Thursday, February 24, 2011

Weird things in the sky

I was Stumbling around online this morning and came across some UFO web pages.  This got me to thinking about the two instances in which I've seen weird things flying around in the sky.  I don't want to call them UFO's, because that sounds kooky.  However, I have no idea what they could have been, and I've never seen anything remotely similar since then.  It's interesting to note, however, that these two events occurred within a few months of each other. 

May, 1990, around midnight

I was standing in the side yard outside my house in Pittsburg, TX with a friend.  We had been watching a far off thunderstorm for about half an hour when we noticed a red light on the horizon.  It was far away and somewhat dim, like the red lights on the wings of an airplane.  As it approached it got brighter and eventually began to resolve into a multicolored profusion of lights.  As clearly as I can remember, it was a cluster of about 6 to 8 lights, arranged in a roughly circular array, with 4 lights, corresponding to 0, 90, 180, and 270 degrees, being brighter, more stable, and more white than the rest. This cluster of lights was flashing in a bizarre way, and not according to any kind of pattern I could discern.

This collection of multicolored, randomly flashing lights came toward us and stopped directly over my house, which was about 100 feet from the garden in which my friend and I were standing. It appeared to be about 100 feet above the house, and if I had to guess based on the cluster of lights as an indicator of size, I would say that it was about 20 feet wide.  It was dark, so I couldn't discern the shape of whatever it was that was emitting the lights.

As it stopped over my house, a spotlight shone down from it onto the house.  When the spotlight appeared, I panicked and ran into the house. My friend followed me after about 15 more seconds. After I had calmed down a little, we both went back outside and it was gone. 

I've thought a lot about what this could have been, and the only thing I can think of is that it was a helicopter, albeit a very strange one.  However, it made no noise at all during the entire time, even when it was almost directly overhead, and there was no wind that you would expect from the rotor blades. 

August, 1990, probably after 10:00 pm

My brother and I were sitting on the back porch of my dads house in Commerce, TX.  We both observed a light on the horizon that was slowly approaching us, which eventually resolved into a cluster of lights as it grew closer.  At first it seemed as if we were seeing a recurrence of the same event I had witnessed earlier in the spring, as there were four white lights, arranged in a diamond pattern, with the lights corresponding to 0, 90, 180, and 270 degrees.  This light formation differed from the other however, in that it was orderly and lacked the cacophony of flashing, multicolored lights.

My brother and I jumped off the porch and into the yard to get a better view.  I had told him about the thing my friend and I had witnessed a few months previously (he had been in the house at the time it happened), so we were both growing excited at the prospect of a similar occurance.  We talked about what it could be.  It didn't look like an airplane to us, since airplanes usually have red lights which flash in an orderly manner, and you can normally discern the shape of the plane based on the position of the lights on the wingtips and tail.  This was four white lights, glowing steadily, arrayed in a diamond pattern, which grew brighter as it got closer.

As it was about to pass overhead, we climbed a barbed wire fence and ran into the adjacent pasture and watched.  There was a full moon that night, and as chance would have it, whatever it was we were watching passed directly in front of the moon in relation to our line of sight. Because of this, my brother and I both were able to observe the silhouette of a wheel-like object which contained 2 spokes, arranged in a cross pattern 90 degress to each other.  The simplest way to describe it is as a wheel with four spokes radiating from the center.  The lights were positioned at the points where these spokes met the wheel.  Once again, there wasn't any sound. 

As far as speculating as to what this one could have been goes, I have no idea.  It reminded me of the wheeled space station in 2001, A Space Odyssey.

This is basically what they looked like:


Father Justin canceled matins and the liturgy, so I am relieved and disappointed at the same time.  And with that relief and disappointment come some emotions that I’ve been unconsciously holding in check all day; trying to prepare myself for all of that reading.
Well, it’s canceled now, and I find myself kind of floundering, now that the upcoming excitement is suddenly dissipated.  I feel depressed and excited and happy and sad all at the same time.  It’s weird.  I especially think of Leah at times of confusion, like now.  I don’t know if that’s a bad thing, because I already miss her, and missing her more is what… bad?  I don’t know.  But thinking and dwelling on it only makes me miss her more.
I think I’ll be ok, although I don’t want to admit that.  I don’t want to actually know that life is possible without her – that happiness is possible without her – but it is.  It’s just my pride that stops me from accepting that.  The WANT part of me.  I know I’ll be ok, but isn’t it weird that, even knowing that, I still don’t want to accept it?  Isn’t pride stupid?  That I’d think to myself, ‘I want her, so I’d rather be miserable wanting her and not having her, instead of being happy knowing that God is all I need’.  Isn’t that retarded?
Anywho.  This is my life and this is what I feel at the moment, so I write it down.  That’s my excuse.  I’m sure I’ll look back on all of this someday and either laugh or cry.  In the meantime, I don’t want to sing beautiful, I just want to sing true.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oh boy...

