Wednesday, December 29, 2010

These Paperbacks, They Know Their Age...

Last night I stumbled upon a copy of Samuel Goodrich's

History of All Nations

A two-volume encyclopedia of the entire history of the entire world. And it was published in 1852.

I would have snatched those books up in a heartbeat if it weren't for the price. But that didn't stop me from snapping a few pictures of some of the best parts.

Obviously, my heritage was  paramount. And Mr. Goodrich, being a good Briton, did not disappoint:

"The Irish distill whiskey from a barley in their own cottages, where they elude the vigilance of  the local officers. What is thus illegally made is called potchen. This liquor was first known in Ireland by the name of usquebaugh (translates to: water or life). The use of it has been carried to great excess among the lower orders, who delight in all kinds of meetings which give them an opportunity of drinking together. To this propensity perhaps may be traced the custom of  waking the dead. Whenever a poor person dies, the neighbors assemble to drink, smoke, and lament the departure of the deceased. This is a very ancient custom, and is regarded so indispensable , that a laborer whose relative has died, and whose children are running about half naked, will spend a month's wages in whiskey and tobacco for the men and women who come to the wake, which is often continued for two or three days, and nights. The intemperance of the Irish has, however, been somewhat checked by the exertions of Father Matthew."

Of course, there is another famous Irish pastime:

"They are generally destitute of that sober and steady spirit of enterprise which distinguishes the English. The love of combat seems to be a general infirmary. The Irish do not fight single-handed, but in bands, and on a great scale. When an individual imagines himself insulted, he goes round to his companions, friends, and townsmen, and collects a multitude, who make a joint attack on the offending party. This is their practice also in America. The light frailties of the Irish are vanity, loquacity, a readiness to speak as well as to act without deliberation, and a hurry and confusion of ideas which so often lead them to that particular sort of blunder called a bull."

And of course, in all my jolliness, I had to find something that almost brought a tear to my eye due to its sadness:

Gaza - Lying on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, and at the southern extremity of Palestine, Gaza belonged to the Philistines, then to the Hebrews, then covered its liberties in the reigns of Jotham and [illegible], and was reconquered by Hezekiah. It was then subjected to the Chaldeans, who conquered Syria and Phonecia. They were masters of it when Alexander besieged, took, and destroyed it. Strabo says that "he rendered it a desert." He at least dismantled it. and another city, rose from its ruins, nearer to the sea.
It has since undergone many changes. The town stands three miles from the sea, and has an indefinite port. Its population is fifteen to sixteen thousand, and is engaged in part in the manufacture of cotton. Its position as a frontier town, the key of Palestine, serves its importance, and it is now the most populous of the cities of Palestine. A considerable number of Christians live here by themselves, in a particular part of the place. As Gaza stands on an eminence, it is considered picturesque by the number of fine minarets and spires, which rise majestically above the buildings."

Oh, the changes of 160 years...

Thursday, December 23, 2010


So if I dislike this with the entirety of both my religious and political selves, does that make me a bad Christian, or a bad American?

Oooh... I think it makes me gay, cause I'm definitely supposed to thoroughly enjoy this picture:

Ah yes, nothing says Christian Nation like a scantily clad, seductively posing, temptress. 

Here's a gem from the About Us section:

Also, the history of our country is being rewritten to exclude it’s Christian heritage, our leaders are distancing themselves from Christianity, stating that we are NOT a Christian nation but we ARE one of the largest Muslim population countries in the world!? This has all led to a hostile environment toward Christians making it increasingly difficult for Christians to live in America without prejudice and without being persecuted for our beliefs.  Our laws and government are ever increasingly becoming “Godless” as well.  This is all having an alarming affect on the direction of the country.  America is moving away from Christianity and toward communism, which is rooted in an atheist worldview/religion.

Fear. Fear all ye patriotic protestants. 

There is so much I want to say, but really, Steven Colbert just says it a lot better:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

State Street Study...

There was He.
Middle-aged, foreign, cultured and robust.
He sat on a rigid, unforgiving wooden street-side bench. It didn't look comfortable, but He didn't seem to mind.
He was focused, intense.
His fingers flashed and rattled across the brazen guitar strings.
It was obvious that He was an expert in the field of Spanish Guitar. He was playing so vividly that a large crowd of slack-jawed bystanders began to form.
His hands continued to strum, his melodies flowed, rose, and crashed, and His smile cracked.

