Saturday, April 10, 2004

Current song: "Broken Up A Ding Dong" by The Beta Band. (Anyone seen "High Fidelity?" Remember the "appearance" of The Beta Band?? Subtle movie detail, but Amish Aaron and I talked about that movie this morning, so it's been on my mind!)

Strange occurrence: between my two instant messenger programs (AIM and MSN), there is NOBODY signed on! My buddy list, though not impressive like most people with, ummm... what do you call them.... oh yeah FRIENDS... I still have a lot of people on my lists and it's very rare that someone isn't on! Kind of sad actually...

I walked around downtown GR today. I realized this morning what a great location my place is in. Blocks from the library, two neighborhood pubs, a late night coffee shop, the police station (?), the children's museum, etc etc etc... I can't wait for summer when I don't need to be in my car incessantly to get somewhere.

The anonymity is starting to be less romantic for me now. It's slowly becoming less "cool" and more "real." Connecting with people in a new place always takes time, but it's typically been a little slower for me. I'm not trying to "excuse" myself anymore by justifying "loner mentalities" as "meloncholic tendencies." I know I need to be proactive. It just feels like uncharted territory for me I guess.

Guess this place still doesn't feel like "home" yet. It's sort of like I'm still on vacation or something. Getting to know my way around, but have this thought in the back of my mind that I'll be leaving soon. I keep "snapping out of it" and realizing that I'm not leaving though. This is where I am living. People at Mars have been really kind and generous and accepting, so I don't complain about that all. Just not sure how I should be taking responsibility for getting plugged in around here.

New song playing: "Little Kids" by Kings Of Convenience. (Killer band by the way, for those who aren't that plugged into "indie" music.)

Heard an interview yesterday that struck me. A woman wrote a book about her family dynamics: daughter of a heterosexual mother and homosexual father. Parents stayed married and everyone lived together, giving her the chance to experience a variety of "worlds" culturally. One of the things she shared that I found fascinating was this idea of "family by choice." Her perspective is this: In the homosexual "community," so many people are outcasts and abandoned by their own biological families that they have to CHOOSE to be connected in new ways with new people. She mentioned that she has taken away from her experiences with the homosexual lifestyle this closeness and intimacy with these "families by choice" that she has never experienced before. I almost pulled the car over. This thought was HUGE for me! That's exactly what people are looking for isn't it? Even if your biological/maternal family is perfect, we long for a family that accepts you because they WANT to, not because of blood or laws.

I know quiet a few of my "blogging friends" have strong feelings about this, but.... I am convinced that the Church is supposed to be one of these communities of "choice." And yes, it has failed in massive and damaging ways. However, the heart of the Church has always supposed to be a "family by choice." And just like any other "community" that claims to be for "anyone," the Church (along with homosexual, alternative, artsy, preppy, etc etc etc communities) ends up being exclusive and not what they claim to be. It doesn't bother me that the Church is held up to another standard of expectations--I think it should be! I just wish the Church had those high expectations for itself too, matching those expectations of people on the "outside."

I want to do my part to change the perception of the Church. I want to foster a place that can be a "family by choice." (Additional thought for another post: Am I a member of that family because I choose to be, or because I have been chosen to be? But like I said, that's for another post--much to big for an "add on.")

New song: "Hypnotize" by The Notorious B.I.G. (Those who know me understand that I am a SCHIZOPHRENIC music lover..... )

Read a few more chapters last night in the book "Loser Goes First." Thought I would pass along a couple of quotes that made me laugh out loud all by myself. Hope you enjoy.

>>"I'm not much of a leftist. I'm more of a 'Hang a left at the mall and it's the second apartment complex on your right' kind of guy...."

>> [author speaking of a shirt he had to wear for a job at a workout facility...] "...the kind from those little shops in the mall where you can make a shirt say something like 'Happy Birthday, [NAME]!' or 'My child is a student at [NAME OF SCHOOL] and is an often tardy, poor speller who is marginally driven by the frustration of mild dyslexia and who thinks it's cool and funny to live like a goddamn teenage drifter on a steady diet of bargain-brand beer, and gas station minimart hot dogs, and cigarettes bummed from so-called friends even though he has a family who loves him."

>> "I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, Why would I have a job opening a health club at five-thirty in the morning when I'm just this really skinny, unfit, smoking, drinking, confused person who doesn't even work out, stays up late, has a problem getting up before ten in the morning, and eats mostly prepackaged snack foods served in a tavern that smells like urinal cakes and has only a toaster oven for a kitchen? Well, the answer to your question is this: Because sometimes you have to do exactly the opposite of what your instinct tells you to do if your aim is to change your life and reinvent yourself. And also, because your physically fit sister is a friend of the owner and has convinced them to give you a job. And also, because the staff is mostly college students who cannot work the 5:30 am to 9:30 am shift five days a week, which kind of shows you how sometimes college can just get in the way (Bill Gates dropped out) of good opportunities, right?"

