April 2005


Original article posted by ravenpaine:

Entry82 – April 24, 2005

Jeffery Rowland may or may not be dead as of today. I wonder how this possiblity may or may not effect my life.

But that really isn’t an important thing. Not really, but sorta and but sorta can be the most revealing about the person who said it I have found.

Or maybe I didn’t find that. I really just don’t know.

What I am rather certain of is how much I’m beginning to dislike this keyboard. It keeps sticking and the space bar may or may not be giving out. Perhaps I should put some amount of practice into using my left thumb to press the space bar, but even as I type this sentence I find my mind mentally battling for the dominance of the right thumb over the left and unless I concentrate I will always use the right, and even if I do use the left everything just seems wrong. What I should do is work on using the thumb of the hand that pressed the last key before the space. That might train me in a more useful fasion, or maybe the opposite hand. Regardless of that nothing will fill natural.

This is the part where I turn the above paragraph into some metaphor for how my life is working. That in some way the things that are wrong are just excamples of me using the wrong thumb or too much of only one thumb.

However, I will not do this thing, mostly because it is completely ridiculous. I don’t think I have any reason to go flying that far into obscurity. After all, I started wtih the thing about Jeffery Rowland, and none of you even know who that is.

What I would like to go in on and on and on about is one Greg Hamblin. Co-consipirator in many of my lifes journeys and foibles he has been dramatically lacking in presence in many of my more troubling times and at this time is off across and ocean or two doing missionary work for a Chruch (capitalization used for rhetoric purposes) that i don’t believe in and therefore find myself thinking my best friend is away missing out on my life an me on his for no actual reason.

I resent this Greg Hamblin for doing things with his time that I find so totally worthless. And more then that, I also find the drivel that he writes about such experience to be infuriating. I do not go in for his concept of the importance of one type of fulfillment over another and I find it difficult to tolerate his attitude.

This is the majority of the reason that I have not written to him since he has been gone. I have nothing useful to say to him, everything I want to say is bitter and unsuportive and if nothing else may actually just be argumentative for the sake of being argumentative. I miss my friend and loathe the organization that convinced him to go off and do something so inane.

There, I’ve said it.

I would not say that I actually blame anything that has happened to me during his abscence on him. I’m just saying that there are things that you will do in your life that other people will not understand and will be unable to support you on. For me, this is his thing. This is the thing that he is doing that I will possibly always hold against him and will lead to many bitter arguments and choked silences throughout the remaineder of our lives. I would like to pretend I agree with him or feel some amount of joy in his accomplishments, but it simply isnt’ true.

Actually, if you would like to know, I give a little inner cheer whenever he reports that he has failed at giving a talk here or baptizing there and so on. Go those people, don’t be suckered in by the nonsense.

………………………….

There are just so many things to do in life, so many view points that people will have, to be trying to convince someone else that your viewpoint should overtake theirs? Nonsense, utter nonsense. Okay, if you were in an open dialouge where everyone shared an idea and then everyone learned from it… great. But it isn’t about the pursuit of truth or knowledge it is about the subjugation of one person to the ideals of another person. That is why Christians call it “conversion” and Buddhists call it “enlightenment.”

I’m just saying is all…

No one has to believe me or change their opinion from this.

I’ve always like Dennis Miller for that, he ends all of his monolouges with “Of course, that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.”

You might wonder why it is that I’ve suddenly decide to say all of this? It is because I am in on a kick to be more honest with myself. I don’t like that my good friend, this Greg Hamblin, has run off to do so many nonsensical things and yet so much of what he writes seem like little jabs at me, things he wants me to suddenly light upon and begin to turn, nay “convert,” to his ways.

Well, no. Sorry, but no. I will not be converted, I may be swayed and I may grow and I might agree, and occasionaly I will acquiese. But I will not be converted.

Anyway… y’know… that’s just what i think, it isn’t law or anything.

Rodney TGAP
Bonne nuit, bonne nuit to you all.

