Monday, 29 September 2008

Bloggety, blog, blog

I write this blog periodically, but what I don't know is if anyone is generally reading it.  I'm curious to know.  So, please, if you've read this post, leave "hi!" as a comment so I'll know.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Retreat (and Why Christian Music Doesn't Do It For Me)

The world, the age, "people these days", society, modern western it what you will, it's out there.  It's got some pretty bad things in it, and if one were to imagine a unified, purposeful vision, plan, conspiracy or spirit to the whole thing, one would have to assume it was pretty destructive and wrong-headed, if not downright evil.  What to do about that? 

 [in case you don't get through the rest of this off-the-top-of-my-head-stream-of-consciousness venting, the little epiphany of today is this: The world is full of bad stuff, including bad attitudes.  I was brought up to hide from all that, to retreat.  I didn't know that you can be separate when you need to, but without that being a form of hiding.  I tried to further retreat from the culture of retreat, because I was dying in there, and this of course only left me more alone, and made the problem worse.  
    The answer is to walk around in the world, to not be afraid to know and touch the lives of everyone.  Many of us couldn't even touch the lives of our own families to any great degree.  Things aren't safe, and they aren't perfect, yet we're alive, right?  Looking after yourself, trying to not breathe in any of the germs, trying not to touch anything you ever heard might have hurt someone once in some way?  That's a sickness in and of itself.  Compulsive hand-washers and sterilizers of everything do nothing more than destroy their skin's natural ability to keep the germs out of one's tissue.  They also create super-bacteria which can survive any number of things designed to kill it.   
   You can be smart, of course.  You save yourself needless trouble.  You need to watch being overcareful, though, because excesses of caution can eat your whole life up.  The bible gives words of caution in places, but also says "be careful for nothing (for no reason)", which spirit is a strong, ennobling, powerful one.   
    We're in this together.  If we view others as "them" people and decide to avoid them and hide with "us" people to save ourselves, we have failed to grasp the spirit of Christ.  Christ sometimes went off alone, and sometimes was separate, but he was no hermit.  He did not have a building he stayed in with his followers, and careful rules in there, keeping out bad stuff while singing about how nice it was to be in there.  He was walking around and talking with all sorts of people all the time, and he didn't use preaching as a shield to keep those people's lives from touching his when he was out there.  He wanted to connect to people and he did, daily and effortlessly.  He wasn't scared, careful or easily offended by things.   
     I have been trained differently.  I was told "You aren't the Lord.  It isn't safe for you to walk through the world in the way that he did.  He couldn't sin, so he could associate with sinners and talk to anyone he wanted and go anywhere he wanted.  You can't live like that, because you can and will sin if you try."  
    Who then was to be my role model?  Not Christ.  Christians.  Our flavour of them, too.  Put me anywhere in the world, and following my training, I will draw off by myself, or with one other person, and talk about myself, or get them to tell me about themselves and then try to relate that to me, or learn lessons from their lives vicariously that I can use in my own.  Others raised similarly to me keep people at just as much distance by continually trying to force people to accept help of very specific kinds (pamphlets, preaching, Christian says and CDs and videos).  It's no good if it's merely the manifestation of a spirit which just doesn't get it.  Others will seek a church to shove their heads up.]  

Society Experiences a Death of Optimism 
When I was a kid in the 70s and 80s, there seemed to be a slow death of what had been a prevalent spirit of optimism.  I don't know if it came from the hippies, or even the 60s in general.  I know that Nixon lying really wounded the idea that "the President of the United States would never lie."  Pierre Trudeau gave the office of the Prime Ministership of Canada not only a new-found personality and humanity, being unafraid to be known for eccentricities, indulgences, peccadilloes and quirks (along with the manifest pleasure in life that was going along with them) but also made us view the Prime Minister as "just a guy" more than ever before, when before we saw the Prime Minister as more of a creature of dignity, a serious face to show the world, a power figure, an authority cypher, a not-quite-or-merely-human bulwark against chaos.  
   There have always been political cartoons.  There was not always Saturday Night Live with every authority figure presented by actors as amusingly lying, stupid and or crazy, inhuman figures, and an audience of millions sitting back and saying "that's so true" when they increasingly knew nothing of these people beyond what they saw in the skits.  
Am I the only person who was shocked by Bill Clinton's verbal eloquence when hearing him speak casually, candidly and unscriptedly in interviews years later once he was no longer the all-too-fallible presidential figure, because I'd pretty much only thought of him as Phil Hartman in a white wig,

