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"