Monday, September 29, 2008

Ghandi Had Diarrhea

I don't know why, but I like to think about famous historical figures doing simple things like pooping, blowing their noses, tripping, farting, breaking bones, cussing, laughing uncontrollably, climbing trees, sneaking around, bullying people, getting bullied, fighting, giving ladies cheesy pick-up lines, finding zits, ripping their pants, telling white lies, getting diarrhea, sneezing 14 times in a row, complaining over little matters, losing important things, being late for meetings, eating dinner with in-laws they don't really enjoy, and the list could go on and on.

Just insert any famous historical figure into the above situations and laugh.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Overvaluation of Work

I have been reading a lot of books lately that discuss the topic of leisure. I have become deeply interested in this topic the past couple of months and I also have a lengthy "senior project" I need to complete, so the books are stacked up. Anyway, Josef Pieper, in his book called Leisure: The Basis of Culture has some interesting things to say:

"The inmost significance of the exaggerated value which is set upon hard work (emphasis is mine) appears to be this: man seems to mistrust everything that is effortless; he can only enjoy, with a good conscience, what he has acquired with toil and trouble; he refuses to have anything as a gift."

Just something to ponder.

Are we becoming a culture that overvalues work? Leisure, which has been cruelly twisted and manipulated into meaning laziness or "idleness," is not valued like many great thinkers of antiquity valued it. For leisure in Greek is skole, and in Latin scola, the English school. The very word for a place where we are educated has its origins in a word that means "leisure." School is leisure.

Leisure is a time for pure human contemplation, thought, and imagination. It is not to be a wasted time. It is different than "a break." A break is period between work used to encourage more productive work. It has a purpose, but is not leisure.

We have become so utilitarian as a society that if time is spent on something that produces "nothing" (using a utilitarian understanding of the word, nothing), that time is considered wasted in idleness. Many are adopting and subscribing to the idiom: "one does not work to live; one lives to work."Do we live to work? Is that the extent of our life? We live to work to buy things that will provide us with a false sense of leisure. It seems like people don't even have the time to enjoy the fruits of their superfluous, excessive, overvalued labor anyway. And they complain about it, too, which bugs me more than anything.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Operation Urinary Freedom

So, a few hours ago, I was just chilling on top of this hill in Idyllwild under a bush. I hiked a good hour and a half out from the highway. It was dead quiet. Of course, like an idiot, I didn't bring any water so I was tired. I rested my head on my backpack and kind of dozed off while looking at the sky and listening to the birds sing. When I woke up, I had to relieve myself, so I just stood up and unzipped the old shorts and started peeing right where I was standing on top of this hill. The last thing I thought to see up there was a group of people. I wasn't even near a trail. I just bushwhacked all the way up this hill (and almost killed myself Sunny Bono style because I was wearing Top-Siders, which are essentially land skis). Anyway, there I was, just peeing freely into the open air, thinking, "This is the life. I can just pee wherever I want. No problems. " I then heard some rustling and footsteps nearby and, in the middle of Operation Urinary Freedom, I looked up to the next highest hill and caught eyes with a group of about four other fellow hikers a stone's throw away. It was awkward to say the least. I was just standing there peeing directly toward them, quite proudly I might add, and these poor people were on higher ground just observing me like I was some rare beast in the wild. I don't know if they saw me sleeping in the bush before I got up to pee. Hopefully not. But they were all fully stopped, dead in their tracks, staring at me. I then quickly played it off like I didn't care and grabbed my pack and started walking back down this steep as heck hill. They turned right around and pretty much speed-walked back up their hill and out of my sight.

I wish I could hear their side of the story.

I was laughing about it all the way down the hill.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What if Every Breath Could Be That Good?

What if every breath could be as good as the breath you devour after being held, for what seems like an eternity, under the heavy pressure of the Pacific's arm? That precious moment when, after kicking and flailing beneath the turbulence and waves, you, a speck in the vastness, burst through the wet skin and violently suck in life. Spew out the carbonic waste and take in the sweet air that we so liberally take advantage of. Air, your momentary best friend, savior.

What if every breath could be that good?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rain Dance

The second it starts raining, I am going to drop everything I am doing, run outside, get completely drenched, and look up to the sky with a smile from ear to ear. I'm drying out.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just Like It Was Intended To Be

So, the government's pretty huge.

Go ObaMcCain 2008! Get fat. Make it fat. We'll help ya! America's trying to lose weight anyway.

Shock Values

I think this generation is losing the ability to be truly shocked.

What would or could genuinely shock you these days? 

Sure, there are things, but the list is certainly getting shorter, decade after short decade.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Four Humans. One Spider.

A spider under a plastic cup and four humans standing antsy around the cup discussing how the arachnid should be disposed of. 

