Saturday, August 31, 2013

In God's Image ?

"There's nothing wrong with loving who you are"
She said, "'Cause he made you perfect, babe"
"So hold your head up girl and you'll go far,
Listen to me when I say"
I'm beautiful in my way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way
Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way

-- Lady Gaga
Was that the sound of hell freezing over?

Did Steven just post a melody on a Saturday

Did Steven just post Lady Gaga? 

    (Doubt it, yup, yup.)

For years, I have wrestled with my depression.  Some days better than others. 
And God knows I have two great questions.  Why and how. 
  • Why am I afflicted with this dark cloud?  (Not so much a "Why would you, oh God, let this / inflict this on me", as a "what factors have conspired against me")
    Is it genetic - a predisposition that could be found on my DNA?  Is it merely a chemical inbalance in the brain?  Is it a result of environment, the way I was raised or what I was taught?  Is it something I'm more inclined to because...I'm smarter than the average bear?  Did something happen to me to affect me so severely?  Or is it merely a rational reaction to stress and/or isolation in my life?
  • do I break these clouds?  What must I do to be delivered?  Is it nothing more than a point of view that can be defeated with the right argument?  Can I think myself happy?  Or do I need to find the right preacher to pray for me, lay hands on me, etc?  Or is this my 'thorn in the flesh'?  Is it a right mix of pharmaceuticals with damnable side effects - or some concoction of vitamins, herbs (legal ones), and/or minerals?  Or do I just need to make sure I don't go too long without meat?
People have debated for decades whether various mental abnormalities are born or bred.  Damned if I know.  Maybe some birth defects aren't physical. This is not a perfect world. 

I've always wanted to host a game where I'd give a Carnac-like clue, and the answer would be the name of a #1 single.  So, if the answer is "born this way", the clue would be "naked, screaming, and a lot shorter"

A point in space and time

In an episode of "The Big Bang Theory", one of the characters refers to "If my life were expressed as a function on a four-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, that spot, at the moment I first sat on it, would be (0,0,0,0)."

And so, because it's just interesting enough to make my blog...I wonder what my location and time would be.
  • The hospital I was born at / the day I was born
  • My grandmother's house in Leavenworth / not sure what date I'd call 0 date
  • The dorm room I called home for four semesters / first day I was there
  • The church I attended for ten years, met and married Ivy there / first day I was there
  • The house I've lived at for almost ten years / day I moved there.

I believe...

Once upon a time, the church made a bigger deal of the Sabbath.  Or usury.  Or the Lord's Supper (specifically, the definition of "This is my body / This is my blood".)  Or whether it was acceptable to go to the movie theater.  Or the significance of the bodily resurrection of Christ.  Or the wrath of God.  (Oh, wait, we're still discussing that.)  Or drinking. (Hi EYS.Ners!)

I desire a timeless faith.  And I desire a guide to properly understand both the Word Made Flesh and the Word as revealed in Scripture.  To understand how I should live in the light of the red letters, the advice of the apostles, and the blessed hope.  To know, how then should we live, specifically as a man who seeks to follow Christ living in the US in the 21st century.

And, for the love of God, a way to balance my heart and my mind; to be able to identify the voice of God as opposed to my own mental or emotional stirrings (whether divinely, savagely, or neutrally inspired). 

What does it mean to say, as my brothers in Christ through the centuries, that Jesus is Lord?

Random theological thoughts.
1.  John 21:15-17 reads much differently if you realize that Jesus said "agape" in 15 and 16, while every other mention of love reads as "phileo".
2.  I wish I knew which of the statements of Christ only referred to the siege and sack of Jerusalem in AD 66-70.
3.  I think we can agree that if Christ tarries to AD 2100, there will be a lot of people who look back at some of the interpretation of prophecy in the late 20th century...and laugh.  For example, the idiots who thought Gorbachev was the antichrist.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The best sports in town...

There are 21 metro areas in the USA that have 3 or more major league sports teams. 
Anaheim-LA, the NYC area, the "Bay Area", and the DC-Baltimore area.
Also, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas
Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Minneapolis
Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa.

So, for each city in this list
    for each sports club in the metro area
        for each of the last five metro seasons
            award points based on finish
            10 for a league title
            6 for runner up
            3 for making conference finals
            1 for making final 8.
Then, for each city, find out which club has the highest score, and declare them "King of the City."

The clubs that can say that they're the kings:
NFL: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens*, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers*.
MLB:  New York Yankees*, Philadelphia Phillies*, SF Giants**, St. Louis Cardinals*, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers.
NBA: Miami Heat**, Lebron James in Cleveland.
NHL: Boston Bruins*, Chicago Blackhawks**, Detroit Red Wings.
MLS: Colorado Rapids*, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy**, Seattle Sounders, Sporting KC.

