How blogging is like dating

Blissfully Bitter no longer links me. She got a new site and left my URL off her new sidebar. Sigh. I remember the early days, she linked me, I bookmarked her… I guess ultimately it’s my fault. I never fully linked her back. I failed to commit. I can’t blame her for moving on.

This whole linking thing really takes me back to high school. You’ve got the girl you admire who you link to and just hope she’ll notice you and link back. There’s the popular kid who goes to all the parties and has legions of friends and you wish you could be in that crowd — except you really aren’t each others’ type and trying to be friends with her just because she’s popular would be like way too shallow even for me. There are link sluts, the type your mamma warned you about. And then there are the A-list girls you admire from afar without the slightest hope that they’ll ever know who you are. But all that’s okay ’cause you’ve got a few close friends and that’s what you really are there for anyway.

Now that I think about it, naw, blogging is nothing like high school. But don’t y’all tell Rebecca Blood I liked her blog because if she found out I’d just die.

Closing on Petunia

This morning Heidi and I are going downtown to read and sign documents attesting to our willingness and readiness to adopt Petunia. It’s like a house closing — initial here, sign there — except a house isn’t gonna want you to take it to the mall in thirteen years.

So it’s a happy occasion. Petunia will be our child. This was all so quick it hardly seems real. It almost feels like we stole her — she’s such a beautiful baby! At first I could not understand why her birth mother could sign her rights away so quickly like that, but now I just give thanks that Petunia’s mother loved her enough to bring her to term.

So we and our lawyer are shooting to be ready for finalizing on National Adoption Day. Then we’ll baptize both Petunia and Mr. Freshpants and have ourselves a big ol’ Catholic whoop-te-do.

And, I’m happy to say that she no longer resembles Senator Phil Gramm. (scroll down to the June 18th entry)

CSI: Las Vegas trumps Miami

I’ve seen the season premiers of both CSI and CSI: Miami. Las Vegas is the better show hands down.

But hey, the Miami one is at least true to the CSI formula, which is what makes it a winner. It’s just that the cast is so much more joyless and melodramatic. Instead they ought to be happier considering their incredible luck of getting on this show. With both David Caruso and Kim Delaney, the show looks like a halfway house for artists recovering from Colossally Bad Career Decisions. Soon they’ll be adding Sinbad and David Lee Roth to the cast.

The thing that bothers me most about the show — although I don’t see any way for the creative team to get around it — is that the characters walk around telling each other basic science that their characters damn well better already know if they’re gonna be forensic scientists. They don’t *need* to tell each other, but they tell each other because they need some way to tell *us*. Hey, maybe they could pilot a “pop-up” CSI where the characters don’t explain any science at all but every subtle science tidbit appears as a pop-up bubble on the screen. Just an idea.

And the coroner on CSI: Miami talks lovingly to the bodies which just creeps me way the hell out.

But hey, it’s still CSI so it’s all good. Every season I have one show that I will make some effort to watch. This season it’s CSI, but it’s harder cause there are two nights. Well, I really only *have* to make Thursday night because that’s the one I like best.

Squeaky Snacks

On a whim the other day, I bought a jar of Wheat Nuts. Yeah, I just had this vague yearning for some pressed wheat germ. Yum.

Not bad tasing. Nice and nutty. Still just as much fat as reqular nuts. And when you bite through a handful, there’s this barely perceptible squeak. Kind of like you’re eating pieces of styrofoam. And the wheat germ is pressed into these shapes that resemble the odd hardware bits you get with Ikea furniture. Then again maybe that’s just residual trauma from my Ikea bed from Hell assembly fiasco.

But, despite my oh so flattering description above, I love them. They must have some sort of a cult following. How can such an odd little snack still sell well enough to be in just about every grocery store without much advertising for so many years? When was the last time you saw a Wheat Nuts commercial? See?

It’s a niche market, I guess. There are lots of crunchy snacks out there, but only one that squeaks.

More of Merton's Seeds

Back to Merton. Again. It could take me years to get through this slim book. It’s like ==> read a paragraph, think for a week.

In his eighth chapter on Integrity, he nails dead-on a spiritual conundrum that I have always wrestled with :

“And so it takes heroic humility to be yourself and be nobody but the man…that God intended you to be. You will be made to feel that your honesty is only pride. This is a serious temptation because you can never be sure whether you are being true to yourself or building up a defense for the false personality that is the creature of your own appetite for esteem.

Yeah. That has been a chronic confusion of mine. Am I living God’s will or am I living my own rationalzation of His Will to fit my own desires? And how the hell can I tell the difference?

I’d like to request a little device like a sensor. Call it an ego meter, bullshit detector, whatever. It would alert me when I am living out of my ego instead of my true self.

I can tell when I am straying when I’m doing stuff I know is outright harmful or wrong. I need the most help once I am within the zone of being “righteous” or “spiritual.” When I sit down to examine my conscience for obvious sin and I don’t find much, I start to worry. I am suspicious of my own spiritual successes. I can’t let a holy moment in prayer just be a holy moment. Am I confused or what?

But Merton says this struggle is a good one:

“But the greatest humility can be learned from the anguish of keeping your balance in such a poistion: of continuing to be yourself without getting tough about it and without asserting your false self against the false selves of other people.”

