April 16th, 2010 | 3 Comments »

Hello, my name is Olaf Gradin and I’m a close, personal friend of one Spazzmanda. I’ve been invited to come out of the woodwork and fill in some details around the choice to name me officiant in the up-and-coming wedding. It’s an honor I do not take lightly, though a little levity never hurt anyone! To start things out, let’s take a look back at 2007 when the dice roll produced an opportunity…

Early in 2007, I read of an amazing new twist on the conservative world of religious process – online ordination! Who would have thought that the time-honored traditions of our nations churches were finally rewritten as handy web forms. There are two sides to this humorous anecdote. On one side, I found the idea of ordination being reduced to a demeaning level of shallow formality ridiculous. The notion simply sealed the coffin in my perception of the establishment of modern religious practices. I’ve had an interest in theology for many years, and philosophic wisdom has given me providence from early on. However, the rich tapestries woven through history’s memory of these things is not the stuff of our modern world. On the other hand, there is a certain respect given to clergy for their services to humanity; spiritual guidance and philosophical wisdom. I want to serve society; I want to earn this respect. It’s something I’m willing to work for to do my part in leaving this world a better place than I entered. So there’s one part cynicism, one part honesty; and in the end, an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

So there I was, seeking out an online ordination site to see what this was all about, and whether or not there was any truth to it. Enter Universal Life Church of Modesto, California. It was a quick search to turn them up as the predominate source of the online ordination ring, though today there’s a much larger spread of churches offering the service – many at a fee. The church is certainly the most non-offensive religious group I know of. Here’s a statement right out of their charter:

The Universal Life Church has no traditional doctrine. We as an organization believe in that which is right. Each individual has the privilege and responsibility to determine what is right for themselves, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. We do not stand between you and your God. We are active advocates of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

And with that, I gave them my information (in a simple online form) to grant me ordination rights as a minister and representative of the Universal Life Church. Just a few short days later, it was confirmed via email. Simple and modern!

So even though I found it funny and a little ironic that I was then an ordained minister, there was a nagging thought in the back of my head that acknowledged that I just might one day find real use in this. Perhaps I may one day be called upon to marry somebody.

Three years later, this whole process is no longer in the forefront of my thoughts. I never forgot that I was ordained, but I didn’t really imagine it ever getting used at this point.

Despite this, I am asked to perform Jeff and Amanda’s wedding in the coming Fall. I’m floored and even a little skeptical that this is real. Ultimately, I accept graciously and begin my research into my ordination and legal requirements for marriage ceremonies in the state of Georgia. It turns out, there aren’t really any hard requirements to fill. The ceremony should take place by someone named a minister by a church…any church.

Officiant: Any minister who is authorized by his or her church may perform marriages. Ministers must complete a certificate of marriage and return it to the ordinary within 30 days after the marriage.

The one thing I wanted to be sure of at this time is that my ordination is really valid. I couldn’t find my original verification, so I contacted every ULC office I could find. I ultimately got in touch with the Modesto church and spoke with the president, Andre Hensley, who was able to confirm the date of my ordination, as well as other detailed information on my request form. I have my proof, should I need to demonstrate this to the county clerk’s office for the location in which Jeff and Amanda will be married.

So here I am, planning for this really big event in two people’s lives, in which I play an integral part to their future as a married couple. No pressure, it’s all going to be good!

Having been faced with this task, I’ve returned to my thoughts of ordination with a more serious tone to be able to answer the questions or condescending remarks that inevitably lie on the horizon of any conversation on this matter. I include here a message of my thanks to Amanda for her inclusion of me in this momentous event in her life:

…while I had originally gone for ordination as a mockery to the “system,” I see it as something of honor and value in the present context. I am truly touched that you and Jeff would ask me to marry you – it’s a sign of trust, love, and respect that I have never received from friends before. I enter into the assignment with the utmost reverence to the position; regardless of the petty details of how it came to be. It could be said, and I would be one to say it, that ordination rights are not bestowed upon an individual by an institution, but rather by the request of the betrothed.

In conclusion, I’m looking forward to the not-so-distant Fall in which I will be performing this ceremony for two of my best friends on Earth. There’s precious little time to finalize my plans for the 3-hour ceremony I have planned (everyone will remain standing), but I’ve nearly completed the 3rd volume of wedding union allegories that I plan to interweave into my message of subservience and property allocations for the newly weds. But seriously, many of you may wonder just what kind of ceremony I do have planned. It won’t be a traditional reading, as you may have guessed, but rather something from the heart; something that I feel really stages the story of what will be in their new lives together!

Posted in Blogroll
June 23rd, 2008 | 2 Comments »

I’ve been tagged, but it looks interesting, I don’t know if I have five bloggers to tag that haven’t been already so the buck might stop here.

The Rules: Rules are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their names. Then the player goes to each of the “named” people’s blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. If you’ve been tagged, you do the same, letting the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer. Your answer, of course, is the answer to the following questions. Here we go!

