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Saturday, May 17th, 2008
6:53 pm - Maybe

There is a chance - a chance that's only slightly higher than zero, but a chance nonetheless - that I'll return to the ell-jay. I'll have a very specific purpose in mind with it, and I'll continually point people towards the big-blog, but I actually have a purpose I could use this thing for.

So if you've never deleted the link to this thing, and if I'm still on your friends-list for some reason God would only know, yeah, stick with me a little while longer.

Meanwhile, if I do decide to use this thing, here's a preview.

Does Chill Pastor have anything to do with this format? Is Hillary Clinton the most insufferable presidential candidate in American history?

(Yes, the answer to both questions is "yes.")

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Wednesday, July 19th, 2006
11:38 am
I've decided to cease posting to this LiveJournal. In a substantive fashion, I'd already made this decision, but this is merely a full stop. I honestly prefer LiveJournal's interface, but in so many ways, LJ is not useful to me at all.

I won't pull down the posts - I made an "open book" decision regarding this journal a long time ago; it's been a pretty accurate representation of me, for the times I was living in, since I started it. But if you suddenly disappear from my friends' page, the rationale behind that is I'm going to be giving my friends' page a very narrow focus - I will likely start using that more for feeds (for example, someposifeed) or communities (for example, snarkoleptics) that I'm lurking in than for individual posts.

For deep-thinks blogging, see the big blog (and I just paid up on the domain name, yay me); for Shorter-specific life updates, see teh Xanga.

Cheers, all.

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Wednesday, June 21st, 2006
6:10 pm - Somebody told me I hadn't been using this tonight.
And, of course, tonight is the night I hear "Jim Morrison's Grave" by Steve Taylor for the first time in forever. I never was the biggest fan of the Doors, but these lyrics clobber me.

---

Am I a pilgrim or another souvenir hound?
In the city of lights I set my sights
on a king's domain
It was a manhole, dug over at the edge of town
And a spray can scrawl on the cemetary wall said
"You'd better behave"
Jim Morrison's grave

It's getting cold here, and there ain't a lizard in sight
Did the end begin when you shed your skin
in the home of the brave?
Somebody shake him from the land of larger-than-life
Where the remnants warn of a legend born
in a dead man's cave
Jim Morrison's grave

I stay driven 'cause there's nowhere to park
I can't shut my eyes - I'm afraid of the dark
I lie awake - that stone left me chilled to the bone
Sound the alarm before it's done
Find Jim Morrison

Come away to Paris; let him see another day
Let him fade out slowly - only fools burn away
Let a true love show him what a heart can become
Somebody find Jim Morrison
Find Jim Morrison's grave

I get weary, Lord, I don't understand
How does a seed get strangled in the heart of a man?
Then the music covers like an evening mist
like a watch still ticking on a dead man's wrist
Tick away...


current mood: pensive

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Monday, April 10th, 2006
10:45 am
It's not what you think it's about.
Quite frankly, it's never what you think it's about.


Blue moon out my window, guess this means goodnight
And you come in and start right in not treating me right
Misery's a ball and all its company
I'll play the victim for you honey, but not for free

What would I give to be a diamond in your eyes again
What would I give to bring back those old times
What did I say to make your cold heart bleed this way
Maybe I'll just go away today

I run into that heartache just like a wall
And act like nothing happened to me, nothing at all
Lately I'm amazed at how blind we can be
Lately even dreaming feels like old reality

What would I give to be a diamond in your eyes again
What would I give to bring back those old times
What did I say to make your cold heart bleed this way
Maybe I'll just go away today

I don't care who's waiting at my front door
You know that life don't hold no glamour anymore
Oh how can it all look so right and feel so wrong
I'll play the victim for you honey but not for long

What would I give to be a diamond in your eyes again
What would I give to bring back those old times
What did I say to make your past turn up this way
Maybe I'll just go away today

