Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Impressions of Brokeback Mountain

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Just got back from seeing Brokeback Mountain and thought I would share some of my first impressions. I use the word impressions because this is not going to be a movie review, nor do I intend to analyze the film. To begin with, for me, this was not a film primarily about homosexuality and anyone who reduces this film to a story about homosexuality is missing out, imho. The film operates on multiple levels and captures the complexity of the human experience. It's a story about love, human longing, tragedy, bigotry, rejection, confusion, shattered hopes and dreams, lonliness, and much more. I found myself identifying with the two main characters of the story not because I am homosexual but I too have shared many of the same human experiences albeit different circumstances....and...although my sexual orientation and experiences are different I too have struggled with questions regarding how to interpret my own sexual experiences, desires, and preferences. Sex is difficult, because despite all the manuals, books, and potential sexual outlets we have in the modern world it is still something so few people feel comfortable talking about face to face. Sexual freedom and confidence is what we may project and champion as a nation but repression, shame, guilt, and uncertainty about the nature of the sexual experience still rules the day in the lives of many people...While the film started a bit slow for my own particular preference I found myself increasingly engrossed in the lives of the characters as the story unfolded, especially the character played by Heath Ledger. For some particular reason I found myself drawn to his character. Not sure why, perhaps it had something to do with the range of the emotions he experienced and projected. At times I sensed he was haunted at the depths of his soul but at other times he projected a serentity and quiet confidence that transcended his life and circumstances. Hard to explain. He was a paradox to me.....Great performance and predict he will win best actor. He put his heart and soul into this film... I left the theatre not thinking about homosexuality but rather I felt like I had temporarily entered a world with real people who struggle and experience life as I do in many ways. And, although our sexual orientation and experiences may be different, at the end of the day, we more alike than we are different because fundamentally we all share similar hopes and dreams, desires, feelings of rejection, moments of joy and other experiences which define us as members of the same human race....and.... this film is a testament to this reality.....

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Am currently pondering making some big decisions regarding my two sons living with me, getting married, and my future living arrangments. I've been in limbo going on four years now since my divorce and feel it is time to step out and take the bull by the horns. Generally, making big decisions has always been difficult for me and I think I am now just beginning to understand why.... I have always struggled with self confidence and without trying to lay blame on anyone in particular lets just say I didn't get alot of support in my "formative" years. One generally doesn't get much from their high school peers because the competition to establish oneself, often at the expense of one's peers, is often the name of the game in high school. Home can sometimes be iffy since some parents lack confidence themselves for a host of different reasons. Sports was always an outlet for me to establish myself but a serious knee injury in high school prevented me from my destiny to become a professional football, basketball, or baseball player. I am sure that without the injury I would have become the first professional three sport athlete in history...back to reality...I didn't develop much confidence until I became a pro-life activist the early 1980's. Numerous speaking opportunities, radio guest appearances and a few t.v. gigs did wonders for my lack of self confidence but may have inflated my ego along the way. Always a dark side to everything....I began teaching high school in 1987 and this was the beginning of a sustained positive effect to my self confidence which would help carry me over to the present but have experienced a few bumps along the way because there is a great gulf between the feedback I get from my students and some administrators and colleagues I have encountered over the years. I try to take it all in stride and with a grain of salt but ongoing negative feedback from the "powers that be" can be discouraging and can create significant doubt especially for those who have struggled as I have over the years to establish some semblance of self confidence....While I have gained some self confidence from my work, despite the naysayers, I may have lost as much from my experience with organized religion over the years. To be fair, my experience with organized religion has been a mixed bag. On the one hand, the Christian religion does teach us that Jesus does loves us and has a wonderful plan for those who follow him. The church and Bible also teaches us to not worry because God cares for each one of us as he does for creation itself, therefore, he will meet all our needs. These teachings can and often are very positive for those who struggle with self confidence issues and that should not be lightly dismissed.....but, on the other hand....organized Christian religion does emphasize that we all all sinners and we cannot, nor should not trust our own nature as it relates to our emotions/intuition, ability to reason, and decision making....and....because of our "sinful nature" we are strongly encouraged or exhorted to put our trust in the authority of the church, the bible, tradition, and or it's leaders....and it's the latter emphasis that is highly problematic for alot of folks like myself. We get used to not trusting ourselves and our natural abilities and over the years it can really take it's toll and paralyze one in the face of having to make decisions to the point where one simply avoids making important decisions and "hopes" either someone else or the circumstances will make the decision for you. The problem is...there is no personal ownership in defering one's fate to others or life's circumstances...but perhaps worse....You never really follow the true desires of your heart and self confidence and potential happiness is sacrificed at the alter of fear and a life driven by fear is not the kind of life that breeds self confidence or happiness.....Back to the beginning....I have got some important decisions to make in the days, weeks, and months, to come and I hope I can overcome my past so that I can transend my fears and lack of self confidence and make the decisions that are right for me. It's my hope, my dream, and my hearts desire....

