Monday, July 25, 2005

Ears to Hear

"Foregone Conclusions"
by Pedro the Lion

I don't want to believe that all of the above is true
but I could be persuaded if you were to give me proof
why don't you come over Thursday. Maybe we can talk it through
as if some new information were possible to comprehend or introduce
after all you and I are nothing more than foregone conclusions
you were to busy steering the conversation toward the Lord
to hear the voice of the spirit saying “shut the fuck up”
you thought it must be the devil trying to make you go astray
besides it couldn’t have been the Lord because you don't believe he talks that way
too close to call yet
still so tightly wound around our foregone conclusions

Maybe I’m completely off base when I think that God possibly feels this way towards Christians who have this stereotypical idea of how God is and how he’s supposed to be. We are still talking about the same God who sent plagues and burned down Sodom and Gomorrah right? He is the same God who blinded Saul/Paul for three days, right? Could he possibly want his people to “shut the fuck up” and listen to him for a change?

I understand that when Jesus came it changed a lot of things, but at the same time, Jesus did come hard against the Pharisees. I know there are modern day Pharisees amongst us. I wonder how much the Church has allowed the yeast of the Pharisees to mix in with their doctrine or every day beliefs. I know there are a lot of things that I thought were true or correct as a young zealot for the Lord that I have now come to almost despise. That’s growing up though. That’s learning and figuring things out for yourself.

The Bible says, that “God is no respecter of persons” why should we allow ourselves to believe everything that one pastor says. Doesn’t that seem a little crazy? Shit, I could be a pastor by now if I had followed through with my original plan. Wouldn’t that be scary to only listen to the words of a 24 year old whose only life experience would be college and seminary. When it comes to Biblical matters I do know my way around the Bible, but I also believe that the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that God has given me is only as much as he gives to every other 24 year old. Why not listen to many different points of views and opinions? We all walk a different road and have different insight to every situation. Why close our minds to only a few opinions?

Honestly, in the last few years, the majority of what I have learned about my faith has been from non-believers. These are people that I’ve met playing cards or throwing darts with at bars. I now truly understand why Jesus hung out with “sinners”. They have nothing to lose or hide. They’re not trying to impress you. They just want to be real and that’s something that the Church is struggling so hard to become these days. Not only that, it’s also the amount of grace that I’ve seen these people display that is amazing to me. Where does it come from? Why don’t I see this at church? It’s not that the church is completely void of this, but it’s on a whole new level.

At church, I almost feel like grace is given, but something is still being held back. Almost as if they’re saying, “It’s ok this time, but we’re keeping track of how many times you screw up.” This isn’t grace or forgiveness. This is condemnation. Jesus said there is no condemnation for those who believe in him. I don’t think that the majority of the church does this on purpose. I think this is the same way they are in their lives towards themselves and it just carries over into other relationships.

My conclusion is that God loves everyone and wants us all to receive his Grace and Mercy. Some of us just need to “shut the fuck up” every once in a while and receive it.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

No. I'm not down with the sickness.

Consumption:

Claratin
Benadryl
Halls
sugar free cough drops
Orange Juice
immune system defense
Odwalla Smoothies
Chik-fil-a


Entertainment:

"Killing Yourself to Live" by Chuck Klosterman
Wedding Crashers starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn
Meet the Fockers starring Ben Stiller, etc
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Chronicle Volume 1

Locations:

Apartments
Movie Theatre
Pool side
My Vehicle

Status:

Shitty.


Where do these summer colds come from? I feel like i'm keeping drugstores in the Atlanta area in business with the amount of times I buy new drugs from them. I try combinations of drugs. I've come to the realization that one drug isn't going to do it for me. I make drug cocktails.

I should be good by Monday, but who wants to be sick on weekends? This is where I make up for having to be at work all week. I'm drinking something alcoholic tomorrow.

Yes.

It may be Nyquil, but it's better than nothing. I bet the cherry Nyquil would taste pretty good with some jagermeister.





Wednesday, July 20, 2005

This is an illusion.

