I thought this would be a fast topic and let me get back to my novel revision that I aim to have done by Friday, but I was wrong. Regardless, because the emotions we regard as "negative" are in most cases healthy normal requirements to be a healthy normal human, it can be very therapeutic to embrace them sometimes instead of trying to pretend they don't exist. These songs hurt me, but I love them. Not every song can be "Walking on Sunshine". I have excluded breakup/unrequited love songs from this list to prevent it from exceeding eight thousand entries, and instead focused on some of the other crap that life has to offer. Enjoy.
Bill Mumy - The Ballad of William Robinson
Being lost in space forever is a special kind of depressing, though if he gets to keep visiting actual planets and having adventures I don't know what he's complaining about.
Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Dreams [Explicit]
I currently live on Kip Thorne Boulevard, which became a boulevard of broken dreams when I moved here a couple months ago.
Harry Chapin - Cat's Cradle
The only thing sadder than missing opportunities is growing up.
Loreena McKennitt - Dante's Prayer
A song that will doubtless by repeated on my upcoming list of songs I want included in the new Latter-day Saint hymnal.
Genesis - Dreaming While You Sleep
I honestly thought the lyrics of this song were some kind of artistic metaphysical nonsense until I actually paid attention to them and was like "Holy crap!"
Kansas - Dust in the Wind
Even if you, like me, believe in immortal souls and another life that will suck considerably less than this one, the reality check of how temporary and insignificant humans are can be sobering.
Tracy Chapman - Fast Car
A song, introduced to me years ago by my friend Cece, about how poor people deserve to have crappy lives because obviously if they just pulled themselves up by their bootstraps they would be fine (sarcasm).
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy - Heartbeat (Instrumental)
Knowing the plot of the movie makes every song from the soundtrack melancholy, but this one really tests the limits of how beautifully (I can't stress that enough) soul-wrenching an instrumental piece can be.
Billy Joel - Leningrad
"Storm Front" is my favorite Billy Joel album, and most of the songs on it are criminally underrated, including this one.
Suzanne Vega - Luka
Not just the abuse per se, but the resignation and broken spirit really drive this one home.
Stephen Moore feat. Kimi Wong - Marvin, I Love You
Okay, I lied, and don't have the heart to refuse entry to this breakup/unrequited love song by everyone's favorite manically depressed robot, accompanied by an irrelevant cute video.
Nightwish - Nemo
"Nemo" means "no one" and if that's not cause for introspection I don't know what is.
Alanis Morissette - Perfect
With her unique voice and interesting liberties with pronunciation and scansion, Alanis comes across as a very real person singing about real issues, like impossible expectations from parents or authority figures.
Mika - Rio
Again, upbeat but not upbeat, illustrating low self-esteem and the perceived futility of trying to change things, but in a way you can dance to a little.
Simon & Garfunkel - The Sounds of Silence
Kitaro - Symphony of the Forest (Instrumental)
As I've mentioned before, this song gave me my first experience with depression and loneliness when I was three or so, and now I listen to it just to show it who's boss.
Matchbox 20 - Unwell
Only I and a few hundred million other Aspies have adopted this as our unofficial theme song.
Bruce Hornsby & the Range - The Way it is
Somehow this song is upbeat but not upbeat, even without getting into the subject matter of racism and civil rights.
Scorpions - Wind of Change
The fall of the Berlin Wall was a joyous occasion for most, but this hardly comes across to me as a joyous song, probably because it's reflective and nostalgic instead of celebratory.
Madonna - You Must Love Me
Eva Peron sings about her husband staying by her side as she dies of cancer (which isn't a spoiler because the musical literally starts with her death and goes into flashback for most of the next two hours).
I said "the world", which is a generalization, and I said "seems to have", which means I'm just expressing how things look from my perspective. Maybe it's just because I left New York for planet Utah. So if you remember any or all of these, good for you and sorry for getting your hopes up. In any case, this will provide a brief and welcome respite from Christmas music, won't it? (I like Christmas music. I just need a brief and welcome respite from it.)
OMC - How Bizarre
If memory serves me, this and Del Amitri's "Roll to Me" were constantly on the radio in 1995. I may be conflating 1995 with later years when I was no longer two years old, but what's certain is that I haven't heard this on the radio for a very long time and that's a travesty because it's really, really, really good. Looking at the video now I'm not sure if the crappy greenscreen effects are a stylistic choice or an artifact of 1995.
