Envy my boring week.

So, I’ll just jump right in, cause I think I’ve got plenty to say, but I can’t really remember what all it was. I’ll do a recap of the past week, I guess, and see where that takes me.

Saturday : As I predicted, much of Saturday ended up being devoted to Metroid Prime and Deep Space Nine. Later on in the evening, Kristin called, and came on over. So we had some dinner, and started watching Gosford Park. About an hour into it [and admittedly, neither of us was all that into the movie] Sven and Julie came on over. So the 4 of us hung around for a little while, then headed off to Max and Ermas for some desserts. Then I headed home, and did some planning for my Sunday School class.

Sunday : Sunday was church, then Sunday School. We’re nearing the end of the year for Sunday School, and I’m kinda glad. My kids rule and all, but there’s a lot of stress involved in taking a lesson written in the mid-1970’s, and apparently written for children with learning disabilities. The average lesson is supposed to last 50 – 60 minutes. The average lesson plan lasts about 15 minutes, including a long prayer, and 11 minutes of reading.. and that’s assuming they’ve not chosen to include a page of wretched “example stories” that go a little something like this:

Boy, Ben really stuck his neck out tonight. He got quite a reaction when he said, “I think the music most kids our age listen to is pretty stupid; the lyrics are always about death or sex. I hate it.” I wonder how many of the kids agreed with him — the ones who did probably didn’t dare say so.

The book pounces on any change it gets to explain that this newfangled “Rock – N – Roll” music that “the kids” are listening to these days is straight from hell. I tend to just skip stuff like that for 2 reasons: 1.) I strive not to be a hypocrite, so I’m not gonna tell my kids that the music I listen to everyday is evil, and they shouldn’t listen to it. 2.) I don’t believe the music is evil, nor do I appreciate a book telling kids that you can make big blanket statements about something. Invalid generalizations are a pet peeve of mine, and this book is full of them. In a nutshell: Music is bad for you, your friends just want you to have sex and drink, and every major life issue can be completely explained with a Christian Contemporary song. Music is not bad for you.. Some music they ought not to listen to, but mainly because it just plain sucks, and no one should listen to it, ever… and I’ve yet to meet a friend that wants to have sex with me, so I don’t know where they’re getting that one from. I’ll just leave the Christian Contemporary song thing alone.

So yeah, this book provides me a crappy 15 minutes worth of a hour long lesson, so I’m pretty much on my own for the rest of it. It worked out pretty well the first few times. Having them come up with questions about anything even mildly religion related trying to stump me worked really well, and was actually interesting for all people involved. But that’s pretty much done and gone [they’ve run out of questions], so now it’s a week by week struggle to find something new to keep these kids occupied for another half hour or so. So the lesson Sunday was on Peer Pressure… I managed to make the thing last 35 minutes, and I was pretty proud of myself.

After Sunday School, I headed off to the Bartels’ house. Nicole had done a church website for one of her classes, and now we [Nicole, her father Hugh, (He and I share teaching responsibilities for 7th and 8th grade Sunday School), and I. Nicole and Hugh were both on my co-ed Softball team last summer (and hopefully this summer as well) Hugh is on my church softball team too. He’s quite a good pitcher] are officially “the church website team” or something like that. Anyway, i was invited over for dinner, and then we had a meeting about the website. The design is already quite nice, so now it’s just a matter of PHPing some stuff up, then setting up some database stuff. Then undoubtedly setting up a ton of perl interface things so everyone who has no clue what they’re doing can quickly add content to the site. My sophomore year geometry teacher once began a class by saying the following: “Never admit you know something, because people will insist that you use this knowledge all the time.” At the time, I thought this was fairly sound advice, but didn’t take it to heart until later in the class period, when he used the word “phallic” and only I laughed… and so he looked around and asked “who knows what ‘Phallic’ means?”. I raised my hand, and he turned and said “Alright, explain it to the class.” Lesson learned.

