Saturday, December 30, 2006
Amy and I are headed to her folks for New Years. We'll actually be having a bit of a Christmas celebration with her family as well. Ten adults, six children, one small house. Should be fun!
Hope everyone has a very happy new year!
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
So, the interview was today. They hired me on the spot and said I'll get to negotiate my salary later. I have a few more papers to fill out, but Bernie the task lead and Bobby the DB guru said they are looking forward to working with me.
The job itself hearkens back to what I used to do in the Air Force and for Lockheed Martin. Of course, I had a Top Secret/SCI/SSBI clearance back then, but I'll have at least a Secret this time because of the nature of the work.
First off, I'll be the lead trainer in charge of all the training development, standards, evaluations, education, etc. I have never been as excited about a job.
I just typed what I'll be doing, then I deleted it. I'm a little reluctant to post it, but let's say we'll be handling some matters of national security.
Thanks for all the prayers and support my friends. We are ever thankful for you all and our Father even more.
Say a prayer of thanks to God!
Monday, December 18, 2006
That's right, the Brewsters are getting a cell phone.
I despise the idea, but I despise the though of my wife being stranded on Indiana highway even more.
The thing is, we know absolutely nothing about mobile phones. We're pretty much tried to ignore there obnoxious existence until now. So, I'm calling on you, my cellular friends to give me some run downs. The main things I'm curious about are:
Brands: Any opinions on which services are better? Cingular? Sprint? T-Mobile?
Types: Flip phones? The chocolate thingy?
Plans: What plans have you found the best?
We shouldn't need too many minutes as we don't really use the phone all that much. My understanding is pretty much all plans now have the free long distance nation wide, but that's more of a guess than actual knowledge. But if this is not true, then we'd definitely want a plan that included free nation wide calling. Actually we'd want cheap international calls too.
We don't really need all the fancy doohickeys, but I'm totally for camera phones and .mp3 players. But I'm guessing that all has to do with the actual phone and not so much the plans.
Texting I can live without, but I'd definitely like some kind of internet options.
I'm probably sounding like such a doofus with this information as it is probably all self-explanatory, but again I've completely ignored all cell info to this point. All info is absolutely asked for.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
On December the 16th of 1773, what we now call "The Boston Tea Party" occurred. Many people think of this event and can only come up with " A bunch of trick or treaters dressed as Indians tossed a bunch of tea into the harbor." I am blogging this to tell you why, and to help you appreciate it and our history.
You've heard the phrase "Taxation without representation." What's that mean? Okay, when these dudes left England to colonize "America", they were really still part of England. England had parliament (Kindda like our Congress). Everyone had a "representative", except the colonists. No one in parliament represented the colonists, so they kind of felt like they weren't subject to being taxed. I mean, how could people vote to tax them when no one represented them to argue for or against it? The biggest issue these colonist dudes had was the Stamp Act. Anything printed on paper was taxed. Here is the rub; the colonies were taxed 5 times the amount the folks in England were taxed for paper goods... Essentially, this pissed them off.
England loved tea. It was imported from China to the rich folks there. You and I pay 5 to 10% sales tax on things we buy. Tea was taxed 119%. England eventually lowered the tax and everyone was able to afford tea... So they "allowed" China to import to the colonies... And in turn, get some tax money from the colonies.
So the night came that 3 ships packed with tea arrived in Boston. This rag-tag group of dudes called "The Sons of Liberty" met in a pub, drank a few pints, damned the King to hell a few times, then decided to dress as native Americans (to avoid punishment from someone identifying them) and snuck onto these ships. They were not going to let England get any tax money from the sell of this tea by golly! By 9 p.m., they had opened 342 crates of tea in all three ships and had thrown them into the harbor. They took off their shoes, swept the decks, and made each ship's first mate agree to say "The Sons of Liberty had destroyed only the tea", they were met with almost no resistance except for the first mate of one ship who fought valiantly taking out the eyes of several of the residents. The next day, they sent someone around to fix the one padlock they had broken.
England reacted by closing the port of Boston. Some copy-cat groups burned other ships carrying taxable goods in other harbors... As far as tea drinking itself was concerned, many colonists, in Boston and elsewhere in the country, pledged to keep from the drink as a protest. May be why we drink iced tea more often in America...
So this Saturday, make some tea and think about what a luxury it once was in England and the colonies... or, grab a tea bag and throw it into the trash can as a "nod" to some of the framers of this country. And next time the price of stamps go up, or your senator votes to raise your taxes, notice the difference in your reaction and how the "Sons of Liberty" would have reacted. This ain't America the Free anymore.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I have been a member of the online DVD rental community off and on now for several years. For the longest time I went with Netflix because, well at first they were the only ones around, but even later because they had the greatest selection and seemed to treat their customer’s with a well pleasing service.
A few months back I switched to Blockbuster, and I don’t see myself turning back.
Here’s the rundown.
Blockbuster has essentially stolen Netflix’s game plan from them so both services are nearly identical. You choose a plan which consists of how many movies you want out at a time. For example I am on the 2 at a time plan which means at any given time I have two movies “out” (this doesn’t necessarily mean I have them in hand for this count also involves mail time. For this it costs me about $17 a month.
Both services have similar queues wherein who select the movies you want to watch and then as returned movies are turned in, the next movies in your queue are mailed out. Due to popularity of certain titles, an item in your queue may not be available when it hits the front of the line. Both services make not of this on their queues and will then send out the next available flick. I have noticed that Blockbuster has a tendency to send the movies in my top ten a little out of order even though none of them are listed as unavailable. Though I’m not sure why this is, it really isn’t too bothersome to me since I’m not that particular.
From my location and my calculations both services are comparable in terms of how quickly they process returns and send movies out. On average I receive a new movie five days from the time I have returned it.
In terms of selection Netflix gets the prize. They, by far, beat Blockbuster with number of movies in their archives. They also do not place any restrictions on ratings (Blockbuster doesn’t allow NC-17 or X rated films.) Neither company supplies pornography or “Adult” films.
So, why did I choose Blockbuster? Because they give you free in-store rentals. Before a few weeks ago they gave me 1 coupon per week to rent a movie from their physical stores. With my normal online rentals averaging out to two movies a week added with the 1 coupon per week I was receiving approximately 12 movies per month. At less than $20 per month this was already a big bargain.
Blockbuster has recently changed their terms and now instead of mailing the movies back to them you can simply return the DVDs to any Blockbuster store. Once turned in they automatically send out the next movie in my queue thus upping the amount of movies sent to me per month. Also each time you turn in a movie, you may rent one from the store. Thus, even with my old average of two movies per week I’m now doubling the amount of movies I rent from the store, and with the improved mailing times this may even triple. That’s 16-20 movies a month!
Well worth it in my book. I will probably even drop my selection to one movie at a time for $10 which will still see me receiving 12-16 movies per month.
It is a no brainer for me. Now I know most of you are probably now thinking to yourselves that there is no way you could watch that many movies in a month. The reality of the situation is that you don’t have to. With the online rentals there are no due dates or late fees. You can keep the movies as long as you want. With my DVD burner I tend to maximize my movie gathering and money saving potential by turning them in the day after, but you can certainly be more leisurely about it. Even if you take the $10 one at a time option and only watch 4 movies, you’ve still saved yourself money over watching those same movies with regular rental prices.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I'm sorry, Brew, but I had to blog this:
I was outside hanging Christmas lights after Wed night class tonight after the boys had gone to bed, when my wife sticks her head out the back door and says, "Josh, NASA just emailed and they want you to work for them..."
I asked her to repeat what she'd just said. She said it again and I asked if it was a joke or SP@M or something...
"Nope, this guy emailed you for real."
I finished up the lights and walked in, still not sure about how real this email was. When I got to the computer, there it was:
I came across your resume in our database and wanted to reach out to you to see if you are open to relocation to Huntsville, AL. We have a position working with NASA as an instructional design consultant that I thought you might be an excellent fit for based on your background. If you are interested please let me know and I will give you a call to discuss in more detail.
Ummmm, what the heck!?!?
This is NOT a joke. This guy is serious. He works for a company called Booz Allen Hamilton who contracts to NASA among other government entities. I told him to call me to discuss it tomorrow afternoon. Only thing is, we'd have to move to Huntsville. I called my Mom and she said that if it were her, she'd HAVE to check it out. Rachel and her folks agree.