Tomorrow I get to read, read, read.  Read at matins, read the hours before the liturgy, read the Epistle, read the post communion prayers.  Dax sent me an e-mail describing what I should do.

First off, when you go to get your blessing before reading Matins or the Hours, go ahead and step up into the altar area and do three prostrations. this is because you will enter the altar later.
During the trisagion hymn, when the choir gets to Glory..., you take the Epistle book and hold it up in front of your face and process into the altar up to Fr. Justin, who will bless the book and you kiss his hand. then process out to the place to read.  There will be a sheet in the epistle book with the following dialogue on it already.  You read the bold parts.  There should be two readings tomorrow, marked by the gold and black page markers. Gold first, then black.  Don't worry about the red or green.  Each epistle has a few words or one word intro which will be on a sticky note.  Look at the calendar tonight and read over the two readings for the day and for St. John in a King James Bible. The Epistle book is KJV.  

 Epistle-Feb. 24th
 Peace be unto all.
 And to thy spirit
 The Prokeimenon in the Seventh Tone: The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord, and he shall hope in him.
 Hearken, O God, to my voice, when I pray unto Thee.
 The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord.
 The Reading from the Second Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Corinthians.
 Let us attend
Reading No.74 (Gold  marker)
                Reading No. 176 (Black marker)
 Peace be to thee that readest
 And to thy spirit
 Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia in the Fourth Tone.
 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree; like the cedars of Lebanon shall he increase.
 Truth hath sprung out of the earth; and righteousness hath shone down from heaven.

Boy oh boy.  This should be memorable... almost certainly blog worthy.

Yeesh, Matins is at 6:00 am, so I'll have to get up at 5:00.  Lets see, off work at 10:00, I'll be lucky to be asleep by 11:00... 6 hours if I'm extremely lucky, more likely about 4.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A stressful day

Today.  I felt nauseous before work and didn't want to go.  That's pretty normal however, so I went to work as I always do, and the nausea abated after about an hour.  I think it was just 'beginning day anxiety', which seems to be a 'one out every couple of days' part of my life that I just have to live with.  When I got to work, Brittney told me about her weekend and I told her about mine.  I described my Sunday flub to her, and she described her ongoing adventures with trying to get to know her birth mother.  The work day progressed, and I ordered wine while Chiy kept barking at us to "Sell The Pizza!"

After about an hour the new owners of the Malone store showed up for a visit with the owners of the Oak St. store, and Brittney asked Chiy's wife, Lin, if they were friends.  Lin rolled her eyes and shook her head.  She doesn't talk much, but that gesture communicated everything she wanted to say.  I guess those Malone store folk must be pretty obnoxious.  I've talked to the assistant manager at the Malone store and she said that she didn't like the new owners; that they were disrupting how everything worked and were making things more difficult.  This is how I expected it to be with Chiy when I started at 7-Eleven for the second time, but I really like Chiy a lot and am glad to know him and his family.

