Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Monday Morning's Crazy Dream

I thank NPR for that crazy dream I had last Monday Morning. Luckily I set my alarm for about 20 minutes earlier than I needed to get up, because when my alarm went off to the Congressional debate about whether or not to continue Terri Schiavo’s life support, I began a crazy dream that some made-up friend of mine needed me to go with her to her teenage daughter’s (who is a real person and daughter with profound mental retardation of a real friend of mine) IEP meeting to help her make some big argument about something in her IEP (Individualized Education Plan). NPR must’ve been airing different sides of the story because Congress was at the IEP meeting making their points about M, the girl who I was there to help defend.

Normally I like waking up to the news on NPR, but I much prefer the kind of interesting filler stories, although they can really provoke some doozies of dreams themselves. I really need someone to come and bang pots and pans in my ears in the morning.

Getting Focused

I can’t seem to separate what I want to do on my personal computer at home (download songs and stuff, read other people’s blogs, play around over on IMDb, and now IM my sister- thanks C) and what I need to do for school. Obviously, given a choice I’m gonna keep going back to the fun things mentioned above. I have to go to my office or to the computer lab at school (where I am now) to keep myself on track. I’m blogging as a break.

I can’t go to my office during the day because there are a bunch of undergrad and master students (guys) in my office all day long. They’re totally cool kids, but they're usually at my desk or have my chair (which pisses me off) and the undergrad talks my ear off and I end up helping him look up answers for his class (which is of my own busybody doing). The other doctoral students and professors end up talking for long periods of time, which is fun, but I might as well be at home doing nothing than doing nothing there.

Pretty funny story about our ability to gab and gab in the hallway and/or office: Not too long ago we were having a big gab fest in one of the offices and this chick from another department was having class at the end of the hall and didn’t shut her door.

First of all, shut your door in a heavily populated area. Second of all, don’t choose a heavily populated area. I don’t think anyone is actually assigned that room because it's so obscure.

Well, she got mad because we were “loud” although we weren’t particularly loud, and she made the big “SHHH!!” sound. I then, being the smart ass I can be, made a comment to someone who was just walking up be quiet or that chick was gonna do something about it. She then got up and came down to the door and looked at the name on the door.

I said, “Is there a problem?” To which she said, “You’re being loud,” and then asked what department we were in. Then I said, “Well, ya got a door.” To which she replied, “Well, so do you.” I wasn’t too worried. One of the most respected tenured and well-published faculty members was among our gabbers and she was more pissed than was I.

Then, my friend who had just defended her dissertation successfully came running from the stairway (which is right beside that chick's classroom) down to where we were yelling out of excitement. I’d say that topped it off.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

A Great Song

I'm still trying to figure out how to download Rufus Wainwright's version (written by Jeff Buckley) of the song Hallelujah that seems to only be on the soundtrack of Shrek. I'm sure I'll find it, but while I'm waiting, I found a free download sang by Allison Crowe at this website. She has a haunting voice. While I prefer Rufus Wainwright's version, this will do for a while. Incidentally, there are many songs on that sight available for download. Some are songs she has written and some are songs reprised from songs by artists such as Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, and even Nirvana (which is very cool). This is what I consider to be my latest happy discovery. Thought I’d share. (Discussion on the song)
I think the song is worth sharing the lyrics.

I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music do you?

It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled King composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you

She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Maybe I’ve been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you

I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What’s real and going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?

And remember when I moved in you
The Holy Dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
And all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you

And it’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Hip 2 B Cool?

There are a lot of “hipsters” in my small town. There are a lot of artistic/talented people and then there are people who are just “bar rats” who hang out with artistic/talented people. T hese are the people who run the coffee shops and the local hang outs, the bar tenders, the artists with their paintings on display at the coffee shop, the musicians who play down at the “Irish” pub.

The other day I heard this chick in the movie store say something like, “I found out so-and-so’s daughter runs with the same crowd I do”, and I couldn’t help but think, “What constitutes ‘the same crowd’”, which then made me wonder, “Is it really all that ‘hip to be cool’?”

I wouldn’t dare call myself a “hipster”. I don’t really even hang out much. The only people I’ve hung out with are a couple of professors (who I love and appreciate) and their friends who seem to be associated with the hipper crowd. It’s been a really long time since I’ve really just hung out in town all night, but when I did I’d often find myself talking to the people sitting alone at the bar. These were the people who talked to me about things they thought about life and the way they felt about things. They were so not cool. That’s usually why they were sitting there alone. So I have to wonder, isn’t life too short to be cool? Is life about being popular or about making real connections with people? I choose the latter.

Viva la dork!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Ashley Smith- Life Saved By Being A Servant?

