Another resource hogging flash applet thingie...click the gray background to begin loading,

photo

then navigate with arrow keys. You'll need something other than Internet Explorer.

Monday, November 17, 2008

water sparklers


water sparklers, originally uploaded by use2blost.

SOOC... I am perhaps tickled with this all out of proportion to the uniqueness of the shot but I usually don't fart around with the "manual" setting... my MOD has been based on the philosophy that "even if a complete idiot takes 1000 pictures... he'll get a few good ones" and that has worked for me. LOL. The manual settings thing is a result of my desire to get the hang of HDR imaging. Hey, it might help me grow, huh? I gotta back off till the Christmas break, though. I'm really WAY too busy this quarter. The photo obsession thing has run away with me before..

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

2008 11 08_4782

I am alive. School is extremely demanding, lately, or perhaps it is simply my ability to perform... I made straight A's last quarter... WHOOO HOOO!!!, and seem to have broken the blogging addiction...oops... i just piddled around for an hour trying to find a link.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

God is in Charge

Disclaimer: This is not my work, either in the original photo or the postprossesing. As near as I can figure it was done by Jill Greenberg, who, along with Dave Hill have achieved fame/notoriety with their photo processing style. It is something I myself have never tried (yet!) but seems to involve multiple light sources, and of course, a masterful hand with processing software. This style makes the photoartist in me grin in jealous admiration :)

Isn't He? 
I have a love-hate relationship with the 
pauline epistles. Many of his directives seem so counterintuitive, requiring the Christian to give up all attempts at self-protection, and whatever tenuous grasp he has on his personal agenda. Paul gives some rather hard to swallow advice on how the Romans should interact with their Government at a time when some of them were being utilized as human tiki-torches for the Imperial Backyard Barbecue. By reminding them, that "God's in charge" (Romans 13), But one of my basic beliefs, and there is scripture to support this, is that God want's us to DO something, to Impact our world with our God-given abilities in order to make it more closely resemble HIS ideal, and that we get a clue what this is by investing in, prioritizing, and seeking with discipline a Personal Intimacy with the source, or author of this ideal. 


  Wanted to get this striking and diabolical picture up so Deacon could see it

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Angel Dust



Well, it's been a while since I posted a picure I took. My perspective and sense of accomplishment changes, and the first insect macros that thrilled me so much, didn't seem all that great after surfing through some of the content on the web, especially some of the amatuer photos uploaded on flickr. This recent shot, taken a few days at the campus pond, I am really pleased with. :)
And it is unmanipulated. SOOC (straight out of the camera) except for the crop. :D

she looks great on black

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why...

Sunset over First Evangelical Church

Do they always give you more antibiotics than they do pain pills? I have a tooth that has been killing me since thursday night, and I took the last two Darvosets about twenty hours ago. I actually had to take my GMC 100 final slightly stoned on opiates... I'll post my score when I get it.

The Tooth Thing, and anything like it, makes me aware (painfuly, lol) that I am one of the uninsured. When this comes up, It's always with mixed feelings.

At 41, I am just beginning to experience medical conditions that would benefit from ongoing management by an actual doctor. So, hand in hand with my self-pity (just a little) I keep the background awareness of millions of people with immediate life-and-death health issues that make my own pale in comparison. But my tooth still hurts. affecting my eating, sleeping, and performance. I wonder how much awareness, on a national level is shunted aside, how much action is not taken, because my "tooth still hurts", because I'm "limping away from the wreckage of my divorce", because the "grief over the unexpected passing of my Father still colors my life"...

the Gross Domestic Product of this country works out to about 45,000 per year for every man woman and child. An ocean away, A life flickers out, every three seconds from poverty, and the lack of clean drinking water.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Vague feelings of misgiving...

I try to concentrate on my life. There is always something that needs attention, and for another four weeks, my highest priority is school. Politics disgust me. They stir up my cynicism like nothing else. I feel like the system is so twisted, that a man unwilling to make compromises to his integrity stands little chance of victory in a presidential election. For much of my adult life, I have heard people talk of voting for the "lesser of two evils" . This is sad. I have received, from the pulpit of a small baptist church, the message that God stood with the party that was unequivocally against gay marriage. Time and again I have gotten the subtle, or not so subtle sentiment that Christians and Republicans had shared, and overlapping interests, that GOP really stood for "God's Own Party". I don't believe that. I have (shamefully) first hand knowledge of such things as the love of money, and the abuse of power. I have a definite opinion about the electoral process, and the long -overdue, radical reforms that would be so easily accomplished with our current technology. The self-seeking issues that seem so important bring to mind treating Dysentery with pepto-bismol. I think I am spoiled. I am by this country's standards perhaps upper-lower class, or extreme lower-middle class. I struggle to pay my bills, but if I want, right now, I can go outside and spew drinking water all over my grass. I live in the lap of a prosperous luxury inconcievable to millions of people, Who will die without hearing the Gospel. We as a nation have the concerns of rich spoiled children. Every once in awhile, I get a bad feeling. I know that I am politically naive. I know that I am in a crisis that can only happen to a blessed individuals. I call them Cadillac problems. I am too busy to take the time to become politically literate. Malcolm Gladwell talks of "thin slicing", the amazing ability of our God-Given minds to "blink" and process information at a subconscious level much more quickly, and with greater reliability than conscious reasoning. I am apolitical, and intend to remain so. But I will not vote for John Mcain. He scares me. and if he dies in office... well, that scares me too.

Racism is a funny thing





Racism is a funny thing. Sadly enough, the deepest, most accurate understanding of it's nature is facilitated in the individual who has been both victimizer and victim. (of course, this only applies to those who are spiritually awake... the ones who understand they are/were double agents - like Paul after his momentous road trip) Furthermore, if and when repentance comes, when the innermost self acknowledges racism, that it is there, and abominable, a fascinating clarity is achieved. A man begins to see shades, and degrees. He realizes, from the double perspective, how pettiness and pride can contribute to poor prioritization, in dealing with multiple racism issues and how the subtle ones can be as dangerous as the high profile. There is also the understanding that much ( not all) of the progress is superficial in nature, treating the symptom rather than disease.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The original shriners... Memories as milestones


The original shriners, originally uploaded by use2blost.

