November 27, 2003

Headstone Gratification

I am not nearly as upset over the headstone anymore for several reasons.

First of all, the birth and death dates are on it. When I saw it the first time they had been covered by flowers people had brought up to the graves. Secondly, the paint is not running. What I thought had been running paint is actually darker dirt that had been knocked onto the headstone by rain. Thirdly, my parents aren't finished with it yet. They are going to be changing some of it as soon as they can get it done.

I was also pleased to hear that my parents didn't like the dirty white color, either. They had been assuming it would be a darker color.

I still think that the thing looks a little tacky, though.

Posted by Randy at 05:35 PM

November 26, 2003

My Sister's Headstone

Ok, I specifically waited until now to write about this because I was afraid that my anger might cloud my judgement if I started too soon. I'm hoping this won't stir it back up too much.

I have never been so utterly disappointed and infuriated with my family as I am today. I'll try to keep this informational instead of turning it into a rant.

As I was coming home from LeTourneau today I remembered my mother telling me last week that my sister's headstone was finally put up at the cemetary. It had taken a while because a relative of one of the kids had wanted to make the headstones for all four of them. Everyone looked at the design that he had given us and we all agreed that it looked nice.

The basic plan for the headstones had been four blocks of some kind of stone that appeared to be separated but were in fact all one long headstone. On top of each block was what my mother called an "old cross"--the ones with the three know-like things at the end of each end of the cross. The actual name of that kind of cross escapes me. On each individual stone there would be a sport symbol etched next to the name. The symbol next to my sister's name is a basketball. On the back of each stone there would be a piece of writing if the parents of that child had wanted one there. It looked very nice in the design we were given, so I approved.

Little did I know what monstrosity these people would create.

As I drove up to the cemetary my first thought was, "Holy shit!" Each individual headstone (including the cross) is at least twice as big as the majority of the other headstones in the cemetary. The stone (I don't know what kind it is) was a "dirty white" color. This is the exact same color of a model of my car my parents had tried to convince me to choose. I told them I didn't want that color because it looked nasty all the time. I had assumed that the headstones would be the color of most headstones. This hideous white contrasts horribly with a few beautiful black headstone with etched forest scenes a few rows away from the graves. Apparently, the "individual" headstone idea had been thrown out altogether. It looked as if the stones used had been stuck together using superglue. The sides and top of the entire thing had not even been smoothed.

The etched lettering is absolutely horrible. It looked as if they had decided at the end to just cut out the shape of letters and use spray paint to make the letters black. I think some of it had started to run. On the back of one of the graves was a HUGE error. Either the person who was making it didn't care to notice that you use an "r" in "your" EVERY time, or the person who wrote it doesn't know proper English. Considering the overall quality I would say either choice is equally valid. I did not even see any birth and death dates.

However, they did manage to stick an open book statue-like thing on top of the headstone between my sister's and her boyfriend's individual crosses. Written in this book (in the same spray paint-like lettering) are the lyrics of "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica along with the note that my sister's boyfriend had written her. Had they just put the lyrics I could have handled it. I wouldn't have supported the idea, but I wouldn't have complained. But, adding a little section next to it that says something along the lines of, "this is my song to you yea i hope you can understand it," to a headstone? They even included the lines he had used to separate the lyrics with the note.

The whole thing looks incredibly tacky. I still can't believe that my parents allowed that thing near the grave of my sister. The worst part is I don't want to voice this disgust with the headstone to my parents. If they feel bad about it I don't want to add more fuel to their guilt, and if they like it for some reason I don't want to spoil it for them.

Posted by Randy at 10:30 PM

November 22, 2003


I have been thinking a lot about friendship lately. Specifically, what is it? How is it defined?

There are many definitions of friendship. Some people only consider a person a "friend" when they are close enough to tell that person anything on their mind. A "friend" in this sense is also someone who is called in times of need. Others would consider a person a friend after talking with them a few times. Still others have a constantly changing definition of the word.

If you consider the first definition to be true, I have probably had ten real friends my entire life. If you consider the second definition to be true, I think the number would increase to about a hundred or so people (Please remember that I'm from a small town. I'm not anti-social).

But, when one is trying to determine who his or her friends are, is his or her own opinions enough? If a person considers someone a good friend, but they think the person is simply someone that they know, are the two friends?

How is a friendship formed? I don't believe that a couple of common interests are enough to start a friendship. They may introduce you to new people, but I don't think friendship begins with an interest in something. Is it a combination of personalities that cause both individuals to value the time they spend together, or is there just something in each person's brain that tells us when we have met a potential friend? I don't know.

When a friendship is formed, what responsibilities does that add to each person? People have said that friends should be loyal to each other, but what does that really mean? Does that simply mean they should support each other, or does it go much deeper? If it does, how much deeper does it go? Loyalty can be taken to mean two very different things to different people.

One thing I have a hard time giving people is trust. Partially the fault of my father (an amusing anecdote and my earliest memory, maybe I'll tell it another time), I have developed a problem trusting anyone. It takes a large amount of time for people to earn my trust. I believe, however, that trust is very important in any friendship. I think that this might be part of the reason I'm not very "approachable." When people come to me with problems, I don't start by giving them any form of sympathy. Instead, I wonder how they plan on trying to use me to solve their problem(s).

