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Showing posts from 2010

One favorite author on another

The heroine of many a modern novel writhes and reels her way through the story, chews and flings away fifty half-smoked cigarettes, is perpetually stifling a scream or else not stifling it, howling for solitude or howling for society, goading every mood to the verge of madness, seeing red mists before her eyes, seeing green flames dance in her brain, dashing to the druggist and then collapsing on the doorstep of the psychoanalyst; and all the time congratulating herself on her rational superiority to the weak sensibility of Jane Austen.That is, the “weak sensibility” of a woman who (according to G.K. Chesterton) “was certainly not of the fainting sort.” The obvious irony that he pointed out made me laugh. (Quotes from his essay “On Jane Austen in the General Election,” included in Come to think of it… published in 1931.)

“On the sixth day of Christmas…” = Books!

Well, thank goodness I haven’t received any six geese a-laying, though I don’t think I’d have minded the five golden rings.Being the holiday season, not much has been going on in my life. I’ve been able to curl up in a corner of the couch all day and read, write, or blog… and really, “all day” is not much of an exaggeration. But it’s highly relaxing.The only thing I’ve had to do besides lounge around is go Christmas shopping with my mom. It’s a tradition we have—the two of us are the only ones in the family that like shopping, so every year I help her pick out the Christmas gifts for all our extended family in addition to our immediate family. (Sometimes I even pick out my own, as I did this year.) So on Monday and yesterday we went shopping for my mom’s side of the family, whose family Christmas will be celebrated this weekend.Of course, while shopping for Christmas, we happened to find some things we wanted ourselves. Especially at this one store called Ollie’s. This store has a hug…

“Long time passing…”

Where have all the young men gone?I know the original song was an anti-war song; but every time I read something of this sort, it’s what runs through my mind. “The Death of the Grown-up,” you say? What about the death of the young man?I’m five months away from graduating from a Christian college. I’ve been here nearly four years—and my complaint is that so many people here don’t seem to be very grown up. It’s the subtle difference between girls and women; between guys and men.Guys, you see, are not bad or anything; they’re kinda fun, decent, don’t necessarily slack off on their schoolwork or anything. But men—well, the men are capable of long-range planning, for starters. They’re fun and decent, too, but they also have more wisdom. They can restrain their spending to be able to afford books next semester, for example. Or they are conscious that the opinions they currently have might change in the future. They know what they want to do with their lives, and they’re pursuing that.It’s h…

The After-Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me /
A partridge in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me /
Two turtledoves, and a partridge in a pear tree.
So, I know that the Twelve Days of Christmas come after Christmas and before Epiphany (January 6th, I believe), but I never know whether the “First day of Christmas” is Christmas Day proper or if it’s Boxing Day…Anyways, I’ve had two family Christmas celebrations so far—one with my dad’s side of my extended family, and my immediate family Christmas. My most exciting gift was a passive guitar pickup for my acoustic guitar.(Google Images is handy for this sort of picture.) I got to use this pickup yesterday at church, where I play guitar for our praise team, and boy did it sound MUCH better than trying to mic my guitar with a normal mic! And this way I didn’t have to worry about hitting the mic with my hand while strumming.The last family Christmas—with my mom’s side of our family—is this Saturday. I’m…

“Up”

My dad got “Up” for Christmas from my uncle’s family (that’s my uncle who’s his brother). And we are now watching it, supposedly to make sure that the DVD isn’t scratched. I know it’s partly that, but also for the pure entertainment that Dad finds in this movie.And it is highly entertaining—for once, it’s a good movie that’s neither a sequel nor a new version of an old superhero.The main reason I like this movie is that it’s witty and true—Carl is so much a member of the elder generation that it’s perfect! (He reminds me of my dad sometimes.) And little Russell is a perfect male version of my eleven-year-old friend Bee and her younger sister. The interaction between the two of them kinda reminds me of Dennis the Menace and Mr. Wilson in the comics. (I never saw the Dennis the Menace movie, though.)It’s great to see a movie encouraging interaction between these generations… and such a well-made one, too. Maybe more kids will talk with older adults now. (And maybe older adults will tole…

¡¡Feliz Navidad!!

