I found this while looking through old photos. It's Leo Jeng and me at the Geogia Governors Honors Program (GHP) during the summer of 1993. Beautiful!
At last, I'm back on the interent again!!!
Unfortunately, since I left my phone at the polka party last night, that is the only connection I have to the greater outside world!
So, if I fail to post to my weblog now, you'll know I have no excuse. Speaking of which... Last night's party was very interesting: it was the first time I've introduced Bevin to several folks from the St. Paul's crowd, and the first time in a while that I've seen quite a few of them. It was slightly weird for me seeing Amy, since I've been reading her blog, and I'm sure it was even stranger for Bevin, who had read her blog but never met her! "How's it going? How are your classes?" when you actually sort of fake-know what's going on because you've been reading the blow-by-blow! Hah. I guess perhaps the internet is evil after all!
On Tuesday, I will be voting for the first time in American elections. I'm still not 100% sure who I'm going to vote for. Sorry - this is long, and political! Oh well.
For those of you outside the US, count yourselves lucky. This election is confusing as anything. The pure conspiracy theories make things too simple, make it too easy. I think it's a horribly difficult choice.
Bush seems sincere about trying to do what he thinks best. But he seems lazy about hearing all the evidence and trying to understand the situation before he "goes with his gut." He seems humble about his relationship with God, but not humble about his relationship with people. If the New York Times is to be believed, his whole administration is characterized by an unwillingness to bear reproach.
Bush says he doesn't want America to need a permission slip to defend herself. But he acts like he doesn't want to need a permission slip from anyone to do anything. I want all powerful leaders to need to get a permission slip to defend themselves. That's how international diplomacy works. What does "defend" mean, anyway? We have a Department of Defence, not Offense. Of course we call attacking Iraq "defence." And I personally want the US president to obtain permission slips from congress and the supreme court when acting internally, and from other countries when acting externally.
I agree that Kerry is a politician. I agree he seems vague, and difficult to pin down, that it's difficult to know what he believes, if anything. The warmth Bush shows for his wife, the warmth he shows for his God - these things count strongly for me in my opinions of a man. I still have trouble calling Einstein "great" when I know he practially abandoned his wife and sons.
I think that I fundamentally disagree with the idea that stamping down with the Iron Heel is the way to make America safer. Crushing resistance has always and only just caused resentment and bitterness to grow. I still haven't figured out how what Jesus said fits into international politics and wars: "But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."
I'm also worried about the neoconservatives, and the Christian right. I want church and state to stay separate. I don't like the mixing of the two. I'm not sure quite what to think of the PNAC conspiracy theories, but it certainly does sound a bit like Bush's cabinet wanted a war in Iraq or somewhere in the region even before the 2001 terrorist attacks.
I'm worried a bit about foreign debt. In general, recent conservatives tend to increase the deficit more than liberals. Yes, you read that right. We can't continue borrowing forever. I believe you should pay what you owe. I understand the need to stand behind our convictions, but sometimes I wonder if it's not a bit like saying, "I feel so strongly for the poor that I'm not going to stint in giving them your money." I'm not sure it's fair to ask our children to pay our debts. From what I understand (and I have a very limited understanding of it, Yugoslavia had a very prosperous, happy time spending on credit. For a while.
The abortion issue is still lurking... according to one report I found on the CDC web site, approximately 1.3�1.4 million abortions are performed per year in the US. That's a crazy huge number. I actually can't really think about it or imagine it properly. I feel like if I could actually realize what it meant, I would be a wreck. I would almost vote for Bush just because he seems to oppose abortion.
Guantanamo is the thing that still disturbs me the most. If America really believes in a right to a fair and speedy trial, and all that other stuff that we claim is undeniable and self-evident, then why are they trying to slide their way around the rules to imprison people indefinitely? Okay, so they're not US citizens. Okay, so it's not technically US soil. You might even agree that the Geneva Convention doesn't apply. But when you twist things so that you can obey the letter of the law while contravening its spirit, you send a message that you don't really believe those things. You're basically saying that you can mistreat others but others better not mistreat you, or you'll beat them up. It no longer has anything to do with beliefs about human beings, with right and wrong. Just imagine that among the dozens and dozens of inmates there, there are a handful of ordinary people who were arrested too. Imagine that happening to your father. If I were in charge, I would be in an agony to get things sorted out, to have speedy trials, to send the innocent and accidentally included home to their wives and children and fathers and mothers. I don't understand it at all. It bothers me deeply. I have woken up in the early morning thinking about it. I would almost vote for Kerry just to get those people out of there.