Original article posted by Greg:

Yesterday I told him that he’s just got to talk to me or else I have no way of knowing how I’m bugging him. I don’t think he liked the idea ,but he said he would. So we’ll see.

Other good news is that I’m feeling better about my state of being than I have in a while. Meaning I feel like I’m doing what Heavenly Father would have me do, and in the way he would have me do it. Which is good. And I’m learning about my own kindness and pride.

The opposite of critical is kind. The opposite of pride is humility.
I was thinking about it, and I feel that there was a time where I felt pretty kind and pretty humble. But I don’t really feel so now. So I’ve been working on those things lately. I recognize that I’m a pretty critical person, and I shouldn’t be.

I think the critical person helps nobody but the person who is already humble enough to accept criticism well. And that person doesn’t really need it.

I originally thought that my purpose in coming to SheZi was to help somebody else. But now I’m starting to suspect it was mainly for me. I don’t know. I will probably be here for a while, so maybe it will be both if I can get myself fixed up quickly.

This is a pretty disjointed letter.

Have you ever had a spiritual experience through an unexpected medium?

For instance, I occasionally have a random song enter my head and cause me to have really powerful emotions – like far exceeding emotions that that particular song may have given me before.

Been thinking a lot about sensitivity, too.

There was a while where I was feeling really insensitive. Insensitive to the spirit, insensitive to the feelings of others, and out-of-touch with my own emotions. I tried to pin down what was causing it, and I think that a great deal was caused by lack of focus and pride.

But that got me thinking about other things that might cause a person to lose sensitivity – that ability to be overwhelmed by the beauty of life.

I think that we tend to overstimulate ourselves. I think of Alcohol, drugs, stimulants, loud music, outrageous movies, pornography, illicit sexual activities, criminal behavior, and many other things that we would call sins. Then I think about a person indulging in that kind of behavior trying to find pleasure and fulfillment in a starry night, a simple melody, the wind in the leaves, night time walks, holding hands, snowfall, mountain air, time alone, prayer, scripture study, meditation.

Have you ever had a spiritual experience through an unexpected medium?
Maybe the wind? Maybe sunlight?

And I decided it’s much nicer to just feel good all the time, with bursts of extra happiness coming from things that wont drag me down afterwards.

Today I get to go to the temple for the first time in 7 months. I am excited and happy.

I feel really lucky to be a part of this work. Mostly because it seems
that the majority of the work is self improvement. And I think I’m improving.

I see many miracles over here. Thank you for letters, which sometimes are like miracles to me.

I look forward to the time when I can go out to dinner with you and talk about nothing at all.

-Elder Hamblin

Orginal comments:


Nickname: Cornelius
Re: community son
Me too, buddy. Me too.

Original article posted by Greg:

My first day with my new companion in my new area went well. I may have mentioned he has a terminally happy attitude and seems willing to do whatever I want to do as far as missionary work and how we use our time.
However, he doesn’t speak much, and when he does it’s only in response to a question – and only the shortest answer possible.

The area is a huge change from the coastal town I just moved from. Here there are people a-plenty. And my companion and I managed to get referrals and first discussions in amounts that amazed both of us. (but especially him, I suspect)

Monday went well, and I was excited for the new opportunities available to me.

Tuesday was equally good, but my companion was pretty beat by the end of the day. So much that he wouldn’t talk, nor look at me, nor talk to me except to give short yes, no, and I don’t care answers. I was also pretty tired, and he suggested that we go home a bit early and make
calls rather than stay out all the way till 9:30. I said okay. But
he just got worse and worse. He was twitching by 9:45.

Out of nowhere he said “The mission really takes it out of me.”

To which I couldn’t think of much to say, but that I think it will get better.

Then he told me that president allows him to call home occasionally because he has had a hard time on the mission, what with leaving home
and not being used to being away from his family. Then he said that
probably he would be calling home that night.

Well, what can you say? I barely knew the guy, so I said sure, why not?

So he called home and spoke with his mom for a while.