I noticed early in my experience of community (It began with support groups, and moved into Bible studies, and now has become something more authentic- I have a few intimate friends, and am blessed to be able to engage more deeply as time goes by...) That I was better at talking about my feelings than I was at feeling them. Talking about my emotions in detail became for me, a way of actually escaping the raw emotional turmoil of trajedy, burying it so that It haunted me rather than dealing with it and moving on. It seems to me, that God calls me to a deeper more personal walk alongside him, and lately, I am  alone more than I have been in years. Studies take up a great deal of my time, and though I feel somewhat disconnected, I know that this is only for a season. (It should actually improve in about 4 more weeks.) Grief in the past has been something to run from, cover, or deny in busyness, and though I am busy, It seems that many of the tools I used to avoid the process have been removed. Flitting to and fro in the blogosphere and obsessively photographing nearly anything, has had to take a back seat to matters of greater import, and as a result, I find myself moving through emotions, and seeing a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. My good friend Kemp lost his father a few days ago, and stopping by to express my condolences evidently stirred up a little emotion. I later found myself at home alone, and came across the cache of old photographs that my Father left behind when He moved on from this world.  It occurs to me that me, and possibly my sister  are the only ones who know the story behind these old black and white photographs. My Father was a photo enthusiast, back in the day when that meant nailing plywood over the guestroom windows so you could develop your own prints. Electronics were huge, filled with vacuum tubes. My Dad's first calculator was 75 dollars and the size of a brick. this was back when when he made less than $275 a month. I can remember that these pictures were already around, before the Casio miracle. If I had to guess, these were taken around 1969. it was a wonderful surprise to stumble across them after He died. These pics are, I think of a place called Niko (not sure about the spelling) it was an area of Japan that was thick with shrines. Like most pictures, it looks better on an uncluttered black background

Friday, August 29, 2008

Self control....the first spiritual discipline


DSC_0953_edited-1, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.


      the indispensable prerequisite to all personal growth. Ya just can't have too much of it, and if it is lacking, it will sooner or later be felt. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" but Christ must have something to strengthen. Andy Stanley tells us that yesterday we "wrote a chapter" in our story, the saga that chronicles the unavoidable change in our character. The question is which way did we go? Did we progress, or regress? Is our path in a consistent direction? All to often, I go forward and backward In great loops, content to trudge upward ever so slowly, satisfied that I am better than I used to be. 
I watch no broadcast television. None. Sometimes, I get a little pharisee (Luke 18:9) pride about it, but lately, it occurs to me that I spend an enormous amount of time tweaking my blog, reading your blog, and posting thoughts and feelings. These are not bad things but moderation (ah, self-control!) has always been my weak point. I want to spend time in "Centering Prayer", and other spiritual disciplines. I feel starved, sometimes for a closer, more conversational relationship with the Ancient, Eternal, Holy, Perfect, God. My God. The One who loves me (can it be?) like no other.  
My Pastor spoke of prioritizing, and I keep a constant low-grade whine in my head about hearing the voice of God, and lately, It seems as if He has nudged me, and called me to a life of more self-discipline so that I can begin to practice spiritual disciplines with a little more sucess, not to win Divine approval, but so that my prayers can be answered, and one of my fondest wishes granted. My Father, perhaps, wants to give me my best (I have more than one... lol) hearts desire.
In the space of a few days, I have stumbled across many mentions of denying the flesh to feed the spirit

Now I think, like ms. Rachel, I need to drop back and punt, though not as extremely as she has, and probably keep my Internet tomfoolery down to weekends or something. The Blogging, and Flickr, have captured me. I need to get control of my self.
I think God told me to.
(And that money I save on cable... I spend it on Marlboros)
ΧΡΙΣΤΌΣ ΠΑΡΑΜΈΝΕΙ. (CHRIST REMAINS.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hmmmm...


hmmmm, originally uploaded by use2blost.

I photoshopped this one, just barely. Adjusted the saturation on the bird herself, only (I guess she's female. Aren't the males the colorful ones?... strange.). I didn't touch the sharpness, I've never been happy with the results when I do that. Even though she's a little blurry, I've posted her because she is in a TREE, not sucking juice out of a FEEDER. Kinda like the difference between hunting with a bow versus hunting with a gun... We know who is the more accomplished huntsman :D . I have seen pictures of hummers tamed to the point of being hand fed, which I'll not post, because they make me jealous. But the hummers in MY backyard don't play that... to get close enough for this shot, and to raise up the ol' finepix S8100fd without spooking her made me feel quite the wildlife photographer... ala Ilia Shalamaev (I wish!)

She Looks a Lot Better On An Uncluttered Black Background!

Monday, August 25, 2008

I emailed the dead yesterday.


Running Out of Daylight., originally uploaded by use2blost.