So, right now, today, I think I am going to vote for John Kerry. I like Bush a lot more, but I don't like the way America is behaving.
Today, I turned 29. Bevin insists this is old. I keep telling her it's not that old - for a guy!. Tonight, we are going to have dinner at an Ethiopian Restaurant with the Conways (Tom and Sue, not Chris and Andreja). Hopefully we'll get to hang out with Pam a bit too.
On Tuesday, I bought a piano. It's a Yamaha U1 - the same model I grew up with. It's funny - it's almost identical. I sat down, and it looked and felt completely familiar. Even the locks and lettering are in exactly the same places.
Now I just need to buy a couch!
Yesterday, I helped a couple of the neighbourhood kids fix flat bike tyres. I accidentally also let a bunch of kids into my house to run around and bang on the windows until I waved, etc. Turns out telling them they had to knock before entering was not clear enough - they simply knocked and entered while I sat in the driveway fixing the bikes and thinking, "Oops."
I'm afraid fixing those two bike tyres may constitute a binding agreement with the neighbourhood kids. I think I need to buy a few more repair kits...
Sunspots and Email Outages
Hi all. I have had a couple of people comment that they also saw a spot on the sun, so I guess it's official! Thanks for the email. Unfortunately, right after checking my email a few days ago, I unplugged my computer and took it over to my new house, where I have no internet connection (yet). So if you've emailed me at my zellyn.com email address, I'll get back to you eventually, once I set up a couple of wireless routers properly!
Other than that, things are going well. I was considering having a house-warming party on the 3rd of September, but it seems that is a holiday weekend, so I might do it on the 10th. Let me know if that sounds good. But don't use email!
Actually, you can email me at: z h u n t e r @ c d c . g o v
Busy, busy, busy!
I have spent more time in stores in the past two and a half weeks than I have in the rest of my life combined! You cannot imagine how many things you have to buy for a new house. This past weekend, Ash helped me lay out soak hoses in the garden, so at least I can stop worrying about all my plants dying. I may still lose one or two (they look pretty stressed), but hopefully they'll recover.
This morning on the way to work, it was very foggy (well, smoggy, I suppose). It makes for beautiful sunrises. The sun was hanging there like a huge peach. And there was a little dark spot on it, which stayed there and didn't move. I think I was seeing a sunspot! Crazy, huh?
On the radio this morning, I heard about the new president of Haiti, who, listening to the radio from his retirement home in Florida, learned that he had been elected president, and flew back to Haiti post haste! He sounded like a very nice man.
Well, that's it for now. I need to get back to work, so I can leave early and be home when the washer and dryer are (finally, hopefully) to be delivered.
Well, I am the proud owner of a new house. It is beautiful, and I am very happy with it. I am thankful to God, and amazed at his kindness. Tonight I will attend the neighbourhood association meeting (first Thursday of the month) and sleep in East Point for the first time, in a sleeping bag. Tomorrow morning I will fight traffic to get to work for the first time. Tomorrow night and Saturday I will probably do some moving.
Consider this a public invitation to come visit.
I live about five minutes from the Atlanta airport. I have three bedrooms, and need only one. I grew up with all sorts of people visiting us, and I miss it. If you or any of your friends is traveling through Atlanta, you are welcome to stay at Hotel East Point for the night. I want my home to be open to anyone to visit. Just give me a few weeks' notice so I can buy some furniture!
No pictures, just news
Actually, I have a couple more pictures of the house, including the deck and the stonework along the ground, but I don't feel like slicing and dicing them and uploading them!
Things are about to get quite busy. I should close in less than two weeks. Crazy. There is a lot that I have to get done before then. It will be a little strange to move out of this house after living here for four and a half years, but I can't wait to be settled down in East Point.
Last I went to dinner with Ash and Carrie after rehearsing music for church. While we were sitting ordering Thai food, the baby kicked, and set Ash and Carrie off talking about being parents in just six weeks. I'm sure I will be doing my fair share of babysitting - it's going to be fun to be neighbours!
Blame Danny Gregory: Last Friday, I bought some watercolor paints, paper, liners, and a brush. Of course, I've only painted once so far. But I'm looking forward to learning. Go check out that site.
Last Sunday, Bevin and I decided to take advantage of the fact that we were already dressed up, and try to get a couple of decent pictures of ourselves. I think they came out pretty okay. (Click pictures for large versions)
I like this one better:
This one is a better picture of Bevin, but makes me look a bit like an animatronic robot (note the relaxed posture):
Isn't she lovely?
