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In this the third episode of the sixth season of God’s own TV show, Community, it opens with Annie, having successfully organized her to-do lists, received troubling information and assembles an emergency meeting of the Save Greendale Committee to, well, save Greendale. Apparently dogs can get college degrees. Events ensue.

A few high points

“Hank” Hickey

hickey

I guess publishers were interested.

Annie has some fun names in her phone. Apparently Hickey still roams the earth. Damn I loved that character.

Jeffrey, Best friend of dean

best friend

You’re so sweet in text.

The best running gag in this episode.

Drunk Diarrhea?

diarrhea

Apparently Britta has just crapped herself.

I wasn’t aware drunk diarrhea was a thing.

chang

Hanh! Hanh! Eehhh…

I think Chang might be the real star of this season. Perhaps the slogan of this season should be “insanity replaces heart” as Chang has become the only real source of heart… but he’s also insane. More on that later.

The moment I thought it was going to take off

britta

I felt like my brain was being ripped open right here.

I really thought this was the moment the show was going to rip it off the rails. But this amazing sequence just ends.

Goliath’s Rant

goliath

“It was easier to be unimpressed back then.”

Oh my god. I need more of this style of Community in my life.  I love when it almost turns on itself with its own post-modern indifference. Oh, and because this actor, no matter what he does with his life, will always be the voice of Goliath to me, that’s how I think of him. No matter what, he is Goliath.

You might be a genius

genius

“You might be a genius.”

It’s amazing watching Abed be amazed by Chang’s filmography. Simultaneously, it’s horrifying to think about what Chang filmed. And then to think that he screwed it up (and himself, I guess) so badly that he has to redo it. I think this was the highest point of the episode. Except for maybe…

Post credit sequence: many yes

tokyo

“In your eyes I am the enemy because I am the edge of your world.” Unexpectedly powerful.

It’s so weird and unexpected that the part most packed with meaning is the throwaway ending sequence. The father discovers the son has been playing pranks and cranking out huge phone bills. The whole bit was so beautiful and aching, and somehow that made it funnier than the rest. I’m not sure what kind of magic is being tapped here and when Goliath rants about how much easier it used to be unimpressed, but there’s something almost enlightening in seeing these profound moments happen in the midst of people trying to discredit a dog’s bachelor’s degree.

Low Points

Britta

What the hell’s happening with her character? I love her. I truly do. This episode doesn’t seem to know what to do with her, so it just shits on her, almost gives her something to do (when things get psychedelic), and then she just falls asleep. So disappointed.

Hope

hope

Hope – that and $1.79 will get you a candy bar.

This whole exchange: maybe it’s an expression of my own cynicism, but I hate conversations about hope in TV shows. I mean, will the outcome ever be Annie saying, “Wow, you’re right! Hope really screwed me over!” I honestly wish it would. I feel like hopelessness is, ironically, funnier (think It’s Always Sunny, or Arrested Development). Hope deferred is rich comedic soil.

No heart

Not having Troy or Shirley is really creating drag on the show. They were both so pure and naive that it gave the show heart, and replacing Shirley with another Annie type is bogging this episode in so much analytically minded stuff that it feels like something we might have seen in the year of the gas leak.

By the numbers

The fact that two of the protagonists have this conversation of the hope automatically pigeonholes the episode: there’s only one place it can go, and it’s not going to be the direction in which we learn hope is a lie only fool’s believe. Of course Annie’s values will be reinforced.

Predictions

A home for Goliath

When I learned Goliath was on the show, Jesus wept. I love this guy and everything he and his magnificent voice have been in. But we’re three episodes in, and one of the core characters have yet to justify why they’re there. His big contribution this episode was asking, “Oh, were you close?” when Annie leaves the room in disgust. Which is funny, but I still don’t understand why this character is needed yet (other than de-whitening the cast a little bit). So… yeah… my prediction is that this guy is going to have to justify himself.

pants

Eventually, all pants will have poop in them.

word.

I was not impressed by this episode. Chang tore this bitch up, and is easily the funniest character now. But this episode was formulaic, a little short on the laughs, and didn’t really feel like it added anything. I think this is my least liked Harmon-episode. If it weren’t for the year of the gas leak, it’d probably get at least a D, maybe an F, but because that season set the bar so high for garbage, I give this episode a C.

