Archive for the 'The Blender' Category

Something Beautiful

Someone famous once said, “If you don’t bend, you will break.” I could be paraphrasing. It would have had to come from someone famous because us normals don’t get quoted. It was probably someone who is also dead because getting famous for something you say usually doesn’t happen until after you’ve moved on and someone else finally understands what you were talking about and tells everyone else.

This place… this… repository of words and thoughts, fears, feelings and forgettings, rememberings, searchings, findings and losings is devoted to the quest; to the process and journey to discover the opposite of breaking. My son solved the puzzle for me of what the opposite of breaking is, but knowing what it is, is only half the battle. Some say the other half is red and blue lasers. Technically that’s true — the firing of lasers indicates action. The other half of the battle is putting what you know into action. The other day (or today, or whenever) I was only half of what I should have been. I was, er… am, quite the opposite of bending.

• • •

A few Fridays ago at The Trail (a men’s short-term morning bible study at our church) I listened to my friend Dan talk about breaking. Well, indirectly at least…

All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. reference

This version of these verses from The Message are more poetic than most. Other translations refer to us, our lives, our hearts as “jars of clay” and the treasure is God’s light and power hidden in us, in plain sight. The best place to hide something valuable is in worthless junk in plain sight.

Dan continued his lecture. Uncovering some clay pots, one at a time, on stage explaining that as we go through life we incur cracks and chips in our clay pots. Our experiences or decisions and circumstances in which we find ourselves — either by our own doing or as a result of other people’s choices — take a toll on us. They break us. Sometimes in a big way, sometimes in barely noticeable ways (at least on the outside). And no two people break the same way, or have the same set of chips and fractures. He had the lights turned down in the room and I could see light coming out from inside the clay pots; through the holes and the cracks. His message ended with the notion that the more broken we are, the more people can see God shining out from inside us.

I couldn’t stop there. Because if that’s the end: to be all busted up and fractured, I don’t want that. At what point is the last crack going to happen and everything comes crashing down? When is the bottom going to fall off? Fear set in and I became afraid of this final moment hanging out there somewhere in the timeline of my life waiting for me to finally give in and give up and smash. I’ve seen it before. I’ve been close before. I remember watching my dad on the kitchen floor rolling around, crying, out of his mind. We see movies all the time where people just snap and go nuts. Somedays I feel I’m standing on that line and all it will take is a simple push in the wrong direction and I’ll be done.

And then it hit me.

Maybe Dan was trying to get here, or maybe he wasn’t. I don’t know, but it hit me. Hard. That light? The light of God seeping through the cracks of those of us that have him in our hearts? That light is glue. His light is the resin that holds everything together. That light is stronger than my clay. In fact, the clayness of my heart, the parts made of dirt and mud and impurities, just get in the way and if I’m really honest with myself… if I step back from my own selfishness and my own moping and my sick sense of self-importance, then I can see the way the light bends through and around the cracks. In some parts it is thicker and more brilliant than others and it makes me wish I was all glue and no clay.

Pieces of We

Almost two years ago, Lego released their first Mini-Figure series. These are specialized singular figures only (not from any other sets) in mystery foil packs* with sixteen in each series and Kai and I have collected our favorites. Series 5 just came out less than a month ago. We jumped in at Series 4 at Legoland on our last family vacation. I was looking for the Werewolf for my sister. Kai started out trying to find all the figures with helmets; I wanted all the monsters. My first was Frankenstein’s Monster, then the Werewolf, Mummy, and the old Fisherman. I know, the old fisherman is not a monster… keep reading. Once I learned of the Zombie from Series 1, I had to get it. I found it on Amazon for way more than the $3 retail cost (along with The Robot for Kai). The Vampire was also from Amazon for less than $2.