Is that morbid? If you send an undeliverable message, at least on Yahoo!, you will get a reply from the "Mailer Daemon". I half-expected that to happen, but evidently the account is still taking incoming mail. I missed my Dad so much, and needed so badly to talk to him about the emotional and logistical cataracts and white water that my life has become. It was pretty raw,  I wanted to engage and at some point, in my mind's eye the intended recipient grew blurry, and it was unclear if I was writing an FYI/lamentation to my deceased father, or a prayer of supplication to my Father In Heaven.  it did me a lot of good, get get some things out onto paper, if only the virtual kind. I cannot over-endorse the benefits of writing down thoughts for the severely attention deficit. Hopefully, Dad's widow, Rosemary doesn't check the account, or she may feel the need to send the Men in White Coats, but I figure the probability of that is low. CyberSpace has never had any attraction for her.
Tropical Depression Fay has cramped my style, though I'm not really complaining... much. I need money, and since taking on school full-time (math test tomorrow morning! :D) returning phone calls, giving bids, sleeping, etc. has been hard, and for the last two weeks, the only option I have had work-wise has been an exterior paint job. The class Saturday, from 8:30 to 2:00 leaves me two days a week to work, and they were both rained out. Now, I know I don't live in Florida, like my friend Melissa Drewry, And the bad timing couldn't have come at a better time, I was evidently (considering my E-seance) overdue for a little mental R&R. I even went to church (didja hear that, Chris Taylor?)!
Ol' Joe Has been working through a series on spiritual disciplines, and truly nailed me. This weeks message was on varieties of prayer, and the disciplines of self-denial: fasting, solitude, and such. The "podcast"  is worth checking out. Over the last few years, God has occasionally knocked indiscreetly on my forehead about this very issue. For some time he has patiently and repeatedly brought to my attention that consistent chunks of unstructured time, in silence, solitude and study are the next step for me. I tend to do enough along these lines that I can hold my own in an argument with my conscience but not enough for significantly deeper intimacy with God. Naturally enough, God hasn't been fooled, and I can no longer fool myself.
My! this post has gotten long, and the torrential downpour sounds awfully soothing.
Good night.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jenny


Jenny, originally uploaded by use2blost.

Jenny is my good friend Ryan's wife (Gotta get a pic of Ryan, I don't have any) .I have really plugged my blog, in hopes that Jenny will drop by. She is so creative, I am hoping this humble little thing will inspire her to join the blogging community. She's got a helluva story. Anyway, I blogged her picture hoping it would be a pleasant surprise if she shows up :D

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Magic Donkey finds this interesting....

photo archive9-23-06 1926cropped

said donkey is a computer algorithm that ranks every photo uploaded to Flickr . Naturally, the specifics are a closely guarded secret. Flickrphiles speculate as to what makes the Magic Donkey neigh. amount of traffic to a photo is surely a factor, but other than that, none of the general public seems to know, which keeps it honest. The algorithm determines interestingness, and seems to work really well. 500 pictures a day are put up on explore and they are for the most part, interesting, really. Check it out. The explore page will give you a fresh picture every time you reload, as well as a few other browsing options.
Sadly, I have never had an explored photo. The lady above is rated by the Magic Donkey as my most interesting...#1. I don't even know her name. This is my #4 photo


japanese beetle Go figure. 
Anyhow, my own theory, is that a high volume of traffic traffic from unlogged visitors/non-members, goes a long way to upgrading interestingness (hint, hint)

Routine

I may have bitten off more than I can chew ( I hope not.) My fourth class is "how to study for idiots 101" it's only 2 credit hours, crammed into 4 Saturdays from 8:30 to 1:30. It is a prerequisite for any student whose placement test lands him in a remedial subject. Now, since I already had to give up one of my precious slots to math 99 I was reluctant to take Idiots 101 and only have one class left to work toward my degree (I am FORTY-ONE. Times-a-wastin'). So, over twenty years after being asked to leave high school - early, by the way, I have taken a fourth class. I am overwhelmed. The pitiful excuse I have for a daily routine needs to be tightened up drastically, and fine tuned. I must somehow make it through the next eight weeks, I have too much invested, and need a sucess or two under my belt. 
I notice, at times like these, I begin to evaluate my past, and feel a twinge of disquiet. I fear my God, though I try to walk through life secure in the knowledge that my God is fond of me, that awareness spends more time in my head than in my heart. 
Simply put, I get nervous when I find myself in a mess of my own making, thinking that my performance of late, has not scored enough brownie points upstairs to rate a little extra help. Is this superstitious nonsense? Conviction? I am blessed to know many men older and/or wiser than myself. They answer both ways, and I am left to wrestle, on my own. We use the phrase "Personal Relationship". What other relationship can you have with the invisible? I come across the terms "emergent church" (huh?) and "seeker" .  My understanding of these is based strictly on context, and vague, since the higher minds seem to disagree as to the definitions. If the promise of Proverbs 8:17 is to be taken seriously, shouldn't we all be seekers?
Good night.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blogging from class

My biology professor is a hoot... this is our 4th class and we have yet to be given a syllabus. He has lectured on sailing, given a brief review of the movie "wind", and today, we watched an interview with Dr. Christian Du Duve, a Nobel Lauriate who won (with 2 others) the prize in medicine in1974. as I write this now, he is discoursing on harpsichord music and Handel's Messiah
he said we won't be tested on any of this...

Goslings


2008 08 18_3042, originally uploaded by use2blost.

There is a huge (flock?) of geese that hang out at the campus pond. I got out of math about an hour early, yesterday, and strolled around waiting to go to my CIS class, and took a few pictures.

Riddle: Often, when you look up and see a "V" of migrating birds in the sky, one arm of the "V" is slightly longer than the other. Why is this?

Answer
Answer


Ya Really Gotta View It On A Black Background, Here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

SATANIC-2

I no longer believe that Satan's every action is taken with Divine permission. Satan may quite possibly be a free agent, acting on his own agenda beneath Divine soveriegnity, like most of us humans. The Idea that Satan does only what is permitted comes from passages in Job1;12, and Job2:6 where the God sets boundaries for the Satanic Torment of Job, and in Luke 22;31 where Jesus Informs Peter that Satan has asked for the right to "sift" him. Now, the Job thing looks to us, like a very civil discussion/debate. A wager. ("Job holds you in reverence and respect, but only because you take care of him. I'll bet if you let me kick his ass for a while, he will become bitter enough toward you to lose his temper") now the content here is so interesting, perhaps the greatest challenge is not to get off the subject, but anytime two parties with differing opinions agree to an experiment to see who is right, it is common to lay out some boundaries.

