Thursday, April 29, 2004

Rambling thoughts:

My birthday is on Saturday. (Hooray! Cue wish list.) I will be 27. I have a house. I have a wife. I have a baby on the way. I have a career. I'll be 27. How did I get here? That's not a bad thing-- it just feels like adulthood snuck up on me. I have friends in their 30s (and a few in their 40s), but for me... 27. I remember vividly being 13, and that was half my life ago. It's odd, because now half of the famous people are younger than me. "Young talent" is younger than me. I can no longer fit into the "young talent" category. Did I miss my window? Did I start with my dreams too late? Was I too distracted with "being a pastor" during those crucial "young talent" years? Or did those experiences make for good life preparation. I don't know. I could've spent those years writing stories. Making art. Hanging out with the freakiest most interesing people I could find. It's not me, though. (Or is it?) I've never been good at partying. I don't like that scene. I'm not envious of that. I guess, it's never too late to start being the person you want to be. Somedays, I think I'm almost there. Once my daughter is born, will I stop use the pronoun "I" so much? In reality? Probably not.

Now looking back, since I have such an attractive wife, I realize I could've dated better looking people in college. Is it shallow for me to say so? Maybe. But I wasted a lot of time being with people who weren't that interesting or sexy or funny... and those things are important. When I met Melissa, I suddenly realized what "better" meant. She's interesting, sexy, funny, and she loves me. We like being together. I'm so thankful. But good lord-- it truly, truly, truly scares me to think of the people I could've ended up with. Melissa and I both knew, early on... we were best friends.

It's really odd to think that we've created a person. Half her chromosomes, half of mine. Seriously. Anybody ever think about how freakishly odd this birth process is? We have, literally, based on who we've partnered with, been able to determine the genetics of person we would create. Half of her, half of me. Bam! Entirely unique person-- and at the same, she will pick up looks, characteristics, and habits from both Melissa and me. We're raising her. A person who will live her life, make her mistakes, and call us "mom" and "dad". After I'm dead and gone, half my chromosomes will still be walking around.

On Saturday, I think Melissa and I are going to Scarborough Faire with Wim and company. I like the shows. It's the same acts every year. I don't care. I still enjoy them. I laugh at the same jokes. Wim has been wanting to go to Scarborough Faire. Personally? I was just planning to eat pineapple chicken curry at Bangkok Thai. That sounded like a good birthday. Not that I don't want to go the Scarborough Faire... I'll have a great time. Last year, I had a big hoopla. This year, I don't feel as inclined. 27. Career. Wife. House. Baby. Missed my window to be a "young talent". (?) So many things to be excited about, it's like everything big got stuck running through the door and only the petty things slipped through. Or maybe the big things are simply too big? How can you even rationally process parenthood?

Geez, so many bad parents out and about. I mean, lots and lots of bad parents. We need better birth control or something. Bad parents keep producing children. And God love 'em... I'm glad those kids are here... but those parents are going to seriously damage my daughter's generation. Do I come from a damaged generation? More so than other generations? At what age, do we stop being damaged, start doing the work for them and damage ourselves? There are too many "good parent" movements that consist of mostly fearful parents. The way some parents raise children, you'd think that "fear" becomes the dominate motiff for your life once you conceive. You live in fear from that point on. That part of parenting, I'm really hesitant about. I don't want to spend the rest of my life in fear of MSG, abestos, lead paint, faulty seatbelts, and her wild friends. (As the newscrafters says, "What you don't know.... can hurt you! News at nine.")

Forget popularity, teen sex, academic achievement, sports, fashion ("turn to the left"), smoking, religion ("turn to the right"), tv, proper grammar, good hygiene, etiquette, the f-word, attention deficit whatever, good times, riots, politics, the terrible twos, sweet sixteen, college scholarships, life lessons, life styles, life magazine, life at conception... if we can raise our daughter to be a kind, loving, compassionate person, we've done a good job. And even then, she's got to be the one to live her life. Sure, we started it-- but it's not ours to live, it's her's. We can nuture, care, guide, and prepare, but the rules are: only one life per lifetime, please. Thought: When she's 27, I'll be 54.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I really don't know what to make of Nellie McKay (and also here), but I can't... stop... listening...

