Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Presence Process week 3

bluh... week three is hard.

I'm totally depressed.

Depression is like a splinter.  
If it's deep you might not see it but you will probably feel it.
Whether you feel it or not, if it is festering, it is going to cause you some problems.

So, in week three I'm having a bunch of unresolved feelings that were buried deep in my mid-brain that are starting to rise to the surface.

Here's the thing...
There are many different kinds of love, the greeks had five different words for love that meant different things.  Then there are love languages, are people loving the right way and blah blah blah.  THe saddest thing is that there are a great number of people out there that are so out of touch with love that they don't even understand what the word means, they say that 'you can't define it', that 'no one can really know what love is.'  There is a real reason why some people don't know anything about love, they have been loved in some sense of the word but never been genuinely loved, truly and unconditionally.

Most of us probably did not get the love that we needed from our parents because people cannot give what they don't have.  Our parents probably did not receive the kind of love that they needed as children, and so on.

I wouldn't say that I had a crappy childhood, but do know that I didn't get what I needed.
I'm not going to judge my folks about it, they just didn't have it to give.  They did the best they could.  But, I think that for my whole life I've been depressed.  Most people from the old neighborhood would probably have described me as a hyper-spaz clown, but those behaviors were just my way of sedating and controlling... boredom... the empty, meaningless monotony of life.  Now, when I was a kid I would have never been able to articulate that.  I wasn't aware of it because I didn't know that there was any other way to be, I couldn't see inside people's heads to know how other people experience emotional health.  

One of the things that I look forward to each day is coming home to see my daughter.  I like just watching her play and walk around and spout irrational statements.  I don't think that I got that from my dad.  My mom told me that he never changed my diaper.  That makes me sad.  

It is hard for me to think about a father not having that kind of expressed affection for their own child.  Ravi Zacharias said that for some people despair is a moment and that for other people despair is a way of life with moments of emotional peace.  I wonder if my father was depressed.  

This morning I had a really hard time.  I was trying to get my girl ready for school and I was just empty.  I had no love to give.  I tagged out with my wife and went out on my deck and drank coffee.  I know that there is depression on my mother's side of the family, but my dad is from west Texas, they don't need shrinks.  

Well, that's about it so far.  I'm grieving unresolved emotions from my childhood.  I'm getting the splinter out and it gets uglier before it gets better.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Presence Process - Week 2

This week was about acknowledging my reflections in the world.

Apparently the brain is like a computer.  You can store memories that are time stamped and have all kinds of useful context information assigned to each memory.

But in addition to this metaphorical RAM, there is also a battery that stores energy.  This metaphorical energy is emotion memory.  There is no time context or any useful point of reference assigned to stored emotional memories.

That's a bad thing.

If you have ever seen someone overreact it is probably because they experienced a situation
where there were similarities to past experience, and emotional experience.  The current situation involved something that 'triggered' the emotional memory which released the intense feelings into the current situation.  The result is a 'reaction' that is greater than the situation warranted.

It is always better to choose your 'response' to an emotionally charged situation than automatically 'react'

Here's the solution.
Train your mind to exist in the present, stop thinking in terms of the future or the past.  
(In my last blog I talked about how my thoughts tend to dwell on what is coming up or analyzing what has already past, consequently my whole life I have conditioned my thoughts to never be in the present moment).
This gives your mind a point of reference in the present moment.
When something reminds you of a past experience you may take note of it and move on.
If you let the past experience dictate how you feel about the current experience then that is called 'projection'.

That's a bad thing.

Here's an example.
- your dad was a dick, you have strong negative feelings about him in your emotional memory
- your dad is a symbol of authority 
- God is a symbol of authority,  you place your strong negative feelings on any symbol of authority
- You conclude that God is a dick

Here's an interesting projection.
What does it mean?

What if every time I look at my grandpa I feel like I did the first time I saw Planet of the Apes?

Now whether that is true or not is not the point.  You want to arrive at your conclusions based on reality not a defense mechanism such as projection.

This past week I was successfully able to identify several times where someone reminded me of something from my past that was emotional, I recognized my impulse to project those feelings onto the person in front of me, and then I was able to acknowledge (not dismiss) the emotional memory and continue with my interaction.

Yae Me!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Being sick is lame

I used to like sick-days when I was a kid.
I got to stay home from school, stay in my pajamas, watch TV, and my mom would wait on me and give me soup and hot cocoa.  