The next day was even worse. The entire day he was a bundle of nerves.
I couldn’t communicate with him, and it seemed everything I did made him mad. He would hardly talk. If I remember right, it was that morning that he said he would “Probably be going home in a couple of weeks.”

I said oh. Then he said that his mom would call that night and let him know.

Basically, long story short, he’s been wanting to go home frequently throughout his mission. But his mother keeps telling him to stay. I told him that if he wanted to go home to just call president and tell him. Then president will immediately get you out of there, because a missionary who is not committed to doing the work is useless. And I told him that unless he can give 100% as if he was going to stay for 1.5 more years I didn’t want to work with him. He said he would. So we went out to work.

And I prayed my guts out that he would have a good day so that when his mom called at the end of the day he would be able to say that the day went well and maybe he’ll try it out a bit longer.

Well, he was good until the shank of the day, when that phone call loomed nearer and nearer. Then he got testy and agitated again.

Thursday was about the worst day as we did our weekly planning session.
He didn’t seem to understand or even want to understand my reasons for doing anything. He was shaking the whole time and never looked at me once. Then kept his back to me most of the rest of the day.

I found myself wondering where I would be transferred to next.

Thursday night brought another phone call.

Friday was an upturn in emotion, but still a day of endurance.
Saturday was about the same till we got to watch conference- which lifted both of us. (on a side note, go to conference with a problem or a question and you’ll definately get a lot more out of it.) Then sunday helped again with more conference and several good lessons.

Monday he seemed back to normal, and maintained it on tuesday. We’ve even started to almost converse after he had his interview with president on tuesday.

Please pray that he’ll figure out how to be happy doing what he’s doing.

and that I’ll know how best to help.

Well, in the process of this, I discovered something I hadn’t ever thought of before. Simply that addictions can include people too.

My companion has an addiction to his mother. His favorite scripture is
about believing in your mother. The scripture he shared in his talk yesterday at Zone Conference was about being strengthened by the convictions of mothers. He has told me that he didn’t ever have
friends, but spent most of his time with his parents. His reason for
coming and staying on his mission is his mother. When he thinks about her, his whole countenance darkens, and all he wants to do is go home.
When something goes unexpectedly or causes him any level of stress, he
wants to call his mother. Which makes him think about her for the
whole day. He starts shaking and twitching. Stops smiling. Doesn’t
want to work, and does whatever he can to quicken our return home so he can get his fix.

Now I have been critical, but I believe I have been honest, too. He
really has an addiction to his mother which affects him physically and emotionally and mentally. And it has been a harder week than I have had since I first arrived.

But, when he is focused on the day rather than the future or the past, he is the hardest working, happiest, most willing companion I’ve ever had.

Well, I can’t think of what to do except try to be his friend and get
him to trust me a bit. I think that Heavenly Father is trying to get
me to rely on him a bit more, because there’s no way we can be successful without his help this transfer.

Of course, uplifting and encouraging letters and pictures are always a
big help. My thanks to Tom, Ben and Blaine, all of whom are
tremendously uplifting in their correspondance.

For science,
-Elder Hamblin

Orginal comments:


Nickname: Cornelius
Re: People Addiction
I think your diagnosis is accurate. I wrote you a letter today, by the way. Borf!

Original article posted by chamblin:

The word of the day is succinct. It’s cool. Look it up. If you can guess the movie, 12 million points. I’m feeling more… benevolent today than normal. And less like I hate everything. Don’t give in to hate. That leads to the Dark Side.

It’s been raining here. Lots. So far our X-wings haven’t sunk into the mud. But that’s probably because we park them on gravel.

So I’ve been reading The Miracle of Forgiveness. It’s really good. If you haven’t read it, do so. Some people will tell you that it will just make you feel bad about yourself. I say, “Balderdash!� If it makes you feel lousy, then you probably need to read it. There’s no lazy way to be perfect and that’s what we need to be. You know who you are.

