Sunday, November 7, 2010

All in time

All things start and all things end and with time all things begin again but never twice is it the same, long before the end all things change, but that is just this world

Friday, April 30, 2010

Because I am done with hate

First, let me give credit for inspiring this post to my Mom who wrote a very nice lesson about the Commandment "You shall not kill". My mother has been writing a number of lessons for our Church's "upper-level" Sunday-school program, which also go out to various people who are family, friends, or interested in the materials (a group which includes me).

This lesson in particular struck a cord in me. When I was little "You shall not kill" seemed like the Commandment least useful for daily living. But as my mother noted, Jesus taught that "You shall not kill" also applies to anger and hatred. After all, murder comes from such feelings.

But sometimes it feels like that as long as you don't act on the anger and hatred, it's fine to store it up inside you. At least, I used to think that way. When I was in middle school in particular, every grade there would be one or two kids who I hated, who made me constantly angry. I thought I was justified in my anger because they didn't seem to care about the effect of their jokes and teasing, and because they hit on topics that very sensitive for me at the time, but thinking back on it perhaps I just didn't understand them, or perhaps they had too much on their mind from other matters that made them careless, as my Mom pointed out, God asks us not to judge.

In any case, my anger, my hatred got me nothing. There were a few cases where I tried telling them off, but those were always ineffective (I've found that telling someone to stop a hurtful behavior works if that person was your friend to begin with, but is much more difficult when there isn't that bond). The anger also never gave me any sense of release for my frustrations, I had many of them in middle school and I thought perhaps if I could focus my irritations on a few people I could release it. Instead, I found my frustrations intensified as my thoughts circled around my anger. I found that when I was angry or caught up in hate, my enjoyment of life lessened, my relationships with those I cared about suffered, and my spiritual life faltered.

I'm not sure if there was a special moment when I decided to stop hating people. In fact, even now there are moments when I slip into that state of mind, but nowadays I take care to pull myself out of it. Sometime around my freshman year of high school a change happened in my way of thought. Whether there was a moment or not, I do believe this was a gift from God. I began to notice that I had no objects of hate, and though I tried to pick out historical figures or concepts to hate, I realized there was no need to hate. Anger and hate simply kept me from growing closer to God.

Later in high school, as I became more convinced that hate was harmful to the soul, I found to my surprise, without intending it, I had befriended most of those classmates I had once considered my enemies. Thinking about my later friendships, my previous anger seems silly.

I get angry at times, but I've been making the effort to catch myself and stop myself from being caught up in anger. Anger, hatred, even if they don't lead to actions like murder, the person who bears them I believe suffers, the mind, body, and spirit become corrupted, and the sin of hate pollutes the person's relationship with God. And it is so unnecessary. At least in my life, I have found that if I seek to embrace love and reject hate, I am much happier for it, I am much more successful in life for it, and I feel closer to God.

After all, if we love God, shouldn't we love his children, who are created in his image?

Those are just some thoughts I had about this Commandment, and I thought I'd share them.

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

And God Bless.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One day I'll sit back and say Thanks for all the Birthday wishes

It being two days past my birthday the proper time has come and so I'll share a rumination with my birthday and the lovely wishes from my friends I've received.

Anywho, the random reference in the title of this note is to "Someday" by Sugar Ray

And I suppose I'm just reminded of it because of that line "Someday, when my life has passed me by/ I'll sit back and wonder why you were always there for me" - because I got to say sometimes I wonder why I got all the good friends I got. It's really very lucky, very blessed, very awesome indeed.

Now in my life I've had up and downs, and while these days are far from my lows, my life, in some respects, fall shorts of my more ambitious dreams. But what I never could have dream of, is how many good folk I have in my life and how close I hold them to my heart. And maybe someday I'll do great things, maybe someday I'll conquer the world, but it doesn't matter too much, because I got people with love in their hearts and that's just beautiful.

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

And God Bless.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I can hear music

Can you hear the whispers of music in the wind?
The air is vibrating with potential;
I feel the blood within me dart back and forth
    Like newborn tadpoles in a sun-drenched stream.

Cry gladness!
And leap into the sky while laughing;

Today and now,
    All things begin anew,
    And can be done better this time;
    And can be done right this time.

For no reason
    Other than,
    This is the day the Lord has made,

Let us be glad
And rejoice.

