Monday, May 08, 2006

I Like To Think I'm Smarter Than This Blog Lets On

I've been meaning for a while to get on this damn thing and say a few words about King Dork. Those few words being: Frank nailed the dead father. Seriously, that aspect of the book blew me out of the water with how much it sort of paralleled my own coming to grips with the passing of my father. I've never gone quite as far as the character in the book, but trust me, I've cooked up some pretty ridiculous theories.

A few months after my dad died I started entertaining the notion that my dad wasn't really dead. My mom lied to me about his passing and then staged a funeral to fool my brother and I. The pieces were all there. My dad was cremated before I ever got a chance to see the body. My dad didn't want to be burried in a cemetary, so we burried the ashes in the back yard, so there was never a tombstone. My older brother Alex didn't fly in for the funeral, because why would he come all the way from Alaska to attend a funeral for his dad who isn't dead? All of this made perfect sense to me at the time. This sort of reminded me of a conversation I had a few months ago with a black co-worker who believes that Catholics and Jews changed the Bible in order to deceive black people. He had his pieces there. He made these points about linguistic changes that occurred within the first couple of centuries of Christianity, the plight of the black man in America, and the propensity for wafer thin theology in many of the black churches. Just like my staged funeral theory, it sort of made sense. Except for one thing; it's inherently stupid.

And I think that's probably the main lesson I'm learning in life right now. Just because the pieces fit, doesn't mean the puzzle is finished. There was one particular grain of truth behind my staged funeral theory. And it's a rather simple one; there's details behind my father's life and death that I don't know. When I step back it only makes more sense. When you're sixteen and your dad has just fucking died, there's certain things people aren't going to tell you, and for very good reasons. When I gradually realized that I was being left in the dark on certain things, I started to entertain some of the stupidest ideas imaginable. But, I like to think that's natural. Nothing makes less sense then losing your father at such a young age. Of course one is going to try and make sense of it.

For the moment I have to accept what I don't know and have faith that it will all make sense some day. I don't know why my dad didn't want to be burried in a cemetary. But, I know it wasn't because he was still alive. I don't know why my brother didn't go to my father's funeral. But, I know it wasn't because he was still alive. And sometimes it's when we don't have the answers that we have to put our foot down most firmly. I'm thinking that maybe the best reply I could give to my black co-worker is to look him in the eyes and say "Dude, you're just wrong".

And this is where I've developed a brand new appreciation for the Catholic Church.

When people were still talking about The Da Vinci Code, a friend asked me if I thought that Jesus had a wife. I reply; " No, I think that's a condemnable heresy, and just bad history". To which he replied; "I just like to think that Jesus was more human than the Church teaches he was". To which I reply; "The Church teaches that he is fully human, how much more human can you get?"

And I realized later that this young lad was merely harping on one particular piece of what it is to be human. And this is that ideal moment for the Catholic Church to be butting its nose in. Of course Jesus had sex, he was human. But wait, there's more to being human than just having sex. Of course embryos aren't human, they have no arms or legs or consciousness. But wait, there's more to being human than being counscious and having all the parts present and accounted for. Of course Teri Schiavo wasn't human, she couldn't feed herself. But wait, there's more to being human than just being able to pick up a spoon and fork.

And the more I study the Catholic Church's anthropology, the more it seems to me that she never actually tells us what a human being is. She never comes out and says A + B + C = human. Rather she seems to be giving us a lot of harsh reminders about what a human being isn't. And it seems to me that when the Catholic Church doesn't have the answer is when she has to put her foot down most firmly, look us in the eyes and say "Dude, you're just wrong". We need the Church to remind us not to harp on the individual pieces, because the puzzle isn't finished yet.

I like to think a similar thing could be said about me. One could read this blog and say; "Well, this guy's just an obsessive religious nut with daddy issues who desperately needs to get laid". And that statement would be very much true. But, that's not what I am. Or at least, it's not the whole picture.... I hope.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

If You Try To Be A Martyr......

