Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Whole New World

Long time no post, right? I told my dear friend Colin Mansfield, when he talked me into starting a blog, that there was no way I could ever maintain even a semi-regular posting schedule... I was right. Well, better late then never.

I'd like to share a little bit about myself. My nose was built wrong. The piece in between one's nostrils (the septum) was crooked and largely blocking my nose. Due to severe allergies (and the medication for them), the turbinates in my nose were swollen to the point of literally filling whatever space was left. Also, unbeknownst to me, I had a bone spur in my nose. All this culminated in the general inability to breathe through my nose.

Note the past tense. On December 31st, 2009, I had surgery to correct my nose. They cut out large pieces of swollen tissue, corrected my deviated septum and found/removed a bone spur. While the initial recovery process was somewhat dicey (constantly running nose I couldn't blow, dry and scabbed nostrils, and the worst nosebleed of my life), I've slowly began to discover all the things I've been missing.

Following is a list of a few amazing moments I've had since recovering from surgery. You may think them trivial at best, but I can guarantee that, when experienced for the first (few) time(s), they are truly awe-inspiring.

Breathing and chewing simultaneously
Walking into the house and smelling dinner cooking
Smelling dinner
Breathing through my nose and therefore not having chapped lips
Clearer speech in general
A much larger vocal singing range, and the increasing ability to use it
After having dropped a girl off, still being able to smell her scent on your shirt
Walking down 8th St. and smelling Pie Hole's pizza from the sidewalk
Ditto for Dawson's
The smell of a rainy day
Being able to smell myself after working out (which is both good and bad)

I can't end without mentioning one last thing: I'm eagerly looking forward to Spring, and all of nature's scents that accompany it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Good (A)fternoon

I just had an aMAEzing day.

No, I didn't fail 7th grade english. If you don't already know of MAE (Multi-sensory Aesthetic Experience) then I encourage you to go check them out. But this isn't a propaganda piece. So tonight at the concert I bought a MAE shirt, the new MAE cd, a Locksley cd and a Locksley vinyl record. Oh no he didn't! Also, I got 2 free tickets to a concert on Thursday and a free sample cd of My Paper Camera from a friendly lady named Ellen. Not to mention these nifty 3D glasses from MAE.

But more than the music, more than the assorted goodies, today was amaezing because of friends. I enjoyed enjoying the concert with friends, old and new. Hanging with my boys is better than anything, and meeting pretty ladies is high on the list. After the show Max and his 2 friends left, and Colin M. and Logan P. joined me in a celebratory expedition to Pie Hole. What were we celebrating? No idea. Does it matter? Not in the slightest. It was time spent with friends, and I realized tonight that I haven't had enough of that lately...

On a debatably unrelated note, I felt a little hurt today. I had tried to get a certain friend to come to this concert with me, knowing my friend would have enjoyed it immensely, being just their cup of tea. My friend didn't commit to coming, but they also kept saying how much they wanted to come. Anyways, my friend finally texts me day of the show saying they can't come due to a volleyball game. Now, I don't mind my friend not coming (as much as I would have liked to see them), but it does grate my nerves that my friend would lead me on with the uncertain promise of joining me only to cancel last minute for something they had to have known about at least several days in advance. Maybe it's just me and my lofty ideals, but I don't think that's very friendly.

Anyways, I'm currently listening to my Locksley cd whilst (A)fternoon downloads. It's quite good, but I must say it's not quite the same as the live show. It's missing the energy and passion of the band so apparent on stage. Good cd nonetheless.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Two Coincidences

So the other day, I experienced two quite incredible coincidences:

I woke up and decided I wanted to break my normal routine in some way. So instead of blue jeans, I wore my military camo pants. I figured, I never wear my cammies, so I'll be different today. Mixin' it up and whatnot. I get to school, and I notice another person wearing camo... and another person... and another... and another. This is just walking to my classroom. Finally sitting down in AP Calc, I turn to the guy behind me and ask "Is today by chance camo day?" And of course, it was. Such a big fail that I count it as a win :D