 

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Well, would you look here. A new blog. Haven’t done one of those in awhile. At any rate, we have business we need to get down to, so stop goofing around.

I was browsing through the internet, as I’m given to do, when I stumbled across a list of “101 strange beliefs and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” I’m not exactly crazy about the jay dubya, might even say that they exhibit certain cult like behavior, but I don’t particularly not like them either. At any rate, this is a list compiled by a couple who were formerly JW, and now Evangelical Christian. So, from one kind of crazy to another. This list was too much that I couldn’t not comment. This post (series of) might even be viewed as petty and small minded, but I’m willing to accept that as a valid criticism. But you might agree with me. Or not. On with the show.

A final note is that I’ll be viewing this from an un-church view. I’m not antagonistic (towards either side really), but I’m certainly not viewing the alleged strangeness of this list with religious eyes.

1. God is not a Trinity; the doctrine is inspired by the Devil.
This one is something that Jews, Muslims, and many Christians worldwide might even agree upon. I wouldn’t go as far as to say devil inspired, but I do think it’s a misguided theology.

2. Jesus is not to be worshiped or prayed to-he is only an angel (a.k.a. Michael the archangel).
I wouldn’t necessarily call this weird. No more weird than saying that a man is God, or God incarnate.

3. Jesus Christ is a “created being,” who at one time did not exist.
I actually have to agree here.

4. The Holy Spirit is not a person but is “God’s active force” i.e. gravity, electricity etc.
Makes sense.

5. Heaven is hope only for select Jehovah’s Witnesses. The majority of JWs hope to live on “paradise earth.”
What a strange and mind bending thing to hope for.

6. Heaven is limited only to 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses.There are only 9,105 alive today (2006 figures).
First off, pretty much every religion (or most) believe that heaven is reserved only for their particular followers. Once you accept, or deny, that, whatever sentence follows is pretty irrelevant. Either way you or aren’t getting in.

7. Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only “true Christians.” All churches and denominations are considered “false religion.”
Pretty sure I know Christians that believe their doctrine denomination is, on the generous end, most correct, and on the sever end the “true” version. Also, Catholics are going to hell.

8. There is no Hell or eternal judgment (“Hell” is simply the grave).
Since none of use currently living have experienced hell, we can’t really say one way or another, can we? Once again, if you accept the premise, then you’ll accept the conclusion. I’ve seen good intentioned and intelligent Christians argue (and very convincingly) against the concept of hell as a place for eternal punishment.

9. There is no life after death except for the 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses.
This isn’t crazy, per se, but it does sort of conflict with the other JW’s that hope to live in “paradise on earth” up there in number five. I guess you could argue it’s crazy, or at least self delusional, to hope for something that you’ll obviously not experience in your lifetime knowing full well it’s unlikely to happen. It also seems like a huge detractor to have to be fastidiously moral and wear funny undergarments if you’re only going to cease existing once you kick the bucket. Seems kind of a lot pointless.

10. Salvation is earned only by being a loyal Jehovah’s Witness.
Most religions believe this. This is like number 7. Of course the only way to get into heaven is by being a good (insert religion). Any religion that encouraged otherwise is sabotaging itself.

This is the first ten. I plan on going through the whole list, and you guys can tell me what you think. Or not. I don’t want to be unsympathetic to these people. After all, they did write a book called “They Wanted Our Baby to Die!” which I scanned through. Essentially, their daughter needed a blood transfusion, which is a no no as we’ll see later, so they left the JW (government stepped in and legally forced the transfusion), and some other Christian church stepped in and provided food and whatnot. Moved by the friendliness of the Christian church, they decided to jump on board. Presented with a similar decision, I would have acted similarly. The JW elder did say that he hoped the kid got hepatitis to prove it was wrong. That is a pretty big asshole move. And this list was compiled in February of 09, so it’s very recent.

I guess the reason for this list is to look at how Christians fall into the same logic, or share similar beliefs as things they call cults. Really, I should specify “Christians.” I could just say people, but in this particular instance, the contrast is between JW and Christian. I wanted to stress that when I cite crazy on either side, it’s not because I hate/love one over the other, but because each side is equally susceptible to crazy and favoritism.

Next, part 2.

