Friday, December 25, 2009

It's A Wonderful Life

Frank Capra is a great artist, and more of a poet than most who have the title ascribed to them.

Consider that flagrant and unsupported opining as my way of wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

On Christmas

I will be honest; this has been a difficult Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong: Christmas is always filled with joy, the most intense of joys. There are many who are experiencing great suffering during this Christmas season, but I am not one of them.

I am just tired.

My first semester of college is over… and it was exhilarating. I only hope to take better advantage of the opportunities before me this next year.

Inasmuch as college has been wonderful, it has been exhausting. Relationships with friends and family have been strained. And coming home has been hard.

I feel like Odysseus.

I am home but home has changed.

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

-T.S. Eliot, Journey of the Magi

These lines may seem excessively dark; especially since they remind me of my experience coming home this year. Not entirely, though- my family are not “alien people clutching strange gods” : )

But still, the fact is that Christmas has come, “and it was, (you may say) satisfactory.”

I am joyful. I would venture to say that I am happy (though I must clarify that I have only the foggiest notion of the difference).

I have exulted in this Christmas season, have listened to Vince Guaraldi, have drunk eggnog, gone caroling, and loved every second of it.

Above all, I celebrate the incarnation; the miracle of the Word made flesh.

But I should be glad of a second death.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Now Charles Williams popped up on Lost...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


C.S. Lewis is on Lost?!?!?

And I thought what with John Locke, Edmund Burke, David Hume, and Russeau we had enough Torrey authors on that show...

Friday, September 25, 2009

In response to the query: "What is a Pull Question?"

Dear Sirs,


Jonathan Adriel Alvarez Diaz de Los Angeles

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Hello All!

testing, testing!

Please ignore this nonsense...I'm just practicing, because I need a job, and am applying for a web design internship, and thus have three days to learn web design...

Broken December on Purevolume

check out the instrumental opening of our ep- Intro(An Evening in Madrid)

Sunday, July 12, 2009



I'm sorry I haven't been able to post since Wednesday night, but things have been a little... crazy, as of late. I won't spoil the surprises of my narrative, but it may take awhile for me to catch you up to speed. In the meantime, just know that I am very glad to be OUT of Houston.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

From Covina to Los Cruces

As I am writing this, it is dark outside of the car; which, I am told by the natives, is customary at 11:00 at night, even in this strange land of Arizona. The night sky is brushed with silky clouds and ruled by one of the brightest moons I have ever seen. We are listening to a Five Iron Frenzy Concert CD (Proof that the Youth are Revolting, if you really want to know…much love to Five Iron). It makes good driving music. Ska is good stuff.
So here is the road trip so far: We were supposed to leave our house at four in the morning, but what with packing, and our human desire for sleep, we didn’t leave until 9 AM. It was an emotional departure: you see, my Sister will be living out in Virginia for at least another year, and we probably won’t see her again until right before she comes home. For my Mother (and Father), then, this morning was goodbye for a year: Javi and I still have a couple more weeks during this road trip.
And so, after much embracing and prayer, we were off. We’re taking the 10 all the way to New Orleans. Yes, the very same 10 freeway that goes about our
So-Cal environs., the very same 10 that runs so close by my very own home, the home where I was born, and have lived for the past 17 years. I am reminded very much of Bilbo’s words to Frodo: “Do you know, this road that runs out of your front door is the very road that leads to the Misty Mountains?” or something like that.
Soon, this familiar, fantastic road took us past enormous fields of shiny windmills. I tried very hard to keep myself from believing that they were really giants- and failed. They must be giants, and though I earnestly desired to attack the giants, I was sore outnumbered. And so I left the windmills, vowing to return one day with the courage of Don Quixote.
I looked down at my iPod for a while, searching for the right tracks, and when I looked up I found that we had entered the bona fide desert (that is the word for an arid, god-forsaken place, right? Not the cakes and pies one?). Shortly, our entrance into Arizona was heralded by a large sign, a truck weighing station, and the gradual appearance of stereotypical cactuses, as opposed to the scraggly variety we know in California.
We had only been in Arizona for a few minutes when we pulled off the ten into am enormous gas station that featured it’s own restaurant, in addition to a convenience store and a video game lounge (i.e., three decrepit machines, only two of which worked, stuck into a recess in the wall). For all that, it was a welcome sight- I’m beginning to develop an affinity for these roadside hole-in-the-walls. After loading up on gas, iced tea and Dr. Pepper, I took the wheel for my first leg of the journey. My hour-and-a-half-or-so of driving was more or less uneventful- a steady 80 mph, for the most spart, only 5 above the limit. Also, you shall all be glad to know, my cop-a-vision was fully functioning (I think cop-a-vision is pretty much self-explanatory).
And right now, I must interrupt the narrative to inform you that I have just seen something really cool- a giant patch of silver cloud, stitched upon the deepest shade of blue. At the edges, the cloud is breaking off, sending hundreds of small, fish-scale clouds out onto the firmament. And right in the center, like an enormous, luminescent pearl in the middle of a silver broach, the moon. I love the open road.
Okay, back to earlier today: When Ivette relieved me of my driving duties, I rode shotgun while Javi chilled out in the back. We passed through Phoenix, which struck me as a very nice and sensible, though arbitrary, little city- I am very glad not to have blinked and missed it all.
After a relatively uneventful few hours, a slight detour to find a decent restroom, we found ourselves following Mike’s directions to his house on the outskirts of Tucson. His sister Nancy, her husband and two talkative little girls met us as we got out of the car, while Mike was off at Panda Express picking up dinner.
These days, it seems like everyone deals with a certain amount of brokenness in their family, and extended family tends to drift apart. Because of this, I am so grateful when I am able to connect with my extended family. Maybe it’s just our nature as last-minute Mexicans, but I love the fact that, for the most part, family loyalty runs deep. We had just called last minute, intending to see the family if we could. This was enough to set Mike to open up his home to us, for dinner, for the night, or whatever we needed. He bought one order of everything they make at Panda Express, and more of the popular items. In Javi’s words, he killed the fattened Panda. I love that, the amazing sense of familial loyalty. I hope I can learn to love my family like that- and not only my biological family, but also my Christian family.
Mike’s other sister Jemimah (yes, like the syrup) joined us for a while, but soon it was just Mike, Ivette, Javi, and I sitting around the table, picking at orange chicken and sharing conversation. Mike is in the Army National Guard, and has spent tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile a thunderstorm came and went, lashing the outdoors with wind and rain, we talked about the war, about politics, ministry, the family, and following Christ. After praying together, we left, so very blessed by our cousins generosity: our stomachs were full of his food, our cooler full of his ice, leftover Chinese food and soda, our electrical devices charged with his electricity. With these gifts of love, we left.
Well, that’s it…I am now caught up to where I started. I interrupt myself again for another cool cloud: the darkest sable against the inky midnight sky, it’s dramatic “silver lining” declaring it’s imposing presence upon us. We are chasing the storm that passed over us in Tucson- I keep on catching the lighting in the corner of my eye- distant shafts of light splitting the sky for a moment.
It is now 1 AM, and the roads are nearly empty. I’ve been breaking off my writing in order to nap a bit. We just finished the FIF concerts, and have switched to Reik: solid Mexican soft rock.
Now it is almost 2 AM, and we’re about 30 minutes away from our resting place. We’re going to stop soon for gas and a leg-stretching- if one ever pops up. Well, that’s it for now folks…

