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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rubber, meet Road.


ryan and jenny bw, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     Wow.
     This was a milestone for me. The last couple of weeks, in between life shaking events, I have tried to learn a little more about shooting people, Hoping to kinda head in that direction. Yesterday, Debbie called and informed me about contractions, dilation, and other disturbing things having to do with the maternal vagina. She closed the phone call by informing me that belly shots of her daughter-in-law had to happen immediately, or during the next pregnancy. This was done in a loving, unpressuring tone of voice. Baby can send pressure, and threatening gloom simply with the power of her mind....often her voice is not involved. But I'm not saying she did that, here.
     So I strapped on some gear and tripodery (which I barely used,) and ran over to Ryan and Jenny's.
     Kapronto.
     Now, you should know I have an emotional scar...
     Decades ago, I had hair, enough that it had to be cut by a professional. Said professional went into a quick, intense labor during my incompleted 80's hair maintenance. I'll save the details for another post, but laboring women leave me feeling endorkened, with  fear and a sense of unfinished business.
    Anyway, I got a couple shots, and the laptop has been converting raw files all night, and Lily Saddler arrived. Yeah. the baby came shortly after I took this picture. Actually I got a few shots of Jenny wincing with contractions. I'll ask If I can display them in my public photos. I have never been around for the birth of a baby. and I am excited. It occurs to me I can abandon this slow, laboring laptop, run over to the Women's Center, and get some shots of cheesy, eye-boogery, howling perfection. I am going to teach her how to fly fish.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Imitating My Father.


This Is What I Do In the Bathroom..., originally uploaded by use2blost.     
Bigger

Love. Big, broad topic. Posted on it a few times...I'll try not to do it again for a little bit, so here goes:

     Love.
     The kind  patient thing. More important than the really impressive stuff, like speaking in angelic languages, or foretelling the future. Superior to faith and hope.  1st Corinthians 13 is probably the definitive passage on love. Paul explains it in detail. Paul doesn't mention (in this passage) that it's the only way to imitate God. The only way you can intentionally imitate God is by loving.
     Unless you can walk on water.
     Or sling together a space-time continuum, like our mascot.
     Imitating is not to be confused with resemblance. Imitating is better.  We resemble our Father, we are an image of him. There are things about you that are inexplicably beautiful, for this reason. Looking like Daddy is cute, but it's nothing compared to putting Daddy's hat on or grabbing Daddy's briefcase, and swaggering through the doorway, a tiny little voice intoning dadspeak over the shoulder as baby wanders off. That's even cuter. I guess that's my love angle. Imitating Jesus. Cuz I can do that. Some days I can even do it well.
    Often, I'm sadly lacking patience, kindness, spiritual fruitiness. I'm experienced at keeping track of your screwups, and of the times you've hurt me. Yadda yadda. I sometimes rejoice in injustice or the bad fortune of others...and I'm hoping y'all do too, or I'm even worse than I thought.
     I hope my failure to measure up to the standard I hold is a human condition, not a personal failing.

Perhaps agape sojourned here for 33 years, visiting from another world, the only place it occurs naturally. Perhaps love left a picture. Maybe we are just trying to sketch the photograph we have been given. Perhaps some of us sketch better than others.

    My love is bad. However, I can sometimes for a few moments, on a situational basis, imitate Jesus. I have these occasional episodes of shining excellence. I pull it off and you are amazed, or impressed, or converted. Andy Stanley talks about not having to ask a question, because he knew what his father was going to say, because he knew his father that well. There perhaps is a point where we reach an intuitive understanding of God's character (Only the tip of the iceberg...), and can begin to practice the imitation of God. This is probably where I should concentrate. Not on a bar set impossibly high by myself, my denomination, or the pulpit I sit in front of.
     There are I times when I know what he wants me to do. I can look back and spot these times. Practice lets me recognize them as they occur.Sometimes courage lets me seize the moment, sometimes fear drives me to scurry past it. As always, repetition promotes competency...and that other stuff, the spiritual fruit.