Y que uds. tengan un buenísimo día de celebrar el nacimiento de nuestro Señor y Salvador, Jesucristo.Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
  for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
  in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies
  and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
  and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
  that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,

in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
  for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
  in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
  whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and …

“Taking Immanuel next door”

In honor of tonight, the Christmas Eve Pre-party:After leading the people out of Egypt, one of Moses' first tasks was  to build the tabernacle, a place where God would descend to dwell among the people. This was a temporary, movable meeting place. Many years later, Solomon would build the temple, a more permanent, glorious place for God to meet His people. It was while the temple was still serving its purpose that the prophet Isaiah gave an astounding prophecy: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Immanuel — God with us.What made this prophecy so incredible was that one day, God's presence would not just inhabit a building; it would manifest itself in human form, the person of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:23). In the coming of Jesus, God dwelt among us in the most tangible and personal way possible. He became us.…But if God is with me — and in me — it stands to reason I can and …

“Map of Online Communities” circa 2010

Remember that map of online communities that I loved? There’s a new and improved version….*does happy dance*By the way, you can see the larger version on xkcd.

Observations on “Dawn Treader”

My sister treated me to “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” at the local cinema yesterday. I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to re-read the book immediately.Of course, I do not own this book; my sister does. She had first dibs and finally finished it late last night.Now that I’ve also finished it (a feat accomplished early this afternoon) and have also been able to compare the two (my memory of the book was kinda foggy), I have a few observations:At least they didn’t add too much of a love interest this time… but still…The way in which they sliced, diced and spliced adventures from the book to make the movie was kind of odd, but it seemed to work.There were more wishy-washy “believe in yourself” type messages in the movie than in the book.Eustace in the movie was PERFECT! As in, the movie seemed to capture his character quite well.The movie was definitely darker than the book… but aren’t all modern movies? I’d at least feel comfortable reading the book to younger kids, whereas the movie would p…

Blog upkeeping

Just figured I’d post a public notice: since Yahoo is making the silly move of shutting down the Delicious bookmarking service, I’m in the process of moving all my bookmarks (now 824 of them!) over to a service called Diigo. And then, when I was changing over the linkroll in the sidebar from Delicious to Diigo, I noticed that I could add a couple more little widgets to the sidebar/footer. So, now there is a list of “well-read letters” showing the posts with the most views, and at the bottom there is a pageview counter. I haven’t quite figured out how to make the pageview counter center…. but I’ll figure out something to make the formatting look better.

Things I’ve suspected #1,520 (Erroneous quotes edition)

You know all those famous quotes that people attribute to famous people? Like the quote “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man must seek Him in order to find her.” Probably not a C.S. Lewis quote (or a Maya Angelou one either). I think it’s Max Lucado but I haven’t found the source for it yet.But anyways, here’s another one, coming from the theological types: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” At the theologically Wesleyan university that I attend, this line has always been attributed to John Wesley, beloved father of that theological tradition. I wondered this morning where he had said that, so I did a Google search… turns out it wasn’t him at all, though he no doubt subscribed to that school of thought.Instead, it is a translation (poetic, too) of a line in a 1617 Latin book called “De Republica Ecclesiastica Libri X” by Marcus Antonius de Dominis—a man I have never heard of before now, but with a name and a book like that, he…

The problem with Twitter

I don’t have texting. Yet I have a Twitter account. I accomplish this via a desktop widget on my laptop.Of course, this means I use Twitter only when I’m at my laptop.Sometimes I think of something that I want to post on Twitter—a quick reflection on a piece of news, or whatever—but I realize that, because of Twitter’s extremely time-sensitive nature, it doesn’t really make sense to post anything about it even just a couple hours after the fact. I’d just be behind the times.Then there are other instances when I can think of something to write that is quite timely, but much too long for a Twitter update, even if it comes to me in response to something I saw on Twitter.So these are my problems:Twitter has a memory of about thirty seconds; no long-term memory exists for it.Twitter allows thoughts about ten seconds long, no more. No logical, well-developed conclusions can be permitted; they’re just too long.And that is why I still haven’t abandoned my personal blog.

