Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sorry, I Didn't Mean to Oppress Everyone

Some of the world's problems are out of my hands and yet I have to deal with them and I don't know how. On CBC radio (I must be turning into a communist), there was a mention about the idea of how marketing gears their advertising to 18-24 year old males and how actresses 40 years plus are often left out of many scripts and movies. In addition, others were mentioning how there is a severe lack of women as directors and thus a sign of men trying to keep it a boys-only club.

It always bothers me to hear that because it then starts to feel like because of people like me, society is being held back from becoming a fair and equal society. That if I become a successful comedian or writer, then I am a part of problem of keeping women suppressed. That if I become a manager of a store, then I was chosen because I am a white man and not because of what I can do and thus I should step aside and let a woman of equal ability take the job.

What am I supposed to do aside from feel bad about who I was born as?

Even when it comes to writing sketches, I am writing sketches for myself so that I can do what I want to do. I am not writing sketches for other people to perform. They are for me.

As I consider writing a story of any sort, generally the main character is going to be a reflection of myself. Maybe it's a lack of experience or ability that I don't write female characters as the protagonists but it's because I feel like I would do an injustice to the female persona if I did. I wouldn't know how to write for a 40 year old woman lead character. It's frustrating for us both, Helen Mirren. Should I then step aside so someone can write a script for her?

When I'm writing my sketches and there is the main funny character, generally it is going to be the guy that I write as the moron and if I have a girl, she will be the level-headed character. Sure, she may point out the stupidity of the other character and have some funny lines, but generally it's the character who is a vehicle for the fall guy to say his stupid ideas at and is not the "star" of the sketch. She will be the boring character and people could point to that as me making sure the guy is getting the better part.

However, if I were to reverse it and make the guy the level-headed one and the girl the fall ...girl, then I could be accused of perpetuating the stereotype that men are better suited to be above women.

It feels like I can not win in any situation.

Some times Will Ferrel and company are accused of being that boys-club mentality where all the main funny roles go to the guys and they gear it for guys and keep women from breaking into comedy. It's been my experience that girls don't find his movies as funny as guys and maybe women are just not drawn to that type of humor as much for whatever reason. It would then make sense that there are not as many actresses that would break into that style. Plus the writers are writing with Will in mind as the main character and if there's a love interest, that is where the female lead comes in. It might be cliched, but a romantic angle is usually a major component to stories of all stripes.

I could keep going on this, but I suppose the point I am getting at is that it grieves me that women feel like they are being excluded from various things, but I don't know what I am supposed to do about that aside from feeling guilty for being who I was born as and saying "Yeah, we men suck and we should all be killed off so that humanity can advance."

"There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.

The trouble with the maples
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light.
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made.
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade.

There is trouble in the forest,
And the creatures all have fled,
As the maples scream, 'Oppression!'
And the oaks just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.
'The oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light.'
Now, there's no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw."
- "The Trees" from the Rush album "Hemispheres"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Been There, Don't Do That

This week was a strange week. It has been one of looking back into the dark territory. For the first time in a very long time, I did a dramatic presentation as opposed to a comedic one. It was about a man who you discover through the course of the one-person scene is divorced, has a kid and is trying to make Christmas for himself and having a difficult time with it. He struggles with loneliness during the time of the year that emphasizes family. Of course, the sketch was about a divorced parent, but anybody who has read my blog for a long time would realize that it's not about a divorced parent.

For me, it was really displaying myself up there without ever saying it. It was a hard reminder of elements of my past, but the positive thing was that it was difficult to summon. I don't feel the same as I did. Hopefully, that's a sign of peace in my soul and not a sign of a callousness.

Nonetheless, I have found it draining to go through that sketch and I felt tired after both performances. Way more than I ever did yelling at the top of my lungs as Stan Ostrowski. It was like my inner self was tired.

Mind you, this comes at the end of a long week, emotionally speaking. I have been approached for advice, support, and discussion for some people and it was hard stuff that life just deals and it seems unfair or painful to deal with. Due to my age of being a little bit older and due to my experience, I feel I have given an important perspective for those in the midst of a replay of my own story. I frequently draw from own life to paint illustrations and examples and that means I have to talk about things that dredge up my past. Some times I have to say something harsh, sometimes I have to just admit that it sucks, sometimes I have to say something that comforts, and all the while, my heart aches with them. I don't regret and will not regret helping at all, but it does wear after a while.

Unlike previous posts, I don't know what my conclusion is on this. What lesson I am gleaning or prayer that I have in it. I suppose it is good that I am there to listen and give words of encouragement, comfort, challenge and direction. I suppose that it is good that I have learned from my past. I suppose that it is good that I have moved from that place. I guess I would just rather the past stay in the past.

"How to keep people at arms length and never get too close
How to mistrust the ones you supposedly love the most
How to pretend you're fine and don't need help from anyone
How to feel worthless unless you're serving or helping someone
I'll teach you all this in eight easy steps
A course of a lifetime you'll never forget"
- "Eight Easy Steps" from Alanis Morissette's "So-Called Chaos"

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Although It Doesn't Have Much to Do With This Post, Joel Olsteen is Still a Liar

I am not sure of what to make of this past week. It feels like a lot has happened. A lot of significant conversations that feel like they are part of a narrative of some sort. It's been kind of difficult navigating them and trying to be objective. I would like to think that I have learned from my past and am becoming a stronger person.

I have learned and I have changed. I have tried to make wise choices and make the hard choices because if I preach that is what people should do, then that should also include me. So that's what I did and it hurts to accept choices that are done in the name of being honest and upfront. I don't regret it, because I needed to do it.

It's hard to tell a person something that they don't want to admit, it's hard to tell a person to do something they don't want to do and it's hard to be the person that has to be upfront when you don't want to be.

I should point out that things are good. It's just that sometimes things are hard.

Joel Olsteen would tell you that you don't have to face suffering through broken bodies, broken relationships, broken finances and pain and that is what makes him a liar. Jesus faced times when he had to say the difficult thing and do the difficult thing because sometimes things are just difficult. Fortunately, peace is found in knowing that when we do what is right and honourable, we are living as we should. We can have joy knowing that the troubles we face here are not forever, but rather it refines our character, an eternal concept.

Hopefully, that can sink in and I can be content.

"In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man,
Now, I've reached that age, I've tried to do all those things the best I can.
No matter how I try, I find my way into the same old jam."
- "Good Times, Bad Times" from the Led Zepplin self-titled album 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

R.I.P. Rest in Peace

With the passing of Leslie Neilson two days ago, it reminds of something that I always want to point out but seems inappropriate to mention. Whenever someone dies, it is still rather popular to use "R.I.P." in regards to them. I find that using an acronym when sending a condolence or honouring the one who has passed is kind of terrible. It says to me, "I can't be bothered to write out the full phrase. I have more important things to do."

It takes all the respect out of giving your respect. It trivializes the statement to the same level as "lol" and "ftw" and "fml". I guess some people still throw in the periods between the letters which takes a complicated two button press to execute (and you have to do it a full three times!).

It is even more pronounced when people use the "R.I.P." for comedic purposes. You know something like, "I just threw up in front of a pretty girl, R.I.P. My Dignity." I'm not against "R.I.P." used in that way, but it also highlights that we also used this terrible shorthand for something we try to honour.

Of course, some people might point out that "R.I.P." has been apart of society for a long time and they'd be correct. However, the use comes out from idea to save space on a tombstone or save money or both. Especially since "R.I.P." was originally from the Latin "Reqiescat in Pace" (which is still "Rest in Peace") and that takes way more space. However, we have no reason to shorten the phrase on our Facebook walls or Twitter posts (although I guess there is better argument for that last one).

If the Undertaker had ended his promos with "May you R...I...P..." it would not have the same gravitas.

Why does this matter to you? Two reasons. One, if you are sincere with wanting to honour the dead, it seems to me that typing out the full phrase much more respectful than putting it on the same level as a text message. Second, if I die and I find out that you have written "R.I.P. David Rae" I will forsake my place in heaven and come back to haunt you until the day you die and then when you enter the spiritual realm, I will kick you in the nuts.

P.S. I should point out that I realize that people are going to see this and this will be just like how I don't like puns. When people find that out, they go out of their way to tell me about the brilliant little pun on some roadside sign somewhere. So, when I die, it will be "R.I.P. David Rae" everywhere but they will regret that when I start tipping over their drinks into their Xbox 360s from beyond the grave.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Christmas Plan

For a lot of people, Christmas has not really tracked on their radar yet. For me, it almost feels like old news. While the church was just beginning to put up decorations today, I've finished the first video for Advent and have most of the scripts worked out for the Christmas season. I still need to hand out some scripts and have them practiced but nonetheless, I feel pretty prepared for the season. I've bought a present for my mom and I just need to find one for my brother and then I'm done. I've been thinking about Christmas and what it is, what it means, what people think about it, how people treat it, and what do I think about it.