I walked into the house late the other night, set my keys and wallet down, took my jacket off, and heard my sister, Krissy, eagerly call me from down the hall to "come here." I walked toward the bedroom.

"There is a huge spider in here! I swear it is a tarantula; Nicole thinks it is a brown recluse. I don't know, but it is so big!

My sister had enough guts to trap the spider under a cup, and that's where the spider's life was temporarily halted. There ended up being four of us in the bedroom looking stupidly at the spider through the translucent cup, trying to infer what type of spider it actually was. We then started looking at each other with half-smiles and big eyes to see who would cave in and actually eradicate spidy, and how. Krissy kept us in trepidation by giving testimonies about the spider's agility and swiftness and how it was "so fast." Whoever lifted the cup just had to know this pertinent information in order to be as pscyhed-out as possible before doing the deed. The longer we stared at the cup, the more the spider grew in power. Future events began to play out in all of our heads: "What if this, or what if that happened." 

Our imaginations took over. Spidy was winning by simply being. Four humans standing around a cup, hundreds and hundreds of times larger and heavier than the spider, vastly more intelligent, and yet we still feared its ability to escape and possibly continue living. We doubted our wits. We thought a spider would outwit us and win. 

I ran to the garage to look for something to smash spidy, and while I was frantically scanning and shifting boxes around, I got a hold of myself and told myself: "Are you serious? A spider? You need something bigger than a standard shoe to kill something an inch and a half long?"

I then grabbed my top-sider and, while I still had my momentary confidence, marched back to the bedroom, lifted the cup and swung hard. 

Spidy ran. 

I missed. 

The room got frantic.

Four humans. One spider. 

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Take a Couple of Minutes and Get to Know Your Neighbor.

Take a couple of minutes and get to know your neighbor.

This phrase could be announced in a church service, new class, or any other variety of community get-togethers where strangers are gathered. I have a dilemma, though. 

Two minutes, give or take, is a horrible amount of time to engage in a meeting and brief conversation. Both individuals are grossly limited to the two-minute slot allotted to them. Since there are only two minutes, one has to ask their temporary neighbor questions that do not require lengthy responses, but one must also consider asking enough questions so that the two-minute slot is not horribly awkward and patchy. So, oftentimes, we have a file in our brain full of generic questions or statements that we use with strangers we are obligated to "get to know" in a couple of minutes. We open up our mental filing cabinet and sift through our numerous stock questions until we fall upon an appropriate one. Generally, we judge the stranger we are about to meet and fire our stock questions out accordingly. I mean the questions I would ask a 70 year old man are vastly different than the questions I would ask a 14 year old boy. 

Here's my stock question/statement/observation list for the two minute meet and greet:

- Exchange names

- If possible, use the stranger's name to relate to somebody you know. My buddy's name is Josiah!

- Or, if they have an interesting name, you let them know that they have an interesting name. Names seem to play a crucial role in the two-minute conversation. They don't often require much response, but can eat up a lot of the two minutes if executed wisely. Josiah! Wow, that's a cool name!

- Location. Location. Location. Where do you live? Are you from around here? More great stock questions used if the name games didn't quite use up all of your time. 

- Weather. Everybody can relate to the current weather and their longing for change of it, or their current love of it. Man, it's hot in here. I sure am ready for fall to come around.

- Education and workplace. If the weather banter doesn't last, you might have to go into the education/workplace category. I just hate this category because it is always cut short by the head speaker who says, "Okay, let's take a seat now." You rarely get anywhere substantial with these. Again, the two-minute conversation fails.

- Family. If all of the above are being responded to in rapid succession, you might have to resort to family talk. I generally don't like to delve into family matters in the two-minute conversation because sometimes  that can lead to personal matters I don't feel I am ready to tackle after two minutes with somebody. But when you are stuck in an awkward pause, you might have to reach into your file and grab one of these. So, are your parents from around here? "My parents . . . well, are dead." Not cool during the two minuter.

-By this time, the two minutes should be up and you should be back in your seat listening to whatever is going on attentively. One can only hope.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why Don't They Put a Crosswalk Here?

I feel like I am on one side of the information highway. Yep. I am just standing here, a pedestrian waiting for my chance to cross to the other side. It's busy. Traffic is flowing. All I can see is the stream of information flowing as a single mass. Crossing seems impossible. It's easy to see this information. I mean it's right in front of me, presenting itself to me at an extraordinarily rapid and convenient rate. But it's hard to think for myself. It's hard to find mental stillness when I am standing on this side of the information highway. It's hard to think an original thought when I am stuck on this side of the information highway. It's easy to become an information slave. It's easy.

Okay, I am going to go out and learn something from the dirt.

About Me

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I am recent graduate just looking at the dirt, writing about it.