Fastball - The Way
Similar to how I was first introduced to many, many songs through "Weird Al" Yankovic's parodies and polka medleys, I was first introduced to this song through Gigi D'Agostino's dance remix. It's a surprisingly upbeat interpretation of the true story of an elderly couple who went for got lost on what should have been a short and simple trip and somehow fell down a ravine hundreds of miles from their destination and died.
The Click Five - Just the Girl
Not sure if this is creepy, touching or sad, but it's catchy and when all is said and done that's what really matters in a song, isn't it? Not to be confused with No Doubt's "Just a Girl", which is also great but sounds nothing like it. Articles matter.
Stacie Orrico feat. The Chipettes (Just Kidding) - Stuck
Occasionally, in the right lighting, Stacie Orrico bears an uncanny resemblance to my friend Cece that I haven't mentioned in forever because I haven't seen or talked to her in forever. I'd like to know how she's doing, but she isn't currently responding to my texts and that usually means she's not doing well. Please pray for her.
Howie Day - Collide
Pretty, lilting and wistful, this song was one of those that somehow sounded like nostalgia from the day they were released. Fifteen years later, of course it sounds even more so. In another fifteen years, if I'm still alive, it will be unbearably painful to listen to.
Los Lonely Boys - Heaven
This song was once overplayed to the point of being annoying. As soon as I heard its opening chords I would be like "Come on, play something else already." But after a hiatus of a few years, I'm able to revisit it with fresh ears and overplay it on my own terms.
Mario Winans feat. Enya (Not Kidding) - I Don't Wanna Know
Possibly the greatest hip-hop song in the universe. This is hip-hop, right? I don't know much about music genres, I just know what I like, and this song is light-years ahead of most of the garbage that was being released around that time. Or today, for that matter. Yes, barely into my teenage years I already had a head start on becoming the crotchety old man who hates this generation's music.
In conclusion, there's a lot of underrated music out there, but what's really baffling is when people recognize a song's greatness, make it a hit, and then forget it exists. And on an unrelated note, Merry Christmas Eve Eve Eve.
Here is a story from the evolution of my novel "Space Girls" that will probably be of interest to me and no one else. I haven't made a lot of changes to it this year because Debbie has a copy which she will hopefully someday get around to finishing reading and providing feedback on, and I don't want her feedback to be no longer applicable when that time comes. Besides that, I'm more pleased with the current incarnation than ever and don't have nearly as many ideas to improve it. But I did make a couple changes recently. One was prompted by hearing Casey Kasem, on a rebroadcast of American Top Forty: The Seventies, mention a town called Escanaba, Michigan. I decided that sounds much cooler than Traverse City, so I replaced both of those brief references.
The other was prompted by learning that military trials do not have juries. I have a military trial in the story, and though I haven't worried too much about perfect accuracy in military stuff because it takes place nearly a century and a half from now and anything could have changed by then – in fact, it definitely has changed since Earth has one united military which in turn is a subset of the United Worlds (a not-so-veiled jab at the United Nations) military – I thought it would make more sense that way anyway. So I deleted the jury spokesman and gave all his dialogue to the judge. Then I started changing it accordingly from "we (the jury)" to "I". But then I realized it actually looked kind of cool to have the judge still saying "we", as if she thought she were British royalty. So I changed it back and I think it gives a neat little dimension to a character that only exists for approximately one page. Perhaps she is just a teensy bit drunk with power and just a couple fries short of a Happy Meal.
People have been very rude to me in my job this week. I mean the people on the other end of the phone, not my supervisors or co-workers, who are awesome. I don't get nearly as much abuse as the folks on swing shift who call residences, of course, though I have reached residences by accident sometimes and been called some names that bring back not-so-fond memories of middle school. One guy halfway across the country threatened me with physical violence, saying, "I'm going to bust you in the head, you dumb..." and here I could practically see the gears turning in his primitive little brain as he struggled to find a word before finally settling on one that didn't even match my gender. I was quite amused, and if he hadn't hung up I might not have been able to resist responding, "Well, go ahead, don't keep me waiting."
