Saturday, December 24, 2005
Finding meaning in Christmas...People look and find meaning in Christmas in many places. Many people turn to the commercial aspects of Christmas and find joy and excitement in buying and receiving Christmas gifts. While I personally don't like going to shopping malls during this time of the year I do understand the adrenaline rush one may get from finding just the right gift for someone they love and I always appreciate getting thoughtful gifts from others. Many people find meaning in their religion and the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus. It is recorded in the Gospels that an angel told Joseph that the son that Mary was going to bear would "save his people from their sins". Alot of folks associate Christmas with God's forgiveness and the hope of eternal life. Jesus is the "reason for the season" and their display of nativity scenes in their houses point to this hope and faith....Some folks find their joy in what I call Christmas nostalgia.... Watching Rudolph the Reindeer for the umpteeth time......listening to oldie but goody Christmas music....decorating the tree with ornaments from their childhood....keeping family rituals, year after year....these are all signs of Christmas nostalgia.....No matter how or where we find our peace and joy at Christmas time we almost all enjoy the family aspect of Christmas. We all generally come together or at least call our loved ones on Christmas day and Christmas helps to remind us that family is important and potentially meaningful even though we may struggle at times in our relationships with those we love during the rest of the year.....I confess it has been difficult to find meaning and hope at times during the Christmas holiday season over the last couple of years. Since my divorce I have not been in the same place at Christmas time any two years in a row and I generally don't see my two sons until late in the afternoon on Christmas day....I also no longer associate with Christmas with the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. It's not that I no longer believe in eternal life or the love and forgiveness of God...because I do....It's just that I don't think it has anything to do with Jesus being born of a virgin or being crucified. These stories "point" to the hope of eternal life and the reality of God's love...and....for that they can be appreciated but from where I stand God has always been forgiving and loving long before the Christmas story became a popular belief and tradition of much of the Western world.....Although my life has become turned upside down in many respects over the past three or four years I am still touched by the "deep magic" of Christmas. I still enjoy playing Santa to my two sons even though they no longer live with me or believe in the pot belly, jolly fellow. I still greatly enjoy having my two sons help me decorate the Christmas tree during Thanksgiving week-end. I still go out and look at Christmas lights even though my two sons no longer are interested in going. I still love the Christmas story even though I no longer believe in it's historical literacy. It's the meaning behind the myth that counts....Yesterday my mom and I watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas special. It was beautiful...I was touched. Later we watched various musicians perform a variety of different Christmas favorites from a 15th century church in Scotland. Again I was touched. This morning I was moved by the peace and quiet of watching the sun rise before the fogged rolled in and closed the door to sunshine until later this afternoon..... Right now my mom is listening to country music. Why?....I don't know, but it makes her feel happy and joyful and if there is anything I can do to make my soon to be 91 year old mom feel joyful on Christmas day than I am going to do it....even if it means listening to country music on Christmas morning...yikes....the Lord does work in mysterious ways and what touches us and moves us during this special time of the year varies from one person to another....and....it can only be explained as the "deep magic" of Christmas which gives hope, faith, and peace to all who have ears to hear and a heart open to the mysterious workings of the Spirit of God who moves to and fro amongst us all.....Merry Christmas to all......
Friday, December 23, 2005
Sunday, December 18, 2005
If you want a more extensive peek from someone who has actually seen the film check out what Harry Knowles of Aint it Cool website has said http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=22032
I love reading Harry Knowles reviews. He speaks with such great passion and is a true lover of movies and doesn't pull any punches....check it out.....
Kong may not be the epic of the Lord of the Rings but it is modern classic in it's own right. The 1933 version is not something I confess I am particularly interested in watching again. I have this aversion about very old black and white films. Nothing personal or related to modern superiority complex. Just chalk it up to being a product of a modern man stuck in a worm hole....nothing more, nothing less....Do anticipate the film for another reason as I implied in my Pomoxian musings. I greatly admire the work, imagination, and passion of filmaker Peter Jackson. I have now watched countless hours of interviews of him over the years and he is in a different category of filmakers, IMHO. He appears to be an "average Joe" who is sincerely grateful and humble for what he does which is refreshing when you consider so many directors appear to be operating in their own little worlds they have created. Might have something to do with growing up in New Zealand which is far, far removed from the influence of Hollywood. Whatever the case, I immensely appreciate the heart, soul, and labor of love Jackson puts into his work and look forward to his films in the future. God bless the only director who looks, walks, and sounds like a hobbit.....