It's got me back to my familiar battle of Christmas. What am I going to do? I don't really want to be here for Christmas (no offense to my host family) but it is like when I go to other people's places for Christmas dinner. I would rather disappear for the day and reflect on what it means that Christ came into the world than go through the dinner with another's family. I get it that Christmas doesn't have to involve family to take in Christmas on a spiritual level, but the cultural connotation that emphasizes family at this time is there and it continually reminds me of my dissatisfaction with the state of mine while I am with another family. The thing is, I would be fine just pulling away for the one day and let everyone else do their family thing, whether it's good or bad, or whether others are in the same boat as me and lack a family element in their Christmas. The thing is that I am not living in an apartment but rather in somebody else's home. Which is fine. Their daughter comes over all the time and that family element is there and that's ok. I just don't want to be here for their Christmas.

I saw a post on my Facebook wall talking about how strange it was to play Rock Band and not have me there. I immediately wished I was there. Up until now, I was debating whether it would be worth it to go back to Winnipeg for Christmas due to the money and crazy time of year for travel. I realized that I really do want to go back. For several reasons. All of them people. Now, I'm not saying that I am wanting to pack up and leave Nelson, but I need to make those connections again. I mean, aside from the month span in September, I have been away from the city since May.

Also, I realized that I do have two traditions at Christmas time. One is the Anderson Family Christmas Dinner. It is one that I have mixed feelings about with the whole other family thing going on. I mean, I always have a fantastic time and don't ever regret going, great food, wonderful people, etcetera, etcetera, but I guess I would rather have something with my own family. 

The other one being the Aaron Hildebrandt New Year's/Birthday Extravaganza. I have gone for the last few years and there is something about that tradition that I like. I would never say that the folk that go there are my family and that I super close with all of them, because I'm not. Maybe its the tradition of the things. The reliability of it. The fact that there are some people there that I would consider almost on the level of brother and sister.

So I booked my flight. I told Aaron that I am inviting myself to his party. He was fine with that.

And to solve the problem of Christmas, I booked the flight on Christmas day. I will have to leave before anything starts here and arrive after anything that happens there. I will get to spend my time with people that I want to and their family stuff will be done.

Also I will get to rightfully claim my position as the singer at Rock Band. I've been going to karaoke for the last several weeks, so I'm on top of my game. I'm ready.

Plus, I will get to add a whole bunch of check ins for my 'foursquare' account! That "JetSetter" badge will be mine!

"I'm going home to Manitoba
Skies get wide
The river is free
I'm going home to Manitoba
Going to put my weary heart at ease"
- "Home to Manitoba" from Del Barber's "Love Songs for the Last 20"

Saturday, November 20, 2010


For those who don't know I was referencing Strong Bad from Homestarrunner.com. It sort of fits because I have just finished deleting my email account from the same era of my life that I used to consistently visit that site.

You see, my rationalized reasoning for keeping the account was twofold. One was in case I needed to put down an email address so that way I could get some free bonus from a store, I would use the old email address instead of my current Gmail account. The second was that the account had some emails on there that I kept for memory's sake.

Unfortunately, the email has been compromised and I had to shut it down. Technically, I am pretty sure it has been for a while, but I didn't really want to delete it. I didn't want to lose all those emails. It is sort of like that hoarder mentality. I don't know why I would need to use those emails again, but I figured I should hold onto them. So I kept the account.

However, my friend Aaron noted that he had received a spam email from the old account and suggested I delete it. So I went searching for the elusive deletion button and eventually found it. As my arrow hung dramatically over the "delete forever and ever" button, I stopped and pulled up some of the emails that I had saved for the past ten years.

I had a folder for a series of emails I had exchanged with my friend, Erik, that I did in regards to a CBC class called "Communicating Faith". The emails emulated the book called "Letters from a Skeptic"where I essentially got Erik to tell me his reasons for not believing in God and then I would try to offer my perspective using my new found Bible school knowledge. I didn't convert him. I didn't really expect to, even though I remember it always being a hope of mine.

I had emails from a girl from high school with whom I tried to, how do I say, rescue? She was a troubled girl and was desperately looking for acceptance. I remember trying to be there for her, but ultimately she pulled away. I don't know where she is or how she is doing. I still remember the last time I talked to her in person, it was a year after high school and I met her randomly in the Brandon mall. My heart broke as I wished I could help her out. I tried to convince her to stay in contact, but I never did... Every damn time I think of her, I get sick with a deep sorrow. I wish so badly to find her or at the very bloody least, know that she is ok. That she found her peace. Damn.

I had a folder dedicated to the many emails from other CBCers with whom we tried to keep in contact with for a little while. Eventually, all of them I let slip away over time. I remember one of the last lessons taught there was that everyone has two kinds of friends. There are the friends that you have for life and ones you have for a portion. Both are needed and can impact us, but the reality is, not everybody can be friends with everyone they meet for all time. It gives us a certain appreciation for people while we have them and to try and make the most of our relationships. It wasn't until Facebook came along that I connected back to many of them, but most in that very surface Facebook way. However, I am fine with that. I get glimpses into their lives and that's fine for me.

I had an email from one of the girl counsellors from my time on the CBC Team (which I would join it's later incarnation called the "Camp Ministry Team") with whom I made a connection. It was this innocent kind of thing. I remember holding hands with her on one of the last nights that I was there. We connected pretty well, but we never seriously pursued anything because of the age-old problem of distance (especially since I had been severely hurt by a previous long distance relationship). However, once I went to Providence and started dating another girl, I thought I had to tell my summer crush that I should maybe keep my distance. I remember I was trying to be honorable in my relationship to my girlfriend (which wound up breaking up after a month). It was funny (now in a kind of melancholy way) that I went ahead and did that and my girlfriend was like "you didn't need to do that". I unnecessarily burned that bridge. Once in a while, I think about that time. That girl was one of the few that actually showed interest in me that I had interest in back. How stupid was I.

And of course, there was the folder of emails from the girl with whom I had that long distance relationship that has forever scared me away from the idea. The girl from South Dakota. Man, was I earnest in those days. I wanted to talk to her all the time. Buying calling cards. Going to her prom. Eventually, she stopped taking my calls and rarely returning emails and to me it seemed for no reason that I could think. It just came to an end one day. I think what killed me for the longest time was that there was no explanation and so I put it on myself. It had to have been me. That I creeped her out or I had said something wrong or that she just realized that I was unsuitable. It significantly impacted how I treated future relationships and how I viewed myself. In fact, I don't know if I've even fully shaken it. I should say that she has since found me on Facebook and I was finally given the closure I needed.

As you can see, not really too much happy stuff in there. But I didn't want to forget it. I didn't want to lose it for what ever reason even though it was essentially pain that it stored. Perhaps suitably, it was infected with a virus that and made the account something that needed to be dealt with and ousted. I suppose the real reason that I never could just rid myself of it was because it was a record of my relationships that had formed me. And I guess the other reason was I always wanted to keep that email open in case Noemi would send me a message and I could finally rescue her.

It's closed now and I hope that I can remember the lessons from the past and move forward.

And I pray for God look over Noemi, because I don't know if anyone else is.

"Take leave the conscious mind
Found myself to be so inclined
Why sleep in discontent?
Oh, the price of companionship
My shadow runs with me underneath the big wide sun
My shadow comes with me as we leave it all far behind"
- "Far Behind" by Eddie Vedder from the Into the Wild soundtrack

Monday, November 08, 2010


Last night, the church had a thanksgiving type dinner which I am completely aware is not really near either the Canadian nor the American holiday, but I think that was the point. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and the exciting part was that they gave me a space of time to do some comedy. Whatever I wanted. It was great because I didn't even ask for it. It was requested of me and that is always much more appreciated.

It was going to be only the third time that I have performed something live for the church and the first two times were for the youth. This was for both the Saturday night and the Sunday morning congregations. I felt that this was really going to be the test for me. I have done a few videos now, but I would only consider one of them truly indicative of my typical comedy and that is the David Interviews David video. The others have been my Lost parody called Misplaced which is a different kind of animal. That is because since I was doing a parody, I try to make it such that it can be understood by those unfamiliar with the source, but at the same time sticking with the broad concept presented in the source. That means that the humor is slightly different and since I was trying to really incorporate the mysterious element of Lost into the videos, I wanted to make sure that the conversations between the characters to be straight forward so that the bulk of the audience can at least derive some semblance of a point.

