Friday, June 26, 2009

Strolling Down Main Street and Hoping Not to Get Hit By a Trolley

The Queen of Outer Blogness, C. L. Hanson, has kindly offered me the opportunity to showcase the Fob Bible on Main Street Plaza. Being the egotistical fellow I am, the excerpt I chose to post is my own short story, "The Changing of the God."

Hey, why are you still here? Get over to MSP and read the story!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today's Confessions

  1. I'm kind of sad about Michael Jackson dying.
  2. I will totally buy the inevitable posthumous release, despite feeling like that's a betrayal to artistic integrity, since the only reason the album he's been working on hasn't been released yet is because he didn't think it was ready.
  3. I will do the same whenever (Jah forbid) Lauryn Hill dies. Like Jacko, she's got to have a buttload of recordings being held back by her perfectionism.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's Like Ten Thousand Spoons When All You Need is a Knife

Back when I was a faithful churchgoing person, my least favorite day of the year to go to church was Fathers' Day. Among other things, I've always been uncomfortable with the hypercodification of gender stereotypes that tends to go with talks about the importance of fathers.

So of course, now that I don't go to church anymore, one of the few days a year when I do go is Fathers' Day, because I figure if my daughter is singing (with the Primary) for me, I ought to be there to hear it. To be honest, the talks bother me less as I distance myself more from the church and become more comfortable in my own role as a parent and human being, but what really made it worth it today--apart from watching S-Boogie being adorable on stage--was the Snickers bar they gave to all the fathers at the end. If they gave out Snickers every week, I might consider reactivating myself.

(Note to my atheist friends: No doubt some faithful member of the church will now offer me a Snickers a week to attend church, so you should consider it your humanist duty to provide me with a counteroffer of, say, two Snickers a week not to go. Let the bidding begin.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Even More Fob Bible Goodness

Tyler Chadwick at A Motley Vision wrote a very nice review of the Fob Bible. A commenter noted that Tyler's review did a much better job of explaining what the Fob Bible is than anything she'd seen previously, so if any of you have been wondering what exactly is this thing Mr. Fob keeps trying to sell you, I'll let Tyler explain:

The Fob Bible, an anthology of stories, poems, closet drama, and email correspondence, positions itself within this general tradition of enhanced, altar-type, family Bibles, though with a significant revisionary difference: instead of constructing a new apparatus intended to direct our study of the scriptures in specific, predetermined ways or offering a new translation of a text that has already been translated repeatedly, the contributors to The Fob Bible have re-imagined well-worn Old Testament stories, revisiting Eden and its surrounds, the Deluge, the final moments of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham and Isaac’s ascent to Moriah’s pinnacle, the relationship between Isaac and Esau and Esau and Jacob, Joseph’s—then Moses’—journey into Egypt, Balaam’s bond with his ass, Samson, Solomon, Rehoboam, Naaman, Ezra, Job, Jeremiah, Daniel, and, of course, Jonah and the giant fish.

These postmodern visitations reshape each historically privileged narrative and narrative voice from the perspective of the less-privileged story, the unheard voice, offering new characters—or familiar characters recast in new molds—the opportunity to speak and, in the process, to influence the world “in exciting new ways.” For instance, Danny Nelson gives voice to Job’s wife, a woman unnamed in the canon whose scriptural screen time amounts to one line of dialogue and two obscure references, three slight appearances from which she is sometimes judged to be “bitter, angry, and wrong.” Yet, Nelson gives the woman a name, “Hadasa,” the whole cast of human emotions, and a book of her own, a space in which she (or Nelson’s version thereof) can flesh out her poignant account of Job’s tale, which is, in the end, their story and deserves to be told in her voice, too.

Tyler goes on to talk of the "revisionary proclivity" of the Fob Bible, attributing this to the fact that all the writers are Mormon, part of "a Christian religious heritage founded on a restorationist theology." Though I don't consider myself Mormon anymore, I like Tyler's take on this idea, and I'm happy to attribute any revisionary proclivities I might have to my Mormon heritage. It makes sense. But don't take my word for it; go read Tyler's review. As Theric points out in the comments, the review itself is a work of art, and we don't just say that because he says nice things about us. (But it doesn't hurt.)

