Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ways to break these...

Kind of crazy today. Mostly packed. Shots not as big of a deal as I had thought they might be. And to reveal my inner nerdiness, my roommate got Babylon 5 : The Lost Tales on DVD today, so we watched that tonight. It was mostly decent, two short tales, the second better than the first.

Friday is the day...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Samson and the Detour

It's out of phase.

A lot of lasts have been happening to me over the past week. Last baseball game, we lost, but there was some good stuff happening. Last weekend, probably slacked a little too much, but... yeah. I went and talked to the dad who is going to take over the Jr. High boys ball team next year. Glad, knowing they'll be in good hands, but sad, since I won't be involved. Last Sunday at church, I got recognized up front. Which was nice, but it just reminds me of the different places I'll be. Last study last night, weird to think about. Xopher and I talked for way too long about football, since he doesn't get to pick my brain the rest of the year. Last day at work today. They had a nice lunch for me, got me a neat card, and a big box of Rolos (Folks, I don't know if they'll make it to Kabul. No, not the heat in the luggage, I just may weigh three pounds more when I get there... :)) But it's still lasts, still changing. Last accountability group tonight, which was just different to know I won't be there next week.

Two people said some things to me over the past couple of days, expressed in different ways, but true. One said that in ten years, I'll look back and realize that this upcoming experience has made where I am [in ten years] possible, and I wouldn't have been the same without it. The other said that God will change me in Afghanistan, and I will grow in ways that I would never have here. I know the first is true, and I hope that the second will become so, that I can hold up and grow during the process. I know He'll provide the doors, I must see them and walk through, out of me, and into who He wants me to be.

I found out today that I have to get some more shots than I was planning on. We'll see if I can get them in the... _three_ more days I have in America. PR that this won't be more than a hiccup, and I can get all the shots that I need.

Finally, Starflyer59 is perhaps the coolest band in the world. Silver and My Island are brilliant, brilliant albums. Even Jenna likes My Island, so you know that such work won't frighten small children and is indeed where it's at!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Altars Unsuspected

Well, I am in the process of packing. Actually, I am taking all of the stuff I bought today and inventorying it, and starting to plan how I'm going to pack it. Additionally, I am removing items from their original packaging, because I don't need to take cardboard dividers or stuff like that on the plane that counts toward my weight limit.

In a part of this process, I was noting that I now have a not inconsiderable pile of new socks. However, as daunting as this pile it, it pales in comparison to the pile of existing socks. Obviously, feet are important to me. A disclaimer, I didn't buy all of the socks that I have in the new pile. But still, I am responsible for them. Here is a video that displays my... collection.

I am thoroughly depressed by my consumptive nature, and took time out of the process to blog about my failure. I think I'm going to throw away any sock that is even slightly hole.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Cannot find the direction or the appropriate findings for the certain or the unclear. Accreditation. For unknown supremacy. For the last day of the season. A statement for the world to know and the aggression who are insolvent. The sightseeing and the surrendered frightening. Undertones of defensiveness. Northern and farther.

It wasn't my fault, of course. It was the fault of someone else. Unbeknownst to the friendliness of the sensation. Badgering and hoodwinked.

I got Boot Camp installed on the new MacBook. I still need to do some configuration, but it seems to be working fine.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Waves of puppetry


I am going to be taking my personal effects (which consist of: a jacket, a pull-over, my small tool set, headphones, and then a Bible and MP3 player that go home everyday anyway.) out of the office. On Monday morning, it's no longer my office, but will belong to my successor at Grain Belt. This is a bittersweet moment. I know that the transition to a different life is coming soon, but this has been a second home of sorts for the last two years.

I took my xkcd comics off the wall, cleared out a couple more old junker computers, and was somewhat sad.

I guess it's good that I travel and live fairly light.

I'm going up to Omaha to visit Duerksen tonight, he just got back from Alaska. Strange how intersections in life... intersect.

I'm getting all mopey. Time to hit the road.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

She's the queen...

I'm beating my head against a wall, trying to discover why my previously working software has suddenly gone poof, so I'm taking a break to blog here. I don't have anything of substance or of mediocrity to post, so instead I just go ahead and leave the inspiration to respiration, and post what comes to mind, which is usually toast.

