Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Mind Dwindles

As I sit down to write to you, ideas seem to flee from my mind, and everything poignant that I was going to say disappears like a vapor on a windy day. But tonight, I've decided that I will push through, and maybe by persistence I'll get a fire kindled in this wordless storm.

I'm not sure why, but writing seems to come a bit more elusively these days, and to tell the truth, that scares me. It's not that I'm a professional or that my wife is depending on my writing necessarily, but I have to run harder to chase this dream. I suppose that my lackadaisical approach to reading and my work-loaded, unstudious behavior doesn't have anything to do with that. But the mind is a muscle (unless you're a medical expert), and I don't want it to succumb to atrophy. Thus, my tale. I had the pleasure of dining at Sunny and Brantley's tonight. It was CheeseFest 2006, because cheese is about to be off their menu for Lent. So, amid heaps of smoked and raw cheddars, ricottas, mozzarellas, and two jars of Danish Bleu in olive oil and spices (one of which I got to keep), we concocted loads of gourmet pizzas, that migrated to the grill to become succulent cheesy dreams. Stephen wowed us with a sweet, dark German beer, and our gall bladders went on strike. But the thing that always challenges me the most in being around Brantley and Sunny is their endless cocktail of knowledge and passion rolled into one. Their lives center around Jesus, and their minds are empires of thought. Another challenge of late came in the form of my pastor. Whenever he and I meet mono y mono, all his rapt attention is focused on me, which tends to make me very uncomfortable. The reason - and I just figured it out today - is that it's near impossible to fool the man. Lies that I can easily tell myself stand naked before the scrutiny of this man of God. I might as well meet Larry King over coffee.

Intelligence is a virtue that I recently dismissed as overrated. But, overrated though it may be, it is not wholly unimportant. In fact, for those who have the capability to be intelligent, it is certainly a gift. My reasoning for dismissing intelligence was that I saw that it outranked Love in a world beset with a diseased ideal of cold logic. I was never really one who wanted to see the picture painted by the numbers. But now, the possibility of a disengaged stance comes into play. The old precept of, "Use it or lose it," doesn't appear without merit. So, with the disadvantage of being a working non-student, I shall nontheless attempt to set goals of writing, reading, and learning. Some of this, I suppose, will be somewhat revealed here, but let's not jump ahead. Anyway, I hope to make this sound less like a blog and more like a prosaical news article. I'll try to list some of these goals to give myself a reasonable degree of accountability. So with the dictionary at hand and the poets at heart, let us wade - slightly deranged - into the deep end of the pool.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Back in the Saddle

It shall be a short post today, as I have several things to do. I played the first show in several weeks last night (and the first one since I've been sick). Karen and I played the little sitting room at Carpe Librum. It ended up being a very impromptu concert for a cozy group of folks. So cool. A fellow there who is related to Karen took money that he put in the tip jar and made origami. Afterwards, Andy and I went across the way to Wok Hay, where I got convinced that I need to change my usual Singapore Noodles order to the Pad Thai, being that it's the smaller, cheaper version of Pud Thai from the Stir Fry Cafe. Whole leaf basil, bean sprouts, peanut sauce.......I love it.

I bought Caleb Howards stratocaster and case. So finally I have a power guitar of my own to take to Irmo, which, by the way, I feel that I'm way behind being prepared for. But that's only one of the many things I've got my hands in right now. Kat and I looked into other options for getting the album printed, and landed on the idea of doing it ourselves. Oh well, if you want something done right..... Besides, with the cds that I'm expecting to sell, I don't think I shall worry about big numbers, and these are easily replicated anyway on our part. Sorry about the brevity, but that's all for today. Check out Life and Times for more concert dates. And I think I'll change a couple tracks on there for fun and variety soon.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Taskmaster

You've heard of the Beastmaster? Well, these guys outrank him, by a long-shot. They are the taskmasters. They will make you toe the mark, tote that bale, polish those boots. Meine heilige Fuhrer! No, no facism. We're not there yet. I'm beginning to take issue with my new boss. The whole I'm-not-gonna-pay-attention-to-your-needs-as-an-employee (even though it's company policy to do so) is getting old like a bleu cheese left out. My availability is not something to be messed around with, and yes, it has been on my application since I've been here. And yes, I have worked here for six months and have the option of changing it if I see fit. Anyways, nothing is as frustrating as a boss that won't work with you (at least until I find something more frustrating).

In other gnus, I took someone to task myself today. After many unreturned and ineffective messages and calls, I gave the guy who's supposed to be pressing my cds the warning shot today. If he doesn't call me within two days, I call him back with the ultimatum. Then he has a Galactic Standard Week to respond. No, I might give him more than that, but I will be on the phone with the Better Business Bureau if nothing is done, and no contact is made. My money was deposited in his account at his Credit Union with his name accepted under the title of his business, so something is going on. But it's been a month and a half since he put my check in the bank, and I've neither seen nor heard any results or reassurances. So, as the foot taps louder on the cold hard floor, we shall see what a few sunrises bring. Back to the Batcave!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Free Indeed

You must unlearn what you have learned.

                                                ~Yoda Star Wars, Episode V

So, I've been struggling recently to do just that. The subject of grace pops back in on me, and my inability to wrap my brain around it has me boggled. One of the many ironic things about grace, though, is that God's grace is big enough to handle my misunderstanding. I suppose that I long to be ever overwhelmed by the knowledge of the Love that is big enough to forget who I am and drive me towards who He knows I shall be. But for whatever reason, that constant pressing weight of Love that lifts all other burdens from me doesn't always press down so visibly. Thus, I feel that sometimes I stand in the desert of unknowing. My recent past has been just such a time, and such times always invite the ease of a theology based upon the justification through works of goodness. The thought ever looks over my shoulder for failure like the vindictive teacher in "Another Brick in the Wall." It whispers just above the still small Voice that I've left all I know to be true behind. I reminds me of passages in James but distorts them to be based not on Love, but on obligation.

We scratched the surface of a study of Hinduism tonight at church. As I remind myself that this makes me nowhere near an expert, let me also remind myself that I know my God does not work around a system such as that of the Hindu faith: a system of good karma through good works and devotion. He Loves me. And I suppose that it's comforting in a way that I cannot understand. If something cannot surmount my intellect, then it certainly can't conquer my sin. But...

... if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

                                            ~Jesus of Nazareth John, 8:36