I Like People

I often get frustrated with people, either because of their stupidity or my own lack of social skills, and declare that I want nothing to do with the human race. This past week, though, I've felt rather fond of our little species. Following is a list of people for whose existence I have been grateful this past week (if you're not on the list, I think you should ask yourself, to paraphrase Janet Jackson, "What have you done for Ben lately?"):
  • FoxyJ, who has filled the role of Supermom superbly, both before, during, and after the move, despite the fatigue of being two months pregnant. When she and I do difficult things together, I'm reminded of what a good team we make.
  • S-Boogie and Little Dude, who remain lovable as ever, despite how frustrating they can be sometimes.
  • My sister L, who did the footwork of househunting for us so we could just get here and unload the truck into our nice new home.
  • My mother-in-law, Earth Sign Mama, who flew out to Davis, helped us pack, helped FoxyJ drive across Nevada, and helped us unpack here before flying back home on Monday.
  • The elders quorum in Davis, who helped us load a 16' truck in about 45 minutes.
  • The relief society in Davis, who helped us get our apartment cleaned a good hour and a half ahead of schedule.
  • My mom, two sisters, brother, brother-in-law, and my sister's boyfriend who I'd never met before, who all were ready to unload the truck as soon as we got here.
  • Green Mormon Architect and family, who stopped by to help while we were unpacking on Saturday.
  • Edgy and Dec (or is his blogonym now Flameman?), who would have helped, had I arrived two hours earlier, as I intended to.
  • My brother-in-law L, who showed up Monday morning to mow our overgrown lawn.
  • Tolkien Boy, Brozy, Samantha, and all the other friends and family we've seen and/or will see soon, reminding us of why we moved back to Utah.
  • My boss, who said a couple weeks ago, "Hey, I heard you were looking for a full-time job. Do you want to work full-time for us?"
Life is good. I'm kind of exhausted now because we've been going nonstop for a couple weeks, but I'm happy. I spent a good portion of the drive here grinning, and I don't think it was just because I was in the moving truck, with not a screaming child in earshot.

My Gambling Addiction
How I Lost All the Money in My Wallet

Last Friday night we stayed at a hotel in Winnemucca. I arrived first, so while I was waiting for Foxy and the kids, I wandered into the casino. I had a dollar in my wallet, and I've always been curious to try a slot machine, so I put the dollar into one. I pressed the button and... lo and behold, I was rewarded with two gold dollar tokens! I decided to be a smart gambler and quit while I was ahead. I had, after all, doubled the money in my wallet.

Then Saturday morning, as I was leaving, I was faced with the choice of turning in the two tokens for two dollars in real money, or trying to win something more worthy of turning in for real money. So I put the two tokens into a slot machine and... I lost.

After driving home from Winnemucca with no money in my wallet, I have learned my lesson: I will never gamble again. Unless, perhaps, I have two dollars in my wallet next time I'm in a hotel in Nevada. That way if I lose the first one I'll have a second to gamble with.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Observations Upon Listening to the Radio For the First Time in Years

The Foxmobile has a CD player and an auxiliary outlet for plugging in MP3 players, so I never listen to the radio in the car. The moving truck, though, has no such extravagances, so today I listened to the radio for about five and a half hours. I observed the following:
  • The rotation on Sacramento's top twenty station starts over after about an hour and a half. Which, if you think about it, makes sense--that's about how long it takes to play twenty songs. Maybe a little longer with commercials.
  • Every third song on that station has Kanye West either rapping or singing on it. Now, Kanye West has made some music I enjoy (but of course I liked him before he was cool, because I'm way too cool to like things average people like), but he hasn't made much that I like in a couple albums. I'm especially not a fan of his singing--much as I give him props for experimenting with different musical styles. But still, he just can't sing. The autotune or whatever he uses to warp his voice doesn't make it any better (or maybe it does, but in that case his natural voice must be pretty horrible).
  • I was able to get Sacramento stations almost all the way to Reno. This surprised me, as I'd imagined I wouldn't get anything in the mountains.
  • After Reno, the selection slowly dies down. I listened to NPR for a while and wondered why I don't more often. When NPR went to a jazz show, which was nice sounding but not loud enough to keep me awake while driving, the best thing was a seventies rock station, which wasn't all that bad.
  • By the time I got to Winnemucca, the only available station was country. I considered just turning the radio off, but decided to bear with it. Country is actually kind of entertaining, in small doses. I particularly enjoyed a song about a widow who was accused by the Hartford Junior High School PTA of being a bad mother because she wears short skirts and drinks too much. She then tells the PTA off by pointing out that they're all hipocrites, and then the shocking twist at the end (spoiler warning) is that the woman is... the singer's mother. Shocking!
Stay tuned to find out what entertaining observations I have to make about the second half of my trip tomorrow!*

*DISCLAIMER: I probably won't make observations about the second half of my trip, unless I hear something really incredible on the radio. I'm stretching the limits of reader generosity to expect you all to read just this one post.

Friday, June 05, 2009

It's a Girl!*

*Gender based on Chinese gender chart and the personal preferences of the unborn child's parents. And c'mon, that line is definitely pink.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

Drive Carefully

Because the Fob Bible hits the streets today! Order your copy now. (By way of disclaimer, I haven't ordered my copy yet only because I'm moving next week and don't want to lose it in the mail.)

According to the official description, The Fob Bible is "The Old Testament re-imagined through poetry, verse, closet drama, e-mail, and short story." I would add that said re-imaginations strike just the right balance of thoughtful reverence and humorous irreverence toward the source material to please believer and non-believer alike. And that it's really good.

And anyone who can tell me the difference between poetry and verse wins bonus points. There's certainly enough variety of poetry and verse in the book to warrant two labels, but I'm just not clear on the distinction.