Maybe I'll just go away
Maybe I'll just go away
Maybe I'll just go away to stay...

current mood: depressed (again)

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Friday, March 10th, 2006
5:05 pm
You slipped from my arms, I knew you had to go
Such a heavy heart, who could hope to hold
And I know where you're going, and that's the hardest part
No matter where tonight ends, you won't escape your broken heart

Stay a while

Helpless for the words, and it tightens up the air
It's not what you deserve, it's not for lack of care
Inside of me is screaming out, I'm praying for my prayers
Distracting and unworthy of each and every burning tear

Seems insincere

Do I see God in all of this, maybe all along
It's just that we're so small, and simply not as strong
Strong like wings of silver, and feathers made of gold
To carry heavy hearts, to cover all our helpless souls

To cover all of us

Under wings of gold and silver sometimes we have to hide
For shelter from this bitter winter at least tonight

If it were mine to give I'd give you your own time
Turn it back or forward whatever you decide

Stay a while...

current mood: (Ossabaw-style nervous)

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Thursday, February 23rd, 2006
6:17 pm
Old lyrics post. Reposted on the Xanga.

current mood: anxious

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Monday, January 30th, 2006
2:50 pm - Rich Mullins - "Hard To Get"
While I'm winding down on the productivity level, I might as well post the lyrics that keep bothering me. In a good way. In a necessary way. But they bother me none the less.

Oh, and if you look real close, you might find part of what's bothering me.

---

You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt

Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread
Did You forget about us after You had flown away
Well I memorized every word You said
Still I'm so scared, I'm holding my breath
While You're up there just playing hard to get

You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that's not as patient as Yours was
Still we do love now and then

Did You ever know loneliness
Did You ever know need
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on
And Your friends fall asleep
And don't see the blood that's running in Your sweat
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You're up there just playing hard to get?

And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained
And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow
All I really need to know

Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can't see what's ahead
And we can not get free of what we've left behind

I'm reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret
I can't see how You're leading me unless You've led me here
Where I'm lost enough to let myself be led
And so You've been here all along I guess
It's just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get

current mood: Holy crap, that Milholland.

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Friday, January 20th, 2006
8:58 pm - "Storyline" by White Heart
One of the first songs that I bothered to type lyrics out for and post on my dorm room door. If you like the pre-Nirvana hair rock (like I do) and you've never heard White Heart, kids, you've missed it. Big time.

And it didn't hurt that these guy were the defining Christian rock band of my youth.

I had this song on repeat in my CD player for DAYS on end. I really wonder how much it had to do with how I turned out - I had never given much thought to "listening to the storyline" until this point in my life.

---

boy was born on the edge of a blade
from dawn to dusk he slashes away
saying "don't touch me, don't mess with me now"
nothing's sacred, no one's safe
boy's got an attitude to last for days
he's walked over me time and again
no one's feelings ever matter to him
Lord, i'm just so tired - tell me what to do with him

oh, listen to the storyline
chapter written in another time
oh listen, listen to the storyline
you'll begin to know the reason why
pain just seems to haunt their lives
oh, listen to the storyline


she's the invisible girl
sits at the edge of her visible world
saying "don't touch me, don't notice me now"
shadows have left their mark
stole the innocence from her heart
now she's afraid of what she might be
draws the curtain so the world won't see
thinking "who would love the person they would find in me?"

oh, listen to the storyline
chapter written in another time
oh listen, listen to the storyline
you'll begin to know the reason why
pain just seems to haunt their lives
oh, listen to the storyline


sometimes i can't believe the things i say
i've hurt them all in so many ways
Lord, i've played the game of hide and seek
when all i wanted was for them to see
see the lines upon my face
the memories have left their trace
oh, everybody's got a storyline
find the secrets hidden behind their eyes

listen to the storyline
then you'll know the reason why
the voice is telling you inside
let compassion fill your heart and mind
oh, you've gotta take the time
to listen to the storyline


current mood: heart-achy

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Tuesday, December 6th, 2005
8:27 am - A prayer
You can fall like the rain and I will be a river
Winding forever...

