Saturday, November 30, 2013

Broken

Three years ago I went through what I had thought - at the time - was the darkest, deepest abyss that a person could ever experience. It was a turmoil that I would never wish upon a worst enemy.

It came about because my managing the bipolar brought me to a place where I could finally be aware of the very horrible things that I did. Because of bipolar disorder... but that's not an excuse for my actions. Like any other disease, a person has to take responsibility for it and everything associated with it.

It took two years, leading up to that point, before I could understand what had happened. I can sum up my realization no better than this: "Dear God, what have I done?"

To get hit like that with final comprehension of the pain I had inflicted, the people I had hurt, what it had cost me... It was like a bomb had been dropped into my heart and finally detonated, shattering everything.

Everything.

It was during the long months after when I went public with my bipolar. But most people never saw what was really transpiring on this side of the screen during that time: the nights of crying (literally) out to God, praying to be forgiven. Praying for reconciliation. Praying that I might somehow make up for it all. Asking Him to please bring peace to my heart and quiet to my mind.

That was three years ago. Since then, my control of the bipolar has become much better. Not "perfect". It will never be "perfect". It's like golf: the only way you could ever seriously beat a golf course is if you managed to make a hole-in-one on every hole. I don't think Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer ever pulled that off, even...

Eventually, most of the people I sought forgiveness from granted it. Some things I had prayed for however did not happen. Even so God has brought me a long, long way in three years. In one year, even. I cannot but be thankful for that.

And yet here I am, on Thanksgiving weekend, much like it was in 2010, and I'm spending it crying out to God. Again.

"Dear God, what have I done?"

This time, it's worse. Much, much worse. And I'll tell you why...

I have come to a place where I see how bipolar clouded and distorted my sympathy toward others. That it made me fail to see how precious every life... every life... is. How we are all made by God and in our own way, waging a difficult battle that requires His grace.

And now I see how there were too many times when I neglected that. In my writing. In my actions. In too many other facets of my life. And again, it has cost me.

Again, it has broken me.

Three years ago I read the Book of Job over and over. It evoked a comfort - along with other scripture - that God is with us in the midst of our grieving. I have read Job at least three times during the past few days.

I don't know why God allowed me to have this condition. It was something I was born with: something that I have discovered runs in an entire side of my family (Dad was thankfully spared). Once it's encoded in your DNA there's nothing to be done but hope the genome doesn't activate. I lost that particular roll of the dice. I'll have to abide this for the rest of my life. Have to keep my own mind in check lest it turns against me.

I have to hold on to the hope that for all of this pain, God has His hands involved and is working through it. For what purpose, I cannot fathom.

I have barely... barely... cried tears for well over the past two years. It was probably a combination of the bipolar and some of the medication I've been taking to manage it. I held Mom's hand as she passed away and I spoke at her funeral and not once the entire time did the critical connection get made that allowed me to weep tears for my own mother no longer being in my life.

The past two weeks have seen me cry harder, and more tears, than I could have across the past decade previous. Crying in prayer. Crying in the presence of friends. Crying myself to sleep.

What have I been crying about? Everything. Most especially the hurts and insults and petty vindictiveness that I have inflicted too many times in my life.

I'll give you an example. Most readers know how little in regard I hold the Transportation Security Administration. I still think the TSA and the entire Department of Homeland Security is a colossal waste of money and a violator of citizens' rights. But that should not include extending that sentiment toward individual employees!

A year and a half ago, I did that. It was while flying out of the airport in Portland, Oregon. I saw an opportunity to abuse a TSA agent, only because I allowed my thoughts to fixate on the TSA's own abuses. And then I allowed the lesser angels of my nature to act.

While sparing the details, I will say this: Yours Truly, Robert Christopher Knight, was a complete jerk and a total asshole.

And on the off chance that this particular TSA agent ever reads this: I sincerely apologize. I should never have done that. You were only doing your job. I made it harder the it should be. I can't go and take back what I did, but I do apologize for it.

I am grieving also because of how I have used this blog in the past to attack some people. There is one in particular, a certain local board of education member, who I previously apologized to in a blog post. He accepted the apology and I am extremely thankful for that. But even so, I can't ignore the fact that I was not acting like a follower of Christ should. I can't ignore it now.

Every hurt, every insult, every spiteful thought... has come crashing down on me. So many people in my lifetime that I was petty toward, unsympathetic toward, even jealous of... and I'm just now realizing it.

Do I grieve for what I have lost? I'd be lying if I denied it. But I grieve more terribly for the apathy and disregard I have shown others.

Why did God let me have bipolar? And why is it that in the process of getting better control over it, I also find myself so severely confronted by my own fallen nature?

Why am I so broken?

I am broken now, again. And... I don't know what to do anymore. The world suddenly seems filled with nothing but cruelty and misery. People hurting and even killing each other for cheap electronics and designer fashions. People on the brink of losing almost everything they've earned because of government mandates represented by a crippled website. People preaching hate in the name of God and other people preaching hate in the name... of all things... humanity.

For the first time I'm seeing the world for what it is, and it has broken me.

Why couldn't I have been allowed to see it before? Have a chance to... I don't know... at least adapt to it. Figure out how to survive in it?

Would I have done better, then? Could I have found myself at this point in my life prosperous, with a real home and a family of my own?

Is this ultimately what bipolar disorder has cost me? Failing to see the world in all its fallen glory, unable to cope with it?

Is this my greatest failure as someone living on this Earth?

I could have gone my entire life with the blinders still on. Three years ago I could have remained blissfully unaware of the hurt I had caused others. Instead I was untimely ripped into birth of conscience, and now in 2013 born again in this brave new world...

And it has broken me.

There have been very few times where I have had any peace during the past several weeks. This afternoon brought one of them. My lifelong friend, Chad Austin, came to visit. He played with Tammy the Pup for the first time, and it lightened my heart to see it. And then Chad and I went to eat pizza.