Now it sucks. 
Now it's like... none of that.
My pajamas feel like a gross second skin... since I feel like crap everything on TV seems to mock me... my mom is in a different state... I really liked being a student on campus, so being at home sucks... I generally have no appetite but when I do I feel to weak/lazy to fix anything.

Right now I don't know what hurts worse, wiping my nose or my butt.  It's a toss up, I've been stealing my daughter's wet wipes for both... nothing helps.  At this point I'm not totally opposed to putting A&D ointment on both ends.

This all started on Thursday, my daughter had gross snot oozing down her face and she felt bad so she kept trying to nuzzle on me and then kept rubbing her snot all over me.
It's cool though, I still love her.  The ear-aches were pretty problematic for both of us.

The two things that are helping me 
cope are the cheesy Halloween theme 
commercials on TV
(it makes me smile to see M&Ms dressed as classic Hollywood monsters), watching the leaves swirl in the street in front of my house and the fact that I got invited to test the Beta of Resistance 2 on the PS3.

I can't tell you how cool it is to play 8 player online mission co'ops.  
I'm still a little to nervous to play the 80 player online tournaments.  It's so exciting that I'm afraid to play it.  I want to do well and at the same time I don't want to get sucked into a new addiction that is going to ruin my already unstable life.

wish me luck

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Coldplay:The Politics of 'Double-Dipping'

Coldplay was on SNL this weekend, they were awesome.
The singer was a little weird. 
Amy Poller had her baby.
It was weird watching Weekend Update without her. 

I used to hate reporters.  I don't like how hateful some of them are.
Then I started to like some that made me laugh.
So I started to pay a little more attention to the presidential campaigns.

Before I get into this let me just say that I don't consider myself republican or democrat.  I like some of the things that each candidate is pitching (whether or not it is in line with their party) but it just comes down to if I believe the nice things they are saying are really TRUE about the kind of administration they would make. So in this race I have been paying very close attention to character.

I like clearly stated policies.
I like campaign ads that educate me on a candidates own position on relevant issues.

Here's what I don't like.
*Omissions (if there is something potentially scandalous then just get it out and explain it, don't let the media discover it [unless you are guilty, in which case I hope the media nails you to the wall in front of the whole nation, and you end up serving as a warning to other corrupt leaders])
*making inappropriate faces and unfairly associated fear based labels
*blatantly avoiding direct questions with talking points
*not having a clear stance on the issues because you spend all your time criticizing your opponents issues
*distracting people from a lack of strong stance on issues by accusing the opposition of focusing on non-issues
*raising non-issues by saying that 'we're not going to raise non-issues'
*trying to win an election by appealing to the apathetic demographic with fear based accusations that the apathetic demographic will not fact-check or catch a retraction.  
*insisting on a caricature to represent the masses when the person that the caricature was based on misrepresented himself and would actually do better under your opponents plan
*combating a shocking and relevant endorsement with five irrelevant endorsements
*picking a running-mate based on election strategy versus having the readiness to lead the country in a time of historical crisis

Here's a funny one that deserved it's own paragraph.
Let's say that I'm running my campaign on the grounds of perfect social etiquette. 
Then I am caught double-dipping.  
I redirect away from the issue by saying that my opponent's party did it too and I have a right to double-dip, in fact double-dipping only proves that I'm a regular joe because hey let's face it, we've all double-dipped.
Then I further redirect the focus by saying that chips and dip are a great thing and when I am elected I will make sacrifices to ensure that there will always be dip with chips and I will defend everyone's right to have dip with their chips.

I guess the biggest thing that bothers me is the perception that the identity of the campaign is based off of polarizing against your opponent or a trial-and-error tactic.
I would hope that someone pursuing the presidency had one clear idea about each policy issue and reinforce it rather than making it up as you try to find what will help you win.

It's not about winning, it's about leading the country.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Presence Process

Hey, I'm going through a book about present moment awareness.
I thought I would blog about it in a journal style.
It's written by Michael Brown, aka John Locke.

Week 1 of the Presence Process was about 'choosing to experience the present moment'
Through a series of introspective breathing exercises I have discovered that I am always thinking in either the past or the future.
I am either rehearsing something that is upcoming or replaying and analyzing what I have already done.
I don't know if that is product of the hyper-culture or if I'm just scatter brained.
I've found that when I read, my mind drifts off.  My eyes continue to scan sentences at the same rate but I am thinking about something totally unrelated.  If I want to read for comprehension then I have to go back and find where I lost my trail.