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? Back in 1998 I was still in college at UGA studying Art History, which I thought was the most important thing in the world and contemplating graduate school for the same reason. I was a cocktail waitress, student and sometimes artist and I was having a blast.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today? 1. Fix the computers at the office, the new system is all skrooed. 2. Go to the tanning bed for the last time this summer, a base coat has been achieved so I will not burn at the lake and/or the beach. 3. Have a moment of silence for George Carlin. 4. Cook dinner- chicken roulade and crash hot potatoes 5. Finish Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult.

3. Snacks I enjoy: Cheese and crackers- any kind of cheese really, but port wine cheese spread on a Triscuit is damn tasty and my favorite. I also like dried fruit and boiled peanuts.

4. Places I’ve lived: This isn’t going to be very impressive, I haven’t moved too far from home- Asheville (as an infant), Atlanta (Sandy Springs), Athens, Roswell, Alpharetta, Canton and Gainesville.

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Well, I think I’d quit my job, buy an island, and raise miniature donkeys. (That and take care of my parents and all of that crap.)

Five people to tag? For real? Well, um… I suppose I’ll tag Olaf, he’ll love that. Everyone else I know in the blogiverse has been tagged already- sorry.

Posted in Blogroll, Personal
May 12th, 2008 | 3 Comments »

Well, if you are me, you normally lose more than you win. I’m not so much lucky when it comes to competition- I blame the Girl Scouts for destroying my competitive spirit. Now, many may view the scouts to be a little fascist, paramilitary regime, but I enjoyed it for a time- saluting and all. You see, when I was a scout (like 22 years ago) was the last time I WON something.  I must begin this tale with the cookies. I did NOT enjoy selling the cookies. You see, the prizes you got when selling the cookies were so very enticing, but they only went to the power sellers, and I lived in a neighborhood that was going through the cycle of having mostly old people and they didn’t take to kindly to me peddling my sweets (diabetics.)  It broke down something like this: sell 50 boxes get the patch (no, not everyone that participated got the patch, you had to sell lots and lots of boxes) then sell 150 and get a stuffed toy, 250 boom box, 1000 new car…. whatever, the point is I rarely broke 100. My mom, who is a saint, was pissed about the entire system of awards (she would be correct into thinking it wasn’t fair for a Dad to take his kid’s sales sheet in to a big corporate office and make her sales for her and that everyone that participated should get the freakin’ patch at the very least.) So she bought something like 100 boxes from me each year then put me in uniform out in front of her Hallmark shop and I’d sell them from a card table (very wise my mother- I was very fortunate she used her mad marketing skillz to ensure that I would get that little scrap of fabric for my sash at the cookie awards ceremony.)

Then came the year of the dog. This stuffed dog that you only had to sell a billion boxes of cookies to get. Well, the dog had velcro on his belly concealing a hidden chamber, and when you are 8- you are all about the little girl secrets that could be concealed within the belly of a stuffed weiner dog. (You know, in actuality, this memory is a little more disturbing than I recall.) This particular year they had some prizes for the troop for randomly selected girls. (Which meant that Allison, the little nazi power seller, might not make off with every single prize that technically DADDY got her by intimidating his corporate minions into buying her smack. ) I won’t ever forget her. She was a smug little girl scout. Well, long story long, I won the dog that year and it was the sweetest, sweetest, most unexpected victory in the world.

Which (finally) brings me to the fact that I actually won something after a 22 year drought. One of my favorite bloggers is Cass at Shut Up I’m Counting. I won some darling little stitch markers with little sheep on them. (This is perfect for the girl that up until recently was using old wine glass charms, stray earrings and washers as stitch markers.) I entered the contest because this lady is damn funny and was asking for advice for her daughter’s birthday and for a suggestion for a pleasurable knit project, so I thought what the heck, I’ll type up a response- I’ve got something to say on all of that. Well I did and I won. Sweeeeeeeeeet – thanks so much for having the contest Cass!

And now to what I lost- I entered the Interweave Magnetic Poetry Contest about a million years ago with my little haiku. I didn’t win, but I’m okay with that because I never claimed to be much of a poet. However, I do have an observation, does any one else notice that all three winning poems make significant use of the word “rhythm”? Just an observation, not a qualitative evaluation or anything but the word positively screams out at me when reading each poem. Personally, I don’t care much for the word rhythm. I don’t hear “rhythm is going to get you” like most people, I tend to let my mind wander to “rhythm method” or “rhythmic gymnastics” or something sort of dirty and pulsating. Is it just me?  Really? Well I don’t much care for the words rumba or rhombus either (but I do so like rum) I suppose it is some kind of weird, personal word association thing. Now I fear I’ve revealed too much.

Oh, and I had that stuffed dog for years until I took him to camp with me and filled his body cavity with jolly ranchers (not my most shining moment) and his insides became a sticky sweet feast for ants and I had to dispose of him. But the memory of my gigantic victory over Allison stays with me always. (YAY for victory!)

Hey, I’m one for two today. I think I’ll go and purchase a lottery ticket on my lunch break- tomorrow’s Mega Millions is up to 166 Million!