Sunday, April 25, 2004


Saturday, April 24, 2004

Melissa and I went to see Ira Glass at the Fort Worth Convention Center. He spoke about storytelling and the unique power of radio. It truly was an inspiration for me... so incredible.

In particular, his discourse on 1,001 Arabian Nights was fascinating. Stories keep us alive.

Friday, April 23, 2004

I want one of these for the backyard.
I did, didn't I? Crap. The more I evaluate the challenge, the more I realize that this will not be easy.

Note to self: Never use the war metaphors of feudal Japan when discussing your goals.
Today, I told one of my students to stop using the word "obviously". If she used it again, I was going to give her detention. "Obviously" was her codeword to pick fights with other students.

"Obviously, you had something to say to me."
"You obviously don't want me to hear it."
"Obviously, you have a problem with me."

It was amazing. With that word stricken from her vocabularly, she lost the ammuntion to wage war on the other students. I had no problems with her from that point on. Odd.

While the word "whatever" seems to be the codeword for surrender.

"Obviously, you don't want to go there!" (response) "Whatever."

However, we could esculate the conflict, thus:
"Obviously, you don't want to go there!" (response) "Obviously, I do!"


Wednesday, April 21, 2004

As far as teacher pay goes, I'm fairly content. If anything, I wish our health insurance wasn't so expensive. Of course, I wish I made more, but...

I really hate Governor Perry's idea of funding my paycheck through alcohol, the lottery, and strip clubs. Those industries victimize people, and I despise the notion of earning my money from them. Obviously, the idea is that if we tax those industries it will discourage people from participating. However, those industries create a depency that ultimately victimizes the user, not the business itself.

Anybody remember a few years ago when Texas voted to have a state-wide lottery. We were told the profits would go to education. Wrong. It goes to the "super fund", which builds more prisons than it does schools. (Prisons, which are still overcrowded and underfunded)

Governor Perry's tax proposal is bad policy. Education benefits the whole state (those with students and those without), so the whole state should pay the tax. Property tax is not a bad means of taxation. It affects everyone. Even the apartment dwellers who are indirectly taxed through their rent.

No one likes to pay taxes. Everyone wants to support our education system. However, boosting the gambling industry in order to fund schools is a vicious means of revenue-- disportionately hurting the poor, and leaving the wealthy unscathed.
Melissa has a new template for her blog. It looks nice.

Lately, we've been busy with all sorts of odd dreams and projects. It's a strange stage in our relationship. We're making plans for projects that may take several years to realize. Melissa and I (more Melissa than me) created a mix tape for our daughter. Copies will be available soon. I've been working on my drawing skills to prepare for 24 hour comic day (this is not going to be easy). We're switching our e-mail, changing our blogs, inviting strangers into our home, and getting calls from pastors we don't know to lead ministries for churches we're not apart of. On Friday, we're going to hear Ira Glass speak... our current voice of clarity, storytelling, and wisdom. "Surreal" might be a good word, if it weren't so overused.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I just got my gmail beta account. My hotmail account, which I've had for eight years (!), may soon be thrown out on the curb. "Who needs to delete when you have 1000 MB of storage?!" Actually, I like deleting stuff. :)

I haven't made the switch yet. But anyone who wants to contact me via gmail, my login is davidhopkins. Simple enough.
Scrubs is still the best show on television. Tonight, the Polyphonic Spree made a special guest appearance. Too cool.

Monday, April 19, 2004

this may be the weirdest thing i've seen on the internet... you've been warned
Last night, I was really sick. I mean, really really sick. It wasn't pretty. In fact, I shouldn't be at school today-- but it's too much of a pain to get a substitute. Today is a full lecture day and it's difficult to have a sub do that. Although, I feel better since I've constrained my diet to sprite and crackers, and I've taken some drugs.

I want to see Kill Bill, Vol. 2 after school today. Hopefully that will be theraputic. Healing through better storytelling.

Friday, April 16, 2004

(in response to Melissa's post) In that case, can I be early '60s Cynthia Powell?