You are not your job.
You are not how much you have in the bank.
You are not the contents of your wallet.
You are not your fucking Khakis.
You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.
You are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of
the world.

This life is a fantasy. It’s a fucking dream world. I use to walk through the parking lot at work when I was 18 thinking about what new car I was going to buy. I bought the car I wanted. It had the new car smell and everything for a couple of months. The car eventually just turned into negative equity.

It did not complete me.

Have I wanted to be like them? Why yes, but they are all the same.

Did you ever want to own their stuff? Definitely, but the things you own end up owning you.

Were you ever one to buy the same clothes and get the same hair cut as them? Yes, but don’t tell anyone.

I wanted to be them!

But then I woke up.

So why are we chasing “them” in pursuit to “arrive”?

Because from our vantage point they have “arrived”, while the rest of us mortals, (who are numbly unaware that the fantasy is only an illusion of reality) sweat, scrabble, and puff, to get where we think they are, as we spend money we do not have to purchase things we do not need, in order to impress people we do not like!

Who are they?

They are the fantasy that you have created. If you obtain your fantasy then you will only chase after what your fantasy fantasizes about.

Break the fucking glass!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

"Smoking is never a bad decision."

While sitting at the pool today a middle-aged woman who had previously been laying out, out of my sight stood up and made her way over to the pool. I glanced up as she walked by and noticed that she was in a bikini, but was probably about 25 pounds over weight. At one point in time do over weight females who previously wore one piece bathing suits to the pool make the switch to the two piece?

I'm not bringing this up to knock her for gaining a few pounds and showing it off, but i'm wondering why she doesn't care anymore? She had no shame. Her not having shame was definitely attractive. If I had seen her out and about in every day clothes I would've given her a 5 out of 10. She wasn't ugly, but there was nothing stunning about her. Plus, everyone usually puts on a few pounds as they get older.

Now i'm not saying this to seem shallow, but our world is shallow and I do have my moments of being an asshole. This woman being 25 pounds over weight and wearing a bikini isn't the point. The point is that I know 22 year old women who go to the pool in bikini's and they're very shy and shameful of their near perfect bodies. I wonder if it just clicks on your 35th birthday. What other people think doesn't matter anymore, fuck em' all.

Being a 24 year old male I realize that in alot of ways there are things that I don't care about as much as I did when I was 21. I don't really care about dressing as cool. I'm not a slouch, but you know what, I really don't feel like putting on Sunday's best to go to a bar and drink with my friends just so that some shallow 21 year old girl will think i'm cute. She may not even be a shallow person, but our post modern fantasy world that we live in says that only beauitful people are worth talking to.

The most amazing people I know probably aren't beautiful in a superficial sense, but are beautiful on the inside. The way they carry themselves is beautiful.

John Cusack's character in High Fidelity was a 30 something kind of burned out record store owner. When discussing how he managed to have a one night stand with a beauitful singer/ song writer in the film he makes this statement.

"It's not what you're like. It's what you like."

There is superficial truth in this as well.

I imagine a couple of years ago girls probably found me more attractive looking. As i've gotten older though I've realized that my personality in a general knowledge sense has made up for it. Here's why. I'm older now. I've read more books, seen more movies and travelled to more places than I had back then. So If I'm talking to a 21 year old girl about why I think Howard Dean would've made a better Democatric nominee than John Kerry she's going to hold my opinion in higher regard than she would the 21 year old hipster who's dressed in all black sitting on the bar stool trying to get in her pants. I know it's only a three years difference, but when you're younger it makes a big difference.

Now this brings up an even more confusing question, how has Mick Jagger kept his cool for so long? When The Stones started back in the 60's Mick and the rest of the band were the shit. Here they are over 40 years later and they're still fucking cool. Not too mention every single indie rock band out right now is trying to sound like The Rolling Stones. On top of that, every front man for these bands is trying to act like Mick Jagger. They can't do it though. There is only one Mick Jagger and he is eternal.

