Friday, October 27, 2006


you ever get that feeling that if you ever got around to trying something, you just KNOW you'd be SO good at it?

that's how i feel about electric guitars. to me electric guitar = loud guitar, which just seems like it'd be easy. stupidly easy. mindless even. i even hear the strings are easier to push down (i mean, depress). i know all my electric guitar-playing readers will probably tell me otherwise. but seriously, it's set up just like a "regular" guitar, so as long as i can do all the chords and stuff, why should it be any more complicated? let's go over all the parts of an electric guitar that are not found on an acoustic guitar:

some knobs or buttons
a lever

i think the big mistake i'd make when learning to play, is simply making lots and lots of noise, and then thinking the noise makes me successful. and it would be successful to some extent. the electric guitar does not seem to me like a delicate art, because if you make a small mistake it will probably be drowned out by the loudness of the rest of it. but maybe it is far more exquisite than i have observation powers to detect.

i think another reason i feel electric guitars to be less delicate is by the generally not delicate appearances of those individuals who play them. usually the acoustic people are more like poets, and their choice of instrument corresponds better to their own nuanced sensitivity. but the electric guitar people tend to be loud all over. they are also like their instruments, and perhaps the small imperfections of the rocker-folk (inability to sing, etc) are also overshadowed by the loudness of everything else about them.

(did i just sweep every guitar player, ever, into one of two giant stereotype boxes? yes, yes i did.)

anyways, i just need someone to lend me an electric guitar and amp so i can try it out myself. because there are way too many expensive things to buy in life (camera, ipod, car, house), to not just borrow stuff if you can. so, this is a call to anyone with a spare electric guitar sitting around, to give it to me. :)

my roommates, however, will most likely (understandably) try to deter you so let's try and keep this guitar business to ourselves, ok? (said nikki on her public blog.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

this time of year (2006 Edition)

i can't believe i've had a blog long enough to have an annual installment of something. it's almost like having a child who turned one sometime in the last month or so, except you forgot exactly when his birthday was, and it's not like anyone really cares anyways. last year around this time i wrote about stuff that annoys me this time of the year. there are still plenty of things i don't like about fall, halloween and winter. but even though it took me a while, in the interests of fairness and equality, i did come up with a few things i do like about this time of year.

-scarves and mittens.
-the greater prevalence of fire in general.
-how watching Thanksgiving Day football is somehow the most perfect thing in the world after consuming mountains of food (and how at our house the girls make the food and the boys (usually) clean it up).
-shiny smooth acorns.
-scraping ice off my car...oh wait, i HATE that. With a passion. right.
-coming in to where it's warm (the only remotely good thing about cold).
-the ukranian bell carol and auld lang syne.
-cold-weather drinks such as cider and russian tea.
-when the sun shines on the snow and makes it sparkle like crazy.
-new years' eve, and the pre-midnight countdown.
-how my mom still uses old holiday decorations because she knows we remember them from when we were kids, even though some of them are kind of ugly.

Friday, October 20, 2006

been to:

36 states. that i know of. i can't ever remember being in north/south carolina, louisiana or alabama , but there are a lot of these i don't remember, so the number could be as high as 40.

i know the spacing isn't right.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

small things i like about today

-getting out of my car and smelling spruce trees
-gently kicking an acorn (for no good reason) and watching it shatter into a thousand pieces (for no good reason)
-the frenzied excitement of a sudden good idea
-accidentally knocking the little box of paper clips over in a perfect 10.0 flip, and the resulting puddle of paper clips under the box
-having oatmeal for lunch
-trailing my fingers on the "soft" stone walls as i walked up the stairs
-listening to the purse contest on the radio with my coworker
-the red folder on my desk (it's the best color red ever)

edit (the one i forgot earlier) -wearing thin soled shoes so i can feel the cracks in the sidewalk when i step on them.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

to be known?

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. -c.s. lewis

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. - 1 Corinthians 13:12

the roomies and i had a conversation a few weeks ago which included, among many other things, the subject of being completely known.

being fully known, as A put it, is like "sitting across from someone and feeling like i'm sitting across from myself."

my family knows me pretty darn well. and that's the way it should be. apart from them, i've known only a few people who i'd describe in the way A did, one in particular. after only knowing me one or two short months, this *particular* person was able to make accurate, thoughtful observations about my character, my personality, and my faults....some of which i'd never realized before. i can't even begin to tell you how incredible that was. most of you probably know a few people like that in your lives too. you'd just never believe someone could understand you and realize what made you tick...and still be excited to see you every day. but wait....i've digressed into a pleasant batch of memories that don't need to be explored here any more.

it's no surprise to any of us that even those humans most "perfectly suited to us," like our spouses and closest friends, will and do fall drastically short of meeting our deep needs for relationship and connections. that's not the way it was intended, but that's how it turned out, because our once-ideal world is scarred with sin and shortcomings.

i think i can't stop writing cliches. so here comes another one. we all want to know and to be known. human beings are created with an innate (not external or conditioned) desire for relationships. at the end of the day when solitude dissolves our masks of independence and self-sufficiency, we all want to be understood, complete with our vulnerabilities. we want to be loved with those flaws. yet, we have a really difficult time showing those flaws to most people. and here's the kicker, the classical problem: humanity is, itself, fatally flawed. weird, huh...the thing that we want to be loved in spite of, is the exact same thing that keeps others from loving us in spite of it. it makes my head spin too.

