Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Invent America, here I come!

Watch out, all you little 4th graders--Team Gwen is representing strong this year. I'm expecting a patent...

Invention category: Home improvement/Sleep improvement/Heck, Life improvement
Invention title: Curtains
Materials used: navy blue flannel, pushpins, twine, stick-on plastic hooks.

The judges may as well stop deliberating. The winner here is clear. And if they can't see my genius, they obviously haven't caught the vision yet...curtains are gonna sweep the nation.

And there's always MacGyver Fest 2006.

Stay tuned for pictures of my handiwork. It will be glorious...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sinners in the hands of a sassy and legalistic God

Road rage...

Highway 316 connects Atlanta/I-85 and Athens, GA, home of the Bulldawgs and my alma mater, the University of Georgia. It is one of the most boring stretches of road I have ever driven. And while I haven't driven across Texas, I have driven through Kansas (and even the vile Missouri) and I think that I hate 316 more. At least on I-70, you don't have to stop at lights every 10 seconds.

Today I went up to Athens to say goodbye to some friends and an old dance professor of mine. And on my way up there I saw one of the infamous "God" signs that some well-meaning person paid to have erected. And by "well-meaning person," I mean FOOL. A series of these huge black billboards dot this stretch of North Georgia monotony, blank except for a little white text "note" from God. I can't tell you how many times I've driven past these but, for some reason, today was the day that I really got pissed.

Here's the text of the offending sign:

What part of "Thou Shalt Not" didn't you understand?

You know, you have to be careful around that billboard because people will just leap from their still-moving cars and throw themselves on their knees begging for forgiveness and asking Jesus to come into their lives. I tell you, lives are transformed on 316.

Oh, wait. That doesn't happen.

What kind of message is this sending non-believers? Does it speak of a God whose love knows no bounds? Does it tell of His mercy and grace that led to the sacrifice of His Son, so that we might know Him? Does it indicate that forgiveness is available to any who call on His name and repent? Does it proclaim the beauty and intimacy of having a relationship with the One who created the universe?

NO. According to this billboard, God is a jerk. He is sarcastic like a bad sitcom character. He is uninspired and uninspiring. He is a cranky old man who wants you to stay off His grass, because His top concern is that you follow His rules; if you do that, you and He are copacetic.

The sponsoring party behind this monstrosity hasn't the courage to even put their name on the sign. They give no address, no website, no phone number where people can go with questions. They probably decided on a slogan, patted themselves on the backs in appreciation of their wit, shook hands with the ad agency, and toddled off to lunch at the Golden Corral, fat and happy that they did their part in communicating God's word to the heathen student drivers heading back to Athens (appropriate in the Greek, hedonistic sense).

But instead, they have missed the mark entirely. In trying to be "hip," in trying to be "relevant" by writing in sassy teen-speak, they have painted a picture of a God that no one would want to be around, much less give their lives to. With misguided, self-righteous Christians like these at work, who needs Satan?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Clear some room on your bedside table!

NEW! From the acclaimed ShowerHead Press! A true Tale of Intrigue..."The Devil Drives the Anti-Chrysler"

Shiver your way through chapter after chapter as you peer inside the car of the one and only Lucifer (The Angel formerly known as Light--TAFKAL), Prince of Darkness. Missions of death, hijacking lives, drive-by terror, and the occasional run to the drive-through for some minion rings, "The Devil Drives the Anti-Chrysler" will make you think twice about buying American for a long time to come.

Available only at Gwen's Yard Sale, Saturday, September 17 8-4.


Saturday, September 10, 2005


The cake is done! Enjoy! Click on the link in the cake entry earlier until I get to a computer that will let me add a link, as stupid Blogger doesn't have good compatiblilty with Macs...grrrr...

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Machine Stops

Read a reasonable analysis of the Katrina evacuation shambles.

To feed my Father

Less than five minutes after I filled out an online volunteer registration form for Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless Katrina Relief Efforts, I got a call from a coordinator in New York. "What's your background?" she asked. As I listed my varied experience, from telemarketing to cashier to writer to waitress, she mmmm'd in approval. "Great," she responded when I was finished, "When can you come in on Monday?" They are undestaffed right now, and are in need of people who can work several days in a row on specific projects. I'll show up there Monday at 10 and work every day through Thursday 10-4. I have never done any volunteering that lasted longer than 2-3 hours on one evening once every couple months. I really needed to work at my mom's office next week, to make a little more money before I head out to my new jobless life in CO Springs. But this is so much more important. If you're in the Atlanta area, come help with me!

Matthew 25: 35-40

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Zee cake ees almozt rrready!

Do you like cake? Does your keyboard have a drool protector? Are you amused by anthropomorphic fruit?

