Saturday, November 12, 2011


Assuming everyone is like me, it takes a long time to process bad things. Something that is unprecedentedly bad in your experience can bring your mind to a screeching halt.

When something bad happens, it's like getting a relative amount of garbage dumped on your mental landscape. Just like in real life, this garbage needs to be sorted: waste in one pile, glass in another, paper in another, and plastic in another. We need to be able to make complete sense out of it before we can move away from it and feel satisfied. The amount of time spent hindering a brain depends on what the bad thing is and whom it is happening to. Suffice it to say, the more unbelievable and unthinkable the incident is to you, the bigger the waste will be.

Someone's laziness at work makes you stay late = a wastepaper basket dumped on your brain.
Someone hits your car in the parking lot and runs away = a trash can emptied on your daydream.
Girlfriend cheats on you = dump truck unloading while you're trying to articulate your master's thesis.

You get the idea. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, real life problems trump your attempts at synthesis. The more we are exposed to human crappiness, the more quickly we can process and believe what has happened, and the more quickly we can move on. We should all be pros at this by our mid-twenties. However, every once in a while, the perfect circumstances line up and we get hit with something so unusual, so inconceivable that all extraneous thinking is suspended indefinitely until a fundamental understanding is achieved. A landfill gets torn open and you're now swimming in its contents.

Your brain is a tough customer; it knows when things aren't right and it keeps pushing you until you fix it. Fortunately, your brain also understands your limits and knows when to give you a break... but it NEVER gives up on a project until it's finished. Being faced with a virtual mountain of garbage, your brain won't let your thoughts go in any other direction until you have your piles started. "This is where the waste goes, I'll pile it here. This is where the plastic goes..." etc. Once you've put a small dent in the mountain, your brain can start picking away at it subconsciously, although it will require your full attention from time to time. The bigger the mystery surrounding the garbage, the longer it will take you and your brain to sort it into piles. This means more time devoted away from your productive and recreational thinking and onto the giant pile of garbage.

As you may have guessed, I am constructing somewhat of an allegory about specific experiences that I have had that I assume are universal. I can remember when it happened. I attempted to start a textbook to take my mind off of what was happening. I would get about 2/3 down the first page before I would realize that I had no idea what I had read. 15 or so failed attempts at the first page and I decided to give in and think about what was going on. Over time, the more I pieced together about the situation, the more I could focus on other things. The less work there was to do on the pile of garbage the more time my brain would allow me to spend as I pleased.

Here I am now, over 6 months past the initial incident, and I believe I have an understanding of the situation that I can accept. The problem is, the lack of dialogue has forced me to make assumptions, ones that I have accepted as truth. While thinking about these gaps in information that I have had no choice but to fill with guesses, I realized that when I am picking away at the garbage and sorting it, what I am really doing is figuring out the other half of the conversation. If the source of the infliction doesn't speak, then they force the other party to figure out what they have to say. What could be accomplished in hours through dialogue is drawn out for months, or longer, with needless guessing.

Of course, refusal of dialog generally goes hand in hand with shame and guilt. Pride and cowardice usually can be found to be driving harmful inaction. Indifference is often projected to mask the deficiencies in character.

I suppose this is the plight of the strong; they sort the waste of the weak.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My (Actual) Best Buy Resignation Letter


Dear Best Buy,
It is with a heart full of regret that I must inform you that as of today, January 9th in the year of our Lord 2010, I must tender my two-week notice of resignation. Though my time with this corporation was brief, I know I will always reflect upon my time here with fondness and childlike glee. I have had many part-time jobs in my life, but my time in the Best Buy Magnolia Home Theatre Department stands out as the clear superior. The training and support that I received from both the management and sales staff was ideal in a world debased by indifference and mediocrity. Bravo. The knowledge I obtained was relevant to both my insuring of customer satisfaction and my own personal awareness of the technological infrastructure surrounding us, and for this I am eternally grateful. Though I know my passing will be difficult, I am confident that Best Buy Store 1152, as well as its regional sister stores, will have the ability to press on and maintain its unparalleled level of excellence. Fare thee well, Best BuyCheektowaga. I will never forget you.

