Showed this video in class. It’s very poignant. Somewhat ironic that we are using digital content to discuss how our lives are too digital, but still. Awesome poem.
Inspired by Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas, I decided to post my list of what I read in 2012. This looks like an enormous list, but bear in mind that a lot of this is made up of graphic novels and comic books. The older I have grown, the more I have decided that there is no literature that is only for children or teens. All types and genres of literature have value (although the value of romance novels still alludes me). My goal this year is to beat this record. I don’t think I am on pace yet.
1) Rocket Boys - Homer Hickam
2) Choosing to See - Mary Beth Chapman
3) The Power of Six - Pittacus Lore
4) Green Lantern: Brightest Day - Geoff Johns
5) God and Harry Potter at Yale – Danielle Tumminio
6) The God I Never Knew - Robert Morris
7) Love and War - John and Staci Elderedge
8) The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson
9) The Giver - Lois Lowry
10) Lola and the Boy Next Door - Stephanie Perkins
11) The Son of Neptune - Rick Riordan
12) The Barbarian Way - Erwin McManus
13) Zombies vs. Unicorns - Eds. Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
14) Brightest Day, Volume 2 - Geoff Johns
15) The New Avengers, Volume 1 - Brian Michael Bendis
16) Wildwood - Colin Meloy
17) Let It Snow: 3 Holiday Romances - John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
18) The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick
19) Wonderstruck - Brian Selznick
20) Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life - Bryan Lee O’Malley
21) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - Bryan Lee O’Malley
22) Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness - Bryan Lee O’Malley
23) Wintertown - Stephen Emond
24) Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together - Bryan Lee O’Malley
25) Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe - Bryan Lee O’Malley
26) Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour - Bryan Lee O’Malley
27) Lost at Sea - Bryan Lee O’Malley
28) Witch and Wizard – James Patterson
29) Devilish - Maureen Johnson
30) Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd - eds. Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
31) The Gift - James Patterson
32) The Fire - James Patterson
33) The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
34) Eragon - Christopher Paolini
35) Eldest - Christopher Paolini
36) Brisingr - Christopher Paolini
37) Inheritance - Christopher Paolini
38) Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working - Craig Groeschel
39) The Leader in Me - Stephen R. Covey
40) The Energy Bus - Jon Gordon
41) The Outsiders - S. E. Hinton
42) Suite Scarlett - Maureen Johnson
43) Surprised by Laughter: The Comic World of C. S. Lewis - Terry Lindvall, PhD.
44) Unveiled: The Transforming Power of God’s Presence and Voice – Alan Smith
45) Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events - The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket
46) Avengers: Disassembled - Brian Michael Bendis
47) New Avengers: Breakout - Brian Michael Bendis
48) The Energy Bus (re-read) - Jon Gordon
49) Cyrano de Bergerac - Edmond Rostand
50) The Secret War - Brian Michael Bendis
51) The House of M - Brian Michael Bendis
52) New Avengers: Sentry - Brian Michael Bendis
53) New Avengers: Secrets and Lies - Brian Michael Bendis
54) New Avengers: The Collective - Brian Michael Bendis
55) The Road to Civil War - Brian Michael Bendis
56) Civil War - Mark Millar
57) The Death of Captain America, Volume 1: The Death of a Dream - Ed Brubaker
58) The Death of Captain America, Volume 2: The Burden of Dreams - Ed Brubaker
59) The Death of Captain America, Volume 3: The Man Who Bought America - Ed Brubaker
60) New Avengers: Civil War - Brian Michael Bendis
61) New Avengers: Revolution - Brian Michael Bendis
62) Mighty Avengers - The Ultron Initiative - Brian Michael Bendis
63) New Avengers: Illuminati - Brian Michael Bendis
64) Mighty Avengers: Venom Bomb - Brian Michael Bendis
65) New Avengers: The Trust - Brian Michael Bendis
66) Mighty Avengers: Assemble - Brian Michael Bendis
67) The Serpent’s Shadow - Rick Riordan
68) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer Smith
69) New Avengers: Secret Invasion, Volume 1 - Brian Michael Bendis
70) Mighty Avengers: Secret Invasion, Volume 1 - Brian Michael Bendis
71) Secret Invasion - Brian Michael Bendis
72) New Avengers: Secret Invasion, Volume 2 - Brian Michael Bendis
73) Mighty Avengers: Secret Invasion, Volume 2 - Brian Michael Bendis
74) Mighty Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest - Dan Slott
75) Dark Reign: Accept Change - Brian Michael Bendis
76) New Avengers: Luke Cage: Town Without Pity - John Arcudi
77) Mighty Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest – Dan Slott
78) Dark Reign: Accept Change – Brian Michael Bendis
79) New Avengers: Luke Cage: Town Without Pity – John Arcudi
80) New Avengers: Power – Brian Michael Bendis
81) New Avengers: Search for the Sorcerer Supreme – Brian Michael Bendis
82) New Avengers: Powerloss – Brian Michael Bendis
