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PODCAST 01

Podcast 01 MED

FINALLY!!  THE PODCAST!!  Episode one of PODCAST 01 is up!

It’s a prototype, it’s very dodgy, it’s something I’ve been putting off for over a year so finally I said to myself, “SELF, GET MOVIN’!”  So I did and the first episode is up.

STREAM:

DOWNLOAD FOR ITUNES:
https://www.mediafire.com/?88dxyk4bmsfw6q8

Playlist:
Good Vibrations
Show Me How To Live
Leave
The State of Massachusetts
Barrel of a Gun
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
Aerofunknamics
Don’t Mess Around With Jim

Enjoy!

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Out The Window

Well, there went that idea – blogging regularly.

Ah, well, here we are, post 2 in the new year! Yes, 2014 is only 23 days old, so that’s still new.

I am in my first real new place – the Philippines! I’m on mission with my military organization (the associative “my” not the possessive) and it’s new, yet similar. It’s helpful in keeping up with my One Resolution in that creativity is built into the job; it’s my responsibility to take pictures and to take them well, so there’s that!

I’ve yet to fully engage in the other creative endeavors, but one rendition each will be done! Perhaps podcasting and YouTubing from another country – the novelty of it – will be enough to get me off my heiny and get it done.

I finally purchased my first full Daft Punk album! “Discovery” – I say “finally” because after listening to it I wonder how it is I didn’t come across it before now – I LOVE that music!

Alright – this is not a very interesting post because it doesn’t dig very deep. At the moment I am a bit sleepy but I here is a post because it needed to be done.

And we’ll continue again soon….

Change is in the Air

…who’s throwing pennies??!

Ah – hello and welcome back. 🙂  

I’ve been out and about experiencing much of what life has to offer; mostly the shit end.  While that end of things is generally unpleasant I feel as though I’ve emerged with a bit more strength, resolve and sense of direction.

Hence, the title change!  I was inspired while watching The Princess Bride last night.  “Poor, Lost Circus Performers” would be a great band name, but I’m not in a band so I figured I’d use it for the blog.  In that, it’s not meant to be a simple grab at recognition or attempt to be clever, but it kind of fits….

And I’m also not trying to be a sadsack, feeling sorry for myself either; it’s merely embracing the reality of the situation.

POOR – when you look at the reality of it, life sucks.  But when you embrace that, then you can enjoy the goodies!  So, poor, yeah.  I’m not financially impoverished, just poor in spirit more often than not – melancholy – that’s the metaphorical droid I’m looking for.

LOST – I know where I am in life, but more often than not I find myself wondering, “How the fuck did I get here…?!”  And while I have an idea of where I’m headed, who knows where I’ll be in the future?  Who on earth truly does?  If you’ve solved this mystery, please, let the rest of us in on the secret.

CIRCUS PERFORMER – life’s a stage; or a circus!  And everyday we put on our costumes and make-up and get out there to put on a show for the crowd watching – a.k.a. EVERYONE.  Many of us sleep in our costumes, too.  Some of us put ourselves out there more than others, but we all fall under some measure of scrutiny and we all want to be the best we can be.  We’re all performing in the circus of life.

My one and only resolution for 2014 is to be me like I’ve never been me before.  Gusto is involved with that.  I don’t intend to try and shock everyone for the pure sake of shocking people (my fingers would get mighty tired if I tried that and I already feel arthritis setting in), but already, with this personal decision, some relationships have dramatically changed.  And that’s going to happen here.

Part of being me is writing.  I’ve been denying too much of myself for the sake of others and the blog has suffered for that.  

Part of being me is putting out content; there’s a podcast idea or two as well as a web series stuck in development hell (that of my own brain, locked up by my insecurities and fears) that will finally see the light of day.

So, that’s that.

For those who dig it, I hope you enjoy it and that we can have some good exchanges of ideas.

For those who don’t, fare thee well!

Cliff

Merry Christmas!

Goodness gracious, lots has happened since last post…

But for now, Merry Christmas!

Here’s my annual(ish) Christmas video for 2013:

PETER BISHOP IS JESUS

OKAY – spoilers ahead, and the use of the F-bomb.  It’s only once, and it’s not gratuitous, but it’s there because I believe it aptly describes its contextual object to the degree it needs to.  Just want to let you know ahead of time.

Now, the spoilers are kind of old spoilers, but I know there are folks out there who have yet to watch the excellent TV series Fringe.  However, they’re not major spoilers…like, when I encountered the plot and subplots I’m about to get into the first time, I kind of knew what was going to happen – or rather what wasn’t going to happen.

However, what I do aim to discuss gets a little deeper into the stories…so if you want to draw your own conclusions or if you simply want to experience it all for yourself, by all means, turn away.  However, if you wish to continue, I welcome you with open virtual arms.