this desire for fulfilment in relationships, is, i think, part of what it means to be made in God's image. God is like that towards us. God doesn't need us for anything, but he wants us to be close to him. he wants a relationship with us, his creation, purely and simply because he loves us. which is an unbelievable thing all by itself, but that's the only relationship that will ever completely fulfill our human thirst for that closeness. and on this earth, it won't ever be perfect (see the verse at the top). our salvation is a perpetual progression, and not until the other side of eternity will we fully know God. even then, i suppose i have my doubts. but that's an idea for another day. :)

i think it might have been CS Lewis that came up with this; i sure didn't. it's called the Argument From Desire. that desire to be known is a brilliant, vivid, constant evidence of how much we need God, and even of the most basic fact that God exists. it is truncated, distorted, and sometimes smashed beyond recognization by others' cruelty and our own bitterness. but it's a clear leftover of the days of perfect communion with God, reminding us now that we were created to be with him.

a general point made against the Argument from Desire is "the fact that you desire something doesn't prove the existence of the thing." they say "you might desire to be a unicorn, but that doesn't mean it's possible to be a unicorn, or even that unicorns are real." the implication within this argument is twofold: one, that the longing for closeness is something externally influenced; and therefore, the existence of the object of desire is not proved. so it's critical to remember that the desire for fulfilment in relationships is universal and therefore innate, and has nothing to do with outside conditioning or observation. on the contrary, the external circumstances we observe are peoples' relationships falling apart all over the place. we even see people swearing off certain kinds of relationships, because breaking those connections is so deeply hurtful. wouldn't you think that if our desire for relationships was an externally effected one, we'd all have sworn them all off by now? yet even after our hearts break and people desert us and our friends betray us, we keep seeking or longing (actively or not) for closeness. and [here] is where the Lewis quote (from the top) fits in. he said it a lot quicker than i did. :)

sometimes i think we want to know people chiefly because we want to be known ourselves. if that's the case, i'd guess for most people this cold, pragmatic approach is subconscious, not a specific "i will love this person because i desire love myself." and then i wonder if we were created chiefly to love, or to be loved, which sounds like something CS lewis would talk about. but that's all getting into the whole 'is there an unselfish motive' argument which is kind of silly so i won't explore it now, although on the other hand it does kind of point, in another way, to the twisted sinful world we live in (as if we needed more evidence).

wow. this goes so much deeper and longer than what i've put here. but i'll leave it there. so in short (i never really say anything in short), that's one more way that God reveals himself to us. there are so very many ways, but this is one of the most explicit. there's an unmet longing or a "God-shaped hole" inside everyone. grr, that's a cliche. sorry.

Monday, October 09, 2006

realpolitik, supposedly

most people that know me would tell you i can be a bit excitable, if not passionate, when the conversation turns to the arena of politics. this is not false and not an exaggeration.

however, due to a few recent conversations, i've decided that i need to clarify some of my very broad views on what, exactly, appeals to me about politics. usually when i tell someone where i work, the question is "So you're interested in going into politics, then?" it's hard to know what to tell them. so here are some very brief thoughts.

although it's taken me a while to pinpoint it, this is the way i see it: politics is simply large ideas expressing themselves on a large scale. i've written about this before, and it's a watery understatement: ideas are huge. a real idea will have the same reasoning behind making people kill and die and live. i hope i don't get negative points for referencing a movie, but...just watch V for Vendetta. :)

in our democratic process (which i realize is a rather narrowed view of how ideas work, but hey, i do live here and i think it works alright), if an idea is big enough -- if it has enough supporters -- it deserves to be considered. if it's big and good, it deserves to be applied. and politics is merely the medium through which we consider and -- if they're good -- apply our big ideas.

that's why it's so ridiculous to say "you can't legislate morality." on the contrary, dear ignoramus, that's about the only thing we can legislate. i doubt there's a single law in the country that isn't somehow tied to moral concepts like: don't take something that doesn't belong to you; don't harm people if they aren't a threat to you; keep your family together if you can; authority should be respected...i could go on and on.

and a little tidbit to keep you thinking: where does separation of church and state come into this, if every law is essentially the large-scale expression of a value judgment? (This idea-trail is a Stub. You can help Nikki's blog and her thought process by expanding it.)

anyways, there's a lot more to it than that. but this is why i don't get so excited about party issues, elections, or arguments in congress, or other things that don't have ideas behind them. real politics is ideas working themselves out on a grand scale. ideas are what i care about. and i've discovered the only reason i think twice about politics is because i have a lot of convictions and i want to change things. and a lot of those things need to be,and can only be, fixed through politics.

on the other hand, one reason i've become so disenchanted with much of the political arena lately is because, at least if we're talking about idea-centered politics, i'm (slowly) realizing how useless it can be to change a law without changing people. legislation merely reflects the will of the people (at least in most cases). my perennial example: abortion. is it a problem that our country gives permission for people to kill their children? absolutely. i'm not diminishing that and people should continue to work wholeheartedly to undo that sickening wrong. however (and a lot of organizations and people might disagree with me), the problem of permission is a shallow surface problem. the real issue is, why do people want abortions? once we deal with that on a grand scale, the issue of whether they're legal or not will (more or less) either take care of itself, or not be much of an issue.

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