And, after all, just because I check it out doesn't mean I have to take it. Right?
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Just thought I'd throw this out there; it looked like something some of you would be interested in. "The eBay Model Goes to the Movies"
Apparently, Google has created a new site on which anyone can sell video or film, auction-style, with ratings.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
While my wife watched, she also searched the kitchen for something sweet – anything would do cookies, ice cream, pie. She chastised me for having not picked up any such thing on my visit to the grocery store earlier in the day (silly me, I bought non essentials like milk and chicken.) She then started to crave a Steak and Shake milkshake which is when I started to pay attention.
There is a Steak and Shake a few measly blocks from our abode, and I have to admit they make a mean shake. Suddenly I was craving a little ice cream, vanilla and maybe a hint of caramel.
The problem was we were both bedded in for the evening and tucked into our flannel pajamas. Though in this college town we wouldn’t be looked at twice for stepping out in pajama pants, that’s just not something we do in this family.
So we made a deal. Next commercial we’d change, then the following one we’d make a mad dash for the shakes.
Now the thing is I wear my pajama pants a little free in the undercarriage, if you catch my meaning, and I wasn’t prepared to equip myself with a clean pair for but minutes in the car. Thus I stuffed my khakis over my flannel pants and geared up to go. I got the keys and the coats and we prepared ourselves for the next commercial break.
Like a light we took off and I drove like a madman on crack. Somewhere on Second Street it struck me how absurd it was to be driving in the middle of the night, in the freezing cold, sans underpants with flannel pajamas sticking out of my khakis all in order to obtain a frosty treat.
Never stand in the way of a fat man and his sweetened dairy products.
We arrived safely back at home with our delectable caramel and fudge milkshakes and we only missed a few minutes of the movie.
My alarm was set for 7 in the AM. After several snoozes I shut it off completely, knowing that this would mean we would miss Bible study and possible worship services. I woke up on my own about 8 in the AM but again rolled over decided I would not look at the clock again for I would find it necessary to get up and I just didn’t want to do that.
However, after some more sleep I did look at the clock and found it to be 8:50. Knowing I had to get up, I patted Amy and told her the time and she got out of bed in a jolt.
Entering into our bathroom we noticed that the light had burned out. Reaching into the dark tub, Amy lets out a little shriek and picks up a strange object. Handing it to me I realize it is a part of a brick.
Amy seems to not be bothered by this and again reaches into the tub to find a soaking wet towel which she promptly throws on the floor. I tell her I’ll toss the brick and get her a flashlight. Underneath I’m petrified. There wasn’t half a brick in the tub last night. Somebody had to have snuck into the house and put it there as some kind of signal.
I dump the brick and begin checking out the house. Even though conceivably the rest of our lights work, and that it is towards 9 in the morning our house is very dark. I walk through the blackness expecting to be attacked at any moment. Sensing that the culprit must be hiding in our second bedroom, which we have made into a study I bust in quickly with a karate kick. I then attack the closet but find nothing.
Amy, who is now in the shower, yells at me to join her. Before I do I go back to the bedroom, where our computer is located (in reality it is in the study) I quickly check my e-mail expecting something important, but finding nothing.
I then go to the bathroom to bathe. I have great trouble taking off my t-shirt and get it stuck above my head. Comically I struggle with it greatly before finally removing it. Amazingly I am much skinnier and more fit in reality and I begin to check myself out in the mirror. Just as I’m doing a heavy flex move I wake up with a jolt.
It is 8:15 in the AM and highly confused I wake Amy up to bathe and get ready.
Friday, December 01, 2006
About a year or two ago I signed up for a myspace account on a whim. I think, at the time, I was looking for other blog type places to do my writing and I knew a few folks with myspace accounts. Mainly I just wanted to see what all the noise was about.
It didn’t seem like much. Almost unanimously all of the sites looked terrible. Backgrounds were often loud, obnoxious and obscured the actual text. They were often way too busy with screaming, flashing lights, multiple videos and slideshows rolling at once and really annoying music would start playing even though I didn’t ask it to.
When I began trying to set up my own little space I could see the problem. The Myspace template sucks eggs. They give you little boxes to fill in such creative things as favorite movies, music, and books, but no tools in which to add anything interesting. They do allow you to add your own html and embed things like slideshows and youtube, the their organization is such that anything you add will look like crap. And it often does.
The only way to create something interesting is to know a lot of coding and have mad design skillz. Obviously, most people don’t have these things and so we get millions off awful sites. Including my own.
Well for the last few months I have quickly become very addicted to myspace. What it lacks in design, it makes up for in usability. I now check my myspace page two or three times a day. It has become nearly as addicting as e-mail.
Why you ask? Because everybody is freaking on it. They allow you to choose what schools you have gone to and then search for other folks from that school. Once I let everyone know I graduated Faulkner it became this big FU reunion. Kellie J is there, Scott Mobley, Helen Wishum, Devon Griffith, Jason Gray and even the freaking Gordon brothers.
It’s like I’m back in college without the crappy dorm rooms, curfews and studying to deal with.
So sign up people, and join the crap.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Since being laid off, I’ve found new enjoyment in daytime television. I’ve become addicted to Spin City and I’m even watching Dharma and Freaking Greg (even though I find the whole concept repulsive.) I’ve also become a fan of the Ellen DeGeneres talk show.
I don’t generally like talk shows, but she’s very down home, funny, dances like a white boy who grew up in the Church of Christ, doesn’t treat celebrities like royalty and treats her audience like celebrities. I don’t know there is something very sort of real about her that I like. Now I’m sure once I find a job I’ll forget all about her, but for now I’m enjoying it.
Most of you should know that Ellen became famous for her situation comedy a few years back where her character came out and became the first TV character to do so. You could say that she was a trailblazer for all the homosexual characters on television.
The thing is, she doesn’t do lesbian on her talk show. She doesn’t stand on a soap box promoting gay issues, or even mention her own sexuality on the show at all. It’s her telling stories, playing games with the stars and giving away free junk to her audience. No homosexual agenda at all.
The other day, my wife is talking to her aunt and mentions some joke Ellen made on her show and she got a look. The look. The look that says I can’t believe you watch such immoral garbage and you had better not talk about that moral decay in my presence.
I suspect there are a lot of people with exactly that kind of look for Ellen all over America.
I don’t understand this look. Again Ellen doesn’t discuss homosexuality on air. She doesn’t raise any issues at all really. The show is entertainment. She tells jokes and plays games. She’s not trying to tell people how to live. Yet she’ll get lambasted simply because she is a homosexual. The same people (and yes I know I’m over generalizing here) have no qualms about Oprah or Dr. Phil. Yet I will protest that they are pure evil. Oprah pretends to be the queen of spirituality and advice and has not right to. She’s not a Christian, she’s not an exceptionally moral person, yet she spends her day telling people how to live.
A few years back I caught an episode of Oprah and she had a man on who was a homosexual, but had given up on the practice of it because he had found God. Oprah chastised this man and said that God loved him for who he was and that He wanted him to be happy and not deny his homosexual urges.
So here’s Oprah openly supporting the gay agenda, but where are her looks?
In discussing this with my wife I started to ponder the state of sexual discourse in our churches. In my thirty odd years I’ve heard numerous sermons on the evils of homosexuality, lessons on the gay agenda, read pamphlets and sat through many a long discussion on this particular sing.
But what I’ve never seen is a homosexual in church. No, I take that back. For awhile I was taking a bisexual to church with me. But other than that I don’t see where the real problem is.
Don’t get me wrong, the practice of homosexuality is a sin. The bible doesn’t cut corners in telling us the immorality of gay sex. But I don’t really see where it is a problem in the church. Are there some rove congregations out there that have been taken over by a gay coup? Are members falling away for the gay lifestyle?
What I do see is a church that is falling pray to a heterosexual lifestyle. I have personally known at least six members of the church who have left their spouses for another person. Two of them have been deacons.
I don’t have all the statistics, but I think it is fair to say that the church is awash in pornography. Our culture is drowning in porno, and I can’t see that the church members have escaped this phenomenon.
