Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vacation is not quite what I wanted

Despite my bold decree of understanding my place in life, I find myself questioning my approach to things. Perhaps this is just a temporary befuddlement before my ascension to true fooldom, or perhaps this is just another mutation of my alternating bouts of determination and confusion or perhaps it's all just a lack of confidence. Or perhaps it's all just cowardice.

Anywho, perhaps to sort things out, perhaps just because I'm tired, I've decided to take a kind-of semi-vacation sort-of from myself. As odd as that concept sounds, it is rather concrete in my head, and it centers on a certain absence of worry on many matters and a certain dialing back on my introspection at certain times. All of that may not have helped enlighten you as to what I'm talking about, but the point is this state of things obliges me not to parse it exactly as to be able to explain it. Oh well. Sufficient to say, I've decided to restrict the effort I spend on thinking about how to live to certain areas where my decisions on how to live actually matter, such as family, some of the friends I keep in contact with, writing, and my spiritual life. Though how much this restriction on the other areas will affect the life of the unrestricted areas, I am a bit concerned, but as per this state of less worry, I'm not going to freak out over it.

So far I must say, it is kind of relaxing, kind of calming, and it kind of sucks. I find myself with less worries, and less of the bitter falls of depression, but life's less enjoyable, less hopeful, less moving, so far that is at least. This is despite fairly good conditions of life to be enjoyable/hopeful/moving. I'm also a little scared that this apathetic attitude toward much of my life is moving me away from God, though I'm hoping a strong prayer life will keep that from happening. But I'm still thinking that this experiment is worth continuing, partially because it's different, and I've had a lack of difference in my lifestyle, but more importantly because it's a possibly viable alternative to the way I've lived for the last several months (if not years depending on how one defines styles/philosophies of life broken into periods), and ultimately it allows me to compare and contrast and either re-evaluate my way of life, or approach it with re-newed focus.

At least that's the hope, and at least that's what I'm hoping's behind all of this.

It may just be though that I'm tired. Which is okay, we all get tired, as long as you make sure you're going to get up (to that end, I'm going to put a forced end to this experiment/vacation in about 1 1/2 wks, probably then I'll go back to the fool-hardy (or perhaps fool-hard) life for maybe about 2 wks, and then well, think about things...).

What I'm really worried about though, is that I'm giving up on life. But in the end I still have faith, hope, and love. I'm still working for the man upstairs in the end. Maybe though, I'm just doing a little bit of different work for a little while...

perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Scar tissue that I wish you saw

I suppose at the moment, I'm figuring I'm more likely to share my lonely view with the birds rather than a mate or a community to belong to. Ah, but that's mostly just the depression talking, and a good way to take the edge off that old bug is...

Music...because music rocks.

Let's start it up with:
1. Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chilli Peppers from their classic album Blood Sugar Sex Magic. A delicate song, with immense feeling, but a gentle acceptance. It well captures that sad but understanding attitude of being alone, not by anyone's fault but just by circumstance. The lyrics sketch a picture of a man striving to end that loneliness with romance, but accepting his current failure and looking a bit gloomily at his continued efforts. Then there's that guitar rift that cuts in the middle right into your soul. It's the signal that this reluctant acceptance doesn't come without a passionate protest, but the rift never bursts into an electronic fury as it seems tempted to at times, as the acceptance wins out, but is intertwined with sorrow that the man cannot shake, and which lingers in your heart long after the song has ceased in your ears.

And here's the AMV from the good folks at FLCL. The hyper-energy of FLCL somewhat clashes with the meditative song, but FLCL's combination of humor and darkness, joy and pain, psuedo-philosophy and psuedo-pop matches well the sweet and bitter strains, that look at the birds as brothers, if only to express an alienation from the rest of the world.

But don't let that alienation get you down, because even with that you can still be singing...

2. Tubthumping by Chumbawamba, a great song with a marvelous simplicity in its energy and sentiment (the lyrics too to a degree), but also a marvelous complexity its multiple competing parts and different voices and different tones and...

DUDE: I GET KNOCKED DOWN AND I GET UP AGAIN YOU AIN'T NEVER GOING TO KEEP ME DOWN

You can't stop the music when it hits you that true and strong. Especially when it goes well with a lovely anime called Love Hina. While this anime may not be the best in the harem anime genre, it is a quintessential example, with a hero with a never-say-die attitude and an always-say-die luck which matches the song as well (plus Love Hina has plenty of examples of people drinking heavily which also hits the bells of the tubthumping way (oh I could explain to you what tubthumping means, but I'm not going to))

But to mix it up a bit, as I am inclined to, let's take the energy of the second and the bittersweet of the first and we end up with something close to...