Saturday, December 17, 2005
One of the things I enjoy about the holidays and time off is the change of rythum and the freedom to establish the pace of life on my terms. I love my job but I do not always enjoy the hectic pace of work. During the school year I often feel like a rat in a cage who is on one of those wheels that is spinning faster and faster with each passing day of the semester. Many people thrive on the adrenaline rush one gets from frantically bustling about meeting this deadline or that but I do not. I do not like the stress or the loss of self awareness that is often associated with trying to live life at light speed and keep up with the modern pace of life. Stress is a killer, literally, and I am convinced that loss of self awareness leads to all kinds of potential problems on numerous fronts. One of my goals this upcoming holiday season is to concentrate on living in the moment and slow down. The holidays can be challenging because of all the activities associated with Christmas but I have already finished all my Christmas shopping so I am ready to make a serious go of slowing down and pacing my self on my terms and not the terms of the holiday season or the workplace. We'll see what happens in the days and weeks to come. I am pretty determined this year to explore where this may lead and hopefully I will gain some new perspective and lifestyle changes that will carry over into the work place when I go start back to work.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
I think Pete Carroll has made a wise decision to stay at USC. Just hope he can keep his promise. Many others have not. Suspect some organization out there, maybe Houston, will offer him the moon and we will see. Carroll is a great college coach and he would be nuts, IMHO, opinion to leave. Carrol has not just rejuvenated a once proud college football program but he has created a juggernaut that, if they win the Rose Bowl, will be remembered as the greatest college football team of the modern era. If you think I am blowing smoke here are the facts..."The Trojans haven't lost a game since Sept. 27, 2003, and it took three overtime periods at Cal to do it. Since Oct. 6, 2002, USC is 45-1. Freaks. In those 45 victories, only five were decided by less than a touchdown...and... USC has beaten the last 16 ranked opponents it has faced. Since the 34-game streak began, the Trojans have beaten Notre Dame, Arizona State and UCLA three times apiece, Cal twice, and Michigan, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma and Oregon once. They've done it despite injuries, early defections to the NFL, graduation, and coaching departures"....I haven't had this much fun watching sports since Magic Johnson arrived in L.A. back in the 80's and introduced the world to showtime. Showtime is back in L.A. and we USC fan"actics" are loving the new version starring Reggie Bush and the rest of the "men of Troy"....
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
When I was growing up as a kid Halloween was one of my favorite holidays but for nearly 30 years I really didn’t pay too much attention to this “pagan” holiday. Halloween has once again become one of my favorite holidays. What is there not to like about Halloween? Oh, I could do with a bit less of the blood and gore that is associated with the holiday but there is so much else to love about this fall holiday. There are the pumpkins, the annual Charlie Brown Halloween special, the orange and black colors, the references to ghouls and goblins, the costume parties, the cute little kids that come to your door who can barely say twic or tweet, the haunted houses, the ghost stories, and lets not forget the candy galore.
I love Halloween. It’s a fun holiday. Much simpler and less stressful than Christmas. You don’t have to worry about what to buy or run around town fighting hoards of other folks in search of the perfect present. All you need to do is boogie on down to the store and buy some candy for the kiddies and if you don’t want to participate in the passing out of candy tradition you can opt out and go out for dinner or a movie. I love watching old monster classics during this time of the year, the Wolfman, the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon….and….some recent cult favorites which include The Army of Darkness, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and American Werewolf in
We need Halloween as individuals and as a nation. We need to let our hair down from time to time and Halloween provides the perfect opportunity to do so without the threat of losing all our dignity. Our society has become so serious and stressful on numerous fronts these days and Halloween provides an outlet, at least for one day, to release a bit of personal and national angst. Personally I think they should make Halloween a national holiday and I think everyone should be forced to dress up for the day, including the president. I wonder what costume would look good on George Bush?.....Hmmm???.....If my little Halloween promo hasn’t convinced you of the merits of taking the time join the antics of the ghosts and goblins of your local neighborhood than for your sake and the sake of the country take some time to chill on Halloween night at least make an attempt to join the rest of us crazies in spirit if not in action…..
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Rhythm.....the rhythms of the body......since I quit teaching summer school over the past couple of years I have become increasingly self aware of the rhythms of my own body and the effects of living at "frantic speed" because unlike most folks I now actually have enough time off to experience a significant change in my body's rhythm due to the radical change of the pace of my life which occurs during the summer......Some observations......For the past two years I have ended the school year with a significant amount of back pain which has required multiple visits to chiropractors, doctors, and even a series of visits to a local acupuncturist. While each visit brought some temporarily relief it wasn't until two or three weeks after I stopped seeing the various doctors that the pain eventually subsided or went away completely.....armchair amateur medical self analysis......I have concluded that the pain subsided, in large part, because of the dramatic change of pace of life and the increased amount of exercise I get as I romp around on vacation each summer.....more observations.....every school year I start off the year in high spirits because my body, mind, and spirit has had time to rest and adjust to what I believe is the a more natural rhythm of life but by this time each year I begin to feel my body, mind, spirit, and soul breaking down as the stress mounts and the pace races faster and faster due to grading papers, meetings, lesson planning, and the additional pressures of meeting both state and federal educational standards. Since the school year has started I have probably gained some ten pounds and am at the point where I feel like I am on a run away train and I can't get off. Know the feeling? Feel the pain?
This yearI am determined, more than ever, to do something about the situation I find myself in. I have already made some minor changes which include cutting back on running around on the week-ends and staying at home more during the fall. I have also decided to revisit Stephan Rechtschaffen, M.D.'s excellent book "Timeshifting" and integrate some spiritual/meditative/psychological exercises and insights which I will talk more about in the days and weeks to follow......Points of frustration.....While I am optimistic that a person can change significantly inside and out I am also reminded by reality that we all to one degree or another live in a society and individual subcultures that don't seem too concerned about the unatural rhythms of life and frantic pace of life that prevent us from taking a hard look at ourselves, our society and the increasing stress related to the crash course we are all on. In other words, our challenge is more than individual because much of what I have identified is instutionalized on numerous fronts, IMHO......At this point I don't have many answers or suggestions for myself or the society at large but I suspect as individuals we may need to begin by slowing down and learning to live in the moment. I'll have more to say later but for now I'll leave with these thoughts from Stephan Rechtschaffen......"To be aware of time, we must develop new attitudes and new skills. This involves focusing on one thing at a time., learning to slow down and notice---really experience----our physical and emotional states. It involves reacquainting ourselves with our senses, our friends, our spouses, our children, and just what it is to be in this moment....If you feel your life rushing by, as though you can't keep up ieth all your obligations nad the demands upon you.....just stop! Begin with jsut a moment. Allow yourself to be aware and to feel in this moment. "
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Friday, September 30, 2005
Thursday, September 15, 2005
to listen to me whine
About nothing and everything
all at once
I am one of those
Neurotic to the bone
No doubt about it
Sometimes I give myself the creeps
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up
I think I'm cracking up
Never was mechanically inclined growing up which probably explains my frustration when it comes to putting things together and hooking things up....on the bright side.....am amazed at how much and how far I have come over the years regarding technology. Now know how to operate webpage design, blogs, digital camera's, DVD's, MP'3's, computers, DVR's, and HD T.V.'s. I guess in the long run it is always good to learn new skills but this week my patience, manhood, and self esteem were sorely tested to the max. Still haven't figured out how to burn DVD off television so I can get a copy that will work on my DVD machine at school. Am chomping at the bit to learn in order to begin a DVD library at work. Just hope I don't "crack up" at some point down the road. If I don't figure it out soon I may just pay someone to come out and hook everything up right. It's amazing to watch the serious techno geeks at work. They make it all look so simple......Last but not least.....Worse part of it all are the manuels that come with the various machines. Each one has to be at least a hundred pages. Last week the satellite installers left me with three different manuels for the three different machines they left behind. Spent all afternoon just trying to figure out the rudimentary basics.....In the end got no one to blame or curse at but myself. It was a conscious choice on my part to upgrade my toys. Just hope the industry begins to stream line it all in the years to come or we may all short circuit and crack up.....
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Over the past year and particularly the past couple of months I have made some significant changes and have taken some risks. I have moved to a new school and did recently purchase a significant amount of new furniture in an effort to improve my depressing living situation. I have also made some recent changes that include joining a book club, getting to bed earlier, and learning to say no to requests for my time from others. As important as these changes have been I still feel something is missing. Either not sure what it is at the moment or perhaps lack the courage/motivation to confront the reality before me???......As I look into my future in the years to come I also struggle with the choices before me and oftentimes many of the choices don't seem too appealing. ....and....wonder if I just need a different perspective on the realities of my life or am I unable, at this time, to grasp or see alternatives that are yet to be revealed.....Part of me says that what I feel are simply a reflection of the times we live in. Rising cost of living, war, natural disasters, and an ever increasing micro managment at work are enough to depress even the most well adjusted individual......Whatever is going on it will probably become clearer in the weeks and months to come, because that's the way life seems to operate. It's seems to be the way universe operates. Sometimes I kinda wish I wasn't so sensitive to what is going on inside. Most folks appear to just suck it up and go on with life. But lack of self awareness isn't particularly appealing to me either. Side effects are potentially dangerous to self and others. I guess all we can do is chug on, batten down the hatches when we need to, and pay attention to our souls and our hearts. Life is a marathon, life is hard, and these are in many ways difficult and strange times we live in......