You have always been a rock, a silent hurricane
A light of focus when I could not see
Now I want you to know
If there comes a need, you can count on me

You can fall like the rain and I will be a river
Winding forever, strong and true
I’ll carry you away to the peaceful water
And lanterns on the levee will shine for you

There are storms on the horizon that you won’t even see
Until the cold, relentless winds appear
But you won’t have to worry, no you won’t have to fear
There’s shelter here

You can fall like the rain and I will be a river
Winding forever, strong and true
I’ll carry you away to the peaceful water
And lanterns on the levee will shine for you

No, you won’t have to worry
You won’t have to fear
I’ll be here...

current mood: hopeful

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Tuesday, November 15th, 2005
1:26 pm
Rachel posts, I respond.

(And yes, it's cheeseball Christian music, but it's my cheeseball Christian music, so hush now.)

---

Why do the nations rage?
Why do they plot and scheme?
Their bullets can't stop the prayers we pray
in the name of the Prince of Peace
We walk in faith and remember long ago
how they killed Him and then how on the third day He arose
Well, things may look bad and things may look grim
But all these things must pass except the things that are of Him

Where are the nails that pierced His hands?
Well, the nails have turned to rust, but behold the Man
He is risen and He reigns
in the hearts of the children rising up in His name
Where are the thorns that drew His blood?
Well, the thorns have turned to dust, but not so the love
he has given; no, it remains
in the hearts of the children who will love while the nations rage

The Lord in Heaven laughs
He knows what is to come
while all the chiefs of state plan their big attacks
Against His anointed One
The Church of God she will not bend her knees
to the gods of this world though they promise her peace
She stands her ground, stands firm on the Rock
Watch their walls tumble down when she lives out His love

Where are the nails that pierced His hands?
Well, the nails have turned to rust, but behold the Man
He is risen and He reigns
in the hearts of the children rising up in His name
Where are the thorns that drew His blood?
Well, the thorns have turned to dust, but not so the love
he has given; no, it remains
in the hearts of the children who will love while the nations rage

current mood: tired

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Wednesday, November 9th, 2005
5:54 pm
I still think this is the best Christian song I've ever heard. From 1982.

---

Sprawling on the fringes of the city
In geometric order
An insulated border
In between the bright lights
And the far unlit unknown

Growing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided
In the mass production zone

Nowhere is the dreamer
Or the misfit so alone

Subdivisions
In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
Subdivisions
In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out
Any escape might help to smooth
The unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
The restless dreams of youth

Drawn like moths we drift into the city
The timeless old attraction
Cruising for the action
Lit up like a firefly
Just to feel the living night

Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

Somewhere out of a memory
Of lighted streets on quiet nights

Subdivisions
In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
Subdivisions
In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out
Any escape might help to smooth
The unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
The restless dreams of youth

current mood: (still)

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Tuesday, November 8th, 2005
5:52 pm
I need a format to identify what song I'm posting lyrics too. Oh well, just look at what I'm listening to.

---

Could you let down your hair, be transparent for awhile?
Just a little while, to see if you're human after all?
Honesty is a hard attribute to find
when we all want to seem like we've got it all figured out.
Well, let me be the first to say that I don't have a clue,
I don't have all the answers,
ain't gonna pretend like I do...

just trying
to find my way
trying
to find my way the best that I know how

Well, I haven't memorized all of the cute things to say,
but I'm working on it...maybe I'll master this art form someday.
If I quote all the lines off the top of my head,
would you believe that I fully understand all these things I've read?

