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Archive for the ‘Inadvertent Celibacy’ Category

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Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Meanwhile, Have a TV Dinner

Today I’m fixing pizza at a friend’s birthday party. Should be fun. But I have to admit, lately I’ve started to realize I’m not getting a huge ROI on the things I do for people.

I don’t think I’m generous by nature. Whatever progress I’ve made has been through prayer and effort. I’ve managed to improve a lot. But over the last few weeks it has occurred to me that there are only two people on earth who ever do anything for me. That’s surprising. I don’t think of myself as a martyr or a victim, but it would be nice if someone occasionally gave me a little help, just so I could relax for a short time.

If I need to lift something, I use a hoist, not a friend. I never borrow. I rarely ask for prayer. There are some things I just don’t do, because I would need help. Part of it is my own fault; I don’t ask much. But I know people are not anxious to help.

I know a lot of people whose calls, texts, and emails are usually preludes to requests. They usually contact me because they need things. That’s okay; one of my purposes on earth is to give. But it’s also good to hear from people when they don’t want anything.

This year I didn’t cook on Christmas or Christmas Eve, apart from two steaks for my dad and me. I was too tired. When the holidays roll around, I spend days working so people can show up, do almost nothing, provide almost nothing, and leave without cleaning up. This year I enjoyed being alone on Christmas Eve, watching machining videos. I felt like I was playing hooky.

My parents and grandparents didn’t teach me much, but every so often, one of them said something worth remembering. My grandmother told me that people would always let me continue doing more than they did. They will never say no. That was a valuable insight.

My former church was all about taking. I keep getting more revelation about this. The vast majority of the time, when they talked to the core members, they were pushing them to do more to promote the church. And promoting Trinity Church means promoting the family that runs the church. They didn’t talk all that much about ministering or praying. They said we had to get out there and Tweet and Facebook, to get people to show up, volunteer, and give money. We had to help them get publicity. We had to fill, fill, FILL those seats. It was never about love or grace. It was never, ever about helping people. It was always about using carnal means to pump up the church and help some of the pastors–the ones in the family–succeed.

I don’t think they’ll ever promote any of the other pastors in any meaningful way. I’ve never seen them do it. Maybe I’m wrong. They give them a little bit of promotion here and there, and one of them is more or less in charge of a small branch church that used to be the main building, but not one of them is on the same level as the family.

They’re going to keep using these pastors, and they will keep them small, until they get fed up and leave. Then they’ll pull the same game on whoever replaces them. That’s what I think. Any preacher or performer dumb enough to think those people will help him succeed deserves to remain a slave.

I have a friend they’re trying to con into staying at the church. The other day I pointed something out to him. I asked him how often they talk about his needs and how often they talk about what he can do for the church. They love saying, “We NEED you, bro.” They love that unpaid labor. But when people have problems, they generally don’t help. Once in a while, they do. But there are always strings attached. A sale isn’t a gift. And if God isn’t blessing your church, it doesn’t matter how many underprivileged kids you can con into working for you. It will not work. You should set them free to work at a church which is profitable to God.

A church exists to serve, not to be served. Trinity does not care about the people who worship there. They preach constantly about what people can do for them, and the pretext is that serving Trinity is the same as serving God. How many thieves and pimps on TBN have gotten rich off that same grift? You can serve a church every day all of your life and never serve God. Unless the church serves God, those who serve it serve the devil.

I have been thinking about this in relation to marriage. As I wrote the other day, I went crazy and put up profiles on a couple of dating sites, and the results were actually frightening. They keep sending me obese women who are older than I am. Some normal women have started to appear in the feed, so maybe they try to move the stubborn products first. Not great marketing.

Anyway, two people can get a lot more done than one. One of the purposes of marriage is to provide ONE person you can call on and rely on. God only gave us two hands. Once in a while, it would be nice to be able to say, “Can you handle this for me?”

Our relationships with God are marriages, so I think the issues I face are like the ones he faces. People moan and whine about the things they need (or just want). They don’t ask God what he needs. They take, take, take. And here is this ruined world, which we have turned into a septic tank. There is so much that needs to be done. No wonder he doesn’t listen when we pray for Gucci shoes instead of Ferragamo.

God doesn’t get many of the hot chicks and sought-after bachelors. He gets the least-desirable applicants. The divorcees and widows. The Bible flat-out says the smart and the successful don’t make up much of the body. He gets people who aren’t bright or capable. Like the strange men he gave Gideon; they didn’t even know how to drink water.

It would be nice to go to a party and do nothing except enjoy myself. I wonder if God feels that way. He is the most cheated, abused, slandered being in the universe. There ought to be some way to fight that.