- Rand McRanderson

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Because all futures come to pass given time and space

Including more posts by me - And yet more stuff - but I plan to do more stuff but busy-ness and wierdness and craziness + zombies / doom - and so on

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Because its time to turn and face the strange

Once again, much like Mr. Bowie, time is taking me through changes as one chapter of my life passes to another. And what will this one hold?

I have finished my employment at TradingMarkets, a matter which was destined to come to pass sooner or later, and to recite once again what I have told most everyone, at least it ended on good terms and I got severance. And more or less that's the sum of my feelings about the matter. I will miss the people there, but I think better opportunities lie ahead, I would have liked things to not have come so out of the blue, but on the other hand it would have been irritating if it was dragged out over a while.

My job at TradingMarkets taught me a good deal about web development and all that jazz, but perhaps more importantly it gave me some experience with dealing with the odd universe of the working world, which hopefully will get me a better handle on things when I approach my next place of employment.

Maybe the biggest lesson of my time at TradingMarkets though, was the realization that the essentials of work really hadn't changed from high school to college to employment. You work hard, play the cards you're dealt, and don't take things too seriously. Of course what that means in a particular situation differs from place to place, time to time, etc., and I'm sure that despite my experiences my next employer will have many surprises and challenges, et al. But that's life, and all and all it's not too bad.

But the future... well first let me say the present isn't looking too bad. I've got a number of projects lined up to keep me busy, plus there's job hunting itself. But beyond that, at least for the moment, I think I'll try to catch up a little on relaxation and socialization, though sooner or later, I am going to have to dive into a new job... which I think ought be all for the better.

And if it isn't, well, I've got God, family and friends, things will work out. Indeed, I have more than all I'll need for a lifetime, and so things have already worked out and I'm just watching things unfold. The future might be bright and filled with fanciness, or it might not, but that's okay, at least it'll be filled with those strange creatures called people, and that'll keep it all pretty interesting.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Christ is risen, indeed

It was the pastor of St.Paul's, Monsignor Nolan, who taught me the traditional Easter greeting and response:

Christ is risen!

Christ is risen, indeed.

I'm not sure who's tradition that was, but it's a nice one. Now lest you think I'm in some bizarre time warp and/or zone, it is in fact the day after Easter where I currently am. Still that does not change the fact that Christ rose from the dead, nor that his death and resurrection saved us all.

Sometimes when I think about that, everything else pales in comparison. Jesus' death and resurrection is a testament to God's eternal love and His sovereignty over the universe.

Historically there was a brand of thought that concluded since Jesus took away sin that all moral responsibility was abolished by Christ's resurrection. Historically most theologians laughed and giggled at such logic. After all, Christ gave us freedom, and if sin is our distance from God, we then have an option to cling to our sin. God then does not condemn us as punishment, but simply restrains Himself from stopping us when we ourselves choose the path to Hell. Least that's how I figure it

Moreover, if we love God, (and when you accept that God is eternally loving and supremely good, I think that you cannot reconcile anything less than a love for God with an acceptance of this reality), then to not try do good would be to deny our love. Christ's resurrection has freed us from sin, enabling us to love him and draw close to him with all of our hearts, minds, and souls, but in order to love God, and because of our love for God, we are compelled to strive to do His will. And this means we must take care of each other and indeed ourselves, as God loves us all.

But reflecting on the enormity of Christ's resurrection, of the culmination of the supreme miracle of Jesus' life, Passion, and death, a concept encompassing humanity, divinity, and the triumphant cross which bridged the's more than the mind can wrap itself around (but there's good reason to believe that any real system of reasoning cannot fully encompass reality, after all the universe is infinite, and our minds are not).

Thinking about the miracle of Easter, which is not a task simply confined to one day or one week or one season... but though the compulsion to do good remains because of our love of God, the compulsion to fear evil seems a bit silly. It is a silliness that we all fall victim to on occasion, but even the fears and anxieties surrounding that failure seem insignificant compared to God's love, which bears all the burdens of our sins and redeems us, which forgives any slight and turns all things to good, which raises us from the dead and grants eternal life.

Jesus Christ, who is God, came down from Heaven and became man. He bore the cross, for the sake of our sins and not his, and was crucified and three days later He rose from the dead. He conquered death and gave life eternal to all. If we trust in Him then what can this world do to us? How can even our baser instincts and frailties prevail if He is with us, now and until the end of time. (and beyond maybe, if that concept makes any sense. I'll admit, when I go off into the realms of theology, mysticism and metaphysics, I often am in unfamiliar territory. But if I can draw upon the guidance and advice of those I trust, love and believe in, it seems like a good gamble. After all, what is life but an experience of mystery and is not Love the answer to all things?)

