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Counting Thoughts

Posted by on Friday, 29 June, 2012

I have been pondering the old adage, “It’s the thought that counts.”

It is something people say when intentions were good but the result was poor. I suppose it works, to a degree, as an apology or consolation. Yet, as a philosophy for life, it is garbage.

Thoughts are cheap. Thoughts plus effort is what really counts. Consider it from the opposite direction: if someone is angry, and has thoughts of retribution and violence, yet has the self-control not to act on them, is it really the thought that counts in that case?*

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about ideas that I have had, projects that I wanted to do, particularly things that I thought about doing for or with various people… but so what? If all I ever do is think of things, but never take any action, then what is the value in that?


*It actually is, according to Jesus (Matt 5:21-22).

Trick or Treat

Posted by on Sunday, 24 June, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I had occasion to proclaim, “I am Christian gentlemen!” This statement is obviously inaccurate on at least two counts. I said it to a co-worker as an excuse for why I did not want to stop what I was doing, turn around, and check out some random lady’s posterior.

My coworker’s response was, “Well, so am I but…” I can not remember what rationalization, if any, followed. Nor does it matter to me. I already knew the man was a Christian or I would not have bothered.

This is the point that has troubled me for some time. It is utterly inconceivable to many Christians that non-Christians could be moral people. However, I have met moral and immoral Christians, as well as moral and immoral non-believers.  As far as I am concerned, whether or not someone is a self-proclaimed Christian is a fairly irrelevant  indicator of their character. Especially concerning areas of sexuality as in the example above, it seems that most Christians feel those bits of the Bible were really meant for other people.

Atheists are fully capable of being as moral or more as any Christian, yet I have yet to come across any good argument from an atheist perspective as to where that morality comes from. In this particular instance, I was using the Bible as a convenient shorthand, even if I had to outright lie to do it.  There probably was an argument to be made about the importance of respecting women and so forth, but I doubt I could pull that off. I am certainly not going to claim that I have never stared inappropriately at a woman, but at that particular moment, I simply was not interested.

We Talk T.V.

Posted by on Sunday, 27 May, 2012

I saw a headline: “Casey Anthony Reportedly Spends Days Eating in Front of the Computer.” Naturally, my first thought was, “Who?” But after some consideration, I vaguely remembered her being on trial for killing either her daughter, or maybe it was her roommate in Europe. (Or both?) My next thought was that I spend my days eating in front of the computer… is that weird?

Anyway, it is season finale time, and I thought I would share some of my thoughts on some of the shows I have been watching this year.

Once Upon a Time –  This show is terrible. These characters are obnoxious. I can not believe that I actually watched the whole season. At the closing scene of the season finale, all I could think was that I hope that they do not make a second season, or I might feel compelled to watch all of that also. Speaking of fairy tales, the website where I watch my stories also had the not-particularly-similar movie, “The Brothers Grimm” starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. Honestly, I am not convinced that the film makers were even trying to make a good movie. And they didn’t. There is also a show called “Grimm” that is worst of all. I only watched a couple of episodes before giving up on that. Live action re-imaginings of fairy tales are kind of terrible, you guys.

Community – Do you watch this show? It started off like any other sitcom, with quirky characters in a plausible scenario, but somewhere down the line it went off the rails hard and fast and never looked back. The finale felt like a series finale, although it has not actually been cancelled. However, the show’s creator was fired, so it is likely to have a very different feel next season. Is that good or bad? I do not even know anymore.

Don’t Trust the B~ in Apt. 23 – After the pilot, I honestly have no idea why they kept making more episodes of this. But as long as they do, I am going to keep watching them. Moving on.

Awake – This was an interesting show about a cop whose family is in a car accident and he starts living in two realities: one in which his wife died and son lived, and the other where his wife lived and son died. He would solve cases using pieces of information form the parallel realities.I liked it. It has been canceled though. I just wonder if it was cancelled before or after they filmed the finale, because holy crap, that episode was nothing like the rest of the show and I have no idea what was going on there.

Scandal – Spoiler: they all die.

Hate My Guts

Posted by on Monday, 7 May, 2012

When I was younger, I suffered from chronic and occasionally debilitating abdominal pain. I was eventually diagnosed with a “spastic colon”, which in those days many people thought was just something doctors say when they have no idea what is wrong with you. These days it is called IBS, and I believe, more widely recognized as a real condition.