I guess in this post modern world where there is no absolute truth. There is no absolute cool. A 35 year old woman in a bikini can still pull it off with her confidence. A less attractive 24 year old can still hold his ground and Mick Jagger can still fucking rock the mic.

I keep hearing "Street fighting Man" in my dreams. I think Mick just wanted me to remind everyone that he still has it.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I'm in one of those moods.

Nothing is wrong. Everything is OK. I'm just antsy.

Like a little kid tip toeing back and forth on the ramp that leads from the shallow end to the deep end is the way I feel about alot of things in my life. Things are comfortable and easy, but I kind of want to take some risks. The water keeps going over my head a little bit and I keep swallowing water and it makes me step closer to where I can keep my head above water.

I was supposed to do quite a few social things today. I opted to stay at my house and not do anything productive. I think I only said about two sentences before 7:30pm. The last time I truly felt this way I woke up in a foreign country with only a few months prior planning. I was gone for 6 months and didn't actually miss anyone until about 3 months in.

I feel like being honest.

There is a scene in Swingers where the main charater "Mike" is sick and tired of trying to impress girls by basically lying about what he does and what he has going for him in life. It's at that point in that movie is when things start happening for him. I wouldn't consider that being pessimistic, but just being realistic. I'd rather be honest and realistic about life and get to where I want to go instead of lying to myself that everything is alright.

I think I'm pretty true to myself, but damn the grind seems to be killing me.

I'm not going out like this.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

71481

On July 14th, 1981 John Lawrence Carroll was brought into this world. It was a glorious birth in a small house in Ft. Myers Florida. My mom was kind of a hippie so I was born naturally, delivered by a mid wife and she gave birth without any medication, well I imagine she had the aspirin going, but no large needles were involved in reducing her pain.

There was only one problem though. I was supposed to be born on August 22nd, 1981. My parents were given the OK to take me home, but on the drive home I stopped breathing, twice. My mom had to give me CPR and managed to bring me back.

Once they got me to the hospital I had to be air lifted to a pediatric unit in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was the first and last time that I have ever ridden in a helicopter. Once they got me stabilized I had to stay in an incubator for quite some time. Since I was born premature my lungs weren’t fully developed, hence the reason why I stopped breathing. My mom had a history of losing children. I think she’s lost two! So the odds weren’t in my favor.

I was a tough little mofo though and I wasn’t going down without a fight. Somehow, miraculously I managed to survive. Due to being born premature I was supposed to have to deal with some minor set backs in life such as weak bones, weak teeth and they didn’t think I’d be very tall. My parents were just happy to have me alive and healthy.

Well, fuck those doctors because I’ve never broken a bone and I’m the tallest person in my family standing at 6’1”. Well, I’m not completely mad at them, they did save my life. And I’m sure they’d be happy to know that they were wrong as well.

As I reflect on my life, I like to think about that story because it makes me realize that for some reason or another I was supposed to be here. I don’t believe in chance in major matters. I think things happen for a reason good or bad. I’ve learned during my 24 years that life is precious, but it is short. So I never want to take that for granted.

Now that I have the sentimental part out of the way, I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on some red-headed sluts tonight!!

I’m talking about the drink…I think.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"IT came from Toy's R Us...

When I was 5 years old I was ripped from the ever loving arms of my mother and forced to go to the dreaded Kindergarten. Well, it wasn't that bad and at least I was introduced to the wonderful activity that was "Show n' Tell"!! What an amazing event!! Not only did I get to bring my coolest toys in and show them to everyone, but I got to see their toys too!! The only bad thing about "Show n' Tell" was that it was always on Friday. That was disheartening because we had to wait all fucking week for the big event. I'm sure we had to be good as well or we wouldn't get to participate.

Being 5 and all, I was a big fan of anything that made noises and moved. Kids who brought in rocks were definitely not on the cool list along with people who thought they could trump everyone else by having their Mom or Dad show up who had the unfortunate job of well, telling us about their job. It would've been totally sweet if their parents were FBI agents or even cops for that matter, but they were usually something that a 5 year old would think was lame.

"This is my Daddy. His name is Dick. He's a middle manager at The XYZ Group."