* marks number of titles in the last five years. 
(The Cavaliers only saw playoff appearances with Lebron, and with his departure, the Cavaliers fell back to standard Cleveland heart-breaker levels)

Last one out, turn out the lights.

Once upon a time, there was a social network called Xanga.  (Ok, it's still there.)
And for a brief moment, over 100 of my fellow church members were on a Xanga Webring. Currently, there's 86 names on the webring, only three of which updated their Xanga this year.
I tried to be somebody there.  I posted on all the "ish" sites (except one), trying to become a Xangalebrity. 
Didn't work.  

Once upon a time, there was a social network called Foursquare.  (Ok, it's still there.)
And, back in its heyday, I didn't have a phone that could check in.
But, now I do, and I've got a fine functional vehicle...
And I'm the mayor of seven different locations.  (As of 8/23, subject to change)
  1. Home.  (Yeah, I made a foursquare spot for the house.)
  2. City Hall.  (See above.  I may not be mayor of Severance, but I'm the mayor of the City Hall.)
  3. Gas Station near Ivy's job.  (They also sell pizza.)
  4. Nearest WalMart.
  5. Nearest McDonald's.
  6. One of the McDonald's in St. Joseph (the one on South Belt)
  7. The church I currently attend.  (They're relocating next month.)
  8. The DAV thrift store in St. Joseph
Conclusion:  foursquare is dead.


Once upon a time, a dear friend pointed out the teachings of a very-well-known preacher, currently still alive.  This preacher has made certain claims about events later this decade.

Fine.  Because of my close relationship with my dear friend, I will make no comment against this preacher.  I will bite my tongue about the questions I have about the preacher's claims.

But, fine, let him be weighed by the outcome.  Let us reach the end of the decade, and go back and say, "this preacher said thus and thus would happen this decade, in these years."  And, if it came to pass, maybe I'll start watching him every Sunday.  And if not, let his interpretations of prophecy be ignored, along with the other fools who have brought disrepute upon Christ and His return.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Donne was wrong

During one of my blogging breaks, I wrote down some thoughts.

The big man.  I've always wanted to be the big man.  I had it at college.  In classes, at least.
But not in the dorms, the clubs.  Not at work.  At home.  In town.  On Xanga.  Or at church.  The one recognized.  The one admired.  The one loved.  The person people wanted to hang out with. 

I used to say that "If I went off-grid, I'd be forgotten in 90 days."  But I was wrong.

I've already been forgotten.

It's Password...It's Super Password!

At any given moment, I'm running on no fewer than twelve different passwords.

There's the work assigned passwords for the various applications (HR / paystub / job-related app / survey review / work social network / training /  another job-related app / another job-related app)

Then there's the various ones for my twitter, my e-mail, my blogs, the city's twitter and website...

Has to be *this* long, has to have *special characters* / *no special characters*. 

Honestly, it's not helping my computer-related headaches (and I thought that was only because I was nearsighted in my right eye.)

Unique? Maybe not.

Reposted from a pair of posts on Autisable, June/July 2009

When people look at my life, there are a few pieces that seemed almost irrelevant growing up...but hint at something.

Although most of my good friends know I was homeschooled, I actually went to public school for two years.  During those two years, in addition to music, recess, and gym, I had a few other things on my first-and-second-grade schedule.  Speech therapy.  Occupational therapy.  A fourth-grade math book.  Being in the 'gifted' group.  Being moved from one classroom to another in my first week of first grade.  (For the longest time, I was told that the two teachers both wanted to have my twin and I in the same class.  Found out much later that they wanted neither one of us.)

During my college days (or slightly thereafter), my mom commented that she thought I was borderline Aspergers.

I've looked it up since then.  The jury (of one) is still undecided.

Social interaction issues?  Not that I recall.
Restricted interests?  No.
Speech issues?  Some.
Some of the minor ones (motor skills - took months to learn how to ride a bike; childhood sleep issues - it always took me a long time to go to sleep)

Was this the tradeoff for my smarts?  (high school grad at 15, bachelor's at 19, above-average ACT/SAT scores.)

A friend of ours is an occupational therapist...I think she wants to see both me and...well, that's another story.

Do I want to know?  Yes.
Does it really matter?  I don't know.


I'm not normal.  I know that.  My intellectual abilities.  My schooling history.  My religious journey.  What happened less than four minutes after I was born.  My family. 

But there were a few things (see prior post) in my past (needing speech therapy, occupational therapy, above-average brains, etc.) that make me wonder if I'm somewhere in the spectrum.  I want to say, "no, no, no."  But...I know I'm different.  When I originally posted (late May), I wasn't fully convinced that I was somewhere on the spectrum.

