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January 26, 2009

The Voyage

Picked up this meme from blah blah blah-er and just had to do it.

What does your music library say about you?

1. Put Your ipod on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song.

What do your friends think of you?
New Haven (They Might Be Giants)

If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
If a Tree Falls (Bruce Cockburn)

How would you describe yourself?
Oddfellows Local 151 (REM)

What do you like in a guy/girl?
Oxford Town (Bob Dylan)

How do you feel today?
What's the Matter Here? (10,000 Maniacs)

What is your life’s purpose?
Otoño Porteño (Astor Piazzolla Y Su Quenteto)

What is your motto?
Hine Ma Tov (Miserable Offenders)

What do you think about very often?
Something to Remember You By (Bing Crosby & Judy Garland)

What is 2 + 2?

What do you think of your best friend?
Pretty Boy Floyd (Arlo Guthrie & Pete Seeger)

What do you think of the person you like?
Hide and Seek (Ani DiFranco)

What is your life story?
The Strenuous Life, Pt. 4 (Sarah Vowell)

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Lulu Land (Camper Van Beethoven)

What do you think of when you see the person you like?
The King of Bedside Manor (Barenaked Ladies)

What will you dance to at your wedding?
She's an Angel (They Might Be Giants)

What will they play at your funeral?
Christmas Time in the Country (Kenny Neal)

What is your hobby/interest?
I'll See You in My Dreams (Clearwater Hot Club)

What is your biggest fear?
Take It Around Again (Carrie Newcomer)

What is your biggest secret?
Thugamar Féin An Samhradh Linn (Nóirín Ní Riain)

What will you post this as?
The Voyage (Crash Test Dummies)

January 24, 2009


Maria and I went to see Rachel Getting Married last night and I've been sorting through the themes and threads ever since, even in my dreams, which were very active last night. I always think a sign of a good movie is when it won't leave you alone after you've watched it, even in your subconscious.

Without giving much away, if you want to go see the film and haven't, the main conflict of the film is between Kym, who has just been released from rehab, and her sister Rachel who, as you might guess, is getting married. Rachel, of course, wants the perfect wedding, and that means people behaving in a particular sort of way. Kym has her own drama to play out.

I've said for a long time that weddings are about power and status. They're about who stands next to whom, who sits at what table, who does what at what time, etc. Rachel's wedding, though idyllic in so many ways, is the same.

Key to the conflict is that Kym and Rachel so desperately love each other and share so much loss and pain together but they treat each other like props in their personal dramas - Rachel's wedding drama and Kym's recovery drama.

It was poignant and refreshing to see a movie in which no one was the bad guy and no one was the hero. I found myself identifying with all of these flawed characters in turn and loving them and being repulsed at the same time. Pretty human, really.

January 19, 2009

My Day at the Hospital

Today around noon, sitting where I am now, I got dizzy. And it didn't pass. And it didn't pass. And I staggered to the couch and it didn't pass. And I got up and threw up in the sink, and it seemed to get even worse.

After being advised by my mother, the doctor, to call my doctor, and being advised by my doctor's office to go to the emergency room (all of this with me being able to focus on things for a 1/100th of a second at a time) I called Charlotte and she came, picked me up, almost literally, and took me to the hospital.

For the better part of two hours the only thing I could do to help stem the dizziness was to close my eyes. I was wheeled through the ER because I really couldn't walk. Imagine being on a tilt-a-whirl. Now imagine it never stopping. That's kind of what it was like.

For awhile I thought I might be having a stroke. For a brief period of time I thought, "This is it. I'm going to die."

On the whole, I wasn't scared. I was happy that my children knew I loved them. I was happy about my life as it has been. I was a little concerned about taking care of my student loan debts and mortgage, but I realized that my life insurance should take care of that.

I'm glad to say, however, I'm not dead and it wasn't a stroke. The doctor isn't entirely sure as to what it might be. He suggested it might be a loose otolith, a stone in my inner ear, giving false signals. He gave me some medicine for my dizziness.

He also was concerned about my blood pressure and put me on some medicine for that and I'm going to work on keeping my sodium intake down. I feel very good, however, that I have shed about 25 pounds over the last 2 years.