I'm just trying
to find my way
trying
to find my way
trying
to find my way the best that I know how

Well I haven't got it all figured out quite yet, but
even if it takes my whole life to get to where I need to be,
and if I should fall to the bottom of the end,
I'll be one step back to you and

trying
to find my way
trying
to find my way
I'm trying
to find my way
trying
to find my way...

current mood: depressed

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Thursday, October 27th, 2005
7:32 am
Yes, I know I reveal myself to be a complete poseur by admitting that I listen to, and sometimes actually enjoy, 3 Doors Down. Oh well.

---

THE ROAD I'M ON - 3 Doors Down

She said life's a lot to think about sometimes
When you're living in between the lines
And all the stars they sparkle and shine everyday

He said life's so hard to move in sometimes
When it feels like I'm toein' the line
And no one even cares to ask me why I feel this way

I know you feel helpless now and I know you feel alone
That's the same road, the same road that I am on

He said life's a lot to think about sometimes
When you keep it all between the lines
Of everything I want and I want to find, one of these days

What you thought was real in life somehow steered you wrong
Now you just keep drivin' and tryin' to find out where you belong

I know you feel helpless now and I know you feel alone
That's the same road, that same road that I am on

current mood: empathetic

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Wednesday, October 19th, 2005
6:42 am
Take this heart of darkness
I give it all
And in all the emptiness
I refill it all

The times that I feel nothing
You bring enough
So I can live for something
You lift me up

And all these bad dreams
I wake up to the light
And when I can't see
I wake up to your eyes

Wake me up
There’s a light up ahead...

Get so complicated
You live enough
Turn into what you hated
We’re breaking off

The times I feel like nothing
You bring enough
So I can live for something
You lift me up

And all these bad dreams
I wake up to the light
And when I can't see
I wake up to your eyes

Wake me up
There’s a light up ahead...

---

If you've never seen the video for this song, it is EXTREMELY powerful. It's, I suppose, something of an avant-garde animation of a man who has just died, seeing his life literally flash before his eyes. (Being someone who is not an art-boy, I don't know how to describe it - simply that it's powerful.) It's that rare example of a music video that not only doesn't only complement the lyrics, it actually ADDS MEANING to them.

current mood: awake

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Thursday, October 13th, 2005
9:19 pm
Shoulder to the wheel for someone else's selfish gain
Here there is no choosing
Working the clay, wearing their anger
Like a ball and chain

Fire in the field underneath a blazing sun
But soon the sun was faded and freedom was a song
I heard them singing when the day was done
Singing to the Holy One

Lead me on, lead me on
To a place where the river runs into your keeping
Lead me on, lead me on
The awaited deliverance comforts the seeking
Lead on


Waiting for the train labeled with a golden star
Heavy hearted boarding, whispers in the dark
"Where are we going?"
"Is it very far?"

Bitter cold terrain, echoes of a slamming door
In chambers made for sleeping forever
Voices like thunder in a mighty roar
Cry to the Lord

Lead me on, lead me on
To a place where the river runs into your keeping
Lead me on, lead me on
The awaited deliverance comforts the seeking
Lead on


Man hurts man
Time and time and time again
And we drown in the wake of our power
Somebody tell me why...

Lead me on, lead me on...

current mood: discontent

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Tuesday, October 11th, 2005
8:57 am
I consider myself having been tagged by bloomingtulip.

Seven favorite songs of the moment:
  • Paperthin Hymn - Anberlin
  • Consume Me - DC Talk
  • Still Burning - Sixpence None The Richer
  • Good Luck Charm - Vigilantes Of Love
  • Existentialism On Prom Night - Straylight Run
  • Light Up Ahead - Further Seems Forever
  • The Ocean - Mae

And, because I think you're such cool people, I'll throw in the last seven songs I listened to as well (courtesy of, as always, this nifty little thing that's worth every dime I drop on it) and make sure you know just how eclectic a guy you're dealing with:
  • There She Goes - Sixpence None The Richer
  • Lancaster, PA - The Beautiful Mistake
  • Today Is In My Way - MxPx
  • Never Surrender - Corey Hart
  • Gods Of War - Def Leppard
  • Sugar, We're Going Down - Fall Out Buy
  • Mr. Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan

(Everybody needs to have a little Dylan in their life every now and again.)