Chad has been closer than a brother to me. His prayers (as well as those of many others) have sustained me during this time. During our late lunch he mentioned something that I've found myself clinging to desperately these days and weeks...

That this world is not our home. That we are meant to be only passing through it. That there is a Place far better, far more wonderful, than we can possibly imagine.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

-- Romans 8:18-25


I am broken. I will always be broken, in this broken world. I suffer and it is not only my flesh that groans in pain, but my own mind.

What is getting me through this long dark night of my soul, presently? It is knowing that this isn't where I'm supposed to be. And it's not where I'm going to be, forever.

For there will come a time when my mind and body will be healed. Made new. My mind will never again know bipolar!

I will be broken no more.

And in that Place, all of those who I have loved and hurt along the way will at last know how much I did love them, in spite of my earthen mind. And there will be no goodbyes... forever.

"It is a dream I have..."

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's not the zombie apocalypse...

...but it's close enough:

Dawn of the Dead, Black Friday, Thanksgiving, 2013

Going out on the night of the holiday when we give thanks for what we've been blessed with, and then to stomp and trample on others to get things we don't have and don't need, with money we can't really afford to spend.

It's worse than anything George Romero envisioned.

Thanks to Drew McOmber for finding that graphic.

A prayer of thanks

"My God, I have never thanked thee for my thorn. I have thanked thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the glory of my cross, teach me the value of my thorn. Show me that I have climbed to thee by the path of my pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbows."
-- George Matheson
Rob Mancuso, a very dear friend and brother in Christ since college, shared that prayer with me this evening.  I am going to share it here too, with others who may also need some comfort right now.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Just watched DOCTOR WHO: THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR

For various reasons, it was a very hard thing for me to get through and watch this.  Part of me wanted to "sit it out".  But I knew that later, however rough things are now, that I would come to regret it if I didn't.

I've been watching Doctor Who for a very long time and I've been blogging about the show ever since it first re-started in 2005, back when a lot of us had to bootleg it across the Internets after transmission in Great Britain.

I can't abandon something just like that, something I've come to care for and appreciate so much.  Something that I've been thankful has been there.  No matter how hard it becomes.  No matter how painful it is to face.  When you love something, you stay with it even if you grieve at times  You endure for it.

I can't leave something wonderful and then just ignore it as if it never happened.

So I need to say something about the Fiftieth Anniversary special, "The Day of the Doctor".

Here it is:

It was perfect.

Absolutely, fantastically perfect.

I can't think of how this mega-special story could have been any better.

And I especially loved "the Curator" at the end.

This is a story that actually gives me personal hope, about things past and things still to come.

I needed to see this.

Thank you, Steven Moffat, Matt Smith, David Tennant, Jenna-Louise Coleman, John Hurt, Billie Piper, William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston... and that one fellow who's eyes were the only thing we saw.

Friday, November 22, 2013

I can't do this

I can't do this.  It's not right.

I can't do this without.

My heart is tearing apart.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

DOCTOR WHO overload? There's no such thing!!

Awright, 'fess up: How many others out there have their TV's tuned to nothing but BBC America all this past week?

This has become the single greatest week of television broadcasting in the history of anything.  Apart from an hour of BBC News early in the morning, it has been wall-to-wall Doctor Who.  And I have not got nearly enough of it.  The network even ran "Pyramids of Mars" from the Tom Baker era on Monday afternoon, followed soon after by the 1996 Doctor Who television movie.

My workload has been packed with freelance projects.  If I'm not watching it directly I've still had BBC America on the tube as I write and research.  It makes for excellent (or should that be Cyberman style and pronounced "EKS-selent"?) background noise, even inspiring.  Although the past few nights I must confess that my dreams keep getting invaded by Daleks screaming "Exterminate!  Exterminate!  EXTERMINATE!"

It's understandable that the Beeb is showing mostly the episodes of the revived era, from Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor, David Tennant's run as the Tenth Doctor and Matt Smith's turn as the Eleventh Doctor.  But all of The Doctor's generations have been healthily represented in specials, from the "cosmic hobo" that Patrick Troughton made The Doctor in his second life to the Scottish-accented master strategist Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor.  Along with a whole honkin' heap of programming, such as The Science of Doctor Who.

This hasn't even been the anniversary proper.  That kicks off tomorrow, which includes the premiere of the documentary drama An Adventure in Space and Time starring David Bradley as William Hartnell: the Doctor who first brought us aboard the TARDIS.

And then on Saturday, at 2:50 p.m. EST, broadcast worldwide simultaneously, the Fiftieth Anniversary mega-episode: "The Day of the Doctor".  With Matt Smith's Eleventh and David Tennant's Doctors sharing the screen for the first time... along with a Doctor whose incarnation we had never known before: "The War Doctor" portrayed by John Hurt.

It is as Peter Capaldi - soon to be the Twelfth Doctor - has said: "The geek have inherited the Earth."

So if you haven't caught it yet, tune in to BBC America.  And leave it there.  Until after Sunday, when the Doctor Who-intense programming ends.  Do it.  Or perish in flame.  It's your choice.  But, not really.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wasteland

Ashes, ashes,
Hope dared for collapsing in the hand
I sit this throne of wrenched heart
In my kingdom of the wasteland

A glimpse of joy, of Heavn'ly tempt
I beheld across the sand
Chasing, chasing, toward earthen-circled bliss
Nought but mirage, Siren song, to my place among the wasteland

Beloved, beloved,
Cross'd hell did I for thy hand
But a plight betrayed, by wretched mind
Made lock'd unto the wasteland

Rejoice! Rejoice!
My Quest'd prize was 'tlast at hand
The road assured, with gay apace
To long-wont sweet and restful land

My tryst was kept, my virtue true
Devout to God's command
Trusted I, brought through lonely toil
To my lady's side, be stand

With Providence prais'd, with thanking hymn
Knelt I, with heav'nward hand
A song of joy, of grateful heart
My psalm be surely grand!