Still, it's a wake up call. And, mostly, I'm very happy. Happy to know I have loved and am loved. And if I had to pass today, I'm good to go.

January 16, 2009

Star Wars... or whatever...

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Thanks to Lumpy G for sending this to me.

January 14, 2009

Thinking about my life in terms of who's inhabiting the White House

As we will soon have a new resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue I've been reflecting on my life in epochs of who was in the White House.

Lyndon B. Johnson
I was born in 1967, so LBJ was president at the time, but I remember nothing about him at all. The first president I have any memories of was...

Richard Nixon
My first memories of Richard Nixon was him greeting astronauts on their return from missions. I also remember in 1972 when I was in kindergarten we had a mock election and I was one of the only kids to vote for McGovern. I also remember being asked why I was voting for McGovern and I said that, "I think we need new blood in the White House." Where did I get that? I don't know. I wish people had listened to me, though. I also remember being irked that the Watergate hearings preempted my afterschool TV schedule.

Gerald Ford
I don't have many clear memories of Ford, though I do remember pictures of him skiing and knowing that his wife supported the ERA where he didn't, which I thought was odd. I had much clearer memories of...

Jimmy Carter
Carter was the president of my late elementary and early Junior High years. Once again, I was one of the few people of my class that, in mock elections, supported Carter. I remember thinking it was cool that his daughter, Amy, was about my age. I also was getting a nascent understanding of issues and being very concerned about energy conservation. The sweater speech made a real impact on me and I started becoming more conscious about how my choices affected my world.

Ronald Reagan
Reagan was the president of my high school and early college years. I went through a lot of changes during those 8 years and my image of Reagan changed greatly too. I remember thinking of him as a kindly, avuncular old man when he first came to office and by the end of his time I was completely disillusioned by US foreign policy and its arrogant use of economic, cultural, and military power.

George H. W. Bush
This was an extremely formative period of my life in which I graduated from college, got married, and was generally extremely idealistic. I was still trying to figure out how I was going to impact the world around me and Bush was certainly a foil. I remember being very involved with the anti-war movement around Gulf War I, as I suppose we must now call it, or maybe just Gulf War Part A. This was an extremely productive period of time for me artistically and, in this crucible, I found a voice and received a call to ministry, though I wasn't sure how that was going to play out.

Bill Clinton
The years of Bill Clinton were very much my figuring out how to live within institutions - the institution of marriage, the church, and so on. Both of my children were born during this time so I also learned how to be a father. I started and finished grad school and found myself moving, a lot. From January, 1993 to January, 2001 I was the pastor of seven different congregations in four different communities. I had six different addresses. I bought my first home. I lived in three different states.

George W. Bush
The Bush years have been my Duluth years. I moved here the night Gore conceded the race. And these years have been marked with disillusionment. My marriage ended. My relationship with the United Methodist Church ended and I became a Presbyterian. I have had to rethink much of what I thought I was building my life on. At the same time these have been great years of relearning who I am and taking responsibility.

What will the Obama years bring for me? What will my personal narrative be of these years ahead? These will be the years that my children enter high school and, depending on his length of office, go to college. I just bought a house and am putting down roots here. I've been at the same church now for 5 1/2 years, but with the economy as it is, who knows what my job security is?

Just thinking aloud.

January 12, 2009

Simon Undone by Bureaucracy - B-U-R-E-A-U-C-R-A-C-Y - Bureacracy

My son, Simon, was in the Sixth Grade Spelling Bee Finals at his school with 8 other contenders. He did well in the first few rounds and then he got handed this doozy of a word.

He admitted that when he knew he wasn't going to get it right he thought he might just spout out some random nonsensical letters like Q-T-Z-X-L-O-P which I thought would have been awesome, but he went down swinging.

I was really impressed with the contestants. For sixth graders they were all clearly very well read, intelligent, and good sports about the whole thing. No one had to be reminded of the rules and everyone acted maturely, even when losing.

I do think it's poetic that my son was taken down by bureaucracy, though. That was always my Achilles' heel.