I'll start this off by sharing a conversation I just had on the phone with my mother about an hour ago:

Me: I need to tell you something....I don't think you're going to be very happy.

Mom: What?

Me: *long pause* I'm taking a break from Christianity.

Mom: Phweew.... I thought you were going to tell me you quit your job.

My mom then went on to tell me that I was young and it was no big deal. I quickly realized she was right, but only because it seemed to fall in with a general realization that's sort of been blooming over the past few weeks. I seem to have some sort of fucked up martyr complex.

Back in the spring I convinced myself I was going to Hell when I realized that I was committing mortal sins faster than I could confess them. I started having panic attacks and lamenting my poor soul which had so obviously been predestined to a life of futile penance followed by eternal damnation.

I quickly became absorbed in the life and teachings of Martin Luther. Because fucked up minds tend to think somewhat similarly. And I soon traded in my St. John Of The Cross Complex for a Martin Luther Complex. Where once I had determined that I was destined for a life of ascetism and solitude, I was now determined to live a life of perpetual remorse, constantly bemoaning my every trespass and beating myself up over every little temptation which I was oh so helpless to withstand. I practically memorized Bondage Of The Will word for word and reveled in my new life affirming helplessness.

About five months ago I started attending services at a Lutheran Church. I loved the sola fide doctrine on an existential level. However, I had a very hard time reminding myself to turn off that part of my brain that remembers that I've actually read the second chapter of James' epistle. And I've found that whenever I'm searching for truth whilst at the same time purposefully ignoring it, I often end up drinking. Which was great because then I made sure that I had plenty of sin to beat myself up over. I was getting my fair share of dark nights of the soul and in the process I managed to break a toilet and flood my friend's bathroom.

Dr. Frank recently pointed out this which spurred my nogin to once again analyze MTX lyrics to the point where I become convinced that Frank is secretly watching me and writing songs about me (even though this song was written over a decade before I developed my martyr complex, which leads me to believe that maybe, just maybe, I'm not the only one who puts himself through this sort of shit). This line in particular seems to say everything:


>>One day maybe you'll be way beyond this silly habit you've put on, tough and strong enough and wrong and wrong enough for long enough to belong there, but till that day comes along you'll be sullen and regretful querulous and fretful carrying a head full of evil thoughts and there'll be lots of girls and people who want to know where you stand, but in your sackcloth and ashes you'll never make them understand.<<

-end quote-

But, if it seems like I'm taking this line completely out of context, don't worry, I'm not just talking about religion. There's a girl too. And as I go over the lyrics to Sackcloth and Ashes I realize that every single word applies to her perfectly (she looks incredible in blue). I started to like her because it seemed like she liked me, when I realized she didn't I became infatuated with her (I still haven't figured out that particular leap of logic). When she stopped talking to me I became infatuated with my own capacity to be infatuated. I was Kierkegaard's knight of infinite resignation. When I wasn't playing martyr to my tortured conscience, I was playing martyr to my undying and unrequited affection.

After a series of embarrassing drunken confessions, she quickly caught on to my fondness for mental mortification. She figured out how she could use that to fuck with my head and I frequently found myself in scenarios like this one:

Her: How come you never call me anymore? You used to tell me your darkest secrets, now whenever you have a problem you go running to Regina.

Me: You're right, I'm a horrible horrible human being.

And so last night I'm chatting with my friend Sarah, and she asks me a question that cuts right to the mother fucking bone.

"Do you ever like convince yourself that you feel more guilty about something than you actually do?"

To which I reply; "Yeah....actually, I do."

Saturday, January 28, 2006

May Petals Update

We finally got a song up on The May Petals myspace page that is an actual May Petals song. We've been working on an album with my brother doing all the producing/engineering what not. The album is going to be called Regina and will have eight or nine songs on it, I did all of the songwriting except for one tune which I co-wrote with Josiah. I think everyone involved with this project seems pretty stoked thus far.