I’ve always liked monster movies as far back as I can remember, despite being so incredibly frightened as a kid. I still vividly remember, when I was about 7 or 8, watching a black-and-white version of Dracula at night at my grandmother’s house. Or, maybe she just had a black-and-white television. Anyway, there was a woman in a white night gown unconscious on a bed, and a man hiding in the closet, terrified. Dracula flew in from the balcony window and approached the woman. He paused and you could hear the heart beat of the guy in the closet from Dracula’s vantage point. He said something to the man in the closet, knowing who he was, and left, I think. That scene has been stuck in my head for a long, long time and I don’t know which version of Draclua it’s from. I almost don’t want to know.

There were plenty of other not so family-friendly vampire/horror movies at friends’ houses who had HBO and parents who either didn’t care or… well, didn’t care. At one point, my other grandma took me to the movie theater to see Fright Night (1985). As far as I knew, monster and horror movies were normal. Being scared is normal, right? I used to be petrified to get out of bed at night, thinking that as soon as I set foot on the floor, something will grab my leg and yank me under my bed… I still have a hard time going to sleep with any part of me hanging over the edge of the mattress. Logic has very little affect on fear. It’s pretty safe to say that vampire and monster lore is somewhere buried deep in my psyche. And, so is Christmas music. Go figure.

Fast forward about thirty years — I’ve got some life under my belt and my world view has changed quite a bit. It recently occurred to me that all these monster stories have something in common (besides obvious plot lines, bad special effects, and horrible piano music): they are capitalizations of isolated and extracted and flawed characteristics of humanity, of myself, exaggerated and exploited. Monster movies remind me of what I don’t want to be. And seeing them now as little plastic toys with semi-adorable faces disarms them.

Mindless, relentless, obsessive (the zombie):

Lego Zombie Mini-Figure (Series 1)

Lego Zombie Mini-Figure (Series 1)

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Bound, lifeless, destructive (the mummy):

Lego Mummy Mini-Figure (Series 3)

Lego Mummy Mini-Figure (Series 3)

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Fractured, alone, misunderstood (Frankenstein’s creature):

Lego The Monster Mini-Figure (Series 4)

Lego The Monster Mini-Figure (Series 4)

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Angry, manic, depressed, uncontrollable (the werewolf):

Lego Werewolf Mini-Figure (Series 4)

Lego Werewolf Mini-Figure (Series 4)

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Cold, parasitic, selfishly passionate (the vampire):

Lego Vampire Mini-Figure (Series 2)

Lego Vampire Mini-Figure (Series 2)

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Okay, now this is where the old fisherman comes in as patience and wisdom and old-fashioned manliness, instead of all this monsterness. Not the kind of manliness that seems so prevalent today, but the quiet, gentle, discerning kind. The kind of manliness that isn’t pushy, obnoxious or loud. The kind that knows how to treat everyone and knows how to ride out the storms. The kind of manliness that does not react to time (or the lack thereof); rather, he responds with tact and thoughtfulness, compassion, warmth, strength, and dependability.

Lego Fisherman Mini-Figure (Series 3)

Lego Fisherman Mini-Figure (Series 3)

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Becoming a bad-ass fisherman means conquering of all these inner monsters. I’m not sure I can cross many of these off my list yet on my journey to becoming a fisherman. Some days are better than others, though.

* Mini-Figure individual foil packs from Series 1 and 2 had a second barcode that identified which figure was inside. As of Series 3, Lego no longer used a second bar code, thus making the packs more of a mystery, unless you got really good at feeling for certain pieces.

How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

I am so mad at you. My anger runs deep because it was born first in the hell fires of empathy — not for you — and second in the flames of defense — against you — and lastly in the smoldering fear of what I am capable of in the midst of knowledge without wisdom. Because of you, I am forced to carry my armor and I don’t want to. I am forced to wear this burden, this reminder of humanity weighing down my striving for more than what humanity could ever offer. Because of you, I am forced to realize what we all have the potential to become, especially when we are left in isolation.

I don’t hate you. But right now, I don’t like you either. In some ways I thank you pointing out so clearly what not to do. Please do not talk to me. Please do not come near me. I might not remember that I don’t hate you if you do. I’m sorry you have become what you are, or rather, my heart breaks for you that you did not yet become what you were meant to be. My heart breaks for me because you did not yet become what you are meant to be. There is a gap now. A hole in the way things should be.