SCROLL DOWN TO AVOID SPOILERS

 

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An image from the episode(s) in question.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay – this should be good enough.

The story I’m specifically referencing deals with the season three finale and most of the overarching plot of season four.

In the two part season three finale Peter activates THE MACHINE, believing it’s meant to destroy one of the two universes; he chooses the blue universe because it’s the one he grew up in. 

BAM!

Flash-forward however many years it was and we go through that whole thing about how the universes are inextricable, how one can’t live without the other, and how now the blue universe is dying because of the annihilation of the red one.  Loved ones die and Walter and Peter figure out a way to save everyone with some clever use of time travel.

Peter returns to the moment of destiny and instead of destroying one universe and saving the other, he bridges the universes, melding them together in a new way; since they had already been thrown out of kilter and the natural bonding was eroding, it took Peter’s unnatural process, his outside intervention to fix it.

BAM!

And then, after the universes are bridged, ZAP! Where’d Peter go?  It’s as if he never existed!  But then, after a time, he comes back.  No one knows him, but after awhile, they come to know and love him again.

So how is Peter Bishop’s character a messianic figure in Fringe?  And why does it matter?  I’m so glad you asked!

Well, I was just reading from Ephesians this evening and in chapter 2, verses 14-18 the language kind of jumped out at me.  It also helps that I just recently finished rewatching season four, so I kind of have Fringe on the brain (love that show!). 

Talking about Jesus, Paul says:

He Himself is our peace, Who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.  His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross by which He put to death their hostility.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Now, it’s not a perfect illustration – there never really is, but it’s darn close!

Peter makes the two disparate, warring universes one and destroys the barrier between the two.   Instead of ripping crippling holes in the universes when people cross over, all they have to do is “cross the bridge”.  And though it’s not an instantaneous peace between both worlds, they begin to work toward healing – not only the structural integrity of the universes, but personally, between the people.  Olivia and Fauxlivia come to like and respect one another.  Broyles and his counterpart admire and respect one another; and even Walter and Walternate come to be friends by the end of it.

See??  Jesus destroyed the barrier between the two worlds – between the world of the physical world and the spiritual – between the domain of men and the domain of the Divine.  And when we first cross that bridge, we’re not instantly chummy with God – it takes time to build that relationship, it takes time to learn that we can trust Him and even love Him.

No one’s a “professional” Christian right out of the gate; we’re all still stumbling along, trying always to make sense of this thing called grace, struggling between the life we used to live and the life promised to us.  Old habits die hard and none harder than the ones of self-reliance ingrained into our souls since birth.  At times we can easily run headlong into Jesus’ arms; mostly though, we’re timid, nervous…

And then Peter’s disappearance…Jesus was gone for a time, and when He came back He wasn’t instantly recognized by everyone.  It took time for even His own disciples to accept the reality that, “Hey!  Our best friend and leader is back!  And…He’s weirdly awesome in a new way….”

Now, it’s not easy to say, necessarily, that one universe is the Divine and one the Damned, however, after some thought I’ll posit that in this case perhaps the red universe represents God’s world and here’s why: it was pride on behalf of the blue universe that made the first hole between worlds which started the whole mess.  The folks in the red universe had no clue about the blue.  Is the red universe perfect?  Heck, no!  But just as God did nothing to provoke us, the blue universe couldn’t leave well enough alone and messed with the laws of nature as Adam and Eve did when tempted by pride, and thus the need for a savior.

In Fringe’s case, Peter; in reality’s case, Jesus.

Again, it’s not a perfect translation or metaphor, but it’s there and I think it’s awesome whether the writers intended it or not.

So onto the second question: why does it even matter?

Well, the Greatest Story Ever Told is that humanity basically fucked itself but God said, “That’s not going to ruin My plan” and He sent Jesus to die in our place so that the relationship between humanity and Jehovah could be restored.  All, yes, I put forth that all stories to some degree echo from that story – some more than others, some more clearly than others, hence my qualifier of “to some degree.”  Stories of redemption?  How about Christ’s redemption of humanity?  Stories of sacrifice?  How about Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice?  Love stories?  How about a love that crosses all boundaries of reality to be with the beloved?  Stories of betrayal?  Humanity’s stabbing God in the back, spurning His love.  Happy ending stories?  How about living in heaven as a happy ending?  Stories of tragedy?  What greater tragedy than that of sin and its debilitating effects on the human spirit?

So, there it is.  That’s how I see it, I hope you can at least consider it.  You don’t have to follow my line of thinking, but it is another way of looking at things.

In the beginning God spoke, and we’re all echoing back to Him until history catches up and He returns…

Meeting Mr. Jenkins

The following is a short story I wrote a few years ago.  It’s not my best work, but I think it fits the holiday…HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

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Meeting Mr. Jenkins

Paul Marcus was ready to go home.  Tuesday, January 15th was the longest day he had ever spent at work.  Come Tuesday evening, Paul wished he could have forgotten everything about it and never worry about it again.  As he went to catch his bus, he tried to remember something but had a hard time doing so.

