Friday, December 31, 2010

in 2010, I

ran ≈ 485 miles

completed my first marathon in 3 hours 38 minutes and 4 seconds

drove up to LA with friends just for chicken and waffles at roscoe's

spent a week in san francisco, seeing the sites, visiting friends, easter service in a cathedral, wine country tourin', chats in the parlor

took a photoshop class

was a boyfriend for 5 months

ate apple pie in Julian

ate a fried klondike bar at the del mar fair

got broken up with

got drunk and wandered/danced the streets at 2 a.m., blasting music thru my qc2s, fell asleep in my car

hiked 25 miles round-trip and made it to the top of the 11,500 ft peak of mt san gorgonio

saw scott pilgrim twice at the theater

took a 5 unit german class at a local community college

enjoyed some life-defining albums

saw Robyn in concert

swam with a wild dolphin in Hawaii

finally volunteered at church

soaked in the hot springs of two countries

rode a horse to a waterfall in Costa Rica

rappelled down a 220 ft waterfall

went white water rafting


got a picture with a monkey

embraced a label

decided to work on living for myself

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

christianity and the alientation from self

[ehhh, I can't write that blog, but I'd love to read it]

Friday, December 10, 2010

the consolation of...long quotes

There is a pleasure in philosophy, and a lure even in the mirages of metaphysics, which every student feels until the coarse necessities of physical existence drag him from the heights of thought into the mart of economic strife and gain. Most of us have known some golden days in the June of life when philosophy was in fact what Plato calls it, "that dear delight"; when the love of a modestly elusive Truth seemed more glorious, incomparably, than the lust for the ways of the flesh and the dross of the world. And there is always some wistful remnant in us of that early wooing of wisdom. "Life has meaning," we feel with Browning—"to find its meaning is my meat and drink." So much of our lives is meaningless, a self-canceling vacillation and futility; we strive with the chaos about us and within; but we would believe all the while that there is something vital and significant in us, could we but decipher our own souls. We want to understand; "life means for us constantly to transform into light and flame all that we are or meet with"; we are like Mitya in The Brothers Karamazov—"one of those who don't want millions, but an answer to their questions"; we want to seize the value and perspective of passing things, and so to pull ourselves up out of the maelstrom of daily circumstance. We want to know that the little things are little, and the big things big, before it is too late; we want to see things now as they will seem forever—"in the light of eternity." We want to learn to laugh in the face of the inevitable, to smile even at the looming of death. We want to be whole, to coordinate our energies by criticizing and harmonizing our desires; for coordinated energy is the last word in ethics and politics, and perhaps in logic and metaphysics too. "To be a philosopher," said Thoreau, "is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live, according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust." We may be sure that if we can but find wisdom, all things else will be added unto us. "Seek ye first the good things of the mind," Bacon admonishes us, "and the rest will either be supplied or its loss will not be felt." Truth will not make us rich, but it will make us free.

-Will Durant

Sunday, November 28, 2010

wear sunscreen

recently, I was talking to a young person, a newbie college-student, and, for whatever condescending/parodic-paternal reasons, I had two pieces of hard-earned 24 year-old wisdom I wanted to impart:

-be an interesting person
-don't live for anyone else

"be an interesting person" is actually a piece of advice that came to mind years ago when I imagined what advice I'd give college students decades hence when I was a lauded veteran writer (of course, I didn't, and still don't, want to write anything -- just the perks please).

this first piece of advice I do try to live by, devoting significant efforts in reading, travel, and conversation (though never enough efforts as my psychic taskmaster would like). when my brother hectors me about squandering my energies and youth at TWTSNBN (theworksplacethatshallnotbenamed) or on quixotic fantasies of globe-spanning volunteer work, I remind him that I'm a smart person who has no intention of wasting my life, quite the opposite -- my aim is to get the most out of it.

but, on this journeying toward the contented, accomplished life, I have to know what my lodestars are and what I'm packing. and this is where the thoughts of others come into play, helping me choose the values to live by and the virtues to pursue and developing the faculties of sense, intellect, and emotion that ensure both that my particular journey is the right one and that I'll be best poised for the vagaries and vicissitudes of life that await me.

be interesting, for yourself first and then for others.