Where is wisdom in all this? Where is mercy? When does grace kick in? Carrying this burden and this frustration and the anger means that my hands are preoccupied. It means that my fists are incapable of forming and the weight of all this knocks the wind out of me, making it hard to speak which means I am safe from destructive words that cannot be undone. I am afraid to put down these things, to free my hands, to catch my breath. I am afraid of myself in the midst of all this brokenness; afraid of losing myself in the riptides of unforgiveness. Wisdom is knowing when grace is needed, mercy is using grace instead of a fist.

Maybe I’ll find mercy up here. Maybe I’ll find acceptance. Maybe I’ll find that space where forgiveness transforms into lifegiveness. Maybe I’ll find the ability to see you how He sees you. I have a hunch it happens somewhere in the universe between the nucleus and the electron shell in every atom in the fibers of my being. I am trying to get there. For now, I’m clinging to the default mercy of stasis; of inaction. For now, I’m clinging to the default wisdom intrinsically existent in the distances in the combinations of space and time. For now, I’m clinging to the grace buried deep inside the carrying of all this, expecting mercy lives somewhere in here.

Twenty-three nineteen

He’s lying down, fighting the rip current of the sleepy high tide. Kai tells me he thinks he knows what ‘the opposite of breaking’ is, “It’s like Facebook or Twitter.”

I tried to make the connection, thinking he might have some insight into something deep. Smoke bellowed from my ears, “What do you mean? I don’t understand.”

It’s a website where you post your thoughts and feelings.”

“Oh. Yeah. Kind of.” I was thinking he meant means when he said is. He said he thought he knew what the opposite of breaking is. He’s so literal and I know that. But it still shocks me when he’s so extremely literal. “I thought you meant you knew what ‘the opposite of breaking’ means.”

“Oh, I don’t know what it means.” he said.

“Yeah, me either.”

“Then why did you name it that?”

“Because I don’t know what it means.” And I don’t. I don’t know what word is the opposite of ‘breaking.’ “Maybe it means fixing, but not really.”

And then he said something so profound and deep, so abstract and so incredibly literal, all at the same time. He said it in such a way as if a question can be stated as if it is a matter of fact, “Or bending.”

. . .

So, who can bring the monster world to its knees merely with their mind powers? Kids. A child, or an artifact from a child, is deadly to the monster world and warrants a scrub-down, otherwise known as: Code Violation 2319.

Nowhere

Sun. Ripped through the windows and crashed into the wall on the opposite side of the room. I’d give just about anything to circumvent being back here right now, again. Awake. Anywhere but here. Light smashing into fragments an undone lifetime borne during the darkness and it dissipates at an exponential rate with each passing second. Can’t tell yet what’s real and what’s memory. Dreams all mixed up with plans and ideas. Flashbacks and imagination have been surgically grafted. The trees are wiggly — it’s windy outside.

Time for work. I don’t remember getting ready. Sound is missing from my morning routine. No one else wants to be conscious yet either. I think I ate something, but can’t recall exactly what or if I dreamed it. Irrelevant. Breakfast is like an obligation and most of the time I ignore it. Eating so soon makes me nauseous anyway. I’ll eat when I’m hungry. I’ll sleep when I’m tired. Schedules are good for other people. I have no idea how to apply one to me. Traffic. Stuck between a seeping garbage truck and some jack-ass who must think the rest of us all secretly collaborated to get in his way. I need a time machine. No bother. I sort of enjoy watching other people freak out over things they have zero control over. At some point I got old and now prefer news via National Public Radio while driving to work. It’s trite and seeded as any other news source although it seems like they at least try not to be. I still get some twisted enjoyment out of listening to how much people need something to freak out over. Desk. I picked up a coffee on my way in today but have not tried to drink it yet. I can tell that the 100% post-consumer recycled heat-sleeve is doing its job. I left a few notes to myself hopefully to jump start me back into my work quicker, bypassing the spin up routine: turn everything on, log in, coffee, pretend to listen to my co-workers pretend to care about something in the news, or recount uninteresting anecdotes from last night’s impromptu hang-out session over beers and video games, check email, and spend the next 20 minutes trying to remember what the hell I did yesterday. Great. My attempt to elude the kitchen chatter failed. Apparently I got someone else’s coffee order and they happen to like it black. Ew. I wish someone would invent sweetened, caffeinated creamer so I wouldn’t need to deal with coffee at all.