At 8:15 he arrived at the bus stop.  At 8:22 he wondered why there wasn’t anyone else waiting there; at 8:23 he remembered this particular bus line stopped running at 7:30.  Had he more energy Paul would have cursed the fates but instead he let out an ironic laugh and slouched so far on the bench that he nearly fell off.  Chuckling to himself, Paul sat back up and just decided to remain there, watching the cars go by, not even really thinking about anything let alone a way to get home; by this point he wasn’t in any hurry.

Paul’s watch alarm went off at nine.  He was supposed to be meeting his girlfriend at the museum but after today he knew that he would never be meeting her again.  A sigh evaporated into the night air as he cancelled the alarm.  Staring off into nothing, Paul didn’t notice the elderly gentleman sit down on the other end of the bench.

“Good evening, young man.”  Paul nearly jumped out of his skin.  His sudden movement startled the greeter.  “Jumpy fellow, aren’t you?”

At the other end of the bench sat a man of no less than 75 years, yet who exuded a youthful spirit.  He had a kind face and a bald head.  He wore wire-rimmed glasses, like a grandpa would wear, and was dressed in an ash-gray suit with a red bowtie.  The older man had an old-fashioned briefcase set upright in his lap with his arms resting on it.

“Sorry,” apologized Paul.  “I didn’t see you there.”

“Quite alright,” the man warmly replied.  “You look as though you’ve had a long day.”  Paul nodded.  “Well, you’re going to have a longer night if you stay here; this bus stops running everyday at 7:30.”

Paul smirked, “Yeah, I suddenly remembered that at eight thirty.”

The older man chuckled, “That sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen until you get to be about my age!”  Paul smiled; he noticed that in spite of the weight of the day’s events, his mood seemed to lift while talking to this guy.

“So why are you here?” asked Paul.  The older man told him he had arranged for his ride to pick him up from that stop.  Paul acknowledged with a nod and then just sat in silence, not sure what to say next.

“You could ask me what I do,” the man suggested.

Paul felt a little foolish and said, “Right, sorry – what do you do?”

“You go around asking strangers what they do?  What are you, some kind of nutcase?”  The older man let out a hiss of a laugh that turned into an old man’s guffaw.  Paul wasn’t sure what to think.  The older man thrust out his left hand and said, “The name’s Jenkins, Thomas G. Jenkins.”

“I’m Paul Marcus,” Paul replied, taking Jenkins’s hand and shaking it.  “Good grip,” he remarked.

“I may be older, but that doesn’t mean I’m old!” Jenkins shot back followed with another hiss-guffaw.

“Right,” Paul said, still not sure what to think.  “So now that I know you, what do you do?”

Jenkins replied, “You know, you can talk to a man for days on end, learn his name, his habits, his history and know volumes about him, but never really know him.”  Paul processed this and nodded slowly.  “But I’ll tell you what I do: I start conversations.”  He smiled and winked at Paul who was even more puzzled at this point.

“Are you some kind of salesman?”  Jenkins considered that for a moment, looking up and around with his eyes and slowly bobbing his head back and forth.

“You could say that.”  Paul felt as though he was being baited, but aside from the verbal exchange he had with his former boss, this was the only conversation all day that didn’t start off with yelling.

“Door-to-door?” Paul continued.

“Heavens no; man on the street,” Jenkins replied proudly.

“What do you mean?”

Jenkins opened his mouth to answer, but then closed it as he reconsidered his response.  He then narrowed his eyes and looked straight into Paul’s.  “You’re what, 23, 24?”  Paul laughed quietly.

“Just turned 28.”  Jenkins narrowed his eyes even more, almost to the point of shutting them entirely.

“I’d say closer to 23,” he whispered.  Paul was almost certain this man was a loony.  He continued in his normal voice, “But you’re still pretty sharp; I think you can handle it.”

“Um, thanks?” Paul replied.  “And I can handle what?”

Jenkins’s smile went from kind to crafty and his eyes widened ever-so-slightly.  When he spoke, his voice took on a bit of a gravelly harshness, “What I do; who I am.”

Paul started to feel a little nervous but his curiosity got the best of him.

“Okay, who are you?  What do you do?”

The two sat silently, eyeing each other.  Finally, Jenkins answered.

“I’m a demon.”  Paul blinked.

“You sell life insurance?  Used cars?”  Jenkins laughed straight from the gut this time.  “Or do you sell stuff for the Deacons?”  The laughter died down and Jenkins asked what he was talking about.  “The basketball team; you know, the Demon Deacons, Wake Forest.”  Jenkins was genuinely puzzled for a moment and then realized what Paul was talking about and let fly another hearty laugh.