Hal’s Sister

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Yenta 9000

I had a funny experience yesterday.

Actually, it started last week. My music teacher was all bummed out because he and his girlfriend had broken up. I started telling him he should get out there and see what’s available. Check out the Christian dating sites. No point in sitting around moping.

A few days later, I realized I was telling him to do something I will not do for myself. Arrgh.

Just to see what was out there, I signed up for a couple of sites. I’ve tried this before, but the results were pretty scary. I guess I never learn. Something about the “scientific” approach appeals to me.

Last time I tried this, the first person they sent me was a beautician with no education. Now, before you get started, I realize there are smart people out there who haven’t been to college. I don’t write people off that quickly. But a computerized service should! If you show up with a physics degree and a law degree, and the FIRST person they send you barely made it through high school, it does not inspire confidence. Out of the five zillion women out there, surely the computer could have found one who was less risky.

Anyway, yesterday, I checked my “matches.” There were very few, and a whole bunch were OLDER than I am. OLDER! Not “nearly as old.” Not “same age.” OLDER. OLDER. OLDER. And this was after I told the machine not to do it! MOST of the women were my age or older.

You know what? It’s normal for men to date women somewhat younger. It’s unusual for men to be attracted to women who are older. That’s a fact of life. God wired it into us. If you don’t like it, send him an email. God gave us Ruth and Boaz, not Ruth and David.

I also specified just about every body type except for huge, including women from 4’8″ to 6’1″, and they sent me several obese women. OBESE! AND OLDER!

You know, I don’t care who calls me shallow. I will never date an obese woman. I don’t care if she has the fourth-greatest personality in history, next to the Holy Trinity. Call me whatever you want. I’m not doing it! A couple of extra pounds, on a woman who can carry it…not a problem. But food addicts are a real pain to be around. They ruin furniture. It seems like they’re always standing in doorways and hallways so you can’t get past. They’re awful to sit beside on planes and in theaters. There are things they can’t do with you, because they get tired or they can’t bend over or climb hills. You can’t have any decent food in the house, because they get up and eat all of it in the middle of the night. Then a lot of them get diabetes and fall apart. Not interested!

The third problem I had was that almost all of the women were Latin. I guess it sounds awful, but I’m kind of tired of the Latin atmosphere. Everyone around me speaks Spanish, everywhere I go. I do not want to hear it at home. I would like to feel like I’m going to bed in the United States. And I’m not all that thrilled about Cuban culture. The materialism and aggression wear me down; Cuban women can be very hard and brassy. And the sites don’t have a line where you can type things like, “Venezuelans and Colombians fine, but go easy on the Cubans.”

I knew better! The women you meet on these sites are worse than the ones you already know!

I’m not desperate. If I were, I’d be married already. Probably to a real prize. I’m one of those people who prefers nothing to something bad. When I’m really thirsty, I’d rather stay thirsty than suffer through a Budweiser. I am content to wait, and if I die, at least I won’t die with some awful wife who makes me wish I were single.

I’m starting to think the real purpose of these sites is to show you how hopeless things are. You’re supposed to look at the terrifying women they pick and say, “Man, my expectations are too high.” Then once your spirit is crushed, you settle, and they put you in a commercial.

Actually, they only put the winners in commercials. “We’re both astrophysicist fashion model billionaires, and Eharmony put us together!”

Then the men turn out to be gay.

Okay, maybe not.

Here’s something horrifying. There are men cruising Christian dating sites. For men. The sites discourage them, but they still take their money. THERE’S a package you don’t want to find under your Christmas tree. Yeah, I came to a Christian dating site so I can commit abominations and hang out in bathhouses! How did you guess? Thanks for making EVERY area of society disgusting. For a second I was afraid I might have a refuge here and there.

The upshot is this: I quit. I will meet someone normally or die alone surrounded by machine tools. I will get to drive however I want, eat whatever I want, buy whatever I want, and never, ever have to smell another cat, unless I’m in someone else’s house. Could be worse.

I can leave a motorcycle engine on the dining room table for a month. That’s pretty cool.

In real life, I am not drawing or even meeting any prospects. On rare occasions I get a really unpleasant series of advances from someone I could never, ever date, and sometimes they are actually rude and persistent, as if that will score them points instead of making me want to buy a taser. That’s about it.

In other news, something really weird is happening. I keep seeing greenish specks of light on my pillows. I can’t figure this out. I’ll be lying in bed, in a dark room, and I’ll roll over and move the pillow, and for a second or so, I’ll see these little specks on it. Then they disappear.

I Googled it. I figured I could not be the only one. But I can’t find any other examples, nor can I find an explanation. I Googled “bioluminescence” and “piezoelectric,” but I got nowhwere. It happens with down. It happens with foam.