I'm still not.  But, a few things...maybe I'm going crazy.
Maybe I'm just an autism-spectrum-hypochondriac.
Maybe I'm trying to figure out why the gears in my head spin the other way?
(When the only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail.  When the only all-encompassing theory is 'autism spectrum', every quirk gets held up to that light.)

I mean, I'm looking over (what in my mind is) the stupidest little things. 

I get a to-do list.  For heavens' sake, write it down, I can't remember all that...
I talk to myself.  A lot.  (Maybe it's just the hour-each-way commute.)
I go to the ball game at a minor-league park.  And I really really want one of those foul balls.  And frankly, with the open grassy hill area on the side of the 3rd base line, I've got a shot (not a great shot, but a shot) at grabbing one.  Is it just a baseball fan's obsession or a AS-quirk?
Then, there's the whole adventure of watching Rain Man.  *I'm nothing like that*  *am I?*

Finally - To my one're so quick to remind me about whats-his-name - that I need to understand him.  (You say he's autistic.  Is he?  Is it ADD?  What's your proof?).  But in the same breath, you ask me "are you a retard?"  
(Do you know how mad that makes me?)

If life ever calms down...
...maybe I need to find out.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Near Death Experiences - Does it mean anything?

Reposted from a post I had posted on Revelife (a Xanga "ish" site), November 4, 2009.

I've heard several people say, "They should have died when they went through some event," whether it be a car wreck, a tricky childbirth, or a near-fatal illness. "I'm convinced that their survival is proof that God has great plans for them." I heard it this weekend and I started thinking about it.

Logically, the statement is...

Surviving a close brush with death is proof of a strong call of God on one's life.

Does that mean...

    If I've never been 'this close' to the reaper's scythe God has no great plan for my life?
    God had no great plan for my friend who died relatively young, leaving behind three children?
    Anyone, saint or sinner, who beats the odds - has the hand of God on their life?

I remember reading a book, Confessions of a Caffeinated Christian, and in one chapter the author tells his story of a near-death experience (at his birth) to somebody else. The other person said..."you know what that means?  It (just) means that God wanted you to live."

It's just one of those cliches that Christians say that I really can't agree with.

What is your stance on near death experiences? Proof of God's plan for you or was God just feeling merciful?

Where's the nearest abandoned barn?

I freak out.  I run.  I hide.  And I can't say that it's something that I did as a child, or even a teenager. 
But certain events come to mind.  A frustrating day with a dead van.  Election Day '11.  The day before Ivy got her job at the nursing home.  Mother's Day a couple years ago.  (Yikes, that was a bad month.)
The famous captain of the Enterprise didn't believe in the no-win scenario.  I don't take failure well.  (Not so much the result as the weight of how it affects everyone). 
I'm just tired of disappointing everyone.  Tired of not being able to bring home the straight A's and the relatively huge paycheck.

tweet from 7/10/10
Ever worry that people pushing 'anger mgt' / anti-depressants are just trying to make you forget that you're getting screwed?

The Bridge on the River Kwai

In an episode of Monk, the titular detective, playing Charades, nails a six-word movie title before the gesturer can even start describing the first word. 

I'm not that good, but I've blurted out enough "Wheel" answers that I've been told to...stop blurting them out.

I'm not that good at chess, but since I'm better than the rest of the chess set is gathering dust. 

May 13, 2000.  I get my Bachelor's Degree, and I move from a universe in which knowledge is king, to a universe where common sense is king.  The game just changed from gin rummy.
And then...

I said to myself, "I have reached greatness, and am smarter than all before me in Leavenworth.  I have understood great wisdom and knowledge."  And I set to now wisdom, madness, and folly.  What a waste of time.  For in much wisdom is grief, and the know-it-all ends up lonely.
    Ecclesiastes 1:16-18, paraphrased.

3/6/10 tweet: There are times I feel cursed with my intelligence...I don't have all the answers...and I'm more than a walking encyclopedia...right??

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Three Volleys

    It's been ten years. 
    Husband. Father. Grandfather. Great-grandfather. Officer. Soldier.
    Survived by five children, fifteen grandchildren, and (at the time), four great-grandchildren.  Preceded in death by his wife, one son, and (IIRC) two brothers.
    Fishing trips to Fort Leavenworth.
    Two trips to San Diego, one trip to Truman Lake.
    The lawn, the tree, the truck. 
    A place to watch KU on Big Monday, a lawn to mow for a nice price, and always a 24 pack of Diet Pepsi.  (If it's empty, it was mine.)
    I miss you, Grandpa.