Here's my house as it looked yesterday. Tonight I am going to run ethernet cable to all the phone/cable jacks, and this weekend they should have it drywalled. I'm sure things will slow down horribly after that! Unfortunately, Mike the Builder turned away as I took the picture! Maybe I'll get a better shot next time.
Bevin is out of town this week, and I miss having her around. She's doing a stream restoration project up in North Carolina.
On Thursday and Friday, they framed my house. Here's a view from the window in the front room. The house on the left with the car parked outside of it is Ash and Carrie's house.
Here's the house itself. Trust me, it'll look a lot nicer when it's done. For one thing, I'm going to see if they can move that dumpster out of the way...
Okay, here's a better one. After a trip to Whole-Paycheck...
Yes, the Happy Birthday banner has been hanging up since Donna Marie's birthday party...
After dinner, Bevin, Andy and I went to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night. As with Adaptation, I felt strongly affected by it and couldn't figure out what I thought right away. It was good, though. I'm always dying for Jim Carrey to do serious movies — I think he is quite talented, and doing only silly stuff doesn't stretch him.
Okay, so mom has been bugging me to post something on my blog. Like a picture of my new house, or of Bevin, or something, anything! So Mom, here's a combo - Bevin at the new lot. The colours are awful, since my camera decided to focus on the sky and leave everything else dark, resulting in much tweaking in the GIMP — no, Bevin is not completely pink in real life...
"At one point, right after September 11, I was singing this song and looking at the stars. I'd made it out of the city. As I was singing, this voice came to me and said, "God isn�t coming now, but he�s pretty close." I don't really mean this in a religious sense, but there was something in me writing that song that had a connection to the universe. And I realized there was going to be a lot of darkness before there was light, but that it�s going to be okay. I think a lot of people have that feeling now — either that, or they're watching reality shows. When I went to record "Beautiful Child," I wanted it to be uplifting. It's a happy apocalypse. It's about redemption." — Rufus Wainwright
I haven't heard that album yet, but I might have to. My coworker Alan lent me Poses, and I finally thought I should listen to it properly before I gave it back. The first time through was so-so, but the second time through, it stuck. In fact, I've had the whole album stuck in my head for the last couple of days. "The Tower of Learning" is ridiculously cool. Very weird album, but it grows on you.
His comments about his latest album, Want One, echo the Ten Shekel Shirt comments about four-letter words — their albums are Much (fantastic) and Risk (haven't heard it yet).
When I was little, I was fascinated by the fact that grownups could carry full cups of tea, and even trays with several teacups on them, without spilling. I would try to hold the cup as steady as possible, but could never achieve that totally smooth, totally level control that left the liquid undisturbed. I put it down in the category of things that grownups could do but kids couldn't, not having had years of practice.
Well, today I was walking back from the watercooler, cup in hand, when I happened to glance down at the unruffled surface of the water lying there so close to the brim. Cha-ching! All the waiting was rewarded. Life is good.
Sometimes I really like getting older — many of the things I used to worry about or struggle to get almost right just sort of work themselves out over time.
After thinking vaguely about it for months, I finally decided to buy a house. As with almost everything else I've done in my life so far, I didn't shop around properly.
Norma, who has renovated fifteen or so houses in Eagan Park, including Ash and Carrie's house, built one new house. It is beautiful, and I was really taken with it. However, I also really liked Ash and Carrie's street, and their neighbours, and the new house was about 1/3 to 1/2 a mile away, and on a busier street. No big distance, and still really close, but not close enough to see people hanging out on the porch playing guitar and hop over for a beer. I explained my dilemma to Norma, and couldn't believe it when she offered to build me the same house on their street! I spent Friday afternoon in amazement thanking God for his ridiculous kindness, told everyone who would listen about it all weekend, and signed a contract on Monday. Norma says she can have it done by July 20th, which I think is crazy, since it's an empty lot right now. So yeah, I'm having a house built for me... crazy, huh?
I'm hoping to take a picture each week, so I can get that whole time-lapse house-building thing going on. And the full geek details (overhead hi-resolution ortho-photo from seamless.usgs.gov, GPS coordinates, etc.) will come soon!