Naturally, I’m wondering if there is a supernatural explanation. I have very powerful prayer sessions while lying on these pillows. Maybe something is going on.

Last night I lifted a pillow just to see if the specks were there, and sure enough, there was one right in front of me.

The first time it happened, I thought little shafts of light had to be filtering through the blinds and hitting the pillows, but I was wrong.

Totally weird.

I don’t think it means I’m going crazy. I think insanity is more complicated than green specks of light on a pillow.

Personal Archaeology

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

From the Tomb I Arise

People sue me all the time. I haven’t written about it, but I’ve been sued 5 times over the last few years. Most of it has to do with real estate. All of the lawsuits were ridiculous. None went anywhere. I believe two are still active, but they’re hopeless. I have relied on God to deliver me, and he came through every time.

I have refrained from countersuing and from reporting anyone to the authorities; I believe that if you want God to deliver you, it’s important to avoid getting in there in your own strength and mud-wrestling like a moron. You can’t glorify God by delivering yourself.

I was praying about one of the cases in my truck, maybe in 2009, and I felt a wave of faith rush through me. It was so powerful, I grabbed the center console and held on. I felt as if I were being washed away in a flood. From then on, I knew that suit was over, regardless of how it looked. I mention it now so God can receive his glory. I think it’s extremely important to credit God in front of other people when he helps you out.

I had a dream which I believe was about one of my enemies. In real life, my involvement with this person really got into gear in an event that took place next to the kitchen sink. Seriously. One night years later, I dreamed a big female roach was on a canister by that sink. It was about six inches long. It had two arrays of eggs under its forelegs, like the missiles on a helicopter. It also had a big brown belly which reminded me a great deal of my enemy: a plaintiff with a round pot belly and skin the same color as the roach’s.

I hate roaches, especially when they come toward me the way this one did. I live in Miami, where you will see roaches occasionally no matter what, so I keep a spray bottle full of alcohol handy to blast them. It usually knocks them out so they can be dealt with at leisure. The alcohol didn’t work. The roach was enraged, so it took off (Florida roaches fly) and flew over my head, across the kitchen. I kept blasting it, trying to get it to go away. It refused to let up. It turned and started descending, facing me, and as it did, it dropped slowly toward the back of a fan.

You can imagine what happened. That big belly got sucked into the fan, and the guts went all over me. The roach destroyed itself because it could not leave me alone. I was covered with disgusting roach guts, but I was unharmed.

After that, I found myself wandering through an old apartment belonging to my parents. They’ve never had an apartment during my lifetime; the apartment in the dream doesn’t exist. It was full of dust, and I was salvaging old things that had been set aside and forgotten. Dust poured off of them as I picked them up.

The reason I mention this is that I feel like I have new insight on the dream’s meaning.

I recently ended all involvement with this enemy, at considerable expense. I didn’t have to. I was in no danger. I felt that the Holy Spirit wanted me to. I needed to close the door on a malignant relationship and get rid of any handles that could be used to get me involved again. Part of the reason, I felt, was that God wanted to clear the playing field for a new relationship. And today I found myself rummaging through dusty items from my past, because of new opportunities God is bringing my way.

I started building guitar amps a while back. A friend wants me to build one he can use professionally. I just repaired one of my church’s Vox AC30CC2s. The other day a guy in Texas asked me to build him a Bassman clone. I don’t know where this is going, but it’s starting to look like it means something.

I keep many of my old math and physics books in the garage, on a suspended platform. I got a degree in physics and then went to grad school, but I got burned out and quit, and for a long time, I felt it had all been wasted. Lately I’ve been looking for ways to get up to speed on electronicis, and I’ve been ordering books. Today I had to go out in the garage and make sure I wasn’t duplicating anything I already had. While I was dealing with the dust on the boxes, I remembered my dream.

I used to think the last part of the dream suggested I was never going to recover the potential that was taken from me earlier in life. I was never going to get another shot at the missed opportunities. Now I think I may have been wrong. What’s a little dust? There was dust on King Tut’s tomb, and look at the riches they pulled out of it.

I just ordered an REA Problems Solvers book on electrical circuits, plus a Schaum outline. I got expedited shipping. I can’t wait to dig in.

I know there are very few people who will find this blog post interesting, but I felt I should put it up and let God have his glory. If you don’t document these things, no one will listen to you later on when they turn out to be from God. Never predict the past. God gets no honor from that.

The symbolism of the roach eggs is not lost on me. I could have been in real, lasting trouble, but for God’s protection.

If you have ears to hear, take something away from this. If not, sorry I wasted your time.