Melissa and I have been watching the Beatles Anthology DVD set. We've really enjoyed it. Our daughter seems to like the Beatles too.
We have some friends from St.Louis driving down here right now. They will be staying the weekend to film a documentary on mini-comics. They've already gathered a lot of good interviews. They will be interviewing me about my book Some Other Day. On Saturday, we're going to the Dallas Comic-Con.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Tech Administrators say the funniest things over the PA:
"Teachers, I'll send you an e-mail notifying you when you can turn your computers back on." (???)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

24 hour comics day. It's hard for me to turn down a dare. This will be an interesting experiment.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

As of today, I've been blogging for two years.

Some of my favorite posts:
"I am a piece of educated meat." (Thursday, 4/18/02, 1:02 PM)
Recreational Browsing at Target (Tuesday, 4/23/02, 12:06 AM)
"Tragedy as entertainment concerns me." (Monday, 4/29/02, 11:54 AM)
Samurai sword obsession begins... (Thursday, 5/23/02, 7:36 AM)
Back from the honeymoon (Wednesday, 6/26/02, 7:46 AM)
The first post about Suburban Hell (Wednesday, 7/17/02, 5:11 PM)
Mutual Appreciation Club! (Monday, 7/22/02, 7:08 PM)
Teacher Crisis Management (Friday, 8/16/02, 12:30 PM)
My wife now blogs. (Friday, 8/23/02, 6:23 PM)
Rachael Leigh Cook (Tuesday, 9/03/02, 9:41 AM)
Fun Size means small. (Wednesday, 9/04/02, 1:26 PM)
Ingredients in Coca-Cola (Thursday, 9/12/02, 2:26 PM)
McLuhan blog tribute (Thursday, 9/19/02, 9:54 AM, 9:59 AM, 10:27 AM, 10:34 AM, 11:37 AM, 11:50 AM, 12:15 PM, and 2:05 PM)
If our "Bible" was not in written form (Saturday, 9/21/02, 10:52 PM)
Who Will Survive? (Tuesday, 9/24/02, 9:08 AM)
Leftovers are a Luxury (Tuesday, 10/01/02, 9:54 AM)
"We have yet to offer a more compelling alternative to being brain-washed." (Wednesday, 10/02/02, 7:24 AM)
Form Letter (Thursday, 10/03/02, 1:59 PM)
"Better living through simple toys." (Friday, 10/11/02, 4:02 PM)
Elvis-led worship (Thursday, 10/17/02, 10:30 AM)
The Happy Consumer (Thursday, 10/17/02, 8:33 PM)
Google knows me. (Monday, 11/04/02, 12:46 PM)
Just a Teacher (Monday, 11/11/02, 9:56 AM)
Famous People I Have Met (Friday, 11/29/02, 9:01 PM)
"I'm going to be better at life." (Monday, 12/02/02, 7:43 AM)
"I feel like a ghost" (Thursday, 12/05/02, 1:02 PM)
I decide to invent the word: "Akerirya" (Monday, 1/06/03, 8:27 AM)
The Books-are-Fun Campaign (Monday, 1/06/03, 11:59 AM)
Special People Clubs (Thursday, 1/09/03, 9:11 AM)
A Person Who Shall Go Nameless (Tuesday, 1/21/03, 3:11 PM)
21st century iconography: New Crucifixion (Wednesday, 2/05/03, 7:37 AM)
Letter to the President: Safety Dance (Friday, 2/21/03, 9:04 AM)
Screw you Relevant Magazine! (Wednesday, 3/12/03, 2:01 PM)
Student Elections (Tuesday, 3/25/03, 1:16 PM)
Everybody needs a villain (Monday, 3/31/03, 2:59 PM)
21st century iconography: New Transfiguration (Thursday, 4/03/03, 10:46 AM)
Carl Weathers or Billy Dee Williams? (Friday, 4/04/03, 9:04 AM)
"Mr. Hopkins, if you keep drinking Cokes your uterus will fall out!" (Monday, 4/28/03, 11:04 AM)
Street Doctor (Sunday, 5/18/03, 6:04 PM)
"Don't Change." (Thursday, 5/29/03, 3:53 PM)
Child Abandonment in Advertising (Monday, 6/30/03, 8:59 PM)
Stuff People Wrote in My High School Yearbook (Wednesday, 7/02/2003, 11:52 AM and Thursday, 7/31/03, 9:37 PM and Friday, 9/08/03, 11:41 AM)
Notes during a teacher workshop (Monday, 7/28/03, 5:51 PM)
To be Christian or Christ-like (Thursday, 7/31/03, 2:18 AM)
Ramblings: Punk is a Perspective (Sunday, 8/03/03, 4:31 PM)
"The Internet should have its own year of Jubilation." (Thursday, 8/07/03, 10:51 AM)
Len, stop... (Wednesday, 8/20/03, 8:14 AM)
"I'd rather be anonymous right now." (Wednesday, 8/20/03, 10:37 AM)
My Party Smell (Saturday, 8/23/03, 5:35 PM)
Rule 8.01 - No bouncies (Monday, 8/25/03, 4:19 PM)
Prozac and Pop Music (Wednesday, 9/03/03, 9:11 AM)
We're a Nielsen family. "It's like being drafted... but for television." (Tuesday, 9/09/03, 6:56 PM)
Melissa is pregnant (Saturday, 9/27/03, 11:13 PM)
DFilm: Postmod Love Affair (Thursday, 10/23/03, 3:04 PM)
An e-mail conversation between my dad and me (Saturday, 10/25/03, 8:29 AM)
Sex Education (Friday, 10/31/03, 12:25 PM)
Mac and Cheese (Monday, 11/10/03, 12:52 PM)
House of Fools (Tuesday, 11/11/03, 9:29 AM)
Disappointment in Postmodern Christianism (Tuesday, 11/11/03, 10:48 AM)
Sometimes, I think they do (Thursday, 11/13/03, 10:06 AM)
Toll Booth Change Makers (Monday, 11/17/03, 11:52 AM)
"I'm now a t-shirt. Buy me!" (Friday, 11/21/03, 11:29 AM)
Group protesting outside our high school (Monday, 12/01/03, 9:34 AM)
Throwing Gum on the Ground (Thursday, 12/11/03, 1:07 PM)
Colson is a prick. (Wednesday, 12/17/03, 10:21 AM)
Ikiru (Wednesday, 12/31/03, 5:13 PM)
A Story About Stories (Monday, 1/05/04, 11:09 PM)
"Your call is important to us." (Thursday, 1/29/04, 6:38 PM)
It's a Girl! (Wednesday, 2/11/04, 3:41 PM)
If I Ruled the World (Thursday, 2/12/04, 3:23 PM)
Watch People Self Destruct (Monday, 3/08/04, 12:26 AM)
Make People Afraid (Thursday, 4/01/04, 8:25 AM)
Talking about Jesus (Thursday, 4/08/2004, 8:55 AM)