There was She.
Young, haughty, glamorous and busy.
She walked on extreme, unnecessary heels. They didn't look comfortable, but it was in the name of "looking good".
She was preoccupied, elsewhere.
Her voice heightened over the obnoxious noise of some guy on a bench.
It was obvious that She was an expert in the field of Haute Couture.  She was talking into her phone so loudly that a large crowd of bystanders began to stare.
Her mouth continued to run, Her words meshed, strained, and shivered, and Her pace quickened.

And there was I.
Silent, intrigued, captivated, and fascinated. 
I sat on cold, harsh metal. It wasn't comfortable, but I couldn't pull my gaze away from the art in front of Me.
I was present, enraptured.
My interest piqued as I watched a potential exchange fizzle. 
It was obvious that I was an expert in the field of Passive Observance. I was watching as She obliviously hurried by absolute beauty that a large crowd of bystanders noticed.
My thoughts continued to wander, and I debated stopping Her or paying Him, instead my ears perked, and I just kept listening. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Homemade Lebanese Pizza...

Lebanese Pizza

1 piece Pita bread (rosemary works quite well)
5 Kalamata olives
5 slices cucumber
3 baby bella mushrooms
1 fresh onion
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 dash cili powder
1 dash black pepper
(Note: this hummus recipe makes a lot more than is necessary for this recipe. Also, picture shows two pizzas, but ingredients listed are for one. Simply double amounts for best results.) 

1. Using the link above, make homemade hummus (ingredients: 1 19 oz. can garbonzo beans,  3 tbs Tahini paste, 2 tbs olive oil, 4 tbs lemon juice, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp salt, dash of Cumin)
2. Spread hummus over pita bread
3. Spread olives and cucumbers over pita
4. Sprinkle  1/5 tsp of thyme on pita
5. Chop onion (only use about 1/10 of onion) and mushrooms
6. Sauté mushrooms and onions in olive oil for about 2 minutes (until mushrooms are brown)
7. Add dash of chili powder, dash of black pepper, and rest of thyme to mushroom/onion mix
8. Spread mix over pita
9. Munch

I realize that this dish is not distinctly Lebanese nor is it actually pizza. But here's the deal, this is what I made myself for lunch (making up the recipe as I went), and it was just too good not to write down. So, if you happen to try this, let me know what you think of it! I'll be scarfing these more and more often. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fahrenheit 451

-To Terry Jones and the Dove World Outreach Center

For the non-German-speaking population, it reads:
"Where they burns books, they will end up reading bodies"
The plaque rests at the edge of Babelplatz in Berlin, the site of the Nazi book-burning rallies.
The quote was originally spoken by Henrich Heine in 1820

Monday, August 9, 2010

Friends Should Never Discuss Politics or Religion...

So this is me discussing both:

I was honored to be asked by one of my best friends to write for his new blog. The project is meant to inform and open-the-eyes of the reader to push people to live smarter and fuller lives by understanding the world around them.

It took me a long time to figure out just what I wanted to put up, and then to write the actual article. That being said, I am really excited about the way it turned out, and I hope that it sends out the message that I was trying to portray.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Achtung, Baby...

Simply to say, 

The list on the left,

Constantly changing,

Is filled with friends,

Who incessantly inspire   

And endlessly educate,

So go and gather,

All their wonderful words.

Then, recognize radically,

Just how much others matter.

Friday, July 30, 2010

At the Crossroads of Heaven and Hell...

I listened as the words repeated in a haunting echo.

“Lay your body down. Lay your body down.”

Just as the chorus kicked in with a crescendo of volume, the screen saver jumped on.

And there they were. Little, rounded monuments.

The first photo to show up was a landscape shot of an English graveyard in Belgium.

The white gravestones were only offset by bright red roses.

Maybe my computer was trying to tell me something.

“Lay your body down. Lay your body down.”

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Absalom! Absalom!...

I was reading 2 Samuel today, in an attempt to actually be in the Word (huh... what a novel idea). 
And I was struck. We think about how beautiful and striking literature is, and how well humans can write. But honestly, everyone is inspired by something.

Even pure irony can be inspired. 

The son of David, no, not that Son of David, was named Absalom.

Absalom (or Avshalom) is Hebrew for "my father is Peace".

Absalom became enraged with his father and tried to overthrow the king of Israel in a violent coup.

Pure irony.

How completely inspiring.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Music Which is Almost a Religious Experience, Pastoral and Fervent...

Sometimes you think you've found beauty.