God Bless,

Timothy Lipps

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Blue and Gray Sonnet

The anxious brick my shoe can hardly calm,
Below unworthy shore, buried itself.
My running ceases in that shade of palm
And cedes my soul upon this ocean's wealth.
The surface merely hints at what's below.
With whitest caps that wink deepest intent
Backed up with brilliant colored schools in rows.
The tide, around my ankles, fills my dents.
With endless life and depth and mystery,
Who could have seen the ship that ran aground
Whose oil now coldly spreads and chokes the sea?
Black waves approach, discarding death they've found.
A vessel, all this life and fear, contains:
The rolling waves of gray which form your brain.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Short Korean War Fiction

I'm working on a short (fictional) story based on my Pap-pap's experience in the Korean War. He never spoke much about it but had lingering issues from it all the way up until his death. The story is an accumulation of what we know about him, the servicemen he was with, and general knowledge of the war. I hope to have it finished by Veteran's Day, but here is the opening passage:

"Super Bowl Sunday, an American past time, generally has not been privy to my cloistered terror. But this year the shocked faces of my family are frozen indefinitely in this torturous moment, filling the operating theater that surrounds my living room, comprised of an old sectional sofa and three lazy-boys. Their seats and nachos became an elevated horseshoe, surrounding me at my most vulnerable, unconscious state. My kin peers hopelessly beyond the sterile guardrail at a procedure that they do not understand, only having prayers that their father, their grandfather, can be fixed.

It all happened so quickly that I cannot recall the action. It’s as though the first and last frames of a movie had been taped together; all of the other superfluous frames had been cut out and discarded. There remained only a still shot of me- sitting in my recliner, left hand clutched around the front of the armrest, finger tips drilling for peace through the leather exterior, denting and cracking the wood below- then a terminating shot of me on my feet, still lurching, chest heaving from the follow through. With the remote control, I had thrown up my own hail-Mary– a cry of despiration, in a corner, clawing for escape– but Mary did not heed. The device lay stiff, terrified and in shock, enveloped by the shattered shell of the television’s tube. There was no pretending anymore. The unspoken truth they had sensed their whole lives– the truth– had manifest itself onto that unsuspecting, fated remote that now screamed with its shivering silence inside of its sharded sacrifice; its martyrdom to expose my midnight tenor. The intangible wedge that had adhered to my chest that I had always prayed would die with its host had now been given a face; a circle of serrated glass that once displayed armadas of mosaicked colors intended as a diversion, now a weeping invalid, a forceful reminder of the realities it once distracted from. It isn't long after something is given a face that it is given a voice. After a voice, immortality.

This room, full of my blood, could now see the evidence, so un-ignorable. I had not yet turned to meet their eyes, but I could feel the stillness of the air resulting from their held breath. They were waiting for my commands, my confessions. Or perhaps, in spite of my disillusioned hope for a pyrrhic catharsis- they were deciding whose house was closest so they could return to the game in the timeliest manner."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Dreams Judge Me

This morning, I was dreaming that someone got injured while we were playing hockey. I volunteered to call 911. As I was dialing in my dream, I awoke in the real world, phone grasped in my hand and being drawn to my ear. It took a few moments, but I realized that I did not actually need to call for emergency services. I replaced the phone under my pillow and proceeded to doze back to sleep. As I fell from consciousness, I found everyone from the hockey game still circled around the injured player. They were very upset that I had not yet called for an ambulance...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Gravity of Your Situation

Gravity isn't real. It's the weight of my own doubt that pulls my pants to the ground. Science gave me a belt and some options: suspenders, elastic waist bands, buttons and zippers. I'm not interested. Why depend on band-aids for a symptom when you can use your will to fix the cause? Why turn to science for what can be answered in the soul? The Kingdom of God is within me and angels don't even wear pants.

We can beat this thing, God and I. Holiness starts with my shame being covered, so why would God design a force to pull my pants off? I simply don't believe it.

You can throw as many apples in the air as you want, Mr. Newton. I don't trust fruit either. That's what started this whole clothing thing in the first place. Humanity's fall began with some fruit on a tree. Fruit's fall began with some human under a tree. It's no coincidence; you've all been duped! You can bet that snake was hanging out at both trees, insidiously flinging apples and half-truths.

Hath God said?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pictures Aren't Enough

As I witness the annual uploading and tagging of photos from Senior High Camp at Dunkirk, I realized that it has been a while since there has been a photo of my wife and me tagged on Facebook. I looked back, and the most recent photo (in real time, not most recently uploaded) is this one:
Christmas Eve, 2009. Taken by my brother-in-law, Josh, on his iPhone. Shortly after this was taken was the first seizure. You know the rest- well, maybe not the specifics.

Since then, there have been no occasions for photos. No sunsets, no dinners, no travels, no picnics. No photos. Right after the first surgery, I remember her begging me 'Please, no photos. I don't want to remember this.' Since this has all become our normalcy, she has me take photos- photos like this:
This is to either document what she's been through, or to prove that she is still alive.

These past few days have been some of the worst since before her second surgery. She will have an MRI in the morning in hopes of discovering the cause. We're pretty confident it's medicinal, but now, anytime a doctor orders an MRI, it is terrifying.