After Chiy and Lin and Brian left, Brittney had a problem with a customer who had asked her to set pump 2 for $10.00, but what the customer actually meant was pump 1.  After the problem was called to her attention, Brittney set the new pump for $10.00.  We were busy, so it was easy to forget that the pump 2 was still set, and what happened was this:  A guy in a white van pulled up to pump 2 and pumped the gas.  He was about to drive off when Brittney explained to me what was happening and asked me to go out there and do something.  I ran out there and explained the situation to him.  I didn't really know what to do about it, other than to flat out ask him for $10.00, so I asked him to come inside.  He seemed affronted by the suggestion, but I'm pretty sure he knew that he had pumped free gas, so he came in without much of a fuss.  When we were inside, Brittney and I explained the situation to him again and asked him if he understood, and his response was that he had used his card and pumped the gas normally.  Brittney asked him how much he originally wanted, and the guy said five dollars.  The question was, why did he keep pumping then?  Why didn't he stop at five dollars if he thought that he was using his own card?  Brittney asked him to pay five dollars, the amount he originally would have pumped, and that she would pay the other five.  He said that all he had was a debit card, and since there was no way to really charge his card for gas that was already pumped, he said that it wasn't his problem.  He started to leave.  It was busy, and I didn't have time to do anything about it, so I told the guy that if he could live with it on his conscience, he could just take $10.00 worth of free gas that somebody else would have to pay for and leave.  He smiled really big and walked out the door.  I guess that was his answer.  I felt really depressed and angry about that for about half an hour, but later I realized that I couldn't judge the guy because there was a time in my life when I would have thought the same way, with my internal dialogue going something like this - "The store made a mistake.  So what if it's technically stealing.  It's not my fault, I didn't come here to steal gas.  It's not my responsibility.  They have to pay for it, and I'm happy as a clam with my ill gotten gas."  So Brittney paid for it, and when I get paid I'll give her five dollars.  We decided not to tell Chiy about it to avoid stressing him out more than he already was, due to the events I'm about to describe.

Soon after that, we ran out of Mountain Dew, so I went into the back to change it.  Well, there wasn't another Mountain Dew on the shelf, and the machine was going PSSSHHHT PSSSHHHT PSSSHHHT PSSSHHHT over and over again, that obnoxious indicator that one of the pumps is out of syrup.  In desperation I started to unscrew a screw on the thing to see if it would close a valve or something, and the thing shot out like a bullet and broke in half.  After that the PSSSHHHT PSSSHHHT PSSSHHHT became a constant HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.  Instant panic set in.  I felt like I had just triggered the timer on an atom bomb and that it was up to me to defuse it.  I spent about twenty minutes trying everything I could to stop the CO2 leak.  I pressed my thumb against it.  I pressed my palm against it.  I pressed napkins against it.  I tried to wedge a wrench with one end wrapped in plastic between the leak and the edge of the shelf.  I tried to wedge a piece of plastic with a screw shoved in it into the hole.  Nothing worked, and meanwhile CO2 was blowing out of this valve at full force.  I knew that if this continued that eventually the CO2 tank would be completely empty, and I didn't even want to think about what it would cost to fill the dang thing.  Chiy would expel bricks out of his posterior.  Out of desperation I got up and started closing valves on the actual CO2 canister, which is a big silver tank about four feel tall.  I experimented with several valves until I finally found one that did something.  As I turned it the noise of the leak started to abate, and I watched as the CO2 pressure gauge slowly fell to zero.  PHEW!  I had defused the bomb.  Denton was safe.

I called Chiy and he wasn't happy at all.  After about 20 minutes of crazy anxiety talky yammering godzillaspeak about how much it would cost to fix and how much money the store would lose because we couldn't sell slurpees or fountain drinks, he finally calmed down a little.  Eventually things were almost normal again, with Chiy telling me not to feel bad, that it was a learning experience.  He called me twice after that, each time telling me not to feel bad, that it's ok, everything is ok, it's ok.

Oh, and by the way.  Here comes the icing on the cake.  While all of this was going on, Brittney was the essence of 'flat out good person'.  She did everything she could to help me as I tried to plug a raging gas leak with the palm of my hand, all the while dealing with a line of customers that went back to the cooler.  And, unbeknownst to me until after I'd stopped the leak, all during this time there was another ongoing crisis at the slurpee machine.  A customer had poured a Wild Cherry Slurpee - how I hate Wild Cherry Slurpee - and of course the handle stuck as it is wont to do, and soon we had a lake of bubbly red half frozen crap to deal with on top of the CO2 leak.  I didn't know anything about this until after I had stopped the leak and was feeling like a hero, only to walk back up front to see Brittney mopping up this red river of madness.  She hadn't said a word about it the whole time I was back there bitching and moaning and panicking, and now there she was, shlopping up all of that crap by herself.  Brittney is just an outstanding person.

Ok, I'm done.  Time for beddy bye.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday flub

Yesterday I read for the first time at the Sunday liturgy.  I read the hours and the post-communion prayers.  I did flub once though, while reading the hours - I can't remember the exact nature of the flub, but I'm pretty sure I used the word 'merciful' instead of a word that means the opposite of merciful.  It went something like this... "God will not be merciful with us -" whoops!  Was that a Freudian slip, or what?  I think 'merciful' was supposed to be either 'angry' or 'wroth', or something like that.  Who remembers?  Anybody?

