Crunchy Pleasure

I had the dogs out one last time for the evening and while they are attending to their business I like to wander up and down the driveway. On my more coordinated evenings I do this while staring into the sky. I also tend to allow leaves to gather in various eddies in the driveway and when they are appropriately dry, I like to walk on them. It is the wonderful crunch that I do so enjoy and has nothing to do with avoiding the rake. I step evenly and smoothly, enjoying that sound.

Tonight the sky is clear and the air is crisp and the crunch is exceptionally delightful. As I was headed south on my march, I looked up, just before the mailbox, to see a falling star drop behind the Micales’ house. I wonder how many people saw that same sight. Is it too selfish to ponder that it might have been just me…?

Masks or No Masks

In a recent post, more accurately in the comments of said post, a little discussion has birthed that has me contemplating the legitimacy, honesty and truth of masks. The masks in this discussion are those we apply to suite the perceptions of/by us and those we encounter. Clint contends, with expected wisdom, that “[he] would rather be known for who [he is]”. He also asks the question “If our relationship is one of trust and honesty, why the need for a mask?”

I must fully agree with Clint that masks of a dishonest, manipulative and even subversive nature are destructive to relationships. However, I think this idea of masks is nuanced and I would like to explore some of these nuances. By the way, I don’t think Clint’s comments were addressing these subtleties, but rather the damaging masks mentioned earlier. I’ll let him speak to that. For me, I will toss out two scenarios; one fictional, the other very real.

First imagine that I am travelling though Clint’s neck of the world and arrange (upon sworn secrecy) to sit down in person with him and chat in between flights. My flight is arriving late and I am exhausted, but very excited about meeting the mystery man. Clint, on the other hand, has been working hard all day long. In fact he just left a meeting with a troubled friend and drove through some nasty traffic to meet with with me. His mind is very much still on the details of his friend’s situation. I find him by the food court and we pick a table. Clint buys me a large coffee… and a cinnamon roll — hey, it’s my post so Clint buys! We sit down and Clint asks how my flight was. I know there is precious little time for Clint and I to get to know each other so I dismiss his comments with a quick, “not too bad.”, and smile! I ask Clint how things are going for him and, knowing that my connecting flight is not delayed and time is limited, he sets aside his concerns from his recent meeting and looks me in the eye and says,“been a demanding day, but we’re not here to talk about that. Tell me about yourself.” Is this not a dance of masks, albeit a legitimate and even potentially constructive dance?

My second scenario happened a little over four years ago. My parents were in Florida for the wedding of the son of some dear friends of theirs. Saturday morning — day of the wedding — my father has a massive heartattack and dies. I take the phone call that Saturday morning and beginning packing to drive to PA the next morning. My mom spends Saturday arranging to have the body returned to PA. Sunday I drive the 7+ hours spending most of it considering how I will face my mom; what will I say? I reach my parent’s home and walk to the door. When I enter my mom quickly approaches me and we embrace. I hold her tight and whisper,“It’s going to be alright.” Another mask. Every ounce of me wanted to cry,“It’s just not fair!” Instead I squeezed tighter. I donned the mask of the strong, steadfast, reliable, eldest child. What this mask said was true but what it presented was less than honest. Was it not legitimate? Was it not what my mom needed?

All Is Right with Firefox

I have been using Firefox since version 8x. In addition to the tabbed browsing (if you’ve never you’ve gotta), I am crazy about the extensions available. I am using a total of 29 extensions; from BBCode, WebMailCompose (works with Gmail) to my alltime favorite Session Saver. This extension remembers all tabs that you have open when you shutdown and then reopens all of them, including history, when you reopen Firefox. As I am typing this I have 1, 2, 3,… 18 tabs open. Many are links from within various blogs that I want to go back and read. Now, if I don’t get to them tonight they will be there tomorrow.

I was actually a bit disappointed because I did not see this extension on Firefox’s extension pages. Alas, Google to the rescue. I even found an Session Saver extended version which is what I installed and am now happily using. I did so miss Session Saver since moving to version 1.0 of Firefox, but now all is right again. Might I recommend that you too Get Firefox!.

Wanted: Pigeonhole

I seem to be missing something. Not something that I think I ever had, but something I seem to think I should have. What I find myself without is my very own pigeonhole. A concise, precise, preferably one word, pigeonhole. I say my very own, but truthfully I would gladly share. In fact a shared pigeonhole provides a certain degree of legitimacy to said hole. Furthermore, a standalone pigeonhole is often seen as quirky and even deprived.

Now, I have given this a great deal of thought (certainly too much some may say). Considering my last name and lineage, and the fact that I grew up in the southern Berks, northern Lancaster counties of Pennsylvania, one may assume that I can pigeon myself into the hole that is an Anabaptist of the oldest order. While I do so admire the Mennonites I grew up around, sadly I do not count myself among them. No, I must admit that the humility with which they approach their lives and their community is foreign to me. Not to mention that without electricity I would never be able to stay current with all the blogs.

Another potential pigeonhole that I have not lived up to is that of a trade laborer. My father, uncles, cousins and generations prior built things; machines, walls, cabinets even whole houses. Not I. While I am rather handy around the house, my living is made on my rump.

I fancied myself an artist at one series of points in my life, but then life itself took over and art is not all that practical now… is it? Odd that I should mention practical as this is another pigeonhole I am unable to claim. Simply asking those intimate to my life will reveal this truth. While considering those loved ones, I am tempted to claim fatherhood, but as somewhere near fifty percent of all parents are fathers, it is too broad to be a real pigeonhole.

When I truthfully and honestly boil it all down, my heart beats with the desire to be placed into the pigeonhole known as a follower of Christ. However, it breaks my heart to face myself and realize that in this endeavor I fall more short than any of the others I have listed above. Oh yes, I am a believer in Christ and I have seen my faith confirmed and reinforced time and time again. Why is it then that I am troubled considering myself a follower Christ?

A Little Blog Satire

‘Blog’ No. 1 Word of Year, But ‘Instalanche’ Not in Top 10

[Thanks to Scott Ott at ScrappleFace]

(2004-12-01) — Merriam-Webster, the dictionary publisher, today announced that ‘blog’ was the most-searched word on its website in 2004, and will be added to the dictionary in 2005. However, the term ‘Instalanche’ failed to make the top 10, delivering another crushing blow to blogger Glenn Reynolds.

The dictionary will define ‘blog’ as “an online journal which produces fame without wealth for pajama-clad scribes, known as bloggers, who write so well they don’t need editors and who survive by eating ramen noodles and Tang powder from a spoon.”

‘Instalanche’, which missed a top 10 ranking despite a vigorous lobbying effort, is “a brief but powerful spike in blog traffic, generated by a link from InstaPundit.com, which creates in the affected blogger a fleeting sense of euphoria and heightened self-esteem, followed by weeks of doubt and progressive self-loathing.”

InstaPundit creator Glenn Reynolds could not be reached for comment. However, unnamed associates said that the Instalanche production business has such a small profit margin that Mr. Reynolds must moonlight as a law professor just to make ends meet.