Posts Tagged ‘life

19
Oct
11

Film: The Great Educator

I went on a Twitter rampage (compared to my usual posting rate) yesterday, beginning with rants against the extreme right-wing folks and then the extreme left-wing folks and then…as I finished watching the DVD “Priest” on my computer (so that I could get it back to library before I got fined for being late) I shifted suddenly and dramatically to sharing “movie wisdom.”

Now, after doing that, I am fully convinced (and will likely remain so for at least a few more days) that all the useful common-sense knowledge and keys to success that I need can be found in film. Especially action movies, cheesy horror and science fiction, and perhaps dark comedies, too.

Without further ado, let me share that wisdom, some of which is leftovers from yesterday’s tweeting (slightly reheated or freshened up with some new ingredients) and some new gems…or polished rocks…or just hunks of asphalt that broke off from the edge of the parking lot:

  • You know that you are entering into an area full of monsters and/or humans who are hostile to you. While I realize you need to search the area quickly, find supplies, look for clues and/or locate someone, I humbly suggest to you that this would NOT be a good time to split up and all go individually into different directions.
  • If a mysterious someone kidnaps your beloved, or a close relative or friend, and leaves a note, obvious clue or survivor to tip you off where to go hunting for them and your loved one…well, it’s a trap!
  • There are only four populations that you are allowed to completely exterminate without fear of retaliation by society or guilt to yourself: Nazis, vampires, zombies & invading extraterrestrials
  • In a dystopian future and/or apocalyptic wasteland, black clothing made of leather, latex and/or vinyl will always be in fashion. (Women are allowed to wear white versions for special occasions before Labor Day.)
  • The most evil and dangerous creatures will always grow inside and eventually spring out from really disgusting, slimy pods that are either all over the floor of the room/cave/whatever you must pass through, or are hanging from the ceiling above you, and probably all around you like sides of beef in a butcher’s freezer. You should avoid them. To be safe, avoid Brussels sprouts and other disgusting and potentially slimy ovoid vegetables, too.
  • Addendum to the above point: Evil creatures freshly hatched from slimy pods always—even though it makes no sense based on how things normally work in nature—come out with full strength, agility and awareness of their surroundings. (Bring along a person you don’t like and can shove in the way to buy yourself time.)
  • If the bullet has passed all the way through your body, it is considered the same as a flesh wound and you are required to keep on going. The only exceptions are if it passed through your heart and/or lungs—and even then you’re expected to try to keep going for the next five to 10 minutes.
  • When working with explosives, always bring a second detonator, as someone will always end up accidentally shooting or crushing the one you’re counting on
  • Never bring a knife to a gunfight. Exception is if you are a samurai. Or ninja. Or Vin Diesel’s “Riddick” character or someone like the warrior priests of “Priest.” In those cases, you are pretty much required to ONLY bring a knife (or a larger melee weapon bearing blades and/or spikes).
  • If you are supernaturally fast, agile and accurate, it is considered socially unacceptable to use firearms. Unless you’re in the Matrix.
  • Once you’ve knocked down your adversary (who is armed with a gun, while you are not), please remember to take his or her gun away afterward—before you get caught up in emotional bonding or witty repartee with your friends nearby. Also, it might be a good idea to use that gun to shoot said entity in head, whether human or not. Thank can me later…or the grandkids my advice made it possible for you to have can thank me.
  • Always keep a watch with you. Entirely too many protagonists lately have not been planning their attacks well and have allowed themselves to be caught in creature-infested areas just as the sun is going down.
  • It’s quite acceptable for drama queen to be kept alive through end of your quest, especially if he or she provides good comic relief. However, do NOT apply same standard to alien queen or vampire queen.
  • Always pay attention to your grooming. After all, as the movies teach us, it’s the attractive ones who will be rescued/survive/prosper…
09
Dec
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Outside the Box by Deacon Blue

floor_cubed1Sometimes, I wonder—as I suppose many of us do—what my life might have been like under other circumstances.

