Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Most Influential Person In History

I woke up this morning with one task on my mind for the day, and that was to type into Google, "Who is the most influential person in history?" Here's a little back story:

I often listen to the sermons of one of my favorite philoshphers and pastors, Timothy J. Keller, on my Ipod. He once used the illustration that out of the 10 most influential people in history, Jesus Christ was probably in the top 5, and he was arguably "The" most influential out of the bunch. Thus, one would think that it would be in their best interest to find out what this person was all about. So I was thinking about that in the shower this morning. I had no doubt in my mind that Jesus was indeed the most influential person to have ever existed, I mean just think about the control that "Christian" nations have over the world and the struggles historically that they have been a part of and I think you can come to this conclusion.

I just remembered to Google the question at 3:00pm. First I typed "The top 10 most influential people in history," and I didn't come up with much. Then I changed it to "Who is the most influential person in history and I was brought to something called Google Scholar. At this point I typed in my question and I was brought to this. You should have seen the frown on my face. And not because my beloved Jesus wasn't getting the credit he deserves, but because this is just stupid. It's intelectual bias, due to the fact that Christians can be so annoying, and because of the Bible belt and the Religious "right" and all of that negative junk. In turn, intelectuals just think that it's "cool" to be anti-anything that has to do with Christ. They love to be Anti-Christ. Maybe I'll read this book and be able to better address how in the heck this person could say from a scholarly standpoint that Sir Isaac Newton has been more influential than God.

P.S. I just read his entries on Muhammed and Jesus. I find it funny that he gives a short bio of Muhammed, and then in Jesus' account the author talks for multiple pages about how Paul is actually responsible for the influence of Christianity and not Christ. And then he says this: "The story of Jesus' life, as it is related to the New Testament, is familiar to most readers and it will not be repeated here." That makes me say this: "Ha!"

Please read the chapter, it's quite intersting.

Here is the Muhammed one as well.

Life Study

What are you studying for? I remember my college years as being incredibly stressful. There were some fun parts splattered in there somewhere, but I feel like I was locked in the library writing a paper, in the studio, or walking around like a zomby from extreme sleep deprevation for about three-fourths of my college career. Sometimes I just want a Delorean, so that I can go back and have some fun, wait, then I'd still be as old as I am now. Ok, so sometimes I dwell on the thought that it'd be sweet to wake up in the 3rd grade with the mind I have now, so that I can start all over as a sagely little man Tate. Then I go off on a tangent, and in my fantasy I make out with all of the girls in junior high that I had crushes on. Alas, then it's back to the drudgery of who I really am, and what I've actually done with my life, and even though I've got all this knowledge I'm still just me.

So, what are you studying? How are you becoming that person you know you'd be if you could just go back and correct all of your mistakes? I'm studying french, and I'm forcing myself to interact socially in ways that make me extemely uncomfortable and yet are ultimately to my benefit...man there are a couple girls that I really would've liked to have made out with.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hi, This is a Picture of Me

I'm posting this picture of myself as an experiment to see if I can link to it so that it will show up in my profile. I'm on a Mac and using Safari as my browser. It seems that Safari doesn't support all of the functions that blogger.com allows you to use. So here you go, an amusing picture of me:

P.S. This is just to put in my profile.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Mormon Fascination

I'm fascinated by Mormons. I used to be fascinated with the Mormon faith, but after reading the Book of Mormon extensively and researching it online (albeit through unreliable sources), I'm no longer so intrigued by it's so called theology. Before I decided to make this post about Mormonism, I decided to get on the web and find something really great and then simply to make a link to it. This was because I've had a pretty rough day and my thoughts are too much of a mess to write anything worthwhile. The first website that I got on dooce.com, which is probably my favorite website, had a new post entitled A can of worms. Now, I don't particularly have any agenda on issues of sexuality, and I definitely have no issue with the freedom to practice your religion, but check out what Dooce (Heather Armstrong) has to say. Her arguments are pretty legit, in the logical sense. If you want to know more about her and her website (which is awesome), click where it says this: I'm Heather B. Armstrong. This is my website.

(And yes Martha, I realize that you are one of my only readers, and that you are also a major Dooce fan. I'll get something interesting up for you soon.)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Hobbesian

I went down to the post office to buy some stamps and some thank you notes. A guy in expensive clothes pulled up in a convertible. He yelled out to me, "is this a mail office?" I said, "yep, sure is." He jumped out of his car and I held the door open for him. He grinned at me and said, "thanks buddy" as he walked through the door. He might have winked. He walked up to the counter with a package. He told the girl working at the front that he needed to mail his package to Buffalo, and it needed to get there tomorrow morning. She weighed it and told him that it would be $18.80, but that it probably wouldn't arrive until the day after the next. He told her that UPS could get it there tomorrow morning. She told him to go to UPS then. He told her he didn't know where that was. He held out a $10 bill and asked if she could just get it on the right truck to get it there tomorrow. She politely told him that it was out of her control. I needed to buy my cards and my stamps and I was in a hurry but I allowed him to finish. He paid for his postage and told her that the United Postal Service sucked. She told him that she was sorry he felt that way but he was already walking away. I watched him get into his convertible through the window. He put on his sun glasses and turned the music up loud. As he backed out quickly an ambulance with it's siren blazing plowed into him on the passenger side. The girl behind the counter and I ran outside. His face was bleeding and he was crying.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Important Lesson