Yet at the last, my prize beheld
And sweat'd brow be fanned
Ambush'd was I, by devil'd brain
Wrought long ago proband

My oldest foe, with ceaseless stalk
Upon my mind be bran'd
A blight, a demon, damn'd mania
Does becalm'd thought disband

Cry I have, to Heaven high
For an answer, would I demand
Can't thorn in flesh, not precious mind
Be I allow'd withstand?

No answer come, prayer be in vain
And nought be countermand
Is grace enough, to have the strength
That unquiet mind be strand?

Striv'n I, have I, sought my best
To serve the worthy Lamb
Are thoughts awry my cross to bear
For all my days be spann'd?

Is happy home upon this Earth
Denied my seeking hand?
No child of mine, no warm embrace
Would turbulent mind demand

And all my dreams, asunder torn
A mercy plea cannot summand
Driv'n I, I am, from friends and love
To ruin-strewn hinterland

And here I rule, a maddened place
Damn'd brain does dare demand
That I be lord and master bound
To reign this lonely land

Ashes, ashes,
Hope dared for collapsing in the hand
I sit this throne of wrenched heart
In my kingdom of the wasteland

-- Robert Christopher Knight
4:06 a.m.
November 17, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Physician, heal thyself": Paul McGann returns as The Doctor!! "The Night of the Doctor" mini-episode is dropping jaws all over today!!

In May of 1996, Paul McGann portrayed the Eighth Doctor in the Doctor Who television movie that aired on Fox.  It was meant to be a pilot for a possible revival of the series.  Unfortunately it didn't pan out, which was very unfortunate because in the brief time we saw him, McGann's Doctor really endeared himself to fans.  It was the first and last time we got to see him play the part.

Until this morning.

BBC just unloaded "The Night of the Doctor" upon us: a nearly seven minutes-long mini-episode of Doctor Who meant to be a lead-up to next week's fiftieth anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor".

Here.  Just watch.  Be sure to mop up the drool afterward...



To all involved: bravo!! Now, Steven Moffat, how about you give us some more episodes with Paul McGann as The Doctor! Please?!?!?

(Thanks to good friend of this blog Drew McOmber for the alert!)

UPDATE 10:27 a.m. EST: Look! The BBC has released an official image of Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor from "The Night of the Doctor"!  Click on it to drastically embiggen it.

Some thoughts: it's a very solid transition look from the costume of the 1996 TV movie, to the feel and tone of the revived series.  The Eighth Doctor has been called one of the more "romantic" and "sympathetic" of The Doctor's incarnations and this outfit - accompanying McGann's presence - evokes that quite well.

C'mon BBC, that's way too much awesomeness than to limit it to just one seven-minute webisode: more Eighth Doctor, please!!  And give us officially licensed attire!  I'd pay several hundred bucks for that coat alone...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

BBC releases a SECOND trailer for "The Day of the Doctor"!

"Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame."
-- The Doctor ("the one who broke the promise")


I don't know what stokes me most about "The Day of the Doctor": seeing the Time War at last in all its horrific glory, the return of the Tenth Doctor and Rose, the interaction between Matt Smith and David Tennant's Doctors, Daleks attacking and getting 'sploded, the return of the Zygons...

Okay, no doubt about it: John Hurt as The Doctor that we didn't know about.  The one that whatever it is that he did, The Doctor was so ashamed that he has never acknowledged his existence... until now.  Because I really believe that this Doctor is the reason that The Doctor, in his ensuing generations, has been such a haunted and wounded man beneath the jovial, childlike surface.

(Thanks again to good friend of this blog Drew McOmber for the alert!)

EDIT 6:34 p.m. EST:   Awright, how did I miss this one?! It's only been up since about three weeks ago!

Here is the "50 Years" trailer that the BBC released for the fiftieth anniversary special. And it it is truly, in every possible way, epic...



The day The Doctor has been running from all his life comes November 23rd.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

December 18th, 2015

To quote Yogi Berra...

"I'll believe it when I believe it."

I'll wager an RC Cola and a Moon Pie that Star Wars Episode VII gets delayed to around May 25th, 2016.  Ain't no proper Star Wars movie been released outside of late May, and I've confidence that larger forces at work will compel Disney to keep to the tradition... whether it wants to or not.

('Course, the very first Star Wars movie was originally slated for a Christmas 1976 release until it got pushed back, so Disney isn't completely without a leg to stand on here.) 

Friday, November 08, 2013

At last, the trailer for "The Day of the Doctor"

Two weeks to go until "The Day of the Doctor"...


Now, something to go back into your Doctor Who archives and check out:

In the two-part "The End of Time" special that saw David Tennant's Tenth Doctor regenerate into the Eleventh (played by Matt Smith), we see Gallifrey on the last day of the Time War.  And in the council, one of the Time Lords tells Rassilon (played by Timothy Dalton) that The Doctor has "the Moment".

Watch that trailer again.  Listen to the words.  And look at what John Hurt's "missing Doctor" is poised to use.

Could it be that Steven Moffat was planting the seeds for the fiftieth anniversary special four years ago, right in front of our very eyes?  Could it be that John Hurt's Doctor is the one always intended to be the one that so terrified the Time Lords?

"The Day of the Doctor" broadcasts simultaneously beginning at 7:50 British time on November 23rd.  Thanks to Drew McOmber for the heads-up on the trailer!

UPDATE 3:54 p.m. EST 11/09/2013:  Bad news: the BBC yanked the above leaked video.

Good news: the BBC finally posted it officially!

I did it. I really, really did it...

