The Bookstooge Chronicles: The Junior Year

Back in November, I blogged about reading my Freshman Journal. Since that time I have made my way through my Junior Year from Bibleschool (it was a three year course so you had freshman, juniors and seniors). It was as tough as I thought it would be.

I came into contact with a couple of people that I absolutely could not stand and with it being a closed campus, there was no getting away from them. So I had to learn, quickly, how to deal with people whose very existence annoyed me. Them breathing the same air, in the same building as me, was enough to rile me up. So I learned some survival skills without even realizing it. I didn’t know I was an introvert’s introvert. I didn’t realize I needed alone time and time away from people. So I threw myself into everything I could, with all the gusto I could and ended up having some really miserable times.

I also had some fantastically wonderful times too. A local secular college would put on Selections from Handel’s “Messiah” every year and would hire 4 professionals for the solo parts and it was a joy to listen to. Nearly the first, and close to the last, time that music really moved me on a deep, visceral level. I also went hiking up a mountain one winter’s day and while looking back, that was incredibly stupid (I told no one where I was going, no cell phones, no real worst case scenario gear), it was also a time of solitude and balm for my soul that I still remember to this day.

Reading along I realized that in ’99 was when I was introduced to Land Surveying. My (future) boss came over and taught us some of the math and told us anyone who was interested could keep on going. So my friend and I worked on the math and experimented with some of the equipment. I had forgotten I had started this before graduation. And that summer I worked for him until college started back up in the fall. Good stuff!

Of course, one of the miserable things I alluded to above was that I had to deal with the reality of a broken heart and someone’s interest moving away from me. Between that and learning to exist alongside people I couldn’t stand, I did a lot of growing up in ’98 and ’99. Not by choice, but considering my personality, that was about the only way it would have happened.

My writing also took off during this time period. Besides my regular journal, I began keeping a notebook with meeting and sermon notes (long since lost) and I started a Happy Book where I noted 5 things every day that made me happy. That didn’t last too long, hahahaha. It soon turned into a heart broken sob journal where I could pretty much record how much I hurt every single day. Sigh, to be that young again. I also wrote a lot of emails and referenced them in my journal too, not realizing that I was entering a phase where I treated emails like disposable napkins. I think in this year of school I went through 3 or 4 with various companies? I even wrote down a couple of passwords. I tried to see if they were still active, but either I had changed the password at some later date or I had deleted the address altogether. It was a fun time though because I was exploring all that life had to offer me at the time.

Wow, this has gone on longer than I thought. I would sum up that year as one of forced growth that was ultimately the best thing for me. My character, not exactly jello even at this point, was further cemented into the mold that shapes me even today.

I chose not to include a particular quote like I did last year because either the day was utterly banal or so intensely personal. I had no middle ground at that time and it has taken me these 3 months to read through it. This is why I journaled though, I didn’t want to forget the times that formed me into the man I am today. I hope to talk more about that idea next Saturday when I do another post about why I still paper journal.

Apparently I have not created a “journal” tag yet. I have corrected that with this post and now I have to go through my previous entries and add it to the correct ones. Man, being a blogger is tough and definitely not for the faint hearted.

The Bookstooge Chronicles: The Freshman Year

I’ve made my way completely through 400 pages of my freshman journal. Like I described in my Midlife Crisis Post, I was equally horrified, amused and entertained. 9/10ths of my entries were centered around girls. This girl, that girl, the next girl, some random girl, a previous girl. I could practically smell the hormones wafting off the pages. But in between my tortured musings on Being Alone Forevah! it was quite the little time capsule.

September 1997 through August 1998 was a wonderful time to be alive if you liked tech. I had a quad speed cdrom and let me tell you, it was 100% better than those measly 2speed ones! What other things popped up? Oh yeah, you didn’t need a passport to go into or come back from Canada. I was a total drama queen and reading about some stuff now makes me realize how out of proportion I would blow things up in my mind. Funnily enough, that STILL happens a lot to me, hahahahaa 😀 Despite being 20, I still fought with my little brother and littler sister like I was 10.