Let me not pretend that I am some special wise man, let me not pretend that I am the bearer of some secret. I have suffered in my life, but others have suffered more. I have faith, but I know others with far more. I am certainly nothing compared to God, and compared to man... how should I know? and fortunately it is not my place to judge such rankings.

Yet I believe God loves me with a unique, perfect Love, which I cannot match but will spend my life trying to further experience and return. And I believe that God loves each of you, uniquely, passionately, and infinitely. And I believe if I just trust in that love, everything will be alright and when I fail to trust sufficiently, when I despair or harden my heart, I believe that God will still be reaching out to me and I trust that He will save me.

That I could have more faith, that I could have more understanding, that I could have more compassion or more strength of will... but it's okay. God remains and will take care of us all. Christ is triumphant and will redeem us. We don't need to fear. God is with us, always, and forever.

May God Bless you all, and happy day after Easter

Monday, March 29, 2010

The wizard will wait

What does that mean?

I dunno, something.

And if that aimless beginning implies a certain aimless-ness of my life of late, then it may very well be true. But then again, all aims have their seasons.

In actuality little of my ambition has been lost, perhaps just buried for a moment here and there, covered over by some disappointment and miscalculation.

Ah, miscalculation, and that perhaps is the rub, for so much easier and indeed more successful would my ventures be without calculation, but the requirements of pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, the limits of which are my death, does require a bit of skill and cleverness.

And a bit of a gamble. So I calculate. So I lie. So I pretend and dabble and fail and fumble, but then again... As a priest pointed out at my last Confession, I am too hard on myself. Yes I do need motivation, but I'm trying, I'm striving, and if I don't always succeed...

Ah well, all of this rumbling does not solve my problems, of which there aren't any... well not really, nothing urgent, nothing pressing, hence the aimless-ness. In this sort of uncomfortable haze of a life, relying not on the thrill (because life does go on without it) of life but rather the inertia... it's easy... and that I'm trying to get free (perhaps the solution is that I need to get out of California, except I'm in New Jersey), well that's something.

Still, I'd like something more to come from my life, and in response to that I think I ought have faith in He who I love above all else, and in Him is the hope of all possibilities, of striving toward all goodness, and finding it in His Infinite Love.

God's Love, it's just so beautiful.

So what am I complaining about... really I mean come on! I have God with me, always, forever, what more can I ask for, what more do I need? And if the road is tough, perhaps it is just tough to bring me closer to He who shouldered the Cross on a very tough road, and if I fall sometimes, perhaps it is just so I have the honor of Him picking me up. And the Lord remains always.

And so, even in the cold midnight, it's still a beautiful day.

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

And God Bless.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ken Turan, Roger Ebert and the incredible shrinking teamster

I've come to like twitter. I have little confidence in its long-term survival, but I like it. And hence I sometimes read the stuff of the people I follow, and sometimes I go along with the links they post and happen upon finding myself in an interesting article. And so it happened with Roger Ebert's twitter feed, and so I must thank him for this link to this article.

The article is While high school literary magazines are a bit removed from national film criticism, this essay brings to mind my days as an editor for the Ivy. For the first 2-3 years I was there, we followed a rule of whiting out the name of whatever piece we were reviewing. But then one year, perhaps we were just lazy, perhaps we were too smug in assuming of course we knew what was good, despite any personal feelings, perhaps we were just too informal and inattentive, but for some reason we stopped whiting out the names. The odd thing was we didn't end up favoring our friends much (maybe a few cases), mostly though we became more dismissive of people who weren't our friends.

But actually, thinking upon it more, it wasn't really a matter of who was our friends. It was more the case that we were dismissive of people didn't have an artistic reputation. I suppose the real reason not to review friends in our case was not so much that we might champion our friends, as that we became confident that we knew the scene and knew who deserved to be featured from it.

Film reviewers don't really have the option of whiting out the name. While no reviewing friends helps, just knowing who made what, affects the criticism, but on the other hand, deep analytical criticism often focuses on the filmmaker more than the film at hand, and sometimes part of the experience of the film rests in its context, including the context of who the filmmaker is. Most importantly though, film reviewers review famous things and even if they try to avoid it, they will inevitably hear from everyone who is in anything.