Science was to be our Saviour 
There was a great faith in science as well, and it was dying in the 70s.  Science had sent man to the moon.  What else would it do?  What could it not do?  Flying cars, family robots, holidays on the moon and meals in pill form weren't happening.  
    And now, we found that despite the most amazing increases in technology of all kinds, it wasn't fixing quite a few things we'd hoped it would, and all sorts of odd techno-problems seemed to be cropping up.   We know that messing with the food is making it unsafe, even if the intention is to make it safer to eat, for a longer time, simply by doing scientific things like adding chemicals or irradiating it.  
     We know that there is really no plan to do anything much with the moon at this point. We've sent things to Mars, and really, what good did that do? Baldness, cancer, the common cold, morning sickness continue to be beyond the reach of common, available to everyone scientific breakthroughs. Science continues down the "we can cut things up, chemically disrupt and break things apart right down to the atomic level, yet we don't know much about all the rest, including much about how consciousness works, much about the brain, what's making the sound when cats purr, exactly how animals navigate the globe, or how life works" path. We can't create life. We can barely prolong it.
What We Know About 
We know about matter turning from living to inert stuff, and about taking inert matter and smashing it so the energy comes flying out of it, but we can't do anything at all in the opposite direction. We've discovered all sorts of things we don't really know how to deal with, also. We invent things, and they change us in ways we didn't foresee and can't control or even understand until much later, if at all.

Hiding From Society's Ills 
There are hermits, Luddites, the Amish, new agers, and any number of religious systems which encourage and facilitate retreat from all of that.  I was raised in one:

"Movies, television, music and friends outside the group will infect us with the evil, dark Spirit of the Age.  We will create a lifestyle that is a hiding from it, a retreat, a refuge.  If anyone is foolish enough to wander outside the Safe Area, he or she will most likely get infected and have to be sent away.  There is no cure from the Spirit of the Age besides us quarantining ourselves.