I say all that to basically point out that Misplaced is not typical and if it doesn't go over, that's ok. However, this is me on stage doing stand up a la the Early Night Show. There is no genre that filters my presentation, it is what I think is funny and since their is no filter, it also means that I am exposing myself. If it goes well, then I feel safe. If it flops due to content, then I know that it is done.

That's where the good news comes in. It went very well in my eyes. Every joke got at least a little reaction and I felt the positive energy of the crowd. It gives me a vote of confidence to the point where when people ask me, "Are you settled into Nelson, yet?" I say, "Yes."

"And I think I like how the day sounds
Like how the day sounds through this new song
Thank you for opening the window
The sky is clear as my mind is now
I was a long, long way off
Join me in welcoming the sun in
It's much brighter than the night I hid in
I was a long, long way off"
- "How the Day Sounds" from the Greg Laswell album "Three Flights From Alto Nido"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Broken, Not Defective

I don't it's too much of a secret that the Christian church views humanity as broken, which I agree. In Romans, it says "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (3:23) and goes on the speak about the redemption that comes from Jesus Christ and it was by grace that we are forgiven. Awesome. Completely onboard. Everyone can admit that we don't always live up to the standard of perfection of always loving other people and God. It is an inevitability that we will be selfish because there is a lot of time in our lifetimes where we can screw up.

I will also concede that even once you are a Christian and you are gung ho for being a better disciple, it is not necessarily easier to live a life of righteousness and generousity. We still have desires in our heart that lead us to make serve ourselves and will continue to have until the very day we die and we are likely to screw many times before that time comes.

However, I also hear a lot of talk that also makes it seem like humanity is incapable of being good. It is like it is in fashion for a Christian to have a heaping dose of self hatred and poor self image. That we are so flawed that anything good we do accomplish is clearly only because of the grace of God. I have even heard from a few people that wouldn't be able to love anybody without God. Really? You would not be able to love anybody?

Now, when I respond so incredulously like I just did, Christians will concede that "well, ok, I could love a little bit, but I couldn't keep it up and love everybody or for a long time". I sometimes wonder if perhaps we think that the standard is actually way higher than it really is. I don't love everybody in the world. It would be ludicrous for me to say that I do. I haven't met over six billion of them. I don't think God even expects us to because that is way beyond our capability. That's where I think some people think that we are broken and are sinful because we don't "love everybody".

I think that we are to love those who are our neighbour. Those that we have contact with and where we can impact people. Just because I don't send a care package to every one of the six billion people out there or pray for each one individually it doesn't mean that is why we "have fallen short of the glory of God".

I also believe that people are fully capable of loving others and I think that many do even without "Jesus being in their heart". Why? Because we may be broken, but we are not defective. I am aware that I may be arguing semantics, but what I am getting at is that there is a common thread in a lot of Christian thought that says that we are essentially fleshy garbage and that we can not do any good unless it is God working through us.

What happens because of this thought I think is that we start punishing and belittling ourselves for being garbage because of our transgressions and we actually don't move on. We cry to Jesus to forgive us, but we aren't willing to embrace that idea that we can be different and be people who love and live lives that are good. God has forgiven us, but we refuse to forgive ourselves. Paul even writes that when we follow Christ, our old selves died on the cross with Him, but in the same way, we are resurrected with Him. He gives second life and it is one that we share with Him. We are able to shake free of the burden of the law and always being worried about always having to give sacrifices, but rather focusing on becoming more what God wants us to be which is to love God, love others and transform lives. We recognize that we may still screw up, but let's not dwell on that. Let's just keep pushing forward and trying to become better. Trying to become this sort of heroic persona of ourselves.

We are not garbage. We are people that are selfish and hurt others and we get off track. We are also people who can love and be good and God wants us to move past those mistakes and become perfect even to the point of forgiving us at all costs as long as we are willing to change and follow the way of life Jesus exemplified and preached. Making Jesus our Lord.

The good news about this is that God doesn't actually think you are defective and terrible. The good news is that He wants us to succeed and be righteous or in other words perfect, willing to look past our mistakes through forgiveness given to us by Christ. That He wants to save us from ourselves that would lead us to the destruction of our eternal selves.

The hard part of this versus this traditional idea from the church that we are scumbags and that God should just wipe us out but for some inexplicable reason is willing to forgive us, is that because we are fully capable of being these heroic personas, we are obligated to strive to become that. It is not some magic prayer that lets us in, but actually us changing our attitudes and behaviors to be more outward focussed.

It seems like when we have this idea that we are scumbags, then it is somehow okay to continue on hurting others or ourselves or God because we are so dependent on grace anyways, that it's just all kind of a wash. That as long as we are perpetually groveling to God then we'll make it into heaven okay. If God believes that we are scumbags and are completely incapable of being able to live good lives, then all He is doing is redeeming garbage.

However, He knows us. He knows that we are able to live lives that are generous, benevolent, sacrificial and honorable lives and that we just need to turn away from ourselves and follow Him, then He is redeeming heroes who don't realize that they could be heroes.

I am absolutely tired of Christians hating themselves and others simply because we are human. We make kids believe that they are entrenched with evil and need to ask for mercy. This attitude is what I believe keeps people from Jesus and the church. This attitude makes people weak and afraid to stand up and become the people Jesus actually calls us to be. To be human is to struggle, but to be human also means to have potential.

It hurts so much because I know that a life that follows Christ is about becoming better people, not about how we're evil. Jesus came to break those chains that we seem to want to continue to carry. But people will refuse. They will continue to hate themselves in spite of the fact Jesus loves them.

"He floated back down 'cause he wanted to share
His key to the locks on the chains he saw everywhere
But first he was stripped and then he was stabbed
By faceless men, well, fuckers
He still stands
And he still gives his love, he just gives it away
The love he receives is the love that is saved
And sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky
A human being that was given to fly"
- "Given to Fly" from the Pearl Jam album "Yield"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Theoretical Life

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted and that's because I've been busy. Sort of. That's the excuse I'm going with. I have been given a variety of projects to work on and it will definitely take up my time which is good. I've felt like I have just been passing time reading "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and watching Chronologically Lost since I got here and now that the pastors are back, I have direction and am doing stuff.

My first video that I made to introduce myself to the congregation went over fairly well and I've been validated enough to know that at least some people appreciate it and get it. Which is a relief. This weekend I get to show the first of my videos that I shot with some of the youth from the church and I am super excited to see how it goes. It was one of the longest days of shooting I have ever done and it was good to see that my performers were with me the whole way. Mind you, they got to throw tomato juice at each other, so that probably helped them keep their attention. Curious? You'll have to wait. It consists of four videos that go along with the idea of God's will. Anyway, I'll talk more about the videos when I post them.

However, it also means I am a bit ahead of the curve. I have another youth worship night in less than a week that I have to get a monologue ready for and then I am essentially waiting for Advent. Advent, for those who are unaware, is the period of time in the church calender where you are waiting for the arrival of Christ (aka Christmas). So, I am basically waiting to wait. Actually, I have a lot to get ready for Christmas time with several sketches for the Sundays leading up to Christmas as well as for a couple of special events. If I have it right, it's about nine or ten sketches and/or videos I have to get ready. Which is a lot to present in a month.

The thing I have been debating is whether or not I should have a show for the end of November. I was originally thinking that I would, but if I did start working on something, then that may put me behind the ball on the Christmas stuff. I'll have to get on that as soon as possible if I want it to happen.

That's my ministry life right there and it's the thing that consumes my time. Working in a ministry as a major part of your life, such as the Camp Ministry Team or the Mr. Chapel tour is always a little strange because you spend so much of your day reflecting on things that you believe and your walk with God and theology and humanity and all that kind of heady stuff which is something that I already do quite a bit of on my own free time anyway, that it can kind of turns into this feeling of like you are detached from the rest of the world. I don't think it's unique to ministry, because it probably is common in the various creative fields or fields that involve philosophy or other high-minded careers. This is of course because unlike a trade or retail or other jobs, you leave your work at work. Meanwhile, I feels like I always am or always should be thinking about these ideas.