It comes as no surprise that I, in point of fact, do not actually understand what is going on in my life, in the world, or in the reducing state that is my short remaining impending time here in America. Different people have different understandings and expectations of what my reaction to their question on, "Are you excited to be going?" should be. See, I've already processed all the excitement. I mean, I do get flashes of it, but mostly, it's just an accepted reality. I'm not the kind of person that really worries about today or even tomorrow. I worry about a year from now, five years, ten years. But at the same time, the immediate future does concern me. I guess perhaps I'm really just a person who controls the things that he worries about, and consciously or unconsciously varies those topics for worry. So perhaps the real question is, why do I change my answer? The answer is, I don't. I just have different answers at different points in time.

the other thing is that I'm going over to serve in different ways than people might normally expect. I'm not a people-oriented person. I am an information or task oriented person. I'm going over to enable others to do their jobs better, to be a background guy. I'm going to be behind the scenes, not really seen or with a role easily understood by some. I'm going to be invisible when the job goes right, and there when something goes wrong to pick up the pieces. But I won't be out in front or a vocal presence. This may contrast with what some people expect, and maybe I'm limiting myself, but I believe that we are used in ways that we don't explain or understand, and that many of those ways are extensions of the person whom we already are. And though I often desire a twisted sense of fame, I know that in myself I'm nothing but words of the meaningless.


Someone else is out there who will serve to fulfill the public, vocal roles. I'll be in the back, making sure they can concentrate on that.

In the end, if there were to myself and another person in a room, you could watch for a while, and quickly say that, "She's the queen..."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Whither invigoration....?

I got my new MacBook. In point of fact, I am typing this blog post on said MacBook. I am rather unfamiliar with the key layout for common tasks, but that's ok. I'm sure I'll get more used to it as it goes on... It has this semi-interesting integrated little camera, that lets you take wonky little pictures, so here, I provide you with one. I need to figure out Boot Camp so I can dual boot this puppy to XP, so I can use it when I need to.

Tonight, I played some soccer, first half, did ok. We were winning because we had a couple of the good high school kids scavenged over for us. I'm assuming they did fine the second half, I had to go because....

We had baseball, and I was semi-in charge. The kids played a good first inning, and good top of the second, but then we struck out 9 times in a row, and gave up lots of runs. Disappointing.

I guess I haven't really posted a lot about the rest of life recently, so, here, perhaps, goes.

I have a fair amount of work that should be completed shortly. I've got new guy here next week, so next week is going to be training him. Ten more days. Time seems to have gone by pretty fast. I'm probably not going to get everything done, but that's the way it goes. I'm fairly confident about the hands that I'll be leaving my work in, I think he has the tools and background to do a good job, probably a much better job than I could do. Some people might dispute that statement, but this guy is going to be pretty good.

I'm trying to get all of my paperwork sorted, stuff sent, scanned, supernumerated...

I am struggling to understand the role that I am going to be undertaking upon my arrival there, with regards to my approach to others. I'm not an outgoing person, really, and tend to be insular and not necessarily needing to be involved in all of the latest and greatest activities. This presents something of a conundrum, as I will be involved with a fairly small community, one that will naturally try to draw me in. This makes me worried that perhaps if I do not fit in as well as I would like, I will not necessarily be able to adjust as well as some others could, and that I might turn some people off because I'm not hyper talkative, and can be fairly obtuse at times.

I also sometimes wonder about my ability to cope in a foreign culture.

This post is getting heavy, it's getting late, and I think perhaps the thing for me to do at this point is conclude it and say, adroitly, abstraction.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Some like the fall, but I prefer french lasagna, baby!

Well, my days of taking me seriously are definitely coming to a middle.

I already feel a little weird for buying a MacBook. I justified it because, since they're Intel-Based these days, I can run XP on it just fine, and the specs were the same or less expensive than a similarly equipped Dell or $VENDOR laptop. And, since it seems like a lot of school-type folks run Macs, getting more familiar with OS X would be a plus.

But seriously, did it have to ship from CHINA!!?!?

I guess this puts my espoused globalism to the test. I mean, China? I would have been ok with Taiwan or HK, but the PRC? I wish I was economically boosting some other country.

Thus ends the hipster rant.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I like your monograph.

To all those who keep running:

The days grow short, with the future anticipation holding promise and sway.
The time grows long when that future is does delay.
The nights are combed and surrounded by the void, the void where it never snows.
The moments are related to sound, that of a small bird, whose voice just knows.

Trends from yesterday gave way to finds of silver and gold.
Wings grew tired and the once proud failed to soar or be bold.
Fashion statements just proved to be a truth in a landscape softly lit.
Feathered by aniseptic colors and redoubled efforts of the mentally fit.

