Archive for July, 2010

A Place for my Stuff

Friday, July 30th, 2010

I’ve spent the last couple of days packing. Since starting this blog I’ve moved about as many times as in the rest of my life put together. The rational part of my mind says this is a natural outgrowth of having reached the point in my career where just any job won’t do. The less rational part of my mind says that when you start talking to God, you’re just naturally going to have to start moving around more; to believe you’re talking to God is crazy, and crazy just doesn’t tend to stability.

Craziness aside, I’m making an effort this time to sort of downsize. I’m getting a place that’s smaller than either of the houses I’ve owned, and fully expect to start getting rid of much stuff as part of the unpacking process. Partly this is in reaction to something that God pointed out to me. He told me that the so-called McMansions are the natural outgrowth of American Consumerism. The American Dream has always been to own our own homes, largely for the independence and stability that they represent, but in times past a modest house was enough.

So why does our culture of consumerism lead to larger and larger houses, beyond just the need to show a bigger “score” in the game of life? It’s pretty straightforward, once we’ve bought all the stuff they keep selling us, we need a place big enough to hold it all.

Memory Riffs

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Like most of the people I know I saw Inception this week. It’s the latest bit of art that riffs of the age old idea that was perhaps best summed up by Edgar Allen Poe’s immortal line, “Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”

So this got God and me talking about dreams and daydreams and memories. When you or I get nostalgic we spend some time thinking about the past. When God gets nostalgic, people start getting together to run Renaissance Fairs and Civil War reenactments. This tends to remind me that there’s not just a quantitative difference between God’s mind and ours but most definitely a qualitative one as well.

So you know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head and it just keeps playing itself on a loop? Well God told me that’s kind of what’s been going on with the Middle East for the last couple of thousand years. They keep fighting because he can’t get their song out of his head.

Don’t Touch that Dial

Friday, July 16th, 2010

One of the things the religious are fond of telling us is that God has a plan. The things in our lives happen for a reason. Of course they also tell us that the horrible litany of things that the Bible chronicles happening to Job were simply for the reason that God didn’t have the strength of will to ignore Satan’s tauntings. When it comes down to it, a lot of religious folk really do have a pretty pitiful image of God.

Anyway back to the “you planned this?” notion of life the universe and everything. I’m moving again. I haven’t actually finished moving to Portland yet. Most of my stuff is in storage in Thousand Oaks, I haven’t actually gotten my house onto the market yet, let alone sold it, and I haven’t finished reading my Portland guide books, let alone gone out and experienced the cool places they’ve told me about. I did get to one of those places this week, a hole-in-the-wall donut shop downtown, but I don’t really have a lot to say about it other than bacon actually does go amazingly well on a maple bar. I didn’t think to ask if it was maple-cured bacon or not.

But back to moving. Again. And to God’s plan. I asked her what was up with the new new job having taking almost four months to get back to me. Wouldn’t it have been simpler to just contact me back when I applied and save me having to move to Portland in the first place. She reminded me that she doesn’t do detailed planning most of the time. She explained again that she likes to shake things up every once in a while but that she mostly just sits back and watches. The Earth, as I’ve said before, is God’s own sticom. Apparently the new idea for situational humor involves me riding on BART every day.

I suppose I should be glad. I mean, in most sitcoms when things start to get dull somebody ends up having a baby.

Hot Enough

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Three weeks ago here in Portland it was still raining a few times a week and everyone around me was saying enough already. They were ready for summer. I think I reached my quota of summer during the decade I lived in Phoenix. I can pretty much do without it for the rest of my life, or at least do with a bare minimum.

Apparently Portland is pretty much used to the bare minimum of summer. Among the houses and apartments here it’s pretty rare to find one with air conditioning. My apartment is not one of the lucky few. It reached a hundred here this week. I complained to God about it but it seems that as much as I’ve had enough summer to get me through the rest of my life, God has had enough complaints about the weather to last him through the rest of eternity.

He then went on to tell me that the ultimate complaint about the weather comes right out of the Abrahamic religions. Those people that did their imaginings of God while living and wandering out in the deserts of the Mid-East. It’s the image of Hell, the presentation that the ultimate punishment from God comes in the form of unending fire and brimstone. Talk about people hung up on the heat!

Oh Brother

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

So God walks into a bar.

The bartender says, “What can I do for you?”

God says, “Just love your fellow man.”

The bartender says, “I tried that in college; turned out I was in the wrong fraternity.”