Living as a sacrament (Tozer again)

I often fret about the comparatively little time I spend reading my Bible.It’s as if the time spent reading the Bible, praying, reading devotionals or singing worship songs must be equal to the time I spend in my waking hours doing anything else… which would, of course, amount to a solid 7 or 8 hours a day doing those things.But then what of the other 7 or 8 hours? Are they wasted hours, because I am not steeped in God’s Word then?It pushes me to despair. And then I am refreshed by something like this, part of the A. W. Tozer book I’ve finished (re)reading tonight.One of the greatest hindrances to internal peace which the Christian encounters is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas, the sacred and the secular. As the seas are conceived to exist apart from each other and to be morally and spiritually incompatible, and as we are compelled by the necessities of living to be always crossing back and forth from the one to the other, our inner lives tend to break up so that…

Tozer’s secret of community

Yeah—community is a buzzword in Christian circles (and octagons for that matter). People wonder how to define it, how to create it, how to nurture it—I do too. Who doesn’t want community?But it’s elusive.Maybe we’re barking up the wrong tree, though, by focusing on community itself. If it’s anything like humility, the moment you turn your attention to it in and of itself it begins to break down…Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.So one hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified.--A.W. Tozer, towards the end of the chapter “The Gaz…

Futile vows to myself never pan out…

Remember how I used to post fairly often on my blog, before I was a junior in college? And then how it all dropped off sometime last school year, and I haven’t yet learned to pick the pace up a bit?That was the days before a lot of homework that involved my computer. Also before the days when I got really distracted during said homework, browsing Facebook and re-watching favorite YouTube videos.I bring this up to provide the background for this past week. Over Thanksgiving break—just one week from today, I believe—my brother and I determined that the power supply for my laptop had basically died. Without my laptop, I was forced to rely on the school library’s computers for most of my homework.That was great incentive to do it efficiently—who really wants to spend all day in the library?And then, after getting back to my apartment after supper (or whenever), I was without my laptop all night.It was pleasant—I read, I wrote in my journal, I talked to my friends, I read some more, I thou…

Fix the deficit, you.

The New York Times website has a nifty little gadget that lets you balance the budget… well, theoretically anyway. It’s set up with check-boxes that you select, and as you select options (either cuts to spending, or tax hikes) two diagrams at the top show the headway you’ve made in closing the budget gap.The U.S. House Republican whip has a project called YouCut which operates on the same principle of you-solve-the-problem. It has more options, I hear, but is designed to work on a weekly, case-by-case basis. The difference with this one is that it actually makes a difference: it’s weekly because the winning cut is put to an up-or-down vote in the House of Representatives.These things are fun. The one on the NYT website and came up with this: 20% saved by raising taxes, 80% saved by cutting spending.

Dancing with the… kids

I’m doing a presentation on music from the Río de la Plata area on Monday. In preparation, I was looking for some good videos to illustrate the kinds of music I’ll be talking about. And I ran across this:

Going goth

This was for campus dress-up day (for Halloween of course). I wanted to do something different.I had friends say they’d never have imagined me in a goth look.

Theology and relationship

“Christianity isn’t a religion; it’s a relationship.”That’s fine. But make sure it really is a relationship. Here’s what I mean:This phrase is sometimes used to avoid talking about theology & doctrines, or to imply that theology & doctrine is not worth the time spent on it. But, theology & doctrines are basically man’s pursuit of knowing God more. If you don’t know anything about a person, can you really know a person?If I say I love someone with all my heart, yet I can’t describe this person with anything less general than “wonderful” or “awesome”—or I don’t even know any of that person’s nicknames—what kind of loving friend am I?

This is my dad asking about my love life.