Leave here a stranger.

Monday, July 09, 2007

My head without antimatter

And... my visa is in Salina! It should get delivered today, I hope.... that would be ridiculously awesome.

Also, I succumbed to more vanity and bought a new laptop yesterday. It should get here this week.

Finally, I type short paragraphs.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pair of splicers


I found this article fascinating, and very much worth reading. It's a challenge to try to differentiate cultural perspectives, but I think there are some very valid points here. We really can't just pour money into Africa blindly, but we need to have some accountability and foster a sense of responsibility for personal survival and sustenance. It's easy to think that our money will help, but if all we ever do is give money to bail people out of problems blindly, it's not going to give them the skills or abilities to deal with the problems the next time they come around. Education is usually better (but you would think I would say that, based on where I'm headed) for a longer-term solution. Of course, that has it's own socio-economic problems, but what doesn't?

And just to prove I'm not always serious, a line of Star Wars dialogue!

From Episode 4.5:

VADER: Are you the half-wit responsible for putting that thermal exhaust port on the Death Star?

ENGINEER: Yep. Are you the quarter-wit who told the PLANET-DESTROYING space station to get clear of the PLANET before attacking the rebel base?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

nothing could be my ampersand

Ah, the decadence of summer. The bright sun, the slow burn of stellar reactors. The warm wind, driving around with the windows down, secure in the knowledge that comfortability is not far off. Blanket statements, covered refuges.

Aggregates of hospitality and licensees of our wildest dreams combine together to form some single synthetic closure to the cool days of spring. Wind and rain come together to leave their mark, and disperse like a wild flock of geese at the sound of a gun.

Into the breach, once more we venture. Not foolhardy or relegated to the direction of inadequacy, quite the opposite, we are not to be still and timid, but the brave, the free.

And I forgot just why today's so yellow, it makes me smile.
It's hard to find, it's hard to file, the will in all the while.

Soon, this national unit in which I reside will commemorate the short existence that it has enjoyed. Yet somewhere between the light and the sound, there holds in time a moment. A moment wherein to sit and reflect.

Though all of this may pass away, though everything we know will someday fall and be changed, there is a call to difference. No composure or completion could be gained, except through one name, one gift from God, one Son, one sacrifice, one path. Him alone, and none other, for we are recipients, not actors in any way.

There is no other name given among men whereby they might be saved. Not by right, nor by might, but by the blood.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The bright stars shining to meet the needful

I should go to bed, especially seeing as how I just got back from Memphis after driving 10+ hours to get there on friday, and 10+ hours to get back today. But the old, can't sleep Russ is back, os here I am, sitting in front of my computer, typing away on ye olde bloge. I don't think anyone even reads this anymore, so maybe I'm writing just to satisfy my own wiring.


I'm starting to get scared. Get scared of leaving. Get scared of changing from my admittedly comfortable and predictable lifestyle. Get scared of moving to a different type of job. Get scared because I go to one day of this two week training session right in the middle because I didn't really want to go to a two-week training session with x hundred people I really don't know, but yet felt I should go to some, and then when I get there, I predictably feel awkward and out of place because I'm me and I don't like meeting new people, and because they've all been there for a week, they're all teachers, and Russ is just Russ, insecure, awkward, columnar, abrasive, yeah. Get scared because I am suddenly beginning to doubt if I'm doing this for the right reasons. Get scared because I'm quitting my job, I'm quitting my job, and I've only really got a five month plan, I have no idea what's going to happen afterward.

It would help if I actually understood this whole thing. Sometimes, when people ask me, "are you excited?", I want to answer, "Honestly? No. I'm really not sure why I said yes I would do this, because I am not experienced or skilled at this job, and I have no idea how to, or if it is even possible that I can, survive in a foreign culture." Sometimes, when people ask me, "Are you excited?", I want to answer, "Honestly? I can't wait to go. I really hope that I will be willing and available to be used by God to do some awesome work, and I know I will have a fantastic experience."

I can't identify with people, I have virtually no ability to have a real conversation with just about anyone outside of a few certain people if the conversation isn't directly task focused, I can't speak any other language, I'm culturally bound up in myself. I have skills, I have energy, I can do anything I put my mind to, I have been put in this place by God, I want to be used by him.

I'm going to take my unstable double mindedness to bed.

Softness, goodness.