Dear Readers,

Last night, while at a restaurant with a friend, I did something that I have wanted to do for years but thought would never happen, particularly after I vowed not to do it.

But I figured, "what the heck?"

Yesterday evening, at long last, I ate Bhut jolokia: the notorious "ghost pepper" from India.  Until recently, certified as the hottest pepper on the face of the Earth.

(Yes, there are photographs of this happening.  My friend took them with his iPhone but I don't have them yet.  Suffice it to say they are rather... interesting.)

So, what did I think?  Bhut jolokia is extremely hot.  However it is not as hot as I had long anticipated.  All along I've had visions of my bare tongue pressed against the inner circles of Dante's Inferno.  What I experience instead was a fiery hot pepper that made my face burn crimson but otherwise was not at all unpleasant.  I may try it again sometime.

(For sake of disclosure, I must note that after eating Bhut jolokia, I chased it down with a rich chocolate milkshake.  So that might have had something to do with the Bhut jolokia not haunting my digestive tract as I slept last night and throughout today.)

Maybe I should try the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper next, since its heat is said to trounce that of Bhut jolokia.  What sayeth y'all?

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Review of ENDER'S GAME (the movie)

For reasons beyond my control I wound up going in to see Ender's Game more unaware and "in the dark" than any movie that readily comes to mind.  I've long known who the main actors were and who they were playing, but other than that, including who was scoring the thing?

Nope.  Nada.  And this, the film adaptation of  Orson Scott Card's novel that has been one of my very most favorite books since first reading it in 1990.  A novel that has become not only a bona-fide science-fiction classic but one of modern literature as a whole.  I should have been total fanboy for this thing from the beginning.

Instead, I went in as cold as one is apt to be in this day and age.  Hopefully, it is a trick that I could pull off again...

...because I was absolutely delighted and thrilled with how Ender's Game came through as a movie!

It's a hundred years or so from now, and Earth is still reeling from an attack decades earlier by an insectoid race called the Formics (sometimes "the Buggers").  Humanity barely won and swore that it would never happen again.  To that end, there has been an international effort to find the best and brightest children for grooming into the commanders needed for mankind's next encounter with the Formics.

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is one of those children.  And after believing he has washed-out from the program, he discovers that he has passed with flying colors and offered admission to the Battle School by Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford).  Ender accepts, and leaves the only world he has ever known (including his loving sister Valentine, beautifully played by Abigail Breslin) so that he might one day be among those who will save it.

If you've read Ender's Game, you're aware of what is really going on with Ender.  If you haven't and are going in to see the movie unfamiliar with the story, you'll find out soon enough.  I thought it made an elegant and thoroughly compelling translation to the big screen: how Ender is being shaped and formed by forces beyond his control, whether he likes it or not.  And Asa Butterfield was absolutely the best actor for the role.  He brings to Ender all of the strengths, the vulnerabilities, the empathy and the guild that define this character.  It's positively amazing how much of that Butterfield conveys and projects just through his eyes.  Now, that is acting!

Harrison Ford is pretty much everything I imagined Colonel Hyrum Graff would and should be, and maybe even better realized than my original estimation of the character (courtesy of Ford's trademark delivery).  Hailee Steinfield is terrific as Petra: the Salamander Army member who takes Ender under her wing in defiance of Bonso (Moisés Arias, projecting a brutality that would have made his character an unstoppable juggernaut in the Hunger Games).  And despite how he only turns up in the latter half of the film, Ben Kingsley makes an indelible mark as Mazer Rackham: the legendary half-Maori pilot who almost single-handedly stopped the Formics in the last war.

Ender's Game takes a few major liberties with the original novel, but they are handled with such grace that one might forget they are even there.  To me, the most obvious departure is the complete absence of the subplot about Valentine and elder brother Peter (played in the movie by Jimmy Pinchak) using an Internet chatroom to wend their way toward becoming internationally-acclaimed commentators and ultimately world leaders.  Ender's fear and resentment of Peter is also, in some ways, downplayed significantly.  There seems to be no "unable to travel faster than light" which as those familiar with the novels, becomes a critical factor in the story (the movie implies that faster-than-light is now the norm, which could be a problem for any sequel films).  And I thought that Bean (Aramis Knight) was a character who demanded much more screen time and attention.  Bean was always my favorite of Ender's army, and he needed to be fleshed-out more in the film to convey the kind of spunky street urchin he's known to be.

On the other hand, Ender's Game the movie brings to life some concepts that I had honestly thought would have never made it past drafting the script.  The Giant's Game is in there, beautifully and violently brought to life (the Giant is voiced by director Gavin Hood, by the way).  We also get the confrontation between Ender and Bonso (which ends different from the book, but I can kinda understand why that is).

I found the special effects in Ender's Game to be, if not ground-breaking and remarkable, at least the component that the story needed it to be.  In fact, on that basis I would say that the effects surpassed what I was anticipating from this movie.  The Battle Room sequences are a thrill to behold, and will no doubt be what many kids (and not too few adults) will be dreaming of playing inside of.  And for all of their deadly intent, the Formics are an astounding... one dares even say beautiful... thing of pure alienness.  The Formics have long been one of the few elements of the Ender novel series that I couldn't quite focus my mind's eye on: they always seemed something that the "less you can conceive the better" approach works well with.  Even after watching the movie I still have that vibe: yeah, we can see them finally, but they are still something beyond human perception (which given what the themes of the overall story of Ender's life entail, is how it should be).

Ender's Game the movie is the adaptation that many of us hoped we would get and is even better than what we were expecting.  It absolutely gets my recommendation, and I'm already planning on catching it again while it's playing in the theaters.

Oh, and about the orchestral score for Ender's Game?  It was composed by none other than Steve Jablonsky.  It might be his best work to date by far, and I thought it was perfect for the tone and the themes of this story.  How much did I love Jablonsky's score?  I'm downloading it from iTunes even as I write this.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Broken

Three years ago I went through what I had thought - at the time - was the darkest, deepest abyss that a person could ever experience. It was a turmoil that I would never wish upon a worst enemy.

