Posts Tagged 'TV'

Helping the Time to Go By

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So here I am, it’s April 14th, two weeks since my last post. I really had intended to get more regular in posting but somehow… it didn’t happen.  I can hardly believe we’re already halfway through April.

Reminds me of the young man the car repair shop got to bring me home last week and then bring my car back to the shop (I’d arrived too late to catch the shuttle home and was going to have to wait a really long time for it to come back again). That was on a Monday. As I drove, he asked me how my weekend had gone, what I’d done. I told him it had been Communion Sunday and we’d had a pot luck, as we always do the first Sunday of the month, which was a lot of fun. We did a Chinese theme this month which turned out quite successful.

Anyway, he nodded and agreed that sounded nice. “Helps to make the time go by faster,” he said.

I blurted something about already having the time go by so fast, the last thing I want to do is make it go any faster! But for him, that was not the case. He apparently was chronically in search of things to make time pass.

The last time I can recall really feeling that way was in elementary school when I was certain there was something wrong with the clock because for those last twenty-five minutes before school was out it seemed the hands stood still.

Now it seems they twirl madly about the central axis as if I’m in some sort of time machine. If I didn’t have a glorious reunion with my Lord and Savior to look forward to in heaven — and the fact I’ll never again have to concern myself with time’s passage, fast or slow — I might be alarmed at the speed at which it’s passing.

But I canNOT imagine being in a situation where I’m desperately searching for something to just “fill the hours.”  I may not make the best use of my hours, but I have no dirth of things I’d like to do with them. In fact, my problem is having waaay too many things I’d like to do. Far more than I can possibly do in this lifetime.

That used to bother me, but I’ve begun to see it as a sort of idol. Or if not that, then a desire that doesn’t necessarily spring from the mind of Christ. We live in an incredibly rich environment when it comes to things we can do and have.  And we’re constantly being bombarded with advertising about them all. With new ones  appearing every day.

TV. Radio. The Internet. Even if you try not to look for things, those blankety-blank windows rise up before you whenever you click to a new page. They pop up, slide up, drift from the side, drop down from the top, pop up some more and even if “Internet Explorer has blocked XYZ pop-up” you still get the pop-up that tells you the other pop-up was blocked… Who thought that was a good idea?

Finding the “close” icons and clicking on them is rather like swatting a bunch of flies before you can sit down to eat…

I have stacks of books to read, yet new ones are constantly being released. I have a wish list of clear and rubber stamps I’d like to get, yet new stamps are constantly being released. I was determined to stick with my regular TV shows this year, yet new ones are constantly being introduced, and done in such a way as to take advantage of one’s tendency to just sit there when an old favorite concludes until you’re hooked. (I knew I was going to be hooked by Elementary, but tried to avoid Golden Boy. I failed. I’m now hooked on that one, too. At least I’ve decided that Hawaii 5-0 is too annoying to watch anymore and that has dropped off my list…)

(Whoa! I can’t believe I’m writing about TV shows.) Anyway, it just seems that any area you choose there’s always new stuff, and it’s emerging at such a rapid rate I don’t see how anyone could keep up. Unless that was all they did…

I think I’ve complained about this before. Which is weird because I like all the stuff I’m complaining about. I just don’t like that there’s more of it than I can possibly enjoy.

But that’s one of the curses of mankind — the soul of (fleshly) man, says Solomon, is never satisfied, no matter how much it has. Even if it has no more time or room or energy for more, it wants more all the same…

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Dogs in the City

I am LOVING this show!  It is so fun, and it’s been very useful as well.

But this last episode with the young bloodhounds, Duke and Daisy, was such a kick. Watching them act like Quigley used to was hilarious (okay, sometimes he still does act like that!). The clip below shows them running across the sofa, which Quigley did once long ago when he was so excited about my hubby coming home.  In fact, that’s when they did it, too.