But what stood out to me, in the 400 pages, was my reaction to my first spam email. Do you remember your first? There are a lot of firsts in life but in the late 90’s, spam email wasn’t quite what it is today. I wrote this down in my journal. So cringe along with me as we go back 25 years to a more innocent time when email was only used for good, sigh :-/

2/8/98 – 11pm Saturday
Got a weird e-mail, supposedly from Bill Gates. It is testing some new e-mail tracking software. Once the list reaches 1,000 people, we will all get $1,000 & a free Window98 package. I hope it is real!
If it is bogus, Microsoft will be angry as anything & I bet there will be lawsuits flying.
But I’m hoping & praying it is real. I could really use $1000 & W98. Specially now with my new computer.

Now is that just adorable or what? Makes me want to pinch my younger self’s cheeks and go “ohhh, you cute little thing”. Of course, back then I didn’t have cheeks because I was so skinny, I was skin and bones, poor guy.

But it took me over 6 weeks to read the whole thing because there were times I just had to put it down and give myself a break from myself. Man, I was an intense young man and it really carried over into my words in my journal. At the same time, it has whetted my appetite to read more (but I’m totally not a Narcissist, really!). I am giving myself a 2 month break before diving into my Junior year, as I remember life got super intense for that year and I’m not sure how I’m going to handle it even now.

What is interesting to me is that certain things I wrote I can picture with absolute crystal clarity. I read the words, the situation I describe and I can SEE it perfectly in my mind all over again. Isn’t the mind a wonderful thing? Truly the Psalmist spoke true when he wrote “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Well, I think I’ve talked about myself enough. For today anyway 😉

The Bookstooge Chronicles: The Midlife Crisis

25 years since I started Bible School. And maaaaaan, I think I am having a midlife crisis here. So instead of breaking down, buying a red porsche, throwing over Mrs B for a space hooker and burning down my work place, I’ve decided to read my old journals. Yeah, when I have a midlife crisis, I don’t take the easy route!

This little journal is 25 years old. It’s older than some of the people I know at church for goodness sake!

Holy smokes folks, what a trip. I was going to share some of them, but after reading several months worth, yeah, that ain’t happening. It has shown me several things though.

25 years has allowed me to have a completely different perspective of time. Every day was a new adventure, filled to the brim with new and exciting things. Now, life is a routine that I glide through on a weekly basis and sometimes I wonder where the entire month has gone. Back then, my emotions went through the whole cycle on a weekly basis. Now, if I’m lucky, that’ll only happen on an annual basis. Getting married has also changed me immensely. Back then I had a different crush every week.. Now I’ve been happily married to one woman for 14 years and she knows me and still loves me and when I wake up each morning I don’t have to wonder what I’m going to feel that day. Oh my goodness, that is such a burden off of my shoulders, that was an exhausting way to live, let me tell you.

I was also the most naive person I have ever known. Reading some of those entries I wonder how I made it through life. I also felt bad for the people around me at that time, oy vey. Which makes me laugh because in about 20 years I bet you a hill of jellybeans that I’ll be saying the same exact thing about the present me. Bet you didn’t see THAT coming, eh? Hahahahaa 😀

While Bookstooge was no Jedi Master by the time he was 23, he also hadn’t french kissed his own sister. You decide which is the greater achievement.

I remember one time a professor told a story about how he found an old journal, read it and then razor bladed it because he was so embarrassed by it. I understand that feeling now but unlike my professor, being reminded of that embarrassing time helps me to remember what it is like being that age. And hence to have a bit of mercy to those young punks who are pretty worthless in every imaginable way 😉 Believe it or not, I have learned some empathy and mercy in the last 25 years. I’m just REALLY good at hiding it, hahahahaaa.