“No, no,” Jenkins said as he calmed his guffaws.  “I’m a demon.  I’m what some consider to be a ‘fallen’ angel.”

Another moment of silence passed between the two men.  Natural skepticism was brewing in Paul’s spirit.

“A demon from hell?”

“Goodness no, not as you understand the term, anyway; technically speaking, hell hasn’t even been constructed, yet.”  Paul felt as though his train of thought had derailed. 

“So…where do you…hang out?”  Jenkins was bemused with the question.

“I and my kind ‘hang out’ wherever we want.”  Paul nodded and wasn’t sure where to go next so he asked about his wings.  “Wings?”

“Yeah, aren’t demons supposed to have scaly wings?”

“Who says I don’t?” the old man countered mischievously.

“Well, I figured maybe you hadn’t earned yours, yet.”  The old man chuckled and slapped Paul’s shoulder; he thought he caught a whiff of sulfur.

“It’s your imagination,” Jenkins said offhand.

Paul had to think for a moment then asked, “What is?”

“The smell of sulfur; I don’t have any on me and I know my aftershave smells better than that.”  Paul did a double-take.

“Wait, I didn’t say anything about…”

“You didn’t have to; I heard your thought.”  A chill ran down Paul’s spine.

“You mean you can…?”

Jenkins had a faint smirk on his face.  “I can hear your thoughts.”  Paul felt his eyes swell with fear and disbelief.  “Don’t worry; it’s not something I do often.”

“I thought…I heard,” Paul stuttered.  “I heard once that demons can’t do that, only God can.”  The old man winced a little.

“So you’re not entirely ignorant of my world, eh?  Well, the old man is a bit more practiced at it than I, but no, he’s not the only one who can.”

“When…do you…?”

“When do I do it?” Jenkins asked.  “Whenever it’s useful (I didn’t do it just now, in case you were wondering; I merely guessed what you were asking).” 

“I’m going to need a little more convincing than that.”  Jenkins arched his eyebrow again.

“Would you like me to tell you of the time your uncle took you up to the mountain cabin when you were 12?”  Paul became as a statue.  “How about the time you caught Regina with your best friend?”

“What the-?” Paul whispered.

“Under construction,” Jenkins replied with a wink.

Paul turned his gaze forward and just stared into traffic.  After a couple of minutes the traffic petered out and all was quiet on the street.  “Hmm, now this is odd, isn’t it?”  Jenkins observed.  Paul could feel cold beads of sweat forming on his brow.

“Are you doing this?” he asked.

Jenkins chuckled, “No.”  He looked at Paul for a moment.  “You know, for a man of faith you sure seem uncomfortable.”

“Well, it’s not everyday you meet a demon.”

“You’d be surprised.” 

Paul had no response.  He asked, “Why are you doing this?”

“Talking to you?  I told you, it’s what I do; start conversations.”       

“Yeah, but…why me?  Why tell me all this stuff?  Are you…going…to…possess me?”  The night seemed to grow darker around Jenkins and the stars disappeared from the sky.  He leaned toward Paul and when he spoke his voice was low and deep and seemed to come from all around.

“Would you like me to?”  The question hung in the air like a corpse from a noose.

Paul’s face turned pale and he managed to squeak his answer: “No, thank you.”

Jenkins’s expression melted into a warm smile and the stars reappeared in the sky.  He sat back on the bench and said, “Very well.  I wouldn’t have been able to if either of us wanted to anyway.  You see, and don’t tell anyone I told you this, but I neglected to renew my license last May.  Besides, I’m getting too old for that kind of foolishness.”  Just then a car pulled up to the bus stop.  “Ah!  This would be my ride.  Can I give you a lift?”  Paul shook his head.  “Alrighty.  Have a good evening, Paul Marcus!  I doubt we’ll meet again.”  He stood up, got into the car, and rode away. 

Paul didn’t move from his spot until the paramedics found him the next morning.

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For a Good Cause – For a Friend

Regular posts will resume, er, begin soon enough, but in the meantime, I’d like to plug for my good friend Chris from Tennessee.

He works for Lucky Gunner Ammo as a media specialist type guy and we’ve known each other for about 10 years now.  We met in college and he was going for an art degree and wound up hating it and I convinced him to go for a degree in broadcasting, which was my major.  Now he has far surpassed me in the field in that he’s actually DOING it for a living and that’s awesome.

So now he’s entered this contest, designing a rifle, and if he wins he’ll be auctioning part of his prize from which the proceeds will be donated to assist a friend who’s adopting a child.

So here’s the link: http://ruger.com/micros/1022_50/index.html

Click on “VOTE NOW” and vote for Chris from TN.

Comment below on whether you did or didn’t vote and why – gun rights?  Adopting rights?  Left rights?  I’d like to hear from you!