I was just thinking. I had forgotten the final resolution I’d made that year when I made my more successful ones. It was to not hide my personality behind a fake personality. I feel it’s served me well. I think it’s worked out better for me than when I used to put up a public veneer. My real personality is perhaps not the most elegant tool, and the veneer is certainly less harsh, but it’s kind of bland. Showing off my personality has been sort of a freeing practice. But it’s kind of hard. Some days when I’m not paying attention, when I’m being a little lax, when I’m trying hard, I’ll accidentally slip back back into that veneer.

Along those lines, I’m going to stop giving milquetoast answers. “What it is I mean by this?” you might ask. For example, when people ask, “so, what church you going to?” and I saymumble that I’m not, and they ask why (very shockedly I may add), I will simply say, “not interested,” instead of the white lie method I’ve knee-jerk developed of saying that I just haven’t found one yet. It’s true I haven’t found one, but that also implies I’ve been looking. Which I haven’t.

I was actually thinking about this while watching Steve Jobs give the graduation speech at Stanford. He said the thing about how he woke up every morning and thought, “if I were going to die tomorrow, would I want to do the thing I’m going to do today?” A statement like that king of actually means something coming from a guy like that. But instead of thinking about what I am doing, it just kind of made me think that I often say things I don’t mean, or at least in ways I don’t mean it.

If one is interested, one can find the speech nyahways.

I just sort of realized that I could have also titled this blog, “So You Want a Resolution.” But I didn’t. Be grateful I didn’t.

‘ve not really ever been much into resolutions, making or keeping them. And by use of extrapolation, I haven’t been much for breaking them if I haven’t been making them. I’ve only ever made them once before, and that was at the the 06/07 switch over. I had resolved, or resoluted as I would prefer to say, to blog (I think) 3 times a week, write a certain number of times a week, and then have a serious romantic relationship by the end of 07, and married within a year of it. I kept the first two for the first half of the year, which is pretty impressive by most standards, I reckon, and I completely made a goal point with the third one. “Nothing but net,” I believe they would say, or perhaps, “from downtown.” Not only did I have a serious romantic relationship by the end of 07, but I was married within six months. Take that resolution!

I didn’t make any for 07/08, but if I had, it would probably have been something like, “don’t mess up, don’t mess up, don’t mess up,” and I think I would have done pretty ok at it. But I didn’t, so I didn’t. And did. At the same time.

Shannon said to me that it would be nice to make creativity an objective for this year. Which I agreed with. As such, she has stuffed her Etsy full of stuff that you should buy, or tell your friends to buy, and started a brand new blog with which she can pimp her Etsy warez. It’s been really cool watching her go to town on this stuff. I really admire her talent with yarn and fabrics. She’s amazing. Now if only she would make me my ManHood (I can’t hyperlink you yet, as it doesn’t actually exist. That’s right, I made it up).

I decided to start a new blog as well. This blog that you’re reading is supposed to be a joint effort. Things that either we both do, or effect both of us. Something like that. The reality is probably something closer to, “sit and collect dust.” At any rate, whether or not it was active or inactive, there are things I want to talk about that I kind of think would violate the spirit of this blog. Mainly things of a media and entertainment nature, which is why I am now Not Quite Cultured (A Blog Of Cultural Implications. Almost.). This blog represents one aspect of my share in the New Year Objectives. The other two big things I want to do are to write a sort of spiritual memoir-in-progress, and some sort of fictional book. The spiritual book is based on the premise that my beliefs have changed considerably from when I was first able to structure them, and continue to change, and it’s simply me nothing those changes. The fictional book’s content I’m uncertain of. There’s a song called Nutopia by an industrial-metal band called Pigface, and it seems conceptual. It’s about a woman living in a city that’s super segregated by false technological barriers. The sound of the song is very futuristic, and semi-nihilist, but it gave me an idea for a sort of sci-fi book that I think could be quite compelling. Plus, it’d have a song as its source of inspiration. How rad would that be. Very is the answer. The other idea I’m kicking around is a zombie story. It’s kind of an unorthodox zombie story, but I don’t know if I would be able to actually finish it. Mostly because at this exact moment I’ve hit something of a zombie phase thanks to The Walking Dead and World War Z, and I don’t know how long that will last. To be fair, I guess you could say I hit something of a sci-fi phase about 15 years ago, and I also don’t know how long that will last, but odds are good that it’ll be longer than the zombie one.