"don't live for anyone else" is something that came to mind the summer after my freshman year of college. it wasn't until my 19th year that I became interested in myself, my personality, in a critical/analytical way. it was a revelation, a summer of a-has and eurekas, where for the first time in my life I started to acknowledge and examine the unconscious and subconscious impulses and motivations of my psyche. it was liberating, a reclamation of some agency from the invisible hand of the past. I realized that I was living a life for others: for a father I was determined to be the opposite of, for a mother who wanted a wealthy son to take care of her, for jerks from high school (a successful/affluent life the consummation of my desires for vindictive triumph). unfortunately, I replaced my childhood others with new ones (better ones, no doubt) but there is more work that I need to do. it is a lifelong pursuit, anyway (there will always be others). as a New Yorker cartoon mused, "you're born, you deconstruct your childhood, and then you die."

find yourself and live for him. oh, and god.

oh, one more piece of advice: wear sunscreen

Monday, October 4, 2010

some late night thoughts

first off: I'm listening to shakira's waka waka right now. just downloaded it today. what a mood elevator. I'm toe-tapping as I type. in this buoyancy it occurred to me that I should write a blog.

studying german right now. well I should be. test tomorrow. I don't care for this stress. depression (or should I say unhappiness) is better than this. and then soul-sucking work tomorrow. god made me for leisure and wealth. he made me this way and I think the government, the church, and all civilization really, needs to accommodate my true self. well, I will persevere--the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward self-satisfaction.

broke up with a friend yesterday. friend wanted to squeeze blood from a turnip. well the turnip, yours truly, had nothing left to cede and I decided that even I (a proponent of a little penitential hair-shirting and self-flagellation) liked myself too much to put myself through that. in the midst of the confabulating, I thought "there are at least 7 people (friends of mine) who would never put me through this and they're still going to be around after tonight." so I ended it with, "maybe one day we'll be people who can be friends again." --a line I used once with an ex-girlfriend. if you need it, it's yours. public domain. happy breakin' up.

it's become clearer recently that I'll be working about another year to year and a half and then "starting my life." this means either nazarene mission corps or grad school. now I say 'either' like those are sure-things. who knows. everything is tentative, contingent. but 26 will not see me working at the XXXX XXXX.

books! glorious books! i need to read the ones I already have and I need to read more than one every couple months if I ever hope to crease a majority of those pristine spines before I move far away from these book cases.

gute nacht!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

german syntax is a little different

English: I cannot bring it to you today.

German: Ich kann es Ihnen nicht heute bringen.

Word for word literal translation of the above German: I can it to you not today bring.

und scheiße.


"Nobody is easier to expose to public obloquy than your parents; unless they desert you, you are likely to know a lot about them, some of it unflattering. Most of the human race considers it ungracious to take advantage of them." -Joseph Sobran

Monday, September 6, 2010

lifehacking (and 50th post!)

I'm going to read 40 pages a day, everyday. I'm also going to practice and study German for one hour everyday.

Also, I'm going to submit my life to Christ, make friends, make peace with enemies, get a six-pack, straighten out that one tooth, and regrow some hair around my temples.

Well, maybe I'll just try for the first two for now.

So yea, I'm taking German now at a community college. It's been in the back of my mind for a while and it makes sense for a certain life avenue I'd like to pursue...and, ahem, I have some more free time.

So, basically, when God closes a window, he opens a classroom door to room full of pimply late teens.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

yes, please

I'd share this on facebook, but I'm friends with my mother there.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

broken up

since I've last blogged (well anything original that is), I trained for and ran a marathon. I also started dating someone. that person broke up with me. so hey, life events happened.

life happened--many cherished memories forged. gratitude.

pivoting now. uncertain. friends of 14 months now out of my life and now I'm left to figure out what to make of the near future--I feel like I got pushed into another world, one I don't like as much.

older and ever-there lights shine. europe looms--perhaps january 2012? maybe I'll learn german in the meantime.

psychically, I'm sound as ever, which, as I've thought, is indicated by my not feeling much need to write here--too busy living for time to think about living. I've learned things, things I need to know for the future.

will engage old friends and try to make new ones.

some break up songs:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

soul, interrupted

a letter I wrote to a cherished friend some two years ago in the middle of the night:


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I think a hug would be the most appropriate transmitter of my gratitude and love from my heart to you. But, ahem, that damn ocean...

I'm touched that you would write such valuable letter to me. And, and, and, I feel like I don't have the right words to write back.

XXX, I'm just low and so wrong and I can't even be a person that interacts truthfully or in goodness. I don't know what to say or write that isn't a selfish, internal, discordant dialog of all the heavy thoughts in my head. I wish I could claim any corner of truth...but all I know is that tomorrow I will get up and go to school, see a friend, drink some soda and come home. And that's all I seem to be sure of!