'I could stare at this piece forever.' 'I will never get sick of that band.' 'That will always be my favorite play.'

But aesthetics, like the tide, is an ever-changing constant. 

And sometimes, when the moon gives the ocean just the perfect extra, little gravitational shove, the ocean's essence becomes that much more unbelievable, that much more overwhelming, that much more beautiful.

So, just when you think you've found that beauty, something happens to redefine and reshape your definition of beauty. And like the moon to the ocean, it can be the most outlandish and opposite element added to that beauty that makes your heart smile. 

But then you think to yourself 'Of course a serious gravitational pull would enhance the velocity and force of the ocean's movements!' and what you are really thinking is 'Of course adding the eloquence and valor of the French language would enhance the poetry and gravitas of British music!'

Sometimes you really have found beauty:

Mumford & Sons - The Banjolin Song / Awake my soul - A Take Away Show #105 from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

All musical and genius, (c) La Blogotheque and Mumford & Sons.
All rambling musings, (c) Moi.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Art of the Kill

How do you kill a man?

No, how do you kill a near perfect man. A stand-up individual, whom everyone enjoys not because he is good at being social, but because he embodies good-ness. He's a shining beacon, a city on a hill. The lighthouse. So, respecting the forces of poetry and justice, how does this man need to die.

It has to be sudden. Unexpected. Goodness can't suffer. If goodness were to suffer, someone, somewhere, with just enough virtue in their sin-ridden heart would try to relieve that suffering and take his place. Someone would stop it. So it has to be quick and unforeseen.

Should it be a murder? Do you really allow one individual, one person to single handedly wipe righteousness from Earth? Despite the best attempts of the most evil men, no one person can carry that load. So a typical, not-so-uniquely-unrighteous could never kill virtue.

Besides, can mankind ultimately be responsible for destroying Good?

So then it has to be natural, something out of man's hands. Something, beyond human control. Beyond... human... natural. ? If it is nature that controls the destiny of goodness, who is controlling the natural? Ah. The supernatural.

No. God would not kill virtue.

An accident, then. Fortune can disrupt and de-rail any measure of integrity! Sometimes the breaks just don't go your way. But do you really want to cop-out? No one to blame but Fortune, no-one but bad luck? 

Isn't that just saying that Fate had it in for Virtue? Isn't that the same as saying nature...or God... would destroy goodness. 

No. It has to be human. We plucked the fruit. We're all Sons of Cain.

That's it! 

We're all Sons of Cain! For all have fallen short...We're all responsible.

We killed Virtue.

The Death of Virtue: Part V

His eyes throbbed from within their thin, dark lids. Lightening shot across from temple to nose. It had been one hell of a day.

Two new clients, getting chewed out by the overzealous and pompous boss, working on that obnoxious middle-aged man’s knee, and the ever-present-and-growing-load of paperwork. The interior of his car had never felt like such a haven.

He had basically marched out of work, forgetting - or maybe not forgetting - to say goodbye to his co-workers. The walk through the lobby and into the parking garage had become so typical he didn’t even remember taking the steps. All he wanted was that few-degrees-warmer-than-outside, two-shades-darker-inside, slightly-more-humid four-seat refuge.

He slumped down into the front seat, laid his head back on the headrest, closed his eyes and the front door at the same time, and stopped. That’s when he grabbed his eyelids and the electricity jumped from cranium to eyeball.

Somehow, he was completely uncomfortable and completely at peace at the same time.

But naturally, it was not meant to last more than a fleeting moment. His passenger seat began to rumble melodically as his cell phone rang its too-familiar New Message vibration. ‘Not now. Just don’t pick it up. Just let it be until you’re miles from here, back in your apartment, with your stomach full of food and beer, and midway through the soccer game’. But he couldn’t ignore it. Some innate force, something was simply taking over control of his right arm and causing him to reach across the center consol and underneath his coat. ‘Nope. Just drop it. Just let the phone go, and trade it for the car keys. Go ahead.’

His arm emerged from under the coat, and within his palm came that damn cell phone. ‘Fine’, his face showed his sour emotions to the empty car and rather vacant garage. He flipped the phone over in his hand and opened it up.

Message from Daniel


Call me soon as you can.

‘Daniel? I wonder what Danny wants.’ He pulled his left arm down from the window basin and shifted his weight forward. Hitting the Call Back button, he cleared his throat. The electronic ring from his phone echoed in his ear.

“Ah Mattie! Thanks for calling me back so fast, eh?”