Our first gig is this Friday at State Grounds Coffee Shop with headliner Lonesome Dan Kase, and we've got three more shows booked after that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I Got One Of Them There MySpaces

A few buddies of mine and myself have began work on a country/bluegrass collective commonly referred to as The May Petals. A few days ago we finally got around to settting up one of those myspace thingies people are always raving about. There's only one song on there, and I'm not sure it's a proper representation of what the band is about. Contrary to the novel nature of the song, the band is a fairly serious project. The song was written by my buddy Josiah, who's the bass player in this band. We'll have some other tunes on there eventually. I do the vast majority of the song writing, with Josiah and other random people chipping in here and there. We're going to start recording, Lord willing, within the next few weeks and our first show is in March.

Let's See If I Remember How To Do This

It's been a long time since I just sat down and wrote about what's been on my mind lately. That's mainly due to the fact that I'm not going to write about anything unless I can be as specific as possible. No metaphors or vague stream of conscious what nots, if I'm going to put my personal turmoil online for anyone to read, then I want everyone to know exactly what I'm mulling over.

Let's start around the time I stoppped writing.

It was Marchish/Aprilish...I guess. It was a Friday night and I was home from East Lansing just sitting in the living room wondering what the evening would bring. My brother walks in and informs me that the Sciba twins have expressed interest in a night of bar hopping in beautiful down town Grand Rapids.

"I'll be the designated driver."

Those are the first five words out of my mouth.

Designating myself as designated driver is the only way my mind seems capable of finding the peaceful assurance of a sober designated driver. Not that my friends are a bunch of irresponsible tits. But, relying on myself to get the gang home safely is the only way I seem to find any true peace of mind. I have fond memories of the last time I went out drinking, just a couple weeks ago, and the driver declaring "wooooooo, I'm a bit tipsy!" as we pulled into the Taco Bell drive thru.

But, I'm extra paranoid this night. It's Friday, and it's been a whole three days since the last time I had been to confession. My obsessive little mind was mulling over everything I had done since the previous Tuesday. What I had done Wednesday evening was especially bad. And don't get me started on Thurseday afternoon. The mere thought of it made me nauseous. I had to drive tonight. It was compulsory that I survive till 4 PM Saturday, when Father Russ would be hearing confessions.

So we pile into Jon's car and make our way to downtown GR. The first stop was the Black Rose, a charming little Irish pub about a block and a half south of the Van Andel Arena. On our way in we notice a sign that tonight there would be live music from American Accent. For those who don't have the fortune of living here in West Michigan....AMERICAN ACCENT FUCKING SUCKS. Imagine if the Spin Doctors were raised Baptist and thought they were funny. Not only do these guys suck, but they seem to be following us. We go down to the local coffee shop to hang out with the locals, American Accent is playing. We go the Intersection to see the Rockit King, American Accent is opening for them. A buddy of mine is playing lead guitar for some really hot girl that sings hokey worship music and Sarah MacLocklin covers, American Accent is on next. What the fuck? Now I have to start out my night as designated driver by listening to these ass clowns.

I don't even order a beer. Usually when I'm the D.D. I'll start the evening out with a couple of beers and then drink Diet Cokes the rest of the evening. Not tonight. I only have one thing on my mind, surving till four o'clock the next day. To be frank, I don't even give a shit if my friends all get alcohol poisoning and die. I had always been preoccuppied with death, but's especially bad. And for some reason, I only seem preoccupied with my own death.

This is all uber retarded. I'm aware of that. But, at this point, I am under a lot of stress. I'm studying for finals, making arrangements to spend the summer in Peru studying the natives as they dance around in commemoration of various saints that native Peruvians for some reason find especially fixating, and working on applications for graduate school. I'm not exactly having a lot of fun.

