Saturday, August 11, 2007


So, a month after I got Katie Joy's phone number, I went on a date with her last night. I was starting to wonder if it ever was going to happen.

We went to dinner at Jade Palace, a Chinese place here in town. I've only been there once before, but have wanted an excuse to go back. Katie Joy told me she really liked Chinese food, so this was a perfect opportunity. I picked her up shortly after 6p. She lives out of town toward Roundup. It's about 16 miles from my house (where's the transporter?). I was very excited and a bit nervous driving out there.

I met her parents, and her younger brother and sister. They all seemed nice. Mom was holding a knife when I met her; she was preparing dinner or something. Someone made a crack about her sending me a message. They laughed and so did I. It did seem straight out of a movie.

She looked very pretty, wearing a nice tank top and khakis. Her hair is dark and just past her shoulder in length. We ate dinner and sat talking for awhile before going to my place and watching a movie. After that, I took her home. She said she had a good time and I did as well. Some observations:

1) She didn't say it in so many words, but I got the impression that the fact that she is eight years younger than me (she is only 20) made her hesitant to go on a date with me. Perhaps being a divorced father of two factored into it, as well, but the age difference did seem to be somewhat of a concern to her. When I first started thinking about asking her out, it was something I thought about, too. Talking to her, though, she seemed quite mature and so I worried about it less.

2) What was more of a concern to me, and I knew this before I asked her out and had it confirmed last night, were her religious beliefs. She goes to Faith Chapel and is very involved in it. I have no problem with that. What does make me nervous is the tendency for those of the evangelical tradition to be intolerant of different beliefs. The sad part is that I believe very strongly in God and Jesus and try to keep that in the forefront of my decision making process as much as possible. It annoys me that so many Christians claim that their branch of Christianity is the one true branch and everyone else is a Hell-bound heathen. I don't know where exactly on this scale Katie Joy is, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried about it.

3) Two laugh-at-Shane moments. The first was at the restaurant. After paying the bill, I went back to the table to leave a tip. When I came back, Katie Joy asked, "Did you put the tip on the wrong table?" I looked back and she said, "Yeah, you did. You put it on the table next to ours." I moved the tip to the correct table. She got a big kick out of that. I laughed, too. It's not the first, nor will it be the last time I absent-mindedly do something like that. In fact I had another moment later that evening.

I was driving her home. She made a crack about me driving "crazy" apparently because I take turns quickly. I told her I didn't want her to be scared and slowed down to 15 mph. She laughed a little, but then really started laughing when she had to tell me I was about to turn down a one-way street. I looked at the street sign and sure enough I was. I needed to turn at the next block. She was laughing hysterically and so was the pedestrian who saw it and probably saw her laughing at me.

4) She doesn't like Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. Talking earlier, she mentioned loving Monty Python and the Holy Grail. She hadn't seen MoL or Life of Brian, so we decided to watch one of them. She picked MoL, but, as it turns out, she didn't like it. Really didn't like it. She had a big problem with the sex ed skit (which includes the teacher having sex with his wife to demonstrate for the students) and the nudity in the skit in which the man gets to choose his manner of death and has a dozen topless chicks in thongs chase him off of a cliff. The nudity especially bothered her because she said she found it degrading. I told her that I don't like nudity when it's done just for titillation, but that if it has a point as it did in this movie I don't have a problem with that. She wasn't convinced by my argument. I guess I'll try to avoid watching movies with her that have topless girls.

5) I had a really good time. She said she did, too, but she's nice enough to say that even if she didn't. No, I think (hope) she did. I like her. She's smart, pretty, independent, has goals for her life, sarcastic (always a bonus), and funny. I do want to go on some more dates with her. I'll probably call her tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


I think my sister, Shawna, could identify with this guy.

You know I love you, Shawna, but I just couldn't resist.

A Modern Bible

I would love to get a copy of this Bible.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tales From the Noble Library

I just finished reading The Iliad. I have wanted to read it for a long time now (along with 50 million other books) but have only just got around to it. The translation was done by Robert Fagles, a noted expert on Greek literature. His translation was easy to read and engaging.

The poem was definitely enjoyable and it is easy to see why it has survived for as long as it has. The story is epic. The characters are larger than life while still feeling human. The violence is gritty and real, indeed I'm not sure I've read about more splattering blood and guts anywhere. Few people die without a graphic depiction of the spear or sword tearing through their bodies. Philosophies of war and battle are debated and argued.

