

How can I answer a question about belief when there are so many different things to talk about? I believe in the creeds: One Father, His eternally begotten and only son, the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from both Father and Son, the Virgin birth, the holy catholic church, the death on the cross, the resurrection, the ascension, and the future glory. I believe that relationships are more important than tasks. I believe that I am screwed up.

That’s a good place to start.

“I believe that I’m pretty screwed up. I mean, I do a bunch of stuff that I can’t even understand, and I don’t treat people the way I want to treat them. So I believe that. I believe that God was gracious enough to make a way to fix everything that I’ve messed up. With some great sense of divine irony he sent himself—only not the way I would send myself somewhere—to his very creation so that he could save me and a bunch of other screwed up people. Somehow he died. I don’t know how a living God could die, but he did. And he didn’t. He conquered death so I didn’t have to. So I believe that.”

“Well I don’t really believe that I’m screwed up. I think that a bunch of things that most people call sins aren’t really sins.”

“Wow. I guess I think that the way I’m most screwed up is in how I treat people: the fact is that I’m a huge jerk and I don’t love people the way I should.”

All the beautifully vile and utterly meaningless evangelical rhetoric came rushing down the stream of my mind, but somehow the dam of my mouth was closed. Morgan did not want me to tell him how Christ had saved my life. Morgan didn’t even want to be loved. Morgan was only interested in a philosophical discussion. Worse than that, Morgan didn’t have any trouble with pain or suffering. Apparently he’d never thought about those things, because he didn’t really think that there was evil in the world. This conversation was going nowhere.

“Actually, I don’t really believe in Hell,” he elaborated. “I mean, I believe in Satan, but he’s more about keeping us from being the people we should be than trying to draw us away from God.”

Wow. He just said some of the very things I think, but with a different perspective. Satan really is trying to keep us from being the people we were meant to be. He wants to keep us from reaching our end. But for Morgan that had nothing to do with God. Aristotle even thought our end had to do with God. Morgan must have been a lot smarter than Aristotle. With the knowledge that Morgan fancied himself smarter than one of the most important thinkers ever, I stopped contributing to the conversation.

“Actually, I think I’m an angel,” he said.

“Umm, I’m going to have to disagree with you there,” I responded.

“With all of the things that have happened in my life, I must be an angel.”

“Yeah, again, I don’t think so. I think you have a pretty poor theology.” And there it was: I pulled the theology card out, how terrifically superior of me. In all the effort to keep the dam shut on meaningless evangelical rhetoric, the spillway had been filled with my intellectual arrogance, and that arrogance couldn’t be held while the rhetoric was being stalled. Never fight a war on two fronts.

“Well, if you only knew what I've been through, you’d think I was an angel too.”

“I really don’t think I would.”

With that the conversation ended. I turned and walked back up onto the stage. Morgan stayed seated in the back and said hello to various other members of the band as they walked in. After fiddling with some switches on my amplifier I turned around, and Morgan was no longer there I don’t know when he left. I don’t know why he left. Maybe he realized that he didn’t belong in a church. Maybe he decided that he didn’t want to be anywhere near a church.

Or maybe my theology is the one that’s off. Maybe Morgan was an angel. God put him there to wake me from my dogmatic slumbers, as Kant would say. After talking with Morgan I had to think about my view of others. I had to think about my hypocrisy of being prejudiced against meaningless evangelical jargon while being wedded to meaningless academic jargon. I had to think about the way I talk to people, and not just making statements like the one I made to Morgan about not loving others enough.

Probably not.

Even so, Morgan made me think, and I’d rather interact with another broken human who makes me think than an angel who tells me what I want to hear.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

it's on the way

i've heard that i'm a lamewad, and i acknowledge this fact. the trth is, i've been reading a lot, and i've been finishing up my grad school stuff and writing other things. i've been working on a short story and this should be done and posted very soon.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

more hauerwas, but not at present

i just finished the collection of hauerwas essays (finally) and wanted to put some excerpts up from the last essay, but i'm too lazy. instead, i just told you that's what i wanted to do. what a waste.

Friday, January 07, 2005

at school

so i'm at school right now. one of my first graders is sitting in the classroom eating lunch, the rest are outside on recess. i must say that it's really weird to think that i'm not leaving things for the everyday teacher to fix, rather, i'm leaving things for me to deal with on monday. that's crazy. i just thought it'd be great to update from work/school.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

the return

so i'm back in phoenix. i stayed monday night with michael o'neil in palo alto, which was awesome. then tuesday i made the trek south and east. the grapevine was closed because of snow, so i went through bakersfield and some mountains to catch up with I-10 in san bernardino. at that point my left rear tire blew out. i didn't know exactly what to do, and had never had a flat before, so i wasn't too sure that was what was happening. but it was. and then i pulled off the freeway with a flat, because it was raining really hard and there was an exit right there. the exit i pulled off had a tire store right there, so i was able to get a used one to replace mine for $21. it really didn't end up being too bad. today i didn't work, and i'm not tomorrow either, as i need to finish all of my grad school stuff asap. but friday i was requested for a music teacher i've subbed for before, and today i was requested for a long-term sub job starting two weeks from yesterday. it will last five weeks, and i'll be teaching first graders. get excited.

as for my pathetic showing over the break: meh. i can't say much more than that, i don't think. i need to work on this grad school stuff, so i shouldn't even be writing this now, but when that's over i'm ready to begin writing again. i have some new things bouncing around in my head that need to be put down somewhere, and the intellectual abyss of cyberspace is my dumping ground of choice.