More about love @ Bridget's

About the photo:
I practice my hubris. I flex my chutzpah. This is my first attempt at staging a concept. Since it is the easiest room in the house to convert into a ghetto lighting studio, I do some strange things in the hall bathroom, but this takes the cake. I am hugely surprised...Twelve layers processed in PS elements, and Dynamic Photo. Everything except yours truly is taken from the Hubble website, and nope, I'm not wearing any panties!. I plan to post in a blog carnival thing on love and I've never done it before...the angle I intend to explore is love as an imitation of God....sort of  "in His image..." speculations. Thus, a visual pun.
For the ghetto lighting group...I'm standing in my bathroom perpendicular to the mirror using onboard flash, which was evidently aimed right at my tattoo.



Monday, December 28, 2009

Jack


Jack relaxing in the sun, originally uploaded by use2blost.

I felt my back catch, as I tried to stretch the kink out of it...that feeling that another quarter inch would take me down and have me in bed for twenty four hours, desperate for steroids and a visit to my chiropractor. I winced and began to move a little more gingerly as I shuffled about this morning, planning the death of my dog. I was up late (after midnight) and up early (5 0'clock, baby.)I am tired. Now I write, the voice demands it, and I wait for Debbie. Momma wants to go. She wants to take her puppy to the vet, and probably keep an eye on me. I am keenly aware that I am fallen, my world is broken, and only love redeems these things. Today is a bad day. Today as I see Jack struggle and wonder if I waited too long, I know there is something wrong with the world, I remember with embarrassment a casually caustic, irreverent prayer on the 23 of October. Cast upward on the smoke of the blogosphere, a gauntlet in the face of my God.

For over two more months, Jack seemed to bounce back. He regained his feet, and began to hold food down again, though it grew increasingly difficult to find items to tempt him. He seemed an old, decrepit, easily tired version of himself, following daddy around, waiting for me to stop so he could lay down in whatever room we were in. There has been a slow but noticeably decline that grew exponentially worse the last 36 hrs. I know he shall not bounce back from this and after my girlfriend arrives, I will take him down and have him put to death because I love him.

I feel like it is my responsibility. For over a decade If I was near Jack, and looked at him, I often found him with his attention fixed upon me waiting to see if I desired a companion for whatever endeavor was in the wings. He forgave quickly, except for maybe the baths...and would avoid me if I was showing my ass. He ate what we had, housebroke like no dog I'd ever known, and defended his territory with ferocity once we had women and children to protect.

The master/dog dynamic has a few disturbing concepts, analogous to the Creator/creature relationship. Master understands things so far above the dog's level, there is no point even trying to convey the Master's understanding. Sometimes master denies things to doggie, for good reasons doggie doesn't understand. Master get lots more enjoyment over a dog that comes when he's called, than a dog that is always leashed, and under thumb (or at least this master does). I cannot imagine letting Jack continue to suffer. Why does God handle his pets differently ?

That was quite an ordeal. I've never put my Dog to death before.

I'm gonna have a few beers, and dig a hole. And BTW...my left-handed prayer, uttered when I first planned to kill my dog, was over two months ago. Thank you, Lord.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Pidgin Bible


Overgrown, originally uploaded by use2blost.
Is an interesting translation...

Da Boss Above, he take care me,
  Jalike da sheep farma take care his sheeps.
  He goin give me everyting I need.

He let me lie down wea da sweet an soft grass stay.
  He lead me by da water wea I can rest.

He give me new kine life.
  He lead me in da road dat stay right,
  Cuz I his guy.


Is that not the coolest thing? You can check it out Here 
I stumbled over it on this guy's blog

