Thursday, October 23, 2008

Things I Like Pt. 1

I like the following:

my nephew Noah, Charlie Chaplin, The Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, silent films, German expressionistic films, surrealism, impressionism, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, black and white films, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, Un Chein Andalou, Radiohead, The Flaming Lips, Pixies, The Jesus and Mary Chain, shoegaze, The Beatles, The Doors, punk, Stiff Little Fingers, The Ramones, The Clash, The Dead Kennedys, Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange, existentialism, the history of Satan, Genesis, theology, Greek, Hebrew, Venus, Pythagoras, nihilism, argyle, Dickies, khakis, chocolate cake, Joy Division, wine, Guinness, gin and tonic, New Castle, hamburgers, devil's food cake, plumes, oranges, banana pops, cherries, green seedless grapes, arbitrariness, green, white, blue, Converse, suspenders, vests, iPods, iTunes, 90's rap, doo wop, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, blues, Miles Davis, Abide with Me, 28 Days Later, Darren Aronofsky, Harry Potter, Blonde Redhead, fall, Halloween, X-Files, Star Trek, That 70's Show, Seinfeld, Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Fyodor Dostoevsky, gothic novels, Franz Kafka, Jean Paul Sartre, distopianism, George Orwell, The Food Network, Throwdown, Good Eats, Iron Chef, Ace of Cakes,, Detroit Redwings, Steve Yzerman, St. Louis Cardinals, West Virginia Mountaineers, Earl Grey, chai, Lapsang Souchang, Virginia, Tennessee, metal, oldies, girl groups, bubblegum pop, crayons, rubber ducks, booing, chess, picture albums, action figures, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, He-Man, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Beavis and Butthead, retractable Sharpies, High Fidelity, Little Debbie, post-punk, Alfred Hitchcock, glasses, Merlot, Chardonnay, Claude Monet, Paul Klee, Salvador Dali, James Joyce, cubism, avant-garde, electric guitar, piano, organ, Gameboy, mustaches, Hieronymous Bosche, Anne Rice, Ralph Ellison, Russia, Moleskin, red ink, Orson Welles, X-Men, Spiderman, Magneto, Star Wars, rice, juice, sleeping, Mr. T, Thursdays, dub, gnosticism, the Apocrypha, Apocalypse Now, Johnathan Swift, satire, John Milton, Iago, the golden ratio, cuckoo clocks, grandfather clocks, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey, E. Howard Hunt, Julian the Apostate, Super Mario, Nintendo, Johann Sebastian Bach, campfires, King Saul, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, How Deep the Father's Love for Us, Turd Ferguson, True Love Ways, absurdism, journals, mahjong, mountains, fish and chips, reuben, chicken fried steak, Kool-Aid, Diet Mt. Dew, Fresca, pens, paper, baths, salt-n-vinegar chips, Barnes and Noble, Borders, American Eagle, Old Navy,, bowling shirts, John Steinbeck, Darkness at Noon, The Dharma Bums, Arcade Fire, Chapelle Show,, cursing, hiking,, Rhymes with Orange, William Blake, direct deposit, Helzberg, Parthenon, Albert Camus, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abendego, Reece's, Hershey chocolate, Fruity Pebbles, Cap'n Crunch Crunch Berries, Frosted Flakes, Honey Nut Cheerios, Chicken Corn Chowder, Muenster Cheese, Brie, spinach, peas, Stratocasters, Set, Old Spice, Bath and Body Works, Great Pyramid of Giza, Cydonia, deism, Gilmore Girls, Mothman, Across the Universe, No Surprises, Jesu, the Joy of Man's Desiring, The Stranger, The Trial, Nausea, figure skating, fog, winter, leather jackets, Taco Johns, Wu-Tang Clan, Woot shirts, southern rock, indie, Modest Mouse, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Canadian National Anthem, facebook, facebook IM, facebook inbox, diamond rings, Casablanca, Cheez-it, plums, Phantom of the Opera, corduroy, The Twilight Zone, Fight Test, Built to Last, Stalag 17, candles, Puccini, and Amy Perrey.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Man's Best Sign

When I first started college I learned many new things: how to format a paper in Turbian, how to read Greek, how to discuss rhetorical argumentation, explain Wellhausen's hypotheses, and how to check a girl's finger for a ring.

Ring checking is the simple, sly practice of determining whether a young lady is married or not. First, you approach the female and say, "How you doin." Next, check her left hand quickly and inconspicuously for that diamond. If she does have on a ring, you turn around without saying another word. If her hand is bare of any sparkly objects, then proceed to say, "Like I was sayin,' How you doin.'"

This is something I never did before. At first I thought my friends were dorks for even going to the trouble of ring checking. However, I soon found myself searching a girl's hand for that shiny, monthly-installed paid, Marilyn Monroe approved, diamond ring that said in loud, flashy gleams, "Too late Loser, I'm taken."

Eventually, I quit checking a girl's finger for a ring. I figured that at my age, I better first check for a pulse.

Recently, I have been scanning fingers for rings once again. This time I have not been determining whether the woman is single or not, but comparing her ring to my fiance's ring. With each comparison I determine that Amy's is much more beautiful. It might have something to do with the fact that Amy is much more beautiful than all other women, but I check for cut, clarity, carat and color and still still determine that Amy's ring is superior.

Often I will catch Amy ring checking her own hand. I will smile at her and say, "That's a pretty ring. Where did you get that?" She will smile back and say,"My fiance gave it to me."

That's me!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


It was a new start, yet it all looked and felt familiar. I tried leaving part of my past, yet it was there with me. I was there to study writing, but I was confronted by my previous studies--theology. I was there to pursue an MFA, but orientation took place in what was once a Baptist church.

I entered the church, which was now being used for the university's night program, and found my way to the sanctuary. They did not call it a sanctuary, it was now the "art's center," but you could not disguise its previous function. There were neither a crucifix, nor a baptistry, but you felt reverent walking in.

I silently and respectfully found my seat. My seat was not a desk or a table, but a pew. Some were talking, some were reading, but most had their heads down in a stationary position as if in meditation. We were there to study and learn, but all would have easily transitioned into a state worship, given the right cue.

The dean ascended the stage and stood in front of the lectern. It was not a lectern. It was a pulpit and he was not facing an audience of students but a house of worshipers. We listened to each of his words, noting down the most important points. We laughed at his jokes and imagined his stories. It was not a speech. It was a sermon and it had points, and it was persuasive. We were moved by his words and motivated to become better students. Not better students, but better believers.

There was a place in the pew in front of me for a hymnal, A Bible, and a cup of communion. Communion was not served, but we were all invited after the speech to come forward and receive our free university coffee cup. We got in a line and waited our turn to receive the cup. Then we departed with a, "Have a good day." No, not "have a good day," but: "Peace be with you." "And also with you."

It was orientation. Or was it church? I can not escape the church. It has followed me into a Masters of Fine Arts program. It was there during orientation and later in class to let me know where I came from. It will continue to be there with every story or poem I turn in for class. It will be there in my journal entries and my free writing. It will be there with topics I explain, argue and discuss. It will be there in my notes and in the margins. It is everywhere I go.

It is here with me now.