* When I first started blogging, I was single, living in an apartment, and aspiring to be a career pastor. Now, I'm married, a suburban home owner, soon to be a father, teaching English, and writing comic books.
* The most fun I had blogging was when I didn't have home internet access and I used the SMU computer lab at their student center.
* I confuse irony with humor.
* I've probably deleted my best blog posts.
* I'd probably cuss more on my blog if I didn't occasionally have students who discover my blog and read it.
* People lie. Language doesn't. This blog, if read from beginning to end (which I just did), gives a frighteningly vulnerable view into my life-- despite all my efforts to carefully construct myself online.
* I really should take more photos and post them on my blog.
* I wonder how long I will continue blogging? What will it look like to have a blog with ten years of archived posts?
* I prefer blogging to writing articles.
* I'm more happy now than I was two years ago. I have a peace now that I didn't have two years ago.
* I like reading my friends' blogs. It serves as a continual news update on their personal life. Even if I don't see them all the time, I know what's going on (more or less).

Thursday, April 08, 2004

(via daniel) wow. this is thoroughly amazing.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

On April 11th, I will have been blogging for two years. I'm entering my terrible two's. Make sure to visit this blog on the 11th. I'll be celebrating.
Daniel is back in town. This time, it seems he'll be staying for awhile, which is cool. I like Daniel.
Talking about Jesus

Now keep in mind, I'm writing fairly stream-of-conscious here... but a part of me wishes we could discuss Akira Kurosawa or Douglas Coupland or Charles Schultz with the same type of intensity that we discuss Jesus Christ. I do not intend any disrespect to other Christians, but these discussions always carry some agenda (or purpose) which makes me uncomfortable. Of course, doesn't all language carry an agenda? However, if we were to talk about Kurosawa, it may be to appreciate his work, evaluate his theories and ideas, discuss his impact within cinema and storytelling-- but with Jesus, it's different. And geez, I guess reasonably so. But still. Talks about Jesus are never about Jesus... ultimately, they are about us. And maybe this makes me uncomfortable.

