Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The return of randomness...

So, it's been a while since my last post. Reasons: School, holidays (turkey hangover makes it really tough to string together coherent sentences), internet failure for a couple days. So, there you have it. But, I'm here again with all kinds of random stuff to share.

I sat in traffic this morning for an incredibly long amount of time. I left my house at 6am for my usual 45 minute drive to school. I arrived at school at 9:40am. The math tells me that something wasn't right. Apparently there was a fuel spill on the freeway, as I found out later.

During the traffic stop (not even a jam, as much as a stop), I looked over and noticed a guy smoking. Wierd thing is I was jealous. Not because I want to form an addiction to nicotine, but because at least he had something to do while he waited. Although, in hindsight, smoking while waiting for HazMat to clear a fuel spill probably isn't the best way to spend time.

During the stop, I popped in the new David Crowder Band CD. Good stuff. A touch strange in places, but great music that runs the gamut. I kind of dig the eclectic mixture of sounds, and throw in the undeniable fact that David Crowder looks exactly like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, and what's not to love?

One of the worst parts about being stuck in a traffic stop is that rarely do you know ahead of time that such a stop is coming. Most people would like to know ahead of time so that they could call people and let them know they're going to be late, etc. I would have liked to know so that I wouldn't have drinken both travel mugs of coffee. Let's just say, I was really glad to get to DTS for a number of reasons. (That number being 1.)

My sister-in-law came to visit us for Thanksgiving. We had so much fun. We helped her shop for a digital camera that is her Christmas gift from her parents. As we looked around Costco, I found myself wanting a new digital camera, too. Now, granted, ours isn't the best, but it's not like I have to duck my head under a black hood or anything. Greed is funny like that.

Over the Thanksgiving break, dedicated student that I am, I read the new Harry Potter book. I had waited patiently for a time when I could put off doing my homework and not feel too badly about it, because, after all, I've got two weeks off! Let me just say that this latest book made me so anxious to read the next one that I'm seriously frustrated about waiting. How can she do this to me? Write, woman, write!

On a similar note: We recently undertook the mighty endeavor of watching the show Alias. We had never watched so much as one episode before, so we were starting from the very beginning (which is a very fine place to start). We got hooked, quickly. We finished 4 seasons worth of Alias in a little under 2 months. That's a lot of calling Blockbuster/Hollywood Video and asking if the disk that was already somewhere in the mail from Netflix was in stock on their shelves because, who can wait? Now, we're finished. Problem: Season 5 is currently on TV. Not on DVD. This means we have to wait. (Again, not my favorite thing.) And there was a HUGE cliffhanger at the end of season 4. I think the entertainment industry is conspiring against me.

Speaking of the entertainment industry: Go see Rent. Today if you can. If not today, then tomorrow. (But then, there really is no day but today.) You may not like all of the characters and their actions, but the message is pretty compelling. Really live today, embrace community, and be real. Funny these messages aren't coming from the church.

That's all for now. Except for:

Word of the day: commodious, adj, comfortably or conveniently spacious, roomy

Try it on your friends like this:
You: "Wow, those pants seem commodious."
Them: "What?! I just washed them?! Are you serious?! Do you think that girl at the bank noticed?"
You: "Your living room is so commodious!"
Them: "Uh, the commode is down the hall if you have needs."

Monday, November 21, 2005

New blog...

In a recent post I added a bunch of links and introduced each new friend that had been invited to the storytime rug. At the end I mentioned that there was another blog that I was really excited about adding but had been told it wasn't "ready." Apparently, it's ready now.

Ladies and gentlemen, internet junkies of all ages, allow me to introduce...my wife.

Her blog is pretty much just like mine except for the fact that hers features well-written posts on stuff that really matters while mine typically majors in drivel. Also, she can be trusted to tell stories about us from a completely different perspective...one that's correct. One other small difference is that she is chock full of ideas, meaning her blog should remain relatively fresh and updated. I on the other hand usually stare blankly until inspiration hits me and I begin typing another almost-new post about the Yankees. Other than those things, though, they're pretty much identical.

So, cruise on over. You can use the new link at the top of the links section, or you can just click here. I really don't care how you get there. Just get there.


Like now.

Seriously, there's nothing left here to read.

Why are you lingering?

You're starting to creep me out.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Behavioral issues...

Recently, I subbed in a class for children with significant behavioral issues. These children do not function well in a traditional classroom.