83) Siege – Brian Michael Bendis
84) New Avengers, Vol. 1 – Brian Michael Bendis
85) Fear Itself – Matt Fraction
86) New Avengers, Vol. 2 – Brian Michael Bendis
87) New Avengers, Vol. 3 – Brian Michael Bendis
88) New Avengers: Siege – Brian Michael Bendis
89) Avengers: Fear Itself – Brian Michael Bendis
90) Spiderman: Brand New Day, Vol. 1 – Dan Slott
91) Spiderman: Fear Itself – Christopher Yost
92) Green Lantern: Rebirth – Geoff Johns
93) Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
94) Teaching with Poverty in Mind – Eric Jensen
95) Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
96) Spiderman: Brand New Day, Vol. 2 – Bob Gale
97) The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd
98) Spiderman: Brand New Day, Vol. 3 – Dan Slott
99) X-Men Masterworks: Volume 1 – Chris Claremont
100) Spiderman: Carnage – David Michelinie
101) The Book of Blood and Shadow – Robin Wasserman
102) Making Thinking Visible – Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison
103) Spiderman: Kraven’s First Hunt – Mark Guggenheim
104) James Potter and the Hall of Elder’s Crossing – G. Norman Lippert
105) Kisses from Katie – Katie Davis
106) Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Volume 1 - Various
107) The Invincible Iron-Man: Extremis – Warren Ellis
108) Civil War: X-Men – Mark Guggenheim
109) Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Volume 2 - Various
110) Avengers vs. X-Men #0-12 - Various
111) Deadpool – Merc with a Mouth: Head Trip – Victor Gischler
112) X-Men: Decimation – The Day After – Chris Claremont
113) X-Men: Decimation – Generation M – Paul Jenkins
114) X-Men: Decimation – Sentinal Squad O*N*E* - John Layman
115) X-Men: Decimation – The 198 – David Hine
116) New Excalibur – Defenders of the Realm – Chris Claremont
117) New X-Men: Children’s End, Volume 1 – Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
118) New X-Men #24-25 – Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
119) X-Factor: Volume 1: The Longest Night – Peter David
120) Uncanny X-Men: The New Age – Volume 4, End of the Greys – Chris Claremont
121) X-Men: Decimation – Son of M – David Hine
122) Wolverine: Origins and Endings – Daniel Way
123) X-Men: Deadly Genesis – Ed Brubaker
124) X-Men: Messiah Complex – Ed Brubaker
125) X-Men: Divided We Stand – Matt Fraction
126) Uncanny X-Men: Divided We Stand – Ed Brubaker
127) Uncanny X-Men: Fear Itself – Kieron Gillen
128) A VERSUS X #1-6 - Various
129) Brightest Day, Volume 3 – Geoff Johns
130) X-Men Legacy: Divided He Stands – Mike Carey
131) X-Force: Angels and Demons – Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
132) X-Men: Siege – Liu, Way, & Gillen
133) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Omnibus, Volume 3 - Various
134) War of the Green Lanterns – Geoff Johns, etc.
135) The Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire – Ed Brubaker
136) House of M: Uncanny X-Men – Chris Claremont
137) Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #7 – Peter J. Tomasi
138) War of the Green Lanterns: Aftermath #1-2 – Tony Bedard
139) Wolverine: Origins – Jenkins, Quesada
140) Kingdome Come – Mark Waid
141) X-Men: Supernovas – Mike Carey
142) X- Force: “Love” & Violence – Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost
143) Uncanny X-Men: The Extremists – Ed Brubaker
144) Scarlet Spider: Life After Death – Christopher Yost
145) Scarlet Spider #7-8 – Christopher Yost
146) Gambit #1-7 – James Asmus
147) Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Vol. 4 – Various
148) X-Men Legacy: Sins of the Father – Mike Carey
149) Crossover Classics (DC/Marvel) #1 – Various
150) “The Most Dangerous Game” – Richard Connell
151) X-Men: Manifest Destiny – Matt Fraction
152) Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Vol. 5 – Various
153) The Rise of Nine – Pittacus Lore
154) The Casual Vacancy – J. K. Rowling
155) A + X #1-2 – Various
156) X-Men Legacy #1-3 – Simon Spurrier
157) All-New X-Men #1-4 – Brian Michael Bendis
158) Deadpool #1-3 – Brian Posehn
159) Uncanny Avengers #1-3 – Rick Remender
160) Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Volume 6 – Various
161) Superman: Earth One, Volume 1 – J. Michael Straczynski
162) Batman: Earth One – Geoff Johns
163) Superman: Earth One, Volume 2 – J. Michael Straczynski
164) Let it Snow – John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
165) Robin: Year One – Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty
166) Superman: Godfall – Michael Turner
167) Superman/Batman: Sueprgirl – Jeph Loeb & Michael Turner
168) Huntress: Year One – Ivory Madison
169) The Mark of Athena - Rick Riordan
170) Under Wildwood - Colin Meloy
Is there ever a time when we figure out 100% who we are? It seems like every day I have some life changing, earth shattering revelation about who I am. It could be that I am just melodramatic. I’ll concede this possibility because I did listen to a lot of emo music and I think that does something to you. I still love all of that emo music and I think it’s so funny that I sometimes want to hide that from people. Who cares? If the fact that I liked emo at some point makes people not want to talk to me or think I am cool that says more about those people than it does about me.