It came about because my managing the bipolar brought me to a place where I could finally be aware of the very horrible things that I did. Because of bipolar disorder... but that's not an excuse for my actions. Like any other disease, a person has to take responsibility for it and everything associated with it.

It took two years, leading up to that point, before I could understand what had happened. I can sum up my realization no better than this: "Dear God, what have I done?"

To get hit like that with final comprehension of the pain I had inflicted, the people I had hurt, what it had cost me... It was like a bomb had been dropped into my heart and finally detonated, shattering everything.

Everything.

It was during the long months after when I went public with my bipolar. But most people never saw what was really transpiring on this side of the screen during that time: the nights of crying (literally) out to God, praying to be forgiven. Praying for reconciliation. Praying that I might somehow make up for it all. Asking Him to please bring peace to my heart and quiet to my mind.

That was three years ago. Since then, my control of the bipolar has become much better. Not "perfect". It will never be "perfect". It's like golf: the only way you could ever seriously beat a golf course is if you managed to make a hole-in-one on every hole. I don't think Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer ever pulled that off, even...

Eventually, most of the people I sought forgiveness from granted it. Some things I had prayed for however did not happen. Even so God has brought me a long, long way in three years. In one year, even. I cannot but be thankful for that.

And yet here I am, on Thanksgiving weekend, much like it was in 2010, and I'm spending it crying out to God. Again.

"Dear God, what have I done?"

This time, it's worse. Much, much worse. And I'll tell you why...

I have come to a place where I see how bipolar clouded and distorted my sympathy toward others. That it made me fail to see how precious every life... every life... is. How we are all made by God and in our own way, waging a difficult battle that requires His grace.

And now I see how there were too many times when I neglected that. In my writing. In my actions. In too many other facets of my life. And again, it has cost me.

Again, it has broken me.

Three years ago I read the Book of Job over and over. It evoked a comfort - along with other scripture - that God is with us in the midst of our grieving. I have read Job at least three times during the past few days.

I don't know why God allowed me to have this condition. It was something I was born with: something that I have discovered runs in an entire side of my family (Dad was thankfully spared). Once it's encoded in your DNA there's nothing to be done but hope the genome doesn't activate. I lost that particular roll of the dice. I'll have to abide this for the rest of my life. Have to keep my own mind in check lest it turns against me.

I have to hold on to the hope that for all of this pain, God has His hands involved and is working through it. For what purpose, I cannot fathom.

I have barely... barely... cried tears for well over the past two years. It was probably a combination of the bipolar and some of the medication I've been taking to manage it. I held Mom's hand as she passed away and I spoke at her funeral and not once the entire time did the critical connection get made that allowed me to weep tears for my own mother no longer being in my life.

The past two weeks have seen me cry harder, and more tears, than I could have across the past decade previous. Crying in prayer. Crying in the presence of friends. Crying myself to sleep.

What have I been crying about? Everything. Most especially the hurts and insults and petty vindictiveness that I have inflicted too many times in my life.

I'll give you an example. Most readers know how little in regard I hold the Transportation Security Administration. I still think the TSA and the entire Department of Homeland Security is a colossal waste of money and a violator of citizens' rights. But that should not include extending that sentiment toward individual employees!

A year and a half ago, I did that. It was while flying out of the airport in Portland, Oregon. I saw an opportunity to abuse a TSA agent, only because I allowed my thoughts to fixate on the TSA's own abuses. And then I allowed the lesser angels of my nature to act.

While sparing the details, I will say this: Yours Truly, Robert Christopher Knight, was a complete jerk and a total asshole.

And on the off chance that this particular TSA agent ever reads this: I sincerely apologize. I should never have done that. You were only doing your job. I made it harder the it should be. I can't go and take back what I did, but I do apologize for it.

I am grieving also because of how I have used this blog in the past to attack some people. There is one in particular, a certain local board of education member, who I previously apologized to in a blog post. He accepted the apology and I am extremely thankful for that. But even so, I can't ignore the fact that I was not acting like a follower of Christ should. I can't ignore it now.

Every hurt, every insult, every spiteful thought... has come crashing down on me. So many people in my lifetime that I was petty toward, unsympathetic toward, even jealous of... and I'm just now realizing it.

Do I grieve for what I have lost? I'd be lying if I denied it. But I grieve more terribly for the apathy and disregard I have shown others.

Why did God let me have bipolar? And why is it that in the process of getting better control over it, I also find myself so severely confronted by my own fallen nature?

Why am I so broken?

I am broken now, again. And... I don't know what to do anymore. The world suddenly seems filled with nothing but cruelty and misery. People hurting and even killing each other for cheap electronics and designer fashions. People on the brink of losing almost everything they've earned because of government mandates represented by a crippled website. People preaching hate in the name of God and other people preaching hate in the name... of all things... humanity.

For the first time I'm seeing the world for what it is, and it has broken me.

Why couldn't I have been allowed to see it before? Have a chance to... I don't know... at least adapt to it. Figure out how to survive in it?

Would I have done better, then? Could I have found myself at this point in my life prosperous, with a real home and a family of my own?

Is this ultimately what bipolar disorder has cost me? Failing to see the world in all its fallen glory, unable to cope with it?

Is this my greatest failure as someone living on this Earth?

I could have gone my entire life with the blinders still on. Three years ago I could have remained blissfully unaware of the hurt I had caused others. Instead I was untimely ripped into birth of conscience, and now in 2013 born again in this brave new world...

And it has broken me.

There have been very few times where I have had any peace during the past several weeks. This afternoon brought one of them. My lifelong friend, Chad Austin, came to visit. He played with Tammy the Pup for the first time, and it lightened my heart to see it. And then Chad and I went to eat pizza.