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Reflections


Debbie Shows Love, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     I think on love often. The Character of God. My Savior. Patient, kind, conveniently forgetful of my wrongs, and blindly optimistic about my character. He hopes and believes all things about me. This Friday, Christmas morning, I am thinking about love since I intend to post on it in a day or three... and I am at the Houston County detention center. This is a repeat of  Thanksgiving morning. My girlfriend's youngest son is in jail, visitation is especially important on these days and of course free ranging family and friends must be connected with also. This demanding day makes it a good idea to visit our prisoner first. I'm not even allowed back to see him (I'm not on the list...possibly because I threw the young man out of my house some time ago.)
     Thanksgiving Day I rode down with Debbie, on our way to dinner with her family, and walked around outside the jail and sat in the car as she saw her son through a piece of glass. It was actually not a terrible day for her. Her son had been in for a few days, and the shock had worn off. My Debbie is a coper, a survivor, and this young man has given her a lot of practice...the shock wears off quicker now. Thanksgiving morning everyone also expected Kalan to get out soon, so this was just something that sucked a lot, but we would get have him home for Christmas. It was not as rough as it could have been, for those of us outside. We found out later he would not quite make it home by Christmas, but he would be out by the 29th. That was too bad, and the holiday spirit at Debbie's house got a little more blue.
     My Baby loves with a heart to melt icebergs, and when something like this happens, she shoves the additional pain deeper and tries to be herself for the rest of us... other kids, grandkid, and boyfriend.
     I guess Wednesday, we found out Kalan is scheduled to remain incarcerated for several months, and Debbie's spirits plummeted. Christmas Eve was bad. Debbie has to work 7 to 7 today so I rode to Perry with my littler baby to visit her brother, providing moral support, and the gaining the pleasure of worrying about how she drives on wet pavement.
     It is cold and wet, so I am inside. Thinking about love. This is my first time in the building. The guards did not want me to take pictures, and I've been on the other side of the glass before, so I'm not gonna argue. I’m thinking about love, and wondering if Starbucks is open…Somebody that loves me gave me a 4 day job. I was broke until 4:30 Christmas eve, and would love to get some Starbucks cards for the kids, and nieces that I’ll see in a few hours. Debbie would probably love some Starbucks, later as well. Sometimes, on days like Christmas, the ER can get a little bit sporty. Debbie loves a treat like coffee, about eight hours into her twelve hour shift. I think about love as I notice the traffic, here at the Houston County detention center. Twelve people shortly after nine o’clock. Here to see their prisoner on Christmas morning. I'm thinking about drama, heartbreak and aggravation, I'm remembering Douglas John Hall- "God's problem is not that God is not able to do certain things. God's problem is that God loves. Love complicates the life of God as it complicates every life."
     I'm thinking about love and going to see my Aunt Judy in the nursing home later, and my friend that lost his job Monday because of office politics and a bad economy. I think about the baby to be born any day now... a little girl named Lily, and the puppies I suspect inhabit the womb of my bitch, Suzie. (Gotta love an unexpected litter of puppies. oops.). Love is our benchmark. Boards. The Exam for How Well You Live, or your spiritual development.
      Yes.
      Anytime you want to check your spiritual GPA, you just take the love test. God has left copies of it laying around all over the universe. You can find one. How well do you love? or, since that's none of my business how well do I love? This is what I'm thinking about now, back at the ranch. or back at the split-level, with the 3/4 basement and a moisture problem.
     Mysterious.
     Paradoxical.
     Noun. Verb.
     The Character of God.
     Love. Exactly what the hell is it? Am I any good at it?
     Tonight I will spoon on the couch, with a tired, marvelous, green-eyed blonde, and watch a movie with a hot cup of raspberry zinger, a bag of buttered popcorn on the side. I will think about love and be amazed. I will be warm, full, and lost in a sea of drowsiness and contentment. I may snore a little, from time to time. I have it worse than many, but better than so many more.
     Who am I?
     I think on love often.

     Merry Christmas, and special blessings to those of you who stroke the traffic whore in me, with your pageviews, and the wonderful comments that make me feel honored.  Special thanks as well, to those who visit the prisoners...in cells, beds, and broken lives. Thank you to my brothers and sisters who have brought me a cup of cold water in the name of love incarnate.

     Merry Christmas, and thank you Debbie,
     You are patient, kind, conveniently forgetful of my wrongs, and blindly optimistic about my character. You hope and believe all things about me. You even let me write about your personal stuff. You look kinda like a really hot Jesus. You make an A+ on the Love Test baby, in every way. May your thirst be quenched.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Where's that little Jewish kid?


