Tuesday, April 29, 2008

unless you become like a child...

Board games are OK with me. I’m not compulsive about them or anything, but they’re always fun with others around. I have however, become a fan of Settler’s of Cataan, which we got as a gift last Christmas. And no, I am not a nerd.

My son loves to play board games. Unfortunately he is three. So basically, he likes to drag out some game, set it all up, sort of act like we’re playing for two minutes with totally altered rules, then he gets bored and wants another game.

I’ve always thought the worst game ever invented was Milton Bradley’s The Game of Life. Man, what kind of bullshit is that teaching kids? Apparently, the person with the most toys in the end DOES win. Who knew? Pftt. The only reason we even have this nonsense is because of our next-door neighbor Frieda Sanford’s daughter Jessie. She gave it to us when she moved away from home for the first of like seventeen times.

But my three-year old and I discovered a better way to play Life. Take all the cars and race them over the bridges, crash into each other and the buildings, make the blue and pink people go swimming in the lake, and so forth.

That’s the kind of Life I’m talking about...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

coming (partially) out of hiding

As mentioned dozens of times before, my real-life musician identity has made itself re-known. I am playing more and more gigs whenever possible. I am still slowly crawling out from my rock of obscurity and into the lime-light of sorts.

In addition to the standard artwalk gig and cameo appearances at open mic nights, I recently played two high profile performances. One was at a local music festival. Another was a fundraiser for a local chapter of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes. It was their annual waffle supper or something. This could have been the pinnacle Spinal Tap moment of my musical life. It was goofy, but it turned out OK.

Also, outside of the music sphere, I recently joined various online social mechanisms such as an alumni website for Houston-area high school graduates as well as the Facebook cult. I use to avoid these things like the plague. And that was due to my wanting to get away from the past and embrace the agent calling. Which was partially due to my not wanting or knowing how to explain my current existence to old acquaintances.

But I finally accepted and embraced this wandering through the desert era. I’m no longer afraid to announce “I have a college degree and I mow yards and use chainsaws for a living”.

My evil middle-class mind wants to get into wars with potential questioners of my life with things like, “Hey, you’re probably $50K in the hole just to maintain your fa├žade of a life. I may have less than $5K in assets, but at least they’re MINE”. Thankfully, I have repressed my middle-class inner child. I have drank him away into oblivion and he doesn’t exist anymore. As far as you know.

But on more than one occasion, a friend or two have asked me about my current day dealings in person. So I was upfront and honest with them, even sharing the part about the agent schtick since they knew of my past as a minister to the poor through a benevolent ministry.

And more than once, they give me that “disappointed parent” look. That “you could be doing better” look.

I hate that look.


*photo credit here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

bid for green contribution

Recently I was contacted by the proprietor of bid for green to contribute a blog post from a christian point of view, or specifically, the evang-e-droppings operation.

The post (complete with some grammatical errors) is found here.

And just a few short years ago, my motto was "just throw it in a land fill for crying out loud. We live in West Texas. What will it harm? A few rattle snakes?"

I'm still not willing to raise the "save the earth" flag as high as I'd like to promote dignified behavior and economic responsibility amongst the followers of Jesus. So it goes.

And if anything, how cool is it to share a front page with Tommy Shaw!?!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

some are of apollos & paul...I am of shane

I generally avoid politics on these reports. But I felt this American Public Media segment with Chuck Colson, Greg Boyd, and Shane Claiborne was worth my time. So maybe it's worth yours too? And possible discussion.

Over and out...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

symbiosis

Quality time with Obi-Wan was spent today. Nothing major or out of the ordinary. Just sitting in his living room, talking about random memories of his and gardening.

Out of nowhere he said, “I’m convinced the CEO sent you into my life at the right time to help me with things”.

I tried explaining to him that I see it the other way around. How the CEO put him in the life of my family and I right as we were getting kicked out of the church system, the ministry we worked with was failing, and we felt direction-less. We had just moved to the neighborhood and I was in much need of instruction in various home repair techniques, as well as various tools to borrow. Not to mention needing a friend, gardening instruction, all the food preparations I’ve learned, etc.

Mutual benefit. Nice.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

evang-e-droppings #014

...Yes...can you kiss my ass?

And unfortunately I can come up with about nine other smart ass responses to this new tract I found. But I'll let you, dear reader*, create your own should you choose to participate.

Need I any more evidence against the loveless evangelical tactics of tract passers?

As soon as I saw this tract I could predict where it was going. Yup. The Ten commandments. It's sad how quick they cut to the chase on the back of the card: "Now for the big question...How many of the Ten Commandments can you name?"

I'm seriously wondering how much longer I should continue this evang-e-droppings eradication operation. I mean, this can't be good for my spiritual health. Like the blog from the Lubbock group I finally quit reading, finding some of these tracts make me more and more smart-ass and cynical daily. Please help me out here, if you have any suggestions.

I should take up butterfly collecting or something.

*always a special nod in the direction of dear Uncle George.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

the squeaky wheel

Recently, I’ve been working for some old friends of mine in a construction/odd job kind of vein. They are a husband and wife duo that went to the church I was once employed at. They recently got the same treatment from the church (a back door booting) as the izzy group ministry received over five years ago. But that’s a different story.