Duke’s snatching the pillow was typical as well:  The dog guy, Justin, arrives and is talking to the owner and suddenly here comes Duke with the sofa pillow, which means the woman has to break off talking to deal with him. And then he runs under the table with it… ! ROTFL!!!

Yeah. Quigley does that with a sock. Or shoe, or anything he thinks we might value (a paper towel recently used!  Hey, his discriminatory powers aren’t all that great). He trots in while we’re in the middle of watching TV and makes sure we notice, then when we tell him to bring it to us, the game is on.

Just like Duke.

And they are SO gorgeous and cute. The hound pleading look… yeah, we get that one too, the way they kind of wrinkle up their eyebrows while they beg. Quigley, however, does NOT drink from the sink faucet, because I would never turn it on for him. He will drink from the dog water fountain on the walking path — the only one of our dogs to do that.

Anyway, Justin had some suggestions for dealing with various behaviors that I think I’m going to use. The sit/stay for when my guests arrive is the first that I’m going to work on.

Here’s the clip of  just the Duke and Daisy part from last night’s episode: “Duke and Daisy”

 Love it.

Lost Finale Thoughts

Well, as I mentioned at the end of yesterday’s post, we watched the finale of LOST last night and, believe it or not, I wasn’t disappointed. It ended much better than I expected it to. And although my initial thought as the final credits rolled was that I could have done without the last fifteen minutes or so, I’ve decided that those were okay, too, because, as with all of LOST they prompted thought about topics I care deeply about and find fascinating, ie, issues of spirituality, the afterlife, and the underpinning of reality, which always gets back to God, who IS reality. Which is why I’ve watched the program all along. Plus I just liked the characters.

I never expected they would “get it right,” or really even come close to presenting spiritual realities as they are. And they didn’t. But while I was annoyed by that stained glass window in the background of the final scene with Jack and his dad, the one with the six symbols of the world’s major religions arrayed in it, I wasn’t surprised by it. It was, in fact, appropriate for the dumb Tower of Babel ideas they were promoting.

Immediately afterward I read viewer reactions, some of whom found it fabulous, some of whom found it dreadful, and some of whom found it emotionally satisfying but intellectually a let-down. I would most agree with the latter, in that there were so many questions that I thought were important to the story that were left unanswered, or answered in ways that made no sense. But hey, why would I expect any more? The answers their questions demanded reside in the things of God.

And the naturally-minded man cannot understand the things of God, for they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned. LOST ‘s writers and producers and actors attempted to portray things of God from a naturally-minded viewpoint which pretty much has to end up being nonsensical. In other words, for me the problem was that the writers were overwhelmed by their material and tried to describe and explain eternal, infinite, heavenly things in earthly terms. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and our thoughts are not His.

Think about that for a moment. His thoughts are not our thoughts.

All the ways that seem right to a naturally minded man (which can include Christians who aren’t operating in the power of the Spirit and haven’t had their minds renewed by the continal inculcation of His word) are not God’s ways. God’s plan is about Him, not about us. He created us for His glory, not ours. Everything good in the world is from Him. He IS love. He IS truth. He IS faithfulness. Life. Light. Warmth. Justice. In God’s economy you give to receive and die to live.

LOST’s writers played with elements of destiny, purpose, time, dimension, eternity, alternate universes, justice, redemption… but without God in the picture, they had no hope of even getting close to answering the questions they raised. In fact, as I contemplate the ending I have the sense that they tossed various concepts into the story to be intriguing and thought provoking and importantly metaphysical, but had no idea what they were working with. And why should they? They had only their human viewpoint and human viewpoint can’t comprehend the things of God. Sort of like a prairie chicken trying to understand and portray the life of an eagle. Absolutely clueless.