We’ve had a few days off here and there and I spent them at the mall. I got to play Skee-ball at Chuck E. Cheese. That was fun. There’s also a game with a laser pistol. And a video projector in the mall. I won a trophy. It was fun. I also saw the Easter Bunny in the mall. I asked him if he’d seen Mall Rats. He nodded and started to back away. If you’ve seen Mall Rats, this will probably be funny. If you haven’t seen it, don’t. It’s rated R and for very good reason. The part with the Easter Bunny is still funny.

As far as how training is going, it’s going. It’s mostly over. Hooray! In the last two weeks I learned how to drive with night vision goggles, extract myself from a minefield, and we went to the gas chamber, to name a few. It all sounds cool, but don’t be fooled by clever packaging. Busy work is busy work, even if you try calling it something like “Advanced Combat Training! Or an equally misleading term.

I saw something the other day that none of you will ever see outside of a movie. I saw a tall, good-looking blonde girl in jeans and a sweater come into the café to check her e-mail. She was carrying a laptop and an M-16. I know the guys are jealous.

Well, it’s time for me to wind down now. We’re going to the range tomorrow. We’re engaging targets from 30m away in buddy teams. It’ll be fun. Remember, “He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.� I like random advice.

The man who likes random advice,

Blaine

Original article posted by chamblin:

The work continues to go well, but not as well as I would like. But I suppose that’s kinda human nature. I wish I was getting more and better results for the amount of work I do. When really I just need to amp it up a bit.

Hard work is something I’m not yet well known for. But I think I’m improving, and that’s important.

I remain in JiAn for another week at least. Then we’ll see. It’s been 6 months since I got here, and I find I still like it pretty well. I don’t think I’ll be moving, but you never know.

I can see a group of 4 young chaps playing bomberman online off to my left there. It’s disturbing how much time they must have put in to get that good. And then I think, “You know, I’m pretty good at the ‘craft.” And then I tug on my collar nervously.

My thanks to those who have written letters and sent pictures. Those who have done both amount to the following: Parental Units, Blaine, Ben, Luke. I therefore suggest the following people send pictures with letters: Kayeleen, Rodney, Jared, Russ, Stephanie, Rodney, Spencer and Sara, Ryan, Ghandi, Rodney, Eric, Tom (pictures of Lionel Richie don’t count, Tom. Sorry.), Rachel, and anybody who I have neglected to mention who might also know me and read the site, but isn’t sure I want to hear from you. Yes, I mean you.

If you find yourself on the list, I believe you know what to do.

I find myself out of time. My love and appreciation to you all.

-Elder Hamblin

End of Line

Orginal comments:


Nickname: Cornelius
Re: Greg: I include the word “Chagrin” as a token of my good intentions.
Pirate.

Original article posted by chamblin:

Well, I’ve moved after all. They actually closed our apartment in JiAn, and sent me and Elder Brockman packing. Now I’m in his last area, and he’s in mine. Kinda funny. We’re both jealous of each other, and I’m sure we’ll come out of it saying “You were right, your old area is better.”

I had a hard time with the idea of leaving JiAn. I guess 6 months was all I get. (Although the owners of the “Owl School” English Kindergarten said I can come back and work for them if I want. They said “You don’t even need to interview.” because they like how I tell stories to the kids each week. So I guess it is concievable that I could go back to JiAn someday and teach kids english… But not likely.) And I found myself wondering if I had done any good there. After all, I saw no baptisms, reactivated 0 inactive members, and can’t remember initiating any groundbreaking acts of service.

So I was a bit upset for a day or two. But then Sunday meetings came and I started to get happier. We’ve been struggling getting people to come to church the whole time I’ve been here. At most we have about 1 or 2 investigators a week. But this Sunday we had 11 people come! And as I looked around, I realized that 9 of them were either orignally contacted or taught by me.

So that made me happier.

And then I packed up and took pictures with a lot of people, a few of whom had deeper feelings for me than I ever realized.

