Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And in the stone temple like a pilot I will light a fire

If you can't tell (ie if you have no taste in music and are a bum, yeah I'm talking to you Frank, don't make me come down there!), this is a reference to the most excellent Stone Temple Pilots Song Creep and take a view of the lyrics here

And am I?

Lighting a fire, don't mind if I do...

And while the arson charges are being dealt with...

Anywho, yeah, I am feeling a bit uninspired. It's happened before and it'll happen again, these things happen, that doesn't mean it doesn't suck.

In fact it really sucks.

In fact it really sucks combined with other issues in my life which I could at least pretend were inspiring.

But now I can't.

Which sucks.


In the end, the cure to any writer's block is at its core drilling through it through perseverance. But it's drilling with your brain. That's not pleasant. (As Barton Fink can attest to).

I'm tempted to just put all my troubles on my romantic frustrations. But that's silly. Yes, I am only at full potential when in love, fueled by a muse I am more capable at almost every aspect of my life. But there have been plenty of times when I've not been in love and still been plenty creative.

And then there's the one ever present eternal love of my life, God. Endlessly, perfectly loving.

If my life is not complete without a muse (and that's a big if, but it's something I'm starting to suspect is true, which isn't so dramatic, after all it just means I'd like to get married someday), my life does not begin without God. And even in my worst writer's block, I can still turn to God and find inspiration...

Bits of it at least, though that's still a gift, and I know that this is probably just a lean time. Yet it's still frustrating. And perhaps that frustration too will become inspiration but...

...but sometimes instead of struggling to figure out what to write, I'd rather just light a fire.

But that ain't an option, because I'm doing the Lord's work, and that means I got to carry my cross, but God's at my side, so that means it's not so bad really.

I just forget sometimes and lose myself in that frustration, but stepping back, it's really not so bad... I suppose I just wish it were better... especially as the ghosts remind me of the best I ever had... not really sure what that means in my case, but it all reminds me of melancholy things, but also that in the end I'm pretty lucky all and all.

In the end, if God's with you, it's never that bad, and He's always with you.

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

And God Bless.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Our Father who art in Heaven

I always wanted to do an exposition on the Lord's Prayer, but I'll bow to a more esteemed expert. Thanks to Binu Abraham for pointing this out to me.

From a letter to Proba by Saint Augustine, bishop

(Ep. 130, 11, 21—12, 22: CSEL 44, 63-64)

On the Lord’s Prayer

We need to use words so that we may remind ourselves to consider
carefully what we are asking, not so that we may think we can
instruct the Lord or prevail on him.

Thus, when we say: Hallowed be your name, we are reminding
ourselves to desire that his name, which in fact is always holy, should
also be considered holy among men. I mean that it should not be
held in contempt. But this is a help for men, not for God.

And as for our saying: Your kingdom come, it will surely come
whether we will it or not. But we are stirring up our desires for the
kingdom so that it can come to us and we can deserve to reign there.

When we say: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are
asking him to make us obedient so that his will may be done in us as
it is done in heaven by his angels.
When we say: Give us this day our daily bread, in saying this day we
mean “in this world.” Here we ask for a sufficiency by specifying
the most important part of it; that is, we use the word “bread” to
stand for everything. Or else we are asking for the sacrament of
the faithful, which is necessary in this world, not to gain temporal
happiness but to gain the happiness that is everlasting.

When we say: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass
against us, we are reminding ourselves of what we must ask and what
we must do in order to be worthy in turn to receive.

When we say: Lead us not into temptation, we are reminding
ourselves to ask that his help may not depart from us; otherwise we
could be seduced and consent to some temptation, or despair and
yield to it.

When we say: Deliver us from evil, we are reminding ourselves to
reflect on the fact that we do not yet enjoy the state of blessedness in
which we shall suffer no evil. This is the final petition contained in
the Lord’s Prayer, and it has a wide application. In this petition the
Christian can utter his cries of sorrow, in it he can shed his tears, and
through it he can begin, continue and conclude his prayer, whatever
the distress in which he finds himself. Yes, it was very appropriate
that all these truths should be entrusted to us to remember in these
very words.