If you answered yes to all these questions, then I invite you to peruse the work in progress, the story of a cake.

It should be finished soon but I couldn't wait. It is just too yummy to keep to myself.

Bon appetit.

And now, for something completely different...

At what cost, Now?

At what cost, Now?
My silent sigh shakes me through and through
As I realize the very weight of my choice
As I mouth the name that I will not speak for shame

At what cost, Now?
The price rises with the tide
Each second bears the pain that will be mine tomorrow
Each breath brings me closer to my rusty knees

At what cost, Now?
Consequence waits in the wings
Shrouded in velvet and grease
Shrouded in a grave cloth that should one day be mine

At what cost, Now?
My leaden heart falls through the ceiling
Bringing my face to the sand
Bringing my thoughts to the sky

At what cost, Now?
The answer is clear in my empty
A man with a hand like a ladder
A man with the Answer:

At My cost. Forever.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Put Citronella in the Bathroom

So it seems I'm on a poetry kick. My idle mind likes to rhyme, I guess...

Put Citronella in the Bathroom

Why do mosquitoes bite fingers and toes?
They’re unlikely places for meals.

But then, I am not a mosquito.

But if I were…

I’d go for people with thick rolls of flesh
That bulge over waistbands and belts.
I’d bit and I’d sip and I’d feast and I’d gorge
And leave them all covered with welts

Forget about fingers and elbows and toes
I’d only want places with meat.
I’d scoff at my skeeter friends who, quizzically,
Go crazy for rank, bony feet

I might aim for buttocks—yes, that’s what I’d do
They’re often quite juicy and plump
I’d wait til, trou lowered, their guards were let down
Then I’d zoom in and nibble said rump

The one disadvantage to buttocks, I’d find
The reason all others steer clear
Is, if you’ve poor timing when biting the bum
You’ll find yourself squished by a rear

The grass is only greener until your eyes get used to it

The huge stack of books by my bed is getting smaller: I just finished A Woman Alone: Travel Tales From Around The Globe. I recently completed my own stint of global travel, although certainly not alone. I read much of this book while on my trip to Kenya. The writing inspired me; the tales challenged me; but most of all, the irony of every essay struck me. In every single case, the woman narrator thinks of, longs for, seeks out companionship. It is not aloneness she desires, but newness. It is global Miniver Cheevy-ism: relationships at home grown stale or shattered completely, they assume that those made on the other side of the world must be richer, better, more meaningful. So they leave behind the familiar and set out with a plane ticket and a wish. And for a time, that wish may come true.

But none of these essays continue past the honeymoon stage, past the point where even suffering is enjoyed for “the experience.” The sad truth is that, should they continue on in their solo adventure spot of choice, they would smack hard into cruel reality: Nothing remains new forever, and even exotic locations and companions become the status quo. And then relationships grow stale or shatter completely, and that itch on the soles of your feet returns and you find yourself at midnight surfing the web for the cheapest ticket to the furthest city. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Seekers through and through, these women search for wholeness in their travels. They assume that it must be found in regions abroad, as they cannot seem to find it at home. They conclude that it must come from authentic experiences, from doing the undoable (or at least the uncomfortable). That roughing it in some way smoothes, that suffering heals, and that getting dirty cleans your spirit. They’re right, of course.

Except they’ve misapplied these truths to travel.



Is it safe to keep on driving when your eyeballs are dissolving?
Is it prudent to speed onward while your breath comes in great gasps?
Is it smart to push the pedal on the right while you are wailing?
Is it wiser to pull over when your heart wants to collapse?


Missouri, you were boring; now I hate you with a passion
That eclipses even Kansas with it’s neverending plains.
But Missouri, poor Missouri, you were caught in circumstances.
Now forever I’ll remember that Missouri equals pain.

You can call this melodrama, not the trauma I proclaim
But I guarantee you, in Missouri you would feel the same.
When the road just keeps on stretching, and your stomach keeps on retching,
“Where’s St. Louis? Damn Missouri!” with hot fury you’d exclaim.

When the dream job you desired, one day offered, next day fired,
And you’re looking for a scapegoat on which to pin the blame:
“It’s Missouri! Yes, Missouri,” you irrationally claim.
By the time you reach St. Louis, you’re about to go insane.

But then you cross the border, and your temper starts to wane.
While you drive through Illinois and then Kentucky, what you gain
Is perspective and some distance from that state you will not name,
As God picks up the pieces and reminds you of His fame
As Protector and Provider and and the One who will Sustain.

He is bigger than Missouri, He is bigger than the rain
That cascades on all your plans and melts them back to mush again.
He always keeps His promises, so even when the strain
Of uncertainty and joblessness and monetary drain
Seems far to big to handle, just know this much remains:

God makes rainbows out of rain.
(Even in Missouri!)