Perhaps a lighter more secondary (quaternary/tertiary) objective would be sculpy. I discovered I have a talent for this stuff, and I think it would be good to try to refine that talent. But I would have to work small, and I don’t think it’ll be a major focus for quite awhile yet, as I don’t have Shannon’s ability to pull images out of my mind and make them exist.

To recap:

So, I know it’s really late for a political rant of any sort, but your comfort is one of my highest priorities, which is why I had to talk about it sooner or later.

The thing that bugs me about every election ever is the way both sides work themselves up into an animal frenzy. I remember it with Clinton vs. George Bush senior, Clinton vs. Bob Dole (I like Bob Dole himself, but despise their family’s business practices), W vs Gore, W vs Kerry, and now in the latest line of bull, McCain vs. Obama. Sides absolutely polarize and turn the other candidate into the anti-Christ. In particular, I’ve read on 3 or 4 blogs, and heard from several different people that, (quote)This is one of the most important elections of our generation(end quote). I think the assumption here is that once Obama is elected, the devil (Republicans in general, all Republicans specifically) will be thrown in the fiery pit, and the 1,000 year reign of Ombama (Christ) personified will begin. And because we all know Jesus wasn’t really black, the Republicans will simply refortify the boundaries against those freakshow homos and their selfish desire to get married.

Seriously folks, this election isn’t “one of the most important of our generation.” It’s like all the others, and specifically, all the others that were “one of the most important of our generation.” Unless it’s Godzilla vs. Mothra for the white house, it’s probably not going to be all that important. Congress will block the president at every turn, as Congress is given to doing, some people will blow the golden trumpets and slay the fatted calf, others will rent their clothes and bath in ashes.

It occurs to me that that was an excellent stopping point, but it also bugs me that none of the other presidential candidates (Bob Barr, Nader, McKinney, Charles Jay, Alan Keyes to name a few) ever get invited to the presidential debates. There are other people out there besides the big two, and even if they don’t win (have a snowball’s chance in Tuscon), people should get to hear them speak right along side the others.

Local politics never gets any coverage, ever. You have to do some relatively hard research on local stuff to get information. Which seems ridiculous, because as a general rule, the stuff decided at state level will effect me more than the stuff decided at a federal level. Unless it’s a constitutional amendment or casual Friday.

Lastly, I’m tired of hearing people talk about Bill Clinton as if he was the appetizer to the thousand year reign, John to Obama’s Jesus. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people praise him with glowing accolades like, “except for the cheating on his wife thing, he was the perfect president.” Right. Which is why he lied in front of the supreme court. I really don’t care if he cheated on his wife. On a personal level, that’s a real bitch and hurts like lemon in the eye, but it doesn’t really mean a whole lot when it comes to leading a country. Thomas Jefferson and Kennedy both had mistresses to name two off the top of my head, and look what they did. Infidelity is an issue between the Clintons, and while I would have voted to impeach them at one point, now I would not. The thing is, however, he lied in front of the impeachment hearing, and that’s why he should have been impeached. Also; 400 dollar hammers, 1200 dollar toilet seats. It seems like I’m the only person in all of existence that remembers those. And to answer your inevitable question: no, the white house wasn’t really buying 400 dollar hammers and 1200 dollar toilet seats. These were misappropriated funds used to buy themselves hundreds of pounds of lollipops and gallons of mint julep. That is to say: who knows what they bought, but they didn’t buy what they said they did.

So, I hope you enjoyed this little talk. I feel like we’ve grown closer for it.

So, many of you might think to yourselves, “I really want to make an indy movie, but I just don’t know how!” Well, that’s why I’m here. Perhaps you just feel overwhelmed by the deceptive enormity of such a project, or perhaps you’ve never given it much thought. If this is your first time or last time, it’s guaranteed to be a great time if you follow these five simple guidelines!

  1. Quaint is good. In the indy (short for independent to those in the business) movie business, you want your characters to be really flat and plain. A good rule of thumb would be: the quainter, the better.

  2. Awkward is good. In the indy movie business, awkward is better. Try to minimize the amount of “chemistry” (how well the actors naturally interact with each other) present between your actors. This way, when the awkwardness comes (and believe me it will), it will feel more natural, and will relieve a burden of acting from your actors (related; seek actors with no innate acting ability). Some suggestions for awkward scenes would be as follows: long stretches of silence while you pan across the character’s faces, prolonged dinner scenes with no sound except forks clacking against plates (optional is face panning, with the actors looking, naturally, bored), and finally, perhaps most importantly, is just simply awkward conversation. A true indy film writer will make Seinfeld look like Emily Dickenson poetry. And the best way to make sure that your movie truly embodies the spirit of the awkward indy movie, monitor your audience’s reaction. Check for signs of self consciousness and physical discomfort.