Completing the Circuit

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Finally Grounded

I had another remarkable day.

I’m trying to build a “Powerman” amp. Some tinkerer on the web came up with this. He took the case from an old PC power supply, and he crammed a bunch of amp parts into it, hence the name. I listened to some sound samples online, and I thought they were tremendous. Clear, hot, and sort of shimmery. Just what I want.

Today while I waited for the parts to arrive, I tried to get going on a PCB, or printed circuit board. If you don’t know what this is, it’s a slab of plastic coated with copper. Instead of using wires to connect things like resistors and tubes, you cut away the copper on the board until you have separate electrical paths separated by plastic, and they become the “wiring.” You solder your components to the board in the appropriate places, and you have a circuit that works.

The “printed” part comes from the fact that you can literally print these things. You create some sort of template and print it onto the board, and then you apply a solution that eats copper. The printed stuff protects the copper you want to keep. What’s left is the pattern that becomes your circuit. I don’t know if they do it much differently in factories, but this is the basic idea. I am too lazy to look up industrial PCB manufacturing.

When you do this at home, you have to create a black and white pattern and print it on photo paper. Then you use an iron to melt the toner (I guess) onto the copper plate. You remove the paper, and you’re ready to add the solution (“etchant”). You can also use a battery and a salt solution and remove the copper through electrolysis.

Feel free to correct the details, because there is no way I’m going to do it.

Here’s the hard part: making the diagram. I guess if you really wanted to, you could draw it on a piece of paper, scan it, and print that. But that’s no fun, plus it would be ugly, and it would be tedious. So what do you do? You use circuit design software, and then you use special software that turns your circuits into PCB images.

I spent like 4 hours today trying to understand a free program called PCB Artist. I never did get anywhere with it. I can understand calculus. I can understand physics. Sometimes I almost think I can understand my car insurance policy. But software written for engineers? It tends to be pretty hideous. Engineers have their own culture, so when they come up with new stuff, they kind of assume you already have all the old stuff memorized, because all you do is sit in your room smoking dope and doing nerd stuff. And sometimes they get angry when they have to accommodate normal people who know what the sun looks like. There are probably still engineers who think Bill Gates and Steve Jobs will burn in hell for giving up on command-prompt computing.

PCB Artist has a help file. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, man. Engineers…WRITING. Never a good thing. It has flow charts where it ought to have paragraphs. Even Dilbert would vomit.

So I gave up. But then I made an amazing discovery. I already had free versions of two expensive programs: Multisim and Ultiboard. Don’t ask me how I got free versions. I downloaded them a long time ago. I don’t think they support them now. But they work fine. On top of that, everything is pretty intuitive.

I managed to create my own schematic symbol for the 6021 twin triode vacuum tube. I felt like I had climbed Mt. Everest on roller skates. I haven’t figured out how to get it totally integrated into the software, but I don’t really have to do that. The tubes are going to fit into op amp sockets, so as long as I can come up with a circuit with two sockets in it, I’m fine. The software already knows about sockets.

Very cool.

A bunch of the parts arrived. I have a Hammond aluminum chassis, lots of resistors, numerous capacitors, et cetera. I felt like dumping them in a pile and letting them pour through my fingers. I love this stuff.

Over the weekend, I located an amazing book on vacuum tubes. It was written in 1952, for the military. The great thing about that is that the military EXPECTS you to be stupid. It’s not like university math and science texts, which always have incomprehensible, agony-inducing passages preceded by the word “obviously.” Now I know how vacuum tubes work! Fantastic! I should be done with the book next week. I looked at an awful book on tube guitar amps, and it was as useless as a Honey-Baked Ham store in Pakistan. Totally worthless. But the military book was a breeze. Why aren’t there more books like that?

I’m actually going to be able to do this. Not just this circuit, but circuits in general. Simple ones. And it’s coming together just as the guitar is starting to work. It is now easy for me to do things that were impossible a month ago. My hands are doing things which, I’m pretty sure, aren’t even physically possible. I’ll be brave and say I expect to be able to play “I Know a Little” very well, at 90% speed, without fear of screwing up, in a month.

The nuttiest things are happening. When you pick a guitar, you have to be accurate to within a couple of millimeters on every stroke. The natural impulse is to crab up your hand and move the pick with cramped movements of your fingers. I’m swinging my hand from the elbow, not looking where I’m going, and I’m whacking the strings I need to hit, reliably and smoothly. It’s like sinking a basketball over and over from 50 feet. When you play this way, you can play much faster and more rhythmically than you can by moving the pick with your fingers. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. A person with no fingers at all should be able to flatpick as well as anyone, as long as he can find a way to hang onto the pick.