So after a fine meal and meeting, I headed on home, and took a bit of a nap. In the evening, Robb, Swac, and I played some Settlers of Catan. Yeah, I rule at that game. I then spent much of the late evening/early morning watching more Deep Space Nine episodes. That show is every bit as grand as I remembered. There’s been a healthy mix of episodes I didn’t remember, and episodes I have been looking forward to seeing. The only problem I have is that I’m slightly impatient. The first season has to set a lot of things up, and characters are still not quite set as they eventually turned out. Friendships have not yet been established, and people are still constantly surprised by seemingly mysterious things that become old hat in later seasons. I’m anxious for certain characters to show up, or for their main storylines — the ones that last the entire run of the series — to begin. Even so, this first season is amazing. I’m currently watching an episode I remember watching way back in the day, and just being blown away by it. It’s pure joy in disc form.

Monday : Monday was work. How is work going, you ask? Work is going well. Some days, work is going quite well. Then again, some days, I feel like driving a stake through my temples and just letting it all fade away. Anyway, the last 2 or 3 weeks I’ve been trying to take all the loose ideas we’ve come up with for the last year or so, and putting them together into one coherent plan of action that’ll define my work for the next .. umm.. infinity? So that’s a pretty exciting thing. At least it can be… There were still a fair amount I didn’t understand, and I nagged Alan a lot this past week. Well, there’s still a bit I don’t understand, but I guess that’s to be expected. Either way, I’ve got my plan set up. And starting tomorrow, I begin coding, and that is a very exciting prospect.

After work, Swac and I headed off to GR to go to Wizards of the Coast. Ever played Apples to Apples? Turns out that game is fun. You have a bunch of [Red] cards with nouns (bubble gum) and proper nouns (The Olsen Twins), and some events (driving off a cliff) or situations (In a coma). Then one person [dealer] flips over a card from the other [Green] deck, that has things like “sadness”, “pathetic”, “American”, etc.. So everyone else chooses one card from their [Red] cards that they feel most accurately describes or conveys that [Green] card. The dealer chooses which card of all the submitted Red cards is the best, and the person that submitted that card gets the green card. You play to a set number of green cards. It’s a good game. Anyway, Swac picked up that game while we were there. I did some looking at the Friends Trivia Game. Turns out I know a lot of random Friends trivia.

Tuesday : More work. Tuesday night was the Pickwick, and we had quite the crew all sitting around one table. It was another good Tuesday night, though I felt kinda out of it some of the time. But yeah, Tuesday night was quite good.

Wednesday : More work. Got home and got my workout done quickly. Then Sven and Julie and Mindy headed on over, we ordered up some pizza, and then watched Ed. I’m now willing to admit that for a small stretch this season, I wasn’t quite as jazzed about Ed. The show seemed to no longer really match up with my life the way it had so eerily for the last year and a half. But in the last 2 months or so, it’s snapped back into that spooky “that’s exactly what is happening in my life” kinda thing. And it’s fun to watch again. The entire 2nd season was hard to watch, in reality. It was good, and I liked the show, but it was hard, and sometimes painful to watch. There was just too much people behaving poorly, horribly irritating assholes succeeding far too much [and for no apparent reason], and good guys getting dicked over far too much [again for no reason]. So again, it matched up to my life pretty well, but I wasn’t a huge fan of how a lot of things in my life were going, so watching it replayed on screen was both reassuring and aggravating. As evidence, I can’t watch season 2 episodes currently, and when I tried before, it just pissed me off, so I had to stop. I hate that Dennis Martino. Anyway, currently on Ed, we’ve got Ed hooked up with Frankie, his assistant. But it has been made clear, especially in the last 2 episodes, that he’s still very much taken with Carol, and Carol with him. So why don’t Ed and Carol hook up, when it seems like it’d be so perfect if they did? I’ve been asking myself that same questions for well over a year now.

After Ed, the group of us played Apples to Apples for quite a while. Later on in the evening, Cathy made a 5 second appearance. Long enough to say that she couldn’t stay, and that was about it. So yeah, a shame. But the game was fun, and after everyone took off, I worked out a bit more, then watched some more Deep Space Nine, then headed off to sleep.

Thursday : More work. I took a break in the afternoon and headed off to Max and Ermas with Mindy for lunch, then we headed off to get me set up for a passport. Why do I need a passport, you ask? I’ll tell ya. If all goes well, this summer I’m headed overseas. The idea is we [Mindy, Becky, Mindy’s friend, Rosemary, and myself.] will fly off to Paris, check that out for a while, then take the train to Venice, and from there bike all the way to Rome, then check out Rome for a while, then I’ll train it back to Paris, then take a plane back to the US, while the rest of them head off to Greece for a while. Needless to say, I’m quite excited. It’s kinda weird. I had this belief for as long as I could remember that I’d go to Paris for the first time with my wife for our two year anniversary. My mind is kinda weird, don’t question it. I get these ideas randomly, and for one reason or another, it gets stuck in there, and I come to believe it is just law. Anyway, I’m going to see Paris. And it’ll be neat.