  3. Use atypical compositions in your filming. A good example would be to have people off of camera center during the scenes of awkwardly panning from face to face. Shaky camera syndrome is really effective as well. Try loading the camera man up on barbiturates and pain killers. I dare him to be able to stand steady! Remember: in the indy film, no camera technique is wrong, so experiment and go wild!

  4. Art. Some people say that art is a window in humanity’s soul. If this is true, you want people to assume that humanity is a retarded 7 year old when they look through your window to humanity’s soul. “What do you mean retarded 7 year old?” you might (and should!) ask. Let me stop being esoteric: throughout time, people have been artistically creative, slowly over time being capable of representing human experience and emotion more and more accurately, with greater levels of detail and drama. Do away with all of that. The fewer elements you have, the better off you’ll be. Do away with things like Basic Human Anatomy, and an Understanding of Structure and Layout. Pretty much, you can just wing it, and you can’t go wrong!

  5. This is the final and perhaps most important element of the indy film: crappy music. Remember that to be truly indy, you have to have music by bands that no one has heard of, and chances are that the fewer number of people that have heard of the band, the worse they are. A few things to listen for are an acoustic guitar with simple, detuned, repetitive “melodies,” and a singer who doesn’t know what a “pitch” or a “melody” is. If emo kids think it’s genius, by Jove, you’ve gotta have it in your indy movie, because it’s guaranteed that no one else will!

Indy film makers have been getting rich for years and weaving whole wardrobes made from dollar bills by following this simple formula! So just remember to be quaint, awkward, utilize the shaky camera, have sub par art direction, and terrible music and people will be flocking to see your movie just to prove their own totally unique and independent indy pride!

So the missus and I finally saw the new Batman flick. The Dark Knight.

I suppose I should state here that I don’t intend to talk about movies too super often. It’s not a movie blog. In theory, it’s a blog intended to catalogue Shannon and I’s development as a married couple, in the physical sense and in sort of the emotional sense. All that to say that this isn’t a thing of habit.

Finally saw Dark Knight about two weeks ago. That wasn’t the intention. We had wanted to see it sooner, but various obligations kept us from doing so.

I have to say I was a little disappointed. Every person I heard hyped it up like I was seeing Citizen Kane, Casa Blanca and Gone With the Wind all in one. It wasn’t bad. And I suppose I should say that I liked it more than I disliked it, by a lot. Heath Ledger is worth the price of admission just by himself. Two Face was as gay as the spoon drawer, and Batman’s “scary” hushed voice sounds really hokey. I would rather just suspend disbelief that no one catches on that it’s Bruce’s voice, and he speak in an octave that’s discernible from, say, the can opener.

But Two Face. This movie would have been about 3 times better without him. I’m not certain why those who make movies feel like they always need to have a minimum of two villains in a movie about super heroes, but they don’t. And if they can’t actually develop both, they shouldn’t. That was Two Face’s whole problem. I understand that his prior ego (before the hideous transformation) Harvey Dent was supposed to be a good guy, so they really have to play that up. I’m fine with that. If you want, have him be the saint all in this movie, and then in the next he can hideously transform into the bad guy. But don’t cram both into a movie that’s already full of Rube Goldberg like contrivances.

That’s another thing. The movie way over stuffs itself full of plot elements to get its characters where the director wanted to be: mainly Batman helpless and desperate, and the Joker in a place of power. Oh, and Two Face. And seeing as how Joker stole the show, they could have eliminated a good hour’s worth of contrivances and had a cleaner more efficient movie.

One of the contrivances is Bruce and Harvey (pre Two Face) love triangular character Rachel, who actually hasn’t been in the comics. That in itself doesn’t bug me. What does bug me is that they keep trying to foist girls off on Bruce/Batman. In the comics, the only person he’s ever been interested in was Catwoman (to the best of my knowledge). Beyond that, he’s a total loaner.