My dad was at work this afternoon. Slow day, so he called me and we chatted a couple times. (He had to hang up at one point to take care of some people that showed up.) We talked for about 27 minutes total, 15 minutes the first time then 12 minutes a little later.This is what I love about conversations with my dad: He’s hilarious. For example—once in a while, he will ask if I have any romantic relationships or anything. However, he doesn’t awkwardly ask if I have a boyfriend. He always asks creatively. Today, this is how he broached the subject of my (nonexistent) love life:“So—I’m going to sound like a father now. In what decade to you plan to get married?”I laughed and told him this decade, I supposed.“OK. You know, if you plan to get married in this decade, there are certain steps to be taken. Have you taken any of those steps?”I told him not at this point, no. From that he asked:“So, does this mean you have a glimmer in your eye?”Again, I laughed. He then informed me that I would …

My first car

I bought it this afternoon. :)

Disney princess movies, post #1,982

My friend made an astute observation today as we watched “Happily Ever After,” a Snow White sequel made in the early ‘90s (and a movie which I didn’t bother paying attention to).If the Disney princess movies set up unrealistic expectations in the minds of young women, with their Princes Charming riding in on white horses, do those movies also give young men unrealistic expectations of beautiful, helpless women who can do anything in high heels and dresses?

I hate CCM.

I’ve writtenbefore about my sporadic search for good Christian music to sing along to. Or, what I would consider good Christian music. I have my own ideas about what that label requires, and they have lately been crystallizing into solid form when before they were only hazy hunches.I want non-cliché music. That’s all.(Warning: a very long post follows.)

Canta la música

And I’m supposed to be at work tomorrow morning, 7:45. Why am I up? Oh right. I’m in college. I do silly things like this.To update:I got suckered into being lead singer for a class band at my college’s upcoming celebration of Latina culture. (I’d write Latino culture, but la cultura is a feminine noun.)I had to write a difficult article for my college newspaper’s website about the suicide of a student at my college.And I have enjoyed being back with some of my best friends at college.Just sayin’, I love singing in Spanish about as much as I love singing in English. I’m at the point (have been for a while, actually) where I can simply think the meaning behind the words without concentrating on what the words are saying. I know these songs well enough, and the language, that I can get beyond the mere words that convey the meaning. It’s fascinating.

Multiple-choice questions

It’s been a while.Question: Why do I feel dumber and dumber every day? Is Facebook sucking my intellect from me?Question #2: Why can I never remember what I wanted to blog about?Question #3: How in the world did I forget my purse when I left?Feel free to answer any or all of the questions, as you please.

The beginning of the end...

...is at hand! Run for your liiiiives!!!

Well, not really. I've just begun (=the beginning) my senior year of college (=the end). I have a very convenient class schedule, and I think I will like all my classes, and my jobs; in addition, I'm helping launch our college student media website... which is going to be mostly the newspaper stuff with some video thrown in. But it'll be really neat to finally have that website. (I've been wanting one for four years.)

Also, I got all moved into my new apartment with my new (and familiar) apartmentmates this past weekend. (It was a very hectic weekend.) We finally have a microwave but we're still working on getting the cable to work and acquiring a DVD player.

I finally have a little free time to get caught up on little things, and to get crackin' on my big projects.

Found out this weekend that my local Wal-Mart still sells fabric!! I might just go there this weekend and buy some to make a medieval dress.

What else to tel…

Caution: freezer contents aren’t frozen forever.

Yes, here it is, the third (and final, I think) installment of the freezer saga, posted early because I was in a writing mood and had a little time. (Parts one and two previously.)So, there I was, happily pulling spices and rye flour from the tub on the kitchen floor and loading them into a plastic basket to be put into the chest freezer in the garage.*Sniff* something smells strange……very strange.Turns out, Mom accidentally left a cow tongue out of the kitchen freezer.A cow tongue, you see, which was now very stinky, smelly, gross, and unappetizing.(Not that it was ever meant to be appetizing in the first place. The cow tongue was an AWANA Council Time illustration piece that my mom has used for years—ever since I was in AWANA, I think, so nigh on eight years now. For those who don’t know, AWANA Council Time is like a short children’s Sunday School meeting.)Back to the cow tongue. To make things even ickier (is that a word?) this cow tongue had leaked… some type of fluid along part o…

