Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It is Never Too Late to Get Started

It’s been a while. I know. I really do not know if I am going to keep this up. It seems as more days go by, the less motivated I am to do some of the things that I once loved. I never really wrote on here much, so I guess it is not the worst thing that could happen. However, it has always been nice to feel a part of something bigger than myself. What that thing is, I am not really sure, but looking at my sidebar and seeing the links of the people whose sites I read, and who I feel that I really know (well, a couple of them I known pretty well from other times in my life) makes me feel some sense of community, despite the thousands of miles, country barriers, and life barriers that exist outside of the internet. What exactly am I saying? I am not sure. I know that having this blog has been an amazing experience. I have gotten to interact and to know people I would have never had the opportunity to even run into in this life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about community. And I mean a lot. I live in a place where community is something with a gate and cookie cutter houses. A community is something that has a trademark sign at the end of it. A community is something that has a name like “Mountain’s Edge” or “Villas at Sunrise Mountain”. A community is something with street names like Wavering Lilly. There is no sense of a true human community where I live. People work odd hours; front doors are not close to other front doors. There are no porches. It is a strange place. And really, in the broadest since, this place is America. While I don’t live in the most representative place in America, I live in a place that America strives to be. A place where the individual is what matters most. Consumption is the end goal and hedonism reigns supreme. The sick thing is that could describe almost any city in the country.

Do not get me wrong. I may sound like I hate this place, but I do not. There are signs of life among the crazy. There are real people here. People in need of other people, but we must fight the culture to see it. It is not in our faces, it’s hidden beyond the marble fa├žade and neon lights. You can see it the faces of people when you’ve found one of its hiding spots. You can hear it in the music that floats through the smoke filled air of some strip mall tavern. It is here, but it will be one hell of a battle to get it out in the open for those who live here to see. Instead of some trademarked gated community, we may actually be okay with other people needing others like them. Because when it all comes down to it, people cry when the old (yet young) 48 year old establishment is torn down. Not because of what it is, but because of who was there. Words may have never been spoken between two long time patrons, but that bond was there, and if they wanted to speak they could. Now, with their gathering place gone, where can they go, who can they see that they might speak to? Or at least know that there will be someone there to speak to, if they really want to.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Will it ever end?


This year, more so than any of the past eight years, I am angry on this day. I don’t show anger very often; most people I know well have never seen me angry. But today, I am angry as I write this.

Of course, like the rest of the US, I am horrified about the events at Virginia Tech. My horror goes beyond that of just the deaths, but the fact that this happened on a college campus, it happened in my world, the world of higher education. I don’t like the loss of innocent life in the US. I don’t like the loss of innocent life ANYWHERE.

What I am most angry about is our blame game. We as a society, as a culture, are blaming the shooter. We’ve been blaming the shooter in every one of these cases. It is not wrong to blame the shooter. Of course, this person or persons committed the acts. I understand this. But what drives them to commit these acts? Mental illness? Yes, but the deeper reasons are in our society, or culture. We Americans perpetuate this violence, and this consumerism.

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I cannot believe its been eight years. Eight years.

Of all of the days during my first year of college, this day, eight years ago, I remember like it was yesterday. I still remember the feeling in my stomach. I still remember watching the horror on the faces of people around me. I remember my roommate not being able to get a hold of his girlfriend, a student at Columbine. I remember not being able to get in touch with either of my parents, both employees at other local area schools. I remember the tears streaming from my neighbor's eyes as she saw her high school, and her old classmates, whom she left only a year before, shattered.

We cannot forget what happened at Columbine, or what happened in Jonesboro, or Paducah, Red Lake or now Blacksburg.

It amazes me that nothing has changed. We can still purchase assault rifles down the street, bullies still roam the halls of our schools (and our government), kids are still shooting kids. It makes me frightful of the future. But there is still hope. There is always hope.

These names will remain in our hearts forever:
Cassie Bernall, Steven Curnow, Corey DePooter, Kelly Fleming, Matthew Ketcher, Daniel Mauser, Daniel Rohrbough, Dave Sanders, Rachel Scott, Isiah Shoals, John Tomlin, Lauren Townsend, Kyle Velasquez.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Brief Reflection on Adulthood

This being an adult nonsense is not all it is cracked up to be. I never wanted to be an adult; I really wanted to stay about 10 years old, just because it was fun. For whatever reason the age of 10 years old has been magical for me, and it has been a pretty constant thought of mine that I would like to be 10 again. Honestly though, if I had the chance to be a kid again I don’t know if I would take it. Unless, of course, I was able to relive my entire life and end up where I am now. I’ve spoken many times with Jenn and my brother about the struggles of adulthood. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that we have it better off than a lot of other people, but I guess what I am the most disappointed with, is that so far adulthood is not as great as it was made out to be. That is a trend though. When I was around 12 years old watching Saved by the Bell I thought that high school was going to be great. Well, it wasn’t anything like STB and it was actually a pretty crappy experience save a few friends and co-curricular activities.

Reflection on life, however, is a definite benefit to this adulthood thing. There is no way that I could reflect about being a kid, or being a teenager while I was going through those experiences. And I am pretty sure I’d not want to give up my ability to reflect on the past in order to experience the past again. Recently I finished two books that are descriptions of childhood, both of them by Ray Bradbury. Dandelion Wine and the sequel Farewell Summer both deal with the summer of 1928 in Green Town, IL as experienced by a set of brothers. The books are both great reads that, unlike actual childhood, provide a little reflection about childhood thanks to Ray Bradbury’s writing style. But then, reflection can add more stress or frustration with life. Without reflection, would we be able to consider our own mortality? Would we ever think about the impending death of the Sun with anything but curiosity?

I understand that this is, in fact, life, and struggle, frustration and challenge is a big part to what life is all about.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2007 Musings

I know that I’ve been scarce the last few months. I will place the blame on my new job, my move across the country and other fun things. I want to write more, I really do. I don’t have New Year’s Resolutions, but I think the closest I can come to one is to write more…now that may not be more writing on here, just more writing in general.

At the end of each year (or beginning as it was) I always seem to have the same feeling. Its not quite depression, but it’s a little close. I cannot quite explain the “sinking” feeling in my stomach, and I am not really sure what it really means. I am not afraid of getting older, I am not afraid of the change in years, or at least I don’t think I am. I think maybe it’s because I have a cynical outlook for 2007, or maybe it’s all the junk food I ate over the holidays.

2006 was a very interesting year, both world-wide and personally, though I will chose to muse briefly about the not so personal peculiarities of 2006 and impending oddities of 2007. I am very thankful that our national political scene saw some change this year, although I think this year signaled the end for my support of any sort of “party politics”. Both political parties as a whole are disgusting and disgraceful. I hope that some of the new folks will signal a change and join with some of the more senior independents. I am especially looking forward to seeing Jon Tester and Jim Webb in action. I am also happy to see that the interior west is making its mark on US politics. I have believed for a long time the libertarianesque leanings of the west should come to the political forefront.

I am however, frightful of the next two years of Bush reign. It appears that as I write this, Bush and his one time opponent John “I used to be a maverick” McCain want to increase the number of troops in Iraq despite the lack of support from military officials, congress, or the American people. Thank goodness there is some oversight of the President now, albeit, not as strong willed as I’d like to see.

I am going to end now, but hopefully it won’t be so long until I haunt these parts again.