Honesty is another "responsibility" one takes when a friendship is formed. I strongly believe that friends shouldn't lie to each other. I have had very little experience being lied to by those I consider my closer friends, but I know that I have been guilty of little white lies occasionally. Do these little lies really matter that much? What does it say about the person gives them and the strength of his or her friendships?

Well, it's almost 4 AM and I'm rambling. I'm going to sleep. If anyone has any strong opinions, or even any small comments, feel free to leave them.

Posted by Randy at 03:54 AM

November 16, 2003


I finished two of those books last night/this morning. Damn you, Stephen King! I meant to get sleep tonight! Now I'm going to bed at 4 AM.

For the second night in a row. Argh.

Posted by Randy at 04:05 AM

November 11, 2003


I'm so happy right now. I just picked up the newest book in the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, Wolves of the Calla. Now I have to find time to read it.

Just so you know, I now have five different books lined up that I want to read. While I am sure that's practically nothing for certain people, that is a good number of books for me to have going at the same time.

Posted by Randy at 06:46 PM

November 10, 2003


Once again, I am a lowly quiz-taking sheep.


Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

A stern yet benevolent organizer who often knows best, your wits are keenly fixed on aiding efforts you deem worthy.

Now at this last we must take a hard road, a road unforseen. There lies our hope, if hope it be. To walk into peril to Mordor.

Posted by Randy at 06:49 PM


Ok, I'm probably going to be harassed for this, but I don't care. I'm giving my opinion.

Revolutions was better than Reloaded.

The movie had plenty of stuff that was wrong with it. It could have been better. There were inconsistencies. That's all true.

But it was still miles ahead of Reloaded. There weren't any ten minute fight scenes that ended with Neo running away. There wasn't a five minute dance/love scene. The ending tied up all of the loose ends. I would go into more, but I need to see it again before I start making claims I might not be able to back up with facts.

However, after my first viewing, I think Revolutions was much better than Reloaded.

Posted by Randy at 01:35 AM

November 05, 2003

Happy Birthday Jessica

Today would have been my sister's sixteenth birthday. If my sister was still alive, I would probably have gone home to see everyone for an hour or two. I am not sure what kind of car my parents had been planning on getting her before she was killed, but I know that I would have gone for a short ride in it. Today would be very different.

I knew that this day was coming. I've been trying to brace myself for it for a couple of weeks now. I had thought, "Ok, Randy, it is fine if you want to be sad or grieve, but you are going to not even think about it until after your Circuits test." I had been doing fairly well at staying focused during my walk down to Glaske. Every time any thought dealing with my sister entered my head I quickly pushed it to the back of my mind.

And then I saw "Happy Birthday Jessica" written in chalk in front of Glaske. I felt like I had just been punched in the stomach. I stopped and stared, and I successfully fought back tears. Since I had walked down early to do some last minute studying, I had time to fight back the emotion and keep it under control for my test.

From other chalked sidewalk squares, I have learned that it is Jessica White's (aka Pixie) birthday. I have no idea who this person is. I don't know her age, her residence hall, her major, or anything about her. All I know is that her birthday falls on the same day as Jessica Ross's once did, and there is the possibility that I will have to face "Happy Birthday Jessica" chalk messages every November 5th. Is this just a coincidence, or is there some subtle message I just haven't picked up yet?

I miss my sister. I miss her more than anyone but those who have lost siblings can imagine. The worst part is that I know this feeling will only grow stronger over time.

Posted by Randy at 12:19 PM

November 04, 2003

Final Destination 1 & 2

I believe that my muse is on vacation. If anyone sees her, please send her back.

I watched both Final Destination movies this last weekend. The movies were very entertaining, but they were also very cheesy. "What are we going to do? Death is trying to kill us!" The movies' only saving point for entertainment value was the creative ways people were killed.

Here's an example from Final Destination 2:
A van with all the important characters is involved in an accident in the middle of nowhere. The driver is trapped in her seat by something that was shoved through the driver side door. A pipe with a sharp point is also shoved through the van and almost impales her head. A news van rushes to the car accident, and, when it parks, it ruptures its gas tank. Gas begins to leak from the tank and starts to run down an open pipe. The gas eventually pools underneath the van from the crash. Some people try to use a chainsaw to free the driver from the van. Hitting the van with the chainsaw causes the airbag to go off. This causes the driver's head to get impaled on the pointed pipe. The driver drops the cigarette she had been smoking. This lights the gas, and the flames creep all the way back to the gas tank. The van explodes and causes a barbed wire fence to fly through the air. The fence slices another character into several pieces.

These movies also make you realize how close all of us are to death every single day. When you think about it, practically anything could cause you to die. One character from the first movie is found to be hiding from death in a mental institution. The character was voluntarily admitted, but eventually leaves to help the people from the second movie. The character didn't realize how close death could be even in a padded room with no sharp objects nearby. The building could collapse, explode, or burn without a chance for the person to escape.

Of course, I'm pretty sure that if people started using that kind of logic with these movies their supposed popularity would quickly collapse. That wouldn't be a bad thing.

Posted by Randy at 06:59 PM