5 07 2010

How could it not have been a great weekend?  I got off work at 1, and after putting all thoughts of the accumulated tasks I’d get to face on Tuesday out of my mind, Juel dropped me off at LAX and I was free to go.  Flying is something I do enjoy, even in coach – “economy” to United.  It started well, as the flight attendant asked me almost as soon as I had sat down if I would mind switching seats with a passenger in the forward “economy plus” section of the cabin who had a fear of flying.  I got to move up and gain a few inches of legroom simply because this man preferred the rear “safer” portion of the plane.  Hey, the way I see it, we’re crashing into the ground from the sky regardless in a worst-case scenario, so I’ll take the extra legroom on the way down regardless.

The lady next to me on that flight had experienced a couple of delays and missed flights getting out of Palm Springs (where a certain couple is enjoying their honeymoon), so we struck up a good conversation about the perils of traveling for work and the lame in-flight movie (How to Train your Dragon) before getting our food and drinks (not free, of course) and catching some sleep.  I got into Dulles around 12:30 local time, and while it should have been 9:30 to me (having lost three hours on the flight), flights always wipe me out, sleep or no.  John picked me up (after sneaking up on me in the baggage-claim area just to prove that he could have been a ninja if he had really wanted to) and we made the trek back to his place and collapsed in the apartment, awaiting the unbounded enjoyment of a holiday weekend.

Here are a few bullet points I want to expand upon when I’m not exhausted:

I caught four fish (in an admittedly stocked pond)

Experiencing the National Mall on July 4th

Trying to leave the National Mall on the evening of July 4th

-Waiting in line for the Metro

-Traveling on the Metro

-Realizing that we might have been better off walking the thirty miles from Dumfries, VA to D.C.

Timelessness of real friendships

Good and Ugly parts of American attitudes (see “waiting in line for the Metro”)

I’m already nodding off, probably because I got two segments of fitful three-hour sleep today, and a bit of jet lag is messing with my mind.

The fireworks were incredible, though.


18 05 2010

You know you’re close with someone when you can just come over to their place and be there for a while without an objective.  One thing I’ve hated about adult life is how much we have to have a “reason” to get together with friends.  Events and reasons for getting together are usually fun, and I’ve always looked forward to events with my peers, but I also spent a lot of my free time with friends just hanging around and talking, playing cards, board games, video games, building things, riding bikes, driving down to the beach, downtown San Luis, visiting people at work, and many other things that just happened.

Now, I’m blessed to have roommates who are as enjoyable to spend time with as anyone I know, and frequently more so.  I’m not complaining by any stretch of the imagination.  However, I miss the familiar otherness of having that friend whose house/backyard/dorm room/apartment I could just go to and spend time at.  And vice versa.  I think it’s selfish of me, but I miss it.  Maybe it’s a sort of aimless amiability that childhood can grasp far better than adulthood — and maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  I suppose I’m supposed to be becoming more independent, and while that doesn’t mean close friendships need be abolished as one ages, I suppose it does mean that the sort of close friendship I’m missing is going to be much harder to find than it was in Los Osos.  And I guess I’ll just have to learn to be ok with that, as much as I really want to have some nebulous person to walk through the door right now and start cracking a joke about the Dodger game that’s playing in the background of my thoughts.

* * *

Since the series finale of LOST is coming up this weekend (I think), I’ll be looking for any especially good Gilligan’s Island analogies I can use to really irk the show’s biggest fans.  Submit them as they occur to you.

Right now, I’m thinking of just “accidentally” using the term castaway around Randall all week, then walking around humming the best TV show theme song right before he goes to sleep each night.

The Thing About Things

23 04 2010

I’m finding the old “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone” aphorism (is that the aphorism?) to be less and less applicable to my mindset.  As I lose things, I tend to forget about them.  When I stopped having as much free time, I stopped worrying about keeping up with TV shows.  When my old computer broke, I stopped caring about playing games on it.  When I lost an old book I had been reading some years ago, I never again bothered to get another copy and finish it.

Really, I guess it just takes concentrated deprivation for me to admit how little some things mean to me.  I wonder if that’s a dangerous trait, since we tend to get more attached to dross and straw throughout our lives — thus, I run the risk of losing things upon which I’m more and more dependent before I’m able to see how little they matter.

Wow, I better start praying more.

*  * *  *

Apparently, I’ve authorized all 5 of my alloted 5 computers on my itunes account.  I’ve only ever owned 3 computers, so I’m sort of at a loss as to how this happened.  Either some rogue authorizer is out there, using up my allotment, or I’ve been far too quick to give away my precious music privileges.  Hey speaking of dross…

* * * *

As I was leaving work today, I was called into the office to discuss something five minutes after clocking out.  I’m still working on a tactful way to bring this up.  Something like:  “So, you know how I had to stay 15 minutes later than I got paid for last Friday?  I’m gonna need that time…back…in my life…please.”  (Always say “please.”  It makes it sound like you are polite, even if you are, in fact, a bozo.  Unless you mispronounce it, in which case you’ll just look like the bozo that you are. Really, though, bozos are best enjoyed without pretentions of obfuscations (cringe), so it’s for the best.

* * * *

Hey, I just remembered how cool I am today.  Don’t you love those moments?  I suppose it’s partially a sad irony that I would ever consider myself to be below a comfortable temperature, but to pick up on Randall’s reference to ocean hip hop as quickly as I did (only about 10 seconds, give or take)…well, it speaks to my something or other, you know?  Oh, you don’t know?  I didn’t think so.