Another thing, confidence. I was worried about working out 5 times a week, running every day, if I was too skinny, etc, etc, etc. Everything I did was through the lens of what others would think of it. Now I just don’t care. There are a few specific people whose opinion DOES matter to me but outside of them, everyone else can go hang 😀 (on a side note, my biceps are an inch bigger now. So don’t mess with me or I’ll knock your block off, then slit your throat with my kbar and then double tap you with my sig). But don’t worry, I’d never actually do that, because I’m so peaceful now and I love everyone so much 😉 See, mercy in action!

The Whammomatic 3000. It punches, it slices, it shoots, all in ONE convenient and easy to use package.

So anyway, this was good for me. I just needed to get that all out. If this is as much of a “crisis” as I’ll have to deal with, I’m totally ok with that. Only start to worry if I start putting up pictures of red porsches. Or posting How To’s on arson..

As I read more of my old journals, I might find some amusing entries that are fit for public consumption. If I do, I’ll probably be posting them and talking about them. Just wanted to warn you, you know?

Currently Reading: Battlefield Earth

Currently re-reading Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard. So far, this is the only book by Hubbard that I’ve been able to re-read. The cover on the right is the one I read from the library (it’s the first edition hardcover) and is the one I owned. The cover on the left was made for the audiobook and ended up becoming the cover for the mass market paperback. That is a MONSTER of a paperback, at around 1000 pages. There are also some movie covers but the less said about that utter travesty the better.

I am enjoying this quite a bit. Of course, with a main character named Johnny Goodboy Tyler, you know he’s a Gary Stu. But Gary Stu’s have an important role in stories, they remind us that the Good does win in the end and that Evil will be defeated, even if it appears to be at its strongest at the moment.

Currently Reading & Quote: Monster Hunter Bloodlines

Julie woke me up by opening our bedroom curtains. Photons flew over and punched me in the eyelids.

I groaned. “Ugh . . . What time is it?”

“Time for you to get up. It’s almost noon and apparently we’ve got a busy day.” My wife sounded chipper. “Or night, I guess. Since apparently you guys decided to invite some sort of murderous ghost to the compound for some inexplicable reason.”

Squinting, I sat up in bed and shielded my eyes. “He’s kind of a cowboy pirate murder ghost. I would have told you all about it when I came in, but I didn’t want to wake you.”
~Chapter 14

Did you read that?!? Cowboy Pirate Murder Ghost?!?!? You know a story is awesome when it has a Cowboy Pirate Murder Ghost in it!

Currently Reading & Quote: The Secret of Father Brown

This is a very long multi-paragraph quote so I’m going to place it after I’ve said my piece instead of before as per the normal. This quote really seems to encapsulate Father Brown. It is very personal and shows how Father Brown views humanity in the same way that God does. Not as a collective lump to be categorized and labeled into groups, but as individuals and people to be known and loved. I guess I think this section is relevant is because it expresses how the Creator of the Universe itself feels about me and about you. Until we have a proper understanding of how God views us, we are going to have some seriously twisted views of God Himself. There are a lot of implications from that that carry over into how we act and feel in real life, but that’s getting a bit off topic.

So without further ado, here’s the passage:

The interviewing instinct awoke, tactful but tense. If he did try to draw Father Brown, as if he were a tooth, it was done with the most dexterous and painless American dentistry.

They were sitting in a sort of partly unroofed outer court of the house, such as often forms the entrance to Spanish houses. It was dusk turning to dark; and as all that mountain air sharpens suddenly after sunset, a small stove stood on the flagstones, glowing with red eyes like a goblin, and painting a red pattern on the pavement; but scarcely a ray of it reached the lower bricks of the great bare, brown brick wall that went soaring up above them into the deep blue night. Flambeau’s big broad-shouldered figure and great moustaches, like sabres, could be traced dimly in the twilight, as he moved about, drawing dark wine from a great cask and handing it round. In his shadow, the priest looked very shrunken and small, as if huddled over the stove; but the American visitor leaned forward elegantly with his elbow on his knee and his fine pointed features in the full light; his eyes shone with inquisitive intelligence.