People in businesses, of course, aren't usually that overt, but it is amazing how much passive-aggressiveness they can fit into their voices, and the smaller the business the more overt they're comfortable being. Or they just hang up without saying a word or letting me finish my spiel. I don't know, maybe I'm just weird, but I think taking a five minute survey for a ten dollar Amazon gift card sounds like a pretty sweet deal. If they're accustomed to getting more than two dollars a minute then I want in on that. In any case, I'm sure none of these delightful people have any qualms about reaping the benefits of the market research they hold in such contempt. I'm often reminded of the story with the little red hen and all the farm animals who said "Not I" over and over until it was time to eat. Of course I'm not allowed to be rude back to them, but that doesn't stop me from taking pleasure in their annoyance if they deserve it. For some reason, it's absurdly satisfying to say "Have a nice day, ma'am" when what you really mean is "Go sit on a cactus. Oh wait, sounds like you already did."
As it turns out, my assumption that Debbie doesn't bother to read my blog was correct. She only read part of the one post that I showed her and no more. So I could fearlessly say whatever I want about her in this space. I could say, for example, that the other day I watched her throw away a plastic bottle in a garbage bin that was literally right next to a recycle bin. It made me sick. It was an accident, but still.
The Mormon Section: Dating Edition
Our fifth Sunday lesson was given by a member of the stake presidency and his wife, and it was about dating. Stuff like this only happens once in a while. The cliche of Mormon culture being obsessed with dating has, for the most part, not held true in my experience. I only hear the word brought up once every couple months or so, and then usually as a punchline, following the logic of "Dating sucks and everyone hates it so let's release the tension by laughing." This lesson was no exception. I came in late, but didn't miss anything, because they had just finished making a list of what men want in a woman, and I don't need to know that. Then they made a list of vice versa. And when it was finished they said, "See, the guys didn't put 'beautiful and thin' on their list and the girls didn't put 'has huge muscles' on theirs. Sometimes what people want isn't what we expect." I thought, Well, of course not. None of the guys said they like boobs either, but I wouldn't draw any conclusions from that.
They read some notes/questions that apparently they had solicited from people at some point, and it's just as well that I missed whatever that point was because mine would have included words unsuitable for Sunday school. From the guys they read stuff like, "I've been on thirty first dates and no seconds. Girls just don't seem to like me." Everyone collectively said "Awww." I thought, There goes someone who is technically more successful than me, but still I pity him more because that's probably a few hundred dollars he'll never get back. From the girls they read stuff like, "Why has girls asking guys out become the norm?" I thought, Karma. They then erased the lists of desirable traits and started discussing creative date ideas, conveniently sidestepping the issue that had just been raised of what to do if no one likes you. And these ideas were decent. Happy Meals in a canoe do sound fun. But none of them sounded any more compelling than staying home alone, writing and listening to music, which is a lot less trouble.
Actually, from the moment I started asking girls out, it felt like reading someone else's script. It was written without my input or consent and I'm expected to follow it just because I was born. That's not even getting into how millennial Mormons have turned it into a train wreck. I told Debbie that there must be ways of getting married besides dating, because dating is a very recent invention. She said no, that dating is really just about getting to know someone. So as not to sound like an advocate for this sort of thing, I refrained from pointing out that getting to know someone before you marry them is also a very recent invention. She said she defines a date as "planned, paired off, and picked up", which as you may recall is quite similar to the definition Elder Oaks suggested except that "picked up" replaces "paid for". She obviously failed to realize that by this definition we were on our fifth date, and we'll be on like our twelfth tonight. Another time she remarked, "Other than the worry about being raped, dating is so much worse for guys." And she listed all the reasons why. And I smiled and felt so good to not be involved in it anymore.
Most people in the class agreed that going to a movie is a horrible idea for a date. I don't think going to a movie even counts as a date anymore. Some time ago I asked my friend Cece to go see "Freetown", which I watched once at a free premiere screening and twice for money so as to support the low-budget independent filmmakers in their righteous endeavor, with me. She said yes. Afterward we went to her boyfriend's apartment and he asked, "How was the movie?" and I had to be like "Well, I would be glad to tell you, because Cece wouldn't know, because it turns out that when she says 'noon' she actually means 'four'." Communication is very important in any relationship whether romantic or not. And that's all I have to say about this lesson, except that it was better and more entertaining than my cynical commentary would suggest, and the advice offered could probably actually help normal people. In conclusion, the presenters acknowledged that dating sucks but promised that it's all worth it when you get married. They should have said "if". Because it is an "if". And if you're one of the people who doesn't, it's not worth it at all.