Yet I hear very little about these problems. Where are the pamphlets on the heterosexual agenda, or the dangers of porn addiction? Why are preachers not preaching against these sings in a bigger, more real way?
This seems like such a double standard to me, and one that is doing great damage to the church. What say you?
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
At the beginning of the semester, those three letters were the most dreaded in the alphabet. They stand for Teacher Work Sample. All across America, aspiring teachers plan a unit for a class they are in a practicum or internship with. They do a pre-test on the children, plan the unit, and the post-test. Then they compare the two different tests to see what the kids learned. Then they write about 30 pages about what they did and why.
The length didn't intimidate me. It was the requirements. There were about 7 parts to the paper and in each part, I had to include certain things. Mess something up, and my score is lowered. Plus, in education, if you mess one thing up, it affected the rest. So if I had messed up one section, the rest of the paper would have been in jeopardy. And there's the whole proving I can actually teach something to children. Oh yeah, and if I fail the TWS I repeat the semester.
I turned this bad boy in about a month and a half ago. We submit assignments online. I knew that it would be a while before I got my score, so I didn't check it often. Sort of a watched pot never boils sort of thing.
I checked on Thanksgiving, knowing the woman who graded it would get a lot done over the break. The score was in. I clicked the link that showed the assessment, and read every rubric to each section. "Indicator met, indicator met, indicator met" was all I saw. I looked through about 4 times, expecting to see some sort of "needs improvement" or something. Surely I left something out.
Nope, I had gotten a 100. And the comments from the instructor were positive as well.
Charlie and I were both very excited when I found this out. Not only do I pass the semester, not only do I use this in my portfolio that potential employers look at, but I actually know what I'm doing. As excited as I was then, I went to class on Tuesday sort of convinced it wasn't a big deal. Maybe it was easier to get a good grade than I thought. During class, my teacher (who graded it) asked me to stay after for a minute.
After everyone left, she said "You got a 100 on your TWS."
"Yeah, I saw. I was really excited," I replied nonchalantly, and a little embarrassed.
"Diana, you are the only one who got a 100. Your work blew me away. I thought you would like to hear that."
As you can imagine, that made my day. Heck, that made my whole semester. There are some things that I know I do well, and then there are things I need to be told I do well. I feel a lot more confident going into next semester (and getting ready for next semester's TWS). I can't wait to start my student teaching!
Oh, and one of my best friends failed hers. They're reexamining her work and may have her redo parts. Of course, there's the chance she may have to repeat the whole semester.
The picture is a sample of student work I had to include in the TWS.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
It has become tradition in our house to do hand turkeys on Thanksgiving. An odd thing I suppose since we don't have children of our own, but we're kind of childish at heart anyway. This one is mine. What it lacks in technical brilliance, it makes up for in colorfulness.
Now tell me this isn't art!
She was at the house Sunday afternoon, talking about a paper she had to write concerning the canonization of Jude and the questions surrounding a passage found in Jude from the Book of Enoch (a book probably written by a Pharisee during the first century AD).
The verse is Jude 1:9 and goes like this:
But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
This verse is found nowhere else in scripture and refers to an occurrence outside the realm of what we know. How do we account for this? Are there other passages where ideas, religious or otherwise, are inserted in the Word?
The short answer is, "Yes."
Here are a few more passages I found here:
The works of theGreco-Roman philosophers Epimenedes and Aratus, quoted by Paul inActs 17:28.
Romans 1:20-29 // Wisdom 13:5,8;
14:24,27Romans 9:20-23 // Wisdom 12:12,202
Corinthians 5:1,4 // Wisdom 9:15
James 1:19 // Sirach 5:11
James 1:13 // Sirach 15:11-12
Here are some more I found here:
Books referenced by the Bible, but not included in the Bible, are...
Book of the Covenant (Ex. 24:7) Book of the Wars of the Lord (Num 21:14) Book of Jasher (Josh 10:13, 2 Sam 1:18) The Book of the Statutes (1 Sam. 10:25); Book of Samuel the Seer (1 Samuel 10:25, 1 Chr 29:29) Book of Nathan the Prophet (2 Chr 9:29) Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41) The Book of Gad the Seer (1 Chr. 29:29); Book of Shemaiah the Prophet (2 Chr 12:15) The Book of Ahijah the Shilonite (2 Chr. 9:29) Visions of Iddo the Seer (2 Chr. 9:29); Acts of Abijah/Story of Prophet Iddo (2 Chr 13:22) The Story of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chr. 13:22); Book of Jehu (2 Chr 20:34) Acts of Uzziah, by Isaiah, the son of Amoz (2 Chr. 26:22); Sayings of the Seers (?) (2 Chr 33:19) Book of Enoch (Jude 1:14)
Also, a missing epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 5:9); a missing epistle to the Colossians, written from Laodicea (Col. 4:16)
Very interesting. It builds my faith to see this since the inspired writers verify their contemporaries through mentioning them outright. What do you guys think about this?
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
This very weekend I sat and watched A Prairie Home Companion. It was a lovely thing – funny and sad and whimsical. Very much the sort of thing you’d expect from a collaboration of Garrison Keillor and Robert Altman. It’s got the sort of down-home, Mid-West low key charm you expect from Keillor and the rolling, dialogue over dialogue doesn’t really have a plot appeal of Altman.
Watching the documentaries about the movie I learned that the studio hired a secondary director just in case Altman died while making it. Now I’ve learned he really has died, and I’m suddenly inexplicably sad.
I can’t begin to say I’ve seen all of the director’s 87 films, nor can I pretend to have liked all the ones I watched (I’ve never found MASH to be all that funny, Nashville is snoresville to me, and I can’t seem to ever make it through McCabe and Mrs. Miller) but there are so many film that I love and cherish that the world’s loss, is my loss too.
Who can forget that night in Mullins dorm watching the endless, rambling and oh so entertaining Player, or Short Cuts? He managed to update The Long Goodbye to the 70’s making it relevant all over again, and almost out Bogied Bogie with Elliot Gould of all people.
He made a musical out of Popeye, and damn what the critics say, he made it great.
More recently he turned created a wonderful Upstairs/Downstairs murder mystery and forgot to tell us whodunit.
His style was more laid back than grilled cheese. He seemed to just let the camera roll and the actors do what they please. Sometimes this didn’t work and we go something more of a mess than a film. But when it worked it was pure gold.
Rest in Peace Robert Altman, you deserve it.
Monday, November 20, 2006
You guessed it, that's Julie Mullins dressed up as a clown.
My father, you see, gave me a scanner/printer thing while I was in Oklahoma. The thing was it was actually a scanner/printer/fax thing and the fax part stopped working. The father needs the fax on a very regular basis. You could, in fact, say that the fax was the main reason for buying the scanner/printer/fax thing. Though this could be contested as he does do a lot of printing.
This is before someones wedding. I'm thinking Jamisons, in Jamisons apartment, but I wouldn't swear to it.
But faxes, yeah, he does a lot of that.
Him being none to patient, and not all that computer savvy, gave the fax a few shots, but gave up quick and bought a new one. Now having two printer/fax things and only needing one really, he gave the extra to me.
And that's Jamison's wedding I think. Yeah, it's in the old Dalraida building, I remember the fountain in the pulpit.
Me, not needing a fax thing, but salivating for a scan/print thing gladly accepted.
Hooking this device up today I decided I wanted to do some practicing with the scan thing.
And this is at the Renaissance Festival (breast fest) in Atlanta.
Flipping through the old real picture albums (I haven't used those tings in years) I cam across a few classics to share.
Hope you enjoy!
And Don't we all look young?
Yesterday afternoon, I telephoned a good friend of my Dad who used to be to Mayor of Luverne (my hometown). He was appointed to the Alabama Department of Economic Community Affairs (ADECA) by the Governor and later promoted to the head of the Alabama Banking Assoc. In other words, the guy has some pull.
When I phoned him, he wasn't there, so I left a message. He called me this morning and said he needed me to email him all the info I could about the job so he could write me a letter of recommendation.
I emailed him immediately and he emailed me right back. Come to find out that he knows the Colonel in charge of hiring for the job PERSONALLY! He used to work with her when he was with ADECA!