“I can assure you, sir,” he was saying, “we consider your achievement in the matter of the Moonshine Murder the most remarkable triumph in the history of detective science.”

Father Brown murmured something; some might have imagined that the murmur was a little like a moan.

“We are well acquainted,” went on the stranger firmly, “with the alleged achievements of Dupin and others; and with those of Lecoq, Sherlock Holmes, Nicholas Carter, and other imaginative incarnations of the craft. But we observe there is in many ways, a marked difference between your own method of approach and that of these other thinkers, whether fictitious or actual. Some have spec’lated, sir, as to whether the difference of method may perhaps involve rather the absence of method.”

Father Brown was silent; then he started a little, almost as if he had been nodding over the stove, and said: “I beg your pardon. Yes. . .. Absence of method. . . . Absence of mind, too, I’m afraid.”

“I should say of strictly tabulated scientific method,” went on the inquirer. “Edgar Poe throws off several little essays in a conversational form, explaining Dupin’s method, with its fine links of logic. Dr. Watson had to listen to some pretty exact expositions of Holmes’s method with its observation of material details. But nobody seems to have got on to any full account of your method, Father Brown, and I was informed you declined the offer to give a series of lectures in the States on the matter.”

“Yes,” said the priest, frowning at the stove; “I declined.”

“Your refusal gave rise to a remarkable lot of interesting talk,” remarked Chace. “I may say that some of our people are saying your science can’t be expounded, because it’s something more than just natural science. They say your secret’s not to be divulged, as being occult in its character.”

“Being what?” asked Father Brown, rather sharply.

“Why, kind of esoteric,” replied the other. “I can tell you, people got considerably worked up about Gallup’s murder, and Stein’s murder, and then old man Merton’s murder, and now Judge Gwynne’s murder, and a double murder by Dalmon, who was well known in the States. And there were you, on the spot every time, slap in the middle of it; telling everybody how it was done and never telling anybody how you knew. So some people got to think you knew without looking, so to speak. And Carlotta Brownson gave a lecture on Thought-Forms with illustrations from these cases of yours. The Second Sight Sisterhood of Indianapolis — —”

Father Brown, was still staring at the stove; then he said quite loud yet as if hardly aware that anyone heard him: “Oh, I say. This will never do.”

“I don’t exactly know how it’s to be helped,” said Mr. Chace humorously. “The Second Sight Sisterhood want a lot of holding down. The only way I can think of stopping it is for you to tell us the secret after all.”

Father Brown groaned. He put his head on his hands and remained a moment, as if full of a silent convulsion of thought. Then he lifted his head and said in a dull voice:

“Very well. I must tell the secret.”

His eyes rolled darkly over the whole darkling scene, from the red eyes of the little stove to the stark expanse of the ancient wall, over which were standing out, more and more brightly, the strong stars of the south.

“The secret is,” he said; and then stopped as if unable to go on. Then he began again and said:

“You see, it was I who killed all those people.”

“What?” repeated the other, in a small voice out of a vast silence.

“You see, I had murdered them all myself,” explained Father Brown patiently. “So, of course, I knew how it was done.”

Grandison Chace had risen to his great height like a man lifted to the ceiling by a sort of slow explosion. Staring down at the other he repeated his incredulous question.

“I had planned out each of the crimes very carefully,” went on Father Brown, “I had thought out exactly how a thing like that could be done, and in what style or state of mind a man could really do it. And when I was quite sure that I felt exactly like the murderer myself, of course I knew who he was.”

Chace gradually released a sort of broken sigh.

