04 November, 2008
Do not cry, my dear reader, for there is a new project in the works. I hope to unveil it tomorrow with an introduction and edited version of a post that piqued my interest this summer.
It has been a good run, dear readers. Peace be with you.
20 September, 2008
Perhaps some of you are aware that I’ve led a monogamous relationship with my bicycle, Her Majesty the Cannondale for nearly three years now. I’ve always prided myself on how good of a bike she is. Sure, it’s a big investment to have a bicycle, but I figure it’s a better use of money than having a girlfriend – but I digress.
Her Majesty has stood by me through the best and worst of rides. She was an excellent companion on a majestic ride along the Monterey coast last autumn when I wanted to go along the 17 Mile Drive, and she stood by me after a car hit us. Yes, she has been a lovely bike… And I left her behind to go a chase a crazy dream out East.
Where am I going with this and why am I telling it to you? Yesterday I had a brief run-in with the law that has convinced me to come clean about a few things – firstly said run-in:
On an excruciatingly long trip to a vegetarian restaurant my RA wanted to go to, we gave a little love tap to the car in front of us. We were going all of two miles per hour, but we knew we had to pull over to access the situation; however, the people we hit didn’t seem to be aware of such things, but rather turned on their hazards and fully intended on sitting in the middle of a four lane freeway during Jersey rush-hour traffic… I am no expert, but I think that’s how you get yourself shot.
Several minutes of cars honking at us later, we both arrived at the shoulder. In my experience it is common for people to get out of their car and access damage, exchange information, be on their separate ways, but once again I was operating under different paradigms than the car ahead of us. Our driver did look at our vehicles and noted that no damage was done, not even to the paint, and so he patiently awaited this driver to get out of their car… for twenty minutes. Eventually I was elected to go and make contact as our least threatening member. Not wanting to get maced, I approached the car as contritely as possible. “Are you two alright?” I asked, only receiving an indifferent nod in reply. I slouched back to our car. Twenty minutes pass. I go again to see what they’d like us to do. “We’re waiting for the police,” the passenger informs me. I slouch back again. Twenty more minutes pass. The police officer is friendly albeit perplexed at his call, since no damage has been done. We leave and eventually dine upon mock-meat products.
All of this to say, I’ve realized that I need to come clean! I am leading a double life! Whilst living in this place:
Bryan, my suitemate
I have fallen into a new bicycle relationship with this beauty:
Her name is Yoshimi, and while she is a little older than Her Majesty, I’ve enjoyed her company a great deal.
Some of my friends here have rationalized this new relationship as my being in a ‘different zip code,’ but I can’t get over my need to share this double life with you…
…Or at least my desire to show you some sweet pictures of where I live.
08 September, 2008
“Eric,” you’ll no doubt question, “why exactly are you flying east? And isn’t this flirting a bit with diary?”
Well, my dear reader, perhaps you’ll remember that a number of months ago I defiantly waded through the mire of seminary applications and eventually came to be accepted by Princeton Theological.
“Isn’t that the only application you successfully completed?” you most rudely interject!
Yes, it is true that in the end I only submitted one application; however, you must understand that application fees are quite steep these days, my pugnacious reader. The key point here, if I may finally state it, is that I am in the air heading to Princeton (via San Jose via Phoenix via Pittsburgh via Newark).
This morning began at 4:30 amidst the obnoxious vibrations of my phone atop my sister’s coffee table. After quickly taking a shower and loading my luggage into my sister’s car (with comparable speed), Cari whisked the two us off to San Jose’s airport where I was gouged for stowing luggage and then herded through security to my plane. Though my flight was clearly scheduled for 6:15, apparently SJC doesn’t allow planes that size (whatever size that may be) to depart until 6:30. Lame. I suppose the only part of today that has gone off exceptionally smoothly was my stay in Phoenix (assuming my luggage actually transferred), which only lasted for about thirty minutes.
This would be a fair time to note that the magnanimous Brandon K. Baker hails from Phoenix (or at least close enough). He is worthy of mention for multiple reasons: he was a fellow intern, is a fellow blogger, adventurer, and seminarian. I hope this is enough to pardon him of his intellectual inbreeding.
Needless to say, this has been quite a long day, but most experiments with time travel are. Yes, dear reader, the true purpose of this entry has not been to tell you about my journeys, but rather to unveil this next stage of my life as a time traveler.
“You’ve made some big claims before,” you will doubtlessly say – and I’d probably agree, “but this takes the cake! We could sort of stomach your claims about the Fountain of Youth because of your demythologizing it. We rolled our eyes at your tales about vampire, spiders, and prehistoric bird monsters, as we assumed mental-derangement. We even put up with your Santa bashing, but this is madness!”
Perhaps I am mad, but I assure you that I join the ranks of HG Wells, Doc Brown and Marty McFly, Donnie Darko, Dr. Samuel Becket, and the Terminator robot. For all of you remaining on the west coast, I will be experiencing time three hours ahead of you. Just think of all the scientific advancements I’ll be able to report back to you all! Perhaps we’ll have a viable green fuel source or flying cars or genetically-altered, pigmy elephants or maybe even a way of heating up bath towels for post-shower use! And guess what, I’ll be at the forefront of all these developments. If you’d like to look a couple of hours into your future, tune in here! I’ll do what I can to be a seer, omen, fortuneteller, or whatever you’d like to call it.
I’d keep writing, but I’m afraid I must get back to the future.
20 August, 2008
"You're lucky I don't poop on you," you coyly coo -- or at least so I imagine you spoke thus.
I know that the world missed me, for two days ago I finally made it as a blogger.
"Someone finally payed you for a blog entry?" you incredulously ask.