What if I had been raised in a mostly white city or state instead of being raised in the Bay Area of California, where Asians and Hispanics abounded? Had that been the case, I might not be the kind of person who, for the most part, doesn’t focus on race (mind you, this isn’t me tooting my horn; my relatively high level of color myopia—because no one is color blind—isn’t some great achievement; it’s just who I am, and it can cut in bad ways as well as good ones, like when I don’t notice a racial slight against my wife by someone). In which case, I wouldn’t have my current wife most likely. Or children.

What if I had been born under greater or lesser economic circumstances than what I have been? What if I couldn’t conceive of being able to ever pay anything? Might I have turned out to be a hard-assed criminal to get by instead of a goofy nerd? Might I have embraced the idea of fleecing the system and using other people, like some people I have known casually and been related to? If I had been born rich, would I see people in need as worthless leeches instead of, well, people in need?

And in terms of my faith, would I still be a Christian in name only, and empty in terms of my actual walk with God, if I hadn’t met Mrs. Blue, back in the days before she had my last name tacked on with hers? That might be the biggest “what if” for me. I spent so much of my life having been born and raised Catholic, but with God almost never on my mind.

It wasn’t until I started going to church while dating Mrs. Blue (at her father’s church, mind you) that I started looking at the Bible again and really reading it and thinking about it. Viewing it with a fresh set of adult eyes and instead of just viewing it with skepticism, really looking into the underlying themes of separation and redemption and seeing how it made sense, really.

Thinking outside the box, if I hadn’t started dating Mrs. Blue, I probably wouldn’t be born again. I probably wouldn’t be thinking much about God. And for those of you out there who think it’s foolish for me to think of God as a real being, know this: I am a better person for having started my faith walk. Not a perfect person. And, frankly, I wasn’t a bad person before. People liked me and I was a pretty decent sort. I had compassion and lots of other positive qualities.

But the way I approach life is different now, and more deeply humane I think. My ability to weather the storms of life is better now that I can lean on the Holy Spirit for strength as needed. I still get knocked on my ass, but not as much as before.

Faith has given me reservoirs of love and endurance that are above and beyond whatever I had before. A person can knock my Christian faith as silly supersition all he or she wants. But faith is something that, properly harnessed, make a person something more than they would have been otherwise.

I’m thankful that I can think outside the box and only wonder what would have happened if my wife hadn’t been an example to lead me to seek out Jesus. Because there are many people who are still stuck inside boxes. I hope they can not only think their way out of them, but feel their way out through faith.

For the record, and as an afternote, yes, I can (and do) think outside the box of my own faith to consider the notion that I might be wrong about my beliefs or that there may be no God. I am inexorably drawn back to a firm grounding in my faith and in Jesus for many different reasons. But I’m not so rigid that I cannot carry opposing viewpoints and thoughts in my skull along with my long-established ones.

23
Sep
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Living by Miz Pink

Livin’ large. Isn’t that what the TV shows and music videos and self-help gurus tell us we need to be doing? Whether emotionally or intellectually or financially or however else?

Achieve achieve achieve. Strive strive strive.

More more more.

Wow! Is that really what life is about? Always trying to keep up with the Jonses or the Smiths or the Duchovnies or the Nguyens?

Did we lose the ability to stop and smell the roses from time to time or are we too busy trying to grow the perfect rose garden to impress our neighbors.

I’m not against sucess ya know…don’t get me wrong. Success is cool.

But if we aren’t living for others alot of time are we living a life to be proud of?

17
Jul
08

Carrying the Load

Today, I need to get something off my chest, but it’s not a rant like my July 14 “Stealing Time” post. I find myself thinking about stress a lot, and how it dovetails with faith (or sometimes lack thereof). And I’m thinking about it a lot in terms of my marriage.

I’m pretty laid back most of the time. I do get stressed over things, but it rarely lasts long. I sleep fine at night, I don’t have high blood pressure, I don’t get anxiety attacks. Mostly, I trust in God to deliver me from crap. And I daresay that Mrs. Blue and I have more crap to deal with than 90% of the people in our socioecomic cohort. For the most part, even when I feel a vague sense of unease, I mostly feel OK about life in general. Now, conflicts with people I love and who are close to me, those can mess me up, but most stressors in life just don’t knock my ass to the ground. I don’t think of myself as particularly strong in and of myself; I credit God for giving me much of the resources that I have to weather the storms.