But perhaps the solution is thus, and this is an approach I try to practice when looking at films. Treat the film makers as abstractions, as phenomena, not as real human beings. Of course, you can analyze them as examples of human beings making films, but treat them as if they were not real, as if they were a legend, or better yet, a story unfolding in front of you. Indeed treat the entire film scene and history like that. I could go as far to say life... but I won't. Here's the reason I won't, life is something to be engaged in, to revel in, now analysis is part of that process of revelling, but it requires a particular focus to analyze something.

By focus I mean, you cannot analyze something and include everything that ever touched it in the analysis. Because, you as the observer are also touched by it and maybe you can appreciate that on an instinctual level, and maybe you can summarize it, but can you capture the whole of your experience with the object of your analysis? Say a film for example, can you really capture every aspect of how you viewed it, especially since how you experienced the film is intertwined with who you are and what your life has been, can you capture it all?

But if you start talking about the film as something real, something visceral, there's a subtext to it all, where you say "This is how I viewed it as me". And what does that give to anyone else who reads it? Since you cannot communicate the entirety of yourself, but your writing is soaked in the particularities of your experience, you leave the reader befuddled.

That is not to say do not make the writing personal, but rather make it personal in a particular way. Confine the personalness, to this or that aspect of your life. And try to detach the rest of your life from the writing. Now that's an impossible goal, but you try, and you might find your writing becomes more than just words but actual communication.

To get back to what I was saying about film criticism. The film critic cannot explain all of who he is in a citical essay, and if he views the film a real work that has lives and history and everything attached to it, then all his feelings about lives and history and everything, and really everything, becomes the subject of the essay. Usually that ends up at best a beautiful mess, and at worse an ugly one. So a degree of focus must be made, the film becomes an abstraction, and indeed the writer becomes an abstraction to himself, so that this particular aspect of the film and the writer's experience with the film can be detached and put on paper. And that is an impossible task but it's made harder when your personal ties to the film are dear ones. And yet...

Is it possible to communicate without that filtering, by just pouring everything out there? I'd say probably not. But perhaps if you're lucky, talented, or the medium suits you perfectly, you get the miraculous situation where pouring out everything is filtered just by the where, when, and how of your art, and thus despite the uniquely personal chaos of your thoughts, something to a greater or lesser extent universal comes out, or at least something shared by a few people.

The article that prompted all of this, is about a film review by LA Times film cricket Kenneth Turan where he breaks his own rule and reviews his friend's work. And does it create the beautiful mess that I implied would come?

No, but that's because the article by Kenneth Turan is not really about the film (it does contain maybe 3 or 4 paragraphs giving a brief ho-hum recommendation which sounds generally like a famous person recommending a friend's film with a touch of earnestness), rather it's about Kenneth Turan and the writing process. And here Mr. Turan does seem to abstract himself to a degree carving out a moment in his life, his writing of his review, and in reviewing himself, if not the film in question, he makes a fine essay.

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

And God Bless.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How did I get here? Really, how? Who and why as well

And the days go by and the water flowing underground...


And if you'd like to make sure that it's all the same as it ever was, here's the lyrics

But damn... it's weird... I really don't think I was going to be here. In fact, in high school I considered myself distinctly un-technical and was somewhat proud for bucking the Indian computer whiz stereotype (But then I decided to buy a stereo...). On the other hand my oldest brother's a tech whiz and I took a bunch of comp-sci classes and I also was involved with the Computer Club (which I tried to steer into a creating sentient artificial intelligence direction, but they said it was "unrealistic" and "delusional").

Still the comp-sci-y part of me always seemed a little less than the other parts and that my career would take me...

But what is a career? (let's look at webster..., though dude Webster, shiny-ness does not excuse a website so crowded with slow running js that it's barely usable (yeah I'm looking at you Mashable))

In a lot of ways, who I am, highly religious, writer-ly, and overall a jack-of-all-trades, hasn't changed much from my days as a 5-year old... but damn...

I guess a lot of my amazement at who I am now comes from 3 things:

  1. I went through a period where any prospect of the future seemed unrealistic since I thought death was imminent
  2. On occasion my imagination runs away with my ambition (but they never actually elope! I mean really!) and I have dreams of myself as widely read and respected and yet only a tiny bit older, if not younger
  3. Perhaps most importantly of all, it's the gestalt of it all. Even if I might imagine a bit of myself here or there, to imagine the whole of my being... can I even conceive of it? (I'm pretty sure actually that I can't).

