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.