So, he's giving her a call and plans to put in a very good word for me!
Y'all all please keep praying. It's working!
Friday, November 17, 2006
A few things happened during the application process that seemed like good omens. First before she had applied at all (which took the gathering of multiple things including her past teacher evaluations) the head of the language department at Depauw contacted Amy wondering where her application was. Being that most jobs don’t call you up asking why you haven’t applied we figured this was good news. Secondly when the position suddenly lost one class due to only a few people signing up (and thus lowering the potential pay) the head guy again contacted Amy and basically said that he would love to work with her but understood that these circumstances may keep her from being able to.
On Wednesday, Amy traveled to Greencastle for a full day of interviews, meetings with faculty and administration and teaching one of the French classes. This was the absolute first time Amy has applied and interviewed for anything within her field. Nervous is the word.
A quick word about the job. University hiring policies work pretty much the same everywhere. For those who have just graduated with their perspective degrees they are usually offered positions teaching lower level courses with a 1-2 year contract. Often they will travel about with similar contracts from university to university to build up experience. Eventually a university may offer them another 1-2 year contract when the first one expires and this may continue on for several years and if everything goes right then this person may be offered tenure, which is basically stay here forever.
The Depauw gig is a short time thing. Right now all we know is that it extends to the Spring semester. We are hoping it will travel into the next school year, but we don’t know about that.
I did, however, get word from Amy just now (she’s in Nashville for a conference) that she has been offered the job! Yeah!
We now have to decide if it is worth it to make the move up there, or just have Amy commute. Greencastle is about an hours drive from Bloomington. The problem is that the pay isn’t all that much, and we’re not quite sure if it will last past May of 2007. That’s a lot of expense for not that much. I think if we can get a guarantee that she’ll have the job in the next term, we’ll make the move.
We’ll see, and man am I ever glad she got the job.
It was on Wednesday and there was a tornado drill (well, not a drill, the real thing) that late morning. I work on the top floor but usually refuse to go downstairs and sit in a hall with 60 or 70 teenagers...
I stayed in my office watching the wonder of nature outside my window. Just then, a very large wooden sign falls over and it pushed against my truck... i smirk and think "Eh, It is a truck". Then, the waterfall that forms right outside my window during a heavy rain begins to fall horizontally... i mean at an almost 180 degree angle....
The power then goes out and my UPS starts to kick in with beeps and screeches, keeping my servers up. Say no more; I unplug my laptop and walk downstairs...
After the storm, we learn that th FunZone (A LARGE building, made of concrete and metal, that housed a skating rink, bumpercars, video games and other 'fun' stuff) was hit by a tornado... When i saw the damage, it literally looked about as much of a building as the world trade trowers did after 9/11... like a bomb went off in it....
FYI, the FunZone has something during the days called "The learning zone" which is essentially a daycare... it had about 60 kids in there at the time. The employyes did a masterful job of getting the kids out before the tornado hit. One kid had to get stitches in his jaw and head, and was out of the hospital in less than 24 hours. Most of the kids got a kick out of the whole ordeal because they got to seek shelter in a dry cleaning store (pretty much a field trip). Then moms and dads showed up crying and in a panic, which (of course) made the kids panic and start crying... lighten up mom!
Likewise, saddleback ridge and taylor crossing apartments (my old stomping grounds) got hit big time. The tragedy in all this was that most renters dont have renters insurance... and all their processions are now gone.
Vaughn Parck c of C and Frazier UMC opened up as shelters this week...
See pics! All pics courtesy of Ryan F.
The not-so FUnZone... between the KFC and the car audio place. If you havent been in Fungomery in a while, this is right next to the BIG post office by AUM (Where all the good looking women send their mail). That post office has been closed ever since. All front windows blown out and cars upside down.
Saddleback Ridge apartments and some randomly mangled metal....
And Taylor Crossing apartments. Me and Ryan used to live here. Notice the top floor unit... there is a reason they tell you go go to the bottom level during a tornado... Only glass left on that SUV is the windshield.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I may have mentioned this already, but last Thursday evening in my class at Faulkner, I mentioned my need for employment to one of my students. She happens to be in the Air National Guard at Dannelly ANG Base here in Montgomery, so I asked her about possible positions thhere. She said they are starting a new program called the National Youth ChalleNGe. It's a program for kids who have dropped out of school and want to get their GED in an environment of discipline, care, and organization.
She got in touch with the lady who takes the resumes while I ran across the hall to the computer lab to print my resume. I brought it back to her and she said she'd take the resume straight to the top; a Colonel in charge of hiring for the program.
I got an email from my student today. She told me that she had taken my resume to the Colonel and to an Information Systems group out on Base.
I asked her to take an updated Resume and Cover Letter to the Colonel, which she graciously did. She emailed me back a little while later and said she gave them to the Colonel and she was very interested!
Y'all please continue to pray for the right thing, but I'd really love to do this job!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The more I think, the more I find that there are very few "absolutes" in this world. I am finding that so many things in life are so relative to an individual, family, city, state, society, or country.
I was reading a book that I bought last night on dreams. This section is about shamans of all native cultures, particularly Native American cultures. A 'shaman' today would be classified as a schizophrenic lunatic who hallucinates. He would be put on a countless array of medication, be shunned by society, end up in a mental ward, and probably kill himself.
Yet, a shaman 100 or more years ago in his tribe is praised, held in high stature, looked to for guidance. Ironically, most shaman were forced into their positions against their will... how many Americans would fight, kicking and screaming to be looked up to... more relativity.
Likewise, these cultures many times used mushrooms and cannabis regularly to induce lucid dreams, and were used as commonly as we may use a toothpick... We would get hassled by the cops for merely dressing like a hippie at a concert here. Our society feels free to pick and choose what is bad and what is good.
Brew and his wife go to France and the CHURCH OF CHRIST folks there drink wine and beer regularly, as regular as we would drink Coke or Pepsi... Relativity even comes into play at certain OCCATIONS or times of year! I could share a cigar with pals at church if I had a baby... but smoke one on any other occasion (or no special occasion at all) and I get labeled as an addict.
Back to dreams, western society (mostly in the medical field) look at dreams as nothing more than a garbage dumb of the brain getting rid of images and thoughts collected during the day that are useless, but other cultures of every country look to them for insight, and learning.
So what is absolute? Are there any absolute truths? God and the Bible aside of course. (Though one could easily make the argument that many cultures and other religions have a god and have a 'bible' of sorts that they call truth and call our bunk.) Are we humans just a creature that can go around pointing at things not our own and call it 'good' or bad'? 'wrong' or 'right'? 'Insane' or 'sane'?
Am I colorblind? Or is everyone else colorblind...? Do those who see hallucinations 'seeing things' or are we all crazy because we CAN’T see them?
I dont want this to turn into a "If it is bad for you then it is a sin" debate because the retort will always come back as "dont eat junk food then"... in fact, if possible, keeping this away from 'sin' and 'religion' would really help this discussion (if one turns out) be alot more enjoyable... we all are saved Christians here, all of which are pretty staeadfast in our own seperate beleifs of what is right and wrong, so none of us are going to change despite all the commenting that may go on. Besides, this post isnt about religion, or God... see the title...
Per a request on the previous post, I am writing something new. What I have to contribute is a bit mundane. I'm tired. I have made a command decision to wake up before my kids do so I don't feel like smothering them to get them back to sleep every morning. I've been fighting them for an hour at a time just to grab 10 extra minutes of sleep. So 6AM, here I come. Coffee is my friend. And I will make the effort to get to bed by 10PM- not likely, but it's worth a shot.
Noah (3 months old) still wakes up about 3 times a night to eat or just to fart. This kid has more gas than the Hindenburg. He especially likes to take early morning strains, grunting and fussing and flailing. I have been bringing him into my bed and trying to comfort him while sleeping and it's not working. Holding a pacifier in his mouth and pushing on his feet so he has leverage for long periods of time puts quite a strain on the back and neck. So I wake up grumpy, sore, and feeling like I've lost a battle. He eventually falls asleep again, but somehow Luke (2 1/2) knows I'm about to get some rest and he wakes up hungry. I feel like an ogre. This has to stop.
I don't feel too sorry for myself, though, because some friends of ours just adopted and brought home 10-day-old twins! Now that's tired!