I don't know how common it is for other people to think a lot about their place in their world or reflect on their lives, but I do a lot. I mean, that's one of the reasons for this blog. I have noticed that this blog revolves around my thoughts and less to do with concrete events in my life. Usually, it's an anecdote that then lead me to think about something deeper. For instance, if I buy a pickle sandwich, I will go off into my little world and think about stuff like "what if I am like this pickle sandwich? Just waiting to be ordered and eaten?" instead of asking myself, "Why the heck are you ordering a pickle sandwich?" In other words, I am already way too wrapped up in my thoughts and mortality and garbage like that, that to now also have my job to continue thinking about that kind of stuff makes me think, "Maybe I need to get a life". By that, I mean, go and be with people and make sure I am grounded in reality and not so consumed with the theory of life that I miss the living of life.

Oh well. Maybe I just feel that way because I am still getting to know people and trying to make friends here. Maybe it's the change of the relationships I have that have become more distant and have a lot more free time than I'm used to. Either way, I should say that this is a relatively minor thing. I feel so blessed to do something that I really like to do and that's to entertain people and make them laugh.

Blessed be the name of the Lord. (Oh no. I'm being assimilated.)

"The Blacksmith and The Artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart"
- "Closer to the Heart" from the Rush album "A Farewell to Kings"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Playing Pretend

On Wednesday, it was "International Suit Up Day". It came from Facebook, so I knew it was a legitimate holiday. Of course, any excuse for me wearing a suit is good enough and so I did my business that day in my suit. I felt very official and purposeful as I walked around in it. I felt it created a nice illusion of importance and direction.

It kind of did not work though when I headed to the local bank to set up an account. As I proceeded into the office and sat down with the lady (I don't know the official name of an account setter-upper) I realized how uncomfortable I was. I was fidgeting and moving around trying to find the proper sitting position so that way I looked comfortable and was clearly a man who was in control. Instead I felt more like a little kid who borrowed a suit that belonged to his dad and it was way too big for him. It was like I was playing pretend. Which I guess I was.

When I went to youth group that night (still in the suit) people often assumed that I must have had an important interview earlier that day. Nope. No, I didn't. I was just wearing a suit. I was faking. I helped out another fellow with the junior high boys group. In a lot of ways, it was like I playing pretend in there too. The guys were just excited to be there hanging out with their friends and not at all interested about discussing deeper matters. I can completely understand. A typical junior high boy who is put in the same room as their friends, they are there to mess around. There's no focus except for the focus on trying to find something to laugh at. Questions asked were given enough attention so to start a sentence before something hilarious was found to laugh at. It was hard. I didn't want to be there for an hour and a half and hammer through all the theological questions they may have had and explore the great struggle that is faith. However I didn't want to be there for an hour and a half and not be able to get any reflection. Yet, I couldn't resolve that then. I needed more time to be able to accommodate teaching to their headspace. I wasn't leading, but I was trying to help. I was a little frustrated because at least at that point, I had and have no idea how to be able to bring these guys to a place of reflection without making it seem like I am trying to punish them for being excited and wanting to mess around with their friends.

I kind of felt like I was just wearing a suit.

Last night, I wanted to try and take in some of the art scene of Nelson and went to a show at the Royal where Jen Lane was playing. I was amazed at the quality of sound from a bar stage. Usually, I expect for the mix to be off and sound "live", but somehow it sounded like album quality and you could appreciate the disciplined nuances to her voice. I can not really describe what I mean by that, but just know it sounded good. Anyway, as I was sitting there by myself taking in the show, I figured I needed to start reaching out to some of the people here in the town. I walked over to another table with a lone guy and introduced myself. We had a quick chat before the final set and after the show continued in our discussion. We talked about why I believed in Christianity, what does it mean to follow Jesus, Buddhist teachings, and pursuing a better life. An hour and a half past and I found myself outside the bar at 2:30am and realized I wanted to sleep. I also realized how far away I am in my spiritual perspective from the relativistic and universalist drug culture of this place. By the way, I know that not everyone is like that here and also that people like that exist back in Manitoba, but I was thinking how it was almost like I here talking to a people of a foreign culture to mine and that I am trying to connect to something I can't fully understand. Like I was just wearing a suit.

I am not as social as people assume I am especially in this place even though there are many people my age here. It feels like there is a lot of expectation from the people here and from myself that I am going to be the all-star here and as I'm facing it down, I am starting to get that feeling in my gut that I haven't felt since the early days of doing plays in high school. I have this nervous excitement that knows that this could be awesome and I could do big things and have the confidence that I have the ability to do it, but also have the lingering anxiety of how it could all fall apart if I forget a line.

I think if I can learn something from my many years of performing and perhaps I can take comfort in, is that I am really good at faking knowing what I am doing up there. All I need to do is find a way to look comfortable wearing my suit.

"All in the suit that you wear
When you're looking for something
It's in the suit that you wear
When you're hiding from someone
All in the suit that you wear
When you wear it
Hey you, you keep a-walking the razor
On the edge, you cut your feet when you stand in there
In the meantime, there's always someone to set you free
Hey you, will you ever get out of there?"
- "All in the Suit that You Wear" from the Stone Temple Pilot album "Thank You"

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Other David Rae

I have a doppleganger. His name is David Rae, he lives in Oregon, is involved with his fraternity and seems to have quite a few friends that love hanging out with him. How do I know so much about him? Because I frequently receive his email that gets mistakenly sent to my account. It's because there is a difference of one letter in our email address. It's a bit amusing because I'll receive an email from someone that I don't know and as I read it I realize this has nothing to do with me, I scroll to the end and find out that the person originates from the west coast which gives me relief that I don't have to put together some major event that I had completely forgotten about and I promptly forward it to the correct (and by the sounds of it more successful) version of David Rae.

Anyways, I recently received congratulations for my wedding. I mean his wedding. It was in the last few weeks and as I sent it off to him, I added my own greeting to it.

It's kind of fun to have these quick snapshots of another guy with my name. I don't try to snoop or anything, it's just that I have read numerous first paragraphs of his emails.

I was thinking about that a bit today as the girl I dated just under a year ago is getting married today. In fact, as I write this, she's probably at her reception or something. It's strange to think that I could have been married today and that those congratulatory emails would have been address to me and not the Other David Rae.

I know that it most likely would not have worked out with her (because she never could pick up on my apparently hard to follow sarcasm) but none the less I can tell you that I would not be sitting in my sweet Batcave-like office in Nelson writing scripts and books and doing something completely different with my life in a land that I don't quite understand.

It's like I am living in a parallel universe and every once in a while, I get an email that sent to the wrong one universe. Many people who know me know that I think about that other world. Maybe it's one of the reasons I am so fascinated with time travel as a literary device. The idea of what would it be like if things would be different. It might be a neat exercise in imagination, but ultimately it has nothing to do with now and who I am here. Apart of the aspects of having the inability to change the past is so that way we try to make the best possible choices. If I could go back and change things and make it the way I would want, I would also not be me. I would not develop as a person and gain wisdom and experience. All my time would be spent going back and perfecting everything that I am not really enjoying it.

I played Civilization a lot and in that game, I would save my game right before attempting to take over a new city and then attack. If it didn't turn out because I lost too many guys or my guys were simply not strong enough to take on the defenders, then I would just hit the reload button and try again or wait another turn when I would send in even more guys. However, in those war campaigns of mine, I would spent so much time trying to get the result I wanted that the game took so much longer and ultimately not that enjoyable.

What is more interesting is when people face conflicts and every once in a while fail and then become better because of it. I find that I have to keep reminding myself of that. I can't focus on what could have been or wondering if I screwed up, because it takes me out of the enjoyment and the development of where I am now.

Hopefully, after today, I don't have to keep looking over to the David Rae who could have been married right now, but rather realizing that the things that happened have made me who I am. If I would have reloaded the game and instead be the Other David Rae then I wouldn't be truly the right man. I would be the doppelganger.

