Category Archives: Uncategorized

Eli Writes

As I write this blog post my mother is out of town in Chicago seeing her all time favorite band, U2, with my sister Valerie. She absolutely loves U2 and Bono especially, which I can relate to. When I was around 15, I was unquestionably devoted to a band called Bring Me The Horizon. If you’re over 20, I’m going to assume you don’t know who this band is. They’re actually very popular. They hail from Sheffield, Yorkshire, and the music they play, according to wikipedia at least, is called metalcore. To the layperson or ignorant soccer mom, this is almost 100% of the time referred to as screamo. I always thought it was more than that, though, which is why I listened to it. It extremely accurately reflected my internal struggle and agony when I was a (younger) teenager, and the fact that the band employs extensive use of screaming is what really did it for me. I think this is common for many kids who listen to the type of music – if you take a second to delve deeper past the wall of noise and listen to the lyrics, and listen to how the lyrics are delivered, it starts to make sense. At least, it made sense to me. These were people who were sick. Sick of society, sick of expectations, sick of living the way they were. Well, so was I.

Though it seemed melodramatic when I looked at it objectively, the singer and the rest of Bring Me The Horizon fantastically expressed what I myself was too afraid to express. And that’s why I was so drawn to them. I loved the use of profanity, the chugging guitar riffs, the screaming that filled my ears until I was sure that the singer’s throat bled. It filled my need to scream until my throat bled with the injustice of the world, but it was a safe place. I think my mom has a similar experience with U2. I’ve never really cared for U2 – they aren’t nearly intense enough for me – but I can tell that the music makes her feel alive, and I think that a lot of artists make music to either make themselves or others feel alive. So obviously U2 is succeeding. I’m just happy my mother found a band that makes music that inspires her, gets her on her feet, and makes her feel alive. I know the feeling of longing to feel alive, to know that someone else feels the way you do, and I think it’s filled for everyone in different ways, but I’m delighted that so many people are able to find solace in music.

When I was 16, my favorite lyrics came from a band called Whitechapel that makes music one can only describe as violent. Without having to look them up, three years later I still remember them. “We are the disease that spreads amongst this filthy race. Coprophagia is the only solution. Open your fucking mouth and ingest what you are.” I also loved a song by Chelsea Smile, a band that takes their name from a torture method that gave The Joker his notoriety, called Recreant. “You are dead to me.” Simple as that.

Seems like everything in my life until now is linked to why me, an extremely intelligent, suburban white kid, who came from a home devoid of alcoholism or sexual abuse or whatever else you expect to go along with drug use; started using heroin. Heroin, the drug that held a stigma so powerful friends would immediately pull away, rumors would circulate, relationships would crumble. It’s simple, when I look back at it. I couldn’t fucking stand it. I couldn’t fucking stand living in the world I viewed as filthy, cancerous, repugnant. My only way to fight back was to either recreate Columbine or lose myself in a numbing agent so powerful it would take over my entire life. Whether that statement is true or not, that’s certainly how I felt and that’s what ended up happening. I guess my stereotypical adolescent angst just went a little further than most people’s. I’ve always felt stuff so strongly, and it was a mistake for others to say “it’s just part of growing up.” Is it really? Is that why I plunge razor blades into my flesh and watch the dark red blood seep out with a twisted satisfaction? Is that why I can’t go to school without being on three different drugs at the same time? Is that why I look around every morning in school and feel permanently cut off, imprisoned in my sphere of detached reality?

I couldn’t stand it and music helped me express that which I was too confused and too tormented to express. I think music saved my life, really. It didn’t stop me from falling into drug addiction, but it saved my life. I knew that somebody, somewhere, in this world I thought so fucking filthy felt the same way I did. That was enough to keep me going.

I still listen to this type of music, sometimes. Not very often, but sometimes. I really do hope one day I can listen to Pink Floyd and U2 and be satisfied with that, because it seems to be a much happier way to live. My mother is so excited! She’s so excited to drive to Chicago and see Bono sing his songs and be close to him. Sounds inspiring, doesn’t it? I bet she doesn’t look at Bono and think life isn’t worth living. She probably reminds herself life is worth living when the music is roaring in her ears and she’s jumping up and down, ecstatic to see her favorite artist. That’s the message he seems to spread, after all. Shame it seems so hard for me to get out of my nihilistic music tastes, but I do hope one day I’ll be able to graduate to normal people music. There’s still passion in normality. I just need to remember that. Sincere apologizes for the morbid post, this is just where I am most of the time.
I’ll leave you with some lyrics that reflect how I’m feeling at the moment.
Logic (Buried Alive)
Yeah, I know
Imma take my time
Battle the image inside of my mind
I know, Imma keep going
Tell me I can’t but I’m already knowing
I know, I’m gonna rise
Even though I’ve been buried alive

#LoveWins

That’s the hashtag that’s been all over Twitter today in celebration of the SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality. 