I was just writing a short story in the same spot that I am writing now. I got side tracked when I saw that I had a new email and went to check it. After clicking on a link in that email and following it to another web page I closed my browser. This caused me to lose everything that I had just written. I had just hit Apple-Q and thrown away any and all record of the story I had just created! The story was about a young man named Taylor who was hiking through rural Patagonia and visiting villages. Taylor had just met a kind old man who was inviting him to sit in his porch and eat some breakfast. The village was beautiful. Taylor had been accruing anthropological knowledge about human interaction that he was going to be able to take back to his privileged life in the U.S. and make the world a better place. The village had been in existence for thousands of years and was one of the last remaining studies in egalitarian pre-industrial living. The people there were beautiful and humorous and kind. The children were beautiful and curious about this colorful young white man who had climbed up the mountain and brought his strange and gentle mannerisms into their village.

With a single keystroke I murdered that man. I massacred the village. I killed the children and wiped their thousand-year-old village off the face of the earth. I destroyed a culture and a language forever. And the worst part is that I did it unintentionally, through my own mindless folly.

I don't even know what to say. From now on I'm writing in a word processor, saving, and then copying and pasting into each post. I am sorry that you will never know Taylor. I'm sorry that I killed him. He was a really cool guy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Writing Again

I can't tell you how good it feels to be writing again. Now, it's important to differentiate what I call writing from WRITING. The former is what I do every day, pen on paper, aimlessly. The latter, is what happens when for whatever reason, the synapses either align or go happily haywire and give birth to an actual idea. Well, yesterday I got an idea for a short screenplay and I've started working on it. It's completely unlike anything I've ever written. It isn't overly emotional or artsy or intelectual. It's simple, it's a love story, and it's about pooping.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

High Brow Comedy Explosion

I realize that those few souls who read me look to this site for inside knowledge of culture and fine living, and not for low-brow, time-killing internet fodder. However, being that I myself am a struggling filmmaker in the digital age, I can respect even the most crude attempts at collaborative filmmaking. So, rather than sort through the slew and muck of uninspired and haphazardly thrown together junk I'll try to give you some stamped reccomendations, because lost in the ocean of crap, a few maverick filmmakers are out there doing it right. Thus, I bring you Team Tiger Awesome. I think I'm proud that I know these guys. It's one of those artistic movements about which I have to say, "you know, I wouldn't make that, but I can respect that there's someone out there thinking they should make it."

I would reccomend clicking on the button that says Episodes and watching Episode 1. One quick caveat, there is some objectionable content, so if you are uncomfortable with mimed lesbianism, then let's just forget that this post ever existed.

I promise you my next post will be something of substance. Something out of my brain. Something with some heart-felt emotional gravitas.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Quebec City

Since studying abroad for the first time in Europe in 2003, I've come to the realization that the U.S. is in about the same state developmentally as Europe in the middle ages. Now, I realize that this is an arguable point. I mean, our plumbing in the U.S. is pretty much better than Europe's is now. But on a cultural level, the U.S. is still trying to figure things out. Other problems in the U.S., or niceties, depending on who you are talking to, and whether or not they live in the Bible belt are urban sprawl, and our utter dependence on the automobile.

But if you've ever backpacked Europe with a decent chunk of change in your pocket then you will know the convenience and efficiency of public transportation and the Medieval city structure. So, sometimes the U.S. just looks dismal to me. Strip malls, parking lots, interchanges, ugh. But every once in a while I'll stumble across a little haven of foresighted development in the U.S. and for a moment I have hope that we aren't myopically going in the wrong direction anymore. Well, I didn't find that today, in fact, I haven't really found that in Dallas, Texas. But low and behold our neighbors to the north have built a beautiful city. What my coworker calls the nicest city in North America. Watch the video.

I WILL go there.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Lonely Island

The Lonely Island

Now, I realize that this link already is listed in my "These Will Change Your World" links on the right of the screen, but I've gotta emphasize this point:

These guys are dorky, digital video savvy comedy gold.

This is the comedy troupe who brought you Lazy Sunday, the SNL Chronicles of Narnia rap. The 3 main dudes:

Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Andy Samberg.

...are now working on SNL as writers and performers. I wonder if it is less fun and amazing to be making these things now that it's a high-pressure, full time job, and now that they are getting paid large sums of money to produce them? These guys really made it happen.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Workin' Man's Blues

For the last year and a half, since I graduated from TCU in December of 2004, I have been working at a video post house. We mostly edit commercials for the likes of Home Depot, Halliburton, Exxon, and Bud Light. The funny thing about those companies is this:

I hate them. I hate them passionately.