Here's to a future where photos are appropriate. Here's one of the songs that I wrote and recorded for our engagement. I still mean every word:

Pictures Aren't Enough by Tlipps

I walk on reef after the coals
A fireplace waits to dry my soles
I smash the bricks when I lay them down
There is rest in your hands, in your sound

The saddest days are days I'm undefined
Next to me you keep those days behind
I hate myself in pictures before you
I hope there are no pictures after you

I wear this mask to look like them
But you don't want anymore than I am
There was a wall, there was a mess
There was a change- and now, my best

Pictures cannot hold the life you bring
Photos can't breath

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Serendipitous Juxtaposition

It's amazing how something, by chance, can cross your path and say so simply and succinctly something that you've been laboring to articulate.

The book "Blink" talks about an "intuitive repulsion" that occurs in our subconscious when we see something that isn't quite right way before we can figure out what isn't right about it. Though I am a technology utilizer and connoisseur, I feel an "intuitive repulsion" when considering the presence of, and reliance on technology in our society. (I'm sure this is a major factor as to why I love OK Computer as much as I do; it contains subtle yet obvious undertones implying Thom York's similar feelings.)

I do not consider myself a Deist or a Transcendentalist, but I DO believe that evidence of God exists in nature. There are patterns and order- even in what appears to be chaos. There is nothing "random" except (arguably) the circumstances created by the free will of humans.

I write songs and poems and journal entries, trying to find words that will resonate with the significance of the correlation between the previous two ideas (unsuccessfully.) Then, today, a photo emerges on gizmodo:

This is a real night sky in Perth, Australia. A serendipitous juxtaposition. (Some photo details unclear due to Blogger's compression.) Clear skies aligned with a storm. A man made light show competing with God's. The most significant part of this photo: man's show is winning. Not one head is turned to acknowledge the lightning. The artificial bursts of color that, more or less, agree with their backdrop are trumping the sharp contrast of pure white against grayish-dark-blue uncertainty.

I realize that, in reality, this captured instance of lightning may have been the very first of the storm; the crowd may not yet have had time to react to it. However, this isolated moment says everything I've ever wanted to say about my "intuitive repulsion" about our silicon culture.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


From birth until seven years ago, I was weak and I knew it. I was complacent and soft, silent and unsure. I was 20 years old and I knew I was headed for obscurity. I saw people that I wished I could be like and I expressed my frustration to a college professor. The advice this professor gave to me has resonated: "Strength and success are just one wise decision at a time."

I was once so sensitive and had no resilience; I thought I had no value. I once ignored my problems, believing that I deserved them and I could not affect change. Seven years of one. wise. decision. at. a. time. I have proven myself wrong.

I once had anxiety about speaking and being wrong, but that WAS my weakness. The fear of being wrong or not knowing- the fear of looking foolish and asking questions caused me to run from what I couldn't control. I stayed with very little.

In the past seven years, I met a woman whose strength inspired me. Her relentless pursuit for life and love encouraged me. She was an endless river of brilliance and goodness with whom I could achieve anything, so long as she was with me.

18 months into our marriage and 16 months into her life altering illness, I know that her condition and her treatments are not my fault- but they are my responsibility. Watching this unfold is sad- but it is an honor, and my PLEASURE to become who she needs and treat her as she deserves.

After these past seven years and my experiences with my wife, I can give one word of additional advice to someone who is as frustrated as I once was: Choose dialogue; everything else is running away.

Dialogue is often uncomfortable and sometimes entrenching or even polarizing, but change and healing are impossible without it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Understand. Create.

Look at this Rubik's Cube. What do you see? What do you remember?

I spent most of my time in public school asking "why am I learning this?" It haunted me, so I always asked. There were a lot of improvised answers from teachers, usually having to do with unlikely scenarios where I held a very specific occupation. Kids can sense insincerity, so my enthusiasm was nil.

No one could tell me why I should care. Sure, they would paint a picture of how difficult my life would be when I was unable to obtain a steady job, but why was one thing connected to the other? Why would I be expected to know the cause of the Civil War as an accountant? What significance have sine, cosine and tangent to a salesman? At any rate, I had no idea what I even wanted to do, so it was even harder to find relevance in 'general studies.'

Now, as I have broken past the genesis of becoming an English teacher, the future student I fear most is myself. What do I tell my young self when asked the significance of English? What is my advocacy statement? Am I a salesman pushing a product? Am I using sine over cosine?? Am I tricking them into justifying my job??? Of course not. As an adult, I know the significance of being able to communicate ideas through writing. I know the importance of being able to gather the ideas of others through reading. At least, I do now.

As I did with you at the beginning, I would grab a distinguished object. maybe a Rubik's Cube, maybe a coffee mug; it's irrelevant, really. I would say "what is this?" I would probe on: "what does it remind you of? Have you seen this before? Where? Who was there? What was happening? Does the movement remind you of anything? What about the texture? Is it like the texture of something else?" Of course, there are no wrong answers. Nor are there right answers. Just answers. Just ideas.

English is so important because ideas must be shared.