I have friends who are strongly in favor of the ruling, and I also have friends who believe the Bible speaks against homosexuality.

I offer congratulations to all the lovely LBGTQ people who have longed for the opportunity to make their love legally recognized in a state-sanctioned marriage.

For love to truly win, wouldn’t it be the case that we would respect each other points of view, even if they do not agree with ours? Christians and religious people would be welcoming and loving to people of every persuasion. And people of every persuasion would be welcoming and loving to people who believe differently than they do.

There was a day when I thought gay sex was wrong. I was never of the persuasion that being gay was wrong. I just thought since gay people couldn’t get married, they shouldn’t have sex. Very simplistic, I know. I was doing the best I could with the information and maturity I had at the time.

Are there any limits to what is acceptable anymore? I’ve read articles recently and seen tv shows and movies that demand that every iteration of sexuality and sexual expression is accepted. 

One thing I notice in such articles and shows is that there seems to be a hell of a lot of brokenness and pain and chaos that go along with some of the iterations.

I was watching a show tonight where a woman who had a lesbian relationship in college ran into her lover a few years later. Both were married to other people now. The romance was rekindled and the woman decided the only thing she could do was leave her husband. 

What I think I see in our culture is a widespread acceptance of actions like this woman took. But my question is, are our feelings the most important things in the universe? How does it happen that people can just walk away from a marriage? What is happening that there is such a disdain for staying together? 

I can’t speak with any authority at all to what it’s like to be attracted to the same sex, or to both sexes. So I’d never suggest that those attractions shouldn’t happen. I simply value the rewards that come from working through the tough stuff. 

Just my thoughts tonight. For love to win, we’re all going to have to be a whole lot more accepting. 

Book Review – Down Solo

I was recently asked to write a book review for an unknown book. A website I contribute to (therealedition.com), just recently launched, will have book reviews as part of its content.

I have an account on Goodreads, but I typically do not write reviews about the books I read. I feel like there are already so many reviews out there which lay out the plot and characters that mine is just adding to the noise. Therefore, this is a little bit of a departure for me, although I trust it will give a good sense of the book.

And now, without further ado, a book review of Earl Javorsky’s debut novel, Down Solo.

Down Solo, Earl Javorsky’s debut novel, is a rollercoaster ride where the ride begins at the top of the first giant hill, with no slow ascent to prepare us.

Charlie Miner is a private investigator/junkie who is in the middle of a case involving a briefcase, gold, kidnapping, arson, lots of gunplay, dynamite, a gorgeous woman, tweakers, marital unfaithfulness, a “Christian” with a scheme, and fraud.

Oh, and he is dead. The story opens with him waking up in the morgue, somehow able to reanimate his dead body. Not only that, but his spirit can leave his body to roam around in places where his corporeal being can’t go. This comes in handy in multiple settings.

It’s zero to sixty from the get-go and the action is non-stop. Charlie’s reanimated body still desires his beloved heroin, but isn’t able to feel any effects from the hit he gets soon after tracking down his former dealer. Being dead among the living presents him with several challenges and often renders him unresponsive as he disappears into the memories of events that happened prior to his death.

By the time Charlie had found some clothing for his dead body and left the morgue, the frequent similes made it clear that the simile is one of his favorite literary devices.

“… like a bee in a bottle.”

“light as a whisper, fast as a thought”

“like wearing a gorilla suit”

“like a bag of snakes”

“a tall domino of an apartment building”

“like a mescaline-induced cubist totem pole.”

I was a little surprised at the number of people who were killed in the book, and moreso by the fact that he killed them, but one of the conditions of being reanimated was to be sure not to kill anyone innocent, which did stay his hand at least one time.

At the point where I read “I hurl myself upstream and stroke across and am conveniently swept by the current onto the rock shelf,” I realized that there were quite a few happenings in the story that were a little too convenient. But, sometimes you just have to let art flow over you without getting too hung up about the story asking its reader to suspend disbelief.

By the time Charlie got to tracking down the crazy that had kidnapped his daughter in Mexico, Javorsky’s love of lists and detail was starting to get slightly cumbersome. Just about the time I was starting to think the detail was going to overwhelm me, I realized that there was an entire deeper meaning to his story. He had a second chance; an opportunity to come back from death, and attend to his unfinished business. As a matter of fact, he was able to heal himself from being dead, and actually came back to life. I think Javorsky is explaining his philosophy on drug addiction here. Only the addict can heal himself and bring himself back to life. “…healing is my birthright, that the healed state is my natural inheritance, that atonement is the only prerequisite to claiming it.”