>> "...I still had learned at least one valuable thing. If I can pass it on to one person out there, then my failure was worth it in the long run. It's this: SOMETIMES IN YOUR LIFE, YOU HAVE TO FIND A LONG, PAINFUL ROAD. Wait. EVERY TIME YOU NEED PAIN, YOU HAVE TO FIND A LONG ROAD AND WALK... AROUND, AND THEN HAVE SOME DREAMS. OR SOMETHING. I can't remember the one valuable thing that I want to pass on to one person right now. It was something I had read in my horoscope that day....It'll come to me."

Current song: "Fire Woman" by The Cult. (Gracias Amish Aaron for the hook-up a while back!)



As "promised"..... here is a pic of my nieces: Jamie Lynn and Danielle Marie. (I know I sound like a HORRIBLE uncle, but I have no idea which is which....I haven't seen them in person yet so....stop all your judgement ok?!?!? Just be glad and enjoy the two little cuties!)

Jamie and Danielle


Friday, April 09, 2004

My half-sunburnt head (see previous post) has now transformed into a half-peeling head. VERY attractive, as you can imagine... And good timing with the things I have to lead and do this weekend!

Had the chance to overhear an "Amway"-type conversation this morning in a coffee shop. Right next to my table, an annoyingly energetic "salesman" was doing his best to convince an African-American couple they could be making over 3 million dollars in the next year. I kept asking myself two things, as I was trying to read:
(1) Why can't I concentrate on my book? What do I subconsciously find so compelling about this "presentation?"
(2) DOES THAT MAN HAVE A SOUL??!? How dare him make "promises" like that!

He and I have an appointment next week so I can get more information.

I'm kidding.

Spent a couple hours last night with my new landlord. Real cool and artsy. He had a few friends over and we listened to his vinyl collection and chatted about the good and bad about Grand Rapids. I got the hook-up on radio stations to listen to, Chinese places that were cheap but authentic, and what are the best days to visit the art museum. I also found a "solution" to my internet dilemma. Cait is all worried that I would bypass having internet access in my house. I have been debating a more "simple" existence (also see previous post), but I found out last night that the place I live is wireless! Jake the Landlord is currently switching providers and it will all be back up and running next week. So, no fear Cait, my blogging buddy, I will be connected ALL THE TIME!

Great book I have almost finished: "Loser Goes First." I'll leave you, for now, with a very appropriate passage for me these days. I hope this encourages some of you also!

"Every now and then in our lives, something works out. Maybe it's right in the middle of a long line of years' worth of things that don't really work out so well. And maybe it's not the thing you're planning on or looking for, or even the thing you're going to stick with for the long run...maybe it's only purpose is to make you realize that not everything you do is bound to fail."

Song lyric of the day: The Incredible Moses Leroy from the song "Fuzzy":

"You are my itchy sweater."


Wednesday, April 07, 2004

'Sup peeps. (You can't see, but I am giving you all the cool guy head bob as I "say" that.... Use your imaginations please.)

Well, I am sitting in a place called "Beaners" outside of East Grand Rapids. This might end up being my "blogging home." This is a pretty cool coffee shop with free wireless access. Unfortunately, it's not open very late, but.. that just forces me to focus my thoughts and type quickly.

Thanks to those who have said "hey" and sent the good vibes since my move. I really do appreciate it! Even though most of you don't live anywhere near Chicago, reading those comments felt like "home."

So I stayed on the floor my first night in my new place. And when I woke up the next morning, I felt OLD and incredibly out of shape. Crappy feeling.

OK--get a load of these couple of news stories. Read at your own risk!

Woman Performs Own Caesarian to Save Baby

Man Accused of Fatally Place-Kicking Dog

New Jewelry Trend

OK, leave you with a couple quick thoughts:

>> I don't think I am going to get cable, a house phone, or internet in my place. I want a more "simple" existence. (And a cheaper one....)
>> The sunshine has a MASSIVELY dramatic effect on my mood. It's not something I imagine.
>> Franchised places are over-rated.
>> Jessica Simpson sure seems to be on a lot of magazine covers lately. WHY?!?!??!
>> I'm sick of getting emails DAILY claiming "We have found your MATCH" and "Increase your size dramatically." Who says I need either one?!?!?
>> I probably shouldn't have added the last sentence to my thoughts right above. Sorry.

Shalom friends. I'll post more soon.


Tuesday, April 06, 2004

This is officially my first post from my new job and home in Michigan. Stressful and busy couple of days... Excited about things "settling down."

Got sunburnt yesterday. Well... that needs clarification actually. HALF of my bald head got burnt yesterday. Thanks to my sunroof and the four hour drive up here, I am modelling a nice pink tint on the right half of my head, while the other half continues to bear the color-robbing effects of winter.

Will soon begin to paint my new place. I think I have decided on a muted green for the main room and a color called "Ruffled Clam" for the bedroom. The subtle tan/brown/khaki color will be good to sleep in. And, for some spice and "life" I will use this great orange color. It's going to be like autumn in my house--my favorite colors and season.

I'm typing on my new machine too. Went and bought a new computer last night for the office: new iMac. I've made a lot of typing mistakes thanks to the new keyboard.

More to come later--just wanted to connect again and give a small update.

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