I remember when I was in 3rd grade.  I had to read the book 'A Light in the Forest' and do a book report.  It was a pretty cool book about a white 4 year-old who was abducted by native americans and raised as a tribal son.  In his teens he was 'reclaimed' and launched into western civilization.  The boy was rebellious to the western clothes and white walls that suffocated him.

When I wrote the book report the story bled into a telling of the Disney movie 'Watcher in the Woods' (staring the sex crazy girl from the James Bond movie 'For Your Eyes Only')which I'd just seen prior to reading the book.  There was also a part where the white indian boy had a crush on the girl I sat next to, Betsy Phaus.  Then it degraded into a part were alien monsters that fought robot dinosaurs.

I was definitely not experiencing the present moment when I read that book.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

PSA: hit and miss

Sarah Silverman rules, others... kinda cheesey, 
but I guess this video is targeted at... people other than me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Anneliese Michel

I like to blog.  I used to have trouble sleeping some times because my mind would start racing. Blogging helps me to process things and get things off my mind.

Here's the deal, I've got something on my mind.  I've blogged before about my fascination and yet dismissive attitude about the paranormal. But lately I'm a little freaked out.
Ever since I saw The Ring I was freaked out by scary movies.
Maybe since becoming a father or just getting older I have an increased empathetic response to 
characters in movies.  Suspension of disbelief has never been a issue with me, I've always had an active imagination and tendency to really put myself into a movie, so maybe that's it.
This weekend I saw The Exorcism of Emily Rose.  It was a little disturbing.  I understood that it was based on a true story.  I figured the girl was mentally ill.  There was a history of mental illness in her family, some of her 'attacks' seemed like epileptic seizures, and he may have suffered from some kind of schizophrenia as well.  Combine that with Catholic guilt and superstition and you have a pretty good explanation.  
On a side note, in some African religions (like Yoruba) possession is not a bad thing.  The gods are largely morally neutral and even if you are possessed by a god that happens to be in a bad mood that day, it is still a good thing that you were blessed by his presence.  It is also important to note that most of these 'possessions' are nothing more that stimulated states of altered consciousness that can be scientifically duplicated.


Some of the things didn't add up.  She had 'exposure' to the study of foreign language.  I've studied foreign languages.  It doesn't make sense to me that someone would be able to converse, curse and blaspheme in six different languages from an 'exposure' to these languages.  I'm sure that the first thing Catholic kids do when they study dead languages is share how to drop the f-bomb in greek, hebrew, aramaic, and latin.  But, that's not really the same thing. 

The prosecution said that the girl was able to emit two voices at once because humans actually have two sets of vocal chords and that some tibetan monks are able to master the skill of making their second vocal chords make sounds...
some monks.... master... make a sound.
I'm not sure about that either.

Now, I've read a bit about demonology.  I've studied Goetic and Solominic keys.  I know about the power of spirt naming and recognizing subduing counter parts.  So when the demons identified themselves as Judas, Nero, Hitler, and a few other notorious humans, then I pretty quickly dismissed this case as just some crazy girl.
But, according to the tradition, when called out, demons will never give you a straight answer.
So not much help there.

Mental illness isn't contagious.  Many people surrounding the case experienced unsettling phenomenon that were reported by the girl when she first began having problems.  
I've seen a lot of scary behavior from mentally ill people, but... not like this.  And then there is the whole super strength/contortion/scaring animals thing.  I don't know what to make of that.

Okay, so here it is.  Photos of the real girl, Germany 1976, and actual recordings from the exorcism.  

I tend to keep my theology minimalist, practical and rational.
Every time I look at the facts it seems pretty straight forward, a sad case where a girl needlessly suffered and died because of ignorance and superstition.
But it's just freaky enough that if causes me to doubt my beliefs.
I try to seek out things that challenge my world view.  And as I've said before, I try to moderate my convictions by remembering that every time I have ever been wrong, I thought I was right.  I have a hard time fitting something messy like demons or possession into my neat modern and civilized theology, and I have to admit... I fear the unknown. 

***my apologies, I was recently corrected that Michel did not say that she was possessed by Hitler, Nero, and Judas, but that 'he who dwells within' was also 'within' Hitler, Nero, and Judas.