Mother says to Dad, "I'll bet junior will eat up the Haagen Daz Macadamia Brittle you have been hoarding within 2 days if you move it from the garage freezer and put in in the kitchen, next to the Mayfield vanilla.

Dad replies " You're on! but you must not remove the Mayfield nor withhold meals from junior."

What we see here is agreement on boundaries, not Mother being incapable of moving ice cream. To be sure, the average dad has the physical power to prevent mom from moving the Mayfield, but saying that is not the same thing as saying Mom takes no action without permission.

I am thinking that Satan has at least as much autonomy as we do. Choice is a prerequisite for evil, as well as love.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Satanic Autonomy

I was told early in my Christian Walk( I've always thought that term was cheesy, wish we would get a new one.), that Satan did only what he was permitted to. A baptist pastor told me this, and I was reminded of it last Tuesday.

My Current Pastor has been showing up bi-monthly for a Q&A, though, to be sure very few questions are answered (we just get more and better ones!), However, He actually did allow me to pin him down- (He was possibly thrown off balance by my lightning-fast change of subject.) When I asked him if he believed in Satanic Autonomy. He answered No. This is not a rare stance, and I one that I held myself until recently... I don't know if he has taken that opinion out of his doctrinal library and placed it on the table for reexamination or not, but I certainly have.

I think constantly. Most of us do. Occaisionally, when reading, or just being aware of the stream of conciousness flowing through my brain, a thought/concept kinda "jumps" up a little... pops into bas-relief and I will either give it closer consideration or slam my open mind shut in discomfort. (There's a post there, I think.), But I think that these instances, and any thought, for that matter, have three possibly origins: Divine, Demonic, Or ME.

Anyway to get off the rabbit trail, I jumped to this common conclusion as well, after reading the Bible. The Passage in Job where Satan is told what he can do to ruin Job's life, a " you can go this far, but no farther" sort of thing is perhaps the most noted scriptural instance where a first read would let a man think that Satan is a puppet... another little blurb is when Simon Peter has blustered about how tight he is with Jesus, but the Light of the World responds by informing Rocky, that the shallowness of his loyalty will be exposed before the rooster crows. I think this is in Luke. Just prior to this, Jesus tells Peter that Satan asked to sift him "like wheat".

To me, this is deep stuff. I ponder this from the intellectual shallows of my 9th grade education, and I wonder if this/these passage are sufficient to support the doctrine of Satanic Dis-Autonomy (is that a word?). I don't think so. For reasons I will detail in my next post, I will explain why I no longer believe this is Chiseled in Stone, and that Satan may quite possibly be a free agent, acting on his own agenda. :D

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I have made it through

The first week of school, A little behind on my reading, but I feel, prepared for my first test monday. I have have some feelings of trepidation, over finance, and time management, the pressure of juggling a couple of days a week of work, my studies, the obligations of my guardianship over my invalid aunt, and relationships: romance with Debbie, building bridges with my family, and establishing/maintaining intimacy with members of my small group, and church community. I  believe relationships are the most important thing, and that we most closely resemble the image of the Living God when we interact in loving community, and that our power to do good is multiplied exponentially when we cooperate, The whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The question is, how to do the next right thing? Is it a question of seasons, and should some things simply be sacrificed, or curtailed for the next four years? These are hard decisions. And what of my love of photography, and my need to escape to the mountains, to recharge, and reach the quiet, lonely places to better hear the voice of my Father in Heaven?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 7


Day 7, originally uploaded by use2blost.
Aunt Judy - I have become her guardian since Dad died, and it frankly scares the hell out of me. I score pretty good brownie points with a peanut butter milkshake, and I have never been photographed in a wheelchair :D 
Day 7, the title refers to a flickr project - 365 days of a self portrait every day for a year. I think I made it to Day 8 before Dropping the Ball

Monday, August 11, 2008

Homework!

after jumping through many hoops, I am once again enrolled in an accredited institution in the university system of the Great state of Georgia! I am hungry for a little blog action, and a night of browsing, lurking, and commenting would be wonderful, but my studies call, and its getting late. :D

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Jesus tell us in the gospels

that to divorce is a bad thing... in one paraphrase, however, he specifies an exception for an unfaithful spouse. This gets complicated, the verses are many, the applicable contexts that must be considered, are convoluted, and the modern denominational prejudice against divorcees, especially here in the south-  do nothing to promote clear thinking. I have a dear friend, respected and wise, who was probably a virgin on her wedding night (the lady is a proper christian widow approaching 80... I am not going to ask her to confirm this) Who expressed concern at where Debbie, my  girlfriend had spent the weekend. The conversation left me feeling embarrassed,  defensive, and uncomfortable, as well as mildly aggravated with gossip, though in this particular instance, gossip was not the source of my friend's information. My point, Is that it seems kinda silly, sometimes to be overly concerned with a biblical view on sexual purity, if your take is that, according to Jesus, all post-divorce sex is adultery. There is just not a little voice in my head saying "Don't have sex... keep the biblical boundaries of sexual purity" Unfortunately, I need some kind of hope other than a life of sexual abstinence until death (you can make a scriptural argument that this is God's Will for the divorcee, at least the baptists can, as well as Andy Stanley, one of my favorite communicators.) to motivate me. I really need to take some time and delve into this. Looking at my past, and the reality around me, I realize the enormous power God chose place in human sex. The Fire... it's ability for nurture or destruction is something I have a healthy respect for. I cannot find the willingness to seriously contemplate a lifetime without warmth, and if I shall be disobedient,  Why not now, after I have lost hope of Sex with Gods approval, than later, after having committed to remarriage against his will, though with the approval of the judgemental ?
"Faith may be described as an attitude of trust adopted in the face of our ignorance of God."- Jeremy Young.