Later that day, I was driving downtown to get my work schedule. I was being all cool and listening to Pandora via my phone in the car. I had Thriller as a seed, so I was getting all kinds of crazy stuff. At about Myrtle and 9th, Stayin' Alive came on. I'll admit, I was getting my groove on. As much as a white guy can at least. I hit a red light on the next street, and I was at the front of the line of cars so I could see the intersection perfectly. While I'm sitting there, a guy crosses the street on the opposite side of the street, perpendicular to me. I'm watching him walk, and I suddenly realize that he's walking in perfect time to the song! There's no way he could hear the song playing in my car, and yet his feet are hitting the ground on every beat. It was marvelous :D

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Change In Perspective

Once there was a little boy. This little boy had an incredible sense of wonder, which was matched only by his boundless imagination. He imagined that there existed a place quite unlike his own, where new things were waiting to be discovered around every corner. It had everything that this little boy wished to see but never had. There were giant waterfalls, literally bubbling with excitement. There were short-tempered volcanos, spewing fire for no apparent reason. There were mountains and valleys, jungles and deserts, and exotic creatures of every variety. The little boy enjoyed creating this world, if only within the confines of his own mind. Although he was by no means tired of his imagined reality, for that is indeed what it was to him, he felt that it was missing something very important. So the little boy imagined that people lived in this fantasy world. Although he fabricated their identities, each and every person had a personality that was all their own. They had dreams and faults and quirks, and everything a "real" person would have. But the little boy, because he had imagined them into existence, knew every person's identity inside out. The little boy greatly enjoyed following the lives of his imaginary people in his imaginary world. He shared in their wonder and excitement of all the things he had conceived. When they experienced tragedy, he mourned with them. When they succeeded in their endeavors, he celebrated with them. He intervened in their lives often, but tried to do so in a way that would not shatter the reality of his created world. To this day, the little boy is still vicariously experiencing the lives and adventures of the people in his dreamt up world. And in case you were curious, the little boy's name is God.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Art: The Victim of Christianity

I've heard some amazing music in my time; I've also heard some pretty terrible music. I'm sorry to say that the majority of Christian worship music I've heard falls into the latter category. But no one ever says anything about it. Why is that?

Well, one might argue that the point of a formal worship set is to worship God, therefore the quality of the music (and the musicians) is irrelevant. Several times , I've turned to a friend and commented on how poor a worship set was, or even a particular musician. And then they've lashed out at me, telling me that it doesn't matter because it's worship. But if you think about it, doesn't poor quality music distract the audience? Maybe I'm just too picky, but when I hear one of the musicians hit a wrong note, I cringe a bit. When I hear the drummer go offbeat, a little piece of me dies inside. And all that assuming the point of a formal worship set is to praise God. I could be wrong, but I don't see it that way. The point of a formal worship set, where you have musicians leading an audience of some sort in worship, is to bring the audience to a place of worship. The musician(s) can weave a musical cocoon of sorts around the people listening that completely envelopes them as they praise God... then fades to background music as they worship him.

--Warning: the following paragraph is completely my opinion, formed from my experience--

And there is a difference between praise and worship. Praise usually involves thanking God for who he is and what he does, often enthusiastically. Praise songs tend to be upbeat, as people
get excited when praising God. But then one moves into worship, where you're just like "God, you're awesome" and he's like "You too" and you're like "Sweet." Worship is where you simply exist in the presence of God. Worship is where you're down on your face crying for no obvious reason. Worship is where you can really feel God's love.

Anyways, back to my original subject. Although this resonates more so with me in the realm of music, the same thing holds true for all forms of art. Some people would say that any mediocre watercolor of something "Christian" would be a better painting than Botticelli's The Birth Of Venus.

