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Monday, December 27, 2010

The Deep

What if you didn't just think that you didn't belong in the world you were in...

...you had proof.

Long, long ago i wrote a young adult fantasy. i'm in the process of rewriting it. Here's the link if you're interested.... really, really, really bored... and possibly are the recent recipient of a full, frontal lobotomy:

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Gospel of Tron

In the beginning was the User, and the User was a bumbling fool.

The Ballyhoo and i went to see Tron: Legacy the other night. While it's a visual feast, the story is devoid of calorie. It's a jelly donut where someone forgot the jelly. i was struck mostly by the obvious biblical metaphors. Small wonder, eh? Happ who studied archetypes in literature this year tells me that that's all it was. Disney just used the Bible as an archetype, a primitive model for their story. You can't read too much into it. Hmmm. Methinks me son misapprehends the power of story to shape idea and thought. Especially since i have been telling him the opposite of this since he was old enough to sit still while i spoke and it only took one teacher with a different story in one class to change his mind.

God Himself knows the power of narrative. That's why the Bible exists. It's the story we need to know if we are to know Him.
"105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path." Psalm 119
Words are lamps. They light up the soul of the speaker or the writer. They illuminate what's going on inside. That's why a lie has such power. It clouds the viewer's eye's with false light, false images. It misrepresents the soul of the liar... until the lie is laid bare. It's why the Bible is attacked so viciously, so often. Atheists want more than anything to prove it false. To expose the lie they see it as. The lie their faith is based upon. If it's not a lie then they are much to be pitied.

The Satan is known as the father of lies. He knows that the best lies have nearly eighty percent truth to them. He can quote scripture. Just take something true and suck the jelly out of it. Most folk won't dive in deep enough to notice anyway. Disney is not the devil but they seem to be about his work willfully or not. That's what they're stories show and Tron is perhaps one of their most obvious. Let's review shall we, (spoiler alert: i am not paying any attention to whether i give away the story, plot or twists of the movie so if you really don't want to know anything about it, don't watch the original Tron from the eighties.)

  • Kevin Flynn is God. He has the white clothes, the beard, the inscrutable mystic ideology and the power to create. He creates an entire universe within a computer and populates it with programs.
  • Programs are angels. We have Flynn's archangel, Tron and a new one he creates in his own image (literally) named Clu.
  • Clu is Lucifer. The best and brightest and obviously the most beautiful of all the programs. Flynn creates him to aid him in creating the Perfect System. The one that will bring light to all the universe, both in and outside the computer.
  • Obviously there has to be a fall. God and his angels can't just go on to create harmony and beauty. And here's where Disney really starts sucking the Jelly out and injecting silicone.
  • ISO's arrive. ISO's are people. Innocent yet wonderfully wise as Flynn describes them. ISO stands for Isometric algorithms. Which, as near as i can figure is what mathematicians use to discover things about stuff they don't understand by finding identical parallels between the mystery and already known areas of study. i say, "arrive" because that's how Flynn describes it. He didn't create them, the conditions were accidentally right for them to spontaneously form. Translation: there is a God but we evolved without his actual design.
  • Flynn is enthralled with the ISO's. He forgets about his original ideas and henceforth, CLU. CLU becomes jealous and overthrows Flynn. Translation: Lucifer is God's fault cause he's absent minded and callous. Lucifer has a legitimate beef with God.
  • Kevin Flynn's son Sam shows up on the grid. Sam is Jesus. But he has no idea why he's here or what he's supposed to do. He want's to rescue, not people, but God, Flynn.
  • As a matter of fact, rescuing people/ISO's is gonna be a bit tough, cuz there's only one left, Quorra. Far from the outcast, downtrodden, poor and needy that Jesus came to, Sam is going to end up rescuing a pretty hot, pretty capable, pretty worthy critter who will help rescue Sam as well. Translation: God needs us as much as we need Him.
  • Cutting to the chase, literally, in the end, God has to sacrifice himself in order to kill Lucifer and allow Jesus and his chosen person to escape. Translation: Good and Evil are two sides of the same coin, God cannot exist without the devil and no matter what happens, we normal folk are probably better off without their interference anyhow.
So, i guess what i'm trying to say is, don't let pretty lights, pretty people, cool bikes and driving techno beats distract you from what the world is preaching every day. In that sense, Tron is a great movie with a great message.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Much and Little about Far, Much and Little

Words, more importantly, the definitions thereof, are vitally important to one's knees and back. Allow me to elucidate. Let's set the wayback machine for just last Saturday morning...

Rascal and i hit the trail that morning at around seven or eight. i didn't have Crocodile Dundee with me to tell me exactly and i didn't care enough to find out. At about nine-thirty Rascal asks, "are we almost there?"

"Almost where? Where do you think we're going?"