It can be dry at times. Indeed, chapter two took me awhile to get through as it was mostly a list of various captains and which army they were leading. There are times, too, when the violence is just overwhelming it becomes numbing. If I was reading late at night, the battles would sometimes start to blend together and I couldn't remember who was leading what charge and who was fighting who and who was currently winning. Overall, though, the poem moves along well and is very engaging.

One of the most striking aspects to me was the deeply tragic nature of events due to the lack of control by the human characters. They are at the mercy of the gods who scheme and manipulate everything in an attempt to achieve the outcome they desire. They take part in the fighting, disguise themselves as mortals, grant some people immunity and strength, whisk a favorite away to prevent his death. I came away feeling sorry for all of the characters, unable to do as they wish, puppets on the strings of Zeus and his cohorts. Is this a natural human feeling? I don't think anybody living today would blame their ills on Hera, but I do think many people feel that they are not in control of their lives. How sad. It must be very frustrating and the source of much anger to not feel as though you are in control of your life. While their may be some things that happen to us in the course of our lives we cannot control, I firmly believe we can control how react to those situations.

The other book I have been reading is Watership Down. I have been reading it to my daughters, a chapter or two a week, when they are here. I have read it before and it is a favorite. My girls are definitely enjoying it, too. It is a very engaging book. Unlike many books featuring anthropomorphic animals, the rabbits of Watership Down are very recognizable as rabbits. They do not dress in clothes, carry tools, and live in houses. In fact, they are almost what one would expect real rabbits to be like if one could talk to them. Highly recommended reading.

I think the next book I am going to read for myself is Song of Kali by Dan Simmons.

Old School

While borrowing a car from my friend, Jeromy, a few weeks ago I put a CD of his in the stereo, Kickin' It Old School. It has a bunch of hip-hop classics from the 80s and 90s. I'm definitely not a hip-hop/rap fan with the exception of a few songs here and there. There were two songs on the CD that I actually do like, though. Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" and Puff Daddy's "I'll Be Missing You." Since listening to them in Jeromy's car, they've been stuck in my head, so I downloaded them from the iTunes store tonight.

I suppose my enjoyment of these hip-hop songs (and a few others like Eminem's "Cleaning Out My Closet" and "Lose Yourself") is because they aren't celebrating violence, drug use, and misogyny as so much of rap does. They are songs about real emotions and real moments. I can get behind songs that do that in any genre. Even country. Well, sometimes, anyway.

"Let the rain sing you a lullaby."

I think I've started a new tradition with my daughters and nieces. A month ago (six weeks?) we had a thunder storm. It was Friday evening. My daughters were over to spend the night and my nieces Alexis and Bryanna were also here. I was feeling down, not for any particular reason, but just because. I looked outside as the rain just started coming down and had a crazy thought. "How much fun would it be to go running outside right now?"

"Come on girls! Follow me," I shouted.

"Where are we going?" one of them asked.


"But, it's raining."

"I know," I said opening the back door and leading the four of them out into the backyard and into the rain. For just a minute all cares and worries and worldly things were forgotten. It was me, my daughters, and two of my nieces, running around the yard like fools, arms outstretched, laughing, screaming. Soaked, I led the charge back inside and we sat down for dinner.

After dinner, the rain became a torrent. Winds were gusting up to fifty miles an hour. My sister, Shawna, realized her car windows were down and ran out to roll them up. Still wet from our pre-dinner excursion, I said, "Girls, I think we better go help Shawna roll up her windows!" They cheered and we all went back into the storm.

The wind threatened to knock Alexis, only three, over. She kept saying, "The wind's messing up my hair!" I picked her up and put her on my shoulders and we ran around in circles. Of course, the five of us were not helping Shawna. We were having more fun acting like idiots. After getting very drenched this time, we ran back in the house.

Two brief but magical moments that I will never forget. For a minute all worries, fears, and cares were forgotten. Everything seemed to fade away; the world consisted of me, my daughters, my nieces, and the rain.

They have not forgotten it, either. A few weeks later, during another rainstorm, we went running into the rain again at the urging of my little ladies. And, again today, a few drops of rain began to fall and Alexis said, "Uncle Shane, let's go run in the rain!" So, of course, we did.

It's the little things in life that make it enjoyable.