Now, I can help out my teacher cohorts. Why are these ideas so important and where do they come from? You must know ideas so you can understand the world you live in, how it exists and why it exists they way it does. These ideas come from information. Information comes from your history teacher, your science teacher, your math teacher, your independent reading, etc. You must also know that all knowledge is connected. I will show you how language IS history. Music IS science. Gym class IS math.

Now that you have the information, do you agree? Your understanding must now become creation. Create structures- physical and cognitive. This is the only way to hand someone your ideas.

I am a human. I understand. I have created. This is who I am.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Sketch of My Return to Our House

Say (All I Need) by Tlipps

Cold and dark, this house is on life support. Just days earlier, we, with a small group of loved ones, left it ablaze with the fruits of our progress: the anthems of strong voices, the security of mended bridges, the comfort of a dinner table. Our photo album is a song book; a repertoire of blended frequencies, unique to the times we spent and where we spent them. We flipped the pages deep into the night- until the cars had to be moved off of the street. With increasing worry, they left the two of us to prepare for the next morning. The warmth they had collaborated on lingered like the water from a quickly recessing wave finishing its life on the shore. Soon it will vanish, leaving our ankles sunken even deeper in the sand.

You slept on a your hair, just one year in length. I forced myself to stay up, knowing I would never be able to wake up at 4:30am. The room buzzed all night. All night felt like one sip of coffee, but was no where near as bitter. All night, I had witnessed a life worth living- vindication for anguish and helplessness endured. Overcome by exhaustion, my thoughts were a swirl of colors and gratefulness. Being compounded by its own gravity, the vortex pulled every element in to one point, one conclusion: peace.

The time between waking you and the hospital is an abyss. It seems as though you simply morphed from the sweet, glowing lips of morning to the sterile hospital gown and tears of unstoppable terror on the pre-op bed.

That was six days ago. Now, I walk into our living room, in the greyness of dusk. The floorboards creek and ache with arthritis. Like cold hands grabbing colder metal, my eyes look upon the aftermath of our last night at home; the end of one recovery. With the heat turned down and the lights kept off, it houses tarnished guitar strings, evidence of breakfasts, and blankets longing to insulate. We live here. We live HERE.

It will be a while before a day is planned around these rooms. But we live here.

Ghosts taunt my swimming head while I stand here but these ghosts will become our goal. I have faith that these memories will be the tape stretched across a track, bringing glory and joy as we march towards them. They will not be the matador's cape.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I've inadvertently abandon my blog as of late while trying my hand at short fiction. Today is an epitomical blog day.

Time feels like a painting. From one angle, it gives the illusion of great depth. I've become engrossed in its detail, transcended by its expansive terrain- not ending, but disappearing at the horizon. It is sustaining. It is eternal. Turn the painting on its side and it is thin canvas or thinner paper. Finite, fragile, purposeless, chaotic. Invisible. This is the dichotomy of how time manifests for me in this season.

I am listening to music with legato phrases and atmospheric support. It helps me to feel like I'm enveloped in water. The oscillating current pushes me with its deliberate energy, the rough surface distorting the night sky; I cannot fix upon the north star. Every song stretches and suspends me in the deep freeze of aether. Every song implodes me into my densest form inside of its vacuum. When the song is over, it feels as though it lasted one blink of the eye. My lashes, like a venus flytrap, had closed around the music for nourishment, only to open in wait for the next drop of manna.

As the heaviness of the flu sets in after the first sneeze, worry is upon us. The unwelcome schema of recovery is awoken in my brain. I hate that I know just what to do. I hate that I know what to expect. I hate that there are variables. Will the let downs be as great this time, or will they take advantage of this chance at redemption? Will we be forced to humor ironic offenses that were delivered as attempts to encourage? Will we again have to coddle emotional deficiencies so they won't be scared away?

Around this time tomorrow, a surgeon will call me out of a waiting room. I trust that the news will be good... well, as good as it can be. As good as it can be means that I will walk into a sterile room and greet my wife- somewhere between sedation and consciousness. She will not remember this time- by the grace of God, she will not remember this time. Half of her head wrapped in bandages- the other half, black and blue. One eye swollen shut, the other obscured by gauze. Machines that resemble the cockpit of a 1950's space ship- all attached to her. All beeping incessantly. All towering over us like skyscrapers in a foreign city- hiding us in shadows, mocking our helplessness.

I chose her in health. I keep her in sickness. I love her eternally.

Yesterday, I took in her brilliant face, I absorbed her witty insults, I held her petite frame. I don't ever need to be reminded of how amazing my wife is, but it is so wonderful to experience her. There's a reason stories end when the guy and the girl finally get together; everything after happily ever after is inconsequential. We are still and will always be as one flesh, but the happily will be interrupted. Though the interruption feels like carrying an enormous boulder on my back, up the side of a volcano in an attempt to clog its mouth to spare the village below.