The saga of the freezer continues

So, you may now read the rest of the freezer story….We left the freezer on the driveway for a couple days to completely thaw out, defrost, and otherwise be rid of the layers and layers of ice coating the entire inside. We even tossed out some large ice pieces partway through the defrosting process.And then came cleaning. Which involved turning the freezer on its side, thereby dumping the goop (and gross bit of meat that had been embedded in the ice), and aiming the garden hose into it.I got all wet. Not comfortable.Anyhow. Once the gunk and grossness was generally removed from the freezer, it needed a thorough scrubbing. I had to go to work, so Mom took over from there.I returned to find a shiny white freezer sitting upright, drying, in the driveway. Very nice.It sat that way for a while. Not so nice.We finally got to move it back into the garage, where it belonged, after it had sat out for a couple days drying from the thorough cleaning. Of course, we picked the one day it rained, so…

One week until move-in…

…and all my projects are finally wrapping up.

1. The church photo directory. I’m getting all the photos from the photographer today, and it should be a snap placing them all into the document. Then, PDFing the document, and sending it on to the assistant pastor to get it to the printer… and voilá, I should be all done with this.

2. I actually got the neighboring town’s coroner’s office to fax an autopsy report to the newspaper! And all it took was a little specific information, a couple phone calls, some courtesy, and some patience. Well, the patience thing was easy, since I got so busy I forgot to call back until a week later… which worked out. (The lady I talked to had also gotten busy, so we both picked up where we left off at the same time!)

3. One more week left of work at the warehouse!!! I’m so glad it’s almost over.

4. Gearing up for the semester of editing the campus newspaper. Well, I got everybody to pick some assignments, and did my own; and the ads manager and I got toget…

This is a freezer. No, the ice doesn’t belong.

You know a chest freezer needs defrosting when there is old meat actually embedded in the ice along the walls of the freezer.I helped empty out a medium-sized chest freezer today—one which hadn’t been defrosted in years. It had ice built up a hand’s-breadth thick along all the sides of the freezer, and even had ice building up inside the lid. (Therefore, the lid would not stay up like it ought to, and would slam on your head if you weren’t careful.)So, I proceeded to pull the contents out, parcel by parcel. The family staples (bread, milk) had already been reduced on purpose, in preparation for the large defrosting task, but there was still quite a bit of foodstuffs left.Much of the foodstuffs was comprised of meat. Oh, and little freezer baggies full of cut-up rhubarb. Anyways, I believe I tossed all of the meat except one large turkey into the handy-dandy garbage bag I had next to me.Mostly because it was all from the 1990’s or something.No seriously! There were two parcels of meat …

Lazy, hazy days of summer… not…

The nice thing about finding interesting links is that it’s a ready-made blog post. If I’m too tired or too rushed to actually come up with something interesting myself, I can say “hey! look at this!” and it counts as a blog post.But when I’m not having a relaxing summer—on the contrary, when I’m working overtime and helping a lot at church—it’s hard to sit down and write something original for ze blog.That, and sometimes blogging is relegated to 2:30 A.M., when I’m hardly awake, much less cognizant and creative.So I shall sleep. Goodnight.

Caring for the orphans

As you may recall, I’m participating in a Boundless Webzine summer challenge. One of this week’s tasks had to do with adoption, and I found out that Focus on the Family had a website devoted to the ministry of adopting children: ICareAboutOrphans.org.It fits the mission of Focus on the Family, so it shouldn’t surprise me; also, it appears as thorough and organized as most of the other FotF ministries do. I just found it incredibly interesting……especially since a presentation in church today emphasized the church’s call to care for the widows and orphans (and orphans was particularly pointed out, in this case).…and especially because I’ve already come to respect two particular families in my church who have adopted multiple children through the local foster care system. (One lady ended up with 24 children, 3 of whom were biological.)