And yet.

Mrs. Blue also has normal blood pressure and she maintains a pretty chipper face to people outside our family even when the stresses are high in our life. But she does get anxious and bummed and this translates into aches and pains and lack of sleep and sometimes just really, really bad moods. I realize there is nothing necessarily odd about this, nor is it bad per se that my wife and I operate differently in how we respond to stress. With me, it seems to roll off more; with her, it seems to stick more, and often build higher and higher with little relief.

My wife is no less faithful than I am. One could argue she is more so, I suspect. She prays more and she is in the Bible more often than I am. Yet she ends up with the greater stress.

And I wonder, is it my fault? My wife has always been the more organized of the two of us. I joke that she is the CEO and CFO of this family to my president and chairman of the board. She had always had more aptitude with figures and planning and dealing with people that we have to deal with. I’ve always been better doing my work, which at the moment still earns most of the money in this household, in supporting her in her work by being her sounding board and proofreader, and in accommodating our little girl’s most outrageous physical and emotional demands so that mommy won’t have child clinging to her every moment of the day.

And yet.

Have I dropped the ball? In thinking that my wife and I simply deal with stress differently and in thinking that we have an equitable split of the household duties, have I intepreted things wrong?

We are comparable in our faith in God and in our willingness to turn things over to God and ask for strength and help in times of trouble. Yet I seem to be the one who is least stressed.

Have I, through lack of action or lack of awareness, saddled Mrs. Blue with too much of the administrative work in this family? Is she so laden with having to look at the problems that we face that she can never look away from them? Does she lack for sleep and peace of mind because she just cannot let go of the stress and because there are just too many stressors that hit home for her…or is it because I’m not picking up some kind of slack?

I don’t know the answer. Once Mrs. Blue reads this, I don’t know that she’ll know either. I’m sure we’ll talk about it. Maybe we’ll even find answers. Maybe I’ll discover there is something I can do better.

We husbands and wives are supposed to be helpmates to one another. I think that too often, it’s easy to get caught up in ourselves and not be there as much as we should for the other person. That’s not the way it should be. Those of us who are married and who, I presume, still love our spouses…we need to do better to be there for them. Even when we think we’re doing enough, I suspect that most of us on both sides of the marriage still aren’t doing enough.

And if we don’t challenge ourselves and accept that fact that, “I might be the problem” instead of saying “I think you’re the problem” we are going to be very poor helpmates indeed.

14
Jul
08

Stealing Time

We don’t spend much time on this Earth. I know that it may seem like an interminable period of misery and pain for some people, a few of whom are singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” right now and hoping God would just put them out of their misery and bring them home now, but in the grand scheme, it doesn’t mean much to God. He’s got eternity on the other side.

Our lives here are a speck and He knows it and we should too. But, the fact is, time does mean a lot to us here on Earth.

For those who don’t believe there is an afterlife, for those who aren’t sure, for those who don’t really know if it’s better, well, they have a lot of concern about how their time on Earth is spent.

Even for those of us with either a pretty firm or rock-solid faith that there is a hereafter and that it’s going to be way better (assuming you pick the winning side of the spiritual war…nudge, nudge), time is still important. We may know that we have something better waiting, but that doesn’t mean we want to spend our days in physical or emotional pain, wasting our time, or anything else. We have families and friends who want our time, we want our personal time, and so on.

Yet in this world, there are plenty of people who not only want to waste our time but who insist on doing so, actually do it pretty effectively—and in many cases claim it is their inalienable right to use our time as they wish.

They are thieves.

They are stealing precious time from us and in many cases, this shit needs to stop.

Now, as you can tell, even though I’ve sprinkled some religious talk in here already, this post is going to be a rant. I’m not going to tell you exactly what sparked this rant. Suffice to say that people who are in the know in my life and who read this blog will probably figure out what set me off. If you want something strictly and completely spiritual, scroll down the main page of this blog to see if you missed anything this week, or just check out the post immediately below this one (Cycle of Trees), which offers a heartfelt spiritual message laden with meaning and wisdom—I hope.