Daft Punk feat. Strong Bad - Get Lucky to the Limit
I watched some Strong Bad emails today for the first time in years, trying to find the best ones to show Debbie, who has never seen them, so here is a beautiful mashup of him and Daft Punk. I downloaded this entire album.
Writing Dilemma #344
Scenario: Character A is in love with Character B because I wanted to have love in my story because love is lovely, but that isn’t a good enough reason. It needs to be real and natural. I realize this after watching "Romancing the Stone" and pondering how the romance between the protagonists seemed to spring out of nowhere just because it's what a heteronormative audience expects to happen.
Solution: Character C notices that Character A is in love with Character B and asks him why. Character A discusses some of Character B's traits that he finds attractive.
New Scenario: Character A praises Character B's sense of humor. However, since I am the author and write the dialogue for both characters, this is really me praising my own sense of humor, which is immodest and unbecoming.
Solution: Character C responds, "She [Character B] isn't nearly as funny as she thinks she is." For good measure, Character D chimes in, "Neither is Character A, so it’s all good."
Of course, Character B is oblivious to the whole situation, which is probably the most realistic part. They say to write what you know. It’s nothing spectacular, but I promise it's a better love story than "Attack of the Clones" (as also are many other things including but not limited to the "Twilight" saga, amoebic mitosis, and a broken carburetor).
Addendum to last week's comments on serio-comic writing: do you know why I write serio-comic stuff instead of serio-serio stuff? Simply put, because I start from the premise that neither humanity nor life itself deserve to be taken seriously. Humanity is a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, yet with stupidity and depravity as boundless as the universe. And of course life itself deserves to be mocked for everything it's done to me. I will deny it the satisfaction of seeing me crumble, at least permanently.
Case in point for the former proposition - I heard on the radio just a few days ago about a nine year old boy in Florida who wrote a love letter to a girl in his class, saying things like "I like your eyes because they sparkle like diamonds." That is so sweet! I was never that sweet when I was nine years old. A normal, non-sociopathic human being hearing this story should be like:
But nope, instead he's facing sexual harassment charges.
Sexual harassment charges.
For a $%&# nine year old.
For writing a $%&# love letter.
You can't make this stuff up. I heard about this on a classic hits station rather than a news station per se, so the lady reporting it made no attempt to pretend to be unbiased or hide her incredulity. She was like, "Can you say STU-PID? Cause that's what this is!" Stupid is a compliment for something like this. But in fairness, the stupid school administrators were probably just trying to prepare him for the stupidity of the stupid, stupid, stupid real world, where people will expect him to take initiative in this sort of thing while simultaneously waiting with baited breath to jump on his throat for doing something "wrong", as they have done here. Would it be harassment if the girl had written the note? Would it be harassment if she had reciprocated his feelings? Was he supposed to psychically know what she would think of it beforehand? American society has its head so far up its whatchamacallit that it would be able to see the cavity where its heart used to be, if it wasn't blind.
News from another country that also has its share of societal problems but is also quite dear to me. On August 21, Matthew Martinich of the LDS Church Growth blog reported, "I just received word that the Church has approved the organization of a second stake in India. The new stake will be organized from the Bangalore India District on November 15th. Missionaries report that the Rajahmundry India District has almost reached the minimum criteria to become a stake. With multiple stakes in the country, prospects appear more likely for the Church to announce a temple for India within the foreseeable future as the closest operating temple is located in Hong Kong."