Oh, well I suppose that would mean I've made it as well; however, this may be even better; I have exposure!
Two days ago, whilst adventuring with my friend Brandon, I borrowed the Apple Store's interweb to check my email and noticed a strange name in my inbox. I was about ready to delete it, as I'm sick of random people questioning my manhood; however, I then noticed it was a reply to an Oolong Fancy article I wrote back in November. While I did not recognize the moniker "Any middle-aged German Witch in Amerika," I was not concerned, for in the past I received a comment from a stranger on my entry about Otter Pops (those corroders of moral and molar hygiene).
Happily my blogs show up relatively early on some Google searches (especially under images) and I am the first entry if you search for "Rockus Caucus." What fun! So naturally, I was not surprised that this middle-aged German witch found my blog whilst searching for Hannes Wader (German, folk singer). However, also naturally, I was surprised by the content of her reply!
Back in November I penned an entry about international Emoism -- truly it was a successful entry, garnering four heart-felt comments from my friends. While this German witch from Amerika did respond in a heart-felt manner, it was a heart I did not particularly want to feel. Her comment is posted in its entirety below:
~~~ Hello, I was googling Hannes Wader, and so I was led to your site, since you mentioned his name.
I am German, and I cannot keep myself from commenting. You must be at least 25 years younger than me, since I have a hard time understanding what your entry was really about.
But I was annoyed that you used my native language in such an unqualified way. Please learn the german language before writing such a nonsense.
"Kindern" => Kinder is already the plural form of singular Kind, while Kindern is the dativ case!
And worse, "weisst nicht, wie gut ich Dir bin" does NOT mean, "how good I have been to you". My toenails are rolling up when I read that...
And yes, we Germans have emotions, what a surprise! ~~~
What brought about this animosity? Clearly she misread me.(!!!)
"So why are you so happy about all this?" you query.
My poor, dear reader -- don't you see? I've received my first hate mail! How else can you tell you've made it in the blogging community other than having people verbal about how much they hate you! This is like my first successful single or piece of pop-art placed on a greeting card! I'm in!
So if you'll excuse me, I've got some more people to irk off.
24 July, 2008
10 July, 2008
Recently, (on the Fourth of July to be exact) I was asked about why America didn’t have a mythology to it. After this person became annoyed by my stating that native peoples did have their own mythologies, so I offered that our folk tales of Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, and John Henry were all evidence of a thriving American mythology. They still weren’t satisfied! Can you believe that dear reader? Actually, on second thought, you don’t need to answer that question.
So, what could I do? Here I had an inquisitive mind, wondering about this country’s origins, and they were not accepting my answers! So, I made something up.
“You make something up, Eric? I’m aghast!” You coyly remark.
Not that I don’t appreciate your sarcasm, dear reader, but this is actually a serious issue! So, I present to you my creation myth for the modern, American patriot:
In the beginning, in 1776, the Great Liberty Eagle flew over the waters, but it could not land, for as of yet there was no land. The Eagle then laid the Freedom Egg into the waters, which upon hatching became the continent of the United States of America – from this land came all others, and the other lands went out to fill the earth.
However, the Great Liberty Eagle was sad, for there was no one else to agree with its democratic ideals, and in it’s sadness, it cried a tear that landed upon the great continent of the United States of America. The tear planted itself into the fertile earth, and a cherry tree grew from it. The tree bore two great cherries, which both bore a George. The first son of the cherry tree was George Washington, and the second King George III. King George III in his evil heart wanted to control the entire world, and so he departed from the fair land of the United States of America, leaving George Washington alone on the continent.
Seeing that the cherry tree could bear both good and evil, George Washington smote the tree with axe and fell it thus. In this he forever declared himself a self-made man and set out to make his own destiny (which was manifest – of course).
George Washington sowed the values of the Great Freedom Eagle into the bountiful soil of the United States of America and they created 13 Colonies, populated men and women and slaves (which George Washington and his son, Abraham Lincoln would later free). Of these thirteen colonies, George Washington elected 13 rulers: Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and his brother Samuel, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, Paul Revere, William Whipple, John Penn, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, John Marshal, Casimir Pulaski, and Benedict Arnold (who betrayed him).
With these thirteen rulers, George Washington sought to bring peace, freedom, liberty, and the right to own land to the rest of the world. However, his brother, the tyrant King George III longed to enslave all free men, and thus decided to conquer the Chinese with opium and the Americans with tea.
George Washington, disguising himself as a savage, thwarted the English attempt to bring tea to the United States of America by thrusting the tea deep within the Boston harbor.
King George III became furious with his brother and sent his agents of evil to subjugate the free, American peoples. The English donned coats of blood to show the horrors they would commit against the Americans.
However, the Americans easily began to drive back their adversaries until the once noble Benedict Arnold turned on George Washington by sowing taxation without representation into the United States of America’s soil.
Fortunately George Washington was not thwarted by the efforts of his wayward compatriot. And so George Washington rode stalwartly into battle and slew both the traitor Benedict Arnold and his despicable kin, King George III.
Thus the United States of America created an era of world peace founded upon its democratic values.
With liberty and justice for all!
27 June, 2008
Yesterday was my day off, and a day off is a glorious thing. One of the many things I did was visit our local Catholic bookshop, Agnus Dei - which aside from containing a wide assortment of religious literature and vestments also is a good reminder of amazing conversations I'd previously forgotten.
Last time I was in San Luis Obispo I said my farewells to a lovely town, filled with friends; however, I also talked a good deal about the abolishment of Limbo. For those of you who don't keep up on the news of the Catholic church, on April 27, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI reversed the churches' stance on Limbo - namely he abolished it. What does this mean? Namely, all infants and Jewish Patriarchs were sent directly to heaven. Now, this doesn't mean a change in doctrine, for Limbo was never officially recognized by the church as a theological certainty.