3. Lovefool by the Cardigans - The essential sentiment of the artist in love, rejected but so broken by the lost that she's willing to cling to any thing her love can give her... Well, it's a classic. The tone switches amazingly seemlessly between honestly distraught and flippant to a degree where you can't tell whether you're being too cool for love or too in love to be cool, all you know is you're out of sorts and you don't know what to do and if only you could just have the illusion of love...well, that touches a bit too close honestly. Let's move along...

4. That's right Move Along by the All-American Rejects. This song has a decent deal of lyrical/musical complexity, but not a huge amount. It's biggest claim is the driving push of its energy. And then there's the sentiment, and then there's just the way the voice and music mixes excellently with the sentiment, because it is the loser yelp and the semi-emo, sort-of-punk rock jangle, yeah, these are the All-American Rejects, but isn't being a reject part of being an American? And isn't it glorious?

This AMV might not hit all the right notes. Sometimes the images are a little too spot on, sometimes they're just cool images without the right sentiment, but what the video editor got here is the need for an immense variation of imagery and colors to hit that energy flow perfectly. Plus the characters, like all good heroes, got a nice loser-y look from some angles, and you gotta love a loser...

Because losers are the ones who know how to rock.

I think that's the sentiment to end the night on, and if the loneliness ever gets too hard, just remember music is awesome. It won't take away the pain, but meh, pains not so bad and music, as stated before, is awesome.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, I the fool

I think I have found my calling in life: to be a holy fool.

There is I think a demand for this sort of role, in recent time especially, as often narrowly worldly, often disguised as pragmatic or practical, wisdom is often preferred over the more truthful and divine. The holy fool, at least ideally, acts opposite to this condition, embracing with full force the very traits of the Lord's wisdom that appear foolish to the world or run counter to the world's wisdom.

For example, the holy fool ought enthusiastically love all people, considering them all as friends and even like family, (I'm not claiming my achievement of this, mind you but I'll get into that more later), or at least with that potential. The impression I get from the world at large is that this is an unnecessary indulgence, and a dangerous one at that. That it is acceptable and, indeed healthy, to hate and despise others. Even the potential for friendship is seen as something that must be earned and even then not necessarily allowed. But that attitude is backward to the holy fool, for the former is the way of the Lord, even if it appears foolish to the world.

I wish I could cite this example as one of my actual traits fully developed and perfected, but too often I am dismissive of others, sometimes I fall bitter to bitterness, and very often I hold back a degree of deserved intimacy from even those who I am closest too. So in regards to this open and honest love for all of God's people, no, here I do not measure up to the ideal of the holy fool.

But even great authors write crappy novels, and even great actors stink up the joint. (As Charlton Heston pointed out to Joey, "it's okay to stink, the one thing though that you must remember is NEVER take a shower in my dressing room"). However, the ideal of the great author encompasses a level of practice and craftsmanship that would make a crappy novel impossible, and a great actor ideally would act with such precision and talent that no character would be misplayed. But in reality all but God are fallible, and so even the greatest will admit to only imitating greatness. But in that quest to imitate that ideal, what glory, what grace can be achieved.

So it is with the holy fool. The ideal may only exist in the mind of dreamers and long-dead Russian novelists, but it is still worth chasing. I may not have reached the state of feeling only love and no hate like the holy fool, but I will try, and I will keep trying. For while this is very much a case of aiming for ht heavens, my father taught me that if you aim for the heavens you might at least be able to reach the gates.

Or else you may at least come close enough to grasp the Lord's outstretched hand, though for that one need not leap far, just to jump with hope, love and faith.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks.

Goodnight Folks!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Here's to you Michael Jackson, Salute

I have at least six sessions of pressing importance that I want to get onto the web. I have at least a dozen personal matters to attend to.

Me wasting time wandering on the web is nothing new, but I keep being drawn back to Michael Jackson and his recent passing. Farah Fawcett's death struck me too as something... but it was a death of a famous person who I had only the smallest exposure to, even via media (though she seemed like a very nice person there, God bless you Ms.Fawcett).

Michael Jackson was something different. What he meant to me I'm not sure. He was a legend (his official Youtube channel if you need proof). I listened to his music on occasion, Billie Jean probably was the song that seemed most Jackson-esque to me, though Thriller would probably be what I'd think of first. Still, I wasn't a major Michael Jackson fan, indeed for Smooth Criminal, I prefer the Alien Ant Farm version to the original.

