Archive for December, 2003

They Changed What “It” Was

Saturday, December 27th, 2003

I hung out for the first time in epochs with my two greatest friends last night and I am left this morning with the kind of satisfied feeling one can only get from talking crap and listening to music until 3am with the guys who know you and like you the best (and me them). I’m also confused as to why our meetings have become so rare and number two New Year Resolution must be to re-institute our Sunday afternoon coffee sessions.

Number one is to continue my development on a new kind of musical instrument played by the feet that produces a sound like angels on high singing exultation. It must be powered by C size batteries and fit in a standard holdall gym bag. Development is coming along nicely and I hope that the Christmas Number One in 2005 will feature the Zoomio heavily in its bridge.

We discovered many things we had not previously known about music last night. The first of which is that Jay-Z based his “rap” in Beyonce’s shamefully brilliant song about the Uh-Ohs on annoying people behind you in the cinema who talk and talk right through the movie. Listen to it again. Pretty much he talks with a slightly “rap” attitude and mumbles incoherently. Beyonce grinds beside him while the car burns in the background. She is wearing a mink coat.

It breaks the great Uh-Oh-iness of the song. We much preferred the other bits with photographic bulbs flashing on a New York roof and scantily, illuminously clad girls stride purposefully away from an industrial fan.

If you try to describe music videos in a dry, academic sort of a way, their true nature as preposterous crap is revealed. At least it does with the hippity-hop music. If my thesis didn’t have to specifically deal with Ireland, I might try to discover the formula for hip-hop videos. I am sure that there is a mathematical function underneath the frequency and timing of the girl shaking her butt picture and the cleavaged girl leaning over shot and the male rapper saying something like “Alright alright!” and a female singing a “Uuuuuuuuh-Ohhhhh” at the start of the song like she was a street version of Christiana Skankuilera or Celine Dion.

My fiancé is returning from the back of beyond today. Who-hoo!

The three of us, when we are together, are referred to as the Triple Entente. We’re nerds like that. But last night leaves me convinced that it should happen more often. The highlight of the evening had to be A’s musical performance. A started on the guitar around the time that I started on the Christianity, five years ago. If we’re being honest, his motivation was to be more like Dave Matthews and to score chicks. To be honest, my motivation was to be more C.S. Lewis and to score chicks. For the last couple of years you couldn’t talk to either of us without us boring you to tears about it; him about the difference between widdling and shredding the guitar (The Darkness as opposed to Korn) and me about the difference between orthodoxy and orthopraxy (what we say we believe and what we do because we believe). Yet, now, we have both reached a level of comfort with our passions that we are engaging and amusing instead of freaky and abnormal and this was shown last night by A playing us a song that was the highlight of the evening.

He introduced it as a horribly sad Tom Waits song. Then he proceeded to blues-down Oops I Did It Again! with a perfect mimicry of Tom Waits’ singing style. So much more impressive than the years of chorus lines to Crash Into Me and Sympathy For the Devil on repeat that we endured. It was all for good though and he can expect a windfall of chicks his way before long.

On my home last night I bumped into Stigmund; another great friend I see far too rarely. His mom owned the Montessori school that I went to when I was 3 and there I met A who now plays Britney songs as tragedies. Stig was walking home from some kind of a crazy foreign exchange student party and he had with him his two great friends- Laura and Joey. My friends are from Leixlip, a suburb of Dublin. His two friends are from a compound city in the middle of a Columbian desert and they are fluent in three languages and studying classical art in Paris. They were freezing their southern hemisphere asses off in the frosty Irish night but its their fault for having had it so good most of their lives. Hopefully I can hang out much more in the coming weeks with them too.

The problem with that plan however is that my fiancé returns from the countryside today. Towards this event I actually have butterflies in my stomach. In the Mediterranean they say that you get mushrooms in your stomach instead of butterflies. What matters is that in one episode I remember, McGyver told a little girl with butterfly stomach to think of ice-cream and it would go away. I always liked viewing McGyver as primarily an alternative healer as a child. Maybe he was a crack hero as a day job to facilitate his study of Celtic herbery by night?

So when she returns I may forget about the rest of the world and just stay with her as she drinks herself into oblivion, as is her Saturday habit. She is preaching for the first time tomorrow so I am sure we are going to talk about Identity all night. That is the topic of her sermon. She will argue that the search for identity can end in Christianity because we are made full through belief in Christ. We are going to re-work her text to add more jokes and to include some words that one should always use in public speaking of any kind; which include plethora and smorgasbord.