So, back to time-stealing dingleberries in our lives.

Time thieves abound in life. Here are a few examples, some of which may be drawn from my life and one of which might even hint at what set me off today.

  • You are an employer or a supervisor and you believe that because the people under you are paid salaries, you are entitled to their time whenever you feel you need it. You don’t pay them hourly, you aren’t required to give them overtime, and you might not even give them comp time for when you keep them late or have them work weekends. Yet you think you own them. You think you can dictate to them whether or not their family time is important enough that they should be able to partake of it. You cancel vacation days and time off and weekends because your higher-up is saying that there is work that trumps everything else. If you are one of these people, you should be ashamed, and doubly so if you are in the United States. Americans work more hours than most folks in the developed world and use less vacation and sick time. We’re killing ourselves slowly and making a misery of our lives for our companies, and we can’t even get decent health insurance from them anymore. Sickening.
  • You are a person who is single, and who gets snarly when a married co-worker with kids (or an unmarried one with kids, for that matter) comes in a little early to leave a bit early for a soccer game or something. You get mad if your supervisor gives them more opportunities to try to make up time or shift around hours because they have daycare hours to contend with or activities to attend or just want to see their kids and give them some love. If you are getting mad and thinking this person is getting a special deal or a free ride, get over your damn self. When you are married, you will see how much damn work it is to keep a relationship like that healthy. When you have kids, you will find out how hard it is to juggle family and work time. When you are no longer single and/or child-free, you will know how glorious family time is and how important it is, and if you have a shred of decency, you will feel bad for talking shit about your family-minded co-workers once you have a personal taste of what they had to give up to work 90% of the workday and you will find yourself wondering why you have to beg to leave a few minutes early to see your kid’s play or celebrate your spouse’s birthday. Do us all a favor and stop bitching now so you won’t have to feel guilty later. And don’t do what some of your fellow single folks might do and backstab and undermine those married and child-rearing co-workers because you feel like they’re your enemies for wanting family time.
  • You are the custodial parent of a child (or children), and your ex gets little enough time with the kid(s) already, even though he or she really wants to spend time with them. You do your best to steal away weekends and cut short summers. You suddenly announce events without any warning, knowing this will inconvenience both your ex and your children and destroy their plans, all because of things like selfishness, desire to hurt the other person, or whatever. Even if you still can’t see fit to treat your ex with decency, please do yourself and the children a favor and stop being so petty. You have most of the year with the child or children already. Cherish what you have instead of stealing what’s not yours.
  • You are a lazy worker. You come in all sloppy to work and leave your co-workers to pick up your slack. You use trickery, lies, subterfuge and whatever else to make it look like you’re doing more than you are but you aren’t carrying the load that you could be. You don’t have a good reason for it; you just don’t care. It’s not that you don’t want to be worked to death but rather that you want to get your pay and do as little as possible while getting whatever you can for yourself, in terms of long lunches, time off, office supplies, etc. You are stealing your company’s time and probably other resources. You are stealing your co-workers’ time by making them do your work. You are a piece of crap and need to grow up and get some responsibility, or move into your parents’ basement and play video games all day.
  • You are at the only drive-through ATM and doing all your freakin’ banking that you should have done during banking hours, while people pile up behind you and are now running late because you want to check your balance—twice, make a deposit (filling out the forms while at the ATM instead of having done them at home), check the balance of another account, withdraw money (and then count it out as slowly as possible), transfer some funds, and then check your balance again. Bonus points for asshole-ishness if the bank is actually still open and you just decided that you didn’t want to get out of your car, you lazy bastard.
  • You are in the 10-items or less line at the store and have at least twice that number of items, possibly three times the amount or more. You decide to also quibble with the checker about prices and then have the gall to pay by check, writing out that sonuvabitch so slowly that we would all swear you have a neurological problem. But it turns out you’re just a time-wasting jerk who doesn’t want us to get home to our families.

OK, I feel better now having got that out of my system. To the person, organization, or other entity who sparked this rant, I forgive you, but please don’t let this crap happen again. I ain’t Jesus, and I have a lot of other pressures in life right now. And I feel like I am running out of cheeks to turn for folks.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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