"Anywhere, I thought we were camping." i had to stop. He immediately sat down, something he was prone to do whenever i stopped walking. He thought we were camping. Here we were, on a mountain in a state forest with snow falling all around and backpacks the size of armoires. What was it he thought we were doing now?

"What is it you think we're doing now???"

"Hiking."

"That's camping!" i explained carefully with elaborate hand gestures for emphasis.

"I didn't think there was going to be this much walking." i wasn't doing anything at that moment so i had nothing to stop doing out of incredulity. i might have blinked. i doubt Rascal noticed. After talking for another couple of minutes with many more elaborate hand gestures for emphasis we arrived at the source of the problem.

Words. Specifically, the word "camping." Y'see, when i bite into the word "camping" i get the sensation of being on a mountain top, wind in my.. ON my scalp and the world at my feet. My dream is to get as far from civilization as possible, see as much as possible while bringing as little as possible. This may not have always been my feeling, it may have been heavily influenced by people: stealing my gear, blaring their radios, glaring their lights; a love of the wilderness and the movie "Last of the Mohicans." Where e'er it comes, it is burrowed deep within my heart now and is constantly pushing it into motion. Whether by canoe, motorbike, foot, horse or hamster team, that is my objective: Far, Much and Little. The mode of transportation of the Little is a means to an end. The making of camp: a vile necessity since i can't hike in the dark and tend to fall asleep if i walk, ride or row all day. Far, Much and Little, an objective i thought my youngest frick shared when on our last trip, where we made camp in the truck, it wasn't until we were taking a day hike down the gorge that he said to me, "Now it feels like a camping trip."

Assumption versus communication. The assumption was that Rascal and i shared a meaning. Communication, with elaborate hand gestures for emphasis whenever possible, revealed that what Rascal meant was... going into the woods some-where, making a semi-permanent campsite, striking out from said campsite with the goal of going to see some-thing and then returning to that same aforesaid campsite in the same afternoon, if not by lunch.

There's an African proverb that goes, "If you need to travel fast, go alone. If you need to travel far, go with friends." The American version would be something like, "If you need to travel fast, go by car. If you need to travel far, you're on your own."

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Plan?? There ain't no plan!

Yeah, camping trips rarely go according to plan... and that's all part of the plan. For you see, without opening yourself up to the potential for the nuisance, the crisis or the trial, you will never experience the spectacular, the amazing or the wonder. Or as Dori put it Finding Nemo, "If you never let anything happen to him, nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo."

F'rinstance:
  • Finding a quiet little private campground out of the way.
  • Waking up in the morning with muddy raccoon footprints all over my sleeping bag.
  • Seeing stars again. No really, you forget how many there are until you get away from the lights of the world.
  • Shooting stars.
  • A full moon so bright you mistake it for a manmade spotlight.
  • An entire church group throwing aside their dignity and jumping in the river. Frolicking like they got no sense.
  • A horseback ride where Wayward and i "accidentally" became separated from the group for a while and then got to gallop for a bit when we got caught.
  • Morning on the water with no one around and mist devils, little swirling fog tornados rising off the river all around our canoe.
  • The ride of the midnight snorter! Deer, apparently taken aback by men sleeping in their path to the river, running right through our camp in the middle of the night and then stopping and stomping on the other side while trying to figure out what the heck was that?! Not one night, but two in a row.
  • Listening to my sons laughing and tearing the heck out of the inside of the tent while i cook.
  • Starting a bison stampede with the thunder of the motorcycles and then outrunning it.
  • Finding Moose Drool. And enjoying it.
  • Finding an underground river. While still above ground.
  • Waking up to six inches of snow.
  • The mountains, the rivers, the sunsets, sunrises, the forests, deserts, lakes, skies, the secret glades and scenic valleys, furry critters, feathered critters, bugs, noises, music and silences that you will only find away from the things of men.
  • The highs and lows and mysteries and stories, the light and the darkness in the souls of companions, Ballisticat and Wayward and the Ballyhoo. Being there for each other when the trail becomes the trial. Griping at each other when the trail becomes the trial. Sharing the awe when surprised by the serendipitous. Staring into campfires at the end of a day, partly from wonder, partly from exhaustion. Wondering how people lived like this all the time? Wondering if we could? Wondering if our wives would let us. (That's not a typo. You don't need a question mark at the end of a question you know the answer to.)
  • Learning new meanings to old words like, "friend" and "home" and "dinner."
When i escape, when i go through the gate of the Great Northern Wall that we have built between us and the wilderness, i am physically representing my desire to cross the wall between us and God. To cast off my luxuries, my comforts, my security and put myself at His mercy. That requires risk. God is BIG! He's unpredictable. But He's also secret and intimate. That can be scary and that can be glorious. And that's the point. i want to go back to Eden. i know i can't. Not yet. But i sure do appreciate the glimpses.