Whatever be the other words we may prefer to say (words which
the one praying chooses so that his disposition may become clearer
to himself or which he simply adopts so that his disposition may
be intensified), we say nothing that is not contained in the Lord’s
Prayer, provided of course we are praying in a correct and proper
way. But if anyone says something which is incompatible with this
prayer of the Gospel, he is praying in the flesh, even if he is not
praying sinfully. And yet I do not know how this could be termed
anything but sinful, since those who are born again through the
Spirit ought to pray only in the Spirit.

One is never disappointed with St.Augustine (though he did have some odd opinions about babies and plays among other things).

May God Bless you all.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Because the hand that feeds tastes good

Even when it's your own... But that's another story...
and here's Nine Inch Nails!!

And now for something completely different...

Twitter has been good to me, more or less. By providing a new platform for my largely nonsensical rants, twitter has been feeding followers and readers into the maw of my endless ambition, and on my end I have been mildly abusive to it. Not really, but pretending in that vein, I have mildly abused the twitter api to draw out and play with the vaguely relevant json data from my twitter feed and that of others.

What do I mean? Nothing really, I actually was going to write something quite meaningful today, but..

Anywho, these are some example twitter api calls:[followers|friends|user_timeline]/[screen-name].[format (ie, xml, atom, json, etc.)]

in addition you can throw in GET arguments like page=# and count=# or callback=function for the json format in particular.

Thus to call the third page of therandshow twitter feed in json with 20 results per page and send it to a callback called karl do thus:
(note: you must have already declared a function named karl to callback to, else the Karl's won't come home no matter how hard you call)

Now you might say to yourself: "Hey this seems vaguely useful, but how can I waste that usefulness while helping to strain twitter's resources until it's inevitable implosion?"

Glad you asked Jim, not so glad you asked Sally.

Here's a sample use (and let me credit jquery for making this example within the reach of my immense laziness), and by sample I mean something I did to kill time and decided to half-justify by putting onto the web - behold twitter results displayed by day!


<title>Abusing Twitter Every Day</title>
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
function twitterCallback2(twits) {
twittier = [{date:0,tweets:[]}];

for(i=0; i < twits.length;i++) {
settable = new Date();
if(twittier[j].date==0) {
twittier[j].date = settable;
dte =Date(twittier[j].date);
else if(twittier[j].date.getDay()!=settable.getDay()) {
else {
for(i=0; i < twittier.length;i++) {
str += "<div><h2>"+twittier[i].date+"</h2>";
for(j=0; j < twittier[i].tweets.length;j++) {
for(k in twittier[i].tweets[j]) {
if(k!='user') {
str+= "<p>"+k+" : "+twittier[i].tweets[j][k]+"</p>";
else {
/* if you want for some reason to also display the your own user object */
str+= "<p>"+k+" : "+twittier[i].tweets[j][k].toSource()+"</p>";

// str+= "<pre>"+twittier[i].tweets[j].toSource().replace(/,/g,",\n")+"</pre>";
str+= "</div>";
<div id="holder">
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

and so there it is. Rather random and vaguely cool, n'est pas? Just like my random evocation of my 3 years of middle school French.

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

And God Bless.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

And it all makes you want to scream

A little something from the late great Michael Jackson - Scream

I've been mapping out my past, a common enough task I think, and I've found there are many benefits. You gain a degree of self-learning, a clarification of your understanding of the past, an improvement of your appreciation of good memories and good poeple, and a great story.

There are dangers though: wallowing in self-pity, obsession on the past, renewed bitterness, over-attachment to this life, etc.

But perhaps the most repeated lesson I've found looking over my past is that things were never as bad as I thought they were, nor are they ever as good.

Looking at the past also helps put the present in perspective. I can say that my current life has been a bit rough at times (though not nearly as rough as the life of others mind you), but looking back I find it's amazing that my life is at least better than this period or that period, and so it's not that bad, and I ought to thank God that I got past those past crises because they were pretty damn bad.

Take for example my crisis of April/May 2008 - where I was almost certain I was going to fail a number of classes and need to take another semester (although in retrospect it may have been a good idea to take another semester and get a CS double-major, although who knows how that would have reshaped who I am today?)

Compared to that crisis, my feelings today are light and fluffy, and while I should not take my feelings to lightly (after all, like speed they can kill), it is a bit comforting that I got over that, it chastises my self-pity a bit, and it reminds me - life can suck sometimes, but it is still worth it. I look at that period and there's no way I can reconcile it with the idea I was secretly happy, no I was miserable, but there was still a beauty in that period of life, because I strove to live and live rightly and serve God in my life. Screw the misery, even the crises are beautiful.