Thursday, November 09, 2006
After he examined "my balls" as he called them, he, just out of nowhere, said, "Bend over." I asked him why. "You're getting the check." That's right folks. Dr. Hot Dog Fingers checked my prostate! OW! I feel so violated. At least it was over quickly.
However, my day didn't end there. I came back to work after being gone for 2 hours and went to discuss my surgery schedule with my boss. She asked me to close the door to her office. I almost asked why, but thought better of it and just closed the door.
In a few words, she told me that our current contract was almost out of money, our other contract wasn't looking good, and we'd probably have layoffs. She wanted me to know so I could have my surgery before that happened, so my insurance would cover it. I told her I appreciated the info and that I'd try to do that. I also told her I'd be looking at other employment opportunities. She said she'd try to help me find something in company, but I think I'd rather find something else. I wouldn't turn down a job here, but I look at this as a way to move into something I enjoy more, I hope.
I returned to my cube, disheveled, but determined. I called the doctor. They had no open surgeries till December 15th. I'll probably be laid off before then. Rachel called and I filled her in on the job (I figured Dr. Hot Dog Fingers could wait). She immediately sprung into action looking for jobs for us both. Thank God for her.
My parents, who have some pretty good connections, are checking the job scene for me. Larissa's helping me look on base. I have a good network inside and outside of work. So, I should be able to find something soon. But, y'all please pray for us. I don't want to come upon Christmas without a job.
Friday, November 03, 2006
In our lives we establish friendships with a host of different kinds of people. Some people have 1 or 2 friends. Some people have none (If you can believe it!). Some, like us, have a close-knit group that stays solid as the years and disagreements come and go. Some of us have 2 or 3 different groups of friends that sometimes never cross paths. Friendships are a treasure. I think some of us here sometimes take our friendships for granted since we have been together for so long, but understand that there are MANY people in this woulrd who would give their left eye to have ONE person in their lives like we have the 10 or 12 represented here.
Though, naturally, when one has friends for so long, you tend to take friends for granted. I suppose recent circumstances and events have shed light on the fact that perhaps I have become a victim of the friend-advantage-taking… with a one Ryan F.
Of all my friends, Ryan is the friend I have known the longest and been friends with the longest. I don’t really know what made us friends other than randomly being selected as roommates my freshman year. Mullins was to be in his place, but somehow it got switched at the last minute. Ryan is a bit of a sports nut, I am a casual sports fan and know very little of players and rules and history of the game. There are many other aspects of life that Ryan and I don’t share. Yet somehow, we have remained friends consistently through all these many years.
Having Ryan in town has been a blessing. I tell Ryan things that I usually don’t tell others. I can talk to Ryan about subjects that I may not be comfortable talking to others about. I can tell Ryan “Don’t tell anyone else” and I know anything I tell him is safe with him.
You’d think a guy that I hold this dear to me would be a guy I would hang out with on an almost daily basis. Let’s face it; none of us are 16 anymore and we aren’t in college. We have jobs, families, and some of us have kids… so the “hang out factor” with any friend in your 30s is low. Yet, we at least try to have lunch once a week. On those lunches we either let it all out that we have been dying to tell the other, or we eat in silence. Or we tell a funny story about something that happened that week. No matter the subject of the lunch, the fact that we try to get together once a week has been a testament to our friendship.
I’ll admit, I could be a better friend. We could get together more. We could talk more. We could have lunch more often. But, such is life.
Ryan is moving away, at the latest, January of 2007. He has been offered a job at a church in Jacksonville, Florida. It is for a position he has desired for many years at a church where the elders are loving and down-to-earth. He will get paid more and essentially work less. The best part of the job offer is that they came to him, rather than him going out to find a job.
Ryan has been in this town a long time. I envy him in the fact that he is going to be able to move up in the world AND be able to do it by moving out of this town which seems to pull people in and hold them here with a death grip. Tis a fine town, but for those of us looking for a way of escape, the task seems impossible.
Sure, I will have a place to stay if I go to Jacksonville. Sure, we can go to a Jacksonville Jaguar’s game. And sure, I probably will see him only a little bit less when he moves than I do already. But, going to Peytons Place restaurant to get a meat n 3 will not be the same without some funny anecdotal story being told by Ryan… I don’t know HOW odd and strange things always happen to him, but they do, and he knows how to retell a story.
No one is posting so I think I’ll add a few of my thoughts as I’m in transition. Here is my biggest problem moving to Channel 10.
I’ve got 18.31GB, 14.2 days totaling 4344 songs on my iTunes at Scripps. I’ve recently purchased a 300GB external / portable drive with firewire connections. Thinking that I’ve got a newer computer at Scripps I assumed that I could simply pop in my drive and then drag and drop everything from my iTunes over. I can’t. My computer here doesn’t have a firewire port only USB, how antiquated.
Now, all the stuff that I want to take with me including tons of pictures and files has to be transferred via a 2BG jumpdrive on to a laptop. I sort equate this to moving the water from one bucket to another using a soup spoon.
After today I’ve got five days of nothing much to do so my main projects are to compile a list of emails I use regularly, save off my Web Favorites list, and dump several gigs worth of text and image files onto an open source. In the evening it’ll be easier to dump the media down to a permanent device.
Then again I think I’m going to be in the market to get another external drive because after our last computer crashed with tons of family pictures on it I don’t trust computers much.
Yeah, I know. If this is my biggest problem, big freaking deal.
My class at good ole Faulkner has been nothing short of great. I love teaching and I'm happy to be paid for it but, the students are the greatest aspect of the class.
They aren't the best writers in the world. But, they have an ability to express themselves that intrigues and even impresses me. There's an importance to what they have to say. As a writer, I have never appreciated that as much as I do now. When you write, you're consumed with your own characters, craft, and creativity. No one else's art seems to matter as much as yours. After all, you're making up a whole world and following in the great steps of the literary fathers.
But, none of that matters as much as the heart and soul of the person who tells you about her losses or the end of his life as he knows it. So, in some ways, writing is a great equalizer. It reaches into the parts of us that we didn't look for before. Some will tell THE story and some won't. But, we'll all find something good and maybe even great.
I think what makes this writing different and wonderful to me is the fact that these people are not writers. They don't care to be writers. But, they yearn to be understood; to express in some way who they are. The result is a colorful mixture of words and phrases that delve into a world rarely witnessed by the uber-literate. The words say something true and unmuddled. They speak in kind, warm declarations. And somehow, in flattening themselves, these people make themselves rounder. I'm privileged and blessed to have seen the contents of humanity, clearly printed on the page. It's something I'll never forget.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
My life has been blessed with a “colorful” collection of wild, wonderful and learning experiences within the Scripps family. I would like to extend a special thanks Johanna Hoover for her guidance and endless patience along the way, with like sentiment for the rest of the Productions management team. I would also like to thank the entire Scripps Productions team for all the laughs and lessons wrapping up almost six years in the trenches.
Notching several amazing freelance opportunities on my belt along with the wide variety of opportunities Scripps has provided for me eventually “word got out”. From this, I have been offered a “backpack journalist” position at WBIR.
My intention is to continue to work through the 15th of November at Scripps with my last two days of employment in PTO on the 16th and 17th.
So it goes fellas. My time at Scripps has been filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. When I get to the top rated channel in Knoxville on the 20th I will be a journalist on a magazine program called “Style”. I will be researching, writing, shooting, editing and producing my own packages for this show.
I think it’s important to note that the NBC affiliate called me. That is a good sign no matter how you stack the deck. The Executive Producer said that every time the subject of finding someone new to help the show my name continued to come up. He said it was time to either see if I could seriously come on board or stop talking about me.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Charlie and I are having a baby!
The due date is June 15. That's about 6 weeks after I graduate.
We have the ultrasound pic, but the download thing's being a jerk. I'll email it later. According to the doctors, everything seems to be going well.
Please keep the three of us in your prayers.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
We live on the second floor of an apartment building. We have a small porch on the back side of the apartment which overlooks a lovely forest area. It is a lovely little thing and we have made use of it with flowers, herbs and other assorted greenery. Also there two birdfeeders hanging down which are kept full and can generally be seen with various birds enjoying a free meal.