So here is this week’s revelation. I am infinitely messed up. No matter how much I act like I have it all together, I don’t. No matter how often I talk about something getting fixed, there is a line of problems behind that waiting for their turn. I’m not unique in this. We spend so much time trying to show each other that we have it together and we are good enough to be accepted by the general public that we become frauds who are afraid to let people below the surface. This week’s revelation might sound like my last post. I’m cool with that because it feels different and what is this blog for if it’s not for me to work through my own thoughts.
So here’s part two: being so messed up worries me more in relation to its effects on others than on me. More specifically, it paralyzes me when I think about becoming a father. If I am to be honest I had a pretty poor father. I’m not sure whether I think it is his fault or the fault of his post-traumatic stress disorder from serving in Vietnam. I know that I am not angry with him. I am sadder that we both missed out on a relationship that we were supposed to have and that would have been wonderful.
I’m a sentimental kind of guy. I have no qualms with that. I’m a fan of “chick flicks” and music that guys want to razz me for liking. So today I was watching “The Last Song,” a Nicholas Sparks film starring Miley Cyrus. Like most Nicholas Sparks movies there is a character who is suffering from terminal illness. Everytime I see movies with this plotline it breaks me to pieces. I have never experienced having a close relative or friend sick in that way, but the compassionate side of me just breaks. I think in a lot of ways that I have experienced something similar to this with my father. Or perhaps its how I viewed what happened with my dad. In order to make it more comfortable I imagined that he was gone. He had passed away. I mourned like someone who lost a relative. Yet, my father is alive and well a mere three hours from me.
I digress, the point is that because of the pain that I felt in regards to my relationship with my father, I worry so much about what I will give to my children. Will I be the father I dream of being. Will I play with them and read to them and tuck them in. There were years where my father did these things. I remember every night he would tuck me in and he would tickle me with his beard. He would lay in the floor and play Nintendo with us. He was a good dad for years. However, eventually the less lovable side of my father took over and these were the years that included abuse, adultery, alcoholism, driving while intoxicated, and eventually the accident that separated us.
Its funny, as I read back over this I find it so disjointed. Normally that would drive me crazy and I would try and re-write it. Right now I don’t care though. I think it’s more important that I get these feelings out. Deep down I know that I am not my father. I will not do the things my father did because I have already processed these traumas and weighed the actions that were made on all sides. I’m not going into parenthood blindly. I am a totally different person than I was even 10 years ago when Michele and I met. Back then, all I wanted was to get out of Texas. I mean it is really, really hot here. I wanted to move anywhere and travel everywhere. I still want to travel, but now what is more important to me then anything is finding a good place to settle and set down roots so that I can raise a family. I want a house that I can live in for 30 years and the kids can think of it as home forever. I want my kids to have a good education and have every opportunity. I even want them to have the opportunity to experience things that are much more family-oriented and outdoorsy than I ever experienced. Michele talks about hay rides and apple picking and I swoon.
I’m terrified of every next step I have to take. Everything I work at shows me how much more growing I have to do. I see where I’m a jerk, selfish, arrogant, ignorant, uneducated, foolish and more. I also know that I can do it. I can grow. I can change. I can be better. I want to be better. I want this life, more than I ever have before. As Blink 182 said, “I guess this is growing up.”