"Eric," you interject, "I'm certain this is all very interesting, but perhaps this would better fit your silly little experiment in Sencha Steeping. Why bore us here too?"
Well my saucy, dear reader, I give this to you here because of a conversation I had with Brian and Ben whilst in San Luis about how good Catholics throw around the term JP II. For those who aren't up on the hip-Catholic slang, that is how the cool kids talk about John Paul II, the pontiff prior to Benedict.
Now, I thought that maybe I should be offended by this, but as earlier noted, I have heard my devout Catholic friends liberally toss around this term. So, following in their ways, B, B and I decided that we should give our current Pope a nice little pet name as well. B-16 it is!
Really, the only reason this is remotely funny to me (in the most horrible way possible) is that B-16 bombed the hell out of Limbo.
I wonder if Dante's Purgatorio will now be relegated to being as apochraphal as Milton?
Well, B-16, wherever you are, keep flying high and flying free - soar them babies straight to heaven.
Disclaimer: that wasn't so bad, was it?
19 June, 2008
In all honesty, I really have been looking forward to this. The counselors are finishing up their lessons, the campers are packing their bags (or at least putting it off until Saturday night), and I now have more certifications and licenses than you can shake a stick at! What does this mean for me? I'm tired. What does it mean for you? I'm not writing.
How can we both get what we want in this situation? My not doing anything and your enjoying my wit. Oh, I have an idea! Maybe I can start a little podcast for the summer? Let's see where that goes... Hmm...
17 May, 2008
“I must admit, Eric,” I hope you’ll begin, “we are on much better terms than we have been on for a while. I think things might just work out between us.”
That’s exactly the point I’m getting at! As Jack and Meg White (accompanied by Holly Golighty) sing: “It’s true that we love one another.”
You see, dear reader, I love you (in an academic sense, of course) and I love this world. I hope my love is never so obsessive as to make me shout at you while at dinner: “I wrote a hit play!... And I’m in love with you.” However, I will make no promises.
“What exactly are you getting at here, Eric?”
It’s sort of like my friend Shea in this picture. I want to live with my arms outstretched in accepting bliss; however, I also don’t want to get up from where I am. I want to love you in the laziest way possible: sitting right where I am. Like the picture, this concept is somewhat blurry.
What I’m trying to say, dear reader, is that I think the best way for us to continue in this loving relationship is if I keep sitting here and writing you inane things, and you keep reading them. Granted, I’ll have to go underground for most of the summer, but I hope this week has done enough to rekindle our flame to last for the summer. What do you say, dear reader?
Is this the end of Oolong Fancies, or will you wait for me?
16 May, 2008
However, there is a darker side to my journey; whenever I travel I always feel like I’m going to die.
“Eric,” you pipe-in, “do you think someone will hijack your plane?”
No, dear reader, I do not fear death by hijacker, crash, or even suddenly getting sucked down a depressurized toilet. No, I simply think that I will suddenly cease being. When this thought started I am not certain, but it assuredly is connected with being alone in a large crowd.
Late last month, whilst traveling north to visit my friend Haley in San Francisco, I wrote:
“…I suddenly have this fear that this will be the last thing I ever write… that this will need to convey m love to those I leave behind…”
Haley has little to do with death, as she is so young
What brought this sudden awareness of death about?
Perhaps it is growing because my travels signify saying farewells to people. How many more times will I make the trip down the coast to see friends and family in San Diego? After visiting San Luis later next week, when will I go to Linnaea’s again!?
“Eric, do you think this is just part of growing up?” you tenderly ask.
I think so, dear reader, I think so. I think part of my growing up is accepting my transience, and the fact my friends are transients as well.
This is why journeys with friends like Nick and Joey are so appreciated. None of us really have homes at the moment, and our placelessness allows for us to be truly present with one another. Okay! This is too Sencha for this blog.
Despite popular opinion, Joey is not from Lord of the Rings
Where am I going with all of this?
Death isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s a metaphor—maybe it’s not. You decide. But yes, I am indeed traveling.
15 May, 2008
Summer is almost upon us, and the great out-there is calling my name. Yes, dear reader, not only does summer mean camp, Echo, bad food, and another prolonged period of blog inactivity, but it also means rolling pant legs up and wading down creeks.
At the risk of a journal-like entry, I would like to talk about yesterday. It was balls-hot in Santa Cruz yesterday (and today is following suit), and I felt a calling from deep within my bones to return to the sea; however, as I don’t have a car, I figured any water would work out quite nicely. So, I grabbed Brandon my sidekick (I don’t think he’ll agree with that terming, but it doesn’t make it any less true) and we set off for Redwood Camp!
You see, Redwood is Mount Hermon’s only peninsula, and thus it is the logical place for water adventures. Girding ourselves in adventure shorts and straw hats, we took off down the river. There were a few hiccups along the way (killer crawdads, water in cell phones) but we eventually made our way into the once proud railroad town of Felton. We went to the local general store and picked up some water Mohicans and couple of mighty fine burritos. We feasted and then began the long trek back home.
Making adventurin' look good
I relay this little tale to explain what my summer might hold. Drama so thick you could cut it with a dulled knife!
“But Eric,” you interject, “why are you writing about this on Thursday? Do adventures and Thursdays mix?”
A discerning question to be certain, dear reader. Back in the days of yore, before I inherited a demon bird mask, was diagnosed with HIV, fought vampires, refuted Kant, hosted a Rockus Caucus, or sought out the fountain of youth, I adventured with one of San Luis Obispo’s favorite sons: Jordan Jolliff.