I meet people all the time who are middle managers or consultants and I find them to be very interesting and I love the conversation because a job is just a job in a sense. This isn't true for a 5 year old, so if you are a middle manager or a consultant, I'm not disparaging on your job because it's probably much better than mine.

Back to the story!

After a long awaited week, Friday finally arrived. We all came in with our rock collections and parents and got in a big circle to see what the coolest toy or object would be this time around. After about 3 or 4 rock collections and monologues from parents about their dead end jobs, little Sally (we'll just call her Sally for legal purposes) whipped out a talking doll.

"This is my doll, Baby Talk."

It was 1986. I was a boy. I played with He-man. I didn't have any sisters or girl play mates. I had never seen anything like this before. This doll was very unique in what it could do.

It said 5 or 6 things:

"Let's play!”
"Turn me over"

"Momma"

::a strange sucking noise when you put it's bottle in it's mouth::

and last, but not least "Night, Night"

It also had the capabilities to move it's arms, not to mention it would close it's eyes when shut off or laid down. Now I'm sure I had seen talking dolls before that point, but for some reason this girly doll mesmerized me.

Now here's where it gets scary for a number of reasons.

1. While driving home from kindergarten that day I apparently told my mom I wanted this doll for Christmas.

2. Instead of laughing and telling me that it was a girl's toy she probably had some sort of it's ok to be gay conversation with me( "Not that there is anything wrong with it.") and encouraged me to embrace my new found sexuality.

3. My hippie mom managed to get by my conservative father and actually buy me the Goddamn thing for Christmas!

Now here's the thing, when people get older, time seems to move faster. I believe in a sense it really does. When you are age 1, one year equals 100% of your life. When you're 25, one year equals 1/25 of your life. So at age 5, eight months is a considerable amount of time in which a child can develop and learn the difference between boy's toys and girl's dolls. Despite the cutting edge parenting and decision making of my hippie mother. (I really do love my mom!)

Finally, the much anticipated Christmas morning rolls around!! Mom and Dad do there "We saw Santa last night" story and my brother and I begin to devour the wrapping paper that is the barrier between us and the desires of our hearts. My Dad had a lot of money in the 80's and he would spoil us every year. He would act like he wasn't going to buy us anything, but we always ended up with the coolest toys.

Now we actually had the moment on video tape, but it was lost in one of the many moves. There was a certain package that stood out. It probably had some sort of eerie demonic glow, but I didn't know what that was at age 5. I would soon learn it though.

It all happened so fast!

I lunged for the present!

I started tearing at the paper!

HOLY SHIT!

BABY TALK!

I fucking kicked the box over and shook my head in disgust! She actually bought me this God forsaken doll and my Dad, the 2nd Degree black belt, ex-Special Forces and Drunk Irish men let her get away with it!

My mom started to laugh like it was some sort of sick joke.

"But Johnny, You told me you wanted this for Christmas."

I had honestly forgotten that I had even asked for this repulsive excuse for a Christmas gift, but by God my mother didn't. Who knows if she was trying to teach me a lesson or if she truly though I wanted it. I believe she really thought I wanted this... toy...this... doll!

When we were kids my brother and I shared a room with matching beds and cubbyhole head boards. So that night when my mom came to tuck us in she decided that she was going to put the doll on my headboard in hopes that I might actually play with it. I have no idea what this woman's resolve was about me playing with this damn toy, but she wasn't going to give in.

Being worn out from all of the festivities of the day and a little disappointment, I passed out in a couple of seconds. I didn't even notice the thorn in my Christmas side propped a foot above my head. My brother on the other hand who I believe was pretty much oblivious to the whole ordeal considering he actually got some real toys for Christmas, was about to be in for the surprise of his life. Whether he liked it or not, he was about to have a new play mate named Baby Talk...

"Night ,Night"

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Things that go bump in the night.

"John? ... John?! ... JOHNNN!!!"

As I lay in bed late that evening, I wake up to my brother suddenly shouting my name at the top of his lungs while my parents are fast asleep down the hall.