It has also become a favorite spot for our cat, Thumbelina. Generally her and the birds get along as the birds immediately flee when the door is open, and the cat doesn’t spend her entire day outside as to allow some good bird feeding. Once or twice the two have met and Thumbelina has landed herself some prey. This is something that the wife abhors, but I understand being the nature of the beasts and all.
Today, being a fine, beautiful October day, I opened the back door and allowed the cat to enjoy the sun as well. She loves it when the door is kept open as that allows her the freedom of to-and-fro. I enjoy it as well for it allows me to not have to continually open and close the door for a finicky cat.
Moments ago I found the cat inside chasing what I thought was one of her many play things under the couch. It wasn’t long, however, when I realized that this play thing, might not be a toy after all. For one thing, the cat was completely engrossed in getting this thing out from under the couch – normally when her toys become unreachable she simply gets bored and moved on. For another I heard a chirping noise, and none of her toys chirp. As you might have surmised, it was a bird.
I quickly tore the cat away from the couch and shuffled her into the bedroom, door closed. I then carefully began moving the cushions away from the couch and then pushed it away from the wall. Finding no bird, I wondered if I wasn’t a bit mad, but continued turning the ouch over.
Sure enough, a little bird flew out and banged its head against the window. Poor thing desperately wanted to escape, but wasn’t clever enough to recognize a piece of glass (and believe me this isn’t a crystal clean window like in the commercials.)
I opened the doors as to give it an escape route and donned a pair of gloves as to not get scratched or bitten. I then tried to grab the bird to throw it outside.
Whoosh it went, grazing my hair and banging into the far wall where it quickly slid down into the relative safety behind the book shelf. Removing many books I finally made my way to an opening where I could reach at the bird. Unfortunately, the cranny was too small and all I could do was move my fingers menacingly at it in hopes it would change position.
It did and flew to another bookcase, thins time landing in front. It was obviously frightened and pushed itself frantically at the books hoping to find another haven.
Finally I was able to grab it and let it loose outside. It moved like it was hurt in some way, but it was definitely able to fly and so I figured it has a decent chance of surviving on its own. The cat was then unleashed and has spent the rest of today desperately looking for it’s capture.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
This is from Mullins, not Brewster. Mullins can't seem to post, so all complaints should go to him. I'm just the messenger.
In six years of work at Scripps I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of different “characters” muddle in obscurity and some of them shoot to the top of stardom. Though I’m not directly responsible for, or hardly connected to the 96% of those folks across HGTV, Food, DIY, Fine Living and GAC I still feel a bit connected to the process because without the little building I work in those people would not reach the rest of the world.
When I was working on The Best Of I first heard the name of what I then considered to be a sexy and fun little kitten named Rachel Ray. As things in life tend to do “we” (Rachel and I) have come to see things differently.
During a corporate meeting months before her first show hit the air I was introduced, via a 15ft television screen, to this vivacious, oddly sculpted and bubbly personality. What first attracted me to Ms. Ray at first is the same thing that has pulled in millions of viewers across the country many times during the week. That Polly Anna attitude, with nothing-much-to-see low cut blouses, and enrapturing giggle which slides through a perfectly supple mouth.
However, like old, slightly fractured eggs, week old warm milk, uncovered sun baked steak, something has spoiled. It’s been a slow process for me. One show was hardly enough, two was almost perfect. Two shows stripped out over the week was as awkward as the so-so girlfriend’s toiletries invading your space deodorant: fine, toothpaste & brush: fine, that poofy scrubby thing in the shower: too damn much! Three shows, the commitment is getting a bit claustrophobic, perhaps we need to see other people, is Wings on somewhere, please.
Then it happened… Each show on their prime-time slots began getting high numbers; the popularity wasn’t waning, in fact like a baker’s yeast it started to grow. Infectious giggles would wake me from my sleep, I realized that her ever so “Rubenesk” figure began to disappear, her nothing-much-to-see and Psalm inspired “declatee” was becoming something of the past. I had heard rumors about extended syndication and franchise opportunities, books, broadband, major sponsorship, product development and then perhaps one of the most male gut wrenching words ever “Oprah”.
The hippo of media conglomeration had taken a fancy for Rachel, not only had she taken a fancy but she saw potential. Having shat out and allowed to suckle the teat of success, Dr. Phil, her first prodigy was a dancing on the edge of super celebrity. Little did the world know my precious Rachel Ray was about to strap on the feed bag in Oprah’s troth and tap the ebony mammaries of an over saturated, super hyped, media monstrosity.
Last week as I pulled my wife’s first subscription issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray from the mailbox I felt a painfully electric twinge shoot through my body. Today, this very day, it hit me. After watching two and a half hours of Rachel Ray broadband clips, I hate Rachel Ray.
I can’t smell any sort of Cajun spice without hearing her tell me again and again in a dozen different ways that’s where her daddy is from. I like the way I prepare noodles and I don’t want her to tell me how it’s really done in Italy. Saying the word “arugula” doesn’t make me breakout into giggling fits, I don’t care what your favorite type of mushroom is and I sure as the world don’t want to have to hear it from your four hour block of programming on Food Network, every other pop up ad on-line and in the magazines that now seems to follow me from room to room in my own house. Unless you’re going to start playing Demi Moore’s part in the movie Ghost and get dirty with me at the spinning wheel quit shadowing me like an overly possessive, whiney, not nearly dead enough, Patrick Swayze.
I’m sorry Rachel, we had something special. It was beautiful and I will admit that I learned some kinky moves from you in the kitchen but I’ve had enough of you. If I smell something sweet in the air that I don’t recognize, I start to wonder if you’re stalking me in real life. If anyone giggles after slurping soup I begin to dry heave and convulse.
We’re finished, over, done, yes! We’re overdone, take me out because I have a feeling you’re going to consume me at the table of greasy, and grisly media super over saturation with a side of mid-western husk smoked corn on the cob, skin included because-who-has-the-time-to-peal-potatoes-these-days infused with garlic, and parmasion. Obviously the whole thing will be finished off with a light raspberry puree over a golden crepe filled with sugary sweet and walnut cream cheese. I’m sure you can fit me in before your first show at 2:30, maybe 6:00 or 6:30? If that doesn’t work perhaps I could be devoured around 9:00 or 9:30? Maybe after a busy day of media whoring a late night snack around 11:30 or midnight, just get it over with you over publicized giddy harpy, I’ll give you $40 for thirty minutes you ya saucy little tart.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
As a middle-aged couple with no children it often becomes difficult for me and my wife to take part in the childish things we love. My wife and I have a collection of children’s books – from Dr. Seuss to Roal Dahl – but no one to read them to. We have children’s films – from Bugs Bunny to Toy Story – but no one to watch them with. We fly kites every May and carve pumpkins every October.
For Halloween we throw a big adult party to disguise our love for such a children’s game.
We’ve made it a big annual affair filled with food, music, big prizes and lots of gooey pumpkin mess.
Each year the affair has gotten bigger and bigger. Originally, it consisted of a few friends and some snacks and has now ballooned to a house full of guests, a democratic voting on best pumpkin complete with generous prizes, and more food than anyone could possibly eat.
This year my wife went all out in the food department. We had sautéed chicken with a peanut sauce, home-made spinach artichoke dip, an enormous cheese plate with a variety of French and Italian breads upon which to place them. There were strawberries with a chocolate fondue, and some kind of fancy cheese bread with bit of prosciutto melted into it. To top it off we served pumpkin-spiced cheesecake with apple cider for dessert.
It was delicious.
This was the first year I have used an MP3 mix tape for the proceedings. Normally, I spend many hours sorting through my music collections making a handful of carefully selected CDs to spin during the party.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
As our culture changes and the connotations evolve between generations, certain words cannot be said without some level of odd recognition. The other day, my father-in-law was over and Luke drew out a little book from the copious stacks filling his book cabinet. The book was titled The Owl and the Pussycat and goes like this:
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,'
O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'
My father-in-law read it, all the time grimacing with the rest of us and trying to contain his amusement at the somewhat antiquated adjective devices and (im)Proper nouns used.
In other words, it was an odd and funny moment.
I think if I ever have to read it to a class of toddlers, I'll change "Pussy" to "Kitty".