She did say that she was possessed by Bilial, who actually is one of the the traditionally named demons.

sorry bout that

*** also, since I am a liberal protestant, I was recently refered to the book People of the Lie by Scott Peck, a spiritual/rationalist psychologist that wrote on the 'Question of existential evil'.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The betas for Little Big Planet are turning out some great things.
This is a super open-source side-scrolling mmorpg for the PS3.
You can get online and play a variety of levels that users have created right down to each interactive and functional object.

Everything is user definable: characters, sound effects, backgrounds, you name it.

I personally really liked this kitschy halloween level.

check it out...  the geek site -
the commercial site

I really like that you can put your own background music tracks in the game.
LBP is to gameplay what the Wii was to hardware.
It will be interesting to see what the next generation brings :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Economic Crisis - WIP

There is a lot of finger pointing as to the cause of the current economic crisis.
Blame... blame... blame...
Some say it is the Democrats, some say it is the Republicans.
Some say it is the senior officers of high finance others say... well, they say that WE ARE ALL TO BLAME.

Contrary to what Whoopie Goldberg said, not everyone went to the party of financial free-for-all, and it's not just us that have to clean it up, it is going to be our children that are going to be dealing with this as well.

It would be easy to point the finger at one group and have a good ole fashion lynching.
Or just shrug and say that we all did it and a good ole fashion love-in.
But here's the reality, America is a culture of irresponsible finance, and there are a lot of people that are VERY responsible with their finances and are getting screwed because of the greed and financial irresponsibility of the masses.  I don't want to blame culture, can I blame materialism?

Melissa and I bought a used Hyundai Accent and it is paid off.
We bought a small townhouse that is about 45 minutes from the city.
We don't have any credit card debt.
We live within our means and we don't live on credit.
So... don't blame me for this mess.

Unlike so many other high finance companies, J.P.Morgan did not get themselves into the trouble that so many other did with high risk sub-prime loans... so I'm told.  So maybe there are some businesses that are fiscally reasonable.

Too many people buy the propaganda of the capitalism machine that material gain is the key to happiness, that a certain 'standard of living' is a non-negotiable. 
Some Democrats are guilty of this and some are not.
Same goes for Republicans, senior officers of high finance, and the average citizen.
I suspect that some politicians are not saying this because it would be upsetting to hear and they would lose approval.  Who's going to be approving of a guy that says you make crap financial decisions?

Why is looking for blames so seductive?

I've had the rare luxury of working with a leader that values moderation, diplomacy, and listening.  It was great for me to be exposed to real critical thinking early on.  When Clinton was president there was a lot of talk from Christian conservatives about how horrible he was.  My pastor told me that Clinton was not the anti-Christ.  He also told me interesting things about how Clinton managed meetings and actively sought out his critics to listen to what they had to say.  Because I respected the guy I was willing to have an open mind.  Years later GW took office.  Again, there was a lot of talk from Christian conservatives about how GW was God's candidate.  My pastor told me that while Clinton was not the anti-Christ, GW was also not the messiah either.  

I'm not in the middle of this thing, but as an average citizen I'm not feeling great about this rescue bill.  If you believe in a free market then doesn't that mean that you do not intervene?
I hear things like, 'Japan tried a bailout ten years ago and they still haven't recovered.'  I would like to help people feel at ease in uncertain times, but I feel like I'm going against the culture.  The way I was raised was always being bailed out when I got in trouble.  My parents were trying to protect me, but they ended up insulating me from the valuable life-learning experience of suffering natural consequences.  This is our culture.  Too many expect to be rescued from consequences because this is what we were taught to expect.  

So here's my advice.  If you are not part of the solution then try not to stir up a panic.  Start managing you money by living within your means and don't live on credit.  Realize that you do not have a right to a certain standard of living, 90% of the rest of the world would love to be in your position.  

The second part of my advice is tricky because I find it difficult to abide.  Don't be a hater.
There are people I really don't like, people that I think could be dangerous.  But I need to remember that people with power and people with out power are just people.   The best of us will make mistakes and brightest will have moral failings.   Hate is a heavy burden, it is hard to let go of because it is held in a clenched fist.  The hate that it holds was justified by a feeling that 'I am right'.  Every time I was ever wrong... I felt right.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I'm over weight.
I did the BMI and based on my age and height I need to be in the ball park of 160-165.
I started out this year at 235.
Right now I'm 218.  I'm cool with that.

Here's my diet philosophy.