Maybe his eternal child image did mean something to me.

Maybe that scene from Three Kings rang a degree of truth.(The shooting script, search "Michael Jackson" to find what I'm talking about)

Maybe, to me, he was a symbol of dreams gone wrong or of dreams denied or of something... maybe he was a symbol of the United States of America, a country I love dearly...

I can't really say. I know this though, even though I can claim no great faith in Michael Jackson's defenses against the various accusations leveled against him, I always thought, or maybe just hoped, that he would end up alright. That his next act would be one of redemption and even musical renewal. Or maybe just personal renewal, where he could finally set his house in order and dismiss all the bizarre dilemmas that often seemed to come from his own hands. And now he's dead, and now we won't get to see that last act. (Roger Ebert has summed up this angle far better than me on his site)

But we shouldn't act as if his life was a tragedy, or at least not a pure one. He made magnificent music, and influenced generations. Even if I might say generally his is not my genre, I have to admire the music and I have to admit that his influence has brought out the best in many of the artists I listen to daily, and it has brought so much joy and inspiration to so many, and...

That all makes me wish he had ended his life in a happier time, at the very least, his way of passing, a heart attack was very normal and very quick, but still...

But still, he deserved better from the world and from himself and now his moment on the earth has ended...

but there is still the world to come. Whatever Michael Jackson's rights or wrongs, it at least looked like he was a man filled with anxiety and pain, but the Lord can take that away, and in the Lord's love, all of Michael Jackson's...

well, no eye has seen, no ear has heard.

But I will offer this prayer:

Please Lord,
Help Michael Jackson to put away his pains,
Remove his sins,
And guide Him to your ever lasting Love,
Amen.

God bless you Michael Jackson.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Just a little lonely

I'm okay.
I'm just a little lonely.
He said with something approaching a smile on his face,
And something approaching bitterness in his voice.

Is it so taxing?
Are you so needy?
Is it so much to wish for?

When alone, I find company is something I can do without,
But it is hard to close your eyes after a day lived in silence,
Without admitting that while
A companion may not be something you need,
It is something you want,
Which is to say you might not always get it.

And I wonder on how to weigh this,
And I dismiss my ponderings as irrelevant,
But I must admit, that there is a part of me that is less than well,
When I am even a little lonely.

Friday, June 19, 2009

DOOOOM!!!

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Even in defeat, one can reap the dividends of peace

Let me now not speak for current times but for the future,
And for the past,
But not for the present,
For that would be reckless,
Careless
And I have sworn off such ways

If you do not understand me
That's not unusual
We are humans are we not?
At least on the inside
At least for now

Even if we speak in the same language
Do we really use the same words
Each sentence, each body movement, each thought
Is enveloped in connotations, denotations, emotions and assumptions
Till the common syntax is an obscurer of the truth rather than an aide

And that is without getting to the intangibles

And what is life without the intangibles

And what is life without that most misunderstood intangible
We bear to each other
And we do not understand the other
Nor their understanding of us
But what is life without that dream of understanding

And so we try to impose a bridge upon this chaos
We try to force an understanding to bring down the truth
Of that feeling we have for another
That feeling that it is so essential that we give without misunderstanding
That feeling that we so desperately want to understand in the others' eyes

And so it comes to war
We misunderstanding
Take advantage of the fog of our mutual fiction of communication
To bring down what we wish were the feelings that are being misunderstood
That we might be able to understand
But without agreement
And how can their be agreement
And in such conflict

Yet to understand is not always to triumph
Your conception may not be conveyable
It might not even exist
Even in your mind
And if what you wanted to understand
Is worth understanding
Then can it be worth understanding even if it is only the others' definition
That remains

And so it comes to failure
To defeat
Both dismal and deep
But we emerge a little closer
Not understanding still
But a little closer

And in that we advance the longer triumph
Far down the road

Monday, June 15, 2009

What are you waiting for really

There's a term in geo-politics called "linkage", the idea that between two negotiating parties with a large number of issues between them, one can bargin on issue A by utilizing issue B, and problems in issue B can be addressed via issue A. This was particularly popular during the Cold War.

Yeah, "linkage" usually doesn't work out too well.