So I got back home, and worked for a few more hours, then watched my shows (Good Morning, Miami was a new one, and Dylan is still a hottie.) Afterwards, Robb and I headed off to Fridays for dinner.

Friday : More work. I spent Friday feverishly trying to finish the Architecture document… which I did, in fact “finish”. (it’s in quotes, cause it’s a document that’s going to be forever altered until the thing is done. Once that was done, we took off, and I headed over to my good friend Kenton’s new house. Kenton is getting married next month, and I hadn’t seen him or his fiance` in a while, so it was really good hanging out with them for the night. I didn’t get back til late Friday night, and I fell asleep fairly quickly, cause I was just wiped out.

Saturday : Like I said, I was wiped out, so I didn’t wake up til around 3ish Saturday afternoon. I had voice-mail from Tressa, so I called her up and talked to her for a while, so that was good stuff. I did some shopping at Meijer and dropped about $150 on groceries that better last me for a good long time. Then I got some quality Metroid Prime time in, and then Josh, Dusty, and Mike showed up for a while. I know they’re all quite excited to be mentioned here, so I didn’t dare omit it. Later on, BDF showed up, Josh and company jetted, and eventually BDF and I headed off to Founders.

We went to Founders for the cd release party of Craic Wisely, a fine classic Irish band featuring my co-worker, Jonathan. It was excellent! So the place was packed, and there were no chairs free. BDF up and stole one, but I wasn’t quite that .. bold? no that’s not the word.. oh yeah, I’m not a jerk. Zing! Okay, so after quite some time, Joel let me sit, and I was thankful. So eventually the band started to play, and they were excellent. I really liked the traditional Irish tavern sound they had going. So I got myself their cd, and have it playing in my car now. The cd is excellent. I just wish I could get a soundboard copy of them from Founders, cause there were a few songs that weren’t on the album that I really want to hear again.. there was one that included something like “I eat when I’m hungry, I drink when I drive.” that I really liked. Anyway, a big crew, both work and Pickwick people. I had my fair share of beer, and our table (and some surrounding tables) became engulfed in a war of flying peanut shells. It was excellent. All in all, a grand evening at Founders.

Sunday : Sunday again. Today. Church, then Sunday School. It was about fear of the future, and it lasted about 35 minutes. Afterwards it was off to the Veldhof’s for dinner. Excellent as always. Made it back home, and played Metroid Prime for about an hour, before dying, and losing everything I had done. Not pleased. Then I watched Edward Scissorhand, which I had never seen before. Turns out it’s really good, and I like Winona Ryder. Afterwards, I watched 4 or 5 episodes of Deep Space Nine, completing the 1st season… sigh, now I have to wait til April 1 for season 2. I just finished watching all the bonus material, and yeah, I like that show a lot.

They’ve started showing Swimfan DVD ads, and I gotta say, that girl looks nothing like Julia Stiles. Here’s the test: Drop dead gorgeous? That’d be Julia Stiles. Not? then not.

10 thoughts on “Envy my boring week.

  1. I did think the music comment was interesting. I would say the hypocrite part had to be the major issue (at lease more so that the general blanket statement idea). You could have easily used that lesson to explain how a lot of the music out there does related to unChristian attitudes about sex, death, drugs, and some other immoral activity. I guess the fact of the matter is that a lot of it does relate to that, but in a Reformed worldview, there are non-Christian music that actually seem to call relate to a Christian theme. (PJ’s Given to Fly, Lincoln Parks – most popular song relates to how in then end things don’t matter; i know there’s more, but i’m at work.)

    All in all, you could have had a great lesson to teach the kids how to look and listen to non-Christian music with a Reformed perspective.

    And not having read the lesson i don’t know what it said: but it was interesting the you said you hated invalid generalization, then proceeded to make an invalid generalization about Contemporary Christian music answering life’s problems.

