Monday, October 23, 2006

Stretching My Legs

Harold walked out of his front door and into the rain. It was one of those rains where the drops of water were so small that they felt like they were merely floating in the air. Harold imagined for a moment that time had suddenly stood still around him. He smiled and lifted his chin as he walked through the curtain of fine mist hanging in the air. He snapped his fingers and picked up his pace, the world coming back to life around him. He heard the swoosh of cars as they passed beside him, their tires softly spitting a thin layer of water away from themselves. He was wearing his rain jacket and his shoes were dry and solid. He enjoyed the gentle splish from heal to toe, that sounded off melodically with each step. "Wisck, wisck, wisck, wisck," this was the kind of weather his body was made for.

If Only I Had a Pulpit

I changed my mind by the way, as I do sometimes. Basically I was just going to say that I have a lot of ideas swimming around in my head that I need to get out in the form of a book. I know that there are people out there fighting these fights, against improper urban sprawl, pollution, and environmental devastation; not to mention human rights. And I'm not doing enough. So, I'm working on a book that will attempt to contribute ideas for real-world, applicable solutions to some of these problems.

This post will be a response to a comment made by one, Miss Cara, to this post. It will be a response because I don't have the time or the cognitive capacity at the moment to write anything of worth. While I understand her reasoning, and I know that she was only joking (maybe), the comment for some reason really got me thinking. Actually, it brought me through a whole range of emotions, beginning with anger, which eventually, after driving various 15-passenger vans, large cargo trucks, and one 30 foot flatbed semi, it brought me to where I am now, which I feel is a good place. I want to describe it, I just can't do it at the moment and perhaps not anytime in the immediate future. So this post is just a place holder for now. Tune back in, in a few days and here it will be.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bees, And the Product of Poor Urban Planning

This is exactly what I'm talking about! Do you eat food? If you do, then this effects you. What are you going to do to regain the natural balance that has been stolen from us? What are you, as an individual going to do? Do you even care?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

That's Showbusiness


While most people probably won't find this entire interview with Jenny Lewis (click on the "Jenny Lewis Interview" link) of Rilo Kiley fame all that entertaining, there is one section that I find very interesting indeed. She speaks of the relevance of her songs in her life at the time she performs them, how one song may not be all that relevant one night and the next it will bring forth all kinds of emotions as she performs it. The power of certain songs, to carry us into emotional states at certain times is something that I find amazing and mysterious. It is also why I love long takes of musicians performing rather than fast-cutty music video style recordings. I haven't had a chance to spend any time with Jenny Lewis' new album but I imagine it's very good. You can also listen to a live recording of some of the songs via the above link.

Urban Sprawl, An Epidemic and a Sickness

We as American citizens need to take efforts to live closer to work and to the institutions where we frequent. This includes the grocery store, our schools, our churches, our banks and our recreational activities. I fear that my generation will fail in reestablishing a proper transportation, health, and economic infrastructure around our communities. The generation of baby boomers, it is a fact, have failed miserably and embarrassingly at the planning and development of such an infrastructure to surround the sprawling front of suburban housing and business that they are so proud of. This splatter-painting of highways, suburbs, mini business districts and EZ-up shopping strips have already begun to hinder the flow of economic traffic and at it's projected rate will further run the American economy, and not to mention American sanity into the ground. This lack of developmental foresight is already leading to an almost indistinguishable homogenization of the American suburban landscape, and further speaks of a lack of education and appreciation of the application of architectural aesthetic value and it's direct link to the collective psyche of a community. And as these seeping blotches of grayish cement leak across our landscape the natural order of thousands of years of geographical separation that humans have happily been subject too is overridden and overdrawn, thus weakening cultural differentiation between people-groups and leading to bland homogenization, as opposed to merely uniting humanity on one correct cultural front. A few examples of the immediate negative ramifications of myopic urban sprawl are these: Elevated ground temperatures in areas of dense urban development (i.e. sprawling parking lots) where excessive concrete layouts absorb and retain heat, lengthened commutes due to roads and highways never planned to handle traffic loads from suburban commuters, elevated air pollution and smog levels surrounding urban areas due to commuter traffic, elevated stress levels as a result of the concentration required to drive in traffic...etc.

