East of 1987


A Certain Kind of Fear
November 1, 2010, 5:15 pm
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I have spent the past seven days in both NYC and D.C. while on a Graduate School-Accounting Trip. Each morning was spent listening to many of the brightest minds in the accounting profession discuss pertinent issues in regulation and help provide historical context to many of the things that students like myself have learned is school. I spent most nights (5 pm and onward) exploring the various “neighborhoods” of NYC and experiencing the “sights and sounds” of our nation’s capital.

Interestingly enough, I was actually in D.C. during The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, as hosted by comedians John Stuart (The Daily Show) and Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report). Although journalists predicted somewhere around 60 million rally-goers to attend the event, the final head-count exceeded 150 million.

Even though the rally was sure to be hilarious, a funny thing happened. I did NOT attend. “Why?” you might ask. One word: Terrorism.

After watching the news early that Saturday morning, I learned of a serious terrorist threat connected to the rally. For the first time in my life, I felt a legitimate fear for my life stemming from an event (9/11) that had yet to impact me directly. Living in America, I guess I never thought that I would feel a general fear of any outside force or modern-day-evil-doer. Maybe I am naive, or maybe my fear was unwarranted; however, at the end of the day, a regime of terrorist in another part of the world (none of whom I have ever met before) kept me from attending an important event in arguably the safest nation in the world. To put it plainly, this bothers me.

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“No Offense, Picasso”
October 16, 2010, 8:15 am
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Although I don’t know much about art, it seems that “great” art is determined by its level of impact on one’s senses.  For this reason, I believe “cooking” to be the superior form of art. Undoubtedly, an afternoon stroll in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is pleasing to the eye; however, watching sixty minutes of Iron Chef America on Food Network almost seems more impressive.

Cooking: Appealing to the Senses

Sight: Food must look great. Most chefs agree that “we first eat with our eyes.” In fact, restaurant owners go to great lengths in order to showcase their delectable creations in a way that is visually appealing.

Smell: Food must smell good (otherwise no one will eat it). Simple research shows that the smell of a dish’s various components directly informs the way that the food will taste. Ask any accomplished chef and they will stress the importance of “aromatics.”

Taste: Food must taste good (there is no disputing this)!

Call me crazy but I believe that the art of cooking is the most universal and sophisticated art form in existence.

 



Cause & Effect & Entitlement
October 14, 2010, 9:32 pm
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I am beginning to realize that if there is something that I want for my life, no one is going to hand it to me; instead, I must reach out and take it (whatever that looks like). Although I know this to be true, I admit that most mornings when I wake up, I subconsciously believe that my life will somehow slowly morph into what I’ve always wanted it to be. The more I contemplate this dichotomy, this kind of “double-think” feels like a direct symptom of Western culture. To put it plainly, we have high expectations of the quality of life that is achievable by people who work hard. If we boiled this ideal down even further, it would sound something like, “if I do A, then I will get B.” We are conditioned to believe in a harmonious blend between cause and effect relationships and varying levels of entitlement.

This is dangerous thinking for the Christian, because it carries two major assumptions:

  1. If we put our faith in the causal relationships taught in our culture, the reality of God’s sovereignty in our lives and our world becomes merely something we say, and not something that we believe and live
  2. Even if we believe that “God is working out all things for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose,” we have redefined and often customized what “good” means for us as individuals. ‘

Question To Ponder?

Is “good” (in this sense) a relative term (relative to each individual’s situation and needs)? Or, is Romans chapter 8 speaking of a more “general good?”



“…I Don’t Know Anything…”
October 4, 2010, 5:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I realized again today that I don’t know anything, at all. I know that seems like a bold statement to make; however, the more I think about my life and the knowledge that I’ve gained over the past 22 years, the more I realize that I have almost zero knowledge of anything around me (relatively speaking). Let me give you a few examples:

Example 1:

Stranger: “Hey Grant, could you explain to me how a camera works.”

My Response: “As far as I know, when you click that button, everything in front of the camera lens gets sucked into the camera….well it’s really a copy of the image that gets sucked in. Then, the camera memorizes that image. When you want to see it again later, you can just turn your camera back on and there it is! Make sense?”