When president called on friday night I was really nervous. I knew he was either going to give me a new calling or release me from DL. Well, he released me from that calling, which I find is a relief now. And he told me where he would be moving me. Which was funny because I had actually predicted that I would be in this ward someday. Anyway, he said that he doesn’t often get strong impressions about where to place people – usually it’s just put the missionaries where they are needed based on who is leaving and who is coming. But he said that he had a strong impression that I need to be here.

So now I’m in a place called SheZi. It’s a little strip of city (back in Taipei) by the area of the city with the highest amounts of foriegners. It’s actually part of Taipei City, which is a first for me, since Tucheng and Banqiao are both in Taipei County.

My new companion is named Elder Collette. He’s from Calgary, Canada. His Chinese name is the character for “Happy.” And he is pretty optimistic.

But he seemed a little too happy when he found out the Pope died.

I suspect foul play.

I was on Taiwanese TV and newspaper for the second time in my life last week (this makes the 3rd time total in international newspapers, and 4 if you count the one about “Unnamed masked crusader foils kidnapping, parents grateful, Recieves knighting, honorary doctorate”) this time I was holding up a sign that said “Free Car Wash”

It was a slow news day, I think.

At this time I ask for your prayers on my behalf, that elder Collette and I will get along, and that we’ll be able to baptize a lot of worthy converts here in SheZi. (pronounced Shud-zuh)

Or maybe it’s that the idea of washing somebody else’s car for free is so foreign that people thought it was funny.

I don’t know.

I recently had thoughts about ruins, communism, consecration, and selfishness. Now those thoughts are gone. Or maybe I’m not in the mood to write about it any more. So, I leave you with the following to think about:

Paranoid.
Dirt.
Rebound.
Thrift.
Handsome.
Duboise.
Gallileo.
Ted Neugent.

Flow of something,
-Hamblin

Orginal comments:


Nickname: Cornelius
Re: Greg: Some things make me flip out.
Wait a minute! The pope died? Wow, I need to get out more if I find out stuff like this from you. You don’t even get to watch TV. And you’re in Taiwan.

Original article posted by Greg:

Well, I’ve moved after all. They actually closed our apartment in JiAn, and sent me and Elder Brockman packing. Now I’m in his last area, and he’s in mine. Kinda funny. We’re both jealous of each other, and I’m sure we’ll come out of it saying “You were right, your old area is better.”

I had a hard time with the idea of leaving JiAn. I guess 6 months was all I get. (Although the owners of the “Owl School” English Kindergarten said I can come back and work for them if I want. They said “You don’t even need to interview.” because they like how I tell stories to the kids each week. So I guess it is concievable that I could go back to JiAn someday and teach kids english… But not likely.) And I found myself wondering if I had done any good there. After all, I saw no baptisms, reactivated 0 inactive members, and can’t remember initiating any groundbreaking acts of service.

So I was a bit upset for a day or two. But then sunday meetings came and I started to get happier. We’ve been struggling getting people to come to church the whole time I’ve been here. At most we have about 1 or 2 investigators a week. But this sunday we had 11 people come! And as I looked around, I realized that 9 of them were either orignally contacted or taught by me.

So that made me happier.

And then I packed up and took pictures with a lot of people, a few of whom had deeper feelings for me than I ever realized.

When president called on friday night I was really nervous. I knew he was either going to give me a new calling or release me from DL. Well, he released me from that calling, which I find is a relief now. And he told me where he would be moving me. Which was funny because I had actually predicted that I would be in this ward someday. Anyway, he said that he doesn’t often get strong impressions about where to place people – usually it’s just put the missionaries where they are needed based on who is leaving and who is coming. But he said that he had a strong impression that I need to be here.

So now I’m in a place called SheZi. It’s a little strip of city (back in Taipei) by the area of the city with the highest amounts of foriegners. It’s actually part of Taipei City, which is a first for me, since Tucheng and Banqiao are both in Taipei County.

My new companion is named Elder Collette. He’s from Calgary, Canada. His chinese name is the character for “Happy.” And he is pretty optimistic.

But he seemed a little too happy when he found out the pope died.

I suspect foul play.