    I guess another point to make…What do we fill our minds with. Should we listen to some non-Christian music. Yeah, i think so, but many people have a tendency to look at everything in one of two lights. 1) secular music is terrible, and we should never listen to it. (the lesson) 2) Christian music is lame, and is not worth listening to. (ron’s view.)

    In fact, we all know (or should know) the real view should be somewhere in the middle. Listen to secular music with a discerning heart. Listen to Christian music to fill you mind with Christian things.

    I guess I’d rather have a Christian song in my head than Nine Inch Nails – ‘i wanna f…..animal’

    Sorry ron. I got a little bored at work. Don’t feel too offended.

  2. A quick reply, as some things were apparently unclear:

    1.) I don’t think there’s any doubt that there’s a significant portion of popular music that presents unchristian or immoral ideas. I also think this will hardly come as a shock to 7th and 8th graders. It would be like explaining that there’s violence in some movies. Odds are, they already know that. The book doesn’t say “some of today’s popular music presents negative ideas about sex, death, drug use, etc..”, the book says that the majority of the music people listen to today is evil, or “junk”. I disagree, and I’m not going to waste my time trying to defend a position I don’t agree with. Have we talked about music in my class? Quite a bit. [at one point, we agreed that Country music was evil. It was a wonderful class.] I wouldn’t mind doing a whole class on that at some point. But that’s not what the book does. The book takes cheap shots without any real substance, and that annoys me.

    2.) I think there is [the potential for] much to be gained or learned from music, secular or Christian. Some more than others, certainly, and it does depend a lot on the person. I think the level of maturity and discernment in the person would affect greatly the types of music that would be beneficial. (e.g. I don’t think listening to Nine Inch Nails at age 11 would have done me much good, and probably would have done a fair amount of harm, but I know for a fact that listening to it at age 18 helped me out significantly). So too, a person dealing with a particular issue is going to find more help from one type of music than another. If I’m depressed, I’m going to take a lot more away from NIN – Something I can Never Have than I am from, say “Friends are Friends Forever”.

    3.) “Christian music is lame, and is not worth listening to. (ron’s view.)” and “… proceeded to make an invalid generalization about Contemporary Christian music answering life’s problems.”

    I purposefully made no comments about Christian Contemporary music, itself, [ I’ll just leave the Christian Contemporary song thing alone. ] I complained about the book’s repeated use of Christian Contemporary songs to try to explain away complex issues on a single page. It’s a bit like the “lifeline” on Donnie Darko. You can’t just take a complex issue, like peer pressure or fears about the future, and strip them down to a single choice between Love and Fear. The book seems to try to do this. It’s like how sitcoms a few years back played Green Day – Time of your Life” every time they wanted to convey any sort of emotion. You can’t condemn the song for it, but man did it just come across as hollow.

    Do I hate Christian Contemporary music? No. There’s a healthy chunk I don’t listen to, because I don’t care for it. There’s a chunk I do listen to, because I like the music (I’m a _big_ fan of the Waiting.). This post had really nothing to do with Christian Contemporary music, and everything to do with the disappointing nature of my lesson book. If I were to write about CC music, I’d have much to say [and I think I’m gonna have to write a blog about that sometime soon], but as for invalid generalizations about CC music: I don’t believe I made any. I said my book misused them, which I believe it does. I then said I wouldn’t talk about it, which wasn’t a generalization either.. though this reply does make it somewhat untrue.

    4.) Two lights. I think that was kinda my point in the blog. The book presents things as “good” and “bad”. I think most things are stuck in a gray area. Teaching kids that this isn’t the case seems insulting and ultimately self defeating to me.

    5.) I’ve had more in depth Christian discussions with good friends about Nine Inch Nails, and “Closer” in particular, that I’ve ever had about a Christian Contemporary song. It’s the very struggle that Closer deals with (and no, it’s really not what you’d like to think. Sex in that song seems to be a means to an end, rather than the end itself.) that makes my relationship with God seem all the more amazing and important. Is that song for everyone? No. Do many people listen to it without discernment? Undoubtedly. Should the song be punished because of it? I don’t think so. But I wouldn’t let my 13 year old son listen to it, either.