As I get more accurate, I spend less energy on mechanics, and I have more brain capacity to apply to making the music sound good. I can listen to it and enjoy it. And my left hand feels like it’s swimming in the fretboard. Sometimes I feel like I’m singing with my hands.

I don’t know what’s going on, but a month or two back, I got the definite impression that my life was going to start working much better toward the end of April. I saw it as a pivotal week. I think from now on I’m going to succeed in areas where I used to fail.

This morning, I started feeling that God was blessing me. I felt that he was putting things in motion for me; bringing me wonderful things. It’s hard to explain, but I couldn’t help bending my knees at one point, as if someone were showering me with heavy gifts. I thought I’d blog it. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll be just another crazy, and no one will care. If it does, I will have given God his glory, and unlike most people, I will have done it in advance.

God works. And the ideas I’ve had about him are all panning out. Especially tongues. I’ve only managed to get two people at church on board with it. One of them is using a timer to pray in tongues every day, as I suggested.

I’m going to go on ahead. I’m going to be like Joshua and Caleb. I don’t know how to bring people along with me; I wish I did. Jesus himself had limited success at that. But I have learned that when you get ahold of something good, and you decide to embark on a course of action that will dramatically improve your life, nearly everyone you know will find an excuse to stay behind and rot. The slavery they know looks better than the milk and honey they’ve been promised.

Maybe this is why a good marriage is such a treasure. Maybe the best thing that can happen to a man is to find a woman he doesn’t have to outgrow and leave behind.

I know there are disappointments in this way of life, but they are always disappointments in human beings, not God. I don’t care about those things. Human beings were created to be disappointing. We are told most of them go to hell. If they manage to achieve salvation, it’s a big deal. Asking for any improvement beyond that is wildly optimistic. Most Christians remain babies until they die, just like unsaved people.

I pray sincerely for people to change, and I go on with my progress. There is hope for anyone who will submit. I don’t know who will change and who will not. I hope some of the folks who disappoint me will come around.

If I manage to make a PCB amp, I’ll put up photos. This will be so cool, I may not be able to stand it.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Feminism = Recipe for Celibacy, Cats & Ice Cream

Today I caught a few minutes of He’s Just Not That Into You while I was eating lunch. MAN, is that movie on target. There is nothing sadder than a career girlfriend a few years away from menopause. If you’re over 35, you’ve never married, and you still get introduced as a girlfriend, you need to wake up. Your situation is not healthy. A middle-aged girlfriend is like a thirty-year-old man who rides a skateboard.

One of my college buddies lived with a girl until she was 38, and then I noticed she wasn’t around any more. I asked what had happened, and he said, “I MADE her LEAVE.” This is not a rare scenario. Men will let you waste your youth on them, especially if you’re on your best behavior because your life is a perpetual audition for marriage.

I actually laughed when he said he made his girlfriend leave, because she was annoying. I was an idiot. He helped her ruin her life. That’s not funny.

After that, he dated a stunning young Asian girl from a rich family. He was ecstatic. For all I know, he married her. I have a feeling his ex did not go on to date a stunning alpha male.

The other day I was talking to a friend from church, and I said I knew a lady I thought had potential, but she was so much younger than I, I felt it was inappropriate to do anything about it. Then he reminded me that if you expect to have kids, you pretty much have to get the woman started by the time she’s thirty. After that, things get much harder. So while I still feel that dating someone that young is a dubious idea, I now realize that a woman who doesn’t start husband-hunting when she’s twenty is taking a big chance.

As usual, the oldest wisdom is right, and the young punks are wrong.

Another thing the movie makes clear: if a man doesn’t want you today, he almost certainly never will. I’ve known women who thought I would come around if they refused to go away. It doesn’t work. Most of the time, you know instantly whether you could ever force yourself to have a romantic relationship with a woman. Sometimes it takes a month or two to figure it out. But once you know, you know. It won’t help if she loses weight. It won’t help if she does nice things for you. If she increases the amount of time she spends with you, it will probably make you take her for granted, and it may just creep you out. She should move on! The Bible says God pairs people up, and if that’s true, you’re slowing things down by trying to force a match.

Now I have to go outside and put another coat of paint on the screen for my tube amp head.

Water, Water Everywhere

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Youthful Stupidity is Not Cheap

This week I got depressed. That’s interesting, because it’s something that almost never happens to me.

I spent the first thirty years of my life depressed. My family was dysfunctional, and my childhood was pure misery, and it took me decades to outgrow the habit of depression. I still think of childhood as a prison; if I had to choose one thing for which I’m most grateful, other than my relationship with God, it would be my adult status. I have never gotten over the thrill of adulthood’s freedoms. I don’t have to ask people for money. I can get in my truck or on a plane and go anywhere I want. I don’t have to worry about older adults threatening to beat me up. I don’t have to deal with sadistic teachers any more. If someone makes my life unpleasant, I cut them off and never speak to them again. There is nothing like being an adult.