And yet… God has placed the desire for eternal things in the heart of every man, and that’s what came out in LOST. The show dealt with eternal things, if only sketchily. Thus I could watch it from the viewpoint of what I know those things said about God, knowing there IS a purpose for every person’s life on this earth and that it’s important to know that and seek it. Because if you truly seek that, you will end up finding God. If there is a purpose for our lives, it must lie with the one who made us, because the concept of purpose and destiny demand the existence of a mind to come up with them. Purpose is meaningless apart from mentality and will… So in the end, when the story implied there could be purpose without a directing creator, it fell into nonsense.

The first purpose for any man is that he believe in Christ. After that, it’s to be conformed to His image, and thus bring glory to God. Not by anything we do from ourselves, but from what He makes of us and how guides us and what He enables us to do.

Of course, this was not how LOST’s writers chose to deal with purpose and destiny, but the intriguing part for me was how, because of that failure, they could not come up with anything that made any sense. It was fluffy and glowy and happily ever after, but completely illogical, even almost random.

“Huh?” was the main thought I was left with after those final 10 minutes. “Huh?” and “But what about… [fill in about fifty blanks here]? The main one being, what about the Island? Why was it there? Who put it there? What was the glow? Why did that need to be guarded? Why were those particular people brought there? Why not everyone? I must say, that once Jacob was revealed to be a doofus like the rest of us, and not an analogy for God, the sense it in all started to unravel…

So while emotionally it ended well (I found a lot of the “remembering” scenes very moving), the whole purpose of the story, which I think was centered in the Island, got shuttled aside.

Unless I just didn’t see it, which is entirely possible.

I also didn’t think it was just a dream, as Lelia commented yesterday. What I think is below…

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SPOILER…

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I think the Island was real, and that the world of the side-flashes was a form of purgatory, or maybe reincarnation, where people lived full second lives that were somewhat happier than their original lives, though not entirely for they still had to work through their issues to contentment and growth. Part of that was remembering who mattered from the life before — mostly in the form of right man/right woman relationships, but also friendships — and in so doing they reformed their Island community and together traveled on into eternity. (This part I thought was a cool echo of the way a local body of believers, who have served and fought side by side in this life will indeed have a special relationship in eternity).

As for eternity itself, that seemed something like the Elysian Fields… a place of eternal happiness based on human relationships and perfect environment. But no God.

Thus the ultimate message I saw is that man can fix himself. That, instead of going from perfection to chaos to salvation courtesy of a divine savior, as the Bible teaches, we go from chaos to perfection courtesy of our own efforts for self and others, combined with our sufferings…

For those of you who are LOST fans… is that how you saw it? Or do you go with the ” it was all a dream” or “they’re all dead” interpretation? Or something else entirely?

Kevin in the Parking Lot

Anyone out there watch 24? My husband and I have been fans since the first season and pretty much haven’t missed an episode. This season is the first time I’ve gotten a really cool visual image for a spiritual reality, however: Kevin, the creepy boyfriend? partner in crime? stalker? from computer analyst Dana Walsh’s past.

If you aren’t a 24 watcher, here are the salient details. Dana Walsh is a computer analyst with CTU about to marry one of the star security operatives (Freddie Prinze, Jr). As he is sent out to deal with the crisis of the hour, she gets a call from this creepy dude, Kevin, demanding she come out and meet him. Little by little details are revealed. Seems Dana Walsh is not her real name, but her new one. That in her past she was involved with this Kevin loser in some sort of crime. Both went to jail. She got out early for good behavior and because she was a juvenile. She changed her name, her identity, left her past behind and now has a new, respectable, successful life.

Perhaps, given some of what I’ve written about lately, you see where this is going…

Kevin threatens to reveal all unless she does what he says. It will surely destroy her new life. At first she hangs up on him. But he keeps calling, and finally reveals he is out in the CTU parking lot and wants her to meet him there. She resists, he presses, and eventually out the door she goes to the parking lot to meet with Kevin. Next he convinces her to let him stay in her apartment, for the night, promising to leave the next day. Instead he calls her later and demands she come over… and on it goes.