Chad has been closer than a brother to me. His prayers (as well as those of many others) have sustained me during this time. During our late lunch he mentioned something that I've found myself clinging to desperately these days and weeks...

That this world is not our home. That we are meant to be only passing through it. That there is a Place far better, far more wonderful, than we can possibly imagine.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

-- Romans 8:18-25


I am broken. I will always be broken, in this broken world. I suffer and it is not only my flesh that groans in pain, but my own mind.

What is getting me through this long dark night of my soul, presently? It is knowing that this isn't where I'm supposed to be. And it's not where I'm going to be, forever.

For there will come a time when my mind and body will be healed. Made new. My mind will never again know bipolar!

I will be broken no more.

And in that Place, all of those who I have loved and hurt along the way will at last know how much I did love them, in spite of my earthen mind. And there will be no goodbyes... forever.

"It is a dream I have..."

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's not the zombie apocalypse...

...but it's close enough:

Dawn of the Dead, Black Friday, Thanksgiving, 2013

Going out on the night of the holiday when we give thanks for what we've been blessed with, and then to stomp and trample on others to get things we don't have and don't need, with money we can't really afford to spend.

It's worse than anything George Romero envisioned.

Thanks to Drew McOmber for finding that graphic.

A prayer of thanks

"My God, I have never thanked thee for my thorn. I have thanked thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the glory of my cross, teach me the value of my thorn. Show me that I have climbed to thee by the path of my pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbows."
-- George Matheson
Rob Mancuso, a very dear friend and brother in Christ since college, shared that prayer with me this evening.  I am going to share it here too, with others who may also need some comfort right now.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Just watched DOCTOR WHO: THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR

For various reasons, it was a very hard thing for me to get through and watch this.  Part of me wanted to "sit it out".  But I knew that later, however rough things are now, that I would come to regret it if I didn't.

I've been watching Doctor Who for a very long time and I've been blogging about the show ever since it first re-started in 2005, back when a lot of us had to bootleg it across the Internets after transmission in Great Britain.

I can't abandon something just like that, something I've come to care for and appreciate so much.  Something that I've been thankful has been there.  No matter how hard it becomes.  No matter how painful it is to face.  When you love something, you stay with it even if you grieve at times  You endure for it.

I can't leave something wonderful and then just ignore it as if it never happened.

So I need to say something about the Fiftieth Anniversary special, "The Day of the Doctor".

Here it is:

It was perfect.

Absolutely, fantastically perfect.

I can't think of how this mega-special story could have been any better.

And I especially loved "the Curator" at the end.

This is a story that actually gives me personal hope, about things past and things still to come.

I needed to see this.

Thank you, Steven Moffat, Matt Smith, David Tennant, Jenna-Louise Coleman, John Hurt, Billie Piper, William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston... and that one fellow who's eyes were the only thing we saw.

Friday, November 22, 2013

I can't do this

I can't do this.  It's not right.

I can't do this without.

My heart is tearing apart.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

DOCTOR WHO overload? There's no such thing!!

Awright, 'fess up: How many others out there have their TV's tuned to nothing but BBC America all this past week?

This has become the single greatest week of television broadcasting in the history of anything.  Apart from an hour of BBC News early in the morning, it has been wall-to-wall Doctor Who.  And I have not got nearly enough of it.  The network even ran "Pyramids of Mars" from the Tom Baker era on Monday afternoon, followed soon after by the 1996 Doctor Who television movie.

My workload has been packed with freelance projects.  If I'm not watching it directly I've still had BBC America on the tube as I write and research.  It makes for excellent (or should that be Cyberman style and pronounced "EKS-selent"?) background noise, even inspiring.  Although the past few nights I must confess that my dreams keep getting invaded by Daleks screaming "Exterminate!  Exterminate!  EXTERMINATE!"

It's understandable that the Beeb is showing mostly the episodes of the revived era, from Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor, David Tennant's run as the Tenth Doctor and Matt Smith's turn as the Eleventh Doctor.  But all of The Doctor's generations have been healthily represented in specials, from the "cosmic hobo" that Patrick Troughton made The Doctor in his second life to the Scottish-accented master strategist Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor.  Along with a whole honkin' heap of programming, such as The Science of Doctor Who.

This hasn't even been the anniversary proper.  That kicks off tomorrow, which includes the premiere of the documentary drama An Adventure in Space and Time starring David Bradley as William Hartnell: the Doctor who first brought us aboard the TARDIS.

And then on Saturday, at 2:50 p.m. EST, broadcast worldwide simultaneously, the Fiftieth Anniversary mega-episode: "The Day of the Doctor".  With Matt Smith's Eleventh and David Tennant's Doctors sharing the screen for the first time... along with a Doctor whose incarnation we had never known before: "The War Doctor" portrayed by John Hurt.

It is as Peter Capaldi - soon to be the Twelfth Doctor - has said: "The geek have inherited the Earth."

So if you haven't caught it yet, tune in to BBC America.  And leave it there.  Until after Sunday, when the Doctor Who-intense programming ends.  Do it.  Or perish in flame.  It's your choice.  But, not really.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wasteland

Ashes, ashes,
Hope dared for collapsing in the hand
I sit this throne of wrenched heart
In my kingdom of the wasteland

A glimpse of joy, of Heavn'ly tempt
I beheld across the sand
Chasing, chasing, toward earthen-circled bliss
Nought but mirage, Siren song, to my place among the wasteland

Beloved, beloved,
Cross'd hell did I for thy hand
But a plight betrayed, by wretched mind
Made lock'd unto the wasteland

Rejoice! Rejoice!
My Quest'd prize was 'tlast at hand
The road assured, with gay apace
To long-wont sweet and restful land

My tryst was kept, my virtue true
Devout to God's command
Trusted I, brought through lonely toil
To my lady's side, be stand

With Providence prais'd, with thanking hymn
Knelt I, with heav'nward hand
A song of joy, of grateful heart
My psalm be surely grand!