“Sure thing, Danny. What’s going on? I haven’t heard from you in ages, cousin.” Matt knew something was just a little bit wrong.

“Well, it’s a bit strange, mate. Kind of a story. I walked into the coffeeshop about a half hour ago and this woman bumped into me. After I got my drink, I headed to leave when I saw this purse on one of the couches. “

“The shop huh? That teenager still ceaselessly almost-throwing-herself-at-you?”

“Uh.. What?” Daniel’s nervously planned storytelling stalled as Matt forced him to think “Yeah, Mattie, she’s still there”.

Matt noticed the harsh and complete stop in Daniel’s aura. Something had actually happened.
If your strife strikes at your sleep

Remember spring swaps snow for leaves...

Monday, June 14, 2010

And to Think, I didn't Like Steinbeck Before This...

I think the difference between a lie and a story is that a story utilizes the trappings and appearance of truth for the interest of the listener as well as of the teller. A story has in it neither gain nor loss. But a lie is a device for profit or escape. I suppose if that definition is strictly held to, then a writer of stories is a liar - if he is financially fortunate.

Maybe we all have in us a secret pond where evil and ugly things germinate and grow strong. But this culture is fenced, and the swimming brood climbs up only to fall back. Might it not be that in the dark pools of some men the evil grows strong enough to wriggle over the fence and swim free? Would not such a man be our monster, and are we not related to him in our hidden water? It would be absurd if we did not understand both angels and devils, since we invented them.

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for that is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one things that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost. 

-East of Eden-

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Change, A Refresh, and An Update...

Well... Things have certainly changed around here.

It was time.

I decided to do away with the barrenly simple, and replace it with a more complicated simple. The layout is relatively unchanged, but the site is a little more pleasing to the eye and definitely more compartmentalized, which was sorely needed.

Now... About these recent postings.

I've always adored writing. The passion for fiction and stories was buried as I grew up. I guess I was just too busy reading everybody else to remember to play to my passions. Writing in general flooded back into my life when I headed across the pond, and how welcome it was to simply let myself appear on a page again. Then, suddenly, and rather surprisingly, fiction entered life again too. I've done creative writing since middle school, and frankly, it's my favorite. It's too much fun.

Maybe I just like playing God and shaping characters in a world that I can manipulate. Maybe I am just a sucker for a good story. I like to think it's the latter.

So this story came bursting forth into my head, and onto three of four notebooks, my computer, and then eventually here. What's the point of putting it here? Feedback and edits.

I want help with this story.

It is a complicated mess of complicated characters with complicated pasts, futures, motivations, fears, and loves.

It needs all the guidance it can get, so I'd love your comments.

Right now, this story is simply characters. It's simply development. I'm trying to fall in love with these characters. So I'm exploring them and their reaction to an event. As for these updates, these are small and simply how each character hears of the event. There are still a few more to introduce, and then we'll go from there.

But until it progresses, I love your feedback and edits, and I'll leave with the seed that started it all...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Death of Virtue: Part IV

‘Well’ Daniel looked up at the ceiling in a symbolic gesture ‘You do work in mysterious ways, eh?’

John-Michael shot out of the oversized, underused black leather chair. He was breathing hard. Too hard. He had to rip air out of the atmosphere, just to get it into his lungs. He felt encased in a frigid sweat, with a pool near the small of his back. As his vision began to clear, and static was leaving his hearing, he remembered what woke him up.

It was just supposed to be a short nap. In fact, he wasn’t even intending to fall asleep. His apartment was dark. The wood floor echoed the dull and faded light. Combine that with the soft roar of the city beneath him, the warm tea within his arm’s length, and only mild interest in the magazine article, and he was destined to nod off. And nod off he did. John-Michael was fast asleep in that chair for nearly forty-five minutes.

That’s when he shot out of his slumber.

He was gasping and clutching at oxygen. His eyes darted around the room. “Where is that damn thing?” He was near panic, and had no idea why.

He got up out of the chair, every joint aching. Maybe that pain was from sleeping in a lounger, maybe it was the extreme amounts of adrenaline, endorphins, and testosterone squeezing through his bloodstream. He did nothing but stare at the floor, but in his head he was meticulously sifting through every object in the three-room apartment. 