Because, inherently you take a gamble that the other side views these issues as linked the way you do + ranks them with similar importance + views them as similarly mutable. Essentially you're expanding your negotiating from a bunch of small issues to one giant one, and the thing is, when behind the whole negotiations is a fundamental difference, then you're just screwing yourself because that one big issue can't be resolved without one side losing entirely. However, split the issues into small chunks, break them down one by one, and sometimes you can cut down the whole slew of dangerous issues between two sides into a still-existing but non-deadly array of problems.

Sometimes, with some problems, you just got to admit, I don't know how to solve this, and I can't let that screw up everything.

I could go on more on the historical implications of that (especially in terms of Kissinger), but I'd like to instead reframe it in a personal way of viewing.

(HAH! you thought I was going to zig but I zagged! Watch out or I just might zog!)

I have a tendency for obsessions, on matters of joy but also on matters of pain. When I face an insurmountable problem, I like to tackle it on all angles to see if there's some possible, tiny chink. But that obsession can become, well an obsession. And sometimes problems are truly insurmountable, or at least, insurmountable for you. And at that point you need to defuse the linkage.

That is to say, when you put that much focus on a single problem, it easy to be swept away by it, enveloped by it, and all else is put on hold, moreover all else is seen through the lens of this issue, and when it's irresolvable everything is tainted by it and...

And then you need to de-link things. Separate this one problem from all your others, seal it off in a certain part of your mind, and live your life in the rest.

For the world will try to keep you down, but you got to always, always just keep on keeping on.

Anywho, sleep does call me, so take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Prithee, have thee heard of the Prism

I'm always caught in a bit of a dilemma upon my less serious posts, because I am Rand the Great and Glorious and thus deserve the treatment as such. But on the other hand, even the great and glorious can afford more scattered thoughts upon once and a while.

So then let me make a recommendation far removed from topics more normally dwelled upon. Often I have found myself with more than one account at a social networking site or the like and have been forced to choose which one to be logged in as at a certain time. The choice would infuriate me, and burn me to my soul. Sure I could use multiple browsers, but I like Firefox, and then I need to surf over to the site again. Seconds wasted, seconds!

However, now I find myself taking advantage of Firefox's Prism project. This project at its core, isolates a single webpage in a browser instance. At its most basic use, this is only slightly more useful than a bookmark. But there are some intriguing possibilities here. Firstly, you can put the links to the prism-ed site more places than a bookmarks menu, and more relevant to the previous paragraph, you can utilize the prism-ed site independently of other prism instances and of Firefox. Thus, you can be logged into TWO! instances of say Gmail or MySpace accounts at once TWO! TWO!

And while there are some cases where one is better than two, this is not one of them.

So Prism on Prism! Prism on!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Because the Rand Show is Comikier than yo'mama

It is, it is indeed:

Moreover, just as The Rand Show blog is making a comeback as is, soon mind you, the comic:

The Rand Show Issue #1
The Rand Show Issue #2
The Rand Show Issue #3
The Rand Show Issue #4

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sooner or later everyone fails

Not a bright sentiment to start with. I can't say though that I'm feeling bright. But not too bad. Overall, just a little low, and a little disappointed on myself and things...

For example, my re-emergence into the world of blogging which fizzled quite immensely last month. Generally, lately, it seems that whenever I have a good spell, some crap storm breaks loose, I patch that up, and then I look back and see the rest of my life has been abandoned. And lately, it just seems like a matter of sooner or later...

(By the way, quoting above line from Scrubs, Episode: His Story, Wooo! Scrubs)

In the end, screw that!

Screw those depressing, self-pitying, waah-waah-waah feelings! Now I'm going to deny those feelings exist, nor am I going to penalize myself for them, but rather I say bah-humbug to depression and move on, or at least aspire to, for that dear friends, is false bravado.

But it is still distressing how often, especially within this last year or so, and most especially within the last few weeks or so, I have made determinations to change my life but then had those determinations fall apart. There is the temptation to declare hopelessness, but then again, if parts of my plans and strategies have fallen apart, parts have succeeded, and in some ways I am better off that I was say a year ago...

But all weighed, I dunno...

In the end it doesn't matter. One of the constants of life, is that things fail, always there are plans that happen to be a bit too grand. Yet there is some satisfaction in being the man who tries. After all, accomplishments crumble to dust, memories are forgotten, and we are all but dust in the wind, but if there is something beautiful to make of our lives, then the core of that beauty is the life itself, well lived, devoted to love, or if you will indulge a Christian, in the seeking, the finding, and the being found in Christ Jesus.