Kevin is the perfect metaphor for the old man. He calls you up. “Hey, come and meet me in the parking lot.” He cajoles, he presses, he threatens, he won’t quit… You know it’s stupid, you know you can’t trust him, you know that this is only going to bring disaster, but … like Dana, you do it anyway.

My husband thought she was an idiot to have anything to do with the guy. I was wildly uncomfortable with it, too, but I have been made very aware of the power of fear and the resultant irrationality it produces and our capacity to deceive ourselves. Kevin is played by an actor who looks somewhat like Leonardo DiCaprio, and just looks very evil. I can’t stand him. I can’t stand that she’s doing what he wants, thinking he’s really going to go away. Finally he persuades her to help him get past security into a police storage unit where some impounded drug money — cash — has been stowed. He can take it and no one will ever know because it’s a cold case.

We all know that’s not going to be enough, but she believes him when he says it’s only this once.

So much like our old man. It cajoles, it threatens, it manipulates, it promises. We give into it, even when we know better. For me, the battles are almost all thoughts. I am astonished at how often I have to fight against it, and lately, with the teaching we’ve been having, I’ve become even more aware of all the ways it tries to slip in and take control. I’ve started thinking of Kevin, when it does. “He’s calling you from the parking lot,” I tell myself, “and you’re answering the phone. You’re going out to meet with him. Where do you think this is going to end?” Nowhere good.

It’s perfect. The visual image and the emotional revulsion I feel for what Dana lets him do, has lately been strong enough to break me out of the pattern. And after last week, when the whole carefully orchestrated plot was turned into a total mess far beyond what I even dreamed might happen, the metaphor got even better.

Flestered

We started watching the first season of NCIS last Saturday and in the first episode, Gibbs is in the corridor of Air Force One with his gun aimed at the back of a terrorist whom he has told to freeze. Instead, the terrorist turns slowly toward him maintaining his pretense that he’s here to help as he asks what is going on and didn’t someone call for a doctor?  Except that as he comes around he raises the automatic weapon he’s just pilfered from the plane’s armory and begins to fire, spraying bullets up the corridor Gibbs’ way. Gibbs doesn’t blink, doesn’t falter, doesn’t waver. He fires two quick rounds and the guy drops. He never loses his focus.

I loved that scene so much I had to watch it again.  What a wonderful illustration of poise in time of pressure.

Today it has become especially useful. My life has devolved once more into chaos. There are all these things I “should” do, and all these things I want to do, as well, but seemingly have no time for.

The things I “should” do?  Finish getting the new website set up, get the blog address corrected on the old one, contribute to the Amazon Author site that’s been set up… I was advised by the BHP marketing department to make a video trailer. I have a blog post to do, since I missed doing one yesterday. My office is a cluttered mess and I want to get a special picture I bought for my birthday hung up before the rapture comes. I need to start the next book, declutter my files, and do some research reading. I have miscellaneous requests from friends, to talk, go to lunch, etc. I have doctor appointments to set up for myself and to take my mother to.

Then there’s the regular stuff around the house, which I’ve not been doing, because events have impacted my sleep – late hours combined with sunrise at 5am… Yesterday after driving half an hour across town to see the rheumatologist about my hand, and back again, I was exhausted. Without motivation. Yet those “should,” and “need to” and “must” voices in my head continued to hammer me.

Plus it turns out I have an ailment – a “syndrome” – once known by the acronym CREST, now just referred to as “limited cutaneous scleroderma.” They don’t understand the cause, except that it seems to be auto-immune generated, and they don’t have treatments. This is an annoyance but nothing life threatening. You have it if you have three of the five symptoms laid out in the acronym. I have Raynaud’s syndrome, which is the R: when it’s cold, your extremities turn white or blue and get very cold. My left big toe turns white and gets numb. And in the winter, as I work at the computer, my left hand has oddly become very cold whereas my right remains normal. Now I realize it’s part of Raynaud’s.

