cussing in church

Curse like one.
Several paragraphs, some well thought-out and written with care, some written fast without much style – every single one about something different. Taken together though, I think it stands as one of the better entries I’ve done in a while. You be the judge.

A much better day, a return to normalcy: meetings, e-mails, phone calls; no clenched teeth or fevered concentration. Instead bracing myself against the stormy seas of imagined deadlines, I was able to loose myself from the mast and enjoy the slow rollers of a normal workday. I like it that way, actually. With a little spare time to refresh CNN in between meetings and keep up with what’s going on outside the cubicle. Speaking of the cubicle, I had the chance last night to chat with a guy who does electrical work for new construction – wiring, etc. We hadn’t yet got around to what I do for a living when he mentioned that he “…couldn’t stand to be inside all day, stuck in front of a computer.” There’s something to that, y’know, although I’m not entirely sure I’d like to be inside walls or crawling on rafters all day either. For the job-satisfaction to money ratio, I like what I’m doing better than anything else that’s immediately available to me. And, to me, that’s enough to keep me happy. And everyone knows, happiness is what counts.

Taiwan is looming. I’ll be doing a return appearance as a speaker at a conference I actually attended last year. Funny thing is, I presented twice at the conference last year – my first appearance being what I remember as my worst public appearance ever (you can read about my post-presentation shame in my entry that day). I can recall the feeling like it was yesterday, and I’ve made it a point to not get myself into the same situation this year. This year, I am a master of the material… and I have enough “extra” info to expound if necessary or answer tough questions. If pre-conference confidence is an indicator of pending success, I’ll do 100 times better this year than last. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever given such a stinker as that single hour last year… it pains me to recall it.

I think it would be cool to build a simple plugin for Winamp that keeps track of the songs you play, and can then analyze time-defined chunks of the logs to see what mood you are/were in. AMG has all of its music organized into “mood” categories, and although I’ve never really used that information, if the classification is decent it’d be interesting to use their data to see what “mood” my last-week’s or last-month’s playlist said I was in. For instance, today I got a blues-itch, and started at Muddy Waters’ Fathers and Sons, after which I moved onto the guitar-god-rife White Boy Blues, and am currently listening to the Allman Brothers’ Brothers and Sisters. Using album-level for mood granularity, AMG’s mood-classifications tell me that I’m feeling both “earthy” and “passionate.” I like that, actually. I’m feeling rather passionate today, I mean… look at the figuratives I used in that opening paragraph… if that ain’t passion…

The other day, Pat and I were talking about how we write. The nature of the discussion was work-related, as we were saying what perfectionists/revisionists we both are when it comes to writing. It’s true, before I send an e-mail (especially if it’s an “important” one), I read and re-read and then re-re-read it again. I often decide to change the structure of my sentences as I type, reorganizing or rewording to better communicate what I want to say. Finally, when I’m satisfied with my missive, I fire it off and immediately click over to my “Sent” box and re-read the thing again. It’s a habit, or perhaps an OCD manifestation, I dunno. For me, it’s not limited to e-mail, it’s writing in general. And that’s what Pat was saying, he was wondering how I manage to write every day when I’m so picky about how things sound, how they come out. I just do it; and believe me, it takes time. I can tell you though, that I think everyone would get a good laugh if they could watch one of my entries be typed in real time… with all the backspacing, word-looking-up, organizing and re-organizing, etc. It’s a messy process.

I remember when I first started going to church with Sharaun. Coming from an established history as a drinker, drugger, and all-around foul-mouth… I was the antithesis of a good young Christian lad. People who honestly believed that swearing one swear or beering one beer might keep them from their God amazed me. During that part of my life, Sharaun and I were pretty involved with the church, and I had many occasion to be alone in the building… setting up this or working on that. And sometimes, when I was all alone in some dark storeroom, where my only companions were Sunday School supplies and Bible-times stage-props, I would give God my own little test. I’d say a big, fat, sinful word; think a big, fat, sinful thought; purposely entertain big, fat, sinful doubts I had. I’d “sin,” in the house of God, I’d deliberately do the things that I couldn’t believe people thought would incur the wrath of God. Just words, out loud and willful. And who would have known – the didn’t bring the Lord sweeping down to cleanse his temple of the scourge that was my open defiance.

If you couldn’t tell, I wasn’t able to think of a graceful exit from my “cussing in church” piece – so I just stopped writing. So, to change subjects… Because the quote seemed important, and also to test my new “quoted text” style, here’s a rather ominous-sounding one from Dr. Rice herself:

I believe that everybody is telling the Iranians that they are going to have to live up to their international obligations or next steps are in the offing. Everybody understands what next steps means.

Yeah, now that looks good. There’s probably a far simpler way to implement it using CSS, font colors and sizes, but I chose to go the old-fashioned route and used transparent GIFs and html “align” tags. I may not be the most cutting edge web developer, but I get the look I’m after most of the time. It probably renders as complete nonsense in anything other than IE, who knows.

And I’ll leave you with that. Goodnight.

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