No doubt everyone’s familiar with Ashley Smith’s story of bravery in a hostage situation with escaped murder suspect Brian Nichols. More liberal venues like salon.com (which I read) seem to be focusing more on Ashley’s negative past, but most are all abuzz about the fact that she read to Nichols from a book called Purpose Driven Life which focuses on being a servant and finding your purpose in life. This was already a very popular book among Christians. It was this year’s Secrets of the Vine, which swept Christian culture several years ago. I was even familiar with the book and have family members who’ve hosted Bible studies with the book.

I don’t want to speculate, as so many are (whole discussion on CNN the other day), whether or not Ashley Smith is a hero. I don’t even want to try to think about whether or not I’d recommend this book to someone (especially considering I’ve never read it and probably never will). I am, however, allowing myself to have a few days of taking the chance on dwelling in Conservo-land, which anyone who knows me would fit over, so that I can think some things out. Things like, shouldn’t we want to give up some of our feelings of self-empowerment and autonomy in order to serve others? Sure worked for Ashley.

Under Siege

It’s been a rough few days. As they say “When it rains, it pours”. It’s during those times that we do the most introspection and are most malleable and primed for pruning and self-improvement.

Nowadays, I’m generally confused about the most important things in life. Reared in an environment where spirituality was like food and air and ministry was what we looked forward to in our future, I never thought there would come a time in my life when things were so confusing and hard to think about that I’d become calloused from pushing things to the back of my mind and completely out of my heart.

Entering the strange life of higher education affected me. Because I learned so much more than the materials taught inside a class, I felt, as I think many who push past the ideologies they’re born into in search of “truth”, a bitter mixture of empowerment and confusion. As a result, I let go of my former creed of trying to embody love and kindness and adopted a “fuck you” attitude.

Despite my own religious confusions, I want to note that; the God I know and once felt such a kinship with reminds me what I consider some true benefits of striving to be more like Him and less like me. Those are:

My nature is self-seeking; His nature is giving and unconditional love.
I am flawed; He is perfect.
My plans may fail; His paths are always best.
I run out of energy; He has an endless supply.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Baby Megan

Monday, March 07, 2005


Asking the Important Questions

This discussion stemmed from a conversation about a guy we went to high school with who read Harry Potter all through high school and college. We were, at first, kind of making fun of him, but being a strong supporter of the series myself, I recognized my hypocrisy. Anyway, the conversation took a turn, so to "Friend" if you're ever reading, thanks for the conversation, and sorry if I fucked with your head.

M= me
F= "Friend"

M: Well actually, I think the Harry Potter series is an excellent work of fiction.
F: I just don't have much time to read anything other than trying to make time to read the Bible to my kids.
M: Well, the Bible is actually another great work of fiction.
F: Oh no! Don't tell me you don't believe the Bible. Well...you know, it does have so many contradictions.
M: That's because it was written by men who were fallible. Look, I'm not saying that I don't love Jesus or that I don't believe in God. I just may be a little closer right now to agnostic. I used to think agnostic and atheist were the same.
F: What is the difference anyway?
M: Many agnostics believe there may be a higher being but they aren't sure of the specifics, where an atheist doesn't believe a higher being exists at all. (disclaimer for ignorance...comments welcome)
F: I just get upset that every time I want to "do right" and agree to teach Sunday school at church, the preacher makes me mad by pushing his own personal beliefs about things on me.
M: That's legalistic. Here's what I'm saying- If there's a God, I just can't believe that He's someone who wants us to feel bad all of the time. I think He'd want us to act responsibly and I believe He set things up in this world to where there are natural consequences for negative behaviors. But, people are hurting other people in the name of their own beliefs. And, how can we be so egotistical as to think that out of all the many, many different beliefs in the world that ours is the one and only way?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Oscars are Over...Life May Resume

Well, my Oscar party went surprisingly well. I missed, however, about 80% of the actual awards. I don't normally throw parties, so I was a little nervous, but everyone seemed to have a great time. I made pigs in a blanket and we drank out of wine glasses. It seemed to work. I made gold stars with my guests names in glitter. It was a good idea, but would've been even better had I let the glue dry before hanging them on the wall. Several people asked to take them home anyway, so that was very cool.

Here's what works:
Pigs in a blanket
Chardonnay and Merlot

When kids come:
A gift that's an activity
Root beer
Kit Kats

Here's what doesn't:
Pizza rolls

I'm very happy that the fashionista fabuloso Cate Blanchett won her first Oscar (best supporting actress). I wish Martin Scorsese would've won best director. Clint Eastwood creeps me out a little.

This has been everyone's favorite quote from Cate Blanchett regarding the awards: Asked backstage by an Australian reporter whether she believed the Academy award would change her life, she jokingly replied: "Absolutely, you a--hole!"

I'm a little sad it's over. I watched the red carpet (with yucky Star Jones), the awards, the after parties on E!, the red carpet again, then the red carpet again the next day. O.k., maybe it's a really good thing it's over.