And I see non-religious versions of this in fanatically atheistic people who don't let their kids partake of many of these very same things, with the addition of numerous food prohibitions as well.  It isn't necessarily a religious thing to hide from what is seen as "the evil."  Killing your kids with caution isn't only for Christians.  
Christianity Builds a Sub-Culture 
Christians today are homeschooling or Christian schooling their kids, and raising them with lives packed full of charitable and church-centric activities.  Where I had to make do reading the family encyclopedias and western literature, particularly if it was a hundred years old or so, because it would therefore be less infected with the Spirit of Today, modern Christian kids can had iPods jam packed with Christian analogues for Hannah Montana, Tool, AC/DC and Spice Girls.  They can have shelves groaning with DVDs which are the Christian versions of Friends, Seinfeld, American Idol and shows from the Discovery Channel.
   I'm sure there is a glut of christian reality TV right now.  I wouldn't know.  I know that there are Christian video games, comic books, textbooks and novels.  This means that Christianity can be a subculture now, and not just a denying of the culture we were born into, and replacing it with nothing much.  
What's Wrong With Stealing? 
And is that so bad?  Well, there is unarguably something plastic about Hannah Montana, as there was about the Backstreet Boys.  It is true that that music often was the cynical work of hitmakers, and not an actual attempt to make heartfelt points, or to share and express things that mattered deeply to people with their hearts in the right place trying to get and keep their heads screwed on straight.
    Is it an improvement to build upon that foundation, but with a Christian image and agenda?  I don't think so.  For instance, the Sex Pistols were definitely up to something, and had a crusade of their own (which, as I understand it, had to do with standing up and being counted as being angry, smirky and disdainful of the monarchy, the upper class, and what was thought cool in the 70s pop music scene, for instance, the Bay City Rollers).
    To take the look and their sound of a group like this, who were to a large degree doing their own thing in their own way for their own reasons, purely because "the formula worked" for them, and then to make the words all about how much we love Jesus and love to go to church is, to my mind, stealing.  Hard to respect, anyway.  
Why Is Stealing Music From God Better? 
There are any number of Christian bands which sound just like Tool and Korn and Primus.  They do sound very angry.  Often the individual words of the songs and things like the T-shirts and album covers look quite fierce also.  Deep down though, most of them are trying to point people toward Christian community, to church, to conservatism, to conformity.  That's odd.
   Ray Charles "stole" the church music of his childhood "from God" and used it to talk about women and partying.  For some reason, that worked.  He "got" the church music on a very deep level.  He felt it and grew up with it and identified heavily with it.  He didn't steal it from the outside because he thought it would make money.  To him, that's what music sounded like.  It was in him.  He took it with him when he walked out of church every Sunday.  The fact that he found heart and soul and inspiration in music he heard in a church isn't very surprising.  The music that black people heard in church was full of that, and it wasn't afraid of showing a range of deep, genuine emotions.  
    Why then do I have a problem with Christian people stealing riffs, costumes, fonts and sounds from Judas Priest or Black Sabbath?  It feels to me like they're stealing it from the outside, like they never understood the heart of that music on any deep level, and that, therefore, the jarring incompatibility of the heart of that music (which genuinely seeks to explore the dark side of humanity, yet also seeks not to be evil, but to be good with a wicked jacket on) with a message and lyrics which are often nothing more than infomercials for the superficial trappings of Jesus-ness (don't do drugs, stay in school, drink your milk, go to church, treat your folks right) and sound just as funny as when Mr. T would say those same things to the camera right after he'd beaten the living shit out of someone with a door he'd ripped right off the side of a Chevy Impala.  
What Emotions are Welcome Here? 
So, anger, angst, sorrow, loss, confusion loneliness, jealousy and all the other feelings that make up the emotional palette with which songwriters put out something that everyone can relate to?  All expressed eloquently in the bible.  Not welcome in most churches and most Christian bands, though, for some reason.  Also, where 70s and 80s rock music often has kind of an inclusive "Hey, kids, rock and roll!" and is about rallying together and finding commonality and accepting individual people, the spirit of much of the Christian community (of being holy when thou art not, of welcoming people to come in and put on the straightjackets, wear the uniforms and get the haircuts) is exactly opposite.
    Where Alice Cooper will sing wryly and amusingly about being a teenager and wanting to dress in a distinctive way which expresses the person one is becoming and learning about, he can simultaneously somehow touch a chord in everyone who's ever felt that way.  The Christian version of that song will too often encourage conformity and be about sacrificing one's true inner nature, what God made them to be, in order to embrace some supposed humility and think a certain way for the harmony and ease of the group in accepting them.  All the sacrifice, humility, quietness and devotion sound very pious, but they are being asked for in the name of a church community, rather than by God.
    When an arena full of people are asked to shout "No war! No War! NO WAR!" this is indeed a form of chanting.  It isn't about thinking.  When a hymn or church song of the 7-11 variety (seven words, sung eleven times) is sung, it is also a form of chanting.  When people shout together, sing together or chant together, it makes them feel connected, and makes them forget about the genuine differences which exist.  It reminds them of common emotions.  This also happens during riots.  And orgies.  It makes people feel united in feeling the same thing, but it can also be used as a great way to silence genuine questions, and to trivialize issues and slap pat answers, jingles and slogans over quite complex matters which require answers which aren't one-size-fits all.
   To generalize further: a disproportionate number of rock (and folk, and country and blues) songs are about asking questions, and about being confused or upset, trying to figure things out and not knowing things. 
An equally disproportionate number of songs by Christian artists are about what we have, what we know, about being in the know.  They are smug.  They are facile, and they do not acknowledge the complexity of the human personality that God made.
   So, I have pretty much never found Christian music which allows the feelings in my heart to come out.  And here's the odd part: when I write music which allows out the feelings that are in my heart about any number of things which probably bother me purely because I am trying to follow Jesus and his methods, spirit and teachings, (rather than just Western Christianity), the result is almost always that irreligious people of all kinds tell me "I really felt that.  I've felt that very thing.  That's very interesting."
    And Christians say "Why can't you just sing a good song about how much you love Jesus?"  Sing one hundred times "I love Jesus."  Like lines, on a chalkboard at recess.  Like they're scared they might forget.  Or like they're trying to make it true.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Being a Good Example (of Christian Arrogance and Judgementalism) and the MTV Video Music Awards