One of my notes to self had a bunch of hexidecimal numbers scribbled out in no particular pattern. Colors. RGB value pairs as six character 8-bit digital alpha-numeric codes for representing any one of over 16.7 million possible colors. Combine the right ones and they exude a low level amount of control over what people will feel and can dictate a rudimentary course for how they react. The other note was even more cryptic. It definitely was written in my hand-writing but I cannot remember writing it. Random words. A string of numbers in a pattern I’m not familiar with: spiders jump galaxies spin 17.694 8 72#13.5. The ink does not match my current favorite pen. Leaving notes for myself is not a new practice and typically if they have no immediate, direct meaning or don’t conjure up some sort of connection between today and the day before I just trash them. I can’t stand seeing different people’s habits of disorganization around the office. Sticky notes were never meant to be permanent fixtures. And once you have more than three or four of them you probably have bigger problems than just needing to remember “a few things.”

Green. #A0CC56 — this one was circled, and not just once. A very specific kind of green. I suppose that statement is ridiculous. Every color code is specific. But this green is the perfect green. Full of vigor and freshness without being obnoxious. This is the kind of green people tweet about. It’s got just enough yellow to be grounded and feel natural and just enough blue to be soothing. Memorized. Trashed. Left perplexed with my second note. Was it a riddle? A song lyric? It has that universality and ambiguous sense to it that all meaningful songs have. Was this an old note that got dislodged from my desk and found its way behind a plant or garbage can? It wasn’t crumpled or folded or otherwise mangled in any way. Maybe the cleaning crew noticed it on the floor and re-instituted its residency on my desk. This is the only note I’ve kept around longer than the intended 24 hour life span for which sticky notes were designed.

5:07 pm. The drive home was incredibly dull. A blur, abruptly interrupted by arriving at home sooner than I was ready. I love being home, but some days I wish it took no less than twice as long to get here. Some days I need more time to decompress. More time to let the radio sing me an anthem to cling to. I may have briefly fallen asleep during stasis at a red light. Uneventful. Not that I’m looking to get stuck in traffic due to something catastrophic that happened to someone else. I suppose I’m just hoping for something to wake me up. Sometimes the weather is dramatic enough. Sometimes the radio plays music worth hearing. Sometimes, I wonder if the next intersection I cross is the one with my name on it; the one where some over-the-top, plastic, multi-tasking, distracted soccer mom checks her Facebook and slips through a red light and slams her SUV into the side of my slightly dated minivan. I wonder if that would change anything and drastically alter the course my life is on. Bubbles. Life packed up into neat rule-sets and tidy exchanges — emotional, professional, intellectual — everything fits and makes sense and has a time and a place. Forced. I’m constantly on edge. Anxious. Waiting for something dramatic to happen. Fearing that something dramatic is about to happen. Feeling like I’m ever-present on the cusp of popping bubbles. Not at all like the notion of walking on eggshells; rather, anxious like some sort of survival mechanism has been activated in order to maintain the structural integrity of my bubbles with the knowledge permeating my core with the inevitable truth that every bubble’s existence is purposed to pop. Fighting so hard to disprove that. Yet, without the popping, a bubble is, instead, an iridescent prison. I know this. I don’t want to. But why to just survive? Where is the land of the living? Why all the aversion to a full and unpredictable life, over-flowing with freedom and timelessness?

Bedtime. My least favorite time of the day. If ever a time exists for everything to come unglued, bedtime would be that time. Sleeping frustrates me. Has always seemed like a waste of time and telling my kids they need to go to bed just makes me a hypocrite, or at best a selfish bastard grasping at minutes on the clock as if they actually made a difference.