"I wish I was a neutron bomb, for once I could go off
I wish I was a sacrifice but somehow still lived on
I wish I was a sentimental ornament you hung on
The Christmas tree, I wish I was the star that went on top
I wish I was the evidence, I wish I was the grounds
For 50 million hands upraised and open toward the sky

I wish I was a sailor with someone who waited for me
I wish I was as fortunate, as fortunate as me
I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good
I wish I was the full moon shining off a Camaro's hood

I wish I was an alien at home behind the sun
I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on
I wish I was the pedal brake that you depended on
I wish I was the verb 'to trust' and never let you down

I wish I was a radio song, the one that you turned up"

- "Wishlist" from Pearl Jam's "Yield" album

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

David Rae, Adventurer

I have come to realize that although I have talked quite a bit about moving to Nelson, I haven't really explained what I'm doing here. So here is the basic rundown. I am here for at least three months and probably longer (assuming that I am not tossed out for heresy or drinking too much communion juice). My responsibilities include creating sketches and videos for the church as well as helping with the youth group (which has around forty to fifty kids) at various events. In exchange, I am getting free room and board. I'm being called an intern and that is probably the most accurate description of what I am doing here. However, it was inspired by having a conversation with Pastor Arden earlier in the summer. He mentioned how he wished that there was some way to reach out to his community which is a heavily arts focused place. He and I were on the same wavelength when it came to art in the church which was "if you can't do it well, don't do it at all". After walking away from that conversation, I was thinking about the approach that the church used to have in regards to art in that they used to pay for resident artists. Churches would have composers on site to write hymns and artists painted murals and masterworks like Michelangelo's work in the Sistine Chapel. My idea was inspired by the concept.

However, what really excited me about the whole thing is that it feels like I am a bona fide adventurer from all those role playing games. Like in Final Fantasy, where you'd go to a town and discover that there is something wrong going on and your team has to stop it and save the town and then move on to the next place. In a way, I feel like I am coming into town to help wherever I can for a little while before I move onto the next adventure elsewhere. I am actually looking for a variety of tasks to do. If I am needed to help out somewhere else, I'd be game. For instance, the house I'm staying at is in the process of going through renovations so I offered to help out. It's like I have a quest log and I am here to earn experience and do some good where it's needed.

After this Nelson adventure, I am seriously considering going back on the Camp Ministry Team which is even more like an adventuring troupe with it's continual travel and a many opportunities to come in and help doing a variety of tasks.

Life Together is another place I am considering after that. It would be different and has a unique vibe to it. Kind of like a version of a monastery. It's a house where people stay for a year or more to focus on discipleship and service.

I just like the idea of going from one opportunity to help to another. Maybe down the line, I'll do some missions work somewhere. Maybe I'll do another resident artist stint in some other church. I don't know what lies ahead. I don't believe I can do it forever, but for now with how things are for me this is the life that seems like the best path for me.

There have been a couple of comments from people that I am "sacrificing a lot" to come out here and do this which I guess is true. Sure, maybe I am not really advancing a career per se, nor am I really preparing myself financially for the future but I think if anything, it seems selfish. Only in the sense that I get to do what I really like doing and get to doing while serving others and doing something positive. So like a positive selfishness. Plus I get to be an adventurer.

"Though I keep searching for an answer,
I never seem to find what I'm looking for.
Oh Lord, I pray
You give me strength to carry on
'Cause I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams
And here I go again on my own,
Going down the only road I've ever known.
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone.
And I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time."
- Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" from their self-titled album

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Probably Should Pack Up Instead of Write This

Friday night's show went fairly well. We upped it a notch with lighting and giving me a mike. It was close to looking professional. Maybe it still wasn't quite there, but for me it was some big steps forward. When I looked out into the audience, all I saw were the bright lights and the silhouettes of people's heads. I realized I really haven't done a traditional style of theatre in a long time. It has usually been the simple "get-up-on-stage-and-do-something" kind of approach.

Anyway, it was good time and there was a positive reaction, however, I am a poor judge of the reaction, because even if they didn't like it, they would never say it to your face so any reaction would be under suspect. That said, when I was talking with people, they did mention parts that they really liked which is a more positive sign.

Here was the stand out favourite of the crowd that night. Sam Peterson was one of the highlights for me in this one.

Regardless, I was, like after I finished the last two shows, kind of sad when it was done. You put a lot of work into a show and then in an hour and a half, it's done. I was took a walk after the show to go get some food. I don't usually eat a whole lot on the day of a big performance and afterwards I did not want to make anything. So I went and got fast food. You know. Nutrition. As I was walking down the street, still wearing my suit and heavy coat, reflecting on the show and had that kind of lost feeling in the sense that I was so preoccupied for the last several weeks and now I have nothing to do. That's changing really soon, but there's nothing for me to prepare for and so I am in this strange eye of the storm.

Creative work takes up a lot of time unlike a retail or 9 to 5 type jobs. Sure, they're not usually physically draining or strenuous but they are consuming in a different way. Most of your time is centered around your craft. Some jobs get to leave their work at their workplace, but for me, the show is always lingering at the back of your mind. I know it must of been at least a little annoying for the guys at the Life Together house (along with other random friends) to have to hear about the ideas I had for sketches and videos, but that was what going on in my head. I had to. I am not able to just go and sit and hammer out ideas for a block of time and once the time was done, stop thinking about it.

Now, that the show is done, I was left on Saturday with nothing to do. I suppose I should've started packing up or some such nonsense like that, but I was looking for someone to hang out with because it seems I haven't done a whole lot of that in the light of the fact that I was prepping the show. The funny thing is that I was unsure of who to call. I think I wanted to hang out with someone that I can be comfortable around, just relax with, talk about things that matter, someone whom I would miss. However, most of those people either were busy or whom I assumed was busy. In the end, I spent the night just on my own and walked down to Osbourne. It was sort of nice, but kind of disappointing. So I did the only thing I knew how to do and started working on a new show. It wasn't exactly what I had envisioned for that night.

The thing is, I really can't be too upset about that. That's literally the kind of life I have chosen to live for the next while. One where I am working on shows and scripts. It's kinda like I have decided that the friend I am going to spend more time with is my stage persona than some of these other good friends of mine. In Nelson, I am not sure if I am going to find a lot of friends who are on the same general wavelength as me and my best friend might be my work which I don't know if I'll like a whole lot. We'll see.

As I write this, I have for the first time realized that I don't know a whole lot of people in Nelson. There are some contacts there, but not a lot of long time friends. Not like when I went to Providence or when I moved to the city. The last time I did this, I went to Covenant Bible College and I think the most important thing that happened there was that I got to redefine my life. These experiences may be challenging and perhaps not comfortable, but it may give me the thing I need to push myself forward. Interesting...

"Yeah, runnin' down a dream
That would never come to me
Workin' on a mystery, going wherever it leads
Runnin' down a dream"
- Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream" from his album "Full Moon Fever"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

That's Me Up There

I have less than forty-eight hours until my last comedy show in Winnipeg (for a while anyway) and in less than a week I will be in the town of Nelson, British Columbia. In a lot of regards, I feel like I have not seen too many people in the last few days and probably won't be making too many plans either. Yet, I don't feel too bad about that. I've always felt kind of detached from most people in my life and many times it seems like I have forgotten people who are my friends. As I sit here, I don't know who I would call to hang out with in my last few days here. Why would I hang out with someone that I don't spend much time with when I had all the time in the world? It seems to me, that I should be hanging out with people that I am really going to miss. The thing is since I have returned, I have hung out with most of the people I would frequently see.

Outside of the show on Friday, I don't have some big get together planned. I don't really have the desire to put one together or even go to one if one was planned. I take that last one back, but I do kind of feel like that's all I've been doing is saying goodbye. I said goodbye at the start of summer, I said goodbye throughout the summer as we would leave churches and camps and now it seems like I came back to Winnipeg to say goodbye again. There was no sense of reunion.

That's why I am comfortable with doing a show as my last major event here in my city. It seems very appropriate to end my time doing the thing that people remember me as. The guy on stage. The funny guy. If anything, for a lot of the people in my life, that is where I have been the most honest about myself. Especially the Early Night Show. I've come to realize that I have been putting my perception of things on display up on the stage. Things that I would never tell most people in an average conversation except for perhaps the closest of friends. It's veiled in comedy, but I have been talking about the very core issues of what I am dealing with and putting a laugh track on it.

I wouldn't say that the intention of the show was to delve into my psyche, but as I reflect, it's like the stuff I present is a snapshot of my headspace. These shows are different than when I do specific sketches for church that have a predetermined idea to focus on and that I put my slant on it. The Early Night Show is all up to me. I decide the theme and so I go with the most pertinent, overarching theme in my life at that time. Narcissistic? Yes, but it makes it way easier to write about the subject that is rolling around in your head.

It's funny, because I always bemoaned the fact that most people only knew my stageself and not me the person. However, I have only been disappointed with people and in myself and the safest way for me to deal with my stuff was on stage. If I told people about the visceral stuff in my life, it would remind me how frustrated I was with people, the world, myself and it wouldn't solve anything. It would just make me feel bad. In the end, you have to deal with the issues in your life and find that avenue that works. The stage is mine.