After this had circulated on Facebook for a bit (you're welcome), the India Bangalore mission president commented, "Today I read several posts announcing that a new stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be created in Bangalore on Nov 15. Unfortunately, as well meaning as these posts are, they are premature. The leadership of the Church has not approved a new stake. There is NO announcement that it will happen on 15 Nov. These posts are based on assumptions. Please wait until there is an official announcement from Church leaders before posting the information. President David Berrett"
When this was brought to Martinich's attention in the blog comments, he said, "I obtained this information from two missionaries serving in the India Bangalore Mission. I will keep this post up for now. If it becomes clear that the stake has not been officially approved, then I will remove the post and explain the situation to our readers. I have had previous instances of mission presidents contacting me who have even denied that no [sic] new stake or district will be organized, yet one or two months later these units are in fact organized."
On November 15th, the Bengaluru India Stake was indeed organized from the Bangalore India District. How does that work, I wonder? A lucky prediction by the missionaries, or what?
I can hardly believe it’s been a year since my friend Cece invited me to go Black Friday shopping with her. That was my first time ever Black Friday shopping, and it lasted about eight hours, if I recall correctly, and I feel very nostalgic about it now that I realize it was so long ago - not in geological, let alone astronomical time, of course, but it seems like a long time to me and that’s all that matters. The first place we went was Hasting’s. Only in Utah can you walk into a secular book/movie/music/video game store and be treated to a dance remix of "Popcorn Popping" over the speaker system. I bought that CD ("Called to Dance!" by Reverence, if you’re curious) some time later and gifted it to my family when I went home recently. Somehow I persuaded my mother to let us listen to it on the way to church. "This seems just a little bit wrong," she mused, but she didn’t turn it off.
Back to Cece and me - after Hasting's we went to the mall. There I had the privilege of holding her purse while she tried on clothes, and that was a first too. I’d heard about that sort of thing but never gotten to experience it myself. She looked fabulous in everything she tried on, and wanted me to help her decide what to get, as if I knew anything about that sort of thing. We also went into a perfume and shampoo and lotion store that smelled really nice, and I tried some free samples but didn’t feel that they matched my aura. We mostly did girly stuff like that but toward the end I went to "Fun Unlimited" - the mall’s more expensive and less organized version of Hasting's, I suppose - where I got my first Miami Sound Machine and Queensrÿche and Beyoncé CDs. As she was looking through the racks with me she commented on one pop star (I don't even remember who it was), "Wow, she looks so perfect," and then pantomimed shooting her in the face. Cece has apparently never seen a mirror. She says weird stuff sometimes, like "Sorry my makeup looks horrible," and I'm just like, "Shut up. You don't know what you're talking about."
Unable to decide on Arby’s or Carl’s Jr. for lunch, we got curly fries at the former and burgers at the latter (or maybe the other way around, I don’t remember). I offered to cover it but she declined because "This isn’t a date or anything." It was good to have that clarified. But as we were eating, the conversation shifted very quickly from "So how have you been?" to "Life is really hard, isn’t it? But just think how good it will feel to stand before God someday and tell Him that you never killed yourself." Not even once? Later in the day she decided that I needed a new wardrobe, and bought me two T-shirts, a pair of jeans, a package of socks and a pair of sneakers. I told her she didn’t need to do that just because she was concerned about me killing myself, but she insisted because "What are friends for?" Obviously I need more friends like that.
Nothing that exciting happened this year on Black Friday, though, because she was out of town, and for a time I was concerned that nothing would happen for Thanksgiving either. The initial plan was to catch a ride with a friend to my grandparents’ house, and from there to my great-grandfather’s house. This time last year he was able to get out of the house and do his own stuff, but no more. Alas, the day before I was going to leave, he was taken to the hospital, and my grandparents had to go see him right then and there. I don't know what's going on but he is in his nineties and has already been preceded in death by his wife and two of his children, so whether he recovers or not it will be for the best. Personally I hope I never live to be that frail. My friend offered to let me just come to her house, and I considered it because she’s one of the few people in the world I wouldn’t feel awkward with during a three hour car ride and I had been looking forward to it, but her family didn’t know me and they would have to find a place for me to sleep so I opted out.