Introversion and the church

I read an article today on the Boundless Webzine called “An Introvert Goes to Church.” At the risk of sounding cliche and vague, it resonated with me—by which I mean, I felt like I could have written this.A few of my favorite parts:Much of our common church life is geared toward extroverts. We're encouraged to talk openly about everything God might be doing in our lives, pray out loud for long periods of time, shout out answers to questions asked from the pulpit, get involved in many different activities, "reach out," mix 'n' mingle, and enjoy goofy games with the singles group. In many ways, the church is an extroverts' world.I am fairly certain that even if you could give me a million years' worth of Sunday morning gatherings, I would never connect significantly with anyone in them. If I'm going to make friends and enter into church life, I have to take steps to get to know people in a smaller and more up-close environment.Filling a role, with a spe…

Where did my friends go?

I was reading the 33 Things posting on Evangelical Outpost, and noticed this little infographic:(Click to enlarge, I think.) First, I noticed the little red snakes. Then, I noticed the bigger yellow snakes. And then, I noticed the huge green snakes.But the yellow snakes are what intrigue me. Why do so many leave evangelical churches for mainline churches or no church at all?(I figure the Catholic snakes might just be children who grew up in Catholic schools, for whatever reason.)

Why I don’t go to Harvard, either

Ross Douthat wrote a fascinating column for the NYT yesterday called “The Roots of White Anxiety,” in which he explored how the admissions process at elite private universities, aided by affirmative-action policies, tends to make white, working-class students a minority in those theoretically diverse student bodies.Nieli highlights one of the study’s more remarkable findings: while most extracurricular activities increase your odds of admission to an elite school, holding a leadership role or winning awards in organizations like high school R.O.T.C., 4-H clubs and Future Farmers of America actually works against your chances. Consciously or unconsciously, the gatekeepers of elite education seem to incline against candidates who seem too stereotypically rural or right-wing or “Red America.”Maybe it’s best that I didn’t bother applying to Harvard. I was president, secretary, and news reporter for several years in my local 4-H club, and was secretary for a couple years in the county 4-H …

Boundless challenges… week one

And so much for posting digests.The first week of the Boundless Summer Challenge was “Relationships Week.” Meaning, most of the challenges had to do with “significant others,” as if that kind of relationship constituted 9/10ths of the relationships in life. No comment on how unimpressed I was by this beginning. But I did it anyway (mostly).I won’t post the notes I wrote on Facebook here. Instead, a few links with a few thoughts:First/second challenge involved reading 38 pages of dating advice. Really. No, I don’t agree with some of what he said. The guy advocates a courtship model, essentially, and some of it comes across as if he’s saying “this is what the Bible says, no ifs, ands or buts” though he does say that good Christians disagree on interpretations. I think he’s legalistic, but he does make good points about where dating as commonly practiced tends to fail us. Third challenge was to memorize Romans 12:9-13: Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. …

“I like…”

“I like Facebook.”“I like Blogger.”That’s nice.“Facebook’s utility for sharing whole packages of information, be it made of audio-visual elements, simply photos, or even short snippets of thoughts, is unmatched. In addition, the ease with which three or more users may interact over such elements is particularly striking.”“You speak the truth; however, Facebook hardly lends itself to short-form, well-thought-out writing that is meant to be read without distractions; and its standardization prohibits any one person or organization from developing a distinctive, memorable look. Blogger permits this, and furthermore allows any reader to, well, read and comment, which Facebook at this point restricts.”Now we’re getting somewhere.Now to fully explain my point. It seems that Facebook’s “like” button is permeating the whole world of the Internet, and this development disturbs me. Why should everything be simply “liked”? Cannot we have any concurrence or promotion, at least, if not actual eval…

The intersection of hurt, freedom, and smart business

From one of my favorite humor blogs, Indexed:

In other news, I read 38 pages of dating/relationship advice over the weekend (...) and am memorizing Romans 12:9-13 today, all as part of the Boundless Summer Challenge. I'll be posting a Facebook note tonight, theoretically, regarding the Bible passage. And, as promised, I'll try to post some excerpts of my Facebook notes here--maybe not as a digest, and probably before the week's end.