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Just mindless musings

Not too happy with my blog production or quality for the past three months. Not that it is about production...just makes me think about my life...Consider my blog a reflection of me and sometimes wonder if I would read my blog if it was written by someone else...probably not...Thinking about making some changes regarding how and when I blog...for starters....stop thinking that I have to have something significant or interesting to say. Do more free association blogging. Just whatever pops into my head at the moment. Scary thought, considering my "active imagination"....Just yesterday, for example, I was fantasizing about starting a movie website called "Redneck Reviews" with one of my colleagues from work. We would use pseudonym's of course. I am partial to Lester and Buck. Our motto would be, "we call e'm as we see em"...and...We would have video streams of the old Hee Haw show running on the site.....Don't know where I come up with these ideas most of the time. If I were to analyze myself I would suspect it probably has something to do with the fact that I spent so much time alone growing up as a child. I suppose I had to entertain myself much of the time and what better way to do so than fantasize about this or that. My family didn't read and there were few books in the house so I guess fantasy won out by default....A word or two on blogging....Enjoy blogging....probably has alot to do with the freedom and anarchist aspect of the medium. No particular ground rules or restrictions, at this point, that prevent me from saying or doing what I want. So much of life is following a script or rules and expectations of others. Not always a bad thing but sometimes a fellow just needs to spread his or her wings and say what is on the heart. Know what I mean?....Do, at times, wish I had something more to report than football scores or latest happenings...but... also don't want to turn my little corner of cyberspace into political/religious commentary. I could do that since I have significant passions regarding such subjects but the world is already too serious much of the time, imho. It's like that at work alot and somedays I just want to scream and tell everyone....chill....chill....lighten up. I know that what I do is important but sometimes I feel too many folks think the survival of western civilization has to do with what is happening at school. Here's a little insight for you all....It's not....Education is much much bigger than what happens in most of the classrooms around this country...but....I suspect most folks already know that except for the educational guru workaholics/politicians who use education for political gain....Lets wrap this up....I've gotten way off the original subject of being concerned about my blog but as I previously stated sometimes a fellow just needs to spill and if spilling is interpreted as mindless musings, than so be it........

Monday, January 16, 2006

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Short and sweet

I'll keep this short and "hopefully" sweet. Having a real hard time getting back into the swing of things since I went back to work last week after being off for 23 days in a row. Work is really intense this year. This semester I am teaching three different preps and two of them, government and sociology, are a real challenge. I don't particularly like teaching government and sociology is time consuming because it requires alot of energy to make it interesting.....bottom line.....I am pretty exhausted when I come home from work these days and am not too motivated to keep up with blogging or my discussion groups activity. It's just enough to keep up with exercise and my interpersonal relationships on the homefront. Do really miss the intellectual stimulation I get from the discussion groups. Have been reading and lurking but just don't have the energy to keep up. Currently feel a vacuum on the homefront because I am not at the moment involved in anything on a regular basis that is either challenging, interesting, or stimulating. Stuck in rut, in other words. I need to give it some thought and look for some ways to create more time so I can do some things that I energize me. Even having trouble keeping up with reading these days. Just ordered some really great books but don't know when I will get the time or energy to read......anyway......said I would keep it short so I better give it up and maybe I'll get the energy and a little mojo to boogey over to my discussion group and check in......

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hats off to the Longhorns

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As you might suspect I am emotionally drained at this point and really don't have much to say but did want to say a few words before I take off for the next three days. Today I saw something I thought I would never see in a game of this magnitude....and....that is....one player taking over an entire game and winning it almost by himself. Football is the ultimate team sport which includes the coordination and cooperation of twenty two players...but tonight...Vince Young won the game......no ifs or butts about it.... Greatest performance ever in a game of this magnitude in college football history. Hats off to Texas but major cudos to Vince Young who played the greatest game I have ever seen. Only consilation is that USC played a great game as well and one of the great games in championship history....Thanks Pete, Matt, Lindale, Jerrod, Reggie, and the offense line for a great run and a lot of great memories over the past three years....and Vince Young.... I hope you turn pro.....

Prediction Time

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It's about eight hours from the kick-off of one of the most hyped games in college football history. I know it is only a game but confess I am starting to feel a bit anxious. Having a whole bunch of friends over to watch the game on my big screen t.v. Am excited that one of my sons is joining us. My sons have never shown any interest in watching sports on t.v., which is o.k., by me, but am looking forward to some father son bonding time even if it is football...This is a big game for me on a personal level because I have alot of emotional investment in USC football. Have seen every game this year and grew up watching USC football since the O.J. era which goes back to the 1960's. Am anxious because in single elimination games I know that anything can happen and just hope the USC players don't fall into the trap of thinking they are better than Texas. Texas is very good football team and deserves alot of respect and if the USC players don't play Texas with the respect they deserve they will lose. Don't think that will happen because I do believe Pete Carroll is one of the best coaches at preparing his teams...but you never know...You are dealing with 18-22 olds and they tend to have a mind of their own....Do feel confident if USC executes and matches Texas' intensity than things will be fine. All the hype about USC's offense is justified in my opinion. Seven future first round picks on offense including two Heisman trophy winners. I know Texas has a very good defense but honestly don't believe they have ever faced anything like USC's offense. I believe Oklahoma actually had a better defense last year than Texas and look what happened to them. It's not just the athletes of USC, it's the execution of their offense. They run a complicated, diversified, pro style passing and running attack that is unparalled in the college ranks and it's going to be a real challenge for Texas, imho. Texas only chance is turnovers and ball control. If they can march up and down the field and get a few turnovers than they can win. USC's defense is not as strong as their offense...dah...but they may surprise a few folks tonight because their team speed is excellent and Pete Carroll is the defensive coordinator who will have a few surprises for Vince Young I predict....Prediction time.....I admit anything can happen in these single game elimination sporting events and won't be surprised if Texas wins...but....if USC executes and plays humble than I predict a big win for the men of Troy....USC 45 Texas 23......