But while there's certain romantics to my surprise, a greater significance maybe the lesson learned. That is to say, if I did not predict who I am now, will I be able to know what I will become. And thus "How did I get here?" begets "Where am I going?"

But actually I know the answer to that...

I'm going to see the King

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

Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Doom - The Poem

Doom isn't just a word
Nor just a poem
Doom is a way of life
 Laugh in the face of death
Laugh in the face of life as well

Discard your fears
And throw away your security

Shout to the rooftops the madness of it all
And insist till the bitter end the essential sanity beneath

Sling upon your back the burdens of the ancestors
And toss off your loads as a man created from the void

Embrace everything
And hold onto nothing

Stare deep into the cold abyss of enthropy
And listen to the roaring inferno of the passionate soul
 Understand your own insignifance
And realize the glories of the human spirit within yourself

And know that even doom is not enough


(Not perfect, but doom doesn't come just once)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

An overall sketch of Drupal 7

-get drupal root
 define constants
  error reporting set
   server vars read
   ini settings set
   error reporting set
   start timers
   load settings
   set up path
   session cookies
  init user
  load cache
  check if no-db opt else - get db and variables
  cookie init
   check cachable - get cache
    -maybe still run boot hooks
    serve page from cache
    -maybe still run exit hooks
  -set up db
  -register autoload
  -init variables (either via cache or db)
  -load modules
    require_once DRUPAL_ROOT . '/' . variable_get('session_inc', 'includes/');
  -conditionally start session
  -boot all
  check cache
  get lock and init
  if !cli - ob start and page_header
   -init static + send headers   
  -get languages
  -invoke modules
    require_once DRUPAL_ROOT . '/includes/';
  define more constants
  -load files
  -set up settings
  -init path
  -init custom theme
  -run init hooks

Monday, March 8, 2010

Doom to the Max: Doom doesn't say die

"Dude, that's quite the ax in your back"

"That's quite the nose in my business, you bum!"

"Well you are writing about it online, obviously you can't-"

"See more in my business!"

"Look I'm just saying-"

"Stuff! And when you're saying stuff, I need to listen and say stuff and-"

"Actually you don't need to listen because this is an imaginary dia-"

"You fool, with the fourth wall broken, the gremlins will finally get free! You've doomed us all! We're doomed!

"Don't panic, get the bazookas, we've got gremlin hunting to do..."

"But what if they are too many?"

"Then we'll just have to become a force of doom-

And now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

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

And God Bless.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

If stupid is as stupid does does that make me stupid?

Forest Gump is a great movie. Period. It tells a story, runs with it covers it fully and flavorfully and beautifully. Let me end any pretense of a review by saying it gets 10/10 in my book.
Now apparetly Bob Dole said that the movie affirms that the American Dream is within the reach of any man. I dunno about that, Forrest really doesn't have a dream. That's kind of the point of the film. He ends up in a lot of places and circumstances, but usually it's just through fortune. Where he ultimately ends up, living in a small town as a father of a boy smarter than him. I suppose that's the American dream, actually one version of the American Dream, which I used to subscribe to a bit more passionately, I suppose back in the days (it's always a bit odd saying back in the day when I'm 23) when I was more focused on my future as a family man, is that the dream ought to be that the next generation has a better life than the previous (of course that leaves quite a burden to those living pretty good lives to begin with), and perhaps his son would have that, with the intelligence of his mother and the loving parent of his father.
But again this is something stumbled onto, accidentally. But maybe what it is, is being the theme of the movie, is that a simple perseverance through the unfortunate accidents allows one to enjoy the happy accidents.
But perhaps another way to look at this isn't to see Forrest as the every man, stripped even of the intellect to differentiate him from others, but rather a highly sincere man. His sincerity allows him to throw him fully into anything he stumbles upon, and perhaps that's the key to his success.
Now is that enough? I dunno, I'm not sure, but I don't think so. One principle I hold is that a quality of a movie isn't how much you agree with it or the truth of its themes. If Forrest's sincerity isn't really enough for life, the movie paints his sincerity enough to make itself great. And what does that signify? Nothing really, but a great movie is worth noting every now and again. As I said, 10/10, well done movie maker people (I'm never sure how to allot the thanks for a movie, especially with a book before it), well done. And that's all I have to say about that.
So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!
And God Bless.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