Monday, October 23, 2006
Google Video now has the entire 1922 classic film Nosferatu for your viewing pleasure. I was just a kid when I first saw that movie, or rather the last twenty minutes of that movie and it scared the bejesus out of my pancreas.
Even then I could tell it was more than just a horror movie made to scare, but rather ART designed with a higher purpose. For years the image of the vampire standing in front of the bed as the sun rises crept into my dreams and haunted my nightmares.
When I actually did watch the entire film I have to admit it seemed to drag a bit and I can never get used to that score, but it remains one of the most haunting scary movies I’ve ever seen.
If you have never seen the film do yourself a favor and catch it now. And once you are done catch the other full length films available on Google like Plan 9 From Outerspace, Night of the Living Dead and Reefer Madness.
Friday, October 20, 2006
My first week as an English professor was fun, enlightening, and tiring. It looks like I'll have six students altogether. They're all adult students and they're all trying to better themselves, so I have received good reactions to assignments, class participation, etc.
The fun part, though, is the teaching! Tuesday night, I introduced the course and did a little writing exercise with the students. I asked each of them to write a sentence that described their favorite food. Afterward, I took up the sentences and we all had fun suggesting ways to make the sentences better. Then, I gave them a writing assignment and sent them home. The assignment was based on a Langston Hughes essay titled Salvation. It was about him going tot a revival meeting with his aunt when he was 12 years old. It was something of a rite of passage. So, I told my students to read the essay then write a 5-7 sentence paragraph about a change that had occurred in their lives for good or bad.
I got the responses back last night. I skimmed them briefly. One was from a young man whose mother had made him a ward of the state of Hawaii. Another was from a woman who had been through an awful divorce. They were stories they needed to tell.
Last night, I started the class by reading a narrative essay titled Brothers. It was about a man and his brother, how they grew up, grew together, apart, away, etc. We looked for changes that happened as the story progressed then talked about how to make transitions in our own writing. It was tough getting them to see the transitions and changes, but we all learned something.
The last half of class, we looked at writing as a process: prewriting, drafting, revision, editing/proofreading, and publication.
I taught and watched as they finally understood that writing was more thatn putting words to paper. It was cool.
Then, I gave them an assignment to write 3 paragraphs based on a reading about a woman finding her Cherokee heritage.
I told them to write the introduction about their family (member(s) or whole). The body was to be written as an explanation of how their family introduced their heritage. The conclusion is for them,so they can talk about how they plan to carry on that heritage.
I wonder what they young man who was given to Hawaii will write about. I wonder if they know their heritage. Perhaps they'll discover it if they don't. Watching grown people grow is miraculous.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I always figured I’d be the sort of person who had books stuffed in every corner, piled up on the carpet and lined against the wall, I just never figured it would be by the time I turned thirty.
Though living in a modest-sized two bedroom apartment, every square inch of wall space that is not taken by furniture is stuffed with shelves full of CDs, DVDs, and books. By far the books outnumber everything else and are spilling out like an overfilled cup onto the floor of every room in the house. This has been doubly fulfilled over the weekend having gone to the local Red Cross book drive multiple times.
In an annual event the Red Cross holds a book drive at the county fairgrounds. They sell the books in an interesting manner which compels me and my wife to go back and back and back… On Friday they charge a $5.00 entrance fee, but most people pay it due to having first crack at the choice books. All books sell cheaply – hardback for two dollars, paperbacks for a buck – and the best ones go quickly. On Saturday they take away the entrance fee, but sell the books for the same price. The first half of Sunday sees the books going for half price, and by mid-afternoon all books are $5.00 a bag! If there is anything left on Monday, you can take home what you want for the price of the gasoline it takes to get you there.
My wife and I always forgo the Friday pay-to-get-in night and thus headed in early Saturday morning. Arriving five minutes after they opened there was still a long line outside the entrance, waiting to get in. It seems they created some sort of barricade-like thing to harangue folks in, cattle-like, in order to get an adequate headcount.
No mind, the line moved quickly and inside this warehouse of books I went. They divided the books into appropriate subject matter – biographies, literature, crafts, paperback romances and such like, but that’s as organized as it got. Nothing by name or title, so I had to literally sift through the chaff. It was a grand experience though moving sideways alongside the maddening throngs looking for the hidden gems.
I hit up the classics section hoping to fill in my missing pieces of literature. I found a slew of great stuff – War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Ulysses, some Edith Wharton and a whole slew of Charles Dickens. They’ve had a great set of old-looking hardbacks of what seemed to be the entire Dickens catalog. Even at the great price of two bucks a pop, my checkbook wouldn’t allow that package. I held out hope that I’d see it later that weekend when the prices go down.
Moving to the other sections I picked up another large handful of books from the not-so-classics, but fun-to-read category. Like the Pavlov’s dogs of old, I was in full-on salivation mode just looking at all those books.
Being that all the books have been donated to the Red Cross for this sale, they are all old, used worn books which makes it even better in my opinion. Walking into a Barnes and Nobles these days feels sterile to me, like walking into a hospital reception room. It’s antiseptic no matter how cozy they try to make it with their coffee pots and big leather chairs. Not so there. Books lined every corner, people tore into them releasing years-old dust and the smells of a thousand shelves where they have sat for who knows how long. It was a glorious, wonderful thing.
The wife and I piled into line with our arms loaded, $28 in total and more books than I’ll be able to read all year. A rough estimate of what these books would total at a regular store ranges into the hundreds.
There is nothing like a book fair.
Later that afternoon, we decided to go back. My wife had to work on Sunday and wasn’t able to make it for the five bucks a bag deal. Not being satisfied with the morning’s collection, we headed back for more.
We decided on a $10 limit, making it five books a piece. Normally at this thing I go in, grab what I can get and think about the budget later. Setting a limit made it difficult as I had to contemplate each book's pros and cons before I put it in my bag.
That night, our kitchen table filled to the brim, we slept the sleep of kings.
Wife working, I headed back on Sunday with my friend Daniel. Big paper sacks were handed out at the entrance and the whole place was like one giant candy store with hordes of hungry kids running amuck. At five dollars a bag there wasn’t time to contemplate if I really wanted the book. I filled my bag and hoped for the best.
I once again hit the classics, stared at the hardback Dickens and decided it would fill my bag too soon, crossed my fingers that it would last until free day and carried on.
Suddenly Grisham, Koontz, and Sue Grafton’s alphabet series took on a glimmer of enticement. I’m not normally one for the current bestsellers list of easy fiction, but priced so cheap, I couldn’t help myself.
Two sacks later, at ten dollars total I walked out a happy little boy.
Monday, going solo, for the wife had to work yet again, I headed out for one last time. It was madness. All books were free, and the throngs were like a thousand chickens with a thousand missing heads. I pushed my way in and came out with a box filled with books I’ll probably never look at again. Alas, the Dickens collection was gone. Oh well, I've more than enough to line the shelves and keep my reading mind occupied for months to come.
All told we came home with some sixty books and spent less than $50. I have since landed most of them on shelves, though many still lie on the table, the tops of shelves, and on the floor...
I like it this way though. For a home without books just isn’t a home. If I wanted to live in a place that was neat and tidy with knick knacks on the shelves instead of books, I’d live in a hotel. No, I like it just fine - just be patient with me as I spend the next hour deciding on a book to read.
Last night in Wednesday night class, we studied a passage in 1 Samuel 23 that really got me thinking about you guys. I am ashamed I haven't been like this and I want to do better. The passage (v16) reads:
Jonathan, Saul's son, arose, and went to David into the woods, and strengthened his hand in God.
If you know anything about David and Jonathan, you realize that they were friends of a kind that is rarely found in the world. They loved each other so much that they would risk death, loss of a kngdom, and family for each other. In this passage, for instance, Jonathan leaves his father, Saul, who has pursued David to the death. He goes to his own father's enemy to strengthen him.
I want to strengthen you guys. Sometimes, like in recent posts, I become frustrated because I see things I feel might be a threat to our spiritual well-being. Why I latch onto one thing and not another and when I do, I don't know. But, I do. And I usually become so impassioned about whatever it is that I just wind up sounding like a jerky know-it-all.