I am currently still in an emotional limbo. I'm not so much in the mood for designing a conclusion.

Monday, February 21, 2011

the first. the last.

the apparition
of ever dimming hopes

the pins and needles
in a leg that's gone numb

the infinite space
that the universe vies to fill

the white noise
drowning out what i can't unhear

the rock
that i shatter on; the hands that let go

a path
like a funnel. we all stand in its mouth.
single file at its end.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Call Me! ...ishmeal

I'm currently researching the brief, but very significant friendship between Herman Melville and Nathanial Hawthorne. Though many authors throughout history have been friends or acquaintances with their contemporaries, this one was uniquely significant.

Their friendship was abnormally intimate (no, not like that) as Melville claimed that finally he had "found the soul mate for whom I have been yearning." This was for a number of reasons: their views on the nature of man, their love of the sea, and the fact that they had both lost their fathers at a young age are points of particular relevance.

Their friendship lasted a meager two years, but in that time, they collectively composed five of their most important works, including The Scarlet Letter and Moby Dick. There is very convincing evidence that these writings being accomplished at the same time as their friendship was NOT a coincidence.

To Melville and Hawthorne! Arguably the greatest bromance in all of literature.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


"Answers are framework. Good or bad, they show us where our feet will go and when. But bafflement- a free fall through clouds that are conspiring with fog- it is a chute that never opens."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"You Are SO DUMB, Spell-Check!"

The title is a quote from Jim Gaffigan, talking about how sometimes the spell/grammar check in MS Word doesn't understand what you're saying.

However, this is an exceptional occurrence. Especially with the spell-check, and especially with the most up to date version of Word.

Some people think it's cheap to rely on spelling and grammar check, but I passionately disagree. The best learning experiences are authentic learning experiences. This means the best way to learn about writing is to write and make mistakes. Spelling and grammar check provide real time feedback, allowing you to be aware of and make mental adjustments immediately AND in the context that you will be in the next time you need to call upon the knowledge.

The absence of red and green squiggles under your text is like a reward system. If you're subconsciously keeping tally of how many squiggles you need to go back and correct, then your "score" should improve every time you write.

"-type-type-type-type-type-type-[space]....... No squiggle on that one! All right!!!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Face Your Fears... I Guess?

I started an online master's course at Buff State yesterday. Our first task was to post on an "Introduce Yourself" message board. The first person to do so claimed that they "Were currently undeclared, but trying hard to be accepted into the Educational Technology program." She ended the same paragraph with "I'm nervous about this class because I've never taken an online course before. I feel lost. I don't blog, or do facebook, or do twitter, so this is all new to me."

Trying to get into the Educational TECHNOLOGY program. Yet, is terrified by an online course and does not participate in any of the modern technological norms.

Maybe I'm cynical. I don't want to take away from someone actively trying to better themselves in an area where they're lacking- isn't that what college is all about anyway? However, you'd think you'd want to pursue a major that would get you into a career that somehow aligns itself with your interests...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Flash in the Pan

I've been in the closet about this for a long time, but I cannot be silent any longer.

*I love indie Flash games*

Love them. LOVE them. I used to think it was really nerdy and embarrassing, but developing an affinity for any new medium or genre inherently carries some shame- simply because it is unfamiliar.

What are Flash games? "Flash" is an Adobe software application used for animation and interactive elements on websites. I will admit, my understanding of the program is very limited, but that's the gist of it. Flash games are video games that are built with Flash (usually), generally are played right in your web browser, and are much simpler in design than the big name 3D games that you buy at the store and play off of a CD.

Why do I love these games so much? Potential. The elements of these games are so straight forward that just a small group of people (2-5) or even a single person can develop one. For this reason, new games are constantly being created and they are emerging with a wide range of 'personalities'. Different types of games (puzzle, platform, point and click, etc), different kinds of artwork, different kinds of controls, unique music, and clever narratives. There is so much potential for new art to thrive. This is why it's exciting to me.

There is a lot of crap out there, but for every 10 cookie-cutter games, there is one game that is truly compelling. Yes, it is because games are fun, but it is so much more than that. Communities have started forming to support and encourage independent game developers. Kongregate and Adult Swim are two of the more successful of these communities. They draw fans to one place and offer monetary rewards and free exposure for talented developers. Some companies employ there own developers and periodically release games under their own brand, such as Nitrome.

The one game that started my obsession was the BRILLIANT game "Machinarium". I should have put the title in italics instead of quotes because it is a MAJOR work. The artwork is breathtaking, the puzzles are clever and challenging, the game play and animations are smooth, the narrative is unique and consuming, and the soundtrack is a sophisticated composition that adds miles of depth to the experience.