A couple of weeks ago Michele and I saw a commercial for this new show on MTV called “If You Really Knew Me.” The premise of the show is that an outside group visits various High Schools and initiates what they call Challenge Days. A Challenge Day is designed to get students to open up and realize that they are all going through the same things, no matter what their clique. It aims to break down walls that cause students to separate themselves and often bully each other. One thing that it reminded me of was how I felt when I was in High School.
I had a rough childhood. In 1st grade my father physically abused me, in 3rd grade my parents divorced, and in 4th grade my father was in a drunk driving accident (which didn’t kill him but did, essentially, remove him from my life). Yet as I have gotten older I have come to understand that every single person has had something happen to them which has in some way hurt them or marred their past. We are no different. Some have had it far worse than me, in fact. Yet I distinctly remember feeling in High School like no one had ever gone through what I had gone through.
Also, I was never what you would call popular. I got along pretty well with people from every clique andsocial group but I only had a couple of close friends. I never had a girlfriend in all of my time in High School. I was made fun of at various times between Junior High and High School for being overweight andfor being overly religious. Yet, again, I know that I was not an outcast on the level of some of the students that I attended school with.
The thing is that when I was in High School everything seemed to carry a feeling of permanence with it. It seemed like when the girl turned me down that I would be alone forever. That noone would ever love me. It seemed like when a friend and I had a fight that the entire world was upside down and nothing could ever restore it. When my mom was mad at me it seemed like she was always mad at me and there was nothing I could do to fix it.
Watching this television show reminded me of that feeling. I am 28 now. I’ve been out of High School for 10 years. Yet, there are still times when the bad things in life seem like they will last forever. I get tired and down and begin to think that there is nothing I can do to change my circumstances. I look at my life and wonder why 10 years after High School I am only just now getting to the place where I am going to have a Bachelor’s Degree when I see friends graduating with 2nd Master’s Degrees or having great jobs already. I wonder if I will ever leave Starbucks (a job I have grown to dislike quite a bit).
However, now that I am older these feelings last much less time. I know that this phase of my life is just a vapor in comparison with my life and my life is just a vapor in comparison with eternity. I can do this. I can make it through. I’ve come to see that things generally get better. This makes my life feel so much better than it did in High School. Even when things don’t work out the way I want now, they still generally work out pretty well. God is looking out for me.
I’m in Missouri right now on vacation. The last thing I wanted to happen out here was to experience car trouble. My car is not that old and before we left for this trip we got an oil change and an inspection in order be safe. Yet last night I spent a couple hours driving out to Saint Louis from this little town we’re in and taking my car to the dealership to get it checked out. But I never really got frustrated or stressed. I knew that it could be a lot worse. Mostly, I’m just happy it happened while I was up here and not on the road somewhere.
I’m excited to see where this wild ride will take me. Our God’s a God of adventure…just sometimes the adventure is not the one we planned on!
Well, I knew I was biting off more than I could chew. The thing is, when things get hard I have two responses: I buckle down and get things done, or I do far less than I should. For the first time, I’m actually somewhere in the middle. I am getting some stuff done but it just doesn’t seem like enough. Wish I could get paid to read. Ha ha. Oh well. There are a few things that are making me feel pretty darned good. Here they are:
1.) Worship Music- from these people:
— Antioch Community Church
— Bethel Live
— Matt Redman
and more. Also, the following non-worship artists have been awesome:
— Greg Laswell
— Band of Horses
— Josh Ritter
— Jennifer Knapp
Well, that’s my post for now.
The word of the week is discipline. I’m wondering if I have any. The rope in my hand, that’s my freedom … and I’m wondering if I will choose to hang myself with it or use it for something good. See, here’s the deal. I’m out of school for the summer. It’s been a tough semester and I came out on top. I’m incredibly proud of what I did this semester. However, i have developed this pattern in my life where I do something and then, because I am tired, I do nothing and i destroy all the momentum I had. I have a million and one things I need to accomplish this summer. My goals break down to a couplw categories.
Spend some time reenergizing my Spiritual Life
Spend some time dealing with unresolved issues
Visit my father
Study and CLEP out of Comp Sci
Prepare Honors Portfolio
Finish app and get accepted to Teaching program
Refine paper and present at MythCon41
Get ahead on Bachelor’s Thesis
Its a lot to get done in a short amount of time. It will require a ridiculous amount of concentration and focus. I really want to do it all though. What’s more, i need to do it all. God be my strength.
Every New Year brings with it a period of self-analysis. We wonder did we do the things we set out to last year. Have we stayed the course or have we wandered? If we have wandered, was this wandering for better or for worse? Every year as the New Year begins I find myself dwelling on the lyrics to that appropriate song, “The New Year” by Death Cab for Cutie. The lyrics are as follows:
“So this is the new year
and I don’t feel any different.