When I started here I was freelance, which means that I made $10 an hour and could take unpaid time off whenever I wanted. It also meant that I had no job security and no health insurance. When I was freelance, I thought that $30,000 a year of guaranteed income and health coverage would be the greatest. Now, I can't think of anything better than only working when I please. Even if I'd be making a little less an hour. Oh and by the way, unless you are going in for some sort of major opperation, or unless you have a chronic health problem, our health insurance is terrible. If you've read my emergency room post, the one in which I sat in the emergency room for 11 hours, never saw a doctor and got charged $50, then you'll understand.

So I'm feeling more than a little antsy. A year and a half ago I was applying to be a bike tour guide in Barcelona. I pretty much got the job, by the way, I just had to go to Barcelona and meet them before they would officially hire me. That may not directly be on the path of my career goals, but could you imagine it? Your job is to give tours to traveling American college kids with deep pockets, on bikes, in Barcelona! And of course I would have brought a camera with me as well.

Instead I decided to try my hand in the freelance video market in DFW. All the while moving back home and living comfortably with my parents. Things were exciting at first. I was traveling around a bit, working all the time, and still having fun. My student loans were still in deferment, and I wasn't paying for rent, food, cable, or utilities, so I was saving a bit as well. However, pretty soon the company that I am currently working for, let's just call them Mad River Post, was asking me to come on full time. I was working full time hours already, and commuting nearly an hour both ways, and all of the previous factors started making me nervous. I also didn't mention that my parents don't live in Dallas or Fort Worth, but somewhere in between so my social life during the week was becoming non-existent. On the weekend I was staying on friends couches in Fort Worth. Friends who were still in college and didn't quite grasp the commitment of a nine to six, or seven or eight, job. So, I signed on full time last August, and I got a place of my own near downtown Dallas. My commute went from thirty miles to 2.7, and my weekends spent in Fort Worth became a thing of the past.

And then things were good again for a little while. I found a new church that I liked. I started having friends over, found a slew of new restaurants and coffee shops, and work started picking up at Mad River. Which brings us to a few months ago. Rather than continuing the saga of the last year of my life I'll just say this:

I'm feeling like I need a change. A change of scenery, of job, of artistic focus, of attitude, a new haircut, new clothes, a stronger body, and more discipline, among other things. Thanks for listening, more news soon.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Bible According to Your Average American

So I stumbled across this the other day and thought that it was incredibly interestiing and amusing. Basically the premise is this:

A guy who was raised Catholic and trained in the Catechism asked his friend who was raised completely non-religious to describe to him the story of the Bible (he was coached a bit on the order and specifics of course), and the friend with the religious background has made a comic book of his friend's explanation.

Here is the result:

The Bible according to someone who has never read it, and yet, grew up in the Bible saturated U.S., in the form of an illustrated comic book.

Monday, March 13, 2006

English Breakfast

Steam swirled off the top of his tea. The fragrance of honey and spices and fog hung in the morning air. Astor had started nearly every day this way for the last 50 years. The sky was uncharacteristically clear this morning. The sun had just crested the horizon at his back, lighting his budding garden with rays of hard golden light. On the small metal breakfast table sat a plate with a croissant, scrambled egg and jam. Astor's cane lay on the empty chair beside him. He sipped his tea which was slightly bitter and strong. The morning breeze was cool and the hot liquid felt good as it went down. Spring had come early this year. He breathed in deeply and imagined that he could smell the English Lavender blossoms. The morning fog was vanishing quickly as the sun's rays spread across it. Astor exhaled and realized that he had been holding his breath. He bowed his head in humility. The day had begun again and his eggs were getting cold. He tried to remember the words to an old nursery rhyme as he enjoyed his breakfast.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Sesquicentennial

It was July 4th, 1926, The Sesquicentennial. But that was about the furthest thing from Maggie's mind at this point. She was just glad to be wearing her favorite sun dress. Sitting on the front porch with a tall glass of ice tea, the desert air was cool and dry. The sky was purple and clear, fading in a gradient of blue as it met the crawling mountains on the horizon. A different world completely from the one it would be in a few hours when the sun had once again taken it's residence high in the sky, and the dew had been sent back into the heavens to float invisibly far out of reach. Maggie sat silently sipping her tea. She leaned back on her palms letting the cool breeze blow up her dress. She watched as a baby deer and it's mother licked the dew from a small thorny bush. Two coyote puppies wrestled with each other under the watchful eye of their mother, all of the animals completely unconcerned with one other, and only enjoying the morning. Maggie laid her head back and breathed in deeply. She was sure that she'd never felt so content in all her life.

Viggo Mortensen


Viggo Mortensen in the coolest. I mean, I'm sure he's no saint, but man, is he cool.