And I got a little Facebook posting from that period to prove my point. As miserable and self-pitying that the posting is, I like to think it's a good piece of writing, and well worth looking back upon, or for those who have not read it, for the first time upon. Especially as the most major of the points are still valid, you can always trust God to get you through the bad times, and even when the thrill of life is gone, you still got to go on (and indeed move along):

So here's the posting which I after the fact labeled "Scream":

Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone

Little bit of Jack and Diane

Of course the best thing that John Cougar Mellencamp has given us is this line from How I Met Your Mother (Aldrin Justice):

Barney: Tonight, just like John Mellencamp, I am going to get rid of the cougar once and for all.

If you don't get it watch the episode.

Anywho, I'd like to thank everyone who gave me birthday messages, it was a nice gesture. If it seems odd to not write this till now, well, my life has been a little bit of a crapstorm this last couple weeks. And now that I come to the end of this semester it seems everything is coming up failure, partial or completely, and even my successes seem to be interspliced with failure. And this has all left me pretty miserable.

If I had some time to relax and move away from that mindset, maybe that wouldn't matter so much, but I have more work to do, I have to clean up the mess I've been dealing with lately, I have to deal with potentially failing one or more classes, and this sucks. So life's not going to be enjoyable for a while now.

But life goes on. And one day, really one day, maybe in a month, maybe in two, someday probably not too far from now, I will be getting out of this crapstorm, or I will learn to deal with it. I have great faith that God will get me through all this, but I'm having trouble finding enjoyment in life anyways, and in worse case senario, and I need to deal with the aftermath of these failures and the reactions of my family to these matters, which will likely be as uncomfortable as the problems themselves, I might be living in a crapstorm till the end of the summer or beyond. But still life goes on, I'll have moments of happiness now and then, and someday life will get better. So life goes on.

Even if for now, the thrill of living is gone.

-- Fin --

So how thrilling is living now?
At times very much so, at times terrible. Are things getting better? Off and on, yes. Do I trust God for the future, I am trying to, and I think for the most part succeeding. And looking back, I can say all and all, things are not so bad, maybe not great, but, to paraphrase Hamlet:

In this sleep of life, what dreams may come?
And then in death too, what dreams might appear?

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

And God Bless.

Monday, October 12, 2009


As I am feeling out of sorts and out of place, perpetually, this seems appropriate, is it perfect ready? Perhaps not quite, but it has come along and fits my feelings well, and I AM RAND!


It doesn't really matter
My thoughts, my feelings, my fantasies
They are divergent from reality
Never resting on solid ground
My actions are feeble
Constrained by fear and impotence
Like breath against a hurricane
The mechanics of fate overwhelm me

Perhaps I should travel in exile
To a foreign land
Where my skills are rare and my talents novel
Where my actions are exotic and my faults mysteriously
To a place where I can be king and dictate the fate of others

But that is but a thought, a feeling, a fantasy
Divergent from reality
And it doesn't matter
Not at all

-Rand McRanderson

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A meditation on Morrie

Something I wrote for a class on Tuesdays with Morrie, but an opinion which I still hold more or less today:

“Someone asked me an interesting question yesterday,” Morrie said now, looking over my shoulder at the wall-hanging behind me, a quilt of hopeful messages that friends had stitched for him on his seventieth birthday.  Each patch on the quilt had a different message: Stay the course, the best is yet to be, Morrie—Always No.1 in Metal Health!

What was the question I asked.

“If I worried about being forgotten after I died?”

Well?  Do you?

“I don’t think I will be.  I’ve got so many people who have been involved with me in close, intimate ways.  And love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone.”

p.133, Tuesdays with Morrie


I find that idea comforting, but ultimately I can’t believe it. Being remembered requires the people who know you spreading your name, otherwise when they die you will be forgotten.  Even if they do spread your name around your identity will become blurred after being passed down through generations.  Eventually, people will stop spreading the vague rumors of a man they never even knew and you will be forgotten.  The memory of a man can live on a generation in the memories of those who loved him, and perhaps can live on another generation in their children, but memories fade.  Few many people remember their great-great-great-great grandfather, and those that do are likely keepers of a family history that some unlucky afternoon will be burned in an unexpected blaze.  Few can remember everyone who his father befriended, and even fewer can remember those people in addition to the people his grandfather befriended.  Names fade over time, faces fade over time, and memories fade away, over time the memory of a man becomes scrambled, jumbled, or forgotten.  After a person dies they are forgotten, maybe not in the first generation, maybe not in the second generation, but as time goes on they vanish from the minds of man.