For me, talking about Jesus is like watching the same movie every week for fifteen years and then having someone talk to you like you never got it. I think most people (including the un-Christian) "get Jesus". But then again, it's not even about "getting Jesus" anymore. It's about adopting a specific community's language about Jesus-- a desperate urgency for you to use their words when talking about him.

If we could discuss Jesus with the same spirit that we discuss writers and filmmakers, I might be more likely (or maybe not?) to share my thoughts without fear of being wrong or being right, without worrying that my words may forever ruin me or taint me or lead others astray. Instead, I talk about Jesus as if it were one massive language game. It's fascinating game to be sure-- some people lay a lot on the table, some people fold, some bluff. But whenever we talk about Jesus, it's through anecdotes, aphorisms, and metaphors-- all which operate on a local level and all lose meaning if carried too far away from the origination.

And truth be told? I think many Christians would rather not talk about Jesus. They'd rather talk about movies, books, or comic strips... but the language within these specific communities will not allow the luxury of "not talking". Must speak. Must voice these words. Or else what? Will the lexicon forever close on the Son of God, Son of Man? Logos. The Word made flesh. And now, the flesh ascending back to the Word.

Does God speak the world into creation or does the speaking create God?

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Later in 1933, Adolf Hitler met with Ferdinand Porsche to discuss Hitler's idea of a "volkswagen". Hitler proposed a people's car that could carry 5 people, cruise up to 62mph, return 33mpg, and cost only 1000 Reich Marks. This was an opportunity for Porsche to push his idea of a small car foward, as was it to help Hitler get a real people's car for the citizens of Germany. [taken from Volkswagen History]
Avatars I use on message boards:

Friday, April 02, 2004

Pondering the lyrics of the Sex Pistols...
To me, the phrase "I want to be anarchy" doesn't sound like something a true anarchist would say.
excerpt from "An Open Letter to Miles Davis" by Charlie Mingus

Truly, Miles, I love you and want you to know you're needed here, but you're too important a person in jazz to be less than extra careful about what you say about other musicians who are also trying to create...
Garden State
Pretty trailer. Looks bueno.
I agree with Melissa. This week has been odd. Very odd. We'll be in Austin tomorrow for the record show. That'll be nice.

I feel like this penguin (the one of the left).

I need to mow the lawn, but I don't have a lawn mower. I also need to scrap glue off the wall so we can paint the baby's room on Sunday. I'm so suburban.
What a wonderful, interesting world we live in. As my friends would says, "The internet... does click."

Thursday, April 01, 2004

At my school today, they are running the Fatal Choices, Shattered Dreams program. It's a fascinating "reinactment" in order to shock students away from drinking and driving-- an opportunity for them to consider the consequences. Car crash is simulated. They do the albumance, police, care flight... the whole thing. Lots of fake blood. Every 15 minutes, they play a "beating heart" over the PA. (Every 15 minutes, a life is taken by drinking and driving...) And so on.

I'm not going to judge the program or it's usefulness. However, I wonder: Using fear tactics seem to be the antithesis of an education program. True education means we don't resort to fear and violence as method of pedagogy. But yet, we teachers have made a fine career out of scaring our students. "If you don't pass English, you'll never amount to anything." "If you don't do well on your SATs, you'll never get into a good college." "If you don't understand Shakespeare, how do you ever expect to do well your senior year?" "If you don't dress right, act right, learn right, you will be punished." "You need to study every night or else you'll fail!"

I love teaching, because we offer society the hope of a non-violent means to resolve conflict. Fear is a form of violence. It seems like on television and in the government-- fear is in. Or have we always been this afraid? And how can I teach scared students?

Maybe this is my problem with religion? So much of it involves making people afraid.
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