Maybe we feel the same way when we leave the earth behind.

I think my status as a perennially depressed person ended when I started law school. A career in law wasn’t exciting, and law school was fairly dull, but I had a lot of friends, and I had something to do with my time, and things went reasonably well. Since then, I have never been depressed for more than a day or two.

I got depressed this week because my father invited me out for a drink and then started nagging me about getting married.

You have to understand the history. My mother was a wonderful woman, and when she met my dad, she decided he was IT. He may think he caught her, but the truth is, she caught him. I believe this is usually the case in marriages. Men don’t like to admit it, because it ruins their reputations as ladies’ men, but we are much less picky than women, and women usually end up deciding whether a marriage is going to take place. Men like to think they set their romantic goals and achieve them, and that’s probably true when it comes to casual sex, but when it comes to marriage, women make the decisions. I know there are exceptions, and pride will drive men to dispute it, but the rule seems solid.

My dad was in his twenties, and God dropped a great wife on him without requiring any diligence on his part. As a result, he does not understand that life is not like that for all of us. Asking him about romance is like asking Lindsay Lohan about making money. He landed a great lady early without any real effort, so he thinks it works that way for the whole world.

The Bible says a good wife comes from God, not from your own effort. And it will not always happen on your schedule. According to the Jews, even Isaac, who was highly blessed, did not find a wife until he was middle-aged. Some fine people never marry, and it’s not because they didn’t try. There are some things in this life you can’t control completely, and finding a mate is one of them. You can play the field and then settle; to that extent, you have control. But if you’re hoping for a real blessing, it’s like waiting for rain. God supplies it when he feels like it. And the biggest factor in his timing is your progress as a Christian.

If I had stayed close to God back in the 1980s, when I started attending church and changing my life, I would surely have found a wife long ago. But I stepped outside the flow of blessings and into the domain of the enemy, and I got the kind of wages enemies pay. I accept that. Like all human beings, I was born an idiot, and idiots suffer until they recover from idiocy.

God is repairing my life now, but it is not an instantaneous process, and I am not going to saddle myself with an awful woman just because I’m getting old. I enjoy life tremendously, and there is nothing that can match a woman’s potential to cause misery. I am not going to try to force a blessing.

I didn’t enjoy being reminded that I had frittered away my youth. Ordinarily, I don’t think much about it, but parents have a way of pushing buttons. So I was down for a couple of days. I wasn’t looking for a bridge to jump off of, but I’m ordinarily very happy, so two or three mildy gloomy days have a big impact on my perception of my life.

It’s particularly upsetting to get this kind of speech, given the choices my dad would make for me. He means well, but he tries to fix me up with cocktail waitresses and cashiers. He used to try to fix me up with his paralegals. Anyone he thinks is good looking will do.

This highlights the magnitude of the blessing he received when he found my mother. He could have married some sleazy woman who saw him purely as a meal ticket. God blessed him, pure and simple. I could have a wife next week, if a cocktail waitress was what I wanted. And before you start lecturing me, I’m not referring to a nice Christian girl who had no choice but to serve drinks for a living. That should be obvious to any intelligent person.

My church is full of nice women, but most of them are black, and only a small percentage of black women are willing to marry outside their race. A lot of the women at my church are young, and while a woman should be no older than her husband, I feel a little odd talking to women in their twenties. Quite honestly, I always think, “This girl would be cheating herself.” Some of the women in my church are too old to have kids. That rules them out; I don’t care how nice they are in other ways. I’m not closing that door. It may seem unfair, since it means I won’t date a woman my own age, but then I didn’t make the rules of biology, and I won’t be held accountable for them. God put Ruth and Boaz together, after all. I don’t know of any Biblical stories of young men marrying old women. Feminism is a modern conceit; it has nothing to do with reality.

There are also women who already have kids. There are a couple of problems with this. First, I am not a kid person. I know I would love children of my own, but I don’t like being around other people’s kids all that much, except for really good kids, for short periods of time. And women with kids tend to be overly eager to get remarried, partly for financial reasons, and that causes problems. Second problem: being injected into a prefab family complete with a family court judge, a hostile adult male, and two sets of in-laws does not appeal to me.

Psalm 37:4 says God will give us the desires of our hearts. I have seen that happening to me, and I know it applies to all aspects of life. I’m not going to wreck it by making a desperate lifeboat-style grab for a wife. I have a wonderful life as a single man. Why would I trade that for a miserable life with a woman who was unattractive or unpleasant or lacking in faith? God will provide, or he won’t. I keep my eyes open, and I will make the effort, but I know the difference between carnality and spirituality, and I am not going to let my flesh run the show.