So, I could even accept them pushing a girl on him, but the character they conjured up is borderline retarded. She’s bitchy the whole time telling Bruce and Harvey alternatively how dumb they are, and how dumb everything in general is, and being generally unimpressed by everything, which leaves me unimpressed and leads me to believe the only reason they’re chasing after her is because she must be some “good ass” to “tap.”

And then, when she dies, all of a sudden, everyone remembers her for being so in favor of everything and thinking everyone was amazing and that everything was generally awesome! Bruce has some lame realization that he has to keep being the Batman in honor of her memory despite the fact that she told him several times in each movie that he was dumb for doing it blah blah blah.

Which brings me to another point. In all of these movies, there’s always someone or some group of people bitching about the people that dress up in pajamas and do good. I don’t get it. And I’m not sure what this is a complaint against per se, but if the person dressing up in pajamas is doing an actually good job and putting actually bad people in prison, than what’s the big deal? So, of course, that’s out in force in this movie about how you can’t trust cape crusaders blah blah blah. And like I said, this isn’t really a complaint about the movie. Maybe a complaint about the way people are.

The last thing is how Batman WILL NOT KILL, no matter what, ever. It is mostly a good trait, but there has to be an “unless” clause or something in there. There’s a scene in the movie where he has a chance to kill Joker, but he doesn’t. The Joker then goes on to kill and cause the deaths of countless others. Oh, but Bruce’s conscious is clear, so that’s good. Dumb. I’m also not saying a hero needs to kill everyone who looks at him cross ways, but at the same time, I think a proper hero recognizes that, reformable or not, this person/mutant/apocalyptic menace just needs to quit existing, and they are such a person to do it.

So, that’s pretty much it. Batman was good, but I guess if the Joker isn’t on screen, then you could probably take a nap if you want.

So, I have word processing now, which is exciting. It means that there can now be capitalization! Droll.

So, last my last post took some of you (all both of you) by surprise. “I wasn’t expecting that,” quoth one person, “I thought this was more fo a freedom thing for you,” quotheth another. I didn’t think it came across that harsh. Evidently it did, which is a shame, because perhaps that harshness has obscured my meaning. It was just one of those 2 am things. These things happen. I can’t sleep I don’t know why, but something inside me does. All I have to do is type and that thing will bring it to the surface. I haven’t had to do that in a long time. Probably close to a year.

So, at any rate, I haven’t come to refortify my defenses or see if I can make clearer some of the more obscure. I walked into my boss’s office, let fly everything from my mouth, and it’s all on the floor. Now it has to be dealt with it, and its dealing’s yet to be seen.

But I’m not here to deal with pataphysical mouth words. Mostly, I thought now would be a good time to share my list. First, let me introduce it by saying that my coworker (former) is actually nice. He’s just really… awkward. He’s a little like Ned Flanders and your uncle rolled into one.

So, my list:

“conversations with my coworker that leave me feeling a little overwhelmed”

1. HIM: you would have been laughing at me this morning. i washed the coffee pot this morning. the scrubber puts out a lot of soap. i had to rinse the pot 6 times. you would have been laughing (proceeds to repeat the story for the next 3 minutes)

2. HIM: i’ll call you nice and early. wake you up when i get up.
ME:good luck. i sleep with my phone on silent.
HIM: that doesn’t matter. i’ll call until it wakes you up. i’m tenacious.
ME: but it’s on silent.
HIM: doesn’t matter.
ME: good luck.

3. you would have been laughing at me this morning. i dropped my contact and couldn’t find it. i was looking around for it and couldn’t find it. it was quite comical.

4. i was laughing. they had a thing on ipod etiquette on the news. i was thinking of you. (this was the first time he saw me with an ipod.)

5. i’m going to call you elf lord. (addressed to my coworker upon hearing that he was studying graphic design)

6. (chuckling throughout whole story) my neighbor, and i’ll deny that i ever told you this, is an auto mechanic. well, not really. actually, his name is wade. he’s always got a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. it’s like, “geeze, do you ever take time to breathe?” we named him smoky joe and his wife smoky jane.