Anywho.  Thanks brain, for stabbing me in the medulla oblongata.  You're a real joker.  Way to come through for me there.  Probably got it in for me just like my sweat glands.  And my tooth.

The wind

I know this is going to sound retarded, because it is, but MAN does the wind ever get on my nerves. I mean, here I am, out walking and trying to enjoy my book, and this wind just blows and blows all over me. It musses up and tangles my hair, it touches me all over and invades my personal space, it makes me cold when I sweat (I also have a strong dislikin' for my stupid sweat glands, always trying to cool me off when I'm freezing), it blows the pages of my book all over the place, and it doesn't even respond to impassioned shouts, pleading cries, or placating tones. It just keeps on blowing and blowing and blowing. I know there must be a lesson in this somewhere. I suspect that if I can ever come to terms with this irrational, emotional reaction I feel towards a simple force of nature, then life will become a lot simpler and less problem ridden for me. I might even graduate from Full Fledged Retard to Promising Simpleton.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Reading and writing

Today I read for the first time for the Sunday liturgy.  I read the hours and the post-communion prayers, but Dax read the Epistle.  Maybe I'll read it next time.  Both Chris and Ben were sick, so the choir took a hit and I had to sing tenor by myself again.  This is just payback for all the times I skipped church, by the way.  Half way through the liturgy I got a toothache.  Singing just made it hurt worse, and by the end of the liturgy my entire face was throbbing.  It completely ruined my mood.

I read for vigil last night too, and today both Fr. Justin and Dax commended me on my reading.  Although I did flub once today - I used the word 'merciful' instead of a word that means the opposite of merciful.  It went something like this... "God will not be merciful with us -" whoops.  Was that a Freudian slip, or what?  I think 'merciful' was supposed to be either 'angry' or 'wroth', or something like that.  Thanks brain, for stabbing me in the medulla oblongata.  You're a real joker.  Way to come through for me there.  Probably got it in for me just like my sweat glands.

Fr. Justin has an icon I painted on display on the little stand that holds the candles and the bulletins.  I didn't notice until after vigil last night, when Lois Lyda approached me and asked me if I had painted it.  I told her that I'd painted it for Nick as a birthday present last year, and that it was here at the church because Fr. Justin had blessed it, but Nick hadn't picked it up.  Maybe he forgot, or just doesn't want it.  Anyway, she complimented me to the point that I was becoming embarrassed, but I really appreciated it.  She wants to commission an icon from me of the myrrh bearing women, and she asked me how much I would charge.  I really have no idea what to charge.  Which reminds me, I'm supposed to be writing a St. Rachael icon for Nancy.  I don't know what to charge Nancy, either.

Lois was really excited that we have our own iconographer at St. Maximus.  Well, I'm a far cry from a real iconographer, and not even worthy to be referred to as one, but it made me feel really good.  I kind of needed that, and I appreciated her compliments more than she probably knows.

I don't need no stinkin smart phone!

Ever since I saw a friends smart phone I've WANTED ONE.  I have a phone that lets me get online, but the internet is very limited.  I can basically access facebook and hotmail, and not much else.  With a smartphone, it's like having a teeny, fully functional internet connection in your pocket.  And that's what I just wanted and wanted and coveted and needed and wished I had.

Until now.  I discovered recently, just by pure chance, while I was looking around on my phone for games to download, that there is a version of Opera (a semi-popular web browser that I used to use a lot on my laptop) which is available for my phone.  Wulp, I downloaded it and whaddyaknow?  Now I can go to any web page on my phone!  No more of this 'cannot view this web page' crap, or 'memory exceeded' crap.  Now, when I go to any web page, it displays in full, teeny tiny glory, every little detail!  And there is a zoom in feature that lets me read everything normally.  I have to scroll around, but hey, my screen is tiny.  I still can't watch videos, but who cares when I can look at WEB PAGES?  Now I can peruse the game forums, read funny stuff on Cracked, look at, and facebook now looks like it does on my laptop, not some watered down version that works on the retarded Verizon browser I've been using.

Now I don't need no stinkin smart phone!