Wednesday, January 26, 2005


After my heavy caffeine use a few weeks ago, I'm finding it difficult to scale back down to a more modest level of caffeine use. I spent this afternoon with a mild headache, while wandering around slightly disoriented. I gotta tell you--those 20 oz. containers of Diet Pepsi in the dining hall are looking miiiighty attractive right now....

Oh, oh, coffee: what a harsh mistress you are!

Sunday, January 23, 2005


Two metaphors I've been working with lately to think about spirituality are glaciers and gardening.

Glaciers are enormous mountains of ice which moved across the primeval countryside millenia ago, carving out valleys and plains and squishing together terrain to make mountains. All of this seems like a quite dramatic and speedy process to us now, looking back, but at the time it took hundreds (if not thousands) of years for all of it to happen. Each glacier, if I recall correctly, moved something like an inch a year. Your Rocky Mountains are the result, not of a cataclysmic overnight glacier mash-up, but of many thousands of years of slow movement. Like Red says in one of my favorite movies : geology is just the study of pressure and time.

Spirituality is the same way. Our spiritual journeys happen....very....slowly. And they happen on their own timetable, not ours. At times, our interior lives may seem to be static, unchanging--but change is always occurring, even though it may happen at a speed we perceive only with difficulty. Yet we must not underestimate the significance of this subtle but powerful momentum--our spiritual and interior lives shape who we are and how we live our lives in powerful ways. The sudden moment of realization--our unexpected temper, our surprising selfishness, or the unexpected wellspring of gratitude, serenity, peace--may seem to come out of the blue, but many times they are the spiritual equivalent of the Rockies. Pressure, and time.

Gardens: same idea, different metaphor. If somebody came to you and said, "Hey, I want to grow a garden," and you said, "Well, I can lend you some seed, and a hose," and they said, "No, no, I want to grow a GARDEN," you'd look at them funny. Because while the seed and the hose are not the garden, they are the implements you'd use to cultivate one.

Now, in the real world, if the person didn't have any time, they might run off to Jimmy's Green Thumb and just buy some whatever to plant in the garden tomorrow afternoon. This is where spirituality differs from gardening: you can't buy a sense of God's presence at Jimmy's Green Thumb. There is no substitute for the hose and the seed here--for the slow, patient, sometimes boring or seemingly inconsequential process of prayer, reflection, and spiritual discipline that cultivates one's inner life. Like gardening, it may seem not to bear fruit for a while; like gardening, it is a process which is in many ways out of our control. Yet this process of cultivation is the only one we've got.

And we all know how powerful plants can be. Carl Sandburg expressed this sentiment in more poetic words than I:

"Brutes have been gentled where lashes failed.
The growth of a frail flower in a path up
has sometimes shattered and split a rock.
A tough will counts. So does desire.
So does a rich soft wanting.
Without rich wanting nothing arrives."

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


I'm not interested in hiding it anymore.

I hate Jackson Browne's music. I feel about him the way the Dude felt about the Eagles. It's terrible. It's wretched. It's miserable. It gives me the shingles. It's just very, very, very poor in quality. I hate his voice; I hate his stupid, jangly, hey-look-i-can-play-the-guitar melodies. OK, I'll admit: "She Must Be Somebody's Baby," is a decent song. It's got a hummable chorus. But let me tell you, Mr. Imaginary Interlocutor, all the hummable choruses of the world will never, ever make up for all the nights when I've been out driving, scanning the radio for something to listen to on the drive home, something decent, please, like Zeppelin or the Stones or maybe even Pearl Jam, even, and ALL THERE IS is "Running on Empty." AGAIN.

I hate what he did to Warren Zevon's fine song "Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me" when he covered it. Jackson Browne's cover of "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" should be called "Poor Poor Pitiful Jackson Browne". And don't get me started about that stupid 'e' at the end of his last name.

Even looking at that stupid picture of him from the link above, (or this one, which judging from the url seems to have been taken at a WINERY, or this one, where he appears to be attempting to determine if the music award he's just received does, in fact, contain any money) just makes me want to stride up to him, punch him in the face, and say, "Take that, Jackson Brown, crappy music-maker!"

Rant concluded.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


Today's life lessons:

Lesson 1: Do not purchase Sour Jacks thinking they are 'just the same' as Sour Patch Kids (AKA The World's Greatest Confection). THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. They are far inferior.

Lesson 2: Do not eat most of a ginormous container of them.

Lesson 3: Do not chase them with a liter of water.

Lesson 4: Do not do any of 1, 2, or 3 while watching Rushmore with Adam Cleaveland.

Friday, January 14, 2005



Thursday, January 13, 2005


Ladies and gentlemen, the administration of "Up, lummox!" hereby announces a contest:


While I was home for Christmas/New Years, I purchased a car. It's a 2002 Honda Civic, silver in color, which I am planning to drive into the ground over the next five years or so.

This car needs a nickname. Help me out here. Photos are currently unavailable, but might be within reach in a week or so if it would help with the inspiration process.

Sincere thanks,

Up, lummox! management


God be praised. More later.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Christmas break has regrettably expired, in a flurry of packing, travelling, and joyous returning to Princeton. My joy, however, will not be complete until we get our gosh-dang finals out of the way. (YES, we have not taken finals yet; NO, we are NOT pleased about it.) Please expect radio silence on this end until at LEAST 1/12; anything between now and then will probably just be me venting my spleen about how busy I am. In the meantime, uh, there's always the paper of record.