I forgot how I’ve been away from the church and hunkering down with the locals for a while now. It’s amazing how I forgot what it’s like to be inundated with the christian subculture and their thinking. And I didn’t realize how much this silly blog meant to me. Like, I can say something I believe in without feeling as though I must debate, argue or arm wrestle anyone.

I hate debating. I’m not any good at it either.

During the lunch break the wife, who has always been outspoken, somehow got on the topic of the homosexual “agenda” by stating she’s boycotting McDonald’s because they recently gave money to some gay group.

I’m boycotting McDonald’s too. Their food sucks. Join my crusade.

She stated the homosexuals (whoever they are) are a small minority. That, I believe. But she stated they are getting their way in things because they scream the loudest. Thus, we christians need to be louder. Like maybe that would help god out or something.

That was only one of several topics I disagreed with. But it wasn’t worth fighting at her kitchen table.

The scary thing is that I can remember thinking like this. And I can remember following its logical actions on occasion.

This couple really is salt of the earth in many ways. They are very real, down to earth people for the most part.

There’s got to be a way to serve and love rather than scream louder.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

springtime randoms

The garden files 2008:

Both Obi-Wan’s and my gardens were planted this weekend. We’re both looking forward to some kind of harvest, whatever it looks like. After five years of dismal produce and varying procedures, I moved my garden to a different, more shady location in our backyard. This new location is modeled after Obi-Wan’s fruitful plot: shaded by a building from the western sun and shaded part of the day by pecan tree.

I still miss the garden wars of yesteryear, where The Tiger would produce a massive Eden with little effort compared to the dismal produce of my internet researched, white-boy, yuppie style garden featuring cut cardboard and mulch. Tiger’s running with a wild crowd in his free time these days thus his boyhood days of tinkering in the backyard are no more.

I also had a little extra cash to justify buying sod for my dirt patches. This is the last straw as I’ve tried everything else for the last five years. My battle against the dirt, dust, mud and muddy dog paws will be won.

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The Master Plan:

This plan, which has yet to be announced, seems to be taking its sweet time making itself known to the world. Yet I feel it coming right around the corner. I can almost smell it. This plan involves a work which I am finding myself enjoying more and more. It would hopefully feed my family and fight injustice simultaneously.

Admittedly, both fear of failure and inexperience taunt me. It’s a mind game really. I know I can do this. And Where I lack, I’ll learn.

But honestly, I probably need a mentor in this field. Maybe work with a mentor for a year or so before venturing on my own.

If the CEO opens that door, I’ll take it. I was really hoping to get out from Son & Dad Tree Service, Inc. by summer.

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Fix it:

Lately, Agent Wife and I have been able to do some things in our daily lives that had to be put off for years due to lack of money. Like buy the yard equipment, paint the kitchen, and buy a six pack of 1554 beer.

With more finances also comes more responsibility. Or more problems that need tending. Our car, The Millenium Falcon needs some kind of front axle work. And Jack and I plan to replace my sewer line real soon as it’s a time-bomb. So, there goes all extra finances. But hey, I ain’t griping. The money’s there I think.

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Delete it:

I finally deleted the blog from my reader by the evag-e-droppers from Lubbock. I think this was a healthy move. I was getting ready to blow up on them or something.
But what good would that do? They don't respect people who aren’t like them. Maybe I’m no different.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Melissa

Spring is here and people are out. I’ve been remodeling the back yard as I’ve moved our garden from a scorching sunny spot to a more shady (and hopefully fruitful) one.

Tonight Melissa and her mom were pulling the dead weeds out from in between our fences. This gave me and Agent Wife a rare opportunity to say hi and chat. Melissa is the single mom who lives next door and has only been mentioned vaguely on these pages once.

Despite what readers may think of these files, the truth is out: the agent b household does NOT have it all figured out when it comes to neighborly friendship and community and all that trendy emergent stuff.

We have been next-door neighbors to Melissa, her pre-teen daughter, and her entourage of come-n-go family (both parents, a sister, brother, in-laws, nieces and nephews) for five years. But we hardly know her.

My excuses for not getting to know Melissa:

1) When we moved here, she was married. But six months later they went through what I suppose was a divorce (he ain’t living there no more). Several neighbors and I witnessed some of their fighting in the yard. Whenever I talk to Melissa she always acts timid or threatened by me, like maybe I have a great home life and she doesn’t. So I figure that’s a good excuse to leave her alone.

2) She works a lot. She’s probably the only one on the block with a real job. Plus, her kid gets signed up for every little league sport there is. So they’re hardly ever home.

3) She always has tons of family over. So, I know she’s not lonely.

4) She doesn’t come out much.

5) And oh yeah…once about two years ago my whole household was awaken by her loud nite-club juke box in her living room. She was having a big party. I slept through it for an hour, but when I woke, I was pissed. It was 2am and I went over with my flannel pants on and did my best COPS imitation as I beat the hell out of her front door with the side of my fist. She opened up stark raving drunk. “WHO the fuck are YOU?”, she yelled. “It’s me, B, from next door. Can you turn it down?” She immediately felt embarrassed and has acted ashamed around me ever since, even when I give her a friendly wave every day.

I have really prayed for a door to open between her household and mine. It’s silly that we live 15 feet apart from each other and can only give shallow greetings on occasion.

CEO - meet Melissa’s needs and allow a friendship to develop between our households.