“You frightened me all right,” he said. “For the minute I really did think you meant you were the murderer. Just for the minute I kind of saw it splashed over all the papers in the States: ‘Saintly Sleuth Exposed as Killer: Hundred Crimes of Father Brown.’ Why, of course, if it’s just a figure of speech and means you tried to reconstruct the psychogy—”

Father Brown rapped sharply on the stove with the short pipe he was about to fill; one of his very rare spasms of annoyance contracted his face.

“No, no, no,” he said, almost angrily; “I don’t mean just a figure of speech. This is what comes of trying to talk about deep things. . . . What’s the good of words . . .? If you try to talk about a truth that’s merely moral, people always think it’s merely metaphorical. A real live man with two legs once said to me: ‘I only believe in the Holy Ghost in a spiritual sense.’ Naturally, I said: ‘In what other sense could you believe it?’ And then he thought I meant he needn’t believe in anything except evolution, or ethical fellowship, or some bilge. . . . I mean that I really did see myself, and my real self, committing the murders. I didn’t actually kill the men by material means; but that’s not the point. Any brick or bit of machinery might have killed them by material means. I mean that I thought and thought about how a man might come to be like that, until I realized that I really was like that, in everything except actual final consent to the action. It was once suggested to me by a friend of mine, as a sort of religious exercise. I believe he got it from Pope Leo XIII, who was always rather a hero of mine.”

“I’m afraid,” said the American, in tones that were still doubtful, and keeping his eye on the priest rather as if he were a wild animal, “that you’d have to explain a lot to me before I knew what you were talking about. The science of detection — —”

Father Brown snapped his fingers with the same animated annoyance. “That’s it,” he cried; “that’s just where we part company. Science is a grand thing when you can get it; in its real sense one of the grandest words in the world. But what do these men mean, nine times out of ten, when they use it nowadays? When they say detection is a science? When they say criminology is a science? They mean getting outside a man and studying him as if he were a gigantic insect: in what they would call a dry impartial light, in what I should call a dead and dehumanized light. They mean getting a long way off him, as if he were a distant prehistoric monster; staring at the shape of his ‘criminal skull’ as if it were a sort of eerie growth, like the horn on a rhinoceros’s nose. When the scientist talks about a type, he never means himself, but always his neighbour; probably his poorer neighbour. I don’t deny the dry light may sometimes do good; though in one sense it’s the very reverse of science. So far from being knowledge, it’s actually suppression of what we know. It’s treating a friend as a stranger, and pretending that something familiar is really remote and mysterious. It’s like saying that a man has a proboscis between the eyes, or that he falls down in a fit of insensibility once every twenty-four hours. Well, what you call ‘the secret’ is exactly the opposite. I don’t try to get outside the man. I try to get inside the murderer. . . . Indeed it’s much more than that, don’t you see? I am inside a man. I am always inside a man, moving his arms and legs; but I wait till I know I am inside a murderer, thinking his thoughts, wrestling with his passions; till I have bent myself into the posture of his hunched and peering hatred; till I see the world with his bloodshot and squinting eyes, looking between the blinkers of his half-witted concentration; looking up the short and sharp perspective of a straight road to a pool of blood. Till I am really a murderer.”

Currently Reading: A Christmas Carol read by Tim Curry

Last month, in October, I had mistakenly asked The Book Drunkard and her husband SavageDave if they had listened to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow read by Tim Curry. Neither of them had and I couldn’t find any version, so I gave it up. Turns out it was because I was being a numpty and getting my stories mixed up. Thankfully, I’ve got it right this time. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and read by Tim Curry? YES PLEASE!

Tim Curry has a great voice and I am really looking forward to this.

Currently Reading: Gulag Archipelago, Vol III

I finished up Gulag Archipelago Volume II back in February and had to take a break as it was simply too heavy in both density of the text itself and the subject matter.

But the time has come to plunge into this third and final volume of Solzhenitsyn’s magnum opus. Took me 6 months to get through Volume II, so I am planning on a similar time frame. I am not going to rush this.

Wish me luck!