In America, people wear "promise rings" which don't mean they are promising to marry someone, but rather that they have pledged to remain virginal until marriage.  It isn't enough to simply privately do this because you believe it to be good and right, but there has to, for some reason, be a solemnization of it and an outward show made of doing it.  
    What's my problem with that?  The solemnization and outward show.  That reeks of pride.   The Jonas Brothers wear their rings and talk about what they are doing, quite contrary to Jesus' teaching that when one does something which could gain one piety points, such as praying or giving to charity, that it is to be done privately, the right hand not knowing what the left is doing, rather than advertising it around.  The Pharisees of his day got people to ring bells in front of them when they stopped in the street to pray, ostensibly because they needed to be able to pray at a moment's notice, but also to get everyone's attention drawn to their public display of piety by disrupting the flow of traffic in an area filled with honest, working folk who were meant to admire this piety, but who no doubt were just annoyed by the holdup and the bragging.  Jesus said these sort of people "have their reward" by which I understand him to mean that the reward is a present pious appearance, and not efficacy, being heard by God, reward later in Heaven or anything like that. 
     So, the Jonas Brothers are on MTV, with girls swooning over this, and Russell Brand, recovered junkie and self-confessed sex addict from Britain, is hired to make jokes about the people and things on the show.  Naturally, as a sex addict, he was very interested in the Jonas Brothers and their highly publicized purity, and so he made some jokes.  Quite a few, actually.  
    He said they were able to sleep with any woman they wanted, and chose not to, which was like Superman refusing to fly and taking the bus to get around.  This is not a disrespectful comment.  Then he produced a ring later in the show and said that he'd just personally taken one of the Jonas Brothers' virginity.  This was, of course, rude and disrespectful, but really rather funny, one must admit.   He was hired to stand there and be amusingly coarse and disrespectful, but many felt he'd Gone Too Far.  
    You can do what you like, but you can't joke about American religion and foreign policy.  Not being able to joke about something is proof positive that you lack a sense of perspective regarding it.  He apologized later in the show, but even Americans who have a great deal of pre and extra-marital sex were up in arms over his mockery.  How dare he stand on the very American soil which the Dixie Chicks weren't standing on when they exercised their free speech, and mock?  (Especially when he comes from the very place the Chicks were when they mocked the president of the U.S., and so he clearly, to the YouTuber's view, has no right to an opinion, nor possesses a perspective worth considering.) 
    Jordin Sparks, no doubt a terribly important person from American Idol I think, having no trouble with trying to be an idol, nevertheless "as a Christian woman" was upset at Brand's comments about promise rings, because she wears one.  She revealed her arrogance and contempt for people living any way other than her own, and her unchristian delight in offhandedly judging millions of people she doesn't even know when she said "promise rings are okay because not every guy and girl needs to be a slut."   
     Teasing three guys for their attempts to show off about and derive fame from their sexual chastity is apparently unforgivably horrible, but calling every single young person in America not wearing a promise ring "a slut" is just fine, apparently.  (I tried to get the exact quotation from her MySpace, where I'd have never, ever gone if I'd remembered that going there would mean that I'd have to listen to her in the very act of disgorging the insipid outpourings of rancid vole vomit she calls music.  Now I can never again be ignorant of what she sounds like, or what she looks like when her thighs have been badly Photoshopped either).  
     Thankfully everyone will have forgotten how important she actually is in a few months. Brand also ensured the success of his American career by saying that in the UK, no one would trust "retarded cowboy" George W. Bush with a pair of scissors, let along vote him into the Oval Office.  Go Russell.  Keep on reminding people what the job of a jester, clown or fool actually is.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Does God Get To Have A Personality?

Since I wrote the previous post, I've had three people tell me (in person) "But God's not a person."  
   I also had one person tell me that in email, and one tell me "the bible certainly depicts God as being a full-fledged person with a heart and so on, but I can't really think of Him that way. Jesus is a person, and God is too, but I can't think of Him like that." 
   Jesus didn't go around Israel saying "If God were a person, He'd be like me, but He isn't, so I'm His opposite."  He went around essentially saying "If you see me, you're looking at God.  If you know me, you know Him.  He's just like this, and I'm here so you know what kind of person He is, so you'll get to experience and understand what He's actually like." 
  I have to think that depersonalizing one's relationship with a loving God has huge consequences and puts major limits upon how one deals, just as any failure to deal with reality does.  I think many are challenged by even The Shack's schoolgirl attempts to depict God as having a personality.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Faith Basics

