Friday, January 28, 2011

Stuff: Worse than His Bite

It seems such a loss that without the light of some unseen, imaginary shiny face, we can do little more than wallow in mud, waiting for some sort of cosmic hand out. Or, maybe an interesting comment on how Jews, Christians, and Muslims view themselves, and us as a whole; that we cannot accomplish anything without some supreme overlord to guide us… Well, really only his chosen… and catch us when we fall - and we will fall – because we are small, insignificant, and completely clueless.

So much the opposite is true, when you look around the world. Across the nations we can find mankind working, building, and coming together. Our past on this planet is full of amazing accomplishments; from ancient colossal stone monuments of such precision, to the unlocking of the genetic code - the very building blocks of life. We would be told that none of that comes from us without first being permitted by some unseen father like guardian; who would see fit to give us a rational, quizzical mind, and then forbid us to use it.

When, in reality – regardless of what anyone has ascribed a name to, it’s been man, all along, that has been the architect of his own moral compass; good, or bad. The rule of law? That’s been man. Farming? With a hoe in his hand, man. Organized society? Yeah, that was man, too. Science? Man… in a lab coat. The arts? With brush in hand… man.

Yes, in the past, when we knew no better, we spun various stories of robed men in clouds constructing, warring, and doing all various activities to explain what he had no answers to. That is the very birthplace of religions; in the needing minds of ourselves; striving for answers.

Religion does, also, offer some level of comfort. It shelters us in a large, scary world. It tells us we are special, and allows us to shift blame for our own undoing. In essence, it’s the cultural security blanket that we, as a collective whole, cling to like a child; looking for reassurance in a painful time of growth in an uncertain world.

But, to ironically pull from the Bible: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away such childish things.”
(1 Corinthians 13:11)

More so now than ever we need to realize that we are an amazing creature; part of a wondrous world. Sure, we are small. But we don’t have to stay small. Yes, the vastness of existence is daunting. But, imagine all the wonders it holds, waiting for us to find them; both out among the stars, and in our own backyards.

It was a long climb from the caves of ancient France and the plains of Africa to Kittyhawk. But only fifty years from Kittyhawk to the moon. And since then? Knowledge, understanding, and the tools to apply them on a scale that defies all that have come before. Fantasy has become the realm of play time, Science Fiction just a rough sketch of tomorrow.

Sure, we’re bound to make a few mistakes along the way; stub our collective toe, every now and then. And, yes, the realized scale of the universe is vast and a little more than bewildering. But, if we can’t find the courage and strength to overcome our fears, and tap the power that comes from within us, then we are doomed to be the sheep that the very superstitions of the past would have us believe.

Yes, I felt a little smug, as I left that barking Bible thumper confused on that San Francisco street corner. But I also felt a little sad. He didn’t understand what I said, at all. He just couldn’t. Never could he see the world and his fellow man as I do; with the greatest potential for the most amazing of things.

Peace and Grace be with you… Come out into the light to see you are the architect of our tomorrows; go out and build them, today.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stuff: Time Skating By

I’m not sure what hits me harder, that I’m now over a third of a century old, I’m the slow grown up on the roller rink, or that my last girlfriend was born while I was beginning junior high…

There’s been a lot of life in the almost 37 years I haven’t been dead. Once upon a time it took a week to mail off a letter and get a response. Music came on vinyl at speeds, or on cassettes; first in eight tracks, then later in 120 minutes. Home computers rocked with their 100k memory and green and black screens. Getting to the store before it closed could be a race. And if you didn’t get cash from the bank before Friday at 5pm, you were out of luck until Monday.

And then there were roller rinks from the days when wheels were in sets, not in a line…

A couple months ago I got the chance to hit up a monthly event at a surviving roller rink in the south end of San Jose, California. And wow, let me tell you it took me back. Mainly, I think, because the building, the interior, and – I think – even the skates were all original. And kept in about as good repair as you’d expect; not much.

Sure took me back, though. I remember being one of the pre-teen terrors on the rink, buzzing past older folk, slipping through couples, and hanging the tight turns. Twenty five years later, and my first time back in skates in all that time? I felt pretty lucky that I only fell once.

Hey! That’s pretty good for twenty five years… Until I got buzzed by the eleven year olds with their own custom skates. Sure, I could have taken them in my day. But, it’s their day, now.

Peace and grace be with you; I’d yell at you to get off my lawn, but I’m too busy limbering up for the next all skate!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Yes, thank you Jocelyn for being my super supportive best friend…

That’s right; it’s the new year and we continue with new looks. Some looks being still in flux, I suppose. The title box? No, that’s still a work in progress. The goatee? Yep, that’s back. The kilt? Well…