We leave the Black Rose two songs into American Accent's set, becaue they fucking suck, we fucking hate them, and there's other fucking bars to hit up. We progress towards Flannigan's. A charming little Irish pub about a block and a half north of the Van Andel Arena. This pub is only like a quarter Irish, so they try to compensate by giving themselves a really Irish name and serving $1.25 green beers everyday of the year.

After that we make our way towards some really expensive bar, who's name alludes me, just half a block west of the Van Andel Arena. Apparently this bar's selling point is how expensive their drinks are. We can barely contain our excitement. But, they're closed. So we make our ways towards some other bar, who's name alludes me, about a quarter of a block east of the Van Andel Arena. We hang out in the basement of the bar, which is quite quaint if I might say so, and I end up sitting out on a round of Jager bombs.

The end of the evening found us in the Steak N' Shake on Clyde Park wondering where Randy has been for the last twenty minutes. I'm on my third Diet Coke and about half way through my fries by the time he finally returns to the booth. We ask him where's been.

"Lying in the parking lot looking up at the moon.....I'm beginning to think that last shot of Jager was a mistake."

Randy's remark would become the title of a country song I penned just a week afterwards. It's been about nine months and Randy has yet to hear this little number to which he can claim co-writer status.

The entire ride home I'm clenching the stearing wheal with both hands just meditating on what a shitty person I am. I remind myself of what I had been telling myself for the last year or so. I need to either take this whole Catholic thing to the next level or I might as well just give up. The following week I begin talking to people about my intentions of joining the priesthood.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Heartstrings Of The Arizona Judicial System

My good friend Josiah and I have recently taken up the amusing hobby of doing other people's homework for them. I've been a college graduate for eleven days now and I'm already starting to miss it. Josiah has posted a recent essay we collaborated on over on his blog. The student in question was supposed to read it in class, and for some reason didn't.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Playstation-10 Years Of "Passion"

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Commemorating The One Hundred Year Anniversary Of "The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion"


>>For example, the president of the Middle East Center for Studies and Public Relations, Hisham Jaber, appeared on Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV on July 11, 2005 stating: "I believe the events of 9-11 were not… perpetrated by Al Qaeda alone…it is global Zionism that stands to gain the most from this…we know that since the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Zionism has forged the New Testament - and by now, 60 million in the U.S. alone have left Christianity to become believers in the Torah. Global Zionism has tried to forge the Holy Koran…"

The secretary-general of the Islamic Universities Association, Jafar Abd Al-Salim, also appeared on Hezbollah TV on April 22, 2004: "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion clearly refer to this: 'Spread corruption amongst all human societies so you can rule.'...All the pornographic films in the world are made by Jewish companies, and the same goes for drugs."

Sheik Muhammad Al-Mussayer of Egypt's Al-Azhar University, the most prominent school of Sunni Islam, spoke on Saudi Iqra TV on July 12, 2004: "What do they have to say about the perverse ideology of 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?'… What do we have to say about Zionism penetrating Christianity these days? Christianity and Judaism have a long history of animosity…This is not love but a relationship whose goal is to destroy Islam." <<

-end quote-

Gay Activist Gets Gitty At The Prospect Of Falwell Kind Of Sorta Changing His Tune But Not Really


>>"I asked him three questions," said White, during a trip last week to Washington. "I asked, 'Did Jerry say it?' He said, 'Yes.' I asked, 'Did Jerry mean it?' He said, 'Yes.' I asked, 'Will Jerry retract it?' He said, 'No.' I said, 'Thank Jerry for that.' "


Members of Falwell's team, said Godwin, cannot understand why White and others think the religious broadcaster has changed his tune on crucial issues linked to sexuality, marriage and civil rights. In this case, Falwell was merely restating his belief that homosexuals should not be denied the civil rights that they have as individual American citizens.


"I have known Jerry a long time and I think this was a serious change in his life," said White.<<

-end quote-