That’s all well and good Tom, but I still want my sensor.

Back at Ya.

I am not a knee-jerk reciprocal linker — in fact many of my sidebar links are to Daily Reads who have no idea I exist — but I added a link to Redwood Dragon after he linked me. He wrote some nice words about my blog, which I appreciate, but then I stayed and read and hey, I could make this a daily read. Another interesting, substantive person brought to me through my association with Sainteros who has been a real blessing.

This is the reason I have a traffic monitor. The hit counter has become virtually meaningless since half my hits are Google searches looking for poor Amy Wynn Pastor’s naked behind. But I do get to see who visits me. And occasionally I find someone cool to read, someone to find an affinity with. That’s what this blog is all about to me. And, okay, I do enjoy the link. I’m not writing all of this out here to be ignored.

Thinking about Karma while driving to the grocery store for a gallon of milk

I’ve been rethinking my whole position on Karma lately.
I used to think Karma was some mystical claptrap about fate and reincarnation,
but, from what I’ve read, it seems like a sensible idea.

My actions come back to me.
Cause and effect.
I place myself in the
proximity of my own destiny.
I create my own future.

As a child I used to think my sins were
recorded on some heavenly rap sheet
which would be read at a future
pearly-gates arraignment.

But just maybe my sins are more like cartoon bullets
impossibly ricocheting off a thousand surfaces
eventually to land in the seat of my own pants
while a greek chorus of gods laughs it up at my expense.

Maybe my actions launch off like golf balls over the horizon
and maybe somewhere a 6’4″ hulking masher of a guy
is coming to look for the asshole who broke his windshield —
and if I’m not careful he will find me.

You can only slink away and hide so many times.
And if slinking away and hiding becomes a habit,
what kind of life is that?

Best to aim those golf balls more carefully,
or, better yet, tread lightly and
only send off those fake wiffle golf balls,
or maybe just marshmallows.

Whatever.
Anyway, I heretofore regard sin as it’s own punishment —
Karma as a judgement of natural consequences,
a product of system dynamics writ universal.

When I shoot, I hit something,
which may eventually come back to hit me.
And whats’ more, the recoil from the gun
of my own misdeeds knocks me ever-so-slightly
off aim with each pull of the trigger.
Constantly shooting and not re-aiming
leaves me lost and disoriented.
How often do I find myself aimlessly wandering
through my own life in need of some retargeting?

So is the answer as simple as that?
Avoid doing bad stuff?
Aim my actions carefully?

No, it’s not enough. Can’t be.
What if my future is manufactured
using the spaces between my thoughts,
my short-sightedness, my inaction,
my inattention to the obvious signs along the road?
And what of the subtle and non-intuitive evidence
of the shifting ground beneath my feet,
the world everywhere changing
into next week’s unpleasant surprise?
Will I walk someday into a wall
that I swear wasn’t there the day before?
When a new hole appears in the road,
will I look up from my worker-bee daily commute
in time to avoid it?

What I don’t know might definitely hurt me.

Not to mention that if *I’m* aimlessly
shooting cosmic bullets with everything I do,
then everyone else is too.
I’m caught in a Karmic crossfire,
a crazy rain of unintended consequences.
The slings and arrows of outrageous Karma
some of which will have consequences for me.
I need to know when to duck.

So lessee, I gotta pay attention to what I do.
And pay attention to what I’m not doing.
And pay attention to what other people are doing.
Who can pay that much attention?
I don’t even remember names all that well.

That’s a pretty damn narrow gate to enter through.

Who, then, can be saved?

I think in the Bible it says something like
“With God all things are possible”
(I can’t give the exact quote, I am Catholic after all.)

But for those of you that don’t speak Deity
Think God as Love (the meaty kind not the mushy kind)
Think God as Connectedness
Think God as Other-Centeredness.

Maybe the answer is to watch each others’ backs?
Maybe I create my future by looking out for the future of others
And surrounding myself with people who help me look out for mine?

What if all those cliches like
“no man is an island” and
“united we stand” are really true?

The fact that God would hide
the meaning of life in plain sight,
wrapped in a hackneyed truism
just confirms what I’ve always suspected —
God has quite a sense of humor
And can be pretty annoying sometimes.

Poetry: "Dolor"

I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils,
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper-weight,
All the misery of manila folders and mucilage,
Desolation in immaculate public places,
Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard,
The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher,
Ritual of multigraph, paper-clip, comma,
Endless duplication of lives and objects.
And I have seen dust from the walls of institutions,
Finer than flour, alive, more dangerous than silica,
Sift, almost invisible, through long afternoons of tedium,
Dropping a fine film on nails and delicate eyebrows,
Glazing the pale hair, the duplicate grey standard faces.

— Theodore Roethke

This poem caught my eye because a Roethke quote figured prominently in the plot of a movie I just saw last night called Kissing Jessica Stein. A very cute and ultimately sweet movie, not so much about lesbianism but about friendship and being true to who you are. Not exactly in line with my Xtian moral beliefs, but I enjoyed the endearing message that poked out past the tittilating plot.