Go Under the Mercy

-Jonathan Adriel Diaz

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

OK, Ok...

I had promised myself not to post again until I had written my memories from the TA banquet and graduation... but those events were about a month ago, and while the post is almost done, it is not quite done, you see... and there is an important event I of which I must inform you all:

I am leaving California in a few hours. I should like to say that I am going to the war with Don John of Austria, but I am not. Rather, I am doing the next best thing: driving cross country with my brother and sister to Virginia, where my sister lives. I am just now loading Odyssey episodes and Five Iron Frenzy concerts onto my iPod for the trip.  

I am very excited, and look forward to posting my thoughts during the trip- if I can find free wi-fi, that is. 

In any event,

I am OFF!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

A small memorial for us to remember.

Once again, a version of Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2- this time covered by Pillar, not George W. Bush, and put to a video compiled from the movie Saving Private Ryan.

Let us remember the spilled blood that keeps us alive today.

God Bless America.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Just Kidding...

Okay, read the post below, then use this link, rather then the one given there...

Go Under the Mercy.

Sigh of Relief

Since informing you of "the Day the Mexicans saved the World", I have started at least five posts, and abandoned all of them, running off to plan set lists, write term papers, read Spenser, and work on a Broken December remix of Kanye West's Heartless.

Yeah, you heard me.

Anyway, I thought of posting my Term Paper...then I discovered that, nincompoop that I was, I forgot to save the final draft of my Word although I printed out a full copy, I have no full eloctronic document. But rest assured, it was barely worth reading place thereof, then, I give you a piece by the venerable Anthony Esolen, a translator of Dante who I discuss in my, although this piece is about marraige rather than Dante, it is also, timely enough, about marraige and Edmund Spenser, and given Professor Esolen'swork on Dante, I think it's a suitable substitution to my inferior paper. Here it be:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Otherwise known as:


The story begins in 1861 Annus Domini, with Mexico in debt to the governments of Spain, Britain, and France. In a situation modern Mexicans (and anyone else) may sympathize with, Mexico found itself unable to meet interest payments ( pox on all usury!!!*). The following events would make a great Capital One commercial:

The Spanish, British, and French armies invade Mexico to seize the port city of Veracruz and exact tribute from Mexican ships; but since they were already there, the French decided to invade Mexico, conquer it, and then proceed to invade the United States and give support to the Confederacy in the Civil War (A situation Newt Geingrich has explored in alternate history novels).

Think of the wretched state the world would be in without the United States of America. . .without even the Confederate States of America, but more than likely a French puppet government! Oh, who shall save us now?

The Spanish and British, being less tyranical than the French, withdrew, but France still seemed more than capable of taking over the fledgling state of Mexico, outnumbering all defending forces with it's famous army, undefeated champions of the world for fifty years running!

On the fifth of May, the French passed through a small city of Puebla on their way to the capital. For some strange reason, the French General assumed he would be met with open arms, and that the people of the city would fight against the insignificant defending forces. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for the world, he was wrong!

The French tried their proven "Unprotected-bayonet-charge-over-open-land-without-firing-a-shot" strategy, which, when matched against the Mexican "Keep-shooting-until-they're-all-dead" strategy, was somewhat less than productive. Let's just say, the Mexicans won.

And so, the Mexicans defeated the French, and although they were briefly able to hold Mexico as a colony, soon, the U.S. sent miliatary aid, and the French presence in Mexico was, uhhmm, removed.

And so, while it may be that the U.S. could have survived a French Invasion, it is perhaps not improper for us to see the providence of God at work in this David and Goliath story.

And besides, if, on St. Patrick's day, the Irish can claim to have preserved civilisation by spreading Christianity to the British isles, then on this Cinco de Mayo, this fifth of May, we Mexicans can certainly claim to have done no less than save the world.

And now. . .


*The President of Mexico actually just told the European nations that he had annuled the debt himself. . .the creditors were not amused.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Resurected Drunken Pirates: Reflections on Holy Week

This post shall be. . .monsterous.