(for those unthinkingly accustomed to reading prose on religious subjects that has been aggressively studded with the shards of broken scriptures, or just verse references, in an attempt to endanger anyone who questions the validity of the thinking and add some cheap gravitas to it (how worthwhile is reputability by association?), I must warn you that I do not bother with that, wouldn't expect anyone to look up all the verse references if I were to put a host of them in, and yet I do still maintain that what I have written below comes from my own experience of the actual God, from life and not a little from reading the bible and having it shape my thinking and living.  If you don't believe me, skim through and look for things that came from the bible, and not merely from one verse, but from the whole thing, its structures, characters, and archetypes) 

 If you are going to believe in God, it’s important to do it right, or it will cause all sorts of problems. It is vital that you be spiritually focused upon God as a person, and not on religion as a social service which provides certain moods or frames of mind. 
    "But God's God.  He's not a person" some may object.  Well, He has a personality, doesn't He?  A heart (in the "heart-felt" sense of the term)?  He created people in His own image, didn't He?  You could speak with Elizabeth Windsor as "Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Regnant of the Commonwealth Realms," but if you were her son, it would be appropriate to interact with her on a more personal level, treating her as a person with a heart, rather than merely and solely as a figure, a role, a position, an authority, a title.  This is our privilege when it comes to dealing with God, and approaching Him solely as a figure puts unnecessary distance between Him and us, probably on purpose.  
   Because God's a weird person.  Inscrutable.  Unexpected.  Mischievous.  Mysterious.  Difficult to deal with. The stories of the Old Testament show over and over the heart of God as a person who demands to be known, yet who has repeatedly to deal with a people who would rather invent religions with icons, vestments, music, idols, rules, lifestyle guidelines and rituals than know Him and what He's up to. 
    When we invent a religion, we are in control, and we’re making something that is meant to serve us.  God demands to be known as a person with whom we can have a relationship. Religions tend to be inflexible, inhuman and bureaucratic, and most of the truly evil atrocities that have been performed throughout history (human sacrifice, inquisitions, witch-burning, crusades, genocides, holocausts) were wholly or in part motivated by and perpetuated through religious fervour, rather than being the actions of people who had any connection with God and what He wanted. Today, we have a spiritual smorgasbord of religions and religious groups and activities, with icons, vestments, music, idols, rules, lifestyle guidelines and rituals. 
     In the Old Testament, God consistently objected to the people interposing a religion between Him and the secret focus of their hearts. He wanted a dialogue, and he wanted people to turn to Him for comfort, for challenge, for insight. When the people repeatedly insisted upon turning to human-invented systems of religious activity, He used the word “idolatry” to describe this behaviour, and sent prophet after prophet to voice His dissatisfaction with being replaced by a religious system. Most of the prophets were killed. It isn’t safe to speak out against religious systems. 
   I can speak freely, because I am not a member of a religious system which can threaten to sanction or expel me if I write inconvenient things. I used to be, but was expelled for just such behaviour.  So now I'm free, though I didn't choose to be.  God seemed to need me to be free.  
   The apostles, and Jesus himself, were actually killed for drawing a sharp contrast between dealing with God as a person, and pursuing a religious system in which He is, at best, a distant figure. Children wrestle with treating adults as people, and adults dealing with children (or subordinates) often wrestle with dealing with these charges as people, rather than merely acting as authority figures wielding authority. 
   Adults are often known to give sound bites, or express official positions, rather than speaking their hearts and true, personal thoughts. God, for His part, speaks from His heart. We tend to act like children. When confronted with a teacher, a child will view him as a mechanistic taskmaster with no human feelings, rather than making a personal connection with real mentorship happening. 
    When dealing with parents, children often struggle with remembering that parents are people with the same full, deep range of feelings that they themselves possess, and tend rather to simply deal with them as people to get around in order to be free, and as sources of food, shelter, clothing and money. When dealing with members of the opposite sex, human beings in general can be tempted to deal with them not as people with rich inner lives and feelings, but merely as a means of sexual gratification. It’s not any different with God. The struggle is the same one. God isn't merely an infinite force or an underlying principle.  He isn't just The Source of All Things.  God is a person. He has feelings. He not only understands that different people need to do different things at different times in different situations, He actually expects that. God isn’t one-size-fits-all. Neither should our approaches to Him be.  
   If we won't think of Him as a person, we can't deal with the simple fact that He is, nor will we let Him approach us in that way.  
   We can dehumanize a checkout girl, waitress or bus driver, refusing eye contact, giving orders but rejecting in some tangible way the fact that this is another person occupying the same space as you.  With God, we can likewise rob Him of His personhood.  A waitress.  A bus driver.  A deity.  Names?  Didn't ask.  Personal views on things?  Not interested.  Did you share any of your own self in the interaction?  Of course not. Is there any place for communities of faith? Of course. 
    One thing is certain, though: If the focus or activities of your faith community are in competition with personal dealings with God as a person, and if you are getting drawn into a system, a bureaucratic structure, if things start being unduly about protocols, authority structure (who gets to say and do what and who does not and how it must be done) then you are without a doubt falling into Old Testament style idolatry. Something else is certain: people who speak out against this sort of thing are no safer, welcome and heard than they were in Old Testament times. 
   There is no governing principle to keep faith communities from becoming empty systems, taking more and more time, money and soul. They just naturally seem to turn into that. Why do we deal with other people at all? Because sometimes two are better than one; sometimes two or three people can do things one cannot. It is important, however, to keep track of when one person can move more easily without being tied to 20 or 40 other people. It is also important to ensure that the standards of a faith community are set at achieving good, not just going through the motions of pious-seeming activity. If harm is happening, it’s important that the whole thing not descend into an interminable argument as to whether someone (who did harm) did wrong. If no good is being achieved, it is fruitless to be content to continue doing the same thing forever, and equally important that it not be justified by someone “being right” in some theoretical sense, though they’re doing no good. Right and wrong are quite distinct things from good and harm. 
   A great deal of time in groups is wasted on arguing about the former, to the detriment of correctly navigating the latter. God is a person, we are people, and any other human beings we deal with need to be treated like individual people as well. Whether we’re dealing with God, or someone struggling with alcoholism, it’s never OK on a personal level (when dealing with a person) to resort to gibberish, jargon, official positions, catch-phrases, empty slogans and other substitutes to genuine relating. God is a person; in fact, He is the inventor of the human personality, which is created as a reflection of image of His own. 
   Yet, we don’t want God to be a person. We aren’t able to wrap our heads around Him having “human” things like a sense of humour, a temper, passion, boundless artistic creativity, charm, preferences, whims and personal indulgences. God is a person, and if our religious activity deals in ritual and externals, if it is one-size-fits-all, if it is heavily structured and focused on power and privilege, if it is blindly habitual, then we are idolaters.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Grey, Damp, Boring Angry Weekend Of Hate