  3. Re: Christian Music: I dislike it. erm, at least, a lot of it. There was a guy in my church in CA that ran a Christian music store (and sounded a lot like kermit the frog when singing, actually) (or, at least had a lot to do with it). Next to all the ‘bands’ were ‘secular’ bands that they were allegedly (and i mean allegedly) similar to. Let me tell you: All of the bands that were ‘like’ the bands I liked sucked. It’s hard to find something that will suck that much for 15 bucks this side of taiwan, let me tell you. (yeah, that was really, really, really off-color).

    So, I’ve disliked it (Crhstian music) for some time. My parents like it, and Joel likes some of it, but in my opinion, of the Christian music I’ve heard, it seems to lack the quality of lyrics, vocals, and instrumental style that I’ve come to know in secular music. Despite the ‘inspired’ nature of the Christian band’s lyrics, they seem ‘uninspired’ as far as true quality goes. And of course, I can only speak for the bands that I have heard before. Regardless, I can’t find bands similar to my tastes in the Christan sector. The bands I’ve found that I’m ‘supposed’ to like are no good. I’ve resolved myself to not listen to it and spare my mind the conflicting thoughts I’d have as a result of forcing myself to listen to it.

    So there you have it. Find me some Christian bands that don’t completely suck, and I’ll lend them my ear for a while. And no joel, I refuse to listen to any Christan Ska bands. “The Re-ska-rections’ sounds like a likely ska band name, too. Perhaps their first CD could be ‘Es-ska-tology’. See? now all I need is a two string guitar and a horn .

  4. Hey Ron,
    1) I purchased Apples to Apples this summer for my 7th and 8th graders. They find it amusing as well. Did you play seriously the whole time or did your game digress into “which adjective is most absurd with this noun” mode?

    B) Everyone I talk to assures me Christian music gets better the more you experience it. The same is said of coffee and beer mind you and I don’t touch that stuff either.

    4) I am still scarred by my first exposure to DC-Talk and the first time I saw what the members of “White Cross” looked like.

    5) How do I put pictures on my website?

  5. Mostly to adam:

    Discounting all “Christian Music” simply because the band members chose to identify themselves as Christians is silly. I fully agree — almost all of the music that I’ve heard that calls itself CCM sounds like, well, crap. The bands I like that happen to be Christian are ones I genuinely like. I enjoy their music. I have never made any blanket generalizations about Christian Ska, except that most of it that I’ve heard sucks. The Supertones, however, are a genuinely good band. Their second CD has a whole lot of great songs (speaking purely from a musical point of view).

    And, in general, the whole concept of “Christian” and “non-christian” music is utterly stupid, I think. I hate the idea of “if you like this secular (read: evil) band, then you’ll like this Christian (read: good) band”. I was told once that The Supertones were the Christian answer to the Bosstones. That I like the Supertones is incindental — they are a far, far different band from the Bosstones, musically. I like ’em both, but they are definitely different.

    I guess I have more I could say, but it would sound like silly ramblings. Calling all Christian music bad is silly. Calling all secular music bad is silly.

  6. Never let it be said that Craic Wisely promotes irresponsible drinking. The lyric isn’t “I eat when I’m hungry, I drink when I drive…” Instead, it’s a much more palatable “I drink when I’m DRY.” Definitely a potential entry for kissthisguy.com. (The name of the song, btw Ron, is “Moonshiner” — request it out loud at our next gig.)

    As for Christian music, I only listen to one artist regularly, Jennifer Knapp. Have a listen to her most recent two CDs: the way i am, and lay it down. very good rawk music. For you gospelcomers, they’re both on internal.

    I’m going to go listen to some Iron Maiden now.

  7. Ah, yeah, I guess those lyrics make a bit more sense:


    I’m a rambler, I’m a gambler, I’m a long way from home
    And if you don’t like me, well, leave me alone
    I’ll eat when I’m hungry, I’ll drink when I’m dry
    And the moonshine don’t kill me, I’ll live til I die

    Either way, the song rules, as does the song where you clap 4 times, then 2 times, then once. Hrm… then again, a lot of the songs were about drinking and women, so I guess my Sunday School book would have to consider it “junk” music. Maybe the boat sinking song could stay.

  8. The boat-sinking-song (Todd needs to find a new way to introduce it, btw) would probably also be a goner, since it bemoans the fact that seven million barrels of porter were lost in the hold of the Irish Rover. Check our liner notes for our feelings about this tragedy.

    The 4 claps 2 claps 1 clap song is “Wild Rover”, yet another one about beer (and whiskey).

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