7. HIM: man, i see our mail carrier everywhere.
ME: yeah?
HIM: yeah. saw her at the grocery store last week and taco bell yesterday.
ME: yeah?
HIM: yeah, i was laughing. she was there wither her boyfriend eating a taco.
ME: huh.

i thought that would be a really neat name for a blog. i was trying to figure out if i could maybe even just create a user with that name. i realize that it’s the name of a song by the guitar guy joe satriani, but it’s a great name.

satriani’s ok sometimes. mostly though, he seems just really self indulgent. as if in the third solo in as many minutes he’s secretly (or not) saying, “look at how bitchin’ i am! if my shirt were off, you could admire my glistening abs, but it’s not. and they’re not. but if they were, ho buddy, look out. i don’t even care that this music isn’t any good anymore, look at how totally rad i am!” and then he releases the worst titled cd ever, “professor satchifunklous and the inanely titled cd.” the professor satch(etc.) part is true, but i can’t remember what the rest was called. dream laborioum or music emporatorioum or something equally useless and self indulgent.

so, joe. used to make good music. and that’s not what i even came here for.

you’ll notice that i’m not capitalizing anything. that’s because my old computer’s highly proprietary old mother board burnt up. it’s useless now, so i had to bump up getting my school laptop by a few weeks. it’s pretty cool. it has vista, which made me really nervous at first. i can see a few hiccups, but microsoft has made it suck a whole lot less. vista’s weird in the reactions it creates. people love it and will die for it in the crusades, or the hate it and will kill those that love it in the crusades. at any rate, my laptop is pretty rad and shiney, and i’m pretty well satisfied by it, but it doesn’t have any word processing software, so until i get some, this lazy son of a bitch isn’t capitalizing jack shit.

that’s actually not what i came here for either. to be honest, i don’t know why i came here. i wish i blogged more, but that’s kind of another facet of life in which i get to be disappointed in myself. i thought i could get another religious musing blog, but then i realized with my current set of beliefs it might look something like this:

)(&#^%)_@*^%)$*$*#_A#&*@&_%&#%)%*^&@_#*%^(@_+@+A*%+%&^&(&^(

or maybe i mean

%(%(#(%*^&*#@)%*^&^($)#)@_@(*%*^

you’ll notice that it’s utter meaningless gibberish. that’s another facet of life in which i get to be dissapointed in myself. i’ve been a christian for nigh onto 15ish years. in the last probably 2ish months, i’ve become less and less sure in that. the reasons are numerous and complex. actually, they’re few and probably stupid. i don’t know. all i know is that the more i read, the more i learn, the less i know. i’ve fired off a few emails to people only find out things like, “oh. that’s not what i’m going through,” or “..” (the ellipses is supposed to represent silence, or no response. if you played final fantasy 7, you’d understand that it’s a text/verbal mechanic in which the developer could communicate to you the idea the character’s not saying anything, or that they’re speechless without just having a few seconds of vacant action. effective as it actually let you know what that character didn’t say, instead of just having long periods of inaction AND no dialogue. no you know). both are frustrating. there’s so much that i don’t understand, or understand less and less. this used to be a comfort. you know, God’s (i still capitalize that name though) ways are mysterious and all. it meant that i didn’t have to understand because God did. but, 2 things happened. the first is that i realized that this premise only holds true with the base premise that what you believe, out of the multitude of belief, is the right one. the second is that it appeared to be lazy. in no other regard are you allowed to be lazy (math, reading, history, geography), but when it comes to things like that, well, just sit back because you’re an ignorant fuck and let the shit hit the fan. don’t worry about it, because God’s mysterious.

i’m not that bitter about it. i just kind of like to cuss. makes me feel warm. it’s like injections of cocoa.

actually i’m a little depressed by it. i stayed loyal in the face of all this… nonsense. friends who fell away, school(s), books, media. i held on fast. but it turns out, that the only way to be able to hold fast during all that is to kind of actually pretend that it didn’t happen, or that everyone else is wrong. it’s like a man who can see out of one eye standing on a soap box trying to throw pencils into a trashcan. he’s going to miss a lot, but since he’s got one eye, this metaphor fell apart a long time ago. this metaphor became meta for the blog.

but a lot of things fall apart if i have to face them head on. like, for instance, buddhists, or the bushmen. heaven or hell? heaven. why? well, duh, God’s grace! they never had a chance to hear the gospel, ergo, God’s gonna cut ’em slack! this is the answer i hear a lot in christianity. which makes sense. kind of. what about mormons? why would they go to hell? they’re no less convinced than the buddhist or the bushman that what they believe is TRUTH, all capitals. it’s not like theyr’e believing mormonism to piss off the christians, or because they think hell might actually be fun instead of, well, hell. so, despite being convinced of their own truthiness, they go to hell, while the ignorant heathens don’t.