I don’t know if my church will provide a solution. I’ve only met one woman who seemed to have potential, and she’s young, and there are other issues.

I’ll say this for my church: for young people, it’s a marriage factory. I’ve seen a number of great young people get hitched there, and some are also developing good careers. They’re so lucky. They have stayed within God’s protection, and they are getting blessed early in life. Hopefully they won’t have to go through the chastisement and droughts people like me go through.

In other news, I’m planning to build a guitar. I found out how easy it is to build Telecaster clones. A factory neck is a necessity, unless you’re a skilled woodworker, but anyone who can run a router can make a body, and you can get perfect results and great control, without spending much. A Fender American Standard sells for $1000; for that kind of money, you could build the finest Telecaster known to man.

I’d like to make a guitar with a bookmatched walnut top. I already have the wood. I want humbucker-sized pickups and a Bigsby. Truthfully, it would be a Les Paul in a Telecaster shape. It’s very hard to build a Les Paul, and a Telecaster-type guitar would do the same things.

Telecasters are amazing. A Telecaster is a stick and a board, and it only has two pots, but it can still have an incredible action, great responsiveness, and all sorts of wonderful tones.

I’d like to play slide blues, and you need a guitar with a fairly high action for that, and I don’t want to dedicate any of my existing guitars to it, so building seems like a good way to go. For $500, I can make something wonderful. We’ll see what happens.

Last night I had a playing breakthrough. I keep studying theory and scales and whatever, and so far it has led nowhere. I had some ideas for “Sweet Home Chicago,” so I started working on it with no real plan, and before I knew it, I had a complete solo.

This tells me I may be able to do what “natural musicians” do. That would sure be a nice shortcut. Some people play and compose beautifully without getting into theory, and if I could do that, it would make life a lot more satisfying while the theory studies progress.

I know of several ways to approach the guitar. One is to sit around studying theory and scales. Another is to memorize other people’s arrangements note for note and go from there. Another is to hear arrangements in my head and try to write them down in tablature form. Last night I realized there’s a simpler way: just pick the guitar up and play. This is probably how B.B. King did it. I think I can guarantee you it’s how John Lee Hooker did it, because he played whatever he wanted, all the time, and he complained that he had no freedom when he worked with bands.

While I was working with the guitar, I realized I was getting to know the fretboard instinctively: which notes worked and which didn’t. I was finding positions to use. That stuff could be very useful. So from now on I plan to spend a certain amount of time every day, just PLAYING. I think it will work. One of the things I hated about the piano was that I practiced and practiced, but I never played.

I have to go make cranberry sauce, cranberry relish, and two pumpkin pies now. Happy Thanksgiving.

He Shall Bring it to Pass

Monday, August 23rd, 2010


Last week was fantastic.

For the last few years, I’ve been dealing with a nagging problem. My primary approach to solving it has been supernatural. I have chosen to hold off on using some earthly weapons I have at my disposal. God has been completely faithful; last week he gave me a big victory, in pretty much the way I asked for it. Maybe I’ll write about it eventually.

I’m having lots of fun with the guitar. My arm pain went away when I started using dumbbells to exercise my forearms. Last week, I noticed I was bending the .73mm Dunlop pick I was using, along an axis from the tip to the back, and I realized I was getting too strong for it, so I upgraded to a .88mm pick. Now I’m playing louder and clearer, because the pick is stiffer. I’m not completely ready for the heavier pick, but I can’t go back to the thin one, and I know I will get stronger during the coming month.

My left hand is also getting better. Notes I could not fret well in the past are sounding clearer. I suppose it will be another couple of months before I really feel strong.

I suspect that the dumbbells are improving my hand strength, not just my forearm strength. Maybe forearm workouts are a good idea for guitarists, generally.

The Burny Les Paul I bought is turning out to be a wonderful investment. I got a little help with the electronics (guitarist from my church advised me), and now I am able to use a Fat Sandwich pedal to get a B.B. King tone you would not believe. I actually wrote down all the settings so I could repeat it. You can convert your amp, guitar, and electronic settings to numbers in order to record them in a compact notation. Figured that out on my own.

The neck on my Chinese Epiphone is actually slightly better than the one on the Burny, but that’s probably a truss rod thing.