Easter seems like it was forever ago, but in truth, it was only a little over a week ago.

This Easter season has been a very meaningful time for me, starting on Ash Wednesday all the way to this past week. This year, I had the privelege of portraying St. Thomas the Apostle in my church's Easter musical, I Will Follow Christ (Thankfully, not a singing role!).

The Easter Play is always a meaningful experience, obviously because of the ability it gives one to see the Gospel acted out in front of you, but also, for our church, because of the fact that is virtually the only time when all the church is gathered together and working towards a common goal, rather than split into seperate groups by age or gender. . . it is refreshing to be a church for once.

Everyone talks about community these days. . .from Rick Warren to Bono. . . but I must admit, I prefer communion to community. Because that's what we believe in, right? The Communion of Saints? This isn't just a bunch of people getting together and pretending to like each other. This ought to be people unified by the love of Christ. . . and the rest of the Trinity :)

In case y'all don't know this, I'm a fan of the old traditions of the Church . . . and of everything, really. The Easter play gave me a beautiful taste of what I sometimes miss at church . . . a certain weight that ritual and tradition give to human action. I know we sometimes treat the words "tradition" and "ritual" as nessecarily evil. . . but think about it. . . there's something about ceremony that we prefer to informality.

For example, why are weddings so special? If ceremony and ritual were really so horrid, everyone would get married in shorts and flip flops at a government office and then meet friends at MacDonald's afterwords.

Tradition and Ritual are good things. In their proper place, of course, but good nontheless. There is a beautiful weight and glory to ceremony, to doing things with infinite care, almost as if they mattered. . .

But I digress.

Speaking of weight and ceremony, it truly was a privelege to have a role in the Easter play. . . it is a weighty thing to portray a Saint.

I know protestants (which I suppose I must rank myself as, for the time being) are very wary of the idea of Saints, but I think it's a good idea to look to those who came before us, and to properly respect them. I feel like there is too much disrespect around today; especially towards the Apostles.

"The disciples were really stupid sometimes, they never understood what Jesus said"

"That Peter, he was always putting his foot in his mouth!"

"The twelve always had selfish motives that made Jesus mad"

I'll admit it. . .I'm tired of hearing this crap from pulpits. Yeah, the twelve were sometimes dense. . .can you say that if the living Word of God came and started speaking to you, you would understand everything he said? We have trouble understanding Jesus, and we've hav 2000+ years to figure it out. . .we've had great theologians spend their lives to help us understand this stuff. . .the disciples were the first to hear it. Yeah, the disciples were normal men. . . but they were not like us, any more than Kings are like us. . . I guess the only way of saying it is this : They were great men. They were heroes.

Honestly, the thing that makes me furious is when I hear pastors say "These were just stupid lower-class fishermen."

Ok, so just because people are poor and hardworking, you think they're stupid?

And you call me bourgeouis. . .

It's true that I believe that some men are greater than others, but I don't think this has anything to do with how much money they make or how much education they have, but rather, with how they live their lives. And the Twelve lived lives that we can only marvel at.

In the play, the disciple's were a bit of comic relief at times; mainly with our ridiculous dance we broke into after Jesus breaks up a scuffle between St. John and St. Andrew over who will be the greatest in the Heaven. For the funny scenes, we were told by the director to be a little more jolly and enthusiastic, but very masculine and rough.

"Drunken pirates. That's what you are"

Interesting. I'll admit, I got a kick out of shouting AAAARRR! when I was supposed to shout out Hosanna during practice. But perhaps meaningful: when we changed into shining white robes for the scenes in Heaven(except Judas, who for some reason seemed to be missing. . .), I joked that we were now "resurected drunken pirates". St. Simon said that sounded like a band name. But perhaps that's what Saints are: sinners like the rest of us, but raised to higher places, not by their own efforts, but by the grace of God.

But I digress again. On to my role:

St. Thomas is an interesting figure. I played him as the young, silly disciple (mainly because I was the only disciple under 23), and was given the liberty to change a few of my lines to reflect this.

It was an experience to play St. Thomas. . .mainly a pleasant one, but going for makeup everyday was not my favorite thing in the world, and my fake, painted on beard was. . . interesting. Still, it was an incredible experience, and there was such an amazing sense of communion and brotherhood among the disciples (the cast). . .I really miss those few weeks.

Because of my role, I read up on St. Thomas a bit (Did you know he is the patron Saint of Architects, and that spread Christianity to India, becoming the farthesst traveling disciple?).
There are only three times he is specifically mentioned in the Gospels (asides from when he is listed with all the others).

The first time, Jesus returns to Galilee to visit the tomb of his dead friend Lazarus. We've heard this story before, but if we actually read it rather than skipping ahead for the truly powerful story of Lazarus ressurection, we see another story almost as powerful. Jesus had left Galilee under threat of death, and he and the twelve faced death if he returned. Jesus decides to return and the disciples face a decision: possibly for the first time they face the reality of dying for Jesus. Is this really worth dying for?

"Let us go and die with him."

This was the answer given by St. Thomas; this is the unequalled boldness we hear from the one we are used to calling "the doubter".

The second time we hear about St. Thomas is at the Last Supper, when Christ says that he is going to depart. St. Thomas asks "How will we follow if we don't know where you are going?" If nothing else, we are given the picture of a disciple who is obsessed about following Jesus, so that he is ready to die and concerned with the need for precise directions. And just perhaps, obsessed about making sure it is Jesus he is following. . .not something else.

Which leads to the source of St. Thomas' infamy: The doubting episode. This I will. . .gloss over. Mainly because I want to go to sleep. Meaghan Henderson, if you made it this far, I'm very proud of you. Now, about the doubting: Yes, silly of St. Thomas. But truly, there are worse things than wanting to make sure Jesus is really alive and not dead. Maybe a lack of faith; but Jesus reproaches him gently, almost as if teasing him. Afterwords, what can he say?