or, they all go to hell. which is cruel. it’s not that i would say, “God would never send anyone to hell! he’s much too loving for that!” no. there are people who need to be there… for a time. it seems to cruel to have someone there forever, or for them to be there forever and never cease. that seems cruel. but if hell were a place, it seems that it would have a function with all the people willfully causing misery for others. back to my original point of this paragraph, they all go to hell, despite the fact that they are all good people who love their brothers, give to the poor (whatever that looks like for the bushmen), and most of all, recycle (praise allah and his one true prophet, gore). that’s where it’s cruel. i mean, these aren’t people who are haphazardly choosing belief systems. whether they grew up in it, or turned to it, chances are they are absolutely convinced of its rightness, but poor slobs, they chose the wrong one. enjoy hell you slant eye fuckers.

so, that’s a sample of what’s going on in here (and i dramatically gestured to my chest, which you saw you filthy spying measle bellied swag pig). anyway, it makes me sad. what to believe? it was neitzsche (that name’s hella hard) who said that man without belief is nothing (paraphrased). it bugs me to not have belief.

which is why i’m going to school for it. i figure maybe if i make myself really sick, somehow i’ll get better. no, not really. a long time ago (i mean, for a 24 year old), about 3 years, i felt like i was in the beginning stages of a journey. it, of course, seemed reasonable to assume it was God. no reason, still, to assume it wasn’t. it’s not like i doubt God, i just doubt all those that claim to speak for him.

so, this journey. it started with quitting church (oh man. that’s easily one of the 5 best decisions of my life. i quit church, and my happiness qoutient jumped 40 points. figure that one out doctor dobson). then it was followed by a period of rejection, where it seemed like i was supposed to see how others felt in places where they had been. to be specific: to have no friends, to feel like no one in the church cares. in many respects, i’ve come back to this place.

next, i came into a very precious relationship that ended up totally revamping my (at the time) theology. it started a slow domino chain reaction process that began to topple other weighty pieces over the following years as i read. and read i did. so, i felt like i was taken to a place where i was to question everything, and boy, i questioned the fuck out everything. to the point that nothing feels real anymore. and now i feel like i’ve just been kind of forgotten. i feel like i hit the darkest valley floor of the mountain i’m trying to get up, and the guide forgot me, or himself got lost or something. so, now i’m picking my way through brambles and old paths trying to find one that’ll get me off of the floor.

which leads me to my conclusion, if you will. the anti to the thesis.

it actually doesn’t feel all that bad. sure, at 12:30 at night, it can feel unbearable. it can feel unbearable when i think too hard about it. when i think that “fuck, what if i’m wrong!” at least i’ll be in the company of some of the nicest people a person could meet. that might make boiling in a vat of demon piss a little bit easier. but it doesn’t feel all that bad. i had a friend who went through something very similar (“simular”), and she said how she couldn’t continue believing this old thing. she had to change. at the time i couldn’t understand it, and much like the rejection part, i’m understanding it now. i have to shed this old thing if i want to get to the top of the mountain. i might get there and find out that my guide had found it and brought it with, and i’ll put it back on and things will be like they were, only different. or maybe not.

let me be more direct. i believe (should say know) that God exists. of this, i have no doubt. i doubt those that speak for him (broadly), and lots of other stuff. but, if we assume that God creates everything with an intended design (bee for honey, rabbit for burrow), then my intended design is to doubt. i do a very good job of it. so, in that tradition, i doubt everything for now, and maybe later, the doubt will fall off and something else will come on.

a couple quick hits:

  • i’ve noticed a correlation between music and belief for me. when i have firm believes, i have music i love. when belief is in flux, music becomes uninteresting, and i feel like everything is mundane.
  • i still think evolution’s kind of a crock. it sounds good, but i’m pretty sure it’s hella flawed.
  • the thing that makes all this roughest is that in the few months that i’ve been experiencing this, Jesus, God, buddha, allah, the maharishi, santa claus, no one has come down or given me a vision and said, “just push through.” if that happened: faith points plus 50. i also doubt (hey hey!) that it will happen.
  • this “lazy son of a b” will not be proofreading his business either.