1. Big ass protein heavy breakfast.
2. Medium sized lunch.
3. All-Bran for dinner.

The later in the day that you eat, the more likely it is that your food will turn to fat.
For breakfast I usually heat up some stuff I cooked earlier in the week.  Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage is a personal favorite.  I'll usually have it with eggs and toast.
Now, it's not good to have eggs every day, you need to be on a rotation.
If I'm lazy I'm grab some frozen chicken patties and some sweet potato fries.  I try to alternate with salmon and tofu.
I know, fish in the morning?  That sounds gross, but let's face it, where has western style eating habits gotten us?  Out of shape and unhealthy.  It does require a paradigm shift.

All-bran is the cereal with the highest amount of fiber.  Fiber is good, it will help you lose weight. Eating cereal for dinner will drastically affect your social life, bringing a ziplock bag of All-bran over to dinner at your In-law's place.
But, if your friends love you then they will support your lifestyle change, I mean, if I was diabetic (actually my doctor said I was pre-diabetic) then no one would say boo.

The Bowhay diet is kinda like coming out of the closet.  People will be uncomfortable around you because your lifestyle makes them confront their own lifestyles... or it's just awkward because it's out of the ordinary.  

For lunch I try to have two shots of wheat grass and a venti coffee. The coffee is very filling, but it's not good to drink your calories.  My advice is to learn to appreciate a good coffee without all the whip cream and syrup.  The peaberry is quite nice. The good thing about the wheat grass is that I don't like vegetables, so a few shots a week and I'm good.  If you've never had wheat grass before, WATCH OUT.  The taste is awful, it's like having your sinuses stuffed with fresh lawn clippings.  Keep the altoids handy, they're pretty good at masking the after taste.
Carrots take more calories to digest than what they introduce.  Soyjoy cranberry bars are the highest in potassium and lowest in calories, also a good source of fiber.  Cheese sticks and apples are good too. I rarely reward myself with a dark chocolate or green tea cola. If I'm really fiending  then I might chomp on some of my daughter's rice crackers.

You probably already know the vitamins that you need, 
A (Retinol)
B1 (Thiamin),B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (<Pantothenic acid), B6 (Pyridoxine),  B7 (Biotin), B9 (Folic acid), B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
C (Ascorbic acid)
D (Calciferol)E (Tocopherol), 
K (Phylloquinone)

but there are around 16 different minerals that the body needs to stay healthy.  
Calcium Chloride
Cobalt Copper
Iodine Iron
Magnesium Manganese
Molybdenum Nickel
Phosphorus Potassium
Selenium Sodium
Sulfur Zinc

Also, there are 8 different simple sugars that the body needs. 
Xylose Fucose
Galactose Glucose
Mannose  N-acetylgalactosamine 
N-acetylglucosamine N-acetylneuraminic acid

Most multi-vitamins that are available at your local drug store won't have anything with the 8 sugars.  If you don't have a specialty shop near you then go here.  But if you do then SUPPORT SMALL LOCAL BUSINESS!

You can't rely on a balanced diet to diet to take care of it for you any more.  In this day of corporate farming the soil is depleted of nutrients and produce is harvested before they have a chance to store any real nutrients. If you have farmers market near then go to it.  The key is to eat the freshest and most unprocessed foods as possible.
*When taking supplements you must drink lots of water.  Water is the catalyst. 

Vitamin D and Omega-3's will help you lose weight.
Omega-3's tell your body to burn stored fat.
Omega-6's (found in bread, pasta, and white starches) tell your body to store fat.
Your body doesn't make fat from consumed fat, it makes fat by converting starch into fat.

Last bit.
I bought a pair of running shoes and my buddy David gave me bike.
I try to use one of them daily.
My friend James showed me a thing called the Powerbase.
It is light and compact (fits under your bed) and offers modular low-impact isometric workouts.
That's a good thing.
I got on craigslist and found the exact stair-master I wanted, the 'Climbmax 3000' (very sexy).  I got it for $275. It was in Jersey.  It was a huge time (12 hours), money (I think the gas cost more than the 
and space
 investment (my laundry room is crowded as hell).  But I'm worth it :)

Also, if you are cheap and lazy like me, there are simple floor and stair exercises that you can do on your way from the kitchen to the couch.  

*one last tip
Mustard does wonders for bland healthy foods.
And it doesn't have all the sugar that ketchup or barbecue sauces have.  Here are some of my favorites.