Moon. Night time is so much better than any other time. It’s quiet, cool, and no matter where you are, the stars are always hauntingly familiar and unknowable at the same time. Even through the clouds, just knowing they are there settles my soul; as if the purpose for their very existence is to be for us permission to dream and wonder [1]. Everything is shadow. Time pretends to stand still. The wind calls out through the trees, furiously screaming and whispering out loud all the sorrows in my heart and all the fears in the back of my head and all the things my soul keeps captive in a place where only the rain can come and go as it pleases. Velvet. Colors sleep and my mind is freed from the burdens of obligation; freed from pretense and dialog and all that trying to make sense out of what people are saying. The world slumbers and I am king. The king of nowhere.

I’ve been building something and it’s almost complete. While the planet spins apace on its tilted axis and people are murdered one commercial at a time, I’ve been busy constructing a loop-hole in reality — a way to bypass the idiocracy of everything. My note to self I found this morning definitely has meaning, I just haven’t gotten there yet, literally… the events leading up to that note being written have not happened yet. But it is proof. The first real proof that my construct is valid. That which has consumed me for most of my life actually works. Kind of. I am a time machine.

Hello world. What is it to exist? Is it to feel? Or think? If someone else acknowledges you, is that proof enough of your existence? Are we all trapped in some endless yet extremely limited set of possibilities where everything is just a result of a series of all our choices and somehow we as a people manage to navigate this omniverse without trashing everything? Bullshit. Cause and effect have been iced, creamed and blended — made impossible to decipher, turned cause into effect and result into just cause, and fed to us all… no, we begged for it. Like a mocha-coconut smoothie creates something entirely new; greater than the sum of its parts and leaves your mouth coated with a bland, milky film. Every sip laced with a numbing agent stealing our abilities to properly assess what’s really happening. We drink from our own bubbles the waste of our own bubbles. Time makes space linear. They’re connected. Inseparable. The outer most bubble.

Traveling. Movement without moving. This is starting to cause me problems. I’ve acquired the ability to time travel. It is the art of being anywhere but here, anywhen but now. My adventures a’clock have made it painfully clear that time (itself brutally linear) makes space linear. As elusive and mysterious as it is to be in the future, or as deceivingly fruitless it proves to be in the past, the problem lies in my absence from the present. I cannot exist now and in either side of then simultaneously. If I am wrestling my demons or asking answerless questions, exhausting myself down to vital mechanical responses only… or if I’m soaring between stars and constructing metropolises, concocting false realities out of the vapor-trails of dreams, then I have not the mental facilities to absorb the present and rather than just being missed I fall prey to missing being. Disappeared from my life as it happens. Details and nuances that make life full vanish. Unable to wisely navigate decisions the next moments require. Thus in my lack of being, my absence makes the decisions for me. These choices will always be rooted basic, self-preservation, passive, shallow motives irrespective of due diligence, thought, empathy and goodwill.

Cycle. Vicious. I return from my travels to find my life nothing like what I’ve ever wanted and resentment festers and escaping to anywhen else becomes paramount, deepening the chasm between me and my life.

Pain. I came home to an empty house today. I need to break my time machine.

Old 53, The Things Only Time Can Do

I think this is still my favorite texture picture I’ve ever taken. This is a slightly modified variant with some color burning and blur filtering. Just seems to have so much emotion and mystery.

Old #53 — The things only time can do

Amusement, Parked.

Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Life goes through cycles, just like the trip-hop I’m currently streaming. Repetitious. Revolutions with no sense of revolution. Loops and aural vertigo. And each new spin brings subtle changes which build upon the previous one or discontinue something else, fading it out. My current iteration brings something new for me. I think. It seems ghostly familiar, but it dissipates like a dream when I try to pin it down. Déjà vu. I feel like I’m stuck at a high RPM in a minimalist trance composition. A broken record. The droning, endless BPM is killing me from the inside out. Where is the piano kissing me with the words my soul longs to hear?