I'd love to hear what you guys (and gals) think!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Judge Not

Wow, not even 24 hours after my first post and I already have something new to say. To be fair, they were both stewing in my mind, I simply didn't want my first post to be THAT long :)

Why does the world hate Christians? I'm sure there are several reasons, but the first thing to come to my mind is judgmental. And it's a valid concern. I certainly don't want some hypocritically self-righteous snob telling me that he's better than I am,
so why should anybody else? Since I'm one of those "golden-rulers", I've resolved not to judge people. Which is why I was quite taken aback the other day when a dear friend looked me in the eye and said quietly "You're always judging me." The hurt I had unknowingly caused my friend was ringing in my ears well after they left. I was thinking back through my experiences with this friend, good and bad, trying to think when I had judged them. Now let's set the record straight, although I don't always approve of the way my friend lives their life, I love my friend to death. But while trying to think when I had judged my friend, the question inevitably arose.

What exactly is judgement?

If I notice something wrong with a friend, do I simply ignore it for fear of "judging them?" That can't be right. If you were to walk up to me with an arrow sticking out of your thigh, I wouldn't say "Hey man how's it going?" My greeting would probably be more along the lines of "OH MY GOSH YOU HAVE AN ARROW IN YOUR LEG!!" So I don't think it's sinful to notice someone's character flaws. A spade is a spade after all. If I know a friend of mine is a recovering alcoholic, should I offer him a beer? Of course not. But isn't that judgemental of me to acknowledge his former addiction? Maybe so, but it would be foolish not to.

So then we still don't know what qualifies as judgement, do we? I would say that judgement is when I notice someone's flaws and think worse of them for it. Referring back to my friend, I've told them that I don't approve of some of their choices. I think that's what a friend should do. But after I've pointed out as humbly as I can that what I think they are doing is wrong and why, I stand beside them in love and sincerely hope that things go well with them. Because I don't care about being right. I care about them.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Of bandwagons and the meaning of life

So, I posted on facebook that I was in a thoughtful mood today. My good friend Colin Mansfield left a comment suggesting that I take advantage of my current disposition and start a blog. Therefore, I wrapped my opinions in a sheet, tied them to a walking stick, and hopped on the bandwagon that is blogging.

A few opening discaimers: These are my opinions, not some sort of thesis paper. I use big words. I do not think in neat little categorical boxes, so my posts may not be as organized as you'd like. I can be very cynical. I'm far too lazy to post blogs on any semblance of a regular basis. I tend to ramble. And most importantly, I believe the Christian Bible to be true and have a relationship with the God thereof. If any of that bothers you, reserve the right to close this browser window at any time. But if you have an open mind, please read on.


Whoops! Party foul! Did he just use the "s" word? Yes I did. But what if I said "cuddling." ...I didn't hear a reaction that time. I'd like to know where that line is. The line between harmless fun and sin. Is it holding hands? Is it making out? Is it feeling each other up on the couch? Different people will give you different answers, but if there's more than one answer they can't all be right, can they? Its a giant gray area as far as I'm concerned. Many try to justify living in this gray area by pointing out that's it's not black. It's not clear cut sin, so it's alright. The problem with this point of view is that the goal is to avoid sin. Now that's all well and good, except that it's completely impossible. Trying to avoid sin in a sinful world is like walking on the beach and trying not to get sand on your shoes. If you're quite careful, you'll have less sand than if you were running like mad down the beach, but there's no way you'll have spotless shoes.

But if we're going to get dirty anyways, why bother trying to stay clean? As one song goes "If we're all going to hell, we may as well go out in style." Makes sense to me. Unless one considers a different approach. Instead of making the goal to avoid sin, what if our goal was to love God? I propose that instead of running from darkness, we should be running towards the light! God created us for the purpose of having relationship with him. So if we fulfill our original purpose then we wouldn't need to try to find meaning in life through sex, drugs, money, et cetera.

So to tie this back to my opening example: If our goal is to love God, and he says no physical relations with the opposite sex outside of marriage, shouldn't we honor that? And not only because our goal is to love God. God loves us, and he wouldn't impose restrictions on us that didnt have our best interest in mind.

Anyways, I'm not entirely sure where I was going with that. Like I said, I tend to ramble.