* * * *

(I have got to stop writing after midnight…)

Disneyland Unfettered

18 12 2009

Randall and Cory and I and company show Disneyland what’s what:

The Spoken Words

19 11 2009

We had one of our better Two Stories Tall nights yesterday, as a couple dozen people graced our apartment with their presence and voices.  The gist of the thing, which we have held sporadically over the last 18 months that I have lived here, is that people read something aloud for the collective enjoyment of those present.  In college I had a few experiences of reading through plays, narratives and dialogues with friends and classmates, and I always enjoyed it.

This likely stems from how my dad used to read my brother and me Hardy Boys stories at night before bedtime.  I remember begging for another chapter, Skull Mountain (Dun, da-da-da Duuuuuuuuun), and the mud-covered license plate in the story about the signpost.  I remember my Dad reading other stuff too, but the Hardy Boys stories stand out to me a lot.  I hope I someday have kids that enjoy doing that as much as I did and do.

So, Randall transcribed (it took him hours) a Peter Wimsey mystery and delineated the various characters’ lines enough to be read by at least a portion of the people present.  It was a lot of fun.  We’ve had some fun TST nights before, but this one probably had the most people that actually wanted to be involved with it.  We had to draw names out of a hat to see who would get to read the parts, and people were noticeably disappointed and forlorn when they received none.  Thankfully, Randall also thought ahead enough to break up some of the narration, and others shared with those less fortunate.  And, when you add in the fact that one of our friends from the spring play Randall and I were in showed up from West Covina, you know it had to be a blast.  We heard voices and accents that probably should never see the light of day (most of those by me), but I think listening to a story with an audience is a commonly-enjoyed human experience.  We just don’t give it much of a chance these days.

And, speaking of things our society classifies as “just for children,” we also followed up the “Fantastic Horror of the Cat in the Bag” story with a Grimm Fairy Tale:  The Girl with no Hands.  (Or something like that)  You can find it easily enough online (it’s public domain), but the thing is just horrifically violent.  I mean, this poor girl has her hands chopped off by her Dad because the devil made him do it.  It’s ok, though, because she is pious.  Man, stories were different back in those times.  And, by “different,” I mean awful.

Of course, anything can become awesome when read aloud by the right people, and it’s safe to say that the right people were picked.

You just had to be there. (Mostly to taste Cory’s Cornbread and Randall’s brownies, the girls’ sweet potato bread, the other girls’ brownies, Cream Soda, more food……)

And, unlike that ghastly story, mine has a moral:  Go read to someone.  You should read to kids, friends, spouses, fiancees, financiers and chancellors.  Just don’t let the timeless tradition of oral regaling die out.  (I blame stupid internet…)

The Secret World of Alex Mack

15 10 2009

I had a great breakfast with a friend this week.  I really like breakfast in general, but breakfasting with friends is always a great way to start the day.  It’s strange, however, because if I am eating a normal breakfast at home, I prefer to just make some _____ and grab some grapefruit juice and read an article or two in a quiet place.  I’m not much for conversation, words, or even grunts in the morning.  However, when I’m pumping coffee and cholesterol into my bloodstream with an enabler, look out world.

One of things Alex and I talked about was money.  While both of us are in the “needing some” area of the money scale, it was interesting to hear each other as we basically echoed similar thoughts back and forth about the fixation upon money that our society has.  In fact, Christians as much as (if not more than) anyone seem to seek financial security as if it’s an identifiable point in life that will enable them to live more freely.  But when has money, of all things, ever granted true security?  Surely, having money to support and sustain a family is a worthy goal, but once we begin to think that it is we who are providing that money for ourselves, things start to get murky.  I don’t need to retread tired anecdotes about how the richest people are the unhappiest, but it’s worth noting that the middle class is as dominated by financial worries as any demographic.  The security that we preach to be solely found in God is, however, much more pleasing when we know that our next paycheck is going to cover more than we need.

I’ve been blessed throughout my life to be strongly supported by my family.  While I have had a job of some sort ever since my paper route in ’97, there have certainly been lean times.  You know what, though?  I seem to worry about impending monetary difficulties more and more despite the fact that every previous one has somehow been dealt with or provided for through God’s provision.  This has often been family, and sometimes been random blessings, but I should be one of the last people on earth to be worrying about how I am going to feed myself.  I know that things may well get worse before they get better, but I also know that what I may fear as the “worst” is probably a far cry from an actually terrible situation.  In fact, it might be fair to say that, by constantly concerning myself with cash flow difficulties, I am squandering the wonderful time that I am enjoying right now thanks to the aforementioned.

I have so much more than I deserve, yet I continue to plague myself with doubts about my abilities and potentialities.  If I (and lots of us) could, for a serious amount of time, simply buckle down and work my tail off doing whatever I can find to do regardless of how much security it offers I would probably be a much happier person.  I think it’s all about a lack of faith.  I wonder how long I can sustain myself on my earnings now, or how long I can be blessed from new (and familiar) sources of generosity, but I fail to trust that provision will come as it ought to, and in doing so, I dilute what should be pure gratitude and love with a feeling of relief from worry.  How sad it is that I think my petty problems deserve worry when I could be praying for and worrying about others instead!  Someone told me today that they cannot wait to see what sort of career I end up having with my “experience,” and while I am tempted to take that comment wryly, I believe I would be better served to look with excitement upon tomorrow, waiting with bated breath to see which of God’s mercies are new this morning.  No matter how many times I experience them, I always feel that mere thanks are inadequate.  In that way, at least, I am blessed when people that love me show me generosity, because I can at least direct thanks (and potential blessings) back to them.  I guess this means I’ll get the joy of buying breakfast next time, Alex.


22 08 2009