"My Lord and my God!"

The Catholic Encyclopdia says that this is one of the boldest statements of faith in the New Testament. I think we should learn from St. Thomas' victories and his failure, to follow Christ passionately, and just perhaps, to have a little more faith.

There's a little more I have to share about Easter, but with this, I shall take my leave for now.

Go Under the Mercy.

-Jonathan Adriel Diaz

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Laus Deo

1Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 they did not understand the Scripture,for as yet that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples went back to their homes.

11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." 14Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." 16Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"—and that he had said these things to her.

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld."

24Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."

26Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." 27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." 28Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 29Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

-The Gospel of St. John, chapter 20

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rachmaninov and Orlik: congrats on having been born!

It is Sergei Rachmaninov's Birthday today (For one more hour, anyway).

I feel distinctly like Schroeder from Peanuts (Who carried around signs to inform people of Bethoven's birthday a few months before the date).

Now, I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of classical music. . .I still find some of it boring, and most of it hard to listen to, though very rewarding. . .I realise that some of my impatience for classical music often reflects more poorly on me than on the music.

However, even given my wicked soul that sometimes prefers Underoath to Wagner, the most played song on my iPod is NOT writing on the walls, but Rachmaniov's Symphonic Dances. . .
I'll be honest, I do usually cheat and just listen to the last three minutes of it . . .that last three minutes is my favorite piece of music right now, and if there's something better, I'd like to hear it (seriously).

Believe me, he's that awesome. I am not fit, either as a "musician" or even a "listener" to even praise him. Just know that the greatest flaw of Rachmaninov's work is that the song must at some point end; because of this sinful world, the music can never do what it ought to, and break the barrier between the human and the timeless.

Speaking of Russian musicians born on April 1st, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID PAVLOVICH ORLIK!

Some stuff for you:

Your Favorite Paratroooper Song:

And Modern Propaganda!

And more: This time, with romance!


- hi
- hello
- oh, how beautiful. but they're so expensive.
- it's ok. how it should be.
- i've missed you so much.
- me too.
- tell me, how are things in the army?
- everything's fine.

- (to barman) for all!
- why, maybe you shouldn't?
- my treat. don't worry, i can afford it.

"contract service - ticket to your future."

This one just scares me:

David, I'm now wondering if you're a part of a fifth-column. . .

Oh, well. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

С днем рождения, мой друг! Пожалуйста не убейте меня.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why I like wearing coats

There are few things in life more beautiful than an unexpected goodness.

This past friday, I put on one of my favorite coats. As I donned the said coat, I was surprised at it's weight. I recalled that I have a bad habit of not emptying my pockets when I hang up my coats.

I found in the pockets:

item: Six Dollars in bills
item: 68 cents in change.
item: A heavy- tricorner Fender guitar pick
A receipt from Panda Express
A movie ticket stub

While the last two items were not particularly exciting, I was very happy indeed to discover the money and the pick.

I don't know about y'all, but I am plagued with a propensity to see the world as a dark place. . . Which the world can be sometimes. . . not because of the minor problems and annoyances that I sometimes want to whine about, but because of the reality of human sin and evil.

Like the Holocaust.

My teacher, Mr. Bartel, shared an anecdote a few weeks ago that made me wonder at how we look at the holocaust, and indeed at all evil.

We were sitting around a table in Shakespeare class, reading aloud outlines of our term papers. A paper on Shylock led us into a brief discussion on anti-semitism. Mr. Bartel remarked on the insight that Jewish scholars give to an understanding of anti-semitism.

"An old Jewish professor once told us: 'the holocaust is boring'. We sat in awkward silence and then asked 'Why do you say that, sir?' He said 'Well, yeah, it was a great evil, and lots of people died, but why would we be interested in that? It's evil. Evil is boring.

The Good is what should interest us."

Now, the goodness of rediscovered funds and guitar picks is but the slightest example of goodness; there is so much more in this world for which to live our lives, through which to seek glimpses of the greatest goodness Himself.

There's a lot wrong with this world; but neither wars nor protest marches solve it. Poetry cannot solve it, academic honesty cannot solve it.

This world will never be set right, or even make any significant change for the better, until people learn to seek goodness above all else.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Angered at time zones and retreats

It's a sort of terrible irony that sometimes, when we need to talk to someone, it becomes impossible to do so.

Right now, I find myself in need of conversation. . .

of real conversation.

with a real person, not an electronic fiction designed to represent them.

Not even the lovliest or most lifelike of photographs.

Not even the electronic vibrations masquerading as a human voice. . .

To speak to another human being, to know that they not only comprehend the thread of your conversation, but also that they understand and empathize, that they catch the look in your eyes, the "otherness" and "sameness" communicated by stance, by that way you fold your hands. . .

so much is presence.

Okay, so this is ridiculous and emo. so shoot me. I may be glad of a second death.
(Understand that I am simply being flippant and silly and, while I am contemplating my future and T.S. Eliot, that is all I am contemplating. . .)

The point is, I need to talk to someone right now, and an electronic fiction, horrid though it be, would suffice. But Alas! those with whom I wish to speak are otherwise occupied. . .my dearest Sister is sleeping, since there's this whole "time-difference" thing between L.A. and Virginia (crazy, right?) and it seems that all my other close friends are at a church retreat.

And for those who are left, even Facebook has stopped working!


I love spring in California. I love every season in California(though I sometimes wish winters were harsher and summers less so), and the past few weeks have been very grateful for the emancipating feeling of sunset and gentle breeze that so epitomizes spring in California. . . but sometimes it can be too emancipating.