After hearing my name a third time and with quite the fearful tone. I decided to see what the hell my brother was screaming about. Right before I walked into his room I was a bit frightened myself considering he was my older brother and would most likely become some sort of secret governement assassin.(Seriously, the man is 27 years old, married with 3 children and he probably still stalks around in the dark making sure the house is safe. Just think American Ninja meets Egon from Ghost Busters.) If something scared him shitless, I probably wasn't going to be much help.

"Ben, what's wrong?" I said as I peaked in the doorway.

While sitting up in bed he mummbles something in his half awake state about seeing me in the doorway earlier.

"I've been in bed for the last hour. It wasn't me."

Slowing creeping back into the real world he says, "All I know is that I saw you standing in the doorway and you started walking towards me and wouldn't say anything. Then as I was screaming your name and you walked right through me."

To most 13 year olds this might be scary, but not if you grew up in my family. I honestly shrugged it off as a dream. I'm sure he doesn't even remember this instance considering it was probably a dream and if it wasn't, he's seen alot worse.

My brother screaming in the night was always a pretty frequent occurence during my childhood. Saying that Ben saw and heard things that weren't of this realm would be an understatement. I think that's probably why he's not really afraid of anyone, other than my Dad of course. It's because he's seen things that were just far worse than any earthly being.

The first time he ever saw "something" was when we were staying with some friends who lived across the street from us when we were young. He basically, saw a ghost that towered over the roof of the house. There was a moving portal/hole that would allow the ghost to move throughout the house without tearing the roof off and would allow my brother to see it's face as it stared down at him.

Who knows what the hell that was. We don't really talk about that story anymore though. Not because it's not a creepy story, but because it's alot more fun to tell stories involving dolls that can walk and talk without batteries...

(to be continued)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

"The essence of religion, in my view, is the thirst for an end higher than natural ends..."

C.S. Lewis

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Re-post

I posted this on an old Blog of mine back in March. I'm kind of dealing with similar antics right now. So I thought it might be appropriate to repost. I have more words and thoughts on this issue since things have escalated to a ridiculous level.

"I've been reading some social science books lately and the dynamics of how each individual person works is very intriguing and hilarious to me at the same time. I think alot of people will never truly understand how they really are. I think people view us differently then how we view ourselves so we'll never have a total grasp on how we really are anyway, in a sense.

Since thinking about human behavior I've come across a circumstance that I find amusing. I know a person who technically has a problem with everyone. This person may or may not have an actual issue with you regarding some circumstance where they feel that you wronged them or society, but since you have differences that they can't explain or relate to then they will always have this problem with you because it bothers them and makes them feel uncomfortable.

Is the real problem "our" idiosyncrasies or is it theirs? Does this person not realize that everyone is different and that different is good? I've dealt with some of these issues in my own life and I probably still do. At the same time as I recognize that I do this I try to learn from this thought process.

The first month that I lived in England was a glorious time. I loved everything about it. It was so fresh, new and different from anything that I had ever seen. I was in love. I was having my honeymoon. Then once it kicked in that I was going to be living there a while and home wasn't so close, I realized that England wasn't as glorious as I had once thought. The vacation was over. This was reality for me.

There were people there that didn't see eye to eye with me. No one understood me. Everyone hated Americans and they were all socialist bastards that wanted to give the world away. They called soccer football and they didn't give a shit about Michael Jordan.

Then one day it clicked. Not only did it click with me, but with everyone else there. I wasn't into English football, but I could learn to like it and talk about it. I love soccer now and I can't wait for the World Cup. They didn't care about basketball, but they wanted to learn about it. They thought they hated Americans, but then realized that Beverly Hills 90210 and Baywatch didn't define real Americans. This was such a glorious breakthrough for all of us. It changed the way I view people and myself.

Case and point: People are so crazy these days about equal rights and non-judgement for any race/gender/sexual orientation/religion. I hope that we can apply these attitudes towards personalities in our everyday lives and be alright with the fact that someone might tie their shoe in a different way than you."