Category Archives: lessons

Cloverfield: more than just a monster movie


Finally got a chance to see Cloverfield. And against Amuirin‘s advice to not take Little Fawn (my 13 year old daughter) I did anyway.

I told Little Fawn I didn’t think I should take her because I thought it might be too scary. She convinced me that she wouldn’t have nightmares and that she’s seen movies that are scary when she was “much younger.”

“ugh, daddeeee… [slight pause] I saw Sleepy Hallow when I was 11 daddy,” she said with indignation in her voice. (so much younger right. : )

“And I’ve seen all three of the Lord of the Rings movies and there’s all kinds of scary stuff in them [pause]

“… and i saw them with you!”

: | blink… blink…

So we went. Continue reading

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philosophy from the stoners next door


A couple of houses down I have a neighbor who is for lack of a better label a stoner. The guy next to him is a stoner. And they have a buddy who is over every day.

Every single day.

And every single day they sit in the driveway or (when it’s too cold) in the garage with door open and drink beer and smoke dope.

They wax existential Continue reading

there goes the bride


I have a friend who is getting married. Married to someone she met four months ago. I’ve had a crush on said friend (maybe, crush is too light of a word… loved this friend of mine for three years.) Anyway, I’ve known, pretty much from the beginning, it would never evolve into anything more than a friendship because of our differing views on spirituality.

I never told her how I felt about her for fear of losing a friend but about two months ago I thought, “what the heck” and I sent her a text message one night that said, “Dare You To Move is on the radio. Reminds me of the concert we went to. Wish you had picked me.” I haven’t heard from her since.
So a few days ago I e-mailed her asking how the wedding plans were coming along, had she settled on a date, did she find a place yet and did she still want me to take the pictures.

Her lack of detail leads me to believe my services are no longer required that I am not invited and that perhaps I have lost a friend.

Yes the big day is coming soon, John and I are getting married Nov 30th and will be on our honeymoon the following week.

You and I have been friends for a long time. So when I got your text message a few weeks ago, it brought up some sad feelings. There was a time that I considered being more than friends with you. I wanted it actually. I wanted to be with you. But I denied the temptation because of my beliefs. The Bible specifically says not to be yoked with someone who is not a believer. So I prayed for you to accept and believe that Jesus is Lord and that He died for your sins. I hoped you would believe. I still do hope for that – even though it is too late for you and me.

Sometimes not saying anything for fear of losing someone is the dumbest thing you can do. It’s hard being a UU sometimes. It’s hard knowing others don’t view you as worthy. “I am human and I need to be loved.”

WARNING: self induced depression-type, pathetically needy, 80s angst, momma-didn’t-hug-me-enough, pre-emo, emo song coming up.

High school reunions and the Jena 6


A very good and long time friend of mine asked me to go to her high school reunion recently. She grew up in a small town and her class only had 93 graduates. Knowing that only a small percentage of the alumni would show up, the organizers invited the graduating classes from 1977 through 1987. There were about 15 to 20 students from each class along with their dates or spouses.

It was a great people watching venue. Not knowing any of her classmates my imagination was running wild as I saw people who were genuinely happy to see old classmates. On the other end of the spectrum, there were others who looked like feral cats… the circumstances of life having put them in survival mode over the years. They leaned against the wall in the shadows of the room just watching. It’s amazing what 20 years of living will do to us, right.

Something I noticed that really struck me though was the way the black alumni from this small town high school were treated during the reunion.

It was overwhelming to see their fellow white classmates who they hadn’t seen in 20 or 30 years embrace them throughout the evening. Genuine, strong, deep hugs… looking at each other eye to eye… smiling, laughing, reminiscing and then embracing again… men and women alike.
They danced… and sang… and held hands… and remembered more care free days.

I wonder what the 20 year reunion of the students at Jena High will be like.


The Jena High school song

photo by Brent Stirton, Getty Images

my best friend…



© jz, 1998

Several years ago i had a little dog. One of the best friends I’ve ever had. He was my running partner. He was a travel companion. He shared my fondness for good beer. And he was by my side during a very dark time in my life, just sitting next to me… no judgment, no encouragement, no pithy statements to get me through. Just sitting staring into the distance… silent.

But in his tenth year on this rock, he came down with something and he began to wither away. He couldn’t keep food down and he became weaker and weaker and took on the look of an emaciated captive. His little body became a cage keeping him confined to this world.

He was very weak and most days he couldn’t bring himself to really do anything but just lay curled up in himself on the ground. I resigned myself to the idea that I was continuing unnecessary suffering by not taking him to the vet so one Sunday decided I should release him from his cage.

It was so painful. It was so sorrowful to let him go I can’t even put into words.

I have a friend whose father is in a pretty bad way. It makes me wonder why we as a society can easily see the gift of releasing our four-legged companions when they are suffering but not for our family and friends.

Goodbyes are so painful… especially when you don’t want to say it. Especially when you want to stay together.