Monday, August 4, 2008

2008 08 04_2790 the unknown bug

this little guy just showed up and posed 1st thing this mornin' I would love to know what it is... I don't think he's a dragonfly.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My favorite Barista in the whole world

I have to go to Atlanta. Now. Because of some strange policies in place at the georgia military college, that I have been trying to get into because this makes my life more simple,(you dont have to buy books) in the long run... I will pick up a piece of paper that would take 4 weeks to get here.
My favorite Barista in the whole world is Kelsie. She rode to Atlanta with me today, to get a copy of my GED transcript.
My Favorite Barrista
I met Kelsie about 15 years ago, when she was four or five, ( i'll look around, maybe I've got a photo)... She used to climb up in my lap like she owned it... 
At the time, this younger, skinnier man,
me, back in the day
was utterly lovestruck over her mother, Debbie.
2008 07 01_0750
I sat at the kitchen table of a house that Debbie shared with two other women, and I was fortunate enough to see Debbie walk by, lightly sprinkled with water and clad only in a towel (I have since concluded that this was a calculated move on Mom's part.) and truly have been smitten ever since. 
Anyway, the thing about Kelsie, (this is her off duty) I don't have any teeth!
is that she is a movie star, and you may have seen her, and not realized it.
As I understand it, infants, for filming purposes, can only be on the clock for a short time each day. Because of this, when on location, directors search for twins, usually through the local Mother of Twins club, since twins effectively double the amount of time a baby can be used in the production of a film. This is how Kelsie, and her brother, Kalan,
2008 08 01_2744
came to portray the baby in Fried Green Tomatoes almost 17 years ago.

Killer.


Killer., originally uploaded by use2blost.

He's not gonna take no for an answer. 

Dog toys are funny things. Jack is pretty good about keeping up with them, but over time they do get lost, only to reappear a little time down the road. He  LOVES this thing... and it seems, in the last few days to have gone away.

the inevitable invitation to view him on a black background

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back to the real world...

Back to the everyday world...

an attempt to get artsy, to step beyond my usual Great Big Bug Picture and photograph something with a broader appeal... It really should be viewed on a black background to be appreciated

Gold Miner

Gold Miner
Gold Miner, originally uploaded by use2blost.

This too, I like...

Say Grace...

Say Grace...

I am pretty pleased with this pic... I feel like I am approaching the limits of what I can do without upgrading my camera, or moving much more slowly

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

not the best hummer, but better than nothing

Happy but not satisfied... it's a good thing I'm broke - I would blow the power bill on feeders and bright red annuals.
I know I haven't been posting consistently. I know, I am letting down my loyal readers - both of you... Hang in there.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Suzie - Q


2008 07 04_0782, originally uploaded by use2blost
The newest addition to the family... Some guys I have brunch with on Saturdays were talking about how somebody had thrown a dog over one guys fence, and he found it in the morning. I mentioned how worried I was about my dog  Jack, about 105 yrs, canine.
was spending his days alone since I became unexpectedly unfamilied. They immediately began to tell me I need the dog. I said I wasn't even unpacked and expected to be a starving full-time student in a few weeks. Herky said if I took the dog he would pay to have her spayed and shot. heh heh. two weeks later, I'm still waiting. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Balance....

like most Ideals, can never be reached, but like most disciplines, I can set markers up along the path, goals that approach the Ideal with ever-increasing proximity. For instance, I will never reach my fantasy level of physical conditioning, with the sculpted abs, rock hard biceps and wrangler filling buttocks of a disciplined man of leisure (what a concept!) however... I can exercise enough to maintain a reasonable level of physical fitness. Right? And there are people Who are good at it, those beings with high level of function, and a marked shortage of Dys in their lives. It's there... it's not the same slap-you-in-the-face case that permeates almost every level of my existence. I wonder what I can do about this, and if balance is even a VALID CONCEPT
It kinda doesn't jive with the whole "seek first the kingdom  of heaven" thing



Friday, July 4, 2008

Photography...

Has reached into my psyche and grabbed me at a fundamental level... In February I uploaded my first of what I think of as family archive pics to Flickr, the Yahoo! Photo sharing service. It was a neat little deal, I thought, something I could fart around with. A few weeks ago, The borders of my life were drastically redrawn, and as coping mechanisms, I started posting to my blog more consistently, purchased a couple of cameras, and began in earnest as I discovered how effective photography, writing, and interaction with the online community could be in temporarily escaping pain. Now blogging, I love... but it is difficult, and writing for me is a slow, torturous process. (I have heard creativity described as birth pangs, but being a male, I must equate it to extreme constipation, that has reached a critical level, and will be resolved, either with happy, excruciating pain, or death. you know what I mean...) and my writing is definitely better some days than others. Photography, on the other hand rewards volume, and if you take enough pictures, you gonna get a jewel sooner or later. Mamma's Losin' It claims to be an "attention craving poodle", and I can identify with this, though I am not a purebred. As my nuclear family dissolved, and my web traffic went through a tiny climb, I realized that attention, even fleeting, and from perfect strangers, felt good, and my pictures have gotten more than my blog. As a writer, and a photographer, my skills hover a RRCH over mediocrity, with the occasional shining moment, but photography is easier and burns more calories. My friend Insane Mamma (not her real name... there is a Stalker out there) reminds us the life-changing circumstances and events can hardwire associations between stimuli and memories and photos can surely be a trigger, like scents, and music, but they can also do this on a more general level bringing up feelings of 
as well as taking us back to another place and time. 
Anyway, photography has become my drug, or my mistress, and I have spent most of the day writing about it, stepping out back to do it or editing the results of it. I have got to get a handle on some things, and as a birthday present to myself, I am going to try to have a little more balance to life (ha ha, right) but  maybe not till Sunday

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Circumcision, Lust, and Sexual Purity... Really. If you don't follow the links, I'm gonna sound crazy