-Your correspondent from Commerce, Tx.

Every newborn is a sign that God has not yet lost hope in the world

Wednesday, December 24th, 2003

So much has happened since I have neglected you, non-existent web readership. I held a baby for the first time in about 16 years. She was perfect, was Roisín Abigail. She sat calmly in my arms for an hour, only hiccupping now and again and sometimes looking at my big ears. I am assured that as she ages past her 2 weeks she will become more wary of people; even me. After about an hour, she shat her nappy, which is the first time anyone has ever done that to me. Yet, I wasn’t offended. I am a bigger man than to bear a grudge with Ro over something like that. She made such a hilarious scrunched up face as she did the deed that I could never get angry. When you are a little baby, every bodily function is a serious deal. Breathing seems to be a conscious effort and shitting was like giving birth. Except the nightmare for Ro had she actually thought she had given birth (that is, if she was even self-aware yet) was that instead of a little baby she’d have produced poo. Cruel irony. It happened to Philip Brennan’s parents. Allegedly.

I’m engaged in a bulletin board debate with an acquaintance over the Bible. I am aware of the fact that arguing online is kind of like being in the Special Olympics- it doesn’t matter if you win, you still appear to be disable… differently-abled.

He has brought up a huge amount of stuff that I feel can be dealt with better face to face but we aren’t friends. We are more like well-wishers; in that we mean each other no particular harm.

One of the things he brought up was the relevance of the Old Testament. What good is a thousand or so pages of legalism, fantasy and prophecy written by desert dwelling primitives who probably warped everything to fit their political ends? Why can’t us Christians just be happy with the easy to bear and modern teaching of the Big JC?

I have written a lot of late night wandering crap today. And so instead of unleashing an “argument” on you, I will just offer my conclusion. I am entitled to do this since I run this site and my fiancé is in the countryside visiting family over Christmas and she is without a web connection so she can’t demand editorial changes for the sake of fellow humanity.
Here, I sum up the difference between the Old and the New Testament and why it is essential to keep both.

Roisín Abigail will grow and learn to talk and walk. Her parents will teach her to always, always, always stop at the side of the road before crossing. She will be told to always, always, always and in every circumstance look left, then right and then left again before taking her first step and to listen carefully as she crosses the road. She will always be punished if she runs out onto the road without doing these things.

Yet Jonathan, Roisín’s dad will happily hop out of the car, dart across a busy city road and drop into a newsagent for a copy of Penthouse or whatever it is he is reading these days. On his way back he will answer a mobile call and dodge the traffic to get to the car.

Roisín is a child. She is in the Old Testament where things must be laid out for her. Her foundations are non-existent and her Father will prescribe them without debate from her. He will admonish her when she breaks his rules.

Jonathan is mature. He has been gifted life long enough to reach adulthood and he is now freed from the law. He has absorbed it into his being. He is New Testament. The Holy Spirit has been given to Christians, absorbed into their being and frees them to live to fulfilment and dodge traffic without being given out to.

If the Old Testament is discarded, we do not see where the basis for our freedom in the New Testament comes from. The Old Testament is not over-ridden by the New Testament but is instead fulfilled by it. The New Testament makes the Old whole.

And now I would add some witty paragraphs about the idiocyncracies of old Irish people, the way marriage preperation leads to more engery being spent maintaining relationships with family and neighbours than your spouse to be or a Christmas thought to finish things lightly. But, as my spouse to be knows all too well, I like to end thinks abruptly long before things have even started to get going and when you can’t even imagine what is about to happen. It is so anti-elegant that it lends a kind of grace and beauty to itself.

Your Correspondent, Dumping His Fiancé

I fall asleep

Saturday, December 13th, 2003

Ah, Saturday morning. Savour the freedom of sleeping in, waking intermittently to the singing of the housemates as they try to perfect Christmas carols. Wait. Thats not to be savoured. Thats the kind of thing that makes one want to drill holes. In people. I hate all Christmas songs unless they are one of Ben Folds’ ultra cynical songs about the manslaughter of Santa or an alcoholic’s hatred of people and their happiness. I also have a fondness for the hardcore Classical stuff that makes you want to wear highly starched black suits and work in a choir full time. However, I am tone deaf. Those Christmas songs include all of Handel’s Messiah and O Holy Night.

An example of this kind of crap will be provided because I don’t want to make unsubstantiated claims. “The Story Has Broken” is a song written by Michael Perry. It has earned him a place on The List. Girls sing one line and boys sing another and listen to what Perry has them say:

Girls: “The story has broken, an angel has spoken and this is the token that Jesus is here: he comes as a stranger regardless of danger, the Lord in a manger, the babe without peer.”