One quarter Jordan was fortunate enough to swing having classes only on Mondays and Wednesdays – naturally this gave him an unnatural advantage. Jordan began, what he called, Adventure Thursdays. He would grab a few friends, hop in a car, and drive around the Central Coast until a prospect met his fancy. What would follow was the stuff of legend.
I had the great fortune of joining in on some of these adventures and they played a formative role in my life. I can now only hope to live up to them this summer.
So, whenever you see a creek this summer, make sure to take a second look, and you may just see a man-pree clad man roasting a crawdad over a fire.
13 May, 2008
“You could start off by apologizing, and then stop trying to convince us this fetid trash actually counts as a blog entry,” you’ll, no doubt, most rudely condemn me.
I must admit dear reader that there is some truth to your scathing accusation. I am sorry for the poor quality of yesterday’s entry, and what’s more, I cannot even blame it on having a case of the Mondays.
You see, I think Mondays have been given a bad rap. Sure, for many they signal the return to either the school or work week, which by its nature demands the weekend ends; however, this deliberate maligning of the Monday is bigoted and old-fashioned.
“Eric,” you interject, “what could possibly be narrow-minded about day prejudice? And shouldn’t you have written about this yesterday?”
Well, my astute reader, it may have made sense to write about this yesterday; however, there is a connection with Tuesdays just around the corner. As for now, let us look at the validity of my anti anti-Monday statement:
According to the reputable source wikipedia, Mondays are considered good days for fasting in Judaism and Islam, and I interject that it would have been a good day in Christianity as well since it follows the feast of Sunday. Early Christians did not see this as a case. Following an unfortunate trend, Christians moved forward with an anti-Semitic mindset, and in an attempt to distance themselves from the Jews began observing Wednesdays as good fast days. Could our distaste for Mondays spring forth from anti-Jewish sentiment?
Before you can interject on me again, let me state that I don’t think so. I think our distaste for Mondays is largely unoriginal. People set themselves up for a fall on Mondays. We hold Mondays on the same plain as disembowelment.
What about Tuesday? The little bastard-child of the week… Going into Mondays expecting the worst often leaves me realizing that Mondays aren’t so bad; however Tuesdays really grate my nerves. It is so apparent that the workweek is not coming to an end—I don’t even have the right to complain like I did the day prior. BOO!
If only every Tuesday was this awesome
So there you have it: hating Mondays was so last decade, Tuesdays are the hip new day to dislike, and I will fight anyone in the face who says any differently.
I’m sorry to be so testy, but it is Tuesday after all.
12 May, 2008
Eventually my boss headed home, and we put on Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid. I am currently a little better or worse for wine, and the movie plays on!
Yes, this is a terrible blog entry, but I have little choice at this point. All I feel like talking about are walking hay bales! Around one hour and thirteen minutes a walking hay bale! What does that mean exactly? Sure, there is a man walking in front of a hay bale, acting as though he is pulling it along, but if you watch it in slow motion, there are some obvious legs moving the hay bale about. Is this funny? I’m not certain; however, everyone else who is watching found it uproariously humorous.
One hour and twenty-four minutes into the film a character dies who claims he is “colorful;” is this another example of blacksploitation in the 70’s?
More questions arise, but I am too tired and disaffected to actually answer them (or even pose the questions to you for that matter).
I’ll try to do better tomorrow. No really, I will!
11 May, 2008
“Don’t you think that’s a little cocky for having been so absent as of late?” You will no doubtedly insist.
Well, I do give to you that I haven’t been around as much as we would all like, but hey, absence makes the heart grow fonder!
Well, my dear emotional reader, in an attempt to make things up to you, I am launching the most aggressive and daring blog campaign ever before attempted. Yes, today begins my attempt at a week straight of blogging! Do I have the material for such an effort? Most likely not, but I’m not above making things up. So, what do you say? Will you read onward?
“I suppose so, but this is your last chance, you bugger.”
My, you have become testy since I took my leave of absence. Well, here we go!
Tonight I will pay homage to an important aspect of the day that you may not be aware of…
“Shouldn’t you use your other blog to talk about Pentecost?”
Oh geez, how embarrassing. I had no idea it was Pentecost today! No no no… Today is also Mother’s Day! It’s one of those days where you pay honor to the woman who birthed and/or raised you. It’s really a spectacular day, especially when you have a spectacular mother! Allow for me to introduce to you Carolyn Garner (artist, Swede). She is a sweet little lady who loves simplicity and might just scream while playing Pit Spoons.
My mom rocking everyone's socks off at my sister's wedding
I would love to write about her in greater detail, but anything I say at this point will come across as contrived or insignificant. Instead, I give you a video I had shown in church for her on Mother’s Day several years ago. I’ll let it speak for itself.
22 April, 2008
I spend a lot of time focusing on my job. An interesting side effect of living 150 yards from your office is that it becomes really easy to go into your office when it’s a bad idea to do so. It also doesn’t help that I’m submerged in a work culture that expects long hours without complaint because of the religious consequences of our work (albeit the top-dogs would deny such a work culture exists, or at least say they don’t support it). Is this to place blame on Mount Hermon? Absolutely not!
Yes, this is me working
Let’s seriously examine Eric Garner here for a moment. A 23-year-old Adonis under the employ of a Christian conference center. Single. Fleeing the state in a matter of months. Dutifully comes into work at 8:00 am every morning, stays until 5:00 pm, is not unaccustomed to working 12+ hour days and once worked an 80 hour week. He has more than once allowed for work to dominate his thoughts while at home. He has not taken a purely relaxing vacation since starting work back in September. He sometimes speaks in the third-person.