‘The briefcase? No, I never put it in there. Pants?’ He threw his hands into his pockets. Nothing but car keys and loose change. ‘The counter?’ Finally, his body moved with the reality in his head. His dark-tile, bar-style countertop was barren, minus the typical pile of bills, junk mail, and old subscriptions. ‘Where the hell did I-‘

As he neared the apex of frustration, he actually recognized what his eyes were staring at. The jacket. His feet flew to the wrought-iron coat rack hung in the entryway. His dark, pinstriped jacket ruffled as he rifled through the two outside pockets. He let out an audible sigh of relief as he pulled his much-sought-after cell phone from the inside breast pocket of the coat.

Unknowingly, he hung the jacket back on the peg, and turned back towards the leather chair. His fingers were already swimming across the buttons on the phone. Before he had reached the chair, before he even took more than five steps, he had opened the address book, found her name, and selected send message. John-Michael spun around and sat on the stretched out leather leg-rest. The digital glow of his phone glared off his face. The blank message was staring him down. He shook with a chill, gazing at the plastic and glass. All it read was:

New Message
To: Annie S.

The blank message was too much. His fingers said so much by not being able to type at all. He was paralyzed with fear.

Finally, his thumb broke its silence. But instead of typing what he wanted to say, it rebelliously clicked the Call button. Her normally comforting picture flashed. He cheeks filled with blood, his head with even for fear than before, and his entire being screamed “NO!”

She picked up too fast for him to run.

“J-M?” The words bounced around his hollow apartment. He couldn’t hear the sorrow in them.

“Hi… Hi Annie. How… How are you?” He tried to hide the uncertainty in his voice. ‘Why did I call her? This is too much. This is so stupid. This is-‘ His mind was speaking so fast, and so strongly, but his mouth refused to listen.

“I’m alright. It’s… It’s been a long day J-M. What’s going on, why did you call?”

“Annie. I’m sorry to bother you. Everything’s fine I just… I… Well, this is going to sound weird but is everything OK? I just woke up from a nap with the feeling that something terrible happened to you. I don’t know. Just please tell me I’m crazy and that you are just fine and this is a stupid feeling.”

Annie could not muster a single word. ‘No. No, no, no, no. I will not bear this news twice. This is not my place. This is not my role. NO!’

The utter lack of words from the phone made John-Michael’s hurt drop miles, deep into his stomach. Time simply halted, and while she was only searching for words for six seconds, he had been waiting for minutes.

“Oh God Annie. What happened?”

The Death of Virtue: Part III

It all just hurt too much.

Crouched over the scattered coins, he didn’t really think anything of it. She looked upset. Her head was down, and he swore there were tears welling in her eyes. Plus she was nearly running, fiddling with her scarf on her way out. He wondered what made her so sad. As his thoughts burnt off into the atmosphere, he methodically picked up each and every nickel, dime, and penny. Still hunkered down, he counted them out in his gloved hand. Satisfied, with a smirk on his face, he rose and approached the bar.

“Afternoon, Jamie” His voice scraped out of his throat. The brogue came and went, as he spent longer and longer in the States, his Celtic accent faded.

“Hi Dan!” The teenage barista perked up as the patterned scarf, brown cap, and dark pea-coat-clad man greeted her.” She reached out her artificially tanned hand and took the exact change Dan handed her. “It must be real cold out there huh?”

“Aye, darlin’. It’s chilly. Rain’s coming down on-and-off, too.”

“So, is it pretty normal for guys to wear scarves like that when it’s cold out back where you’re from? Cause not so many guys can, you know, pull stuff like that off here”

Daniel smirked at the girl. ‘She’s a sweet girl. She really is.’ “Yeah, girl. It’s pretty normal.” His smile grew at he tried to keep his composure while answering the barista.

“Oh, that’s pretty cool, I guess.” She remarked as she capped the lid onto the steaming, clammy wax-covered paper cup, “Here you go Dan! Your medium London Fog. Have a great day, even in this bad weather!” She looked him in the eyes as she handed him the drink, and forced a smile that seemed just a bit too big to be authentic.

He took the cup from the counter, tipped it at her with a wink, and uttered a low thankye. Cramming his hand back into the stuffy leather gloves, he chuckled in his head ‘Yeah, sweet girl.’ He gripped his scarf, now well aware of its presence thanks to the test of masculinity delivered by an adolescent. Heading towards the door, a black object caught the corner of his eye.

The bag’s dark complexion completely contrasted the corporate attempt at chic of the suede dark-red couch. His thoughts flashed to the hurried and flustered woman who had slammed into him. ‘Oy… This is just what that poor soul needs’, he mused to himself approaching the handbag. He placed it on the wooden table, and opened the magnetic clasp.