I think I’m going to stick with nines and tens (strings) for the foreseeable future. The Burny has DR Pure Blues nines on it, and the tone is pure bliss, and it’s easy to play. I have some problems feeling the strings with the pick sometimes because they’re so thin, but I think I can overcome that. I am able to get three distinct notes out of a single bend, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that with heavier strings. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t think it’s a strength issue. I think it’s just the nature of heavy strings. They don’t seem to increase in pitch as much for the same degree of bending.

I really wanted to get a Japanese Les Paul and put single-coil pickups on it, but I can’t stand to take the humbuckers off my Burny. They’re amazing. So what do I do? I guess I’ll have to get a second Burny eventually. What if I like the pickups on that one? Hope that doesn’t happen. Every so often, one turns up with P90s already installed. Maybe that’s the best bet.

I am ready to take the next step in my Fretboard Logic studies. I have the “CAGED” thing pretty well under control, although I can’t make an A-type chord above the seventh fret. It’s impossible for me to line up three fingers between two frets that high up. I assume the answer is to do a sloppy second bar with the ring finger. I can’t believe a human hand exists which can get three fingers into that space.

I have to start writing original variations and tunes. I have been determined to learn to impersonate recordings accurately, because this is a sure way to build good technique, but I have to do my own thing, too. I already have the tab paper. I should get a tab-editing program.

It’s difficult to write tab, because you have to put down the guitar pick and pick up a pen, and it breaks the concentration. I may start writing it with my left hand. It doesn’t have to be pretty the first time around. I can fix it later.

I still think about my upcoming major guitar purchase. It’s slated for January. Right now, I’m strongly considering a Heritage H555 with single coils. But I may have to put the decision off until I really know what I want.

I may try out high-end guitars and discover that vintage Japanese guitars are as good or better. If that happens, there is no way I’m going to drop a pile on an American-made money sink. When you own a tool that costs too much, you tend to treat it like a sick baby, and you don’t get proper use from it. I am not afraid to risk the destruction of an $800 Japanese guitar, but I would be very nervous about putting a new Heritage on an airplane.

It should not be a surprise that the Japanese make great electric solidbody guitars. Japan is considered to be the home of the finest carpentry in the world. The strange thing is that their acoustics (and most of their pianos) are so bad. I guess it makes sense. A Les Paul is just a neck and a board, so if you make them fit together right, you should get a great sound. Copying the sound of a complicated hollow box would surely require more familiarity with American culture and the American sound.

Even semi-hollow electrics do not require perfect resonating chambers, so presumably, Japanese ES copies are also good.

Les Paul himself used to play a guitar that was actually a board. To be precise, it was a four-by-four with a neck. He called it “the Log.” It upset people, so he glued parts from an archtop to it, to make it look like a guitar. It’s in a museum now.

It may sound insane, but solidbody guitars would probably be good woodworking projects for me. The bodies would be a joke. Just cut, rout, and sand. The only hard part would be making a neck and headstock and setting the neck correctly. You can actually buy necks already made, if you get in trouble.

God gives us the desires of our hearts, according to Psalm 37. I am here to tell you it’s true. I am killing the electric guitar, and I am cooking better than I ever did, and I have wonderful friends. I have great tools, I’m thin, and I even have a pickup truck! I guess God has to be careful about rewarding us when we are not serving him. Once we’re back on track, his blessings will not corrupt us, so he can be more liberal.

If you want God to bless you, crucify your flesh so your evil desires don’t rule you. That makes you a fit candidate for blessing.

Things are going great, and I’m even meeting amazing Christian women. I keep pointing this out: non-Christian women, as a group, are a never-ending torrent of disappointment and conflict. They are neurotic and chronically unhappy. They expect men to solve all their problems. They blame us for everything that goes wrong. They think bickering and put-downs are the proper way to demonstrate their worthiness of respect. They are draining. They expect sex no later than the third date, and if they’re in their baby-crazy years, there is a good chance they’ll defeat contraception in order to trap you. It’s extremely difficult to find a non-Christian woman who interests me enough to make me risk the pain.

Christian women are completely different. The problem with Christian women is that I want to take ALL of them home. How do you choose? They’re pleasant to be around. They’re encouraging. They’re polite. They listen. They understand that a mate is not a competitor. They’re not princesses who have been raised to believe their overpriced weddings are the focal events of all creation. It’s hard to believe they’re for real. It’s such a beautiful thing, dealing with women who don’t put you on trial and make you walk on eggs. I can’t get used to it. I know it’s real. It’s like moving from Miami to Texas, where the people were so nice to me. It seems surreal, but it’s genuine, and I can trust it.

God will change your life so you can trust happiness.

Tonight I’m making Champagne chicken for 15 people at church. Boy, are they in for a shock. This stuff is incredible. I will not pretend to be modest. They think my pizza and cheesecake are good. They don’t know what they’re in for.