Am I a workaholic? I don’t think so; however, there are several things I love dearly which I’ve barely given any time to in the last three months. I haven’t read a good novel in months, I can’t remember the last good bike ride I went on, and I barely write anymore (this blog included).
I want to say that this is the point where I turn around – I see the shadows on the walls and hear the echoes, and I realize that I need to turn around and see the sun. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening any time soon. Summer planning is upon us, I’m trying to figure out schooling, and I have relationships to mend that have long been left unattended.
I originally planned for this to be some really witty commentary on working, but it seems more like a plea to appreciate beauty. Let’s allow John Ames to prophesy about this life far better than I ever could:
"I saw a bubble float past my window, fat and wobbly and ripening toward that dragonfly blue they turn just before they burst. So I looked down at the yard and there you were, you and your mother, blowing bubbles at the cat, such a barrage f them that the poor beast was beside herself at the glut of opportunity. She was actually leaping in the air, our insouciant Soapy! Some of the bubbles drifted up through the branches, even above the trees. You two were too intent on the cat to see the celestial consequences of your worldly endeavors. They were very lovely. Your mother is wearing her blue dress and you are wearing your red shirt and you were kneeling on the ground together with Soapy between and that effulgence of bubbles rising, and so much laughter. Ah, this life, this world."
Ah, this life, this world.
28 March, 2008
[X] Sexy Jeans
[X] Good Haircut
[X] Hipster Bike
([X] Great Computer)
-Why don’t you have a girlfriend?-
Good question to be assured, but not what I’m here to talk about. The other day my computer almost went to the great digital heaven in the digital sky.
I take for granted that my computer like me. I’m very fond of it! However, we began fighting two days ago when it decided to stop working on me – it gave up the ghost (or at least its Finder). While this was not as large of a betrayal as my PC insisted on (it died on me three times – the first after a mere week of owning it), it still hurt me greatly.
I’m glad to see all of my files safely returned and my programs running at maximum efficiency, but it appears as though all of my playlists are gone forever. Most certainly it has been a time of struggle.
A moral to the story? A betrayal of trust from a computer is like taking a battering RAM to your heart, but after all, love hertz.
25 March, 2008
“Yes, that’s true. But I’ve been out to sea for a long time.”
When you’re a salty, old sailor, you know a thing or two about the world. Sometimes you don’t need to keep house to have a home. Sometimes a drop of Nelson’s blood won’t do you any harm. A swig of rum is nothing to scoff at.
It has long been a dream of mine to return to the sea. When I stand upon the ocean shore and look off to the horizon, I feel a part of me set sail for adventure; however, that part is never my body.
Tall ships have always fascinated my father. He loves reading old naval tales and running his hands over polished wood ship wheels. I believe when he sits alone staring off into space he hears the billows of sails filling with wind. Any yare vessel can grab his attention and send him into a swarthier time when men were men – men with poor hygiene and even wore grammar. They were different days, but days they were! The point (assuming I can ever make one) is that that my blood flows a little saltier than normal, for I have long desired to return to the sea.
When I was in fifth grade my class went on an overnight fieldtrip at the end of the year to San Francisco where we would join the crews of the C. A. Thayer and the Balclutha. I was named mate of the galley (that’s the kitchen for those of you who haven’t earned your sea legs yet) and soon realized any romanticized views my father had about these tall ships were entirely fictitious! Not only was I brazenly reprimanded for the incompetence of my crew, but I never got a chance to sleep because I had to bring the captain a fresh cup of coffee every hour. Oh, and one of my crewmen used salt instead of sugar to make our coffeecake for breakfast. Nuts to that!
The point is, I don’t want to sail tall ships. I’ll leave that to manlier men than I (thank you Ryan Downs for handling that one). I also don’t think I could handle joining a fishing trawler despite my one time plan to flee to Alaska and do so – they would just make fun of me.
No, it is the sailing life for me. Alone on the sea. Sailing from port to port with my bicycle (Her Majesty) stowed bellow. That’s the kind of carefree lifestyle I could get behind! However, (as there usually is a ‘however’ with me) I have never been sailing. It has long been an embarrassing thorn in the side of my lovely, seafaring dreams. They have always been a little to grand for me (a child taunting a mutt at the foot of a table). However, (yet again!) this has all changed.
In recent days I have become friends with Mount Hermon legend, Ron Demolar. Ron, aside from being a good man, also apparently is the part owner of a ship. I knew nothing of this until one day a couple of weeks ago when Ron and I were going out for lunch together. Just as we were preparing to leave he turned to me and said, “I know this is last minute, but would you like to go sailing?” My heart went aflutter and I felt like the prettiest girl at the dance. Yes-yes-a thousand times yes! Half an hour later we were aboard the tiny vessel and setting sail for a brighter future. The ocean breeze whipped through my hair – I silently smiled at the waves rolling ahead of us. This was it. I was out to sea. My mind raced to old maps – sirens and mermaids dancing amongst grotesque monsters.
There is great beauty in being out to sea or in the air where man does not naturally go. I was free.
Eventually we returned to shore. The moments onboard were brief but intoxicating. I have been back out since, and each time signals some new, childlike elation I have not known before.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh was correct – there is a gift from the sea.
24 March, 2008
The day began with prayer (hardly a solemn endeavor on this hallowed morning) and followed it up with a waffle breakfast with my family. I wish there was a great theological message to be taken from waffles, but in truth they are just really tasty and the king of all breakfast foods.
After we had all packed ourselves into the car, over 17 we went in search of church and sand – both of which we found in abundance. Beautiful service. Beautiful Eucharist. Beautiful Santa Cruz, CA. Food. Rejoicing. Laughter. History. Beach. Ice cream. Wine. Skipping rocks. Finding shells. Loving life.