This all started a few weeks ago. Maybe it was a couple months ago. I don’t know. Maybe it was always there and I’ve just been in denial about it. Anyway, not too long ago, I casually asked a friend: Do you ever have days where you’re just not amused… by anything? “Hmph… yep, everyday.” she replied. Genuine. Smart Ass. Empathy laced with a twist of sarcasm, and a boat-load of cynicism. Somehow that seemingly insignificant question, an escaped convict of my mind now out running rampant through my soul, has not left me.

I cannot stop thinking about why my amusement is broken… I’ve no clear answers, only broad-strokes, superfluous themes and dusty stage props which, individually, don’t seem to matter; but added up they somehow account for this rift I’m falling into, or climbing out of.

I keep trying to either “fix”, or ignore this feeling. But it rapidly became the giant elephant in the middle of my room and I’m walking around pretending it’s not there while also being very well aware of its presence so as to be careful to not disturb it.

Sometimes to fix something, you have to rip it completely apart and rebuild it. I think this is one of those times. It’s messy and exhausting. I feel like I’m breaking and I need to get back to the opposite of breaking.

So for now, I’ll try leaving my amusement parked, over there, in that space on the side of this road while I step aside and try to catch my breath. A little time looking in from the outside might help. I hope so. Losing my amusement feels like burying hope under six feet of realism. Feels like dying… hmm… maybe that’s what seems familiar. Vague, I know. Melodramatic, yeah, I know.

What’s My Sleep Number?

A friend of mine recently posted this status update:

I am physically incapable of becoming tired at the appropriate time at night.

And it made me think. Well, not at first. At first my reply was, “So do it then. Start it. Get it out of your head and make it happen!” Flippantly, I typed without the slightest attempt at research or even speculation into the many reasons for insomnia. I typed without thinking. Then I started thinking.

Thinking is not always the best thing to do. So many nights I lay down unwillingly at the end of my day, next to my gorgeous wife. The part about laying next to my gorgeous wife is not the unwilling part. Sometimes, “thinking” results in massive life changes. Which as we all know means that life changes. Too many nights I lay down and go to bed tired — exhausted actually — and unsatisfied; like my day and all my energies spent in all the various ways with various people was a waste of time. Like I did it all wrong. Something’s missing, but I don’t know what. And when it’s time to wake up, I’ll wake up tired and just as unsatisfied from my sleep not being remotely fruitful. What else could I be doing? What else should I be doing? If I knew, would I even want to do that? I have dreams. I have ideas and yet, from day to day, I count the lines on the faces of Father Time with none of my dreams one tick-tock mark closer to being realized.

And so, unwillingly, I put my pants on the ground and my head on my pillow. My eyes close and the monsters I try so hard to keep at bay all day (with notable success) lay in wait for this moment, when my guard is down and my mind is wandering through everything — they attack. The goblins of potential. They spin me up and my head riles with inadequacy and lethargy and so many questions. “You need to get caught up on new design blogs. Why haven’t you started that iPhone app yet? When will you organize your digital life and get rid of the cruft and duplicates and deprecated files? You know you said you were going to start drawing again… you even bought a drawing book, which is still blank with the exception of one page. And what ever happened to waking up early to spend some time reading the Bible? Not to mention writing those stories down that are clogging up your brain cells.” And so on. It’s so easy to drown in my own accusations of how lame I am.

So what now? Right? I get stuck in not-sleeping-mode when it’s too late to do anything about it and there’s no hope for time tomorrow to do anything outside of what already needs to be done. Rinse. Repeat. Then I drift away somewhere between “Yes! I’m totally going to do that!” and “Forget it. I’m never going to have time to do that.”

Of course… it can’t stay like this for long. It takes way too much energy to keep the status quo. So maybe a few more cycles and things will have to change and either the monsters will get bored of me and just go away, or maybe I’ll actually have some time to do a few things I’ve got on my mind. In hindsight it would seem that I could have done something about my dilemma instead spending two hours too long writing this. But complaining gives somewhat of a sense of accomplishment without having to really do anything.