I could critique my emotionalism, my neurosis, my dependencies and my sin, my all that isn't right and still be the same person as before.

I just want to be saved. But nothing brings that. God doesn't (well at least not when I ask him earnestly and repeatedly--though maybe it just need to be steady and faithfully ratcheted up [goodness knows I haven't tried those]). Paul doesn't. theology won't. professors, wikipedia articles, friends, chapel don't do anything lastingly.

Of course, Christ's death and resurrection save me but I can't believe that with my all. In truth, it pretty much just fits into my systematic theology--I have to believe it because it's a beam in this ideology.

It's like psychology and theology have neutered me of any of those human capacities that make for faith. I don't trust my psyche and certain writings make it so I have no trust in what I am pursuing. Did I start in the middle without a suitable grounding. do I need to go back to the beginning? where's that? (rhetorical questions all)

I still can't negotiate it. It's like there's a theory that eludes me, a resonating idea that will patch my weakened will so I can be like the others who write good words they mean and live lives of God. Again, I'm devoting my energies not to being good but to explaining why I'm not.

It's not vanity...but it is. I don't want people to think that I'm weak because I like it...but I do like it. The encouragements and the denunciations, I take them and don't reform.

XXX, I don't even know what my future looks like but I really can't imagine the fixed one...nor can I imagine the one lived with abandon, striving in the opposite direction--just as my sinning past infects the striving now, I would hope that holiness is just as an infecting contagion were I to strive in the opposite direction!] small hope!

what's step one? do I just go through the church-y motions? fake it 'til I make it? damn my individualistic sensibilities that make "matthew" believe he has a self that he is sovereign over? (I'm trying to imagine a philosophic answer!)

XXX, as one person who thinks and writes to another, I just want to thank you for reading this. The tangible, readable love of my friends is one of the few things that remind me of goodness and light and hope. Dynamic and real love in the faces and words of living people heartens me, warms the heart of the co-opted and masked sleepwalker on the road to hell I usually am. I want to be weak and vulnerable but people don't trust that--and they're mostly right not to do so.

XXX, sorry and thank you. thank you for being a light. These are all thank yous and nothing obligates you to me. I don't expect that and almost don't want to waste your time. There is certainly a different language I could have written to you in but I chose this. It's not easy but that person who writes that way doesn't need fixing (he doesn't stay fixed); this one does.

If there is love that a broken person may muster, I send it to you,

hitting send button with tomorrow (separation of self into multiple parts is false, huh?) will not be happy...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

there's a girl

I think I'm wooing"think" because I'm rusty and inexperienced in the ways of infatuation and romance. I probably need to woo more though, since this crush seems unrequitedeither that or she's worse at this than I am.

It's strange, for the last few years I've been, without incident, comfortably single. I've been lonely at times, also self-doubting a bit, nervously wondering if I was missing out on valuable life experience and letting time and opportunities slip by as I approached my latter 20s. Despite that and in part, to be honest, a neurotic detachment from most people and relationships, I've always had other priorities, namely self-development in the areas of good-personhood, intellect, and faith...oh, and laziness. So this is a diversion of sorts.

I think everything there has to be written about love/romance/attraction has been committed to paper and blog but here are some of my thoughts:

I’m finding the daydreams ridiculously but delightfully irrational.

In my perfect world everyone would speak the truth in love. Well, the whole "truth in love" thing is more an ideological, doctrinal commitment I assent to because it's very Christian. If I were to give my more fallen spin on that, I wish I could be exactly who I am at present and still be loved/even admired by all the right people, even as those right people edge me closer to redemption, or, merely, better personhood—so my daily life is very human with flashes of aiming for the Good or God. Please bear with me as I get to the point: there are limits on this "being yourself"—1) it can be very stupid at work or in school, for example, where one has to submit in order to stay in the good graces of one's institutional superiors or 2) in regards to love with the people closest to oneself, where sometimes love demands yielding and sacrificial compassion rather than demanding one's rights or brandishing saber-like truths. So after some prefatory remarks (see, I think about this little...I think I'll need to a blog about just that some time) let me say that courting is something for which I am pretty unprepared for. It's ironic to me that as one endeavors toward the most intimate of interpersonal relationships, one has to conceal and qualify so much. It's like chess (I imagine, since I haven't a clue how to play) with gambits and calculated maneuvers. This is trying for me because, despite my bachelorhood, I put a lot stock in eventual coupling and marriage—of all the meaning found there, of finding yourself in another. So, what a strange start to that.

If that happens now, which is looking doubtful.