[Diest takes a sip of beer… pours a little in his buddy’s old dog dish and wipes a tear from his eye]

gifts from The Divine


I’ve recently become fascinated with short films and animated shorts. I think this one is brilliant. It’s sad… poignant yet at the same time the viewer can’t help but feel (well, at least this viewer to feel) happy for that little kiwi at the same time.

But what is it inside of us that tells us what to pursue. What is it inside of us that makes us truly believe, “this is what I was born to do.”

The Divine perhaps?

Romans Chpt 12
4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.

I remember from the the 1984 movie Amadeus, Salieri says, “All I wanted was to sing to God. He gave me that longing… and then made me mute. Why? Tell me that. If He didn’t want me to praise him with music, why implant the desire? Like a lust in my body! And then deny me the talent?

I can’t help but think that part of our purpose for being on this rock for however long we are is to give love and be loved, to help when we can and receive help when we need it, to learn humility and feel pride but also to exercise the gift we’ve been given.

Sometimes discerning what that gift is can be a challenge though.

Fly on kiwi! Fly on!

greed


This short film won an Oscar in 1989.

Very thought provoking… if you have seven and a half minutes to spare, watch this.

Unfortunately there are instances when we do things that are not our normal way of behaving or do or say things that if we were outside observers we would find abhorrent. I remember when Rita and Katrina hit down here in the southeast United States, the evacuation had people doing things that were quite out of the norm. Some doing things that showed a “kill or be killed” attitude. I guess I can kind of understand… for many that was a life threatening situation.

And I remember a couple of years ago when gas prices shot up and it didn’t look like it was gonna stop anytime soon, I saw a guy who bought twelve 10-gallon plastic gas cans. It seemed shitty. His attitude was shitty about it and it was a sort of Darwanistic, kill or be killed attitude he had about hording his gas. I guess his actions are somewhat understandable or justifiable. I mean I don’t know a thing about the other variables in his life that would make him think he needed to horde 120 gallons of gasoline. But being an outside observer, it was easy for me to view it on the surface as abhorrent or in this case… shitty.

But where do you draw the line? It seems we can always come up with mitigating variables that justify tossing our friends off the platform and hording the music box for ourselves.

Being a spirit being inside this human shell isn’t easy. The need this human-shaped vessel has to feed it’s hunger, thirst and ego is so strong, it often overpowers what the Spirit inside would have it do no matter how hard we try.

Eh… then again… some people are just greedy bastards.

when life gets in the way, Part 3


I have a dear friend who adopted me as a little brother shortly after we met. She has no family and is (except for a few very close friends) alone in this world . She’s beautiful and smart and intelligent and just an amazing person… she’s the big sister I never had.

She also has a natural maternal streak in her and as such is quite protective of me, too.

I told her about my new infatuation and she says, “jules, please be careful.”

She said it the way a parent tells their child when he’s messin’ with something and getting hurt is inevitable. And instead of taking the child out of the situation, the parent let’s a “you’ve got to learn on your own” lesson happen.

So instead of ordering me to keep away from this girl she just tells me “please be careful.”

She knows me. She knows it’s been so very long since I’ve had anyone in my life who I really loved and loved me back. Maybe that’s why she didn’t order me to stay away and instead just said “please be careful.”

She made dinner for me and some friends at her house one evening in December and my birthday is very close to the end of the year. While having some drinks afterward she snuggles up against me hugging me tight, laying her head on my shoulder and asks, “what do you want in the New Year, Julie. What do you want for your birthday.” (i hate to admit it but she calls me that sometimes… i like jules better. I think i could handle Julie better if it was said the way Rocky would say it. You know… “hey juLee” Hey Adrienne… Hey Paulee… Hey juLee.)

anyway…

I don’t know why I felt compelled to answer the way I did. Was it because I was close to turning 40, feeling nostalgic at the New Year approaching… or had just enough Fat Tire Amber in me that sis had bought for me? I don’t know.

So I answer her by saying, “I want to meet someone. I want to meet the right someone. That’s what i want in the new year.” Our other friends (all women) gave the obligatory “awww” and hugged me. Saying I’m too nice a guy. I’ll meet someone.

And so… here I am, mid way through the new year and I’ve met someone…. I think I may have met a right someone. I think I may have met a right someone who could possibly be THE one.

But…

But maybe I should have also told sis “I want to meet the right person at the right time.”

If you hadn’t read my previous posts on this, the quick run-down is: my latest infatuation is married but going through a divorce. They live in separate homes but interact with each other on a daily basis as if still married. She and I met about three weeks ago after having met three years earlier while working on a project together. Since meeting again, we’ve been working together on a rush project that involves her husband and a few other people. Because of that project we have talked on the phone just about every day and through our conversations have also grown very close.

So back to the “But…”

As the saying goes… all things come to an end. She just told me she can’t talk to or see me any longer. She is surprised at what strong feelings she has developed for me in such a short time but she and her husband are going to try and reconcile and it would be best if we didn’t communicate any longer.

I wish sis would have ordered me to keep away from her. I wish she would have said, “quit messin’ with that. You’re gonna get hurt.” [sigh] 😐