However, this game is an exception to many of the Flash game stigmas I mentioned earlier. It was developed by a slightly larger than normal team (7 developers), took a few years, and although the demo can be played free in your browser, the full game must be purchased and downloaded. I'll tell you though, it was quite possibly the best $10 I've ever spent on entertainment.

If I have a point, I guess it's that this game has inspired me and shown me the possibilities in developing Flash games. I've gotten into a little bit of Action Scripting (the Flash language) but my skills are very very limited. If anyone out there is or knows anyone interested in exploring this medium and has a knack for programming, lets put or brains together sometime.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fountain of Spoof

A video has surfaced of a lady face-planting into a mall fountain Micheal Scott style while texting. A different video has now been made public of this lady's appearance on ABC News, speaking about her intentions to proceed with legal actions. By the time I post this blog I'm sure this video will already have completed its viral tour. I'm sorry, I don't care. I have way too much to say about it. I can't embed the video I'm talking about, but if you are so inclined, it's HERE.

  1. Shame on ABC for giving her an outlet and possibly setting the stage for idiot martyrdom.
  2. She is embarrassed that the video leaked- YOU CANNOT EVEN TELL WHO IT IS. The video is so low quality, no one would have ever known who they were watching take a Chevy Chase into 8 inches of water.
  3. She was answering a vague text asking for her birth date and her husband's birth date = She was probably responding to a phishing scam. You should be thanking that fountain for protecting your identity.
  4. "I thought 'let me respond to this text quickly'. Quickly was, I was in the fountain." So- she's either saying she was just 4 or 5 strides away from the fountain when she took her phone out, or it took her half the length of the entire mall to type two dates into her phone. Classic lose-lose scenario.
  5. First thing she thought was "I'm hoping nobody saw me, so let me just walk away." However, NOW she's complaining that no one came to her aid...
  6. When the guy you spoke with in security told you "Be glad that nobody knows you" he probably meant "I'm envious of anyone who doesn't know you."
  7. "I admit, it was funny".... so shut up.
  8. "As you can see in the video, no one came to my aid." You mean the only person around who was a janitor 50 yards away with his back to you didn't run to your aid when he saw you running away from the scene of the crime? I guess I'd be pissed too.
  9. "It could have been anybody's mother, it could have been a senior citizen. Would they have gotten the same treatment as me?" You mean if they also didn't drown and immediately walked away? Probably.
  10. "Don't text and walk- especially to our younger generation." Thanks, but we've picked up on the nuances of texting and multi-tasking.
  11. "The fountain could have been empty... I could have walked into a bus, been hit by a car..." What?? What happens to you when the cameras AREN'T around? On second thought, good for you, ABC. We need to get this lady a reality show...

Poe-es Me

It's great to study American literature, but I don't know if there's ever been a worse time for me to read Edgar Allen Poe, especially "Ligeia".

Poe had a supernatural way with words. Beautiful. Dismantling. Real.

I've had enough 'real' for one year though- or ten.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Diode for Life

I was recently excited to find a website where I was able to buy hundreds of electrical components for around $10. I plan on building new and modifying old musical equipment. This is a hobby that I've picked up over the last year or so- almost to the point of obsession. I've read many books on understanding electrical current, reading schematics, and building devices. My head is filled with knowledge of polarity, resistors, solder, ground loops (and how to avoid them), electromagnetic fields, etc. I have burnt my fingers on soldering irons, cut my thumb stripping wires, and scraped my hands destroying an old xbox- harvesting its heat sinks.

Why the sudden obsession? Well the obvious reason is simply because its cool. But maybe there's more to my obsession. Maybe it's projection. Maybe I want so badly to be able to fix a different kind of circuitry- I am so helpless and lost- that I need to master a different kind of circuitry to save myself from being consumed by aching inertness.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Against These, There is No Law

So it's been a week since my last entry; I'm four (4) entries behind my vow. However, this is due to some awful news about my wife's health. I'll do a simple post about the nine (9) manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit and we'll call it even. Deal? Deal.

  • LOVE
  • JOY
(Gal 5:22-23)

There's really no surprises on this list. These are the characteristics that are expected to appear when the influence of God is on someone's life. It's important to understand what is implied in the scripture. You don't prove to God that you love him by acting this way. Instead, you become this way, on a pseudo-subconscious level, as a result of seeking God. It's the fruit of the Spirit, not the sowing of the Spirit. It is the product of your labor.

The opposite of this list is the "works of the flesh". It's a much longer list, so I won't waste your time here. You can read about it yourself, but basically it's the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit (with an emphasis on things that literally please your flesh).

I've spent a lot of time mulling over these things. Mostly because I feel like a walking paradox when I consider them. They are opposites. Logically, you should only be able to represent one or the other. And it's not even as simple as some days I embody the fruits of the Spirit and some days I work in the flesh; there are times when I'm simultaneously faithful and envious, meek and lascivious (not in action), or longsuffering and hating.