The one thing I hate most about spring and summer in Cali is the whole spring-and-summer evening feeling, a sort of openess in the cool air.

But the openess seems too open. . .as if the expanse never ends, more like hell than heaven.

I walked outside, and predictably, it was one of those nights. The very stars and moon were cold, and for once, Orion seemed to shake his spear at me. . .

Monday, February 23, 2009

Death Toll. . .

Sometimes, we need to be shocked and outraged, to face what may make us uncomfortable in the day to day..

From now on, a counter will appear on my blog, counting off how many babies have been legally murdered since the page was opened. . .the numbers change at an obscenely rapid pace.

There is much to say about abortion, from many different viewpoints. I respect the opinions of many who disagree with me. . .but I cannot respect the consequences of these opinions; and the consequeces are that that counter keeps on rolling, that out country is still stained red with the blood of innocents.

I am not giving my full views on abortion now, simply because there is much to say, and I am as yet unprepared to give a complete case against it. . .but the following is some of what is nearest to my heart, especially regarding the Church and abortion.

I understand that abortion is not the only issue in American politics; but for me, it is the matter by which all the others are eclipsed. Maybe there are some more important issues. . .but if so, I can't seem to recall them. If this makes me one of the "Religious Right" that Liberals and "educated" Republicans laugh at, so be it.

I have no patience for Christians who scoff at the pro-life movement.

"I think it's stupid to vote based on Abortion. Just me, but I don't get what the big deal is"

So said a well-meaning Christian man to me one day, in between smiles and jokes about why we would lose the election. . .

In the end, I don't know if abortion is the greatest battle we face today. . .like most causes, it is probably just a great battle in the midst of this great war. . .but it is no consequence. Either way, it is a battle, and I will fight it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

As For Techno. . .

I guess this is more specifically Techno/Rock. . .the band is And Then There Were None, new from Tooth and Nail. The video is crazy, but hey. It's fun stuff.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chronological Randomness

Some days(like last week when I last tried to post) you find it hard to write because you have nothing to say, prey to that vicious disease of Writer's Block.

And some days you find it hard to write because you have too much to say.

Much of this shall be unrelated randomness, so I shall begin with the Feast of St. Valentine.

Now, I admit it: I have spent my fair share of time celebrating SAD(Singles Awareness Day). But I have come to deeply appreciate St. Valentine, and his holiday, despite the way our culture may have hijacked it.

Now as a long-time Christian, I heard from time to time that Valentine's Day had some Christian roots, but only vaguely, and this was mainly due to a fairly recent Adventures in Oddessey episode. At any rate, whatever St. Valentine's Day meant to Christians regarded happily married couples only. . .no value whatsoever to me, single and fifteen at the time. I was busy writing semi-emo songs and lamenting the romantic foibles of my then-crush, resentful of the fact that none of them included me. I was something like an adolescent wannabe-Dante(or, perhaps, Edgar Allen Poe?)

Anyway, as you can assume, that all changed(I now write like a wannabe G.K. Chesterton).

Like most changes in life, this one was facilitated by Torrey Academy. It was actually February 14th, and I was sitting in my seat, ready for Inklings Class to begin. . .

When Mr. Bartel walked into the room.

The legendary tutor of the Faith of our Fathers Class before ours, the class that read authors with only one name(Petrarch, Athanasius, Dante!);the imposing figure that was always dressed like an Oxford Professor; the legendary poet and hilarious joker: Mr. Bartel, the Master Tutor of Torrey Academy.

He walked in, and announced that he would be co-tutoring along with Ms. Maraldo for the purpose of giving us a Valentine's Day devotional. And he proceeded to do so.

So goes the legend of St. Valentine: A Christian Priest in Rome, he was performing Christian Marraiges when it was illegal to do so(some say the emperor outlawed it so that more men would become soldiers). St. Valentine was arrested, and told to renounce Christ. During his time in prison, he fell in love with the Jailer's daughter(who some say he healed from blindness, while some say that he healed the emperor's daughter, while some leave out the episode altogether). On the 14th of February, he was beheaded. But before he died, he left a note in his cell, and at the end he wrote:

From Your Valentine.

Now, the facts, apart from the legend(which I find no great reason to disbelieve) are that he was simply a martyr in Rome. My copy of Englebert's The Live's of the Saints states that there were two Valentine's, the early Roman and another, who have been condensed into one Saint. This might explain the confusion of details. At any rate, we celebrate his Martyrdom on the 14th, while there was a Pagan love holiday on the 15th, which was absorbed into St. Valentine's Day.

The fact is, the dude existed. Period. He might not have been intrinsically linked to Christian Marraige, but hey, I like legends, and I see no reason to disbelieve all of them except the universal cynicism our time is prey to. At any rate, he has become the Patron of Christian marraige. And I think he's pretty darn awesome, if I say so myself.

The legend really needed no explanation, but Mr. Bartel went on. I honestly can't remember the specifics, but I do remember the jist of it, and that one thing he did was set the story in modern times: "What if marraige was outlawed in San Dimas?" said he (From this, an astute mind might gather that the class met in San Dimas).

The point is, I, along with most of y'all who read this, are not married. Why should we care about how awesome Christian marraige is? But look at it a little philosophically: does a thing's essential quality change simply because of our relation to it or opinion regarding it? If I have refuse to believe in New York, does that mean it doesn't exist? If I have never been a Marine and cannot bring myself to believe that Marine's use M16 assault rifles, does that change the fact that they do? No. So while I have no personal experience with matrimony, I still revere it. It really would take Mr. Bartel(and a few great poets) to try and make someone understand why marraige is so great. I will leave it at this: A man's love for his wife is an image of Christ's love for His Church. Learning how to love another human being, romantically or platonically, is an essential part of being human.