Down Solo is an enjoyable book, hard to put down, easy to escape into. The font and margins are pleasing to the eye, and the book is well-edited. All in all, Javorsky’s novel is a solid entry into the world of suspense with a side of supernatural.

Sick

Been sick for a couple of days. Makes it harder to post anything worthwhile. 

So, here are a few of my thoughts this evening.

Thrilled with Kepler’s swim lessons this week at Bear Paddle. I also checked in with his other swim lesson provider. They had a cancellation for the next session, so we will resume weekly lessons there. We have another week at Bear Paddle, and then we’ll decide what to do next.

Said goodbye to my bestie, Ranee, this morning as she begins a new chapter in another city. It was really hard to say goodbye. She’s been there through thick and thin for years. I’m happy for her, as this step is the culmination of a dream for her. I’m proud of how hard she has worked to get where she is.

Still trying to figure out the details surrounding seeing U2 in Chicago this weekend. I think it’s going to work out ok.

Had a lovely talk with kids 3&4, and husband today. That hasn’t happened in awhile. Was very, very nice.

I’ve discovered there is an entire Twitter-verse of addicts in recovery and it looks like a cool place to be. 

Got to release a task that I’ve been doing for over a year — poorly. I’m so glad it is going to be handled by a professional from now on. 

Somehow I finally was able to kiss carbs goodbye. It’s never been permanent in the past, so I’m being realistic and just acknowledging that I finally found a way to make a change this week. I’ll just take it a day at a time. 

Repost from October, 2010: The Problem of Susan

I found this post on my old blog and thought it was interesting in light of where I’m at these days. 

Not long ago, someone I love declared him/herself an atheist, after presumably having been a Christian from the get-go. This got me to thinking about the problems this person has with organized religion, which I’ve noticed is often interchangeable with all forms of Christianity, and is generally held in very low esteem.

This person’s declaration brought back to mind doubts I have had over the long haul, not so much whether or not God exists, but how involved He actually is in our lives. One of the big problems people have with God is the idea that there is some meaning behind pain, especially pain visited on seemingly undeserving people, and especially children. 

I was playing with my ipad the other night and I was searching for CS Lewis’ The Problem of Pain. You can see my search results above. The Problem of Susan? I wondered what that could mean and discovered it refers to the fact that Susan Pevensie (of the Chronicles of Narnia) did not go to Narnia with her brothers and sister. I remember when Greg was reading these books aloud to the kids — I had never read the Chronicles before — and I loved the story and was terribly dismayed that the Susan character didn’t get to be with Aslan. I was seriously bummed. OK, so there’s no connection between Susan Pevensie and me, but I felt disappointed that she didn’t get to go to Narnia. Why would she have been excluded? 

The Problem of Susan is an essay written by someone who is trying to explain what may have happened to Susan after the train crashed and her family was killed. I haven’t read the essay and don’t know that I need to. It’s not really important what the author thought happened to Susan afterward. I thought it was more important to note the reason she didn’t go to Narnia — she no longer believed, and acted as though it had all been a dream or a fantasy. But when she and Peter were king and queen of Narnia, Aslan said “Once a king in Narnia, always a king in Narnia.” Apparently in the film adaptation, they added the words “or queen,” and I’m ok with believing that Lewis meant king OR queen. 

No one knows what would have happened to Susan after her family was killed. No one knows what choices she would have made the rest of her life, and no one can presume to know. But let’s say she still had a life to live, that she lived it, and that she had to make a choice at some point (a la The Great Divorce) whether or not to spend eternity with God. I love the idea that she had more of a life to live, experiencing the love and pursuit of God. 

I’m not a deep thinker. I can’t make connections across disciplines and quote song lyrics and books to demonstrate whatever salient point I am trying to make. But I do understand that relationships are fluid, and that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. So, Aslan didn’t force Susan to come to Narnia when she had stepped into disbelief, but I think neither did he write her off, and that if the story had continued, there would have been ample evidence of his continued love for her.

I think I’m kind of like Susan in that way. When I experience God in a relational manner, it’s easy to understand He exists and cares for me. When I stand aside and judge His motives, it’s hard to understand that He could be anything other than evil. I think Aslan would be glad to have me as a queen in Narnia, but he wouldn’t force me. That seems to be a central truth of Christianity — God loves us, and He loved us before the foundation of the world. Atheists, feel free to ask me hard questions about what I’m saying, but I’m not sure I’ll have any answers that would be considered evidence in a court of law. As a matter of fact, I may even believe some unbiblical things — for instance, I believe deeply that each person will get a choice after they die whether or not they want to live with God forever. It won’t be a trick questions. There won’t be anything other than an honest option offered, but I think there will be people who choose NOT to spend eternity with God because of all the choices they made throughout life to turn away from him. They will have convinced themselves that they’d be better off without God. I think CS Lewis’ book The Great Divorce influenced my thinking here. I can’t quote chapter and verse that says this, and some of my readers may be able to quote chapter and verse that says the opposite of this. 