With or without you

I've made my share of mistakes in my life, and when it comes to those, this is, well, not really huge, ind of big, but it's annoying.
What's annoying is, I've given up my tendencies to care. Well, not really. What it is though is I've lowered the bar of my social anxiety tolerance, things bugging me started pressing down and I decided to press down as well. Unfortunately, while that left me less bothered by social anxieties, it also left me less motivated. Because in the end, I still like people, and interacting with them, helping them, making them happy, that makes me motivated and driven. But I stepped back from that risky proposition of social interaction in my workplace (on the other hand, not elsewhere, which gives the whole situation the annoying possibility of indefinitability).
So that approach to things, that was a mistake. But it's always easier to turn off my sociability than to turn it back on. And now I'm feeling a little bit too low with motivation to get past it. And so... and so... I don't know. But that's okay.
Still the Lord remains.
So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!
And God Bless.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My dreams, they`ve got a kiss me, 'because I don't get sleep

As much as I'd like to pretend otherwise, my sleep has rarely been due to my mad busy-ness (or lack there of as the moment may demand). Thus "Feel Good Inc" has always had a special resonance on that line (Lyrics here).

More usually, my lack of sleep is deeply intertwined with my mental health. Sleep to some degree is an instrument my depression can use to prick my comfort, but there is also a rational aspect of my insomnia. Deep in the night, my work is done, new work is far away in the hours until the day. And moreover, I am in control of my world deep in the night, no one directing me here, there or the yet third direction, and so on beyond. But perhaps, a more cowardly way of looking at it, I am alone deep in the night, hours past my last interaction with someone, hours until my next, and I am free of the inevitable stress and pain of those interactions, and yes I feel the fear that comes from knowing that the stress and pain is coming upon the morning.

And so my instinct is not to sleep. But instinct can go to hell. Screw cowardliness, screw control, screw work and its avoidance, to live, to live and to serve God, I am going to need some sleep. And so screw all that which stands between, and indeed I must now begin my march toward sleep.

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

And God Bless.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the Fandango

Let me dispense with both the explanation and the apology for my lack of posting. While occasionally interesting, most of it has been said before.

Instead let me just say that I will defeat that devil whom Beelzebub put aside for me. (because one cannot forget among the new flashy animes the mega-awesomeness that is Neon Genesis Evangelion, nor among the new songs of music and the like the super-awesomeness that is Bohemian Rhapsody

Ah the devil, my old nemesis, to be truthful, I've never quite understood what my exact understanding of the devil was, much less actually understood what he was. Sometimes I've looked at him more metaphorically, sometimes I've felt that the theological dimensions ought be left to the Church, because I was surely not going to spend the time to get a good grasp of them, still others I've felt him (I use him as a shorthand, as an ex-angel Lucifer would be non-gendered) real but not something that I needed to worry about.

A semi-turning point in my understanding of the devil came at last year's Malankara Catholic Association's North American Convention. During said convention there was a speech by a Catholic priest who had served as an exorcist for many years (he no longer was one full-time after being moved from India to the US, but he occasionally was still consulted). I try to take people as being earnest by default, unless I have reason to disbelieve them, and I take Catholic priests to be my spiritual guides, however I will say I do not necessarily agree with every priest on every aspect of the faith or of life (after all there is plenty of disagreements about many different matters within the Catholic Church, only a small section of even the official theological positions are held to be absolute dogmas (for example there are an immense number of Church writings about Mary, the Mother of God, but only a small subset are dogmas "De Fide Credenda" (of certain faith), most notably the "Marian doctrines of the Catholic Church").

The priest in his speech, talked about his work as an exorcist. His description of the exorcisms he had participated in seemed fully truthful, and he had the appearance of an honest man (though there's always the chance I could be deceived, but that's true of everyone and everything), so I'd say I believe he was telling the truth. However, the events he talked about were well beyond anything I have experienced in terms of the supernatural, and yet, I have not seen much of the world and much happens in it that is incredible, but I believe much of this incredible. I'd say I trust in his descriptions of demonic possessions, as they are rooted not only in his experience but correlate with the Bible and the Catholic faith which I hold dear. Yet demonic possession still seems like an extraordinary event, and not something that I've seen anywhere in my life. At that point in his speech I sort of looked at this is as sort of a description of something remote from me, though perhaps filled with lessons for myself and others (for example, the priest talked about how all these demonic possessions had roots in the sinful behavior of the possessed or people around him.)