 And I might Be...My wife is dating one of my friends. She called me from his phone this afternoon. It's the weirdest  feeling. My heart is healing... maybe? There is frustration inside directed at my father in Heaven as I struggle with my issues of sexual purity. On the one hand, I see the wisdom of many of the accepted church teachings on the morality of sex, and God's rules for fidelity, and it's protective role in preserving a healthy nuclear family. My own dysfunction, and the baggage I see around me makes a good case for it, But what about me? I have lost, or never had any sexual purity by Church Standards, (what do I have to lose?)and God's Standards are somewhat different. The Church position on lust is, I believe, a misinterpretation of scripture, that guilt trips possibly millions of Evangelical Men (yeah, I went there!). Now, this is kinda freaky, but a graduate of the Church Of God (uh huh, those guys) Bible Institute has a discourse on the Church's faulty definition of lust in, of all things, an article on OMG! masturbation! (I know, I know!). Part of me wants to take comfort in the closeness of physical intimacy with someone who loves me very much, and the reasons I keep from doing so become more suspect as I delve into truth. Why Torture myself? I agree with Denver Cheddie's take on the faultiness of the Church's definition of lust. (though some of his other stuff, I reserve judgement on... it's fascinating a read, though) If the Church definition of immorality is similarly skewed, there has been a terrible joke played on a lot of people. Of course, the Church would never abuse thousands, just ask the victims of the Inquisition, The Crusades, or the Salem Witches. I don't wanna  get on my soap box, But I just can't help it, tonight. My bitterness runs close to the suface, and the legitimacy of the the Canon is questionable if you read the bible in english, which I touch on in my comment on Chris Taylor's Blog regarding Peter's statement to the new Christian men about cutting off their foreskins, among other things. Thank God I was done at birth.
Anyway, It is once again after Midnight, and I have been a Good! Boy! I think I see torches outside...

finepix 6-17-08 243 widescreen edit

I know, this is getting redundant.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Daddy, I gotta pee.


Daddy, I gotta pee., originally uploaded by use2blost.

Jack is the best Dog in the world, He's 15

Dragonfly Blues


Dragonfly Blues, originally uploaded by use2blost.

The bugs seldom cooperate by sitting still. this photo was originally backlit, but thank God for PhotoShop. Brightness and Saturation was adjusted, no color substitution was made...the original is uploaded in a side by side but justice is done to him Here

Monday, June 30, 2008

Anyway, I brought home from the mountains a ton of pictures to sort, and a few foundational truths to rebuild my faith on... and rather than repost this list every time I update it, I shall edit as the days go by...
  1. The Universe is the result of Intelligent design. Even a layman's passing awareness of the laws of entropy preclude the serious consideration that the space-time continuum is an accident.
  2. The appearance of Jesus, the Christ, Yeshua Ben-Joseph, is established History.
  3. Yeshua claimed to be one with the Creator, The God of Abraham, The God of Issac,  Adonai, Yaweh. His credentials, were established beyond question when He rose from the dead.
  4. The veracity of scripture is not in question, for me. By the established protocols of archeological discipline, we have more copies, closer in age to the originals, than any other ancient manuscripts (reference)  
  5. The Gospels are the word of God, inspired in a way we cannot completely comprehend, divine truth nonetheless flavored with the personalities of the authors Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
  6. Jesus, accepted the Torah. I must accept the Old Testament in it's entirety... in matters such as these, I gotta go with the Guy That Rose From The Dead.
  7. Jesus, did not preach on the Ten Commandments, (perhaps we should follow that model) What he did stress, was that  we " Love 45  the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 46  22:38This is the first and greatest 47  commandment. 22:39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 48  22:40 All the law and the prophets depend 49  on these two commandments.” now interestingly enough, this places the emphasis on the first commandment, and indicates that if we treat the people around us poorly, we dishonor it. Hmmm...That makes things simple, though still impossible. Surely there must be a balance between Grace, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  "Love your neighbor as yourself" completely removes any justification for self-righteousness and the prerequisite hypocrisy. These were the sins that Jesus spoke against, and he reserved the one scriptural incident of premeditated violence for those men who were fleecing the poor with the backing of established religion. your Jesus' pet peeve was self righteousness, and taking advantage of the poor pissed him off to the point where he actually beat people up. (Mark, 11;17)....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I was surprised by the post on

Insane Mama's  blog this morning.  As a few comments have showed up, here and there, and I have surfed links, from blog to blog, the connections have taken me many places... When I first stumbled across her posting on a Stalker, I was captivated, and quickly caught up on all the installments. Other than the James Saga, I browse lightly, since I cannot even find the time keep up with my own writing. I have not gone through Miss Insane's archives, but this morning's posting seemed to be of an unusual flavor, though well written, as always. It comforted me, possibly because a lot of my own posting seems to be an exploration of pain. 
I had great time hiking last weekend, though in terms of soul-searching, you could say that I fell down on the job, if you thought of soul searching as an aggressive action that you undertake with structure, and careful planning, as a spiritual discipline. This is what I use to think myself, but my feelings are changing... things seem not as clear. My understanding of God had been torn down, some time ago, but I think I simply would not acknowledge it. As a child, the earliest communications from denominational Christians, made little sense, and it seems inexplicable to me that I did not reject the existence of Christ out of hand, and this, I attribute to the Holy Spirit, and a blind belief in my earthly father. I was never taken to church as child, but he read me Bible stories when I was young, and had never yet caught him in a lie. 
For the last 10 years or so, I have moved toward Christ, and have called myself a Christian for seven or eight years. I am sure we all go through emotional pain, and who is to say whose is worse, but it seems to me that I have hurt for a long time. I can see many blessings, in my life, and I am very aware that I have it better than many, But recent events have struck me hard, and my faith does not comfort me. I reach for an invisible God, and he is silent.  Peter Lord tells us that God is speaking still, and we have to learn to hear him. What kind of love is that? I have a hard time reconciling myself with the Idea, that God has something He wants me to hear, but the information is lost because of a failing on my part. 
Anyway, I brought home from the mountains a ton of pictures to sort, and a few foundational truths to rebuild my faith on...
  1. It begins tomorrow...or maybe later

Thursday, June 19, 2008

colored droplets


colored droplets, originally uploaded by use2blost.