Boys (remember simultaneously): “The sheperds returning and wisemen of learning their savior discerning, his praises will sing: as those who first saw him and knelt down before him, so let us adore him and worship our king”.

God, whether you believe in H/him or not is as a concept, a perfect Being who exists outside of time. As a result of that, theology tells us that He can’t get bored since that goes hand in hand with time. However, theology is wrong. When the housemates sing that crap tonight at a carol service at church, God will be bored and fall asleep. I fear what will happen to the universe then. In the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Jurassic Park, “Hang on to your butts”.

I stayed up preposterously late making chat with the girlfriend. She laid out her piercing roadmap for the next 18 months. Its the most exhaustative NP piercing plan in history. Soon she will be revolting to both our mothers, unsettlingly repellent to certain people in her church and more hot to herself. She is a bit worried about a tongue piercing becuase it can go horribly wrong and your ears can fall off or something like that. I got bored in the third hour of piercing conversation. I was trying to discuss marraige and infidelity and sexuality but it kept coming back to metal pokers in her skin.

One thing that I can’t believe is that the piercing culture so prevalent amongst my peers (well, not my direct circle of peers- Dublin Christians seem to believe that piercings are outlawed in Deuteronomy based on their occurance rate) happened relatively recently. It didn’t really happen until the 60s in western societies. Maybe my thesis can be “Piercing Truth: The Development of Self Mutilating Culture in Ireland”. That would rule. However, NP points out that its not self mutilation if someone helps you.

And on that note I will end this rambling.

Your Correspondent, Dictating Procrastination

In the beginning is my word.

Thursday, December 11th, 2003

Alright. First entry should start off well. I am hoping for something as seismic and as influential as Genesis Chapter 1 or alternatively something a little more “true” in a “literal” sense, by which I mean “actually happened”.

To know anything about what I hope this to be, you have to know why it was started. Here is why:

1) Mimi Smartypants writes a blog on diaryland.com. She is one of the funniest writers I have ever read and while I don’t ever intend to sell out to Harper Collins like she did, I would quite like to adopt a Chinese baby and I aspire to one day owning an mp3 player. That says it all really but I will add more because as you will soon discover, that is my thing. Adding more.

Mimi seems to get a lot out of the whole website thing. Writing regular updates to a site is discipline building which is positive if not very exciting. (I won’t go into how positive overall it is to share your untested opinions of questionable worth on a medium that encourages you to write imprecisely and without any structure just because some people will read it. (Nor will I go into the overall positive effect of this is no one reads it)). The weblog/journal/site that I envision this becoming will be a more realistic attempt at keeping a diary. With nice pictures included.

Also, I will happily sell out. And I encourage Mimi in her selling out since it means I can introduce her to my web-phobic sister.

2) My girlfriend has gone crazy. This distresses me and I need something to distract myself from morbid thoughts about never again sharing a peaceful Saturday afternoon laughing over announced farts and trying to stop her from murdering her housemates/parents/random people for leaving paper lying around/telling her to do something like check the electricity meter/for existing. Those were the good old days when her insanity was benign. But she got herself some webspace and has disappeared into a joke creating haze. You can’t relax around her in fear that she’ll use your mistaken pronounciation of a word as the basis of a whole post or that she’ll mention that you have a third nipple just because you won’t get up in the middle of the film to go buy her more popcorn.

I have tried reasoning with her and have failed. I have tried hiding the laptop adaptor and she has fashioned a crude battery recharging device out of a tennis racket, some baking soda and a bottle of LIDL whiskey. So I give in and join her. In conclusion, Girlfriend, NP, my S.O., the SB, is a major cause of my contribution to the web.

3) I have a very gifted friend, Dave Barrett. He and Paul Donnan (who is more touched, in the Hand of God kind of a way) set up a company after college called lightreel.com. They design sites and do network stuff and something about standards and dynamism and inter-trans-textuality but I was never that great a computer scientist so I amn’t so fluent in web-programmerese. Anyway, Dave built this for me as a non-cash birthday gift. That is the kind of thing I wholeheartedly endorse. Its also outside the box thinking that makes me want to invest in lightreel and whatever doohickeys they do or don’t make. But I am now an Arts postgrad so I have no money. Sorry.

4) I have always felt that since the moonwalk, mankind has been looking for the next great step forward. This is it.

Your Correspondent, Training in the Centrifuge