I would just go to the bishop’s home, as I had heard that it was open for this purpose. I knew the second counselor had made a similar offer but with the caveat that he was going to his mother-in-law’s home and her husband had died a few weeks ago, so I didn’t want to intrude on that. Alas, I had been misinformed and the bishop was going out of town, but he said that maybe the first counselor/my boss was having people over. And indeed he may have been planning on it, until his basement was flooded with eight inches of water by an idiot neighbor trying to make an ice rink. It was one of the nice basements, too, that actually has carpets and rooms full of stuff like any other part of the house. Goodbye books and magazines and records and VHS tapes and a bunch of other stuff. I remember opening a back issue of the Ensign at their house to an article called "A Note to the ‘Good Girls'" and realizing that I was friends with the author on Facebook. Anyway, the situation was crazy, but they went to his wife's brother/my co-worker's house and took me with them, and I ate a lot of delicious stuff and brought a book so I didn't have to make friends with a bunch of strangers, and it was great.
My "Walking on Icy Sidewalks in Logan" song. Seriously, it comes into my head every time.
Sesame Street - Walk Like a Penguin
While watching "A New Hope" with the neighbors last week, I started spouting off trivia. I don’t even know why, but it was definitely not an attempt to impress my ex-crush. People were impressed, though. I always knew that not having any friends in middle school would pay off someday. But I was being a know-it-all and annoying myself, so I mostly shut myself up, but when someone asked me what the monster chess game was called and I said it was called dejarik he said "Let’s play a new game - 'Stump Chris'." No, I’ll be humble! I thought. You don’t have to humble me! We were watching the Blu-Ray version which I hadn’t seen before, yet the hokey blaster and lightsaber effects, and the garbage mattes around some of the ships, and various other teensy gaffes, still had not been fixed or improved. But the infamous Greedo scene had undergone its third butchering, I mean edit. Good thing George Lucas had his priorities straight. J. J. Abrams could make himself the most popular guy in the world just by changing it back.
But the enhanced visual quality may account for the fact that, despite having seen this film scores of times, I noticed for the first time a couple of black guys in Mos Eisley. The first black people in Star Wars. Of course, I already knew, as some of you do, that Billy Dee Williams wasn’t the first one anyway, nor was he even the first one with a speaking role. Oh no. That honor went to the lovely Diahann Carroll, and if you knew that then you already know why she probably hasn’t been too eager to claim her bragging rights. She appears in a scene of the impossibly bad "The Star Wars Holiday Special" (which everyone should watch as a tradition this time of year) where she sings a song to Chewbacca’s father, Itchy [sic], after having a brief... conversation with him. There are so many things I could say about it but I’m going to just let it speak for itself. I actually kind of like the song. They must have written it while sober and then drank gasoline while writing the scene to go around it.
The Mind Evaporator, including Diahann Carroll - This Minute
I'm slightly disappointed that the next one will be rated PG-13, because the Star Wars saga is supposed to have a broad appeal including families and almost all ages. I know Episode III was rated PG-13 but I don't think it should become a habit. Oh well. There's still plenty of hype left in me. This song would be perfect for it if "George Lucas" were changed to "J. J. Abrams" and "1998" [sic] to "2015". Then it wouldn’t rhyme, but rhyming isn’t everything.
Ultimate Fakebook - Far Far Away
I think from now on my default title whenever I can't think of one, such as in cases like this where I don't have a single overarching theme but am just cobbling together little tidbits of stuff, will be "Stuff". I can be creative at times but in this case the sheer effort no longer seems worth it. Of course, that might make people less likely to read the posts in question, but life is full of tradeoffs.
The first thing to announce, I suppose, even though Mormon readers will find it old news and non-Mormons may not find it particularly interesting, is that Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles died yesterday. It took me by surprise. It was only the day before that the Church announced his cancer was terminal, so I thought he had a few more months at least. He also acted more like a 72 year old than a 92 year old, and who knows how long he could have lived if he hadn't gotten cancer. But I think everyone would get cancer sooner or later if they lived long enough.
Unless my memory is very poor, which it is sometimes, the last time an Apostle died was nearly seven years ago. That was the same year the prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, died at the age of 97. That took weeks to sink in. Every time I thought about it I had to re-process it as if I was hearing the news for the first time. I've been fortunate in that no one particularly close to me in "real life" has ever died, but I know that won't last and I'm not looking forward to it. But anyway, I'm happy for Elder Perry having moved on to the next stage of the plan of salvation, and interested to see who will fill the vacancy he left.