But, I do it in an attempt to strengthen the hand of you men of God. Unfortunately, I miss the mark more often than not. But, I'm trying to be better. I hope we can all be like David and Jonathan and strengthen each other in God. I love your souls. Just know that I'll never stop trying and I'll try to be more understanding, open-minded, and humble, my dear brothers.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
In the name of artistic expression I would like to take a small moment to recognize one of the greatest artists in world history, Michelangelo and one of his greatest sculptures: David.
By the way, Mike, yeah, we’re on a first name basis, also did scores of religious painting in the effort of glorifying his Lord, in fact this piece is King David as he decided to battle Goliath. Then again there is some debate over this David is from Biblical lore or simply the name of the model the figure was sculpted from. One of the most interesting things, referenced from Wikipedia because my art history and terminology is too rusty is that the sculpture is done in a style to mimic the divine creation called “disegno”.
Also covering the ability to create such life like renderings of Gods final creations, Michelangelo also did a little known work called Pieta and a slightly better known collection of works in a building called the Sistine Chapel.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
If you hate speculation, don't read this. There aren't any spoilers, just some ideas I've been kicking around.
I've been speaking with a fellow here at work about Harry Potter lately. He's really into it and tends to get a little upset at the notion that good ole J.K. might off her wizardly hero in her seventh and final installment of the great HP line.
He strode by yesterday and engaged me in conversation, as he is wont to do, about the idea that there's no way Rowling could kill the boy wizard off since she'd be forever hated and her fan base would feel betrayed.
My response didn't comfort him much. In fact, I think it upset him a little.
J.K. Rowling is following a line of thinking and writing akin to that of such great Fantasy writers as Lewis and Tolkein. If you have ever read The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings, you know that at their respective ends, the main characters all essentially die and go to Heaven.
Of course, in those series, the only satisfying end to the books is for these characters to not reap the "expected" reward for their travails, but instead be rewarded in ways both unexpected and far exceeding the rewards the reader surmises.
How then shall Rowling create a satisfying ending to her voluminous tome? Harry has already lost many people he loves. His parents were killed when he was a toddler. His only remaining family either disdains him or has been recently killed-off. Even his respected mentors have either died or abandoned him.
So, I ask again, how can Harry be happy except to go where his loved ones now reside in a blaze of victory that will rid the world of wizards of the evil Voldemort forever?
I don't think she can present a satisfying end without the ultimate sacrifice, my friends. This is, of course, only my speculation. But, it follows a tried and true method. Either Harry's happiness must come to him or he must go to it.
Monday, October 16, 2006
This is ripped from the Jamison thread. I completely support the military as a peace keeping force; I’m using this as an example.
The laws of this country allow me to join the military and kill who ever they tell me I can without any sort of legal repercussions. Who ever I’m told to kill is a “bad guy” against my country and therefore worthy of execution. As a Christian should I support this idea of legalized murder just because my country tells me it’s ok to kill someone? By supporting this am I exempt from Gods rules when I break Gods law? I used “murder” on purpose via those pesky Ten Commandments. If this world is not my home how is some whack-o in the Middle East really affecting me and my walk?
Many a Christian is pro death penalty because they fall back on the eye for an eye tooth for a tooth argument. Still, many Christians believe that the ideas in the OT were “done away with” under the new covenant offered through JC. Please explain how people can pick and choose which parts of the Bible they want to believe and justify it based on supporting the law of the land? Following the OT example of a death penalty can we also use their example of using music for worship? Wasn’t JC the “turn the other cheek guy”?
For seat belts, it’s really a silly law. The belts are wonderful and I’m glad the manufacturers make quality devices designed to save lives. I used safety belts before it was a law and will continue to buckle in my family no matter what. If I don’t want to wear it, then I should be allowed to be stupid on my own.
I have my own issues I know but this country, and most of the rest too, have some really backwards laws. You can get an abortion at 16 without parental consent but at the same age can’t go on a school field trip without a permission slip. If a person is breaking into your home to rape, murder and rob your family and you shoot him as he’s on the way out of your house and don’t kill him, you can be arrested for attempted murder. I can buy a dozen rifles and boxes of ammunition in a moment but I have to wait a week to buy a less powerful weapon because it’s smaller.
Big laws that make a difference are fine but deciding what is clearly what in one person’s best interests against another persons is ridicules.
I know a civilized world needs laws and I’m glad most are in place I just think it’s a bit iffy if you’re basing your salvation on a flawed system of contradictory rules designed by people who are ensuring their best interests first.
Tomorrow night at 8 PM, I'll start teaching my first college class. The class is EH0302 or Fundamentals of Reading and Writing or Remedial English.
Yes, I'm teaching the folks who couldn't pass that exam we all took when we started college that told the academic overlords whether or not we should go straight to 101. The thing is, these people (at least most of them) are not traditional students. They're in the adult program. So, I'll be teaching people who have been using incorrect grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure for 20 years plus.
But, I'm looking forward to the challenge. I hope that something I teach them will make the difference in how they progress through the remainder of their studies. Maybe the single Mom with two kids will get that job she needs because she was articulate and knowledgeable in her interview. Perhaps the man who will be the first person in his family to hold a degree will learn how to read and comprehend more effectively so that he can create a heritage of words for succeeding generations.
I know these are big ideas, but I take this seriously. Hopefully, they will too.
Friday, October 13, 2006
I know. I should've posted this yesterday, but y'all wish Rachel a belated 27th b-day!
We went to Red Lobster for endless shrimp, then went to her parents' place for some nummy ice cream cake her Mom made. My parents were there, too, so it was very special and nice.
I got her a king-sized, memory foam matress topper and some nice, high-thread count sheets which we've both been enjoying. Luke got her a vase and some flowers and made her a card that had a pumpkin on the front and said, "I love you Mama. Here's a pumpkin!"
Twas a good and fun day. So, HBD, Rachel, my love!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I also want to say that as friends, I think we should be able to pose questions like this to each other. These are questions I have kept bottled up ever since I was in high school for fear of being laughed at, thought to be a fire-breathing lib, or just looking stupid... Chuck mentioned one smoke night that we, as friends, should be able to pose the "stupidest" questions to each other without fears... and here, I shall...
1) I don't claim to be able to heal people nor do I believe the Benny Hinns of the world, but which verse in the Bible was it that says "All this cool healing and stuff will stop on page 1, 156... After that revelation book."? I really and truly just don't see any hard evidence that claims it'll all stop at some specific point. Maybe I have been stuck in Psalms too long, been reading it for over a month now...
2) Speaking of Psalms and the old testament, the books are freaking full of music. Why are we so bent out of shape about music? God at least dug it at one time, maybe His tastes changed...? I mean, I can assume the 1st century church didnt use music simply to stay alive. They were probably pretty poor so they didnt have a sitar lying around or a horn handy, plus most were worshiping in secret so the loud noise wouldn't do much for a Sunday service unless it was about being a martyr... I am not saying people today who have the big band on Sunday are cool with God, He is probably a bit miffed that alot of people go to be entertained, but that is a problem with THEIR heart I would imagine... I know alot happened when Jesus died on the cross, but was there a huge instrument burning ceremony in the streets by all the new converts when he died that perhaps the writer of the Bible didn't catch?
3) God sure talked to alot of people, old and new testament... I hear this alot "We have the Bible now, so God speaks to us through it." Yeah, but it is like saying "God said it all already, He is too tired to say it again, check your concordance." or it is like saying "God can't do that anymore..." He CAN'T??? Again, point to the BCV that says he has taken a vacation from talking to people... I will admit, there are probably few if any people in this world worthy of such, but still... Hey, I think the Bible rocks, I do, but it is funny that if we want God to talk to us, we have to spend $19.95 plus tax at Books-A-Million first...
4) Alot of verses catch my eye when I see the word "god" or "gods"... and I am not refering to those talking about idols... Psalms 95:3... "For the Lord is a great God, the great king above all gods..." so... there are other gods? If so, are they cool? I mean, not to worship, but can we at least like them?
...Probably several more that have floated in my head over the decades, but I cant think of them now... I hear printers churning this blog out, ready to be sent to elders around the country, suggesting that I be banned from serving on the Lords table on Sunday mornings...