I worked with possibly the most patient woman I’ve ever seen in action (besides my wife, of course, who is sainted simply for putting up with me). This lady sat and took verbal abuse from these children who were not shy about calling her names. She sat and took professional abuse as these children openly messed around while she attempted to teach them. She read and did nothing but try to help them while they acted as if they couldn’t care less. But, she pressed on and never once raised her voice. She was stern when necessary, constantly reminding them that their choices would dictate her response, but she never yelled or appeared angry. In the middle of the day, I had a thought.

This must be a little glimpse at what it’s like for God to watch the church sometimes. He waits patiently as we openly disobey, abuse His name through our lifestyles and don’t listen to the things that are intended to do us good. He reminds us that our choices have consequences, as we laugh and make jokes about grace. Simply put, the church has significant behavioral issues.

I was terribly convicted in that classroom. I thought that the teacher showed way more patience than necessary, staying calm during times when I would have blown up. Then I thought how glad I am that God does the same as her. He stays patient with us when He would be more than justified to respond in anger.

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament lately and have been impressed with God’s patience, mercy and grace. His people were disobedient and He chose not to destroy them. He is the same way with the church. When we are disobedient, He extends grace and mercy. I know that I give Him plenty of opportunity to extend such grace and mercy and am thankful every day that I serve a patient God.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Making the grade...

The following story is true. The dialogue has been reconstructed from the best of my recollection. Welcome to my world.

I had finally given in to the inevitability of my fate and extracted my Greek homework from its Timbuk2 cocoon, when the door handle sounded.

She's home.

"Hi, Gretters."

"Hi." She said it with her turned-up nose and raspy voice, almost a hiss, that usually means I've done something kinda wrong (not really wrong which merits far different non-verbals).

Couldn't be my fault, I've just been here doing my homework.

"What's up? How was class?"

"I'm so frustrated!"

This can't be good, and yet it's kinda funny.

"Why are you frustrated?"

"I got a B on my paper. An 89. Seriously, how could that not just be a 90?"

"Honey, there's nothing wrong with a B."

"I wanted an A."

"I know, but it's not like you've got nothing else going on in life."

She turned the tables. "Wouldn't you be frustrated if you got a B?"


Her eyes sparkled. "What about the paper lying on the desk? You got a B on that. Doesn't that bother you?"

She'd seen that? I generally hide all evidences of my shame in the file cabinet lest anyone see behind the curtain.

"Actually, yeah, it does. But, I don't have a full-time job. There's no reason for me to be getting a B on anything."

"Yeah, I guess you're right. You shouldn't be getting Bs."

I love being married to a smart, funny woman.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ruminations on art...

I've now been to the Dallas Museum of Art twice in the last week. I know that sounds real Vanderbiltian of me, but it was free both times. Well within my price range. On Tuesday, I went for my Creative Writing class (more on that below). Last night, I went with my Christian View of Art Class. Both were great trips. Each was unique. On Tuesday, I found a couple of pieces that I appreciated. For whatever reason, I liked them. On Thursday night, I walked around mostly with my professor and heard what I'd missed on Tuesday. Good stuff. If you live in the 'Plex and haven't been to the DMA, you need to go. It's fun, free on the first Tuesday of the month and every Thursday after 5pm, and features some great art. By people you've heard of. But whose work you've never seen. Until now.

Speaking of art, I just finished reading Modern Art and the Death of a Culture, by Hans Rookmaaker. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Rookmaaker traces the development of art in its historic contexts and shows how what we seen in modern art is really a logical consequence of modernism and the Enlightenment. Great argument. Being a Christ-follower, he also discusses what Christians' responses should be to art. Surprisingly, I don't think he'd like what he sees at Mardel.

I mentioned my creative writing trip to the DMA. We had to pick a piece of art and write about it, and make sure that we could bring a postcard or something that had the image to class. I selected a very tall European painting of a man, dressed in red and holding a battle axe. In the absence of any postcard, I selected a different image, but one that had still struck me. I wrote about Peaceable Kingdom, (above) painted by Edward Hicks. Apparently, Hicks was fascinated by this theme and produced some form of this painting over 100 times. My piece on this piece follows:

Peace came to Pennsylvania; predator rested with prey. With olive branch in hand, the child led nature’s cease-fire. William Penn, treaties and co-existence. Isaiah foresaw it all. With contented sighs the animals jostled, frolicked, nudged, played. Breathing in the honey air, who would want to leave? But this peace could not last. Man works like that. Peace came to Pennsylvania. Did you miss it?

Peace came to Palestine; the predator had his prey. With nails in hand, the child led judgment’s cease-fire. Pilate, beatings, agonizing existence. Isaiah foresaw it all. With horrified shrieks the women doubted, questioned, sobbed, prayed. Screaming in the blackened air, “Father, why did you leave?” But this death would not last. God works like that. Peace came to Palestine. Did you miss it?