I eventually overcame my problem through a combination of “To hell with you stomach, you aren’t going to control my life anymore”, attempting leading as stress-free a life as possible, and avoiding whole wheat bread like the plague.

A few weeks ago I decided to start drinking coffee in the morning to try and help with my never-have-energy-ever problem. Around the same time my intestines started behaving, well, irritably. Not like before, but still problematic. I am not 100% sure they are related, but the timing is suspicious. (Though I ditched the coffee after about a week, yet the troubles have persisted.) So I did a little research and found some foods one with IBS should avoid:

  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Coffee
  • Caffeine
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Fat
  • Vitamins

Oh, is that all? So, uh, nothing but fish and rice then, I guess?

While My Brain Screams “Let Me Out of Here”

Posted by on Sunday, 29 April, 2012

My fb friend had a lengthy post about intellectual dishonesty in the church. I desperately wanted to respond. I wanted to say:

Normally I disagree viscerally with everything you post, so I think it only fair to say that, for once, I agree that intellectual dishonesty is my biggest issue with the church as well.

I managed to restrain myself, convincing myself that if I was not going to be constructive, the least I could do was not be petty. The first part is a blatant insult; while the second part pretends to be a compliment, but is actually another insult. For my friend was accusing pastors and preachers who deny or discount the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in peoples’ lives today of being intellectually dishonest. This is something that I do not remotely agree with, and to claim otherwise would be, well, intellectually dishonest.

Anyway, the whole topic got me thinking about one of my favorite Christian songs, “Never Alone” by BarlowGirl. It is a kind of rocking little number, at least as far as Christian songs go. More importantly, it portrays a woman’s  struggle that, despite evidence from her tangible life experiences that God is not real, she can not let go of the lie she has been raised to believe. It is powerful and tragic, made even more so by the fact that I *highly doubt* the artists themselves understand what they are saying.

Always Falling; Never Hitting the Ground

Posted by on Saturday, 21 April, 2012

I had to cut my last post short, because I was getting too perturbed just thinking about it. I am not going to go back and see where I left off. I do not care.

I recently asked myself: When was the last time you had hope?

-What do you mean by “hope”?

-You know, HOPE. The belief that the future will be in some way better than the present; that the things to come will be an improvement over that which is or that which has come before?.

-I don’t believe that for a second.

-No, I get that, the question was, when was the last time that you did?

-How could the future ever possibly be better than the past?

-You know what, forget I asked.

This bathroom thing is not really the problem that I make it out to be. It is certainly *a* problem, but ultimately, the details are not important other than to know that this is the sort of challenge in which one’s true character is revealed. And my true character is not noble. Not that I had a lot going on before, but the fact that my inability to deal with this issue has can and has paralyzed my life for over a year is far more damaging than the actual problem.

I actually have an aversion toward being productive. I am terrified of making decisions or taking any significant actions, because deep down I literally believe that everything that I do will only make my life worse. I did not mention at the time, but a couple of months ago I realized that the last time I made a significant life decision that was actually good was when I was sitting in Arizona, miserable of course, and I decided, “Screw this, I’m going home and I’m going to college like I should have done years ago.” That was in February 2002. Of course, we know that the decisions that I made once I got to college and afterward were shit pretty much across the board.

Here’s to another ten years.

An Aside

Posted by on Saturday, 24 March, 2012

Remember when I was talking about sycamore trees and just assumed that you knew what I meant? Did you?

I found a YT channel this week that is shared by several Korean musicians performing in various combinations. (And no, when I go back to think about it, I never understand how I discover this stuff either.) This video was posted a couple of weeks after my post. Was it inspired by my blog? (By the way, though less relevant to my blog, if sycamore trees are not your thing, her Viva La Vida cover is much better than that one.)

Playing Games

Posted by on Friday, 17 February, 2012

When I was young I frequently played games with a cousin who won at pretty much everything. It was very frustrating. The only game I could even sometimes win was “Sorry!”, presumably because there is a high element of chance involved.

As an adult, I found others who like games. It started casually, but as the group evolved and gravitated more toward heavy strategy games, there was one person who would win every time. Again I was frustrated. Eventually, he moved away, and while I would not say that I was happy to see a friend go… there was a shameful part of me that was relieved.