The clanking of crystal
explosions off in the distance.
So this is the new year
and I have no resolutions
for self assigned penance,
for problems with easy solutions.
So everybody put your best suit or dress on,
let’s make believe that we are wealthy for just this once.
Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
as thirty dialogues bleed into one.
I wish the world was flat like the old days
then I could travel just by folding a map.
No more airplanes, or speedtrains, or freeways.
There’d be no distance that could hold us back.”
The last five years or so I haven’t been up when the ball has dropped. I have either worked late serving coffee to the entitled masses or I have had to get up early the next morning in order to do so. So when I have woken on January the 1st of each year, nothing has felt different. I’ve felt removed from the entire New Year’s procession.
This is not the only thing that makes me feel removed from the whole New Year thing. I’m not one of those people who puts much weight in resolutions either. Resolutions have often seemed to me to be the kind of frivolous sentimentality that rarely results in real change. I’m by no means a pessimist, yet I find that there is something about resolutions that just rub me the wrong way. Yet, certainly I want to believe in the idea of new beginnings and second chances. After all, that is what Christianity is all about.
So what do I want to do with my new year? There is a sense of community and and a sense of simplicity that is present in Ben Gibbard’s lyrics. I’ll admit that even though he married one of my celebrity crushes (Zooey Deschanel) I’m indebted to him for his wonderful lyrics. It is this community and this simplicity that seem to dominate the desires of my heart as I get older. Very soon I will be posting about each of these things.
For now I just want to introduce the new URL. I hope very much that some of my friends will join me and post to this blog. After all there are many voices that need to be heard, even when they differ.
In the meantime…watch this:
I’ve been learning a lot the past few months. I’ve learned about myself, other people, love, God and life. I don’t have it all together by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, some days you couldn’t imagine a bigger mess than me. However, I have no problem exposing my flaws and foibles to others because I know that each of us is broken and screwed up in some way. I wanted to share a few of the things I have learned about what it means to grow up. I hope you can relate, laugh and maybe even learn from some of these. If one person didn’t have to hurt or hurt others, the way that I have, to learn these things, then I will be a happy man.
1) The first thing to know is that you don’t know a lot of things. It’s important to know that you have a lot of growing to do.
2) Because you have a lot of growing to do, you should assume that others probably do to. Extend grace to then as often as possible. They may be learning a lesson too.
3) Be quick to apologize and accept responsibility for your mistakes.
4) Don’t expect an apology to make up for it. Though things may not turn out the way you want them to they almost always turn out for the best. It may take some time for you to figure this out but I assure you, you will.
5) Learn to let go (of people, of hurts others give you, of situations, of your pride, of your anger, of yourself). You really can only do so much. Try and then let go.
6) Some friendships, unfortunately are only for a season. Wonderful people come into our lives and for one reason or another they leave. There is nothing you can do about this except treasure what you have shared and, again, let go. There may come a day down the road where you will meet again. If there has been a hurt between you, perhaps time will have healed that wound. However, you may never meet again or the circumstances may not be what you hoped for. Let go and be thankful for the good times you had.
7) Always be yourself. Don’t compromise yourself or your values for what someone else thinks you oughta be. Be confident and take time to learn to love you for you. No one else’s opinion about you (save God’s) matters one iota.
8) Try hard to be the best you that you can be. If a friend shares a concern with you about yourself, listen. Take time to think and/or pray about it. Ultimately you have to make the decisions about who you are and who you are striving to be.
9) Forgive others. That’s what true friends do. They forgive and they don’t keep bringing it up or hold grudges. Even if someone is not your friend, forgive them. Anger, hatred and bitterness hurt you more than the person they are aimed at.
10) Deal with conflict in a healthy, calm and open way. Don’t blow up at people, don’t shut down and refuse to talk. Be willing to wait if the other person needs time. If you need time try to share that with the other person in a kind, sincere way that validates their need to deal with it. Then, don’t wait weeks to talk. Really try to think through your emotions and talk about it as soon as possible. This will show the other person you value their friendship and emotions.
11) A lot of times being an adult is about making the best decision, even if it hurts like crazy. Just because you don’t want to do something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
12) The hardest thing for many people (especially me) to learn is balance. Anything in excess is usually not a good thing.
13) Don’t judge other people if you don’t know their story and haven’t walked in their shoes.
I hope these don’t seem overly simple or complicated. I hope you can think about them briefly and then take steps to put them into practice in your own life. I hope you are able to do it without going through some of the things I have to learn them.