What conclusion can be made from this? I suppose being human implies imperfection. Perhaps this is just more evidence supporting the duality of man. The constant struggle between goodness and malice inside ourselves. Maybe what's more important to look at is the ratio between fruit of the Spirit and works of the flesh- making sure that the scale keeps tipping in the right direction.

French composer, Claude Debussy, once wrote asking why compositions must be long and focus on one emotion at a time when incidences of human emotion are often brief and encompass an argument of overlapping emotions...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cage, Coke, and Conceptualization

John Cage has a special place in my brain, resting between the music and philosophy sections, like the pointed oval of commonality on a venn diagram. He isn't the kind of composer that gets a lot of plays on my iPod- he's the kind of composer that can make you see your playlists differently. He first bent my conceptualization of 'music', but he has also seeped into the general philosophy governing my perspective of life.

He sounds kind of like a crazy old man in this clip, but what he is trying to say (about music) is that if there were no conventions to music, no memories of what exists, you would not judge the manifestations of new sounds in music. It's the 'newness' of music that excites him.

At 2:20, he talks about two seemingly identical coca-coal bottles being completely different because they are occupying different spaces, being effected by different stimuli, and being perceived from different angles. Give it a think. (ps- at 3:00 it turns into a French interview and a bunch of music you will hate, so you don't have to watch that far)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Surveying the Dig

This past year, I have forgiven more than I have gotten to thank. My support was sufficient, but my offenders were abundant. I am slow to anger and slow to wrath, but unfortunately, once I get there, I'm quick to speak. Not necessarily to those whom my criticisms are directed, but to those who could be negatively influenced; possibly, in this minutely circulated blog.

Regardless of the extremes of the offenses, I always seem able to forgive- at some point. The Bible tells us that (I'm paraphrasing) if we want God to forgive us, then we must first forgive those who have offended us, no matter what they have done to us. I'm going to forgo the discussion on the association 'forgive' has with 'forget' and 'reconcile'. I'm just talking about 'forgiving', which to me means unclenching the fist that has formed around my heart.

Today is the first time I realized why. The only way I can appreciate all that the Lord has gone through in forgiving me is to do so myself. It's quite a deep understatement to say that I have created some offenses myself. Most obviously to humanity, but secretly against God. But, God knows. And, God forgives.

This past year, I have forgiven more than I have gotten to thank. Perhaps this is God revealing to me a bit more about what he meant when he said that man was created in his own image.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

definitions (1)

Facebook status: (fsbk stts)

1. A customizable heading on the personal web pages of the social networking website, Facebook.

2. Mythological entity, believed to carry the power of granting instant vindication.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sick of Being Tired; Tired of Being Cyclic

Today marks the one year anniversary of my wife's first seizure. I haven't really spent any time thinking about it, but anniversaries have a way of resurfacing memories:

We had been married 2 months and 3 weeks. I had found something I wanted on Craigslist and the seller worked in the Finger Lakes area. Strangely, the seller turned out to be a sound engineering professor at FLCC and had been one of a handful of people who had reviewed my resume that I had submitted for a job a few months prior. He was going to be in the Rochester area, so we agreed to meet up at a gas station there.

Cherisse and I had not been out together in a while, so we decided to make an evening out of it. We would go together and after the transaction we would find someplace nearby to have dinner. She met me at my work when I got out and we rode there in my car.

The seller was extremely friendly; he had even discussed with me my resume, and offered me a tour of the FLCC campus. I remember having a great feeling at this point of the night- I had just bought an Orange 1x12 for cheap and was told 'I should definitely apply if I saw another opening' with body language that did all but wink at me.

There was a Cracker Barrel just around the corner from where we were, so Cherisse and I went there. We were standing in line to be seated when Cherisse excused herself to powder her nose.

That was the end of convention. The last time our lives would like yours.

I stood in line next to be seated. A grumpy old man behind me criticized me openly for not standing close enough to the hostess station. I was a gaping 4 feet away from it. I wanted to lash back at him, but my threshold for tolerance was much larger back then.

I was sat and looked over the menu as I waited for Cherisse. She eventually found the table, but was walking a noticeable amount slower than usual. She sat down and had a face that looked frightened. Her eyes were open wide- barely blinking. Her mouth was slightly held open like she was prepared to scream at any moment. She scanned the room with slow, fluid movements as though she was submerged in water.

"Are you ok?!" I asked. 15 seconds went by. She made eye contact with me, but no response. 20 seconds. 21 seconds. 22 seconds. 22 and one half... each tick of the the clock felt like a door being slammed in the distance- each time more slowly- each time deeper in pitch.

30 seconds brought on a laborious and weak "uhh, um. y---es".