However, in his absence, I started to notice something. I win a lot. Certainly not every time, but I probably do win more often than not. I worry that others are developing the same frustration toward me that I used to feel.

Last weekend, some friends organized a tournament for a certain strategy card game. Along with a few people that I often see at game nights, there were a few people that I had not seen for several years and several that I had never met before. It made me think seriously about the person that I was, the person that I am, and the person that I really ought to have been by this point in life. It has been on my mind lately anyway, but it was really intensified in that environment.

There was also someone there who surprised me by quickly discerning that I was not a trustworthy person. That was painful, because it is an issue with which I struggle. At one point, she accused me of “playing games”, which I defended with, “It’s a game tournament. We’re ALL playing a game!” But she had stated that I was playing plural games. Of course I was.

Let me show you how easy it is to be deceitful. As I mentioned, there were a lot of people at this event who did not necessarily know each other. I was invited, because I am friends with one of the organizers. When asked how I know him, I reply that we were in a Bible study together. Simple question, simple answer, and it is 100% true. The problem is that person now knows basically one thing about me, and that one thing implies that I am a committed Christian; which I am not. Of course I could have answered, “Bible Study… but whoa now, JUST SO WE’RE CLEAR: I do not do or believe any of that stuff anymore.” I do not see that happening. Aside from being none of their business, it seems unnecessarily antagonistic in a room filled mostly, if not entirely, with Christians.

Then later, if someone wants to talk about christiany things… I was active in the church for a long time, and I even worked in ministry for about a year and a half. I have opinions on christiany things. Again it would be nice if I would preface my comments with, “I don’t actually believe the Bible, but if I did…” I do not lie out of malice. I say a lot of things that are not true as a joke, which people might not always realize. But I also say misleading things just to fit in. I am not proud of that. I spent so many years role-playing christian that even now I slip right back into it without even thinking.

I won the tournament by the way. I gave away the prize and I went home thoroughly disgusted with myself on multiple levels.


Posted by on Thursday, 19 January, 2012

I once heard on Christian radio, “You know, there’s not a single thing that you’re going through that someone hasn’t been through before.” The point being  that you should, of course, give your problems to God, but also not be afraid to seek out guidance from members of your church or whatever.

And while I generally agree with the statement, I can not imagine that anyone that I could reasonably talk to has ever had this specific problem that I was dealing with today.

It is rapidly coming up on one year since I tore apart my bathroom to fix a leak… and not fix anything else. Due to some pressure from a couple of people, I have been a little more serious for the about getting that done, and a lot more serious this past week. However, I quickly discovered that once I broke for lunch, I absolutely refused to go back in there afterward. No amount of self-berating could change that. Now, technically, that is still a big step up from refusing to go in there at all, which I did for months and months. Yet, having firmly decided that absolutely nothing is more important than getting this done, the fact that I seem to be fighting some kind of civil war with my own body when it comes time to do it is frustrating and confusing, to say the least. It is almost enough to make me believe in spiritual warfare, but I really do not want to go there.

Anyway, without going into details, today I discovered that I had screwed something up, and spent all day (with no damned lunch break) just trying to get back to the point where I was on Monday. Which basically entailed digging a hole in the bathroom floor for a fourth time. It is hard not to think of oneself as an incompetent fool during such a process. Especially when the specific thing that I am trying to do is probably not that critical. I seriously could have wasted another week looking up nonsense on the internet or whatever and been no better or worse than I am now.

Naturally, one can not help but think that I could fall on my sword and just pay someone to fix this problem. Except, at this point, I honestly do not think that I could. It would be expensive, humiliating and I strongly doubt that I would be happy with the results. A certain television show just last week mentioned that “every single contractor in the world is a miserable, incompetent thief”, which would be easier to dismiss as a joke were it not for the fact that everyone that I have ever known to hire a contractor has been dissatisfied.


Posted by on Friday, 9 December, 2011

It occurred to me a while ago that, as the old saying goes, I actually do “dress for the job that I want to have.” Although “want” can be a tricky word sometimes.

Then I was thinking that, as the song suggests, I pretty much do “live like I am dying.” Though I am most certainly not interpreting that in the spirit in which it was intended either.

Recently I have been hearing a radio commercial for some kind of medical/health product or service in which the fellow concludes by stating that he wants to “leave this world exhausted.” I feel that in my case, there is also no question about that.