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I woke up Monday morning on the first day of school at four thirty in the morning because I was somewhat anxious about going to work. I now have second thoughts about going to the new high school, in large part, because it is apparently much more regimented and there is a lot of emphasis on rules, particularly keeping the dress code. Let's just say that conformity and keeping dress codes are not my particular cup of tea. It also grieves me because I feel that education is quickly losing it's "soul" during the lastest round of education reforms. All anyone talks about anymore is improving the test scores and almost every teacher who teaches a core subject is now teaching to the various tests we have to administer on a regular basis. Teaching to tests is not what I got into education for and it saddens me to see the educational powers that be drag everyone down this road. It also grieves my soul because alot of important aspects of the educational experience is now being lost or repressed during the ever increasing testing frenzy that is now at the forefront of the education culture. Can't remember that last time we had a good motivational speaker or any discussion or emphasis on the importance of creativity, creating lifetime learners, distilling a love for learning, or the other things that are near and dear to my heart. It's all about testing, standards, and conformity.......Well, I could talk about this topic for hours but I better move towards closure. I'll make the best of it and hope I can stay under the radar screen which is becoming increasingly difficult to do because over the years I have gradually become more and more eccentric and willing to stand near the edge of the abyss when it comes to how I do my job. Reminds me that there is often a fine line between those on the edge and those who take pride in being normal and sometimes it doesn't take much to trigger events that may send a person over the edge. Since I have went over the edge in my life on more than one occasion I now think I understand some of the dynamics of our soul's persistent attempts to satisfy it's deepest desires. Of course, some people are better than others at repressing the souls cry to be satisfied but a deprived soul cannot or will not be denied indefinetly. .....Need to wrap this up because I have to get up at the crack of dawn to work on worksheets and curriculum. Fun, fun, fun.....One positive note. I am teaching psychology again after five years of being deprived and that should give me an opportunity to teach a subject that is not driven by tests. Should be alot of fun for both me and the students.....Fallen asleep at the key board so I better go now....Over and out......
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Friday, August 12, 2005
It's a shame the culture wars have come to the place where many good folks appear to regulary succumb to the temptation to demonize those on the other side of the political isle. Our political winner take all system doesn't help because it only galvanizes and energizes those in the minority to get revenge with the powers that be.....People on both sides of the political isle seem to recognize that we need reform on numerous fronts in this country but I am afraid their idea of reform is too short sided and thus ineffective for the most part because a significant amount of the reform efforts are based on eliminating or tharting the proposals of the "other side" thus we often end up with proposals that reflect more a committment to an ideology rather than helping the people who need help the most. Just my take on things. Kind of got off the subject of Bakersfield. I've lived here my whole life and really don't know any other living environment other than conservative. Just the way it is. Just wish folks around here would engage what they apparently fear most instead of dismissing it out of hand without any serious consideration.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Another highlight....One morning I took a quick jaunt over to the beach in the morning which was located near our campsite and I saw what must of been a hundred or so seagulls hangin out near where the ocean waves met the beach. As one young girl approched the seagulls they all in unison hovered above for ten seconds or so and than landed again a couple of feet away. It was a magnificent and rare site indeed, something I have never seen before. I quickly ran back to camp to get my camera and for the next 15 to 20 minutes proceeded to take one picture after another. It felt like something right out of National Geographic... Two days later we witnessed hundreds of Pelicans swarming and diving into the bay near our campground. I suspect some large quanties of small fish were in the area which must of precipated to seagull and pelican behavior during our stay.
Final highlight..... Each year the travel channel usually does a program on the top ten beaches in the world and Cannon Beach in Oregon often makes their top ten list and after spending the day in Cannon Beach I can see why. Cannon beach streches for miles and is littered with rocks and one really, really, big rock which is said to be the third largest in the world of it's kind. Cannon beach is also a beautiful tourist town which apparently draws tourist from all over the U.S. We spent the day walking around the town before finally heading down to the beach where I walked in the water for awhile. Again, the weather was perfect. Clear skies, and a gentle breeze. A bit on the crowded side but beauty has a way of always drawing attention to herself. ....Anyway....that's just some of the highlights. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that just spending time with my two sons and girlfriend was probably the top highlight of all. It's great to have family, friends, and people who love you and you love them........