Yet at the last, my prize beheld
And sweat'd brow be fanned
Ambush'd was I, by devil'd brain
Wrought long ago proband

My oldest foe, with ceaseless stalk
Upon my mind be bran'd
A blight, a demon, damn'd mania
Does becalm'd thought disband

Cry I have, to Heaven high
For an answer, would I demand
Can't thorn in flesh, not precious mind
Be I allow'd withstand?

No answer come, prayer be in vain
And nought be countermand
Is grace enough, to have the strength
That unquiet mind be strand?

Striv'n I, have I, sought my best
To serve the worthy Lamb
Are thoughts awry my cross to bear
For all my days be spann'd?

Is happy home upon this Earth
Denied my seeking hand?
No child of mine, no warm embrace
Would turbulent mind demand

And all my dreams, asunder torn
A mercy plea cannot summand
Driv'n I, I am, from friends and love
To ruin-strewn hinterland

And here I rule, a maddened place
Damn'd brain does dare demand
That I be lord and master bound
To reign this lonely land

Ashes, ashes,
Hope dared for collapsing in the hand
I sit this throne of wrenched heart
In my kingdom of the wasteland

-- Robert Christopher Knight
4:06 a.m.
November 17, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Physician, heal thyself": Paul McGann returns as The Doctor!! "The Night of the Doctor" mini-episode is dropping jaws all over today!!

In May of 1996, Paul McGann portrayed the Eighth Doctor in the Doctor Who television movie that aired on Fox.  It was meant to be a pilot for a possible revival of the series.  Unfortunately it didn't pan out, which was very unfortunate because in the brief time we saw him, McGann's Doctor really endeared himself to fans.  It was the first and last time we got to see him play the part.

Until this morning.

BBC just unloaded "The Night of the Doctor" upon us: a nearly seven minutes-long mini-episode of Doctor Who meant to be a lead-up to next week's fiftieth anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor".

Here.  Just watch.  Be sure to mop up the drool afterward...



To all involved: bravo!! Now, Steven Moffat, how about you give us some more episodes with Paul McGann as The Doctor! Please?!?!?

(Thanks to good friend of this blog Drew McOmber for the alert!)

UPDATE 10:27 a.m. EST: Look! The BBC has released an official image of Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor from "The Night of the Doctor"!  Click on it to drastically embiggen it.

Some thoughts: it's a very solid transition look from the costume of the 1996 TV movie, to the feel and tone of the revived series.  The Eighth Doctor has been called one of the more "romantic" and "sympathetic" of The Doctor's incarnations and this outfit - accompanying McGann's presence - evokes that quite well.

C'mon BBC, that's way too much awesomeness than to limit it to just one seven-minute webisode: more Eighth Doctor, please!!  And give us officially licensed attire!  I'd pay several hundred bucks for that coat alone...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

BBC releases a SECOND trailer for "The Day of the Doctor"!

"Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame."
-- The Doctor ("the one who broke the promise")


I don't know what stokes me most about "The Day of the Doctor": seeing the Time War at last in all its horrific glory, the return of the Tenth Doctor and Rose, the interaction between Matt Smith and David Tennant's Doctors, Daleks attacking and getting 'sploded, the return of the Zygons...

Okay, no doubt about it: John Hurt as The Doctor that we didn't know about.  The one that whatever it is that he did, The Doctor was so ashamed that he has never acknowledged his existence... until now.  Because I really believe that this Doctor is the reason that The Doctor, in his ensuing generations, has been such a haunted and wounded man beneath the jovial, childlike surface.

(Thanks again to good friend of this blog Drew McOmber for the alert!)

EDIT 6:34 p.m. EST:   Awright, how did I miss this one?! It's only been up since about three weeks ago!

Here is the "50 Years" trailer that the BBC released for the fiftieth anniversary special. And it it is truly, in every possible way, epic...



The day The Doctor has been running from all his life comes November 23rd.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

December 18th, 2015

To quote Yogi Berra...

"I'll believe it when I believe it."

I'll wager an RC Cola and a Moon Pie that Star Wars Episode VII gets delayed to around May 25th, 2016.  Ain't no proper Star Wars movie been released outside of late May, and I've confidence that larger forces at work will compel Disney to keep to the tradition... whether it wants to or not.

('Course, the very first Star Wars movie was originally slated for a Christmas 1976 release until it got pushed back, so Disney isn't completely without a leg to stand on here.) 

Friday, November 08, 2013

At last, the trailer for "The Day of the Doctor"

Two weeks to go until "The Day of the Doctor"...


Now, something to go back into your Doctor Who archives and check out:

In the two-part "The End of Time" special that saw David Tennant's Tenth Doctor regenerate into the Eleventh (played by Matt Smith), we see Gallifrey on the last day of the Time War.  And in the council, one of the Time Lords tells Rassilon (played by Timothy Dalton) that The Doctor has "the Moment".

Watch that trailer again.  Listen to the words.  And look at what John Hurt's "missing Doctor" is poised to use.

Could it be that Steven Moffat was planting the seeds for the fiftieth anniversary special four years ago, right in front of our very eyes?  Could it be that John Hurt's Doctor is the one always intended to be the one that so terrified the Time Lords?

"The Day of the Doctor" broadcasts simultaneously beginning at 7:50 British time on November 23rd.  Thanks to Drew McOmber for the heads-up on the trailer!

UPDATE 3:54 p.m. EST 11/09/2013:  Bad news: the BBC yanked the above leaked video.

Good news: the BBC finally posted it officially!

I did it. I really, really did it...

Dear Readers,

Last night, while at a restaurant with a friend, I did something that I have wanted to do for years but thought would never happen, particularly after I vowed not to do it.