Where's that little Jewish kid?, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     Actually, that title is misleading...any Roman soldiers around on the night of Jesus's birth would have been an unrelated matter, as far as anything in reality can be said to be unrelated to Jesus... The massacre of young Jewish boys happens later, after Herod put two and two together...and realized the Magi had blown him off. But that first dude on the left looks mean, baby. He wasn't drafted. He was a volunteer.
Larger

      I sometimes to hunger to write. It helps to quiet the voices, if I write about the right thing. There is no rhyme or reason to what the voices want. It can be anything. Writing for school usually doesn't satisfy this need (the paper on homosexuality, and the one on Rose Hill were exceptions.) Sometimes the writing seems to flow, and of course sometimes the well is dry. Though satisfying the voices is mysterious and  unconnected to factors like ease or significance, what stirs them up is easier to figure out.
      Often it is simply the passage of time. We must let our pet/demon out to play, or it whines. A kind of literary blue balls, the need to release the buildup of thoughts, that my spirit interprets as stress.
     Stress.
     Pain.
     Any discomfort intense enough to arouse special notice stimulates the questions, theories, and speculations as well as the undercurrent of babble. (It sounds like I'm a nut, doesn't it?) There is never a directive to put on a black duster and go shoot folks... The voices never claim to be God, or Lucifer, and thankfully they never tell me I am God or Lucifer. (Sometimes I wonder "was that you, Lord?", and obviously I will sometimes entertain the notion that it comes from the other guy.)
     When did the habit of journaling for mental health reasons become addiction? And why is there such a strong link between pain and creativity?
      It is written that God is love. The Biblical history shows that Love begets love, and the prerequisite of free will guarantees pain for the creator. It is inevitable. Of course there is delight, and much joy in creation (some say they are "not creative" and they are wrong. They just haven't found it, it's there. They are an image of a creator, after all.) but maybe as we display the "Imago Dei".... God's image, the link between pain and creativity is simply the way things are. A price that is non-negotiable. The stones scattered liberally through the rich soil of creativity come with the territory. As we plow this field, they are simply something that must be dealt with. Is this a picture or the way things are? Is it an insight, through which we garner a deeper, wordless (ha ha) familiarity with the Ancient of Days?

      I'm wanting to step into portraiture, and/or professional photography. Twice this year, The pressures of a commercialized Holiday season have led clients to conclude painting can wait.
      "We're gonna have to reschedule, Chris."
     Shit. You're killing, me. You're making me want to write.
      Shooting kids for money would come in handy LOL.The going rate around here seems to start at about 80 bucks for a house call, and it begins to get complicated quickly. There are charges for prints, editing, ect. Furthermore, It is field populated by small independent parties. Not the most fertile ground for friendly advice...about business practices, or surprisingly, technique. I'm getting better. A half a dozen times I've been told my pictures are worth money, and  lately I am making a conscious effort to gain experience shooting people. I wonder if there is a niche for a local photographer who simple deals in files...and leaves printing to the client, who can shop around for the best deal?
    Well. Finals are happening right now, I just found my bathroom full of water, and my transmission went out. But the he voices are a little quieter, now. Maybe I can get something done. 1 paper, 1 comprehensive exam on the structure of American government. Two more hurdles to go...If I have to drop out of school, I'm leaving with a 4.0.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Whoah.


Whoah., originally uploaded by use2blost.



I didn't know my software could do this...this may seem stupid in a day or two, but I'm tickled right now. This is an old file...taken with an old, crappy camera. You actually have to slap it hard three or four times to get it turned on. Anyway, I was sick of studying.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Going to Hell.



Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(NIV, 1st Corinthians 6:9-11)
Chris, have any thoughts on the "washed" part? I call myself a Christian yet I drink more than my wife thinks I should. Why haven't I been washed of the desire to drink? Greed, I would rather put money in my bank account than give it to a church (don't attend), yet I don't mind sharing with the guy who has the 'will work for food' sign. "...will not inherit the kingdom of God.." does this mean I am going to hell? Didn't Noah dring alot?
     This is a written reprimand against denominations. (my first heresy of the day!) the other stuff is incidental, and I myself will place the words in red before the words of Paul, and I don't believe that ongoing sin causes us to lose favor with God. Ya know, I don't read Greek or Hebrew (I've actually got some curriculum laying around, for when I get caught up...when I got it the first glance was intimidating :D), but your average churchy fella will probably say that this refers to our being "cleansed" of sin. There are lotsa verses people quote. I like "as far as the east is from the west." Quite a few Christians I have talked with teach that God does not even remember our sin (This is total bullshit...as Andy Stanley observes, if this were the case, every sermon that mentioned David nailing Bathsheba would leave God puzzled, and disoriented...divine Alzheimer's.)      Another popular doctrine is that we must ask for forgiveness each time we sin, in spite of the fact that Jesus died for every sin, past present or future. There are a dozen posts just in that concept alone...thanks for the fodder.           God has not removed your desire to drink. I don't know that he ever will. I predict if you continue to drink, the desire will become more entrenched. If we wanna go on a doctrinal acquisition foray through the Gospels, we find an interesting take on what mainstream religianity calls substance abuse.
  •       There is a serious party that has run out of the most popular drug of choice for that culture and that time.
  • Jesus's  Ma nudges him about this (she must think it's a problem...furthermore, she seems to think he can fix it and his first miracle, according to some, hasn't happened yet)
  • Jesus responds with an irritated "so what, Ma...you ain't the boss of me anymore"
  • Mary ignores him and tells servants to do whatever he says. ( Have you ever told your Mom you didn't wanna do as she asked, and she just acted like you never spoke? Mary invented this technique. I always forget, as this point in the story, Mary has got to at least  be in her early forties.
  • I've been to large weddings. When a large wedding has been drunk dry, their are a few serious buzzes stumbling around.
  • In spite of this, Jesus miraculously manufactures between 120 and 180 gallons of wine.
  • It's better than anything that has been drank so far that day/evening. (When Jesus makes drugs, he makes 'em good. You would expect no less.)
  • This takes us to a spiritual place the average Baptist (or any 'Alcohol Bad!' denominational) cannot bring himself to visit...Jesus has "kept the party going" with over 100 gallons of badass hooch when several people have already got a bellyful. This is recreational drug use.
     I get a few unconventional doctrines out of this.
  1. Obviously, Alcohol is not a sin.
  2. Quite possibly, getting mildly ripped upon occasion is viewed benevolently by God. Let it be so.
  3. It's okay to get irritated with your mother. Do what she asks, anyway.
Of course, Alcoholism is real. Will bite your ass. Just ask my ex wife.
     As to greed, IMO greed is not a have/don't have characteristic for most of us. It is a question of how much you got, and what form does it take. If you will give to a homeless guy, you must have a nugget of compassion, or guilt, or something buried in that little heart of yours. :)
    We know Noah got shitfaced at least once, we don't know if Noah drank a lot. I feel safe in assuming he didn't drink enough to be a fuckup.We all have a point where enough alcohol or any recreational drug for that matter, begins to degrade the quality of our life. I assure you that if we have begun to notice it, significant damage has already been done. There are places where "Hell" refers to the Jerusalem town dump, in the red ink, no less. There are references to the "Lake of Fire". Neither is a good spot to aim for, I would imagine. There is no place I know of where Jesus said "This is how to stay out of Hell"
     Religianity will detail things you must do to obtain what they call "The Free Gift Of Grace", which seems a contradiction to me, but I am a heretic. They will list ways you must feel, motives you must have, and even a chant you must utter, as in "repeat after me, to get saved".
     I don't think they quite grasp the reality of unmerited favor. I don't think you are going to hell.

     
Anonymous,
     I would like to mention a couple things.
     More than once, your comments have been sad. You drink. I don't know how much you drink, but drinking and sadness can precipitate a helluva nasty spiral and you know this, though it is easy to forget. If your wife has a problem, You have a problem. Period. Love comes with complications. Also, I've never met a wife who thought her husband drank too much....who was wrong about it. Your wife is afraid. Do something. These things don't go away and they will contribute to your sadness. And we know what sadness will contribute to, in a man who likes to catch a buzz. Be very careful.
    
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