For me, instead of telling a bunch of people what is wrong, I'd rather show it which is the most important concept to learn as a writer. If people don't get it, fine. Laugh. Enjoy it for what it is. You can't solve my problems anyway. Only I can do that. Watch it and maybe you can figure your own stuff out as I try to figure out mine and we can all laugh at the absurdity of it all.

"In all this talk of time
Talk is fine
But I don't want to stay around
Why can't we pantomime, just close our eyes
And sleep sweet dreams
Me and you with wings on our feet
I'm pushing an elephant up the stairs
I'm tossing up punch lines that were never there
Over my shoulder a piano falls
Crashing to the ground"
- R.E.M.'s "The Great Beyond" from the "Man on the Moon" soundtrack

Friday, September 17, 2010


I finally found a space in the day to write a little bit for the blog that wasn't one in the morning or during one of my mid-day writing sessions. I have been keeping myself fairly busy with the show, fitting into the rhythm of the Life Together house, dealing with finding people to take over the apartment, and making arrangements to head out to Nelson. Of course I figured this wasn't busy enough and decided to add in writing a puppet sketch and preparing the wrap-up to my yearlong Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Yes, that's right. I play Dungeons and Dragons. Wanna fight about it?

Anyway, in the whole process of this, I want to still keep some sort of record of the events going on in my life especially as this seems to be the start of the next phase of my adventure. I suppose the challenges in this place of my life is the same challenges I have always faced. I am still putting forth the best effort I can despite the lingering thoughts of self-doubt and pessimism, it's just now I am making bigger life-changing kind of decisions. I have always come out the other side rather in tact and this is going to be the same.

Living with the Life Together crew for the last couple of weeks has been great. I love being in this house and spending meals and devotional times with the guys and I can definitely see the value of this ministry. A quick overview for those unfamiliar: Life Together is a house where folks come together to live in community, encourage each other, reach out to the neighbourhood around them, engage in devotions and Biblical studies and generally build each other up. It's like a spiritual version of a sorority or fraternity. Anyway, I can see down the road wanting to engage in the great opportunity to live with people of like mind instead of an empty apartment by yourself. I suppose I have been reminded a lot recently through various avenues that people are not meant to be separated, but rather we are meant to live amongst each other. Be involved in each other's lives. I am seriously considering joining either the house in Winnipeg or Calgary next year. Actually, I encourage people in general to consider the option. It is something different and very much different than living in dorm. Trust me. It's way better.

The show has been coming along fairly well, which continues to surprise me. When one of these events are on the horizon, it seems at first that there is no way that I will be able to be create enough content, but leave it to the last two weeks for it to pull together. There are some parts I am really looking forward to and I am immensely pleased with the new camcorder that I purchased. It creates a level of quality that makes the old videos look like garbage. I'm optimistic for this show and I hope I can live up to what I imagine it to be.

I only have a couple of things that I am actively concerned about. One of which is finances with being able to balance everything and test the boundaries of what I will be able to handle. That's going to be up in the air until I actually make it to Nelson and find a job that will hopefully get me some traction and push back on the debt. Debt has been a little bit of an annoying part of my life in the last couple of years as it seems like I have been paying for that two bedroom by myself entirely too much and if there was just someone there, it would have helped me avoid the current state of affairs. Alas, I just have to deal and make wise choices.

The other thing I'm concerned about I just have to keep under my hat for now. It's nothing life-threatening, don't worry. It is a part of a bizarre time of my life and I have to balance it all.

Life right now is exciting and full of possibilities and I am looking forward to my tabula rasa and what I could do with it.

"Leaves are falling all around, It's time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay.
But now it's time for me to go. The autumn moon lights my way.
For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it's headed my way.
Sometimes I grow so tired, but I know I've got one thing I got to do...
Ramble On, And now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song."
- Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On" from the album "Led Zeppelin II"

Monday, September 06, 2010


I wanted to write a short post on the last day of being in the old apartment. This is probably the first time that I have had to actually do a true move since I was living back in Minnedosa with the family. I say that because the other times I went from one place to another, I could do it in one truck load because I barely had any furniture to speak of. This time, I have couches, beds, desks, tables and a TV to move. What's more, I have five years of stuff sitting here. I was making all sorts of choices as to what was worth keeping and what was garbage to be thrown out. It was admittedly a little strange to hand off my couch at the Jackson Hole and throw out stuff I would never normally throw out.

I know this may sound contradictory to the previous post where I said I didn't care about what was furnishing my place, but it's not because I want all the stuff. It was more that the stuff I had meant something to me or had memories attached to it. Some good, some bad. I could do without a lot of stuff, but stuff also are reminders of times gone by with folks. My memory is not so good some times and I don't remember all the times I've experienced but to see something that wakes up a past event and makes it real for a moment. I think that's why we hold onto a lot of things.

I, however, have to cut out a lot of things because I need to have the freedom to move often and without a lot of hassle. I can't store anything with my family and so I have to choose what stays and what goes. Today, I threw out old letters and thank you notes (after I read them one more time). The most major item I threw out was Dad's old bowling shoes. I did it because I realized that I never go bowling anymore and they are in terrible condition and I had nowhere to put them. When I made the decision to toss them, however, I was stricken with a sharp sadness. As I carted them off to the garbage bin, I was looking at them and remembering how my dad bought them used and had used black marker to draw two little arrows on the toes. I asked him why would he do that and he jokingly replied "So that it points me down the centre of the lane." However, his drawing was a little shaky and the arrow on the right toe kind of pointed off to the left and I pointed that out to him and he said that he'll just have to turn his foot. I am sitting here at the keyboard and can not even word the mixed emotion of it. So I guess I won't.

In the movie "Saving Private Ryan", Private Ryan is talking to Captain Miller about how he can't remember any memories of his now deceased brothers. He can't picture them or hear their voices. Captain Miller responds that you can't just remember without context. When he thinks of home, he thinks of the hammock in the back yard or his wife pruning the rosebushes. For me, the context of some of those memories are in some of the things I have.

Don't get me wrong. This is good for me and I am excited. This apartment holds some of the darkest times in my life, but it's still apart of me and these useless items that I cannot take with me also hold memories.

This move turned out to be a little tougher than I thought.

"I know we don't live here anymore
We bought an old house on the Danforth
She loves me and her body keeps me warm
I'm happy here
But this is where we used to live

Broke into the old apartment
Tore the phone out of the wall
Only memories, fading memories
Blending into dull tableaux

I want them back"
- "Old Apartment" from the Barenaked Ladies' album "Born on a Pirate Ship"

Monday, August 30, 2010

Get a Move On Already

It has been a recurring thing with me recently in that things in my life are in perpetual flux and I have to make many decisions whereas before I was in a self-enforced state of pause. The most recent example has surrounded my process of getting rid of my apartment. Originally, I planned to get someone to take over in October, but it was suggested to me that I should post an ad early because it would go better for me if I give people as much of a heads up as possible. Turns out that as soon as I had posted the ad on Kijiji people immediately responded to the ad and they were wanting to move in September 1st. It caught me off guard to the point that I didn't even have the appropriate paperwork ready. It was probably a good problem to have, but it has definitely bumped up my time table. Now, I am moving within the week. For one month, I am going to move in with the Life Together folks and then from there head to Nelson. I didn't even get to settle into the old apartment and I'm heading back out into the next phase of my life which I am labeling the "Hobo Years".

I couple of things have been going around in my head since this development, one being the fact I am moving from the place I have lived for the last five years and now I have no place for my things. It will all be borrowed for the next long while. I am going to be leaving some items at the Life Together house and taking only the essentials. Clothes, bedding, toiletries, my video camera and computer. I will officially be homeless in that I won't be paying for my own place for a while. My little living area will be borrowed. For me, I am excited to be free of such responsibilities. I am now turning into a guest in another home for a while, but it is a different scenario than when I am paying for my place directly. It is going to be an adventure like the video games I always played. I am going to a place to complete a quest along with some side tasks. Yes, nerdy I know, but at the same time very accurate. Plus I am doing the thing that I always wanted to devote more time to, but was unsure of how I could do it.

The other I was thinking about could be epitomized from my encounter with Lance on Saturday. Greg and I went over to his place and chilled out in his new hot tub and were catching up with each other. Lance and Char are in the middle of renovating their backyard and we started talking about the future projects including the completion of his deck, a patio and in general transforming it into something that sounds awesome. I should probably clarify that. Greg and Lance discussed that. I sort of stayed quiet. I didn't know much about that kind of stuff, because I've never thought about it. It never interested me. Greg however, was able to keep pace with Lance and had clearly considered that kind of stuff before. Mind you, Greg does work in construction.