Example 2:

Stranger: “Hey Grant, do you know how a ballpoint-pen works?”

My Response: “As far as I know, the pen is filled with ink, and it will spill out only when the tip of the pen is touching a piece of paper, or any brand new item of clothing that you might be wearing.”

Stranger: “But how come the ink isn’t just constantly spilling out? Is the ink frozen or something?”

My Second Response: “No, it’s definitely not frozen, it just doesn’t spill out because it is contained in a little clear tube that only lets ink spill out when the pen is touching paper.”

The more I think about the objects that are apart of my everyday life (i.e. camera, ballpoint-pen, etc.), the more I realize that I don’t know anything.



Odd Jobs & Peculiar Experiences I
September 26, 2010, 6:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Seasonal Cashier/Stock Clerk at Honey Baked Hams- The first job I ever had was at a small specialty ham shop in Northwest Houston. Although I had no prior work experience, I was hired to help serve the massive holiday crowds that accumulate in the November and December months. My responsibilities included, keeping items in stock (i.e. ham, condiments, dry soups, etc.), helping “honey-glaze” hams (using a mini-torch), and taking customers’ orders behind the cash register.

Experience: While honey-glazing hams in the back room, I met a thirty-something year old gangly man named Steve. Steve was scruffy, rail-thin, pale, and beyond socially-inept; but, he was very friendly, in a kind of “Steve way.” Over the course of a week, Steve began to teach me about an underground gambling league that existed on this side of the city. “We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Steve would say. He let me know that if I ever wanted to get involved, he could send his bookie (who owns a Rolls Royce) to my house to set up my own account. I was terrified, to say the least. I was especially scared when he told me “if you do not pay up, you will get hurt.” I felt like I was stuck in a Scorsese film.

But what if I had taken Steve up on that deal…

Pros:

  • I could have made some serious coin.

Cons:

  • I could have lost some serious coin.
  • I could have been arrested.
  • I could have lost my fingers to a bet gone wrong.
  • Martin Scorsese films never end well.


Top Ten Best Things About Fall
September 20, 2010, 2:52 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

1. Pumpkin everything (bread, pie, soup, scones, etc)

2. Cooler Weather (cool enough for outdoor grilling and applying/reapplying deodorant less than twice a day)

3. Winter Clothes (see #5)

4. Lower electricity bills (I don’t believe in using heaters)

5. Increasing my body fat % – easily hidden beneath winter clothes (see #3)

6. The Harvest Cyclone at Katie’s Custard (vanilla custard with a piece of pumpkin pie blended in- expensive, but worth every penny)

7. Oktoberfest Beers (i.e. Live Oak, Sam Adams, Paulaner, etc.)

8. College Football (friendly bets & upsets)

9. Birthday in October (I am asking for James and the Giant Peach on DVD)

10. 6 year anniversary with my fiance of 2.5 weeks (she is the greatest)

Fall is arguably the best time of the year. Make sure you get off of Facebook and Twitter, and go outside every once in a while. However, if you are addicted to these “anti-social” networking sites, at least get a good laugh by browsing this website http://www.thisiswhyyourefat.com/



How do we know that what happens to us isn’t good?
September 13, 2010, 3:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Read this inspiring short story (1.5 pages) called “The Man in Bogotá,” written by Amy Hempel.

As a fan and avid reader of short stories, I admire the boldness of this one-in-a-half-pager. Hempel poses the question, “how do we know that what happens to us isn’t good:” but what is the answer?

My answer: we do NOT know, and we can NOT know. Assuming I am right (or at least onto something), I have a question: “Is there any hope in this statement?” Does Hempel’s story conclude with a happily-ever-after-ending, or should the final sentence send chills up the spine?”

I think it depends on who you are, and “whose” (possessive pronoun) you are. I think it depends on a reconciliation between the “Author of Life” (I’m calling him God) and an imperfect creation (specifically ‘mankind’).

To the Christ-follower, the answer is an emphatic “YES,”

because… “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose..(Romans 8:28- ESV)”