Who am I tagging with this? If you're reading it, consider yourself "tagged without obligation." Just link back when you post your stuff.

current mood: hopeful

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Saturday, September 24th, 2005
4:02 pm
(Crossposted from the Xanga, because some of the old MGC people will definitely be interested in reading this.)

I feel like the following needs to be said, in words of one syllable, so that everybody who cares about such things understands where I'm coming from. Saying such things as these is risky in these forums. But if I don't say this, it's going to be stewing around somewhere in my innards until I explode, so let's get all this on the table.

This whole teaching business is my vocation, not my job. It is what I do, it is who I am, it is what sends me careening into utter misery when I'm not doing it. I have seen people who have lost their vocations before, and what they descend into. I have no desire to take that route.

It is in that context that I now announce my Real Professional Development Goal for the academic year 2005/2006. I submitted a nifty sheet with other goals on it. If I get any of them done, it's gravy. But my real goals sheet has just one bullet point:
  • Be employed at Shorter College for the 2006/2007 academic year.
If that sounds ridiculous to you, understand the following.

Six years ago, I was completing my doctoral dissertation with the promise of the dream postdoc of all dream postdocs coming true. The very first paper I seriously read as a graduate student was written by this guy. He had insights about molecular modeling that I could only dream of having. He had NIH grant money to burn, and all the things I hadn't learned as a graduate student I could now learn in this big lab with the big computers doing the big things. If this went the right way, I could write my own ticket.

In May of 2000, I'd blown the thing up, bitter, angry and depressed, because the project I was going into the lab to take didn't exist when I got there, I felt underappreciated for the work I put in on several secondary projects, and I didn't like the idea of the primary investigator taking a three-month sabbatical in Paris while I still was trying to find my place. So I quit working. Just quit. And when the PI wouldn't renew me, I made sure he wrote into the letter that I wouldn't accept a renewal anyway.

Three years ago, I started seeing a path towards my future at Middle Georgia College. I had a role in a new hire, there were a good chunk of young faculty in place, I had a place on Curriculum Committee, and the new president of the college was attending my church. With a couple of good decisions made, I could establish myself as a member of that faculty for the long haul.

In May of 2003, I may have been sitting in a college assembly staring at a plaque that said "Outstanding Faculty Member" from the MGC Student Government, but it felt especially hollow. I felt like my ideas - for that GAMES program, for the physics curriculum, for pretty much everything of significance - were being thrown back in my face, with a passive-aggressive smile and "Oh, that was such a good idea - nobody liked that? That's a shame." I thought I had phenomenal students, but anytime I tried to tell anybody else that I got strange looks and disbelief - everybody believed Middle Georgia was the bottom of the pile, with no way to go up. I felt isolated from my fellow faculty, because I was "the cool prof" who all the students liked.

And when professors who weren't tenured suddenly started getting letters telling them their contracts wouldn't be renewed, some for legitimate reasons, some with vague handwaving about "extreme academic rigor", I absolutely panicked. And fled.

I am scared about this year. I am scared about the way I handle things this year. And there isn't going to be any kind of reassurance I can take from anybody about anything that is going to make me feel any better. I am afraid that, every step of the way, I am going to be fighting the temptation to start to blow things up when the first thing goes wrong.

And I can't do that. Not any more.

Just read the above, consider the above deeply, and think about how much my family has moved around. We established ourselves in Columbus (OHIO!), but barring a miracle that wasn't going to last, not after I finished the PhD at Ohio State. But Birmingham could have. Cochran definitely could have. And I've picked them up and moved them around, largely because I got all high and superior about how horrible my situation was and how I couldn't stay sane in it.

My youngest daughter is six and has never lived in one place for longer than three years, and still cries every now and again for her friends and her preschool teacher in Cochran. Think about that.