He is, however, not the only one of my friends who has some idea of what their future home would have. People in my small group can talk about their homes/future homes and what they would have or are going to do with their home or what they want to change and how they'd do it. I do my best to feign interest, but I couldn't care less about that stuff.

For the last five years I was going to put up posters in my bedroom to spruce it up, but I never got around to it. In fact, I don't think that the room was a hundred percent cleaned. The thing was, I didn't care. The only reason I wanted to do that was because I figured that what normal people do. They want their room to be unique and reflect who they are. So they decorate or arrange things in the way that portrays their personality not so much for the sake of showing off, but for their own sake of expression. That's what I assume anyway. I don't care what that room looks like. I store clothes and spend my time being unconscious in there. Why would I care what it looks like? I didn't decorate my room to be a reflection of who I am, because I didn't care what it looked like and thought it was unnecessary work and thus it ironically became a reflection of who I am.

My living space is where all my decorations are. However, all the things that I have populated my apartment with came from convenience. All my furniture was either stuff that my old roommates had and then left with me when they moved or were standees from work. When a promotion of a new movie had come to an end, I would take the standee of a character or the poster home because I thought, "Sweet, here is a free shelf and it makes it look like I tried to decorate." Aside from two posters, I didn't buy anything to add to my home. Not dishes, not towels, not furniture (except for a TV and the game systems). I have never improved my home. The decorations are purely there because other people put up stuff in their home and I wouldn't have to hear the comments like, "The walls look so barren".

The reason this has stuck out to me is because I am closing up shop here and there is nothing to close up. I don't care for any of it. The reason I'm making arrangements to leave it here in the city is so that when I return I don't have to go through the drudgery of having to find new furniture and have to spend money on it. It's not the money part that bothers me, but rather the whole fact I have to spend any time and any money on something I don't care about at all. It's just that unless you want to be a furnitureless weirdo, you have that stuff so that you can make a house more hospitable and inviting.

Some would say, "Dave, that stuff doesn't matter. A home is about the people inside." Yes, true. But finding a girl who doesn't care about that stuff too, would be mighty difficult. A lot of perception of what is needed to create a space for a family comes from how you approach your home. If I don't even care a little bit about the space I live, then I don't really care about the space when other people are there.

There is a security that comes with a home. An idea that this is a space where a family is safe to be and I have a hard time with that. I really don't care about that space and my fear is that if I don't care about setting up a home that I wouldn't really be caring for my future family.

It all boils down to this. I have been standing at a crossroads for nine years. Do I choose the life of a performance artist and devote my time and lifestyle to becoming a better one or do I choose to become responsible for my future family and pursue a stable home and income. I've to the point that I've realized that I have been standing at that fork in the road for so long and realized that I haven't chosen and now I will have difficulty pursuing either due to my lack of decision.

I think the main reason I haven't chosen is because I do not want to choose the wrong one. If I choose to pursue comedy, I may not succeed well enough to be able to build a home for a family. If I choose the stable life, then I may yearn for a life of doing what I want to do and blame it on the family that held me back. So I have instead chosen a safe life. I had a job and stuck with it to at least pay off debts and have benefits and I would do the safe approach of doing skits for free at youth retreats just so that I had an avenue to do some but not really pushing myself. It's like the parable Jesus about the talents. I didn't want to risk anything, so I wound up taking my talents and burying them in the sand and at the end of the day, not having anymore than when I started.

Now, I am finally choosing, perhaps way too late to go and do my passion. I am turning away from building my home and a lifestyle that I could bring a family into. It scares me a little. Especially since I have found a girl that I care for and who cares for me because I am not sure what I will have at the end of this choice to offer her.

In the end, I have to do this. I can't stay still anymore. I have to choose and not let "what ifs" hold me back at a fork in the road. I have finally figured out that I would rather walk a path that may lead to failure than go nowhere at all.

"In the far off distance
As my taillights fade
No one thinks to witness but they will someday
Feel like a question is forming
And the answer's far
I will be what I could be
Once I get out of this town"
- Pearl Jam's "Gone" from their self-titled album

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lost in Thought: "The End"

Today I picked up "LOST: The Complete Collection" which included all six seasons in one package along with many other nifty extras. Normally, I wouldn't just pick up the entire collection when I already have 5 out of the 6 seasons already, but this was different. LOST really is an entire collection and now that I have seen the show, I can appreciate the entirety of the show. It was truly worth the investment of time and money into one of the most thought-provoking hours of television.

This is as good as any time to do a review of the show as any. I was away from my home computer and was not able to type out a review before, but I have just finished watching the special features of the final season (along with the last twenty minutes of the last episode) and now LOST is once again racing through my mind.

As silly as it is to admit, I have to say that the LOST finale was one of the things that actually impacted me this summer (along with many more important events) and as I watched the cast and crew review the creation of the last season, I was brought to tears and contemplated matters of my own life once more. I think the main reason that this show has hit me as hard as it has is the fact that this show focuses on the nature of humanity. Mind you, many movies, TV shows and books do that, but it may be one of the few that deals with the state of spirituality in the modern era.

When I was talking with Pastor Arden from Nelson (where I will be heading in just over a month), he pointed out that LOST highlights the need of spirituality that modern North American culture yearns for but has been disenfranchised with due to bad experiences with religion or unfamiliar with due to a lack of experience with religion. LOST is a summary of North American spirituality. Even though Lost is not a Christian show, it clearly tackles the same issue that Christianity (along with other world religions) addresses.

I know that many people were disappointed with the apparent lack of answers to many questions, I still feel that at the end of the show, all the major questions I had were addressed. Sure, there are many that were left hanging, but to go out of the way to answer it would have been answering it for the sake of answering it and thus taking away from the major narrative of the story. Although, a few of those questions were addressed in a special 10 minute segment made for the DVD. However, it would have been strangely out of place had they put those into the finale itself or really into the final season at all. For the sake of those who care to check it out, they talk about questions like "What was the deal with the palette drops in season 2?" or "What was so special about Walt?" It was interesting, but not necessary. Especially after watching the other special features and being again reminded of what that show was.

Lost had two major themes that came through out the show and that was the idea of community and redemption.

In season one the castaways were faced with a dire situation and they were deciding how to deal with things and it was pretty chaotic. It was at this point that Jack stepped forward and talked about how people needed to band together if they were to survive.

"Last week most of us were strangers. But we're all here now. And God knows how long we're going to be here. But if we can't live together—we're gonna die alone"

With that line, one of the foundations of the show was laid. Live together or die alone. There was multiple times in making the movie trailers throughout the summer that I referenced that idea and I even named one of my speeches at the Kootenay camp "Live Together or Die Alone". The flash sideways was used to underscore that main tenet of the show. Whatever happens in the after life, we are going to be facing it together. One of the thoughts I have had about death is that when we go to face our judgment, it is not going to be me facing God, but rather us as a humanity and it will be our ability to live as a people who took care of each like God commanded us that will be judged. God knows that we are not doing that now and it will have to be on the mercy of Jesus Christ that we are forgiven for failing as a humanity.

I think that we should not be simply concerned with our own personal redemption, but rather the redemption of humanity. It puts a different spin on why we do good works. It means that we do good works, not for the sake of salvation, but rather as an avenue to aid our fellow humanity who we are ultimately going to be linked with in the afterlife.

The other major theme is redemption which I have already touched on, but it specifically about how no matter our situation and background, we are capable of being redeemed. No one is beyond redemption and it is up to us to embrace that change in character. In the show, we have a group of people who are flawed, but in the situation they find themselves in on the island, they are brought to a place where they can find redemption and become the hero archtype that should be outside of their grasp.

In the same way, humanity are faced with situations and people who stand in their way and it is possible for a person to rise above and become the enlightened hero. We may not have to face a foe as powerful as Darth Vader, but like the characters in Lost, we may face people like a boss that bullies us or an impossible standard put before us by our father and our redemption and evolution into a person of a heroic archtype is found in the trials of our character along with the support of the community.

In the end, what I walk away with at the end of Lost is that people can be redeemed and that it is found through the power of the good community. Of course, I would submit that it also requires the pursuit of goodness that is found at the core of teachings of Jesus, but for a network television series to actually address anything of spiritual significance and in a profound way is amazing.

One of the reasons the ending of the show has impacted me as much as it did this summer was the imagery it used in the flash sideways. The idea that people would find each other in the afterlife before they move onto their final destination was fascinating. I was thinking about what would my flash sideways look like and I have a feeling that it would look like camp. A camp where the people significant would gather and it would be around the camp fire where we'd realize the significance of each other in each others lives. I can imagine some people would be around that fire and it is such an interesting exercise.