And of being Christian, which I think is ultimately a part of being a good person.
But think about it. We might admire a pagan, a man who could not love God aright; could we admire a man who could not love a woman?

Anyway, like I said, I cannot do the wonder of St. Valentine's day justice. Someday I will write more about this. . .especially given Dante and Lewis' views on the matter. Ah, Beatrice.

A good transition.


I don't think I can impress upon you how much I love Dante.

I LOVE DANTE!!!!!!!!

Anyway, I was feeling somewhat depressed with human sinfulness, specifically my own. Feeling rather heartless, I spent some time in prayer, and although I felt secure in God's forgiveness, I still felt wretched. I heard the Spirit tell me:

Do you know I still love you?

Of course, a powerful word: but doubting the love of God never really occurs to me. Regardless of the beauty of God's forgiveness and unconditional love, my heart was still in a loathsome state. I knew I needed to glimpse an image of God's unfathomable love.

So I reached for Dr. Esolen's translation of Paradise.

I opened up to a random passage, and I discovered Canto 18, and oh my goodness! It is impossible to overstate my love of this passage:

E quella donna ch'a Dio mi menava
disse: "Muta pensier; pensa chi'i' sono
presso a colui ch'ogne torto disgrava".
Io mi rivolsi a l'amoroso suono
del mio conforto; e qual io allor vidi
ne li occhi santi amor, qui l'abbandono
non perch' io pur del mio parlar diffidi
ma per la mente che non puo redire
sovra se tanto, s'altri non la guidi
Tanto poss' io di quel punto ridire
che, rimirando lei, lo mio affetto
libero fu da ogne altro disire
fin che 'l piacere etterno, che diretto
raggiava in Beatrice, dal bel viso
mi contentava col secondo aspettp
Vincendo me col lume d'um sorriso,
ella mi disse: "Volgoti e ascolata;
che non pur ne' miei occhi e paradiso".

"When she who'd led me unto God began,/'Let your thoughts change, for I am near the Lord./ the One who lifts the yoke of every wrong.'/I turned unto my comfort when I heard/ her kindly voice, and saw such depth of love/ in her blest eyes, I give up, for no word / Can claim my confidence, and, even more,/ unless Another guides it, memory / cannot retutn from heights so far above / It's power. But as I gazed, my soul was free / of all it's many cravings to posess / anything else- for that much I can say, / because the everlasting winsomeness / shone upon Beatrice, from whose lovely eyes / reflected radiance contented me / Conquering with the flashing of a smile, / she said to me, 'Listen now, turn around- / my eyes are not the only Paradise'."

And, yeah, I cried. In truth, I find the statements "Real Men don't cry" and "Real men aren't afraid to cry" to be equally ridiculous. I think the matter of crying depends on what one is crying. Real men cry at great sorrow or beauty; For example, Charlemayn at the death of Roland. Real men do not cry over their stubbed toe or injured pride. I did not quite bawl or weep, but I am proud to own up to the fact that I did indeed cry.

I am unable to express how amazing this passage is. I might try someday, and elaborate on some of the other lines that moved me. But for now, just believe me, even if you couldn't tell:

Dante is awesome.

He will always be awesome, and no matter what Harold Bloom says, he will always be awesomer than Shakespeare.

That brings me to today. . .err, yesterday, since it's now 1:18 AM. I spent Monday reading literary criticism. . .and Harold Bloom is the second stupidest genius I have ever read(Phillip Pullman comes first. I think Richard Dawkins may top Bloom, but I haven't read him yet. Pullman stays number one). Anyway, yes, Shakespeare is awesome, but no, Mr. Bloom, he is not God. Bardolatry is worse than irreverent; it is stupid. Shakespeare may have written the greatest literature to ever be written in the English Language(correction: he did). But seriously. . . speaking purely as literary figures, Hamlet is nowhere near Jesus in importance, as Bloom claims. Shakespeare makes me want to be a better poet. . .but not a better person. Dante does both. Shakepeare at best can make me laugh a lot, or feel depressed. He cannot fill me with Joy.

Dante can.

Maybe a premature judgement, but I think it is one I shall hold to for a while.

Anyway, there is still much to write about(Finances, College choices, the correlation between Love and Money, Brave Saint Saturn's New Album, and my discovery of the first Techno band that I actually enjoy listening to!).

But it is late, and I want to read more Dante.

God be with you all.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Stuff to Share

First off, I never thought anything could raise George W. Bush in my esteem. . .seriously, I love the guy. And though I pray that God Bless President Obama, I really miss Dubya, and can't stand hearing all the mindless Bush-Hatred.

But politics aside, this Video makes him even more awesome:

And for some more mature entertainment, and as penance for my horrible poetry, here is Lepanto, by G.K. Chesterton

White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

That's all, enjoy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Free(But Maybe Evil. . .)

I write bad poetry. I hope to some day soon write decent poetry, and before I die at least write good or even great poetry.

But writing poetry is not nearly so simple as "expressing yourself." Like all things worth doing, it is hard to do well.

As I try and learn how to write decent poetry, I've been wondering about formal verse versus free verse. . .OVERSIMPLIFIED DEFINITION: formal verse has meter and rhyme, free verse doesn't, except perhaps occasionally.

I don't know if I like free verse or not. . .my gut reaction is to think it's trash. . .but when I look closer, I'm not sure. . .T.S. Eliot is free verse, and I'm starting to like a lot of his stuff(I've always loved his ideas, but just recently have I started to enjoy some of his style).

The thing is, free verse is the spirit of the age, and I doubt any real poetry would ever go over well. . .