Eagan Park is right next to the airport, but on the northern side, so the planes don't fly overhead - all the runways are oriented East-West. It's a small, self-contained little neighbourhood, with quiet-ish streets where kids can play and all that stuff. East Point is not huge, but it has several interesting places to eat - Bevin and I have tried a couple on Wednesdays before our small group, and it's not uncommon for the small group itself to ditch our scheduled programme and head out somewhere for a drink (the Corner Tavern on St Patrick's Day, and the Brake Pad last week). The wait-folk know Ash and Carrie by name - how sweet is that?
"we are visiting a guy who didn't recieve his papers. Calendar show that something was planned for a Saturday in April 26. Judging by stuff that he left at the door, he obviously went for fishing."
"I wonder how this guy feel, who once went for a fishing trip and who was not able to return home. It is like you life is cut on two pieces. in one is you slippers still under you bed, photos of a first love that left on piano.. in other is you yourself, you memories and a fishing rod."
http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed — you should check this site out now.
Last night, I was up until after midnight - we were practicing Irish music for tonight's (early) St. Patrick's Day party at the Robbins residence. We're doing some jigs and reels, a couple of Waterboys songs, three U2 tunes (hey, they're Irish, right?), and - best of all - four by the Pogues. For sheer all-out fun, the Pogues can't be beat. I have listened to the CD Abe made for us countless times - they sing so badly, and the music is so messy that it took a half dozen listens before I could even figure out the chords. Good stuff - I can't wait!
After that last post, I got this email from Trent:
I saw your latest post... I propose combining all your song bits into an Irish sounding worship anthem for a country boy band... Something like Revival in Belfast meets Lynrd Skynrd, but with more teen / preteen accessibility... The music video could have some extreme worship clogging segments...
In the last two or three days, I have come up with the following:
As usual, they're only all fragments, with nothing complete... but they are mostly written down so I could play them later. Unfortunately, things usually sound bad when I play them later.
Well, I survived the first day in the new office, feeling a little groggy. I'm in that better get enough sleep or you'll get sick phase at the moment. Now I'm just relaxing, checking email, and listening to music by Reeve - good stuff.
Tonight I watched regular television for the first time in a while: Star Trek the Next Generation, which shows on Spike TV. Judging by the commercials, Spike TV is the network for stereotypically immature men. With the avalanche of Valentine's Day spots urging me to spend money interleaved with swimsuit model show ads, I decided it was more healthy to leave the room between segments, and managed to successfully wash the dishes, make a cup of tea, and do my laundry while enjoying Star Trek on TV. See, now in England, you couldn't do that - there just aren't enough breaks, and they're too short!
Okay, I'm off to see what God and my journal have to say to me tonight, and to continue the most fascinating journey through the fourth chapter of Hebrews by one more sentence.
On watching a movie
When I talked to Reeve about Big Fish, he said it was one of his favourite movies ever. That added to my feeling that I hadn't adequately savoured the film the first time around: missing the first twenty minutes made it difficult.
So before I went to see it again, I let myself indulge in a little anticipation to get in the right frame of mind, and even shot off a quick prayer that I would appreciate and enjoy the movie properly. Well, the first twenty minutes turn out to be rather important. And the movie was even better the second time around than the first, earning a current place on my "favourite n movies of all time" list!
Some may think it strange to talk with God about enjoying a movie, or to take it so seriously. But enjoyment is important; the battle to experience and appreciate rather than observe and evaluate is one I have fought often, and won more by grace than by determination. The capacity to feel, to believe, to perceive the myth and the magic and the story, to risk — this is what the struggle is for. And the victories, indeed my very life, I owe to God, and to a small collection of godly people who have shown me and reminded me and put up with me when I forgot.
I'm avoiding doing my taxes, blogging. Sorry for the recent lack of substance: writing on a website is easy when you have a lot going on, exploring places, doing interesting things; writing on a website is hard when you have a lot going on, exploring feelings, learning interesting things. My journal is getting all the action at the moment.
Pictures! That's the trick! Here's me up in Ellijay:
Movies! I'm going to see Big Fish this weekend - I'm looking forward to seeing it again. Especially the first fifteen or twenty minutes - last time we were waiting for a friend who had already gone into the theater! It was a fun experience though.
Alright, taxes are calling my name. Time to give my money to the man.
Tonight, I went with some friends from church to see Waiting for Godot. It was my first time to see the play, and I thought it was excellent. Being in a philosophical frame of mind — I'm also listening to Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind on tape, thanks to Andy — I ordered a used copy of Bloom's translation of Plato's Republic. We'll see how long the interest in the great dialogue lasts. If it holds, I'm inevitably (and eventually) going to wind up reading Nietzsche. Echhhhh. ;-)