I went home and visited my family Friday night for my sister's birthday.  I didn't get any cake, though, because my niece went to bed, and it was to be served up the next day, when I wasn't there.  My mom was thinking of serving it up anyway so I'd get some, but my sister protected her own child's interests by saying it was "more important that she get to enjoy a birthday than that he does, because she's younger."  Or possibly my mother said that and my sister was trying to give me some cake.  I forget and it doesn't matter a bit.  Some nice chats were had. 
   All weekend long it rained and was grey and cold.  And no one phoned.  And nothing much happened.  I got into a hating mood and hated for most of it, and wrote a hating song listing a bunch of sorts of people and things that I hate and felt a bit better for a bit. 
   Sunday was "make mundane things slightly better" day.  I made a budget to keep better track of my money, rather than continuing in the "it all goes, and where it goes is a mystery" strategy.  I played Russell Brand's entire Ponderland TV series while I took down many boxes of junk and sorted through them and tossed out a lot of junk.  I washed dishes.  I updated my websites for my classes at school.  I slept a lot.  I paid bills online.  I edited video of my niece when she was a baby to put toward the video project I'm making.  
   I took a long, angry walk at 2am when it briefly stopped raining.  I read.  I cleaned my desk.  I watched some episodes of Angel, which I haven't watched for a few years, and now remember what I liked about it (a lot, but identified too strongly today with the "what's the point of trying to do good?" theme of season 2) I bought groceries. I cooked things.  I sent a couple of flippant, pushy emails to people and clearly annoyed them. 
   And I found an envelope of my collected 90s concert tickets.  I went through them and made entries on this blog on the dates that I attended the concerts, even if they happened in 1993, and wrote about them as I remembered them.  Now it's like this blog has existed for fifteen years.