I was on Taiwanese TV and newspaper for the second time in my life last week (this makes the 3rd time total in international newspapers, and 4 if you count the one about “Unnamed masked crusader foils kidnapping, parents grateful, Recieves knighting, honorary doctorate”) this time I was holding up a sign that said “Free Car Wash”

It was a slow news day, I think.

At this time I ask for your prayers on my behalf, that elder Collette and I will get along, and that we’ll be able to baptize a lot of worthy converts here in SheZi. (pronounced Shud-zuh)

Or maybe it’s that the idea of washing somebody else’s car for free is so foreign that people thought it was funny.

I don’t know.

I recently had thoughts about ruins, communism, consecration, and selfishness. Now those thoughts are gone. Or maybe I’m not in the mood to write about it any more. So, I leave you with the following to think about:

Paranoid.
Dirt.
Rebound.
Thrift.
Handsome.
Duboise.
Gallileo.
Ted Neugent.

Flow of something,
-Hamblin

Original article posted by Greg:

The work continues to go well, but not as well as I would like. But I suppose that’s kinda human nature. I wish I was getting more and better results for the amount of work I do. When really I just need to amp it up a bit.

Hard work is something I’m not yet well known for. But I think I’m improving, and that’s important.

I remain in JiAn for another week at least. Then we’ll see. It’s been 6 months since I got here, and I find I still like it pretty well. I don’t think I’ll be moving, but you never know.

I can see a group of 4 young chaps playing bomberman online off to my left there. It’s disturbing how much time they must have put in to get that good. And then I think, “You know, I’m pretty good at the ‘craft.” And then I tug on my collar nervously.

My thanks to those who have written letters and sent pictures. Those who have done both amount to the following: Parental Units, Blaine, Ben, Luke. I therefore suggest the following people send pictures with letters: Kayeleen, Rodney, Jared, Russ, Stephanie, Rodney, Spencer and Sara, Ryan, Ghandi, Rodney, Eric, Tom (pictures of Lionel Richie don’t count, Tom. Sorry.), Rachel, and anybody who I have neglected to mention who might also know me and read the site, but isn’t sure I want to hear from you. Yes, I mean you.

If you find yourself on the list, I believe you know what to do.

I find myself out of time. My love and appreciation to you all.

-Elder Hamblin

Original article posted by ravenpaine:

Entry 81 – April 1, 2005

(Entry 80 was written March 3 but lost in a server repair incident)

I find that having a journal is the only way to call yourself on your own bullshit. And yet, I have, apparently, not been paying attention.

Have you read the stuff I’ve been spouting for over a year now? I’m stuck in a rut talking about how I’m stuck in a rut. Almost 80 posts of hatred and bile and nonsense whining all coming out of me and directed at me. What the hell man? Someone should have just told me to knock it off at some point. Where is that guy? The knock-it-off-Guy? Did he get fired and not replaced? Is that what’s going on around here?

So i’m posting a job opening. Anyone who will just call people on their bullshit so we can all move on. Pay: unlimited, hours: unending, benefits: being hated by everyone. Apply within.

Ah… So that might have something to do with why we cannot fill that possition at the current time. Well, regardless the point of the matter is I’m not going to keep doing that. Anything that I might have needed to say in the field of “this is my problem and woe unto me” has been said, ad naseum, and now I’d like to get on to something else. I have projects that must be hit in the face with a tack hammer, and a lot of spare tack hammers (come to think of it).

I’d like this bold statement of new motives and upward mobility to be longer and more full of pith, but as I have often said, and perhaps have always said appropriatly, I’m low on vitamins. And if I’m low on vitamins then my supply of pith must be completely depleted.

So, until such time as I go to England, or make friends with an unfortunate British female and her family…

Rodney TGAP
Bonne nuit, bonne nuit to you all.

And for tonight, also,

Livin’ high on caffeine and Jazz.

Orginal comments:


Nickname: Junpei
Re: Have you read this stuff?
As I recall, you told the knock-it-off-guy to knock-it-off.

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