“Do guys carry around purses over there too?” Jaime was wiping down the tables behind him. Smiling in self-confidence, satisfied with her unique, and bizarre flirtation. At first her voice startled him, and a chill of adrenaline surged like a wave up, down, and around his body. He was expecting a righteous customer to chastise his well-intentioned act. Jaime’s joking was welcome, even if it was another jab at his masculinity.

“Ah… No. Not quite.” He cleared his throat, realizing he had just been flustered by a coffeeshop employed teenager,  “I think it’s you Americans who came up with this whole ‘man-purse’ ordeal, eh?” He mustered up a bit of charm, glanced from the side of his dark green irises, and shot the look towards Jaime. It worked, she blushed a bit, put her head down towards the table she was scrubbing, and scuffled back to the coffee bar. He turned back to his own table. There was a small sketchpad, a black leather-bound journal, and a ringed contact book. Daniel carefully took out the contact list. He foolishly rifled through some of the pages, looking for something but thinking about how futile this act actually was. The crisp, remarkably well-kept papers ended, and just when Daniel was about to close the book and place it back in the bag, he read the first name on the last page.

James Virtue. Ap # 42…

He stopped reading, as his brain came to a screeching halt. Nearly all involuntary actions became present in his consciousness. His heartbeat was massive, echoing throughout his body. Breathing just plain hurt. It was too slow, and his lungs seemed trapped inside his ribs, inside his chest, inside his jacket. He was unbelievably uncomfortable. ‘Well’ He looked up at the ceiling in a symbolic gesture ‘You do work in mysterious ways, eh?’

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Death of Virtue: Part II

There it was again. Reality detached itself from his mind. Vertigo was all Peter knew. The impact of her words sent him careening. Except this time the words stuck with him. Reality was gone; all that was left was dizziness, burning, and those three words.

Annie could not get comfortable. The wooden coffeeshop chairs were harsh and unforgiving. She shifted her weight in every way possible, and yet her body ached. Annie knew it wasn’t the chair that made her so uncomfortable. Despite her best efforts, she could only look at the cold, ceramic table from under her clenched right hand.  The phone line was silent, hollow.

Telling Peter the news was difficult. That was an understatement. Telling Peter was excruciating.  The news was heavy enough, relaying it was a burden, but explaining to someone who rejects all ideas of hope and afterlife that one of their best friends was dead? That was near impossible. And yet, she knew she had to.  Peter deserved to know.

And now he knew. She had done the most difficult part; she had played the messenger. So, why didn’t she feel any better? Why did her stomach still churn, her heart still ache, and her head still throb? The silence from the phone wasn’t relieving any of her anguish.

She was expecting him to take the news badly. They had known each other for nearly their entire lives. She was expecting tears, yelling, rejection, anger, even a hang up, but silence? The absolute void staring her in the face from the other end of the phone line was even more unbearable than the actual dialing of the phone. And that had taken her ten minutes. She just kept staring at the keypad, heart fluttering, palms sweating, and stomach nauseating. She ran through every scenario she could think of, every one of Peter’s typical reactions. But she never expected silence. And now she couldn’t handle it. She had to say something. Anything. Any noise would make this echoing, evil silence disappear.

“Peter. I am so so sorry. I’m sorry about James, I’m sorry it happened, I’m sorry you had to hear about this fro-“ Peter cut-off her hurried and unpolished apologies.

“ Yeah, Ann. Me too. Thanks for telling me. I guess we’ll probably be talking soon.” Then, nothing but the slow, measured beep of her phone telling her the call had ended. Annie looked at the screen. Contact: Peter R. Call time: 3:50. Three minutes, fifty seconds. That’s all it took.

Annie shook her head, sniffed and coughed, wiped her eyes with the back of her sweaty palm, and closed her phone. Nearly four minutes. It took her longer to order her coffee than to tell Peter that James had died. ‘God. I hate this’ The thought screamed in her head as she subconsciously threw her paper cup away and shuffled towards the door. With her head down and her mind a hundred thousand miles away, Annie didn’t even notice the man in front of her until she bashed straight into his left shoulder. Normally, Annie would have felt terrible. Normally, Annie would have stopped, apologized, helped to pick up the 3.36 in change that sprayed from his hand across the painted cement floor. Normally, Annie would have looked the man in his dark green eyes and tried to form any bit of human contact with the stranger.

But not today. Today was far from normal, and so was she. Annie hurried through the glass doors without even thinking of turning around to see the man whose path she had just interrupted hunkered over the floor, delicately picking up every coin. Her soul ached so badly, and her focus was so keen on contact with people far away and long gone, that she didn’t even notice the immediate, physical contact she had just initiated.

It all just hurt too much.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Death of Virtue: Part 1

His ears were ringing. No, they were burning. All he could hear was a sharp, popping noise. His ears felt like he was in the ocean, water pressure pushing on every micrometer of his eardrums, and coral was all he could hear.

He was staring at the carpeted staircase, but he couldn’t see anything. Somehow the fog had crept its way into his living room.

His hands were heavy, and too far away. His blood felt diluted and sluggish. His heart was an un-oiled engine, with every pump more difficult and more damaging than the last.

He hadn’t felt like this since the car crash.

Slowly, the ringing gave way to something else. A soft, but growing noise that hurt as it built upon itself. Reality was ripping its way back into his conscious. The noise culminated in a painful crescendo as he became aware of holding the phone to his ear again. Her words were like audible lightning, and her usually sweet voice seared as it left the clammy, black receiver.

“Peter? Peter did you hear me? Are you still there?” Earth regained its axis; gravity kicked back in; and oxygen flooded into his lungs once more. He was clutching the railing of those carpeted stairs; his body was holding itself up, but he had no idea how.

“…I’m here. Sorry. So sorry. Wait… What did you say? Please tell me I didn’t hear what I think you just told me. You’re kidding. You have to be. This is some sick joke. Annie, this isn’t funny. Stop it. Please tell me this I heard you wrong. Please tell me -“ The soul completely bypassing his brain, his words streamed out at hurricane force. Emotions sped past so quickly that his voice could not keep up the pace. It cracked and strained as he spat out syllables, sounds, anything. The silence coming from his phone was as hollow as the tightening in his gut. Then her words came crashing back with all the force of a sonic boom.

“Peter. I’m so sorry. Its… I…” Annie stopped. Words stumping her flustered brain. She breathed deeply. Reset herself, closed her eyes tightly, and tried to exhale without sighing, but couldn’t. The sorrow escaped her lungs, “James. James is…” She reset herself again. Her tear-stained palm involuntarily clutched to her forehead. She was freezing, shaking, and nauseous. Every mumbled sound felt like a scream, no matter how hard she tried to stay level and quiet. She could only smell the copper of blood and taste the salt of tears. “James is dead.”

There it was again. Reality detached itself from his mind. Vertigo was all Peter knew. The impact of her words sent him careening. Except this time the words stuck with him. Reality was gone; all that was left was dizziness, burning, and those three words.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Staring at a White, Blank Page...


It's kind of a funny word. It has such a positive connotation. It makes you think of muses, music, and melodies. Basically: Beauty.

But that's just the thing about inspiration. It never flourishes in beauty. 
Inspiration only visits the dreamer when he's having nightmares. 
The beauty only comes from the breakdown.
 The real beauty, that is.

There is something. Some deep, dark, and hollow spot buried in every human. When it's struck, when something else, some inspiration, raps on its edges, it resonates. And it echoes within those hollow spots in others. And it's that rattle and hum that we call Beauty. Even Genius.

Somehow, we've managed to place our descriptions of the most hurtful, or most longing, or most destructive, at the very apex of our Beauty hierarchy.

We're enraptured with our own self-destruction.

Perhaps that's just sin.

So what's the point of all this melancholy macabre?

Simply to say that inspiration comes when life is here, at its fullest.

Sometimes that muse drops in on the Dreamer when he is clutching the sheets. Uncomfortably strewn across his bed. Neck back, ears clenched, and deep in a cold sweat. But other times she comes when he is sound in his sleep. His eyelids flickering from the rapid movements underneath. Sometimes inspiration reveals her gorgeous and demanding face when the Dreamer is overwhelmed in the well of information that is somehow coming from his own brain. Simply put: Inspiration is unpredictable. The only method of determining when she'll strike next is to know when she won't. And that's when the Dreamer is comfortable. When he is so far in his own sleep that he doesn't even dream.

After all, glass needs either fire or lightning to be formed.

In the Layman's terms: Busyness has served me well, there's a lot to write about as soon as I have the time to jot it down.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

All We Need Is...

While in Europe, I realized the incredible nature of the idea of Harmony. I became obsessed with the idea and defining it. After setting out a new definition of harmony, I realized that there are a decent amount of words and concepts that need a revamping. A re-defining.