And there you have today’s thoughts. Wish they could be more decisive! strong! clear! But they are what they are. Thanks for reading!

Breaking News! I Cooked a Meal

Not only did I cook, but I just made it up as I went along. We are members of a CSA and today was pickup day. With all that fresh stuff, I was totally inspired to cook something.

We also get meat and eggs from our CSA, and today I picked up a pound of sausage. To that pound of sausage, I added a lovely, large green onion, half a summer squash, a good bit of red cabbage, some fresh sugar snap peas, some garlic, sesame seeds and a splash of tahini.

So yum. And guilt-free.

A Few Thoughts about Twitter

Recently, I read that Twitter is going to start curating the feed, similar to how Facebook decides what you’d like to see. I don’t quite know why I like to read the comments on articles. I guess I’m just amazed at the things people will say. 

Anyway, I find Twitter to be quite fascinating,a lot of fun, a source of great referrals for music and podcasts, and just generally an interesting platform. 

We had bought several apps by Toca Boca. Kepler really enjoys them. He came to me yesterday to show me that there is a new game and he wanted me to buy it. Well, it’s not available for another week. So, I’ve told him approximately 354 times yesterday and today that it’s going to be several days more before it’s available.

I contacted TocaBoca on Twitter and told them how I felt and why. I simply asked that they not advertise in the games until the product is actually available. They responded just a short while later and said they would take that into consideration. I felt like they really heard me. 

I doubt if I’m even fully utilizing all that Twitter offers, but it is definitely a very enjoyable social media site to me. 

A Couple Thoughts on the Charleston Tragedy

Just a couple though. It’s been written about extensively elsewhere. I’ve seen several articles today. You probably have too.

One article said the shooter had received a gun for his 21st birthday in April. Not sure if it was the murder weapon, but whether or not it was, you have to wonder why someone would give such an unstable person a weapon. Just doesn’t seem like a good idea, really.

There just really aren’t any words.

In Other News

Three tidbits today.

Daughter started online PE class yesterday. Finished today. No cheating involved. They just make it easy to finish.

Kepler making huge progress in an area of personal hygiene and he’s feeling extremely proud.

I made huge progress on a thorny financial issue and I’m feeling extremely proud. 

Another Guest Post by My Son

Recently I lost my job. This was definitely not my choice, although my company was kind enough to allow me to “quit.” I loved my job. It was the best job I’ve ever had and the best job I feel like I could have at this point in my life. So, of course, the question remains: why the hell did I lose the job? What could I have possibly done to jepoardize my beloved source of income? Well, I did what I’ve done for LITERALLY ever and figured that since rules didn’t apply to my coworkers, they didn’t apply to me either. I used my employee discount to get a friend some money off of a product. Nearly everyone did it, except maybe management. All my coworkers did. It was common. It was talked about and it was known about by management. Or so I thought. But as I sat in the office and looked at my manager’s face as he explained to me I could quit or get fired – no other options – I realized it probably wasn’t as clear cut as I thought it was. “I thought everyone did this.”

“No…no, they don’t.”

I felt so fucking stupid. Here was a company who had given me a chance. I had been convicted of drug and criminal trespassing charges and had a pending felony and they had given me a chance to do something I loved doing. And I had screwed it up in literally the dumbest way possible. 

I’m so tempted to hate myself for it, to wallow around and be depressed about not having the job anymore. Today, however, I realized something. I need to go get another job, and I need to accept the fact that I almost definitely will not enjoy it as much. The reason for this is because my entire life I’ve been so incredibly negative about every major event, because reasons (Jesus, I don’t know why, that’s just how it’s always been). But losing a job that I love is an excellent, excellent reason to go do a bunch of drugs. And, as I’ve stated before, drugs tend to put me in jail. 

I hate jail.

So I’m going to go apply to Speedway, and to Kroger and Meijer and I might even apply to a few fast food places. Because I’d rather come home smelling like grease every day, being able to make my car and insurance payments, phone bill, and everything else I have, than looking good and smelling good and selling cocaine to scrape enough money together to buy food. 

So I’m going to go to the gym, and drink protein shakes and sweat and lift weights. Because I’d rather come home sweaty, exhausted, and healthy than weighing 110 pounds because I’m always too high to eat. 

Plus I’ve heard you get a high from running!