But the priest went on to talk about how the Devil was a very real presence in our lives and a real danger to us. Now of that, I'm not sure what to make of it. His talk of the Devil's dangers didn't really seem to offer a great deal of advice besides a general recommendation to avoid sin. So while I've tried to take the messages of his speech to heart, I'm still not really sure what to do about the devil.

There have been times when I've been tempted to believe that my mental illness was caused by demonic possession or otherwise influenced by the Devil. But my experience of the disease and its treatment suggest otherwise. The priest's speech also warned that people should not jump to the demonic possession label, that it was only after a thorough examination of other possible emotional, psychological, physical or spiritual causes was exorcism turned to. A nice phrase of his was that the Church uses "the rigour of the skeptic, but not the non-belief". Overall, my mental illness, while frustrating in its stubbornness and perhaps not a classic example of a particular disease, does make sense as a mental illness. So I really can't say I've had any experience directly with the devil.

Indirectly? Well, what does indirect experiences with the devil mean exactly? Temptations? Perhaps, but humans naturally have plenty of temptation, so who's to say what's devil brought. So I'm not sure what to really take from that priest's speech, or what to make of the devil, or exactly how I feel really about the whole thing. But one of the great things about carrying the memory of what you've heard forward in your life is you don't need to make a final decision about it at any one point. Later on, when events or circumstances remind me of it, I'll perhaps mull over things and make a firmer decision about the speech.

Still, even without a final decision on it, it seems rather cowardly to regard the speech as truthful and containing advice, but to not actually act on any part of it. I guess one thing is I've tried to take "the rigour of the skeptic, but not the non-belief" position more toward the devil when it comes to my general understanding of how the universe works. In terms of my daily life, I guess the thing to keep in mind is that evil is not just a passive thing, whether devil borne or borne out of human nature or by others, its something that can actively work against you and those that you love. And thus you have to guard against it to some degree in your behavior. Now, I'm not saying that you should be paranoid about your actions, I've been there and that's lead me further away from God rather than toward Him, but as something to bear in mind rather than to fret about, it might be a good idea to reflect on things and try to correct yourself when it comes to motivations to do wrong. And when you feel a great desire to do something, think about what that desire is rooted in.

And yet I've often received a lot of advice that a person should not worry too much about life and let things happen, trusting God that things will work out. Some aspects of that advice I find very valuable to me, other implications, such as not trying to change things in your life, I find not suited to myself, but useful for others. Yet I think even in this framework of sort of going with the flow, you can carry an awareness of what the flow is and how it's like, and if it's generally carrying you in a direction that's good, then that's fine, but you need to have an awareness that this can change, and that sometimes the flow will go in the wrong direction, and then trusting in God means trusting in God's ways and if those contradict with the flow, it means trusting in God to aid you as you try to correct the flow of your life.

None of this philosophical rambling is directly related to the Devil, I suppose, but the point is if evil is an active force in the world, whether you take a relaxed attitude toward life or are always looking to change things, you must not just be wary of evil that you can fall into, but rather be an active force for good, in your life and in the world (though by being good in your life you inevitably become a force for good in the world, because the good path is God's will, and God's will is to save the world).

But what does that really mean? Well, mysterious are the ways of God, and sometimes the path He sets before us seems mysterious as well. And we can walk with Faith, Hope and Love, but that seems still sometimes like not enough of a direction. Sometimes the direction we must travel in life, the direction of God's will just seems impossible to grasp. But that's okay, God knows that we cannot grasp all of His will, it's okay to be confused, we try to do the best we can, and trust that God will make it all work out.

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

And God Bless.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Because if you weren't supposed to abuse the api it wouldn't start with a

Of course, I mean really!

Let me say I have little sympathy with hackers from an ethical, sociological, or philosophical perspective (that's a gross exaggeration, I mean ewww, but to explicate the matter would be an even more gross waste of time)

But when it doesn't hurt, or waste people's time, or screw with peoples stuff, etc., why not tae things apart and then put them together in different ways so you can take it apart again, and so on, and so forth, and thus I decided to conduct a reflection upon the window object of javascript.

Since my sign off would be far too down at the bottom of the page let me sign off before the mark, because I can. So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Reflecting on the infinity of madness within the sanity of the sands of time

My creativity takes many forms, writing stories, poetry, essays, this blog, twitter feed, speculating on math, history, philosophy, etc. and so on.

And among the items I left out of that statement, or at least left implied was programming

My feelings toward programming have gone up and down, risen and fallen, but the one constant is... actually there's been no special constant to my feelings about programming, except perhaps my affection for C++.