What a glut of words. What happiness.
I finally returned home and found my roommate Mark, whom I made have a beer with me. “Drinking beer on Easter: at Redwood, that’s what we’re all about.” I commented, and he agreed. Walking, laughing, considering, ruminating. Making dinner with Bob. Mark slips, “I believe in an all-powerful Bob.” “Eric, I hope you get that in your blog.” I hope Omni-Bob is appeased.
And as John Ames observes, “Ah this world—this life.”
13 March, 2008
And, oh, the pedestrians! These are minor deities – demigods who complete mighty tasks here on earth. However, they mostly just jaywalk with impunity.
I tell you all of this to make my real point: in the face of excessive dangers on the roads, we must remember what we learned in our driver’s ed classes about the importance of defensive driving. Hands at ten and two, or three and nine, or (as they tell us now) eight and four. Always check your mirrors and blind spots. Be aware of where all the cars are around you and potential hazards on or around the road. This is all good advice, and it is wide to heed it; however, what if there is something more to consider?
Dear reader, in my study of twentieth century history, I heard this maxim time and time again: The best defense is a good offense. Since I lack higher reasoning and take everything in the most literal fashion it can possibly be interpreted in, I have directly transposed this idea from military history into my defensive driving tactics.
Sure I check my blind spots, but I also destroy my blind spots, thus no longer making them an issue. Yes, I am aware of hazards in the road so I can obliterate them, thus removing them as hazards not just for me, but also for everyone else! I not only place my hands at ten and two, but I grow ten other hands to cover the rest of the hours on the steering wheel!
Finally, there are the pedestrians. They may have semi-divine status in Santa Cruz, but I will soon bring about a Götterdämmerung where these pesky, little deities will scatter and hide themselves from sight. I will unleash such a holocaust of fury upon the streets of Santa Cruz that they will be safe, for fear of me, for a thousand years!
Oh wait… I don’t own a car.
09 March, 2008
I went to school here:
However, then I:
But now I've been accepted here:
Yes, dear reader, I have been very recently accepted by Princeton Theological Seminary. What does this mean? Good question, and I have six weeks to figure it out. I know we're all disappointed with this entry, but I think this means I'll have more time for wit in the future.
Note: it is apparent to me that it is a bad idea for me to use different picture alignments. Many apologies.
06 March, 2008
Let’s face it: Gnomes are little punks. All they’re good for is posing for mass-produced garden art and botching up people’s estates. I see your incredulous looks… Either you don’t believe in Gnomes or you are dirty, dirty communists who think it is okay for anyone to abuse private property!
An army of Garden Gnomes
“Hold on their, Eric… Where’s the fire?” you most condescendingly ask, “Couldn’t it be that we just think that you’re a little batty?”
I’ve considered that, dear reader, but I find it unlikely.
“I’d consider it again.”
I will not be silent even in the face of your pro-Gnome propaganda. No, dear reader, I must be heard! Gnomes are not just the mythical underground dwellers of folklore, nor are they a free desktop operating system; Gnomes are beastly little saboteurs who ruin send your electronic devices on the fritz, unplug your alarm clocks, hide your homework, pee on your books, steal your children, and eat your dogs. There is no end to their fiendish hostility toward mankind. You don’t want to mess with these guys. They totally suck.
Would you trust this Gnome?
“Why exactly is your anti-Gnome rhetoric so vocal today?” you deign to ask.
Despite your patronizing attitude, I am glad you asked. It all starts several weeks ago when… (Hazy flashback effects).
It was the first week of February, Punxsutawney Phil had recently seen his shadow, and I returned from my tour of the Great North West. As I waited in the airport to receive a ride home from parents, I caught the avatar of femininity making funny eyes at me. Not being accustomed to such forward advances, I fool-heartedly (albeit debonairly) strolled over this seductive lady in the corner.
“Come here often?” Granted, I am not very good at this sort of thing.
She laughed. “No, it has been a while since I flew last.”
At that moment we knew that we were in love; however, we had to keep our passion secret because apparently her father and mine were engaged in a terrible blood war that had started back on the streets of Sunnyvale when they were boys. They forever forbid their children from wedding one another.
Over this last month we’ve had several secret rendezvous, and were making plans to flee the country together in one final, desperate romantic act to rid ourselves of our parents’ unfeeling control. Alas, it was not meant to be.
Last night she sped over Highway 17 from San Jose to pick me up so we could forever be free with one another; however, this was not in the Gnomes’ plans. A group of listless Gnomes in search of mischief cut my love’s breaks. She never made it over the hill. I will never love again. And no Gnome will be left alive by the end of 2008.
I consider this my prime directive!
Does this look like the face of a man who will take Gnomish treachery lying down?
29 February, 2008
Television has led me to believe that my life is quite lacking in many ways, not the least of which is that I was born without a twin. Just think of all the crazy shenanigans I could get myself into. I could accidentally ask two girls our on the same night! Oh, how hilarity would ensue! Or what if a new teacher came to my school and my twin and I pulled some crazy prank on her or him, leading them to believe they’d entered some alternate plane of existence. Wow, that’d be a hog-whoopin’ good time.
The perfect twins
This is why The 29th of February is such a disappointment to me. I’ve always thought about how much fun it would be to have my birthday on Leap Day, and then how that fun would be exponentially greater if I had a twin whose birthday was either the 28th or 1st. Unfortunately, I was denied this great joy. “It’s Wilson’s sixteenth birthday, but it’s only my fourth.” Wow, I’m almost having convulsions the idea is so funny.