Oh well. Here's a silly poem about my inability to say goodbye, and it sounds more dark than it really is; it's really an experiment, an attempt to say the same thing in formal verse(Pretty strict Iambic Tetrameter), and then again in free verse. . .here goes:

I never seem to say farewell
The way I would desire to
I stumble over words that tell
That I have not the skill some do
To say goodbye, and therein kill
The communion that with it brought
Joy so bright that I feel it still
(But joys we hold too close shall rot)
And here's my failure, here's my flaw
I cannot suffer joy to fall
I cannot bring an end to awe
Or deny beauty's wond'rous call
I am learning slow to live but I
Wonder if I'll ever learn to die?

I never seem to say farewell
The I wish I could, the way I would if I had but

the ability(which I lack)
I murmur something about being forced to leave, in such a tone that tells

That I lack that(the ability)
which others seem to have attained
To smile, wave, and say goodbye
so Murder
The wond'rous communion that brings such
that still, still is felt within my soul
But Joy
clung to too desperately rots to putrid stench
This, this is my problem and my flaw
I won't see this
(the murdering of joy)
I won't see this
(The tragic death and end of awe and
some days, like today and everyday I also find
I cannot force myself to pretend I do not hear, and
so avoid the cry of
They are teaching me, writing on the blackboard
And I am dutifully learning, scrawling in my notebook, but learning how to live
But shall I ever learn to die?

I realize now that I purposely tried to make the free verse ridiculous and bad at points. . .
but I wonder. . .there's something about Free Verse, even if I hate it . . . it's called free verse for a reason. . .but oh well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Madness Part 2: Ice Cream and old Pianos

This last Wednesday, a week ago, in the midst of madness, I experienced a day full of the unprecedented grace and favor of God.

To begin with, it was the due date for my Faith Term Paper, the day before the early action II deadline for Biola and THI, and Don Rags(translation: quarterly meeting with teacher to go over progress in class, discuss my Term Paper for Shakespeare, and turn in fourteen pull questions[second translation: Informal handwritten essays]).

Being a procrastinator by nature, and given the ridiculous amount of work I had to do, my pull questions got pushed to the last minute. . .literally. I finished my Term Paper, did one pull question out of the nine I had left, went to worship practice, and then came back with eight staring me in the face.

And then I very foolishly took an hour to write out a song, entitled "The Terrorist's Love-Ballad"

Hey, when the Muse comes, she comes.

One thing was clear. there would be no sleep for me that night.

I tell a lie! Actually, I fell asleep on a Romeo and Juliet question at four o'clock. I woke twenty minutes later due to my dog Aslan scratching the sides of his crate and whining. Perhaps I'm being silly, but it seems to me that he was trying to wake me, seeing as how he stopped and wagged his tail as soon as I was visibly awake.

Anyway, I was still working on pull questions when my normal Torrey-day waking time-5:30-came around. I showered, got ready, and went back to writing pull questions.

And continued writing pull questions on the ride to La Mirada.

And before Faith class.

And during all of study hall.

And I finally finished the last one after everyone had already started walking to class, and ran sprinting to class.

A whole new meaning to "last minute"

Anyway, Don Rags went well(even if there weren't as many leaves falling to complete the picturesque scene). Though it's not required, I dressed up in slacks, shirt and tie. And here, friends, is where the madness ends, and the wonder and favor begins, and I must switch to a more narrative tone, and, I fear, embarrass my musically brilliant(and excessively shy and modest) classmates.

I stood outside during lunch, pulling slightly at the double Windsor knot of my tie as the day grew steadily warmer. During my panicked writing in study hall, I had been picked out to receive a free ice cream sandwich, and I was now munching contentedly on the frozen treat. I had been expecting to finish my snack in comparative silence, when everyone around me sprinted off towards one of the empty classrooms. I was soon told the cause of such excitement: MaryKate had found her way into a room with a piano.

It was an old, neglected upright piano, wretchedly abused, dented and thrust in the right angle formed by a glass window and poorly-painted wall. It sat there, more for the sake of practice than performance, catching sunlight in the deep scars scratched on it's once-glossy surface, collecting dust, going unplayed while the ivory slowly grew darker and darker, and keys refusing to rise back to their place.

After she finally unlocked the door and let us in, MaryKate was so adamant in her refusal to sound even one note for us that I soon abandoned all hope of hearing any music, when she finally returned to the bench and set her fingers delicately to the ivory.

Silent, we watched as she began to coax a gentle melody from the decrepit old thing, letting out a deep and profound sigh as she did so, as if there was some deep sadness intricately tied up in the action. She nodded gently with the music in this frightfully beautiful image of the commonplace and the angelic, very neat in her New Balance tennis shoes working the pedals, short curly hair in the sunlight, and music coming from an instrument that looked utterly incapable of producing it. The room felt completely still, as if no one dared make a sound to disturb the tranquility of the moment.

She finished, and all applauded, despite her protests. The group called for more music, and someone, of whose acquaintance I do not yet have the pleasure, played ragtime. I feared the old thing would shatter under the lively pounding. It survived however, and Mr. Christian Bearup sat down to play.

The familiar opening strains reached my ears; it was The Blues, by Switchfoot, played with more intricacy than drums and guitars could afford, a mingling of rhythm parts and melody that revealed the hidden glory of that song, which so often strikes the listener as sub-par, until the fifth or sixth listen when all the subtleties are discovered. Christian brought out all of these subtleties and displayed them, moving from verse to chorus to verse again, repeating, repeating, every time building in beauty if not in volume, layering intricacy after intricacy. Jon Foreman would have turned green with envy.