So my question to you is: Who would be in your flash sideways and what would it look like for you?

For me, Lost was a fantastic show that dealt with issues rarely touched by television and actually got me thinking inwardly as to where am I in the whole scheme of things and that is something I can't say for a lot of things. Kudos to the cast and crew to making one of the best shows on television.

(It kills me to quote a Creed song, but alas, the song fits perfect)

"Why hold down one to raise another?
Discrimination now on both sides
Seeds of hate blossom further
The world is heading for mutiny
When all we want is unity
We may rise and fall, but in the end
We meet our fate together"
- Creed's "One" from their album "My Own Prison"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Too Much To Say

I just got home last night and I can't bring myself to sleep quite yet. My mind is filled with a lot of thoughts right now. Thoughts of the future, memories of this summer, preparations for the wedding reception I am the master of ceremony for, the girl I can't stop thinking about, what am I going to do for the next couple of months while I live in Winnipeg, wrestling in my mind about my relationship with my mom. It is all tumbling around in my mind, and I still haven't unpacked from the summer yet.

Although, it may sound like I am complaining, but in actuality, I am quite exhilarated. Sunday will be a good day to recover from one adventurous summer and to take it easy. This week coming up will be one to reflect and prep for the next couple of months. I have a couple of months before I head west and I have some decisions to make and I hope I don't get so wrapped up in the future, that I forget to live in the present and make wise choices now.

On Monday, I plan on starting to develop my last comedy show for Winnipeg with the help of a very smart and organized friend and put something together that will be an appropriate good bye to the community that I have spent the last eight years with. I have a rough idea of how the show will be designed and I hope that I can pull it together in the midst of other important tasks that need to be done before one moves to another province.

There is so much I want to write, but it is late. I suppose I wanted to set the stage for myself to write down some various thoughts in the next while and I hope that in the midst of this time of change that I can crystalize those thoughts for the sake of later when I think back to this major turning point in my life. I will get to it later after this last crazy day.

"Such is the way of the world
You can never know
Just where to put all your faith
And how will it grow

Gonna rise up
Burning back holes in dark memories
Gonna rise up
Turning mistakes into gold

Such is the passage of time
Too fast to fold
And suddenly swallowed by signs
Low and behold

Gonna rise up
Find my direction magnetically
Gonna rise up
Throw down my ace in the hole"
- Eddie Vedder's "Rise" from the "Into the Wild" soundtrack

Friday, August 13, 2010

That Feels Good

I have one more camp to go here on the Camp Ministry Team. I am a bit tired and have been sick for the last few weeks with a few different colds. My back is scraped up and my clothes in the laundry getting rid of the caked-on mud from last night's game of "Fugitive". My voice is shot and my ability to yell a mighty yell is affected by the constant threat of cracking.

I feel alive.

This is a good kind of tired, beat up and sick. I feel like I am actually doing something and I am still having fun. I am truly going to miss this summer despite it's trials of various sorts. However, there is an exciting, new adventure on the horizon.

As it stands right now, I am moving to Nelson, British Columbia in a couple of months to do the internship I mentioned in my previous post. The details of exactly what my expectations are not fully ironed out, but my conversation with Pastor Arden gives me a lot of confidence that we are on the same page. I am looking forward to getting to perform regularly and working on various video projects and youth group events.

One thing I know I am going to miss are the people in Winnipeg. I have been there for essentially eight years and it will be a little sad to leave them. At this point I don't think that it will be forever, but you never know. This may be the start of a life on the road.

It's very strange to be where I am right now. I feel good and happy for the most part and I kind of don't know what to do with it. It has been a lot longer than people realize since I have been this content. There's still question marks in my future and I still have a hard time with the idea of whether or not that I am "living up to my potential" but I feel like I have found where I can help and excel doing something worthwhile.

I am thankful for how God has been leading me out of the valley of the shadow of death and I hope that I can do what I am supposed to do.

"The world awaits just up the stairs
Leave the pain for someone else
Nothing back there for you to find
Or was it you you left behind?
You're always saying you're too weak to be strong
You're harder on yourself than just about anyone
Why swim the channel just to get this far?
Halfway there, why would you turn around?
Darkness comes in waves...tell me,
Why invite it to stay?

You're one with negativity
Yes, comfort is an energy
But why let the sad song play?

I have faced it, a life wasted
I'm never going back again
Oh I escaped it, a life wasted
I'm never going back again
Haven't tasted, a life wasted
I'm never going back again
Oh i erased it, a life wasted
I'm never going back again"

- Pearl Jam's "Life Wasted" from their self-titled album

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Traveling Preacherman

I have decided to quickly write up a little update to my blog as I have stolen Nathan's computer. I thought it might be important to crystalize for myself, some of the thoughts that I have been having as I have gone through my experiences this summer. Particularly since I am in a different place than when I left.

The last Early Night Show I did, I had a theme of how life kicks the crap out of you and how all there is left to do is pick yourself up again and push forward. For me, the summer has been really good for me personally. It has been busy and that's what I like especially if it's doing stuff I like. I have been writing scripts and working on talks. I have been performing and speaking to churches and youth alike. I have been doing work that I really enjoy.

In fact, I have been enjoying it so much, I wish I could do it all the time. It would so awesome just to continue to travel from place to place and doing whatever was needed wherever I was. I like the variety and meeting new people and that I can be creative in presenting games and ideas.

I have been learning a lot about myself and why I do the things I do and why I have done the things I have done. For the first couple of months in the summer, I have been talking to a counsellor and sorting through some of the things I have been dealing with internally and understanding my dark passenger.

I think one of the reasons I really like doing this style of ministry, is because I got to stay with billets. Some people really dread it and I can understand the downside of always having to be social, considerate, and polite as a guest in a home, but for me I really liked it. I think it has to do with the idea that I got to stay in a home with people that even for the few days we would stay there would care about me and what I was doing and where I was going. It was like having a surrogate family. This summer, I realized why I liked the surrogate family. It's because it was better than my own family.

Ever since my dad died twelve years ago, it was really the death of my own sense of family. Dad was my best friend and was more of the glue in the family than I realized. I've come to reflect on my experience with my growing up and noticed that although I may have spent more time with some of my friends from the school, I have had the most intimate and meaningful conversations with my dad. He was the one that would balance out my mom who I think had a hard time raising Darwin and myself. When he died, so did that balance.

The source of meaningful and even tolerable conversation in my home disappeared. I have had and continue to have trouble connecting with my family on a deep level and going to these places where families and individuals are more like family to me than my own has been good for me. At the same time, kind of tragic. I like to travel and go to these places to find a sense of home and learn how to have a family which is so backwards for so many others. I think that is why the ideal of a wanderer appeals to me so much.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the summer because the work has kept my mind busy and doing something that I feel is of value. I am putting my skills to work in a positive manner and getting encouraging feedback. I want to continue doing what I have been and am looking at opportunities to come into a situation and offer my unique set of skills and continue moving on.

I am considering the idea of short internships at various churches and looking to help with their dramatic presentations and youth programs. That way I can focus on writing and performing and introducing thought-provoking drama and comedy sketches to churches and looking to possibly establish a drama team for when I leave. In the event that my style is not appreciated, I would be moving on soon anyways and I would be helping in their youth programs with perhaps planning events and games and connecting with youth which any church could use.

I like the image of a traveling preacher who comes in and alongside a church and introduces new ideas and impacting the way things are done and challenging the body before moving on. It would use my abilities and shake things up a little bit. I believe that drama and comedy has a place in the realm of the church but it is not fully realized nor is it's potential understood.

Eventually, I will have to settle down and sort things out, but maybe this is what I need. I have felt more at home in the homes of strangers and maybe that it is where my home truly is for now. I can see what family looks like and acts like and most importantly feels like. Then I can start my own.

I don't fear for my future and I can see hope in what I am planning. It is almost reminiscent of the early apostles and the "Littlest Hobo", both of which are awesome. I think that's where I am going to leave it for now, but this has been a great summer and many other things are tumbling around in my head and I will talk about them later, but just know that I am happy and hopeful.

"There’s a voice that keeps on calling me
own the road is where I’ll always be

Every stop I make, I’ll make a new friend

Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.

Down this road, that never seems to end,
Where new adventure, lies just around the bend.

So if you want to join me for a while
Just grab your hat, come travel light – that’s hobo style.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, the whole world is my home."

- "Maybe Tomorrow" by Terry Bush