But then again, what if my twin were evil? One must consider these things. What if I were the evil twin? For matters involving evil twins, I will defer to Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, who knows enough to write a song about it:
I wish I had an evil twin
running ’round doing people in
I wish I had a very bad
and evil twin to do my will
to cull and conquer, cut and kill
just like I would
if I weren’t good
and if I knew where to begin
down and down we go
how low no one would know
sometimes the good life wears thin
I wish I had an evil twin
my evil twin would lie and steal
and he would stink of sex appeal
all men would writhe
beneath his scythe
he’d send the pretty ones to me
and they would think that I was he
I’d hurt them and I’d go scot free
I’d get no blame and feel no shame
’cause evil’s not my cup of tea
down and down we go
how low one would not need to know
all my life there should have been
an evil twin
Merritt certainly blurs the lines between the good and the bad twin. Who am I (besides Jean Valjean, of course)? Maybe the whole twin business is a bit more difficult than I had ever before imagined. Thanks for the song, Merritt.
I take back my complaints – the last thing I need is another person to measure myself against. Okay, Leap Day, here I come!
28 February, 2008
Yes, dear reader, today we are examining onomatopoeias, or words that imitate the sound associated with the thing or action in question.
Aside from being an amazing sounding word – which I believe is onomatopoetic itself – onomatopoeias are large parts of our lives. Had circa 1960 Batman been without these little dandy words, he never could have fought the villains plaguing Gotham City.
However, we are not all masked crime fighters, so how can we as common-folk take advantage of the onomatopoeias? Let’s pretend that you are in some way interested in living an onomatopoetic life and that you haven’t noticed how much I like typing our buzz word for the day.
The best way to take advantage of onomatopoeias in everyday life is to narrate your every action. I know this may sound a little crazy, but you’ll be surprised at how frequently these little guys come up. Allow for me to demonstrate:
Eric typed away on the keys of his computer, ignoring the hum of the white noise in his cubicle. A small insect buzzed by his ear, but he swatted it away. The clock overhead ticked and tocked, but Eric hardly noticed it because of the cars revving their engines as they drove by. A whoosh or air ran through the office as Eric’s boss slammed the door. It was time to look diligent and concerned despite the convoluted apostrophes flying through the air.
I hope this has clarified things.
And thus I end this language series with a smashing end!
27 February, 2008
The previous statement is true.
If your eyes haven’t melted yet, this is a little something we call a paradox – and I’m not referring to a pair of physicians. A paradox is a statement, proposition, or situation that seems to be absurd or contradictory, but in fact is or may be true!
Granted, some paradoxes will just get us into trouble. If we say: “There is no truth!” it is very difficult to say it with any conviction, as if that statement is true there is truth, and thus the statement is wrong – and as Winnie the Pooh says: “Oh bother.”
No, this little gem of language is not for my cretin ramblings, but rather is reserved for my dear friend, Søren Kierkegaard.
For my dear readers whom are not yet acquainted with Mr. Kierkegaard, he was a most disagreeable Dane in the mid-nineteenth century who felt it his duty to irk just about every religious official in Denmark. Naturally I am quite drawn to him.
The Kierk in fine form
“Now wait here, Eric,” you have remained quiet for quite an agreeable amount of time, “we’ve been quiet for a while now – don’t do that! Anyways, why should we care about this Kierkegaard bloke? What does he have to do with paradoxes? Why are you making so many poor jokes?”
All good questions, my dear reader, most of which I will positively ignore. As for Kierkegaard, he was a philosopher of sorts; however, as all good existentialists do, he did not see himself as philosophy’s golden boy. Kierkegaard went about saying a great variety of things the Greeks would be aghast by! He claimed that an individual needed to step outside the universal (moral) for the sake of faith – thus (as you may have guessed) making faith a paradox! Egads! Dear reader, do you see how big this is?
“Not really caring. Nice try though.”
Dear reader, I can see that paradox is not very conducive for blogging... particularly after a long day. Thus, my final entry of this series shall be a whoop-pow good time.
I suppose my only consolation is that you find my bad writing good, thus making this a good article! If that’s not paradoxical, I am my own grandpa!
25 February, 2008
Yes, dear reader, today’s installment focuses around the fair art of overstatement! Hyperbole is a deliberate and obvious exaggeration used for effect – and we all know how affected I am.
I have often pictured myself as a daring superhero that darts about the streets while donning a cape and form-fitting spandex, of course, and fights the most nefarious villains ever to grace (?) the face of the earth! During the day I would play the role of mild-mannered Eric, but at night I would become The Hyperbolic Boy, the greatest superhero of all time!
Granted, the Hyperbolic Boy would not be like just any superhero – no, he would go around saving the world by giving everyone a taste of overstated joy! He would not battle against Magneto’s or Lex’s, but rather against monotony and literalism! It is not fascism or communism, but rationalism that is the greatest foe of the Hyperbolic Boy! No one dares fight against him because he’ll just throw an infinite amount of absolute statements in his foes’ faces until they die!
Wow, I’m pretty much the smartest guy ever for coming up with the most-clever superhero of all time. Besides, if that doesn't work out for me, I could be the most evil - and stylish - communist in world history. And that’s no exaggeration!
23 February, 2008
In spite of that banishment, my dear reader, here is a long-belated entry that will signal another series of posts; however, this time we will not traverse space and time like we did last time. No – here we begin a journey across the English language!
“So let me get this right,” you’ll have had a long time to think about this in my absence, “you’re going to bore us into forgetting your negligence?”
Anything but, dear reader! What I am about to present to you is one of the most time consuming cognitive hobbies one can have: homonyms.
A homonym is a set of words that are spelled or pronounced in the same way as another but have different meanings! What fun!