More questions- more soft answers with 30 second delays. Eventually, we figured out she hadn't eaten much that day. Perhaps it's low blood sugar? I ordered for both of us- she could barely hold her fork. We drove home, but this was still going on. It had been well over an hour. We decided to go to [one of the many terrible hospitals in WNY]. After a few hours of waiting, we were finally seen by a nurse practitioner who told us Cherisse had mostly likely had a certain kind of migraine (really??). I want so badly for that to have been true.

Most of you know the rest of the story (in chronological order): more episodes like this, medicine, testing, brain tumor, more medicine, tonic colonic seizures, brain surgery, more medicine, "recovery", new seizures, more testing, more medicine, even newer seizures, good doctor moves, long string of incompetent doctors, yet more medicine, different testing, new medicine, more different seizures, finally another good doctor, even more testing.

I cannot divulge too much information, simply because we don't know much yet, but we are basically back to where we were a year ago. I love my wife so much. If she was going to go through this regardless of her situation, then I feel honored to have the privilege of being her support. I do hope, for her sake, that this NOT cyclical. I do hope this year brings some answers.

Once this is all taken care of, I'm going to take that guy up on his tour of the FLCC campus.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Edifice Sequence

15 minutes away from screwing up my challenge to write every day... That was a close one!

With limited time and a lack of forethought i will simply share a video. After writing my piece on edifying the other day, I was reminded of something from high school. I could only remember small details about it and it is fairly obscure so it took a great deal of googling to find. It's a very compelling animation called "The Edifice Sequence" and is one of many videos in a larger work called "Why Man Creates". I was very moved and inspired seeing this in 11th grade and I believe it still holds value in catalyzing the expansion of the mind. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Facebook photos are like rings on a tree stump; they are reverse chronological from the outside in and they can tell us a great deal about history. The visible bark on the tree is the present, as our first few FB photos are also generally the present. As we go backward from the outside in and study the rings on a tree, we can deduce events that happened to the tree, changes in climate, age, and other specific scientific data. As we go backward from the outside in and study the photos tagged to you on FB, we can deduce hair and clothing changes, friend changes, events, uh... climate...changes- and so on.

I'm sure we've all taken the time to surf back through our photos and think, "Woah, I can't believe that I..." or "Man, I really miss...". This is a wonderful thing! To so easily be able to do a character study on yourself! Never before has being self-aware been so achievable. We have the capability of conveniently evaluating our station and progress in life. We can be happy in how far we've come or we can realize how far we have to go (both good things).

Recently there has been a confusing ring formation on my stump. With no context, it would appear that my body has regressed from young adult form to toddler/infant (Mork and Mindy style). However, this ring merely represents the time period where my mother bought a scanner and uploaded pictures from over 20 years ago:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Edifice

In Christian circles we commonly hear the phrase 'to edify' or 'to be edified'. It is generally understood that this expression refers to gaining wisdom and knowledge of the things of God. To 'edify' literally means to physically build or construct, derived from 'edifice' which means 'building/structure'. However, most dictionaries include a definition that refers to its spiritual or moral connotations.

When edifying is mentioned in Christian circles, we are generally speaking about preaching or reading the Bible. These mediums are the source of our 'edification'- at least in respect to our knowledge and wisdom.
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" Romans 10:14

The metaphor is that every concept is a brick and our willing mind is the mortar. With every lesson we are building our mansion "
In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. " John 14:2

I submit the idea that knowledge and wisdom are not the only things we need use to edify our spiritual structure. Worship, sacrifice, prayer, and all other aspects of spiritual life can be 'built up' as you grow closer to God. Naturally, humans build up habits, experiences and opinions over time- as opposed to making a quick shift from one extreme to the other over night. Positive change is progressively inched towards- not jumped to.

There is another common expression in Christian circles: backsliding. Many people believe this to refer to completely rejecting what they once accepted as Godly and turning to its antithesis. I (along with most church elders) disagree. If 'edifying' is building up spirituality, then backsliding is the opposite. If you're slowly removing bricks from your edifice or if you simply stop spreading mortar- this is backsliding. You don't have to be back down to your foundation to be guilty of it (make no mistake- i'm talking to myself here).

God isn't so much concerned with the size of your edifice as he is with the status of your construction.

30 Minutes or Less

I need to write more. The reason I don't is that I have no sense of completion when writing. I start writing something at least twice a day, but never allow myself to get to that "I'm finished" stage. Most likely this is for two reasons: (1) A fear of judgment. If it's always a work in progress, then I have never submitted it for your scrutiny. (2) I am scatter brained. My thoughts are always all over the place so it's hard for me to focus on one thing and make a point. Well NO MORE! I am committing myself to writing one blog post per (business) day AND I must complete and submit it within 30 minutes from the first word typed (you can't measure this, so the honor system will have to suffice.) Starting now...