The memories of some men can find a degree of immortality in history.  Those who do great deeds their names are fused into our common heritage.  Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Mao, these men are ingrained within the memory of civilization.  Yet even these names can pass.  The history of man goes back in some cases 5,000 years, but the people whose memories survived all that time are hazy shadows of people, only known for being depicted on a temple wall.  The majority of figures, so incredibly famous in their own times have vanished, others are so entrenched in myth that they are no remembered only the legends.  Some emerge, but for how long will the history of mankind have room for them.  In another 10,000 years will they be remembered?  Perhaps, but maybe just as foot notes to those who did greater deeds.  How many great Khans have been forgotten under the shadow of Genghis Khan?  At the height of their power they might have been the greatest on earth, now their memories have vanished since the memory of Genghis Khan is so much more attractive.  Yet even his memory could be forgotten in another 10,000 years.  Ultimately, 10,000 years is nothing compared to all the years yet to come, and these great men have just bought themselves a little extra time before being forgotten.

The world forgets its heroes, it forgets its villains.  Times change and these things become irrelevant or at best academic.  The accomplishments of men, those too become blurred in the millions of years history.  If “the beating of a butterfly’s wings in Tokyo can eventually change the weather in New York City” ( then a million years of butterflies can cause storms to destroy or mutate everything a man created.  Our legacies, the memories of our name are controlled by the fickle currents of time.  We cannot trust that our memory will go on after we die, we cannot trust our legacy will be remembered, all we can do is live a life we can be proud of and leave the rest to history.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Because it cannot begin again when its never over

But then again, does not life die ever night and rise up every morning?


Just checking.

Given the lack of clean endings between phases of life (after all how many romances have been denied a proper death by pleading is it really over?), there is consequently a lack of clean beginnings.

Thus despite long delays, the new comes to life with not a roar, though neither with a whimper.

Rather in an increasingly common spirit in internet-land, I am semi-publicizing, a semi-alpha-release of the new In addition to reframing and reorganizing all my posts from this blog, you may find other wonders, like comics, programming tips, and amazing bric - and also brack!

Anywho, I am immensely tired, so the lack of percise sensimentality worries me not, after all, who said I wanted to make sense? Really, all I want to do is fly!

More or less...

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

And God Bless.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The inherent folly of internal isolationism

Casablanca is an awesome movie (as recognition of such, here's a link to a very nice fan page of said film). (The movie, though far from a comprehensive picture of the period, and far from an accurate picture of Morocco in the early 1940's, is all the cooler to parse from a historical perspective due to its omissions and selective inclusions) If you dare to question that I will have to smack you upside the top of your head. And as such, though from some angles it can seem down right pulpy, on many, many levels it speaks to the human condition.

Let me just pick one as if for random (or perhaps my mention of Casablanca was really a lead in to this topic, you'll never know! Actually the later case is the truth).

One theme in Casablanca I've always been fascinated by is the connect between emotional internationalism and political internationalism, or rather pragmatic apathy in personal relationships, like cheating a woman into sleeping with you, feeds into and onto political isolationism and apathy, like kow-towing to a viciously evil regime like the Nazis. In the same, "rank sentimentalism" feeds into and onto political idealism which allows one to give up a chance for love because of the larger causes of the world.

Thus Rick, who once ran guns for Ethiopia (wooo Ethiopia!), when a bitter romantic disappointment makes him turn callous in his personal relationships, becomes politically callous, at first dismissing the very idea that he help a man on the run from the Nazi's escape certain torture and death. And thus when he re-accepts the idea of personal love, he re-discovers his idealism, and is willing to let go because his love belongs somewhere else.

What a world... that Rick's love be so doomed by those circumstances... but the non-fictional world can be far more brutal... but then again it can offer even great beauties such as the film itself Casablanca.

I'm just saying...

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

And God Bless.