I tried to redefine some of these words there, but it was of no use.

I think that I have just redefined another one of them.

I was talking long distance with a wonderful, brilliant friend, and I stumbled upon a new definition.

I think I'm going to write a book around these new definitions someday; make it a philosophical treatise. In light of that, here's my thesis on love:

Love - Humans don't just need joy. They deserve it. And they cannot be the continual source of it for others. Love is someone pushing the joy back into your life as you exude it. The problem is relying on someone enough to let them push joy into your life.
Joy, and consequently Love, are similar to energy. The energy of physics. Energy is not created naturally. The only method that nature or humans have of manipulating energy is transference. Siphoning it from one place and putting it into another. Joy is the virtuous equivalent of energy. Humans cannot make joy, and thus we cannot create love. We can only transfer it. There is no natural "source" of Joy or Love. But these virtues do exist. Thus, they must come from somewhere. They must originate from some place. If they cannot be created naturally, then they must be created supernaturally. Obviously, there is but one source of Joy or Love. Humans just have to figure out how to harness, manipulate, and transfer that energy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language, or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life...
With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they have to be living in...
And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them.
They pass their days on earth, but a re citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they live on a level that transcends the law.

Author unknown, quoted from Letter to Diogentus

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Excerpt from Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, page 263

Liberty and Necessity are Consistent; As in the
water, that hath not only liberty, but a necessity of
descending by the Channel: so likewise in the
Actions which men voluntarily doe; which (because
they proceed from their will) proceed from liberty;
and yet because every act of mans will, and every
desire, and inclination proceedeth from some cause,
and that another cause, which causes in a
continuall chaine (whose first link in the hand of
God the first of all causes) proceed from necessity.
So that to him that could see the connexion of
those causes, the necessity of all mens voluntary
actions, would appeare manifest. And therefore
God, that seeth, and disposeth all things, seeth also
that the liberty of man in doing what he will, is
accompanied with the necessity of doing that which
God will, & no more, nor lesse. For though men
may do many things, which God does not com-
mand, not is therefore Author of them; yet they
can have no passion, nor appetite any thing, of
which appetite Gods will is not the cause. And did
not his will assure the necessity of mans will, and 
consequently of all that on mans will dependeth,
the liberty of men would be a contradiction, and
impediment to the omnipotence and liberty of God.
And this shall suffice, (as to the matter in hand) of that 
naturall liberty, which only is properly called liberty.

 I have a political theory class this semester, and we are reading some of the great minds of the Enlightenment and forward. I was excited about the book list, but the actual reading is rough. I have been putting my favorite quotes up on my twitter (@kuwalker) as they catch my eye. 

But this one was different. The debate on Freewill vs Predestination has haunted me for quite some time. I've dismissed it for a while, calling it a "learn nothing" debate that only caused Christians to get mad at each other. Not exactly fruitful. Despite my efforts at cooling this debate, however, it popped its head up at various times whilst I was bounding across Europa. Then, just when I think I've escaped, who comes along with a wonderful quote that explains things rather nicely (albeit hard to read because of the Old English)? 

Thomas Hobbes.

Oh Murphy's Law, you never fail.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gestreikten durch Donner...


It's a better word than "lightning".

Lightning just doesn't do it justice. Blitz has a certain sense of fear behind it. You can hear the power behind the harsh pronunciation of that borrowed word. The crack of the pure surge of electricity that will not be held in the ground in longer emanates from the "t-z" at the end of Blitz.

Whoever said that German was an ugly language clearly never heard it spoken correctly.

These two weeks have been a full-fledged blitzsturm. And I've been standing on top of a barren mountain.

The blitz cracked, smacked, flashed, burned, and fried. But now I'm left with only the clap of thunder.

Only the "klang des dunner".

I love thunderstorms.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let It Snow...


Sometimes you need to be reminded that you that you are too busy. You are moving too fast. Your mind is in the left lane, and you miss the cities on the right.

Is it our society that pushes us to be too busy for our own good? Is it our constant need to pressure ourselves? Do we work better under pressure? Or are we scared to slow down and face ourselves?

Sometimes you have to hit a brick wall at 75 kilometers an hour. Sometimes you have to pop the airbag, unbuckle your seatbelt, bash open the broken door, stand on your wobbly and numb legs, rub your neck, observe the carnage, and then sigh. That big, unavoidable, relieving sigh.

Weather. Who would have guessed that weather would run you into a wall and make you slow down?