But I figured, "what the heck?"

Yesterday evening, at long last, I ate Bhut jolokia: the notorious "ghost pepper" from India.  Until recently, certified as the hottest pepper on the face of the Earth.

(Yes, there are photographs of this happening.  My friend took them with his iPhone but I don't have them yet.  Suffice it to say they are rather... interesting.)

So, what did I think?  Bhut jolokia is extremely hot.  However it is not as hot as I had long anticipated.  All along I've had visions of my bare tongue pressed against the inner circles of Dante's Inferno.  What I experience instead was a fiery hot pepper that made my face burn crimson but otherwise was not at all unpleasant.  I may try it again sometime.

(For sake of disclosure, I must note that after eating Bhut jolokia, I chased it down with a rich chocolate milkshake.  So that might have had something to do with the Bhut jolokia not haunting my digestive tract as I slept last night and throughout today.)

Maybe I should try the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper next, since its heat is said to trounce that of Bhut jolokia.  What sayeth y'all?

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Review of ENDER'S GAME (the movie)

For reasons beyond my control I wound up going in to see Ender's Game more unaware and "in the dark" than any movie that readily comes to mind.  I've long known who the main actors were and who they were playing, but other than that, including who was scoring the thing?

Nope.  Nada.  And this, the film adaptation of  Orson Scott Card's novel that has been one of my very most favorite books since first reading it in 1990.  A novel that has become not only a bona-fide science-fiction classic but one of modern literature as a whole.  I should have been total fanboy for this thing from the beginning.

Instead, I went in as cold as one is apt to be in this day and age.  Hopefully, it is a trick that I could pull off again...

...because I was absolutely delighted and thrilled with how Ender's Game came through as a movie!

It's a hundred years or so from now, and Earth is still reeling from an attack decades earlier by an insectoid race called the Formics (sometimes "the Buggers").  Humanity barely won and swore that it would never happen again.  To that end, there has been an international effort to find the best and brightest children for grooming into the commanders needed for mankind's next encounter with the Formics.

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is one of those children.  And after believing he has washed-out from the program, he discovers that he has passed with flying colors and offered admission to the Battle School by Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford).  Ender accepts, and leaves the only world he has ever known (including his loving sister Valentine, beautifully played by Abigail Breslin) so that he might one day be among those who will save it.

If you've read Ender's Game, you're aware of what is really going on with Ender.  If you haven't and are going in to see the movie unfamiliar with the story, you'll find out soon enough.  I thought it made an elegant and thoroughly compelling translation to the big screen: how Ender is being shaped and formed by forces beyond his control, whether he likes it or not.  And Asa Butterfield was absolutely the best actor for the role.  He brings to Ender all of the strengths, the vulnerabilities, the empathy and the guild that define this character.  It's positively amazing how much of that Butterfield conveys and projects just through his eyes.  Now, that is acting!

Harrison Ford is pretty much everything I imagined Colonel Hyrum Graff would and should be, and maybe even better realized than my original estimation of the character (courtesy of Ford's trademark delivery).  Hailee Steinfield is terrific as Petra: the Salamander Army member who takes Ender under her wing in defiance of Bonso (Moisés Arias, projecting a brutality that would have made his character an unstoppable juggernaut in the Hunger Games).  And despite how he only turns up in the latter half of the film, Ben Kingsley makes an indelible mark as Mazer Rackham: the legendary half-Maori pilot who almost single-handedly stopped the Formics in the last war.

Ender's Game takes a few major liberties with the original novel, but they are handled with such grace that one might forget they are even there.  To me, the most obvious departure is the complete absence of the subplot about Valentine and elder brother Peter (played in the movie by Jimmy Pinchak) using an Internet chatroom to wend their way toward becoming internationally-acclaimed commentators and ultimately world leaders.  Ender's fear and resentment of Peter is also, in some ways, downplayed significantly.  There seems to be no "unable to travel faster than light" which as those familiar with the novels, becomes a critical factor in the story (the movie implies that faster-than-light is now the norm, which could be a problem for any sequel films).  And I thought that Bean (Aramis Knight) was a character who demanded much more screen time and attention.  Bean was always my favorite of Ender's army, and he needed to be fleshed-out more in the film to convey the kind of spunky street urchin he's known to be.

On the other hand, Ender's Game the movie brings to life some concepts that I had honestly thought would have never made it past drafting the script.  The Giant's Game is in there, beautifully and violently brought to life (the Giant is voiced by director Gavin Hood, by the way).  We also get the confrontation between Ender and Bonso (which ends different from the book, but I can kinda understand why that is).

I found the special effects in Ender's Game to be, if not ground-breaking and remarkable, at least the component that the story needed it to be.  In fact, on that basis I would say that the effects surpassed what I was anticipating from this movie.  The Battle Room sequences are a thrill to behold, and will no doubt be what many kids (and not too few adults) will be dreaming of playing inside of.  And for all of their deadly intent, the Formics are an astounding... one dares even say beautiful... thing of pure alienness.  The Formics have long been one of the few elements of the Ender novel series that I couldn't quite focus my mind's eye on: they always seemed something that the "less you can conceive the better" approach works well with.  Even after watching the movie I still have that vibe: yeah, we can see them finally, but they are still something beyond human perception (which given what the themes of the overall story of Ender's life entail, is how it should be).

Ender's Game the movie is the adaptation that many of us hoped we would get and is even better than what we were expecting.  It absolutely gets my recommendation, and I'm already planning on catching it again while it's playing in the theaters.

Oh, and about the orchestral score for Ender's Game?  It was composed by none other than Steve Jablonsky.  It might be his best work to date by far, and I thought it was perfect for the tone and the themes of this story.  How much did I love Jablonsky's score?  I'm downloading it from iTunes even as I write this.