E is esophageal dysfunction.  “Do you have trouble swallowing?” he asked. I laughed because my husband and I joke that I’m probably going to die from choking on my food. Yes, I have trouble swallowing. A few years ago I could no longer swallow the calcium caplets I was taking and had to go to chewables. I cannot choke down a Nyquil to save my life. I thought it was just getting old, but no. Part of the syndrome.

The last symptom I have is Sclerodactyly, which means the skin on my fingers has tightened and stiffened. How weird is that? It’s worse on my right hand than on my left and I’m not sure how the trigger finger is related, if it is. It might be something that began on its own, or something caused by this other thing. Anyway, there’s nothing I can do but live with it. And since there can be other more serious elements to this condition (pulmonary hypertension) I will have to go get a couple of tests. Which means more doctor’s appointments.

So there’s all that.  And the rheumatologist thinks my toe is broken because of how swollen it still is two weeks after injuring it. Not that there’s anything I can do about that, either, but it does make wearing shoes painful and walking Quigley a new challenge.

So when I take Quigley and he pulls and jerks and I have to resist or deal with it, my toe is not happy. Nor is my back. So I think, what I really need to do is just commit to several hours a day for the next five weeks and work with him… He’s never officially been trained to heel… 

In addition to all that, which is nowhere near my complete list, when I do start tackling things, they always seem to snarl into complications. I try to answer reader mail, but run out of labels to autograph and can’t print new ones until I go to the store for ink…

I go out to Office Max to buy ink and a new fluorescent bulb for my desk light and they don’t sell the bulbs (even though that’s where I bought the desk and the light). So I have to go online and the bulb only costs $6. The postage would be more. What to do? Get two bulbs? Will it still work by the time I need a new one? Will I even remember where I put it?

I start to work at the computer, but my carpal tunnel flares up.  Or I bang my poor swollen toe into a chair and have to go sit down with the ice bag again. These are small things, but when you have entire days of them, it gets old. And frustrating.

Then of course there is the next book that I had – ahem — planned to start yesterday, except I lay around and dozed instead.

What does all this have to do with that NCIS scene I mentioned earlier? All these things are like bullets spraying around me. They demand my attention and if I try to give it to them I just get flestered (yes, flestered. It was a typo, but I like it.  It not only melds flesh and flustered, it looks like festered… the perfect word for the state I’m trying to describe!) These are little things, but it’s a constant stream. You can’t deal with them in any kind of logical way, because there’s too many of them and they’re coming too fast and each is hitting on an almost subconscious level. Or at least, a peripheral level, where you’re aware of them, but not how they’re fragementing your thinking and emotions.

Instead, my thoughts should be focused on only one thing: the target. The goal:

“The self-motivated believer has identified his primary objective in life: spiritual maturity, which glorifies Christ. This objective becomes the criterion for interpreting any situation that may arise. Every decision and every course of action supports this chosen objective. [The application of] Bible doctrine takes first priority… you build your life on [it].” ~ From Christian Integrity by Col R. B. Thieme, Jr.

Living in a state of being flestered is not part of spiritual maturity, nor will it lead to that. Neither are guilt, condemnation and anxiety. Moreover, if I write down all the things I “have” to do or want to do in an attempt to sort through them all (focusing on the problem, trying to take control and figure out the solution for myself) I only increase my flestered state and move into paralysis. So I have to step back and recall: there’s a reason things are the way they are. God’s ordained every detail in my life for my highest and best and most of them, I’m learning, are forms of affliction. Light affliction – maybe even VERY light affliction – but affliction nonetheless. Here for my blessing. To root out false thinking and make me stronger.

Okay, Lord, I’m letting go of my lists and my flestered state. Again. What do you want me to do?

 Hmm. Well, for one, it appears He wanted me to write this blog post because… ta da! … Here it is. When I had no intention of writing it. When I only sat down to work through my flestered state.


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