So, if you're a student reading this, and you want to know my take on some of the latest rumors running around about this person and that having their row, and I don't have any opinions that I'm willing to share, understand why I think it's important to keep my mouth shut.

So, if you're another professor and you're wondering why I'm never satisfied with anything I do unless it's absolutely perfect, understand that I've seen too many almost-perfect efforts fall short in my earlier career, and I still haven't forgiven myself for that. I should, I know. But I haven't.

And to any of you who see this grave injustice in the world and are wondering why I can't get myself all worked up over it, and why I'm just too willing to be positive or be a good soldier, rather than to yell and scream and get attention:

I've tried that.

It didn't work.

And the scars are still healing.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Let me say one other thing, and say it equally clearly. I have been a lot of different places, and observed a lot of undergraduates going through this whole education thing. Our graduates might not leave with the best standardized test scores, or with a degree with the greatest reputation on the planet. But I'd put the students who leave with a science degree from Shorter College up against any in the country. They have been put through the fire, and they come out prepared for pretty much anything they want to do.

I refuse to say that what we do is perfect, or that what we do can't be improved. I have my own ideas, and they will get thrown out there when it is appropriate and where it is appropriate. But what we do, we do it awfully well, and we do it with a concern for the individual student that you simply won't see too many other places, especially in the state of Georgia.

It's not that I want to have a job next year, or even that I want to have a job in Rome, GA next year. I want to be at Shorter College. I believe in what happens on this hill far too much to leave.

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Sunday, August 21st, 2005
9:44 pm - Greatest. Love. Song. Ever.
"Ready and Waiting to Fall", by Mae, from the album The Everglow. I ought to link that somehow.

--

Drowning, just as fast as I can.
But don't throw me a line, don't reach out your hand.
Cause, I'm on the brink of something beautiful
and I want to sing about it, but I don't know where to begin.
Write it in a letter, but the words don't come out right.
Trying to explain how no one can do me like -
You don't understand how helpless I can get
Since the day that we met; oh, can you feel it yet?

It's never been more perfect being alive
I've never been so satisfied. Oh...

I could feel something different for the first time.
Heaven made sense and all the words rhymed.
No chance of stopping now; I'm taking it all.
And now I'm caught in the air, its a good glide.
Pass it up, wouldn't dare what a wild ride.
I remember being ready and waiting to fall
just like I did tonight.

Spinning around and around
Until my left was my right and up became down.
With just one look you knocked me off of my feet.
So unable to speak - oh, how you made me weak.
Though it was a while ago, I still can recall
that moment so ready, and waiting to fall.
Can you take me back in time
remembering when you captured my heart?
Over and over again.

It's never been more perfect being alive
I've never been so satisfied. Oh...

I could feel something different for the first time.
Heaven made sense and all the words rhymed.
No chance of stopping now; I'm taking it all.
And now I'm caught in the air, its a good glide.
Pass it up, wouldn't dare what a wild ride.
I remember being ready and waiting to fall
just like I did tonight...

current mood: restless

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Friday, July 1st, 2005
11:42 am - Shorter news
Motion to reconsider is denied. 

Here is the news story, and here's my official blog-post on the subject (in which I leave more than a little bit to the reader.

Directing comments to that site.  Comments are shut off here.
Tuesday, May 24th, 2005
5:11 pm
I'm going to refer everybody to the real Pearson-blog for the update on the Shorter situation.

But I will give you a little hint.

Sitting back and thinking about that, I can honestly say that I've never felt so sure that I am in the right place as I do right now. It might feel strange to say that in light of current events, and the uncertainty that comes with them. But I've been trying my whole professional life to find a place that values the same things about students that I do. And, whatever happens next, I truly believe Shorter College is that place.


I mean, I still can't believe that I came to that conclusion after the roller-coaster of emotions of the past 30 hours or so, but I'm there. Totally.

Again, the full scoop is here.

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