Oh, and my apologies for wasting your time… it started out all promising. This is all I got right now.

More About Stars

One of the kids last night at youth group brought up “the possibility of another earth somewhere in the universe” and we all started geeking out about aliens and how big space really is. Comparatively, we are specks of dust next to the sheer size of the earth. And we get smaller than that in relation to the earth in its place in the solar system; and then there’s that whole galaxy deal of which we are in just one arm of its spiral. Oh, and somewhere in the vastness of space are more galaxies even larger than our beloved Milky Way.

Who cares about how many eggs would fit in a line between the earth and the sun… and the sun and the nearest star. Space is huge. Massive. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say that stupid word: Ginormous.

Big. Really, really, really big. The fact that things work on a stellar and galactic scale all the way down to the microscopic and subatomic levels and we all don’t just come apart and dissipate into fragments of nothingness is a miracle.

So… I was getting ready for bed last night and actually almost went to bed, but I looked up, out of our star-gazing window and saw some stars gazing down at me. And it hit me. Again. That glimpse into forever that lasts about as long as it takes light to travel from one side of a room to the other. If the universe was finite and had an end — a known end of the universe — humans would die of boredom and cabin fever. Nothing would satisfy the passions we all have to explore and hope and colors would fade into pointless shades of who cares, and life would be nothing more than the event horizon between what we could have been and the inevitable. Our dependence on God would be impotent. Imagine knowing the full extent of the universe and, then imagine having found that there are, in fact, zero planets like earth and the possibility of life out there somewhere is actually a non-possiblity. Hope that we are not alone is gone. Hope becomes a relic from the ancient times when we used to wonder about the night sky.

The mystery and possibility and massivity of space and all its massively mysterious contents is possibly the closest thing to incomprehensible as it gets. Which, in a way facilitates on some level the ability to comprehend God’s incomprehensibleness. Side note: the center of the universe does not exist. That which has no end, has no center. The universe is not expanding, our ability to take it in is.

We are not here accidentally, or by some very specific, chemically orchestrated mindless set of conditions and coincidences. The stars and all their glory are not just natural, hot, conglomerations of space dust and gases. No. Stars are so much more than that. They have a purpose. Everything does. They were made so we could wonder. So we could speculate and theorize and show ourselves that we have the capacity to think about what we think we see, or don’t see. They were made so we would have the freedom to try to make sense out of the world around us; to help us help humanity as a single entity take into account the economies of scale when we attempt to construct the rules by which we live and consume and re-create and believe… for what we believe… about everything from combustion engines and cereal bowls to hand-carved canoes and circuit boards to multi-grain snack bars and little rubber grommets that keep stuff from making annoying sounds. Stars were, once again, made for us. Their very existence grants us permission to ask God questions about his ways and creations and everything. Permission to seek truth and unity in the way things are. Freedom to hypothesize and propose and test and challenge a baseline for how things work.

If we knew where the possibility for wonder and the pursuit of knowledge absolutely stopped, we’d be better off as rocks colliding into one another as we aimlessly hurl towards super-masive black holes.

Is there another earth? Are there aliens? I don’t know. The universe is really big. Ask God, he made it. Do those questions hold your sensibilities captive so that you can’t really experience the freedoms of being loved or the permission for your life to have meaning or the right even ask those questions?

Website Source Code As Branding

This was a fun find: ASCII art in the website source code. This works because source code is almost always viewed with a monospace font so each column of characters line up just right spanning all the rows; meaning all the characters of the font set each use the same width—for example: the character ‘i’ takes up the same display width as the character ‘m’.

Code branding: Vimeo website source ASCII art

Code branding: Vimeo website source ASCII art

I’ve done this before, but not with website code. At a former place of employment we had a few servers for playing, developing, testing and live-serving the company’s many sites. I used the MOTD file to present (in glorious ASCII art) the name of the server when logging into the shell as an attempt to reinforce to the user which server they actually logged in to, like this:

Server identification as ASCII art via MOTD

Server identification as ASCII art via MOTD

Oh the internets are so much fun!