I gotta thank pioneer woman... she's got some great tutorials, and reminded me about photoshop elements... I had downloaded the free trial a few months ago (I am all about a free trial!!) and promptly forgot about it after the grace period ran out. This edit job may seem little cliche to the accomplished photographer, but I had a lot of fun. Photoshop and OCD really complement each other. this is the SOOC (I just learned what that means!)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chris vs The Rodent.

He has a better sense of smell (though, I probably smell better), a better sense of hearing, and probably better eyesight, since I have the eyes of a man 30 years older... also, he is more agile, and better looking. Kelsie took a picture of me yesterday, and I have never seen myself more repulsive, lol. I would post a link( or maybe I wouldn't) but I have reached my upload limit for this month on my photostream. I refuse to pay 30 bucks for a pro account at least until I have made it up to the mountains... These days, that's a hundred bucks gas, if I go straight there and straight back
Anyway, the battle of wits began when he started raping my birdfeeders and violated the big stash on the front porch. I decided he must be photographed. Lately I need something to occupy a little time, and the photo obsession has done nicely. After all, I have not the resources, time, or inclination to chase women, and I am too lethargic, and depressed to clean my house. (I try, really!). Flowers, I seem to have mastered, and birds have posed too challenging to date.  I have failed repeatedly to get a shot worth archiving. It seems that as a child all you had to do was throw out some bread, and they would come... but a squirrel, I thought would be doable. This has been an learner for sure. He spooks easily, and quickly runs away. I was lucky enough, to catch him looking at the wreckage of his earlier attack on my birdseed today, and got a pretty good shot, here: 

Now, this is not a particularly good pic, but I was able to get a little better, through the open patio door:


I was still not content, but fearful- this was much closer than I had even gotten to him before. This shot:


was the high point of my afternoon. A gift. It was actually taken through one of my kitchen windows, and even so, I only got off three before the skittish little fella took off. I am so pleased. A good close up for me. Hair texture, with good clarity is my goal. As my eye develops, I will work on lighting and composition. 

Good Night

 


 

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Dad: December 8, 1946 - May 13, 2008

I still find it almost impossible to get to sleep at a decent hour. I have gotten out of bed, ran down to to the store and fetched some cigarettes (I find lately, I am unable to muster up the courage to quit). It's been a while since I was at the store after midnight... kinda interesting clientele.

Macon State College has offended me. Over twenty years ago I attended on a GED after being thrown out of high school at 17, and promptly flunked out. I have transferred there this semester, on the honor roll at my previous school, and they have withheld my financial aid for academic performance. WTF? It's been two decades! This is probably for the best, with Dad dying unexpectedly and the whole divorce thing. Starting four classes a week after the funeral would not have been fun. But the appeals process is frustrating. I had set up my finances to live as a full time student, and things are just getting so complicated. I can't sign off on the house until the divorce is final, I have discontinued my advertising none of my plans seem to be working out. After painting or driving nails all day, I have little energy to fill out paperwork, be supportive of my father's widow, and tend to my Aunt, since I have become her guardian. 

I just need to get to the mountains. It's been too long. The last night I was there, New Years Day the hiker Meredith Emerson was killed, and I never even left the trailhead. It was snowing, and I had the creepiest feeling. I remember taking a leak, and my spirit screaming at me to GET BACK IN THE TRUCK!. I rode the trailhead loop several times, and just couldn't get okay with walkin' up the mountain in the dark. I ended sliding down snowy, two-lane blacktop to Dalonega, getting coffee and driving home. Not being much for newspapers, and watching TV It was a phone call from Kentucky that put me in the loop a few days later. Its been months since I thought of that night. Over the last few days, as I have been gathering up the shredded remnants of my faith, I find my hindsight revealing divine guidance, I just have a hard time making everything fit, and living in the moment. 


Sunday, June 8, 2008

kodak 710 196


kodak 710 196, originally uploaded by use2blost.

I love this shot... I have been so lost in the macro thing lately... I forgot about people. A couple friends asked me to take a few photo's at a fundraiser I had never in my life had a chance to photograph so many people, who mostly ignored me. I had great time.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

finally158


finally158, originally uploaded by use2blost.

whooo hoooo!!! I am not content... but I am pleased that I have at least gotten this far...there are technical aspects of macro focusing that I do not understand completely. I have seen some pics that blow me away... like this one This woman is one of my faves

Thursday, June 5, 2008

samsung 010


samsung 010, originally uploaded by use2blost.

or a sunflower, without archie's truck in the background

samsung l200 057


samsung l200 057, originally uploaded by use2blost.

I am finally starting to have a little luck with the macro/closeup thing...my fantasy is to get an insect...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Awakening