But nowadays, perhaps because my work requires coding and the like, I find programming often coming to my head... to the point of disturbance.

Dun, dun, dun...!

Now the disturbance isn't because of a lack of creative potential in programming, though it is partially because of a lack of creative realization in my programming, but perhaps more strongly it is that programming can often involve very minute details that are ultimately useless... indenting lines of code, optimizing loops and recursions, rehashing solutions to old algorithms solved a million times over by smarter minds... and it's very easy for me to program and in that manner. That is in a manner which is mindless and emotionless and detail obsessed... well, truthfully obsession is a dear friend to any artist, but with me and programming I feel it perhaps comes a bit easier...


I could tell many strategies old and new about counteracting this feeling and that one, etc. leading to a triumphant reversal of fortunes, just over the horizon... and I will give you this one... to overcome the risk of tedium, numbness and insanity that programming risks, I do now fill my veins with the purpose of bringing out worth and polish to my often odd and weird programming experiments, or at the very least, and perhaps more humbly, at least sharing my programming experience, if not to share knowledge of programming, perhaps just knowledge of a man programming.

(Stay tuned for posts in this vein, or not, whichever I feel like or what you feel like wiht the staying tuned-ness and all, I mean all I'm saying is if you're all stressed out, maybe you shouldn't stay tuned, maybe you should just get some sleep... or maybe I should)

Now enjoy the very nice jamming of a warm-hearted code monkey, just like me

And if I cannot share a great algorithm, perhaps I can share the desire for a great algorithm, the artist's drive...perhaps... only God knows.

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

And God Bless.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Doom, Doom, Doom, Doom, mcDoom, Doom and I'll post something more and later, but till then enjoy this wonderful episode of the wonderful sitcom: Newsradio.



Monday, January 11, 2010

Because nothing changes on New Year's Day

Or so sayth U2 as per their song. As I think I've mentioned before, that song is a particularly odd mix of great lines that never really comes together. Which can be compared to...

Some stuff I'm sure.

But seeing as it's not New Year's Day I can hope for some changes... and moving past the bad jokes part of this posting, let me get to the noting of the lack of posting... I really have been letting things go with this blog, more than a month... dude, lame...

Segwaying violently without a care for even the spelling of the word, let me move on.

I am constantly terrified of my creativity waning. This worry tends to be amplified by periods of little creative production, such as lately, but part of it comes from an essential doubt... if that creative process pulls things together into something you haven't thought of before, how can you be sure that it'll work again?

After all, perhaps it was just an odd grouping of circumstances that's kept things creative so far, or maybe an odd grouping of circumstances have dislodged those areas of your imagination that used to function so splendidly or...

The solution to this irrational paranoia, as usual is to push through it.

But the solution to the existential dilemma... and now as happens from time to time, I use existential dilemma in all seriousness...

Creative work on the one hand emerges from different elements of the mind (or spirit or however you want to formulate it who you are), but it represents a change in those concepts' relationship to each other so much so that the flux can be isolated and stabilized into a concept separate enough to be called a new idea. From this perspective though the newness is only illusionary.

But on the other hand, that reconfiguring of old concepts, the rearranging of their relationships, and the teasing out of that stable new gem of a idea, it does seem like something, if not out of nothing, at least something out of unreliable luck.

It seems little comfort to reflect that the continued existence of our lives, given dangers both near and far, is itself a matter of luck, of a lesser or greater degree.

Yet in a way that must be admitted to seem strange, it is a bit of a comfort.

Because I have to say, while I accept that my life may end at any time, yet for now while I live I plan for the future, so that as my life continues I might act better in any given now assuming that the future is likely. Perhaps I can accept my creativity on the same terms. While it has waned and waxed through the years, overall I've been blessed with a decent amount of creativity throughout my life. I have no reason to believe that it will be taken from me, and so I might as well enjoy it and use it and plan for its continued existence while I've got it. Tomorrow it may be gone, but tomorrow it may still be around, and I'd rather waste a little effort in misplaced honing of creativity later lost than to not take advantage of creativity given.

In a sense, this reminds me of Jesus' parable of the master and 3 servants - to be blessed with opportunity to good in this life and to do nothing with that is like the servant who did nothing with the money he was entrusted with.

And a creative mind is a terrible thing to waste, even if it may vanish in but a moment... but such is life. And that's okay.

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

And God Bless.