We, as a generation of people born in the 70's, 80's and 90's need to educate ourselves on city planning, the history of environmental devastation (take Easter Island as one small example), and the importance of aesthetics in architectural design. We need to ride bikes more, make our cities more pedestrian friendly, build our offices closer to our communities, take efforts to preserve our wild spaces, make boundaries for our cities and protect the wildlife that surrounds them, and we need to make sacrifices to make these things happen. Because if we don't, our children are going to bear the weight of our greed and resent us for it, and whether you believe you do or not, when you sit at a stand-still in the traffic of a highway which was never intended to support extreme loads of daily suburban commuter traffic, you are resenting that lack of foresight in the generation who planned that route, from community to highway to business district and back again. So, let's take steps to reverse this mistake in logic that has been sold as the free flow of commerce. We are enslaved to a poor system that is breaking down, which, is in direct opposition to the liberty we herald.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Coming Up: Extreme Commuting, The Epidemic, The Implications, and Some Solutions

Please listen to this short story from NPR: U.S. Becoming a Nation of Extreme Commuters



The implications of extreme commuting go well beyond gas shortages, global warming, and the frustration of traffic; they speak further of a general breakdown in social interaction and of a generational gap in the understanding and planning of city infrustructure.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Beginning Work Again

Something very strange has been happening to me lately. I'll be driving around town and all of a sudden I won't recognize anything around me, it seems I could be on a drive through any city in America, which is strange because I've lived here all my life and there are very few places within a hundred mile radius that I haven't at least driven through many times. Perhaps it's because I just returned from a whirlwind tour across Europe while driving, where the landscape of the suburban towns often looked nearly as homogeneous as the metroplex where I currently reside.

Another thing has been happening. When I go out to restaurants for lunch or dinner, as I'm waiting to be seated or waiting to order, I begin to feel an overwhelming guilt at the prospect of how comfortable I am, and how delicious the large portion of food that I am about to eat will be. This is unexplainable, especially considering that I've been dining in Europe and not visiting the third world. But I can't shake the knowledge that what I am about to do is unimaginable for so many people in the rest of the world, in what's called "the developing world" by companies like Exxon. So I pray before I eat and give thanks to God, usually will my head slightly bowed, eyes open, starring intensely at my food, often while stirring it. And then I eat, and lately I've been cleaning my plate.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Humor of Our Creator

God invented comedy, just wrap your mind around that.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pollock

A place to live, a car to drive, a job to do. A list of movies to see, a list of books to read, a catalog of things to buy.

One day I'm going to get a big block of stone, a hammer and a chisel, and I'm going to start chipping away at it to make a statue of a man hurling a discus. It's going to take me a very long time. It's amazing, the list of what can be acomplished when our end result is persued with patience and with diligence.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Upheaval

My life feels completely out of my control right now. Depending on your beliefs you might laugh at this statement. It might even sound a resounding "duuuuh" from your lips. But only 2 months ago I had a place to live, a full time job, complete health insurance and a car. Today I have none of those things. I try not to make this a personal blog, but in times like these I get extremely reflective, because after a slew of spontaneous decisions like I have made in the last 2 months I'm left completely confused about how I got to this point, and why I thought it was a good idea to put myself here. I'm an idealist dammit, and I just do things when I feel like I should do them, and I'm guided by my conscience, so I'm not complaining. This is just a warning, the next post is going to be a big one. In it I will lay out everything that is going on and a general timeline of my plans for the rest of the year. I don't know that I will ever come to a place of comfort in my life, and maybe I just need to make peace with that. One day I'll have enough money to not have to worry about money, and one day I'll be in a serious relationship or married and I won't have to worry about making room for that to happen, and one day I'll have children and one day I'll have a home. But do those things make a person comfortable? I'll just go ahead and answer that: No those things will not make me comfortable or bring me any peace because those things are also ultimately out of my control. Not that Hunter S. Thompson was necessarily right, but a key to peace in a person like me is to not live in fear. Not in fear of health, not in fear of money, and not in fear of the cultural hegemony. Now, having said that I'm open to suggestions for right living, that's called accountability or community or one of those words that gets abused. I've just gotta get more organized, my stuff is a mess.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Is anything really possible?

(Now mind you, we are not speaking of metaphysics, we are speaking merely in the physical...)

I heard someone say the other day that they had an epiphany (only I don't think she used the word epiphany), that she realized that anything was possible. I believe she was speaking strictly in terms of spontanaity in career and travel, but her statement implied various attainments of stature, wealth and romance as well. This got me thinking. I've heard stories of people overcoming all kinds of circumstances and persevering in the face of the impossible, but is anything really possible?

I don't have an answer...I'm just pondering aloud.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Back in the States, For the Time Being

I arrived in Dallas this morning at 5am. It is now only 8:57am but my body is telling me that it is 1500 GMT, London Time. My mind is racing a thousand miles an hour. All I can think about is how much I want to be back in London, back on the road. This trip was the adventure of a life-time. I don't know what I'll do now. There's that looming year long procedure that I've been putting off since highschool, films that will station me in one place for a long time with a steady income, and then there is more adventure....

Is Dallas the right place to be? Should I move to LA? I now know for sure that in order to continue on in this lifestyle that I've chosen, I will not be able to adhere to the American Christian ideal of community and commitment. And that might be a dangerous thing, because I've witnessed first-hand, people who have been wrecked by that failure to commit. But I figure, I've got Christ on my side and if I continue to let my conscience guide me and trust that God is leading my life, then I'll never be allowed to go too far astray. I just really want to be out on the road again, as soon as possible.