During the madness that was this last summer at Mount Hermon, I began playing little games to keep my mind sharp and my co-workers on their toes. Of the least benign of these games, homonyms were at the center. I do not know if it was Wink (Emily) or Mr. Roboto (me – as an aside, do you think “Pumpernickel” would be a good camp name?) who began collecting these words first, but it became a great joy to us both. We did not collect words that are spelt the same, but rather only shared similar pronunciations.
What fun to make up sentences like: “I need an eye but you’ll see I was kneed in my butt by the sea on Yule day” or “Where is he who swayed the Heroin Heroine to wear suede?” or “We praise him when he prays while he does not know how to knot two shoes, so he shoos in the inn while I sew eye patches.” The nonsense is almost limitless!
Ask me for a more complete list of homonyms if you like, dear reader, and prepare yourselves for more exciting adventures in the near future as I, like a literary Steve Zissou, document the marvels of our fair language!
I just needed a way of inserting this picture
31 January, 2008
I’m excited for Easter and more than willing to practice the Lenten season, but I am a little more skeptical of this whole Fat (Shrove) Tuesday thing.
“Eric…” you chime in.
I’m glad you’re here today, dear reader!
“Oh, thanks… I was wondering if you meant that you are for or against Fat Tuesday - or as most people refer to it: Mardi Gras? I’m almost afraid to ask this, but what are you thinking?”
Wonderful, dear reader! I knew you’d come around to asking nicely. Perhaps this tale from my second year at Cal Poly will elucidate my position:
I was at home with several of my roommates, a couple friends, and a van with a portable power supply. It was Mardi Gras weekend (a phenomenon created Frat boys and kegs of Natty Ice), and we decided that we wanted nothing to do with the anarchy we thought would ensue, as it had the year before. With a brilliant suggestion, a few calculations, and the decision to borrow our friends’ van, we set about to watch a movie at the beach.
We had the projector, we had a possible screen, we had the chutzpah, but what would we hold the screen up with?
A roommate, who’s name I will leave out, so as not to incriminate him the court of law, informed me that we could use the no parking sign in front of our house because it had been knocked down by some drunken Mardi Gras partier. I thought this was a fine suggestion! A couple of minutes later I walked outside to see if my roommate had secured the knocked over pole to find his with a saw cutting the pole down himself! I yelled, "Camel-Nose" (not really, but I’m trying to protect his identity, remember?), and then he turned to me with his impish smile and gave me a shrug of his shoulders that made everything better.
We never ended up using the cut-down pole.
As you can see, dear reader, Mardi Gras is a good time when handled responsibly, and I love good times! I think Fat Tuesday is worthy of a weeklong celebration; worthy of celebrating life to the fullest before we begin reflecting on death.
So, dear reader, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear much from me this week – I have a tea-induced hangover to suffer from.
27 January, 2008
Perhaps the fountain of youth is not some glorified hot tub, but rather the search for that glorified hot tub! Maybe the youth sought is not a physical but spiritual in nature? Aside from feeling a little cheated by that thought, I still don’t really know what it means.
Fortunately I remembered something Jason Schwartzman once told me: “Find something you love and do it for the rest of your life.” Thank you Jason. But what is my Rushmore? What could give me the drive to stalwartly move forward, accepting each new day and challenge with grace and poise?
“Eric, that’s really sweet,” you somewhat confuse me, “I didn’t realize how much my being your audience meant to you.”
This is a slightly more awkward position than I hoped to be in. Dear reader, I think you’re great and all, but I just don’t feel that way about you… I hope we can still be friends.
“Yeah, I understand,” I think I hear a muffled sob, “that’s what I meant too.”
Let’s move on then!
I don’t need fast cars, loose women, or plentiful cash to make me feel young, but what I do need is the internet! No-no, hear me out here! Maybe you, dear reader are actually part of my youth – namely if I’m stalking you.
Something that I discovered in college is that there are so many great tools online for invading people’s lives! This act was given an appropriate verb by Joey, the very model of masculinity, namely: ‘creeping.’ One might say, “Sorry, I can’t go out tonight because I’ve got to creep the ‘Space.”
“Eric,” you sound a little confused, “what in the world does stalking people have to do with staying young?”
Well, dear reader, stalking people used to be a very difficult and involved task. I once wrote a song about it, parodying Nancy Sinatra’s little ditty:
These shoes are made for stalking,
And that’s what they’re gonna do,
So baby, you’re not careful,
And they’ll be stalking you!
Strangely it never took a number one spot on any charts.
Fortunately, stalking no longer requires leaving the convenience of your home. You could stalk people at age sixty better than you did in your physical prime!
Also, it saves a great deal of time when it comes to investing in relationships. I no longer need to ask a person their thoughts on art, music, love, sexuality, religion, politics, and favorite quotes – all of this is now readily available on the web. What’s more, people appreciate this sort of voyeurism because they would rather not waste their time talking about themselves with you so they can get to the main issue of… well, themselves. I know it doesn’t make sense, but they really do appreciate your not wasting their time.
I can simulate a three-year relationship with a person in twenty minutes simply by cutting and pasting.
Where does this leave me? I can have multiple romances and careers over the internet in the amount of it takes to hand out the Academy Awards. Really, it comes down to essentially living in dog years.
So, do you actually find youth? No. But you do get to experience more things without actually experiencing them. What a great life I have ahead of me!
Who needs Sweden, Alaska, or any other physical fountain of youth? Everything has switched from analog to digital anyways! The internet has plenty of beautiful people, fishes, limitless ads for health care (in your pants), and hipsters - else could the fountain of youth need?
So make your myspace only available to your friends because the youngest guy on the internet block is coming to see who is in your top eight!