I realized recently that after God has made the same promise four or five times, I should start believing it. How terrible is it that while my faith in God's existence is unshakable, my faith in His omniscience and total goodness wavers with some frequency. Sometimes I treat Him like just any other person who means well and tries to give good advice but doesn't know me like I know myself. Sometimes I feel like He enjoys watching me fail. In the case of this promise, that was definitely starting to seem like the most plausible explanation. But I've decided to start trusting Him more regardless of how hard it is, and see where that gets me. I know, I know, Captain Obvious stuff here. I'm a slow learner, okay?
Every once in a while, purely by accident, I have a modicum of success with a woman. A case in point happened a few days ago. I was walking home from work when a woman got out of her car and headed for her house, coming the opposite direction toward me. I glanced at her and then, because she appeared to be an African (probably Somalian) Muslim, which aren't exactly commonplace around here, I did a double take without even thinking. Our eyes met. She smiled. As we passed each other I thought, "Only one more thing is needed to complete this moment." So I looked back, meeting her eyes again, as she was at her door now and already looking back at me. I was like, "Bazinga!" Just in my head, of course. I can't do stuff like that on purpose. It doesn't work. So I just have to take these happy accidents, few and far between, when I can get them. I just cherish them for what they're worth and feel gratitude that I didn't ruin them by speaking.
If I want to communicate, I do it in writing, like I'm doing right now, though this isn't communicating so much as writing a journal type thing that anyone else is welcome to read if they happen to be that desperately bored. But I did make a new friend on Facebook the other day. There was a time when I had to worry about being kidnapped by strangers on the internet, and now strangers on the internet become closer friends than the people I know in person. This particular one is from Quebec, which is crazy because I grew up just south of there, and now I'm in Utah and she's in Alberta so she's still directly north of me, albeit farther away. I told her about how I love Canada and grew up watching Kids' CBC and the Red Green Show. And she was like, "I've never heard of the Red Green Show." And then apparently she Googled it and showed me the clip she had found, which I am including here because it's as good an excuse as any to share a Red Green Show clip.
Possum Lodge Word Game - "Love"
As I was thinking of more things to say later on, and it occurred to me, "Ah, she must be a Tintin fan."
I thought, "But she's Quebecois, not Belgian."
I retorted, "Doesn't matter. All French people are Tintin fans. Watch." I brought it up and, indeed, she loved Tintin and owned all the comic books and watched the old cartoon series whenever it aired on TV and was sad that there were no new adventures to read (because Hergé has been dead for over thirty years). So yes, she was a Tintin fan. Linguistic profiling for the win! Tintin is, inexplicably, less popular in the United States. If you're unfamiliar with him outside of the recent Steven Spielberg movie, decent though it was, then you owe it to yourself to check out the comic books. They're phenomenal.
I got into a debate with another friend recently about whether humans are animals. I say "debate" even though there really was nothing to debate. An animal is "a living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli." So, unless you don't eat food, you're an animal. I hope that doesn't bother you but I honestly don't see why it should.
Of course, one could get around this by creating their own circular logic definition that adds "except for humans". Other attempts to drive a wedge between humans and other animals tend to fail sooner or later. Humans are the only animals that use tools? Nope. Humans are the only animals that create art? Nope. Humans are the only animals that plan for the future? Nope. Humans are the only animals with self-awareness? Nope. Humans are the only animals that communicate with language? Not by a long shot. I suppose you could say humans are the only animals that inflict suffering and death on their own kind just for pleasure. That one might never be proven wrong.
Spiritually, of course, humans are different. We are children of God. And even physically we have the distinction of being made in His image. So there is a religious difference which is just as valid even though it's not scientifically quantifiable. But in terms of genetics, physiology, evolution and what have you, humans are far more alike with other animals than they are different. And that's not a bad thing. Last time I checked animals are pretty freaking awesome.
Ah yes, I did get the opportunity to pay forward my friend Cece's generosity (see last week's post) by housecleaning for another friend who has some kind of disease that prevents her from standing up for very long. I had never heard of it before but I believe her because she's had health problems before and she has enough prescription pills and powders and liquids to open a mini-pharmacy. She also has enough clothes and shoes to supply a small African nation. Well, not quite, but almost.
In conclusion, it's way too hot here today and I miss the overcast/rainy days that we've been blessed with for so long. Oh well.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.