While he played, Gabriel leaned against the wall, his back to the piano and eyes to the floor, a look of pained study and rapture on his face, looking completely immovable. When Christian arose, I looked at Gabriel, wondering if he would give in to our pleas for him to take turn at the piano, seeing as how all the others had. His past denials made me doubt that he would, so when he moved towards the bench, Rafi and I(rather rudely) employed first shame, and then physical force to see him securely seated before the decrepit piano.

And then he played.

He jumped straight into a piece of unbelievable speed and intricacy, pure classical style, a perfect marriage of reckless madness and ordered precision. His arms and fingers danced rapidly over the keys as if of their own volition while he bent over them. Soon, his whole form was thrown into the piano, his head bending low over the ivory, his back going suddenly ramrod straight, and in the end, the intensity of the piece caused his labored breathing to be heard over the music.

A site administrator came to kick us out, but upon hearing him, was unable to interrupt him. She came in several times and exited; once, she raised her hand and opened her mouth, but closed it before forming any words, leaving in the same silence she had entered in.

When he finished,the long held in applause and wonder was warmly and loudly expressed. Given Gabriel's shyness, I shall not repeat any of it. . .but it was brilliant. Finally, we were ushered out of the room, marveling at the brilliant sounds skilled hands could coax out of that jumble of wood, wire, and ivory that once again, lay lonely in the still room, looking for all the world as if it had never been played.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Madness Part 1:The Color Green

This last week has indeed been a whirl of glorious madness, of much writing, not enough thinking, and very little sleep, St. Augustine, anberlin. . .and the color green.

To be quite honest, I'm having some difficulty recollecting the exact order of events. Suffice it to say that every shred of my "spare" time was consumed by my efforts to complete my Term Paper and college applications. . . and all the random tasks that are a part of normal life.

The trouble with the Term Paper is that it was also my writing sample for the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola. . .and, as I was told by Mr. Bartel, this "should be the best thing you have ever written" and I should "make every word beautiful".

Talk about pressure.

I survived though, and in the process, gained a deeper appreciation for St. Augustine than I could have gained any other way. Still, as I suppose I always will, I wish I could have done better. The harder I worked, the more I realized how utterly incompetent I am. I guess that's just how life is; we are always striving for a perfection we cannot hope to reach.

One afternoon, waking from a much needed hour-long nap, I had a curious revalation.

I saw the color green for the first time.

Now, clearly, I have seen the color green before, but. . .I had never seen it, if you take my meaning. That is to say, I had never before seen anything inately beautiful about green. Not so with other colors, such as deep, vibrant reds and natural, rustic browns. . .

ok, so call me crazy, but I like color. . .maybe it's left over from my failed attempts at painting.

Anyway, I never really saw what was so great about the color green, never understood why anyone would want an emerald. Any aesthetic appreciation for the color was bound up in associations; for example, "Green reminds me of beautiful Irish hills" or "Green reminds me of beautiful pine trees on the mountains", etc. It's not that I didn't like green. . .I just didn't see what was so great about it. . .It was a color to be used when other colors were used up, when you had already squeezed all of the glorious maroon and electric teal out of the paint tubes.

I'm beginning to see how ridicuous this is. Maybe I was just still sleepy.

Anyway, I looked out my window and saw my world in the fading sunlight. . .

The scene itself was beautiful, the commonplace backyard and poorly kept houses bathed in golden light, as if some abundantly wealthy King, in a fit of luxury, had ordered them so gilt.

But it was not the scene that grabbed my attention. It was the color green that flowed, from the groups of palm trees to the plastic bucket to the tangled vines on the woooden fence in disrepair. . .for the first time, I saw something beautiful about the color green seperate from nature scenes, without resorting to such adjectives as "bright" and "living". . .

okay, maybe it's not such a big deal as, maybe not worth telling anyone about, but in the midst of the madness and stress of the week, any glimpse of beauty was welcome, especially a beauty I had never tuly appreciated before. I ran to the other windows, staring out them to marvel at this new wonder, this new sight I had seen a thousand times before.

Friday, January 9, 2009

In Need of Grace. . .

It is 3:47.


I have been up late doing homework, trying to finish all the day to day work by the end of the semester so that I have time to finish my college application and term paper for that application before the deadline.

I am a procrastinator(in my defense, this is a hereditary vice). So, this means that when in early November, when I missed a week of class, instead of taking care of the make up assignment(listening to two online context lectures. . .sort of like saying a hundred Hail Mary's for penance) right away, I waited.

And waited.

And waited. . .

Until here I am, trying to cram them all into this one night, right as everything else is due, and the whole weight of my future education is resting on these next few days.

That said, I made tea, and began listening to the lectures, and they were amazing, covering the legnth and breadth of Religion, Politics, Culture, and Philosophy from the late 16th century to the present. . .ok, I know it sounds boring, but believe me! It was Dr. John Mark Reynolds! It was amazing!

Yet, amazing as they were, they were long. And it was 3:36, and I had just barely finished, and I was very ready to go and try and snatch two hours of rest before having to get up and undertake the arduous journey to La Mirada for class in the morning. . .

. . .and out of my stupidity and lack of awareness for what I was doing. . .

I deleted one of my context lecture summaries.

Meaning I have to retype it. . .

. . .meaning I have to re-listen to parts of the lecture.

Meaning I'll prolly be up all night and try and finish some more work.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fanfare, please!

Friends, Romans, and Countrymen, lend me your ears(and maybe your money)!

Let the heralds be sent forth to the furthest reaches of the internet to proclaim that I, Jonathan Adriel Esquinca Alvarez Diaz de Los Angeles, am finally joining the ranks of the super-opinionated and pensive souls that make up the blogging community.

In all seriousness, the creation of this blog is really not quite as momentous as all that. At some point, I will try and fill this blog with poignant and profound words that will move you all to tears and make you better people. But right now, I just feel flippant, which is why this post is so ridiculous.