spontaneously, at a very early hour, makes me wonder if God has something to say to me. I first got this idea at a planning meeting for a men's retreat. This is one of the pitfalls of growing up in a home without any childhood indoctrination. When you speak with a clergyman who seems to break the mold, so to speak. You begin to speculate...(woe is me, lol) Now, in spite of practicing the morning quiet time thing religiously on and off for years (can you do anything religiously on and off?) I have yet to hear: "GO OUT IN THE YARD AND BUILD A BIG BOAT...PUT ANIMALS IN IT." or, "GET YOUR SLINGSHOT AND GO AFTER THE BIG GUY...DON'T WORRY, YOU CAN TAKE HIM" I have never heard, " STRUGGLE WITH THE ISSUE NO LONGER...I REALLY AM HERE, AND DESPITE THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE NO SIGNIFICANT ROLE TO PLAY IN THE REDEMPTION OF HUMANITY, I DO CARE ABOUT YOU A LITTLE BIT. YOU ARE NOT A SUPERSTITIOUS IDIOT, YOUR LIFE MATTERS TO ME, AND I AM PULLING SOME STRINGS FOR YOU. I have never even heard YES. or NO. What's up with that? Once, I thought I heard something. It involved taking an action that was in alignment with the will and character of God as stated in scripture, I sought counsel (from the Body of Christ, not just some yahoo on the street) and the situation exploded in my face. The ripples of this gargantuan (and expensive) stone, which I threw into my water, still spread throughout the pond to this day, some two years later. I still haven't heard "OOPS".  Andy Stanley, makes the point that God is the creator of communication, (Discovering Gods Will) and no where in the bible, does anybody say "what?... could you repeat that?... I'm not sure I heard you correctly." ( I don't know if he forgot about Gideon of if my memory of scripture is inaccurate... regardless, Yahweh, according to the Bible, has an excellent record of making Himself clearly understood). 
Now, here is the rub: Scripture only addresses individuals who play a role of strategic significance in God's redemptive plan, or play a necessary role in illustrating an accurate picture of Divine Character. There is no book of Joe. Or Jane. Scripture does not address the Average Slob. We get no direct description of how such an individual can expect to be treated in a relationship with the Almighty. Everything is inferred and this pop theology is presented to us from the pulpit. As for the Bible thumping "Gawd speaks to us throo his worduh!", Peter Lord reminds us in Hearing God, that a huge number of Christians lived and died before Guttenberg's printing press, and never owned a Bible. 

Monday, May 26, 2008

Drinking coffee, and reaching for the divine

connection, a fleeting sense of my Savior's prescence. I wonder about Gods will...,His plan for me, and is my will confusing the issue for him (I am so powerful, after all lol). This post is killing me, a sentence every third day...I still struggle with depression, but my friend nudged me, and one of my rare commenter's said that "Blogging helps for me - sometimes". I think I need time alone to process, and give my God space to work in my heart, to promote the forming of scabs over wounds that are still so fresh. I also need community, The living anchors that God has placed in my life. This balance is difficult to reach. I hunger for routine, believing that habit, when harnessed, lets you multi task, accomplishing chores, errands, while your concentration is fixed on Life, and walking in love. Routine, is such an elusive thing for me...for instance, I never get ready the same way two mornings in a row. In my mind it is almost an Idol. It brings to mind the ritualism that permeates so much denominational Christianity. Religion, as opposed to relationship. That is not to say (OMG! I am actually writing!!!) that ritual kills relationship...I once had a girlfriend who would bring me coffee and set it on the nightstand...strong, sweet, and creamy-I can taste it now. This became a comfort to me, and before long, I began returning the favor. This small act, became steeped in associations of love and nurturing, ( for me, at least) both the giving and the receiving became a relational act that was of low intensity, but powerful impact.
Ahh, lookit that. I just softened a little, toward religianity! I actually could chase this rabbit for a while, but it is Midnight, and exhaustion makes me miserable, and I need to preserve what little edge I have...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bitterness

I grow uncomfortable with the direction my thoughts goto. My posting has degenerated from speculation about life and theology, to whining, self pity and pain. It's kind of embarrassing. I even became a tad rude and arrogant in response to a comment here It has been a little cathartic I'm sure, but it has also been a distraction from working through a lot of my feelings( what a pity!) I have been watching this trend and doing nothing about it, probably in self-preservation. I have struggled with some unhealthy coping behavior in my past, and I think you never really lose a bad habit...It's like riding a bicycle. You may keep it in the shed, gathering dust, and not ride for quite some time, or even get rid of the bicycle completly, But you ain't forgot how to ride, I promise you. and Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys r Us, are littered with new and better bikes. If in the broadest sense sin, or "missing the mark" is simply falling short of perfection, Then perhaps, for the Christian, it is an addiction to depravity...the compulsion/obsession with choosing the will of the flesh over the will of the Spirit within. It also occurs to me, that these thoughts, expressed outside of prayer are like a man having sex several times a week with his mistress. He is less inclined to seek intimacy at home. (I love Rob Bell's book sex god: exploring the endless conections between sexuality and spirituality). There is a correlation, possibly, between my rant on post, and my continued dryness of prayer/meditiation. I wonder which is cause, and which is effect, and do they flip-flop?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I read my bible a little

This morning, at the men’s breakfast. We were studying the passage in Daniel, where he interprets Neb’s dream, and Dr. Dan, who has been teaching for the last few weeks, was talking about God’s sovereignty and total control, and it really rubbed me the wrong way. My anger and frustration came out and I questioned the canonization/rejection of ancient writing, the leading of the spirit, and made an argument for the voluntary abdication of divine power and control for the sake of free will, the indispensable precursor to Love. I was perhaps arrogant, and definitely raw, as well as short on sleep. (These men, mostly older, wiser, and much more successful than me, have been so patient over the last year). This episode was mildly embarrassing to me, but I find I have a hunger to reconnect with my God…

Small Goup

I go to three bible studies/small groups. I cannot imagine what state I would be in without those connections. While I have not renounced my faith, there is undeniable repproach in my "personal" relationship with God, who seems so silent, when I want most to hear him, and my prayers/private devotions have been practically non-existant. My Thursday night group is listed on the church calendar as the "misfits" possibly because we are mostly new Christians (I don't know about Bonnie...), but for the first week of my Father's death, I needed a babysitter (for myself!) and Bonnie and Janel especially, stepped right up to the plate, though neither has known me long. Andy Stanley states that spiritual maturity is indicated "not by how much you know-but by how well you love", that familiarity with principles and doctrine are a means to an end, good only insamuch as they improve our knowlege of, and resemblance to, the Character of Jesus Christ. I have made poor choices during episodes of devastating pain more than once. Or twice. Or three times. With their support, I seem to have made it through the first week...They gave me food, company, and money ( I am a very small contractor, and an unplanned week without working, during a divorce and move left me unable to buy so much as a can of coffee). The Misfits, have been for me, a classic example of what Jesus meant when he instructed the knowledgable pharisee to "go and do likewise"
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