A summer challenge

One more thing for me to do this summer. Why do I do this to myself?Hopefully because I like it and it’s good for me!Check out that link. It’s a month-long challenge put on by the folks over at the Boundless blog, and its intent is to deepen each participant’s walk with God. Sounded like a good idea to me.So, for the next month I’ll be posting a note a day on Facebook. Which, as you may guess, is not exactly my idea of a good time—no antipathy towards writing, just towards Facebook. But it’s part of the challenge, and the rest of it sounds like it’ll be decent so I’ll put up with that small part.If you’re already connected with me over Facebook, feel free to read and comment on my notes! I may or may not be posting best-of compilations each week here on the blog for the benefit of those who would wish to maintain their Facebookless existence (*cough* John *cough*), but that remains to be seen, and will probably happen on Sundays.

What’s a 94-year-old to do? Paint!

As you may (or may not) be aware, I’m writing a few articles this summer for my local paper. My latest one was just published yesterday—in the Sunday paper, on July 4th, and just inside on page A3—and it was about a little old lady who’s recently decided to be an artist.The link will only work for a couple weeks, maybe a month, before it sinks into the pay-per-view archives, but until then you can check it out.A little tidbit that’s not in the article: She’s painted a rendition of the famous “Christ knocking on heart’s door,” and won a ribbon with her painting at her town’s festival. She gave her most recent painting, a waterfall scene, to her doctor, who plans to hang it in his lobby.

Talk about a double entendre

Consider this children’s song I heard today, while visiting the second Family Camp this year:“I think I’m gonna throw up
I think I’m gonna throw up
I think I’m gonna throw up
My hands to the Lord.”There’s more, too. Full video of lyrics with the music is on YouTube, of course. Slightly more commentary below it. Really? I don’t think I’d especially want my kids scampering around my house singing that. (If I had any. Or if I babysat them.)My mom thinks it’s cute for little kids (think kindergarten through 2nd grade). It seems to me like it’s making a mockery of praising God. Something just doesn’t feel right about this song.Then again, I’m also not seven years old, nor am I a fan of bathroom humor.

Addendum: Bride and Prejudice, a second time

Yep. My dad and I watched it again—at his behest. That makes twice in one single week.And I still loved the movie!Reasons?I can recognize all the little episodes in the movie as adaptations from episodes in the book. Take the sister’s snake dance, for instance. Totally a ripoff of Mary’s embarrassing pianoforte performance.Music. Awesome.My dad watches this with me. And he says it’s his new favorite movie.And to top off the astounding occurrence, we watched Becoming Jane, too—this same night. Not as fun of a movie—weird acting I thought, but that could be just me—and of course, not a musical, so it would be hard pressed to top Bride & Prejudice. Overall not a movie I’d bother watching more than once.My mom and I were guessing throughout the movie which Austen character the leading man was supposed to resemble. I settled on Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility, with a dash of Darcy thrown in at the beginning, but I could also see some Wickham in there too.Of course, we were discus…

Mid-year Jane Austen fix (Bollywood style)

This morning—before my brother was up—my dad and I decided to watch Bride and Prejudice, the Indian (like from India) rendition of my all-time favorite novel by a similar name. And man, am I glad we did!I think the most fascinating part of this movie was all the color. Every woman in the movie wore a brightly-colored sari, and of course with costume changes the choice of brightcolors changed. The camera shots took advantage of all the color involved, especially during the song-and-dance scenes.Oh yes—this was a musical! Which made it even better (and even less likely to be tolerated by my brother, who fortunately still has not emerged from his room). This was definitely a Bollywood musical; the music was identifiably Indian (think Slumdog Millionaire) though most of the songs were sung in English.Of course, the names from Austen’s novel had to undergo some changes to become part of the Indian culture, so Elizabeth became Lalita, Jane became Jaya, and so on with all the Indian characte…

Post number 503 (and that’s no joke)

I’ve had this personal blog since August of 2006… so we’re coming up on 4 straight years of blogging at one domain. Before that—as some of you will remember—I had a blog at the now-defunct KleverBlogs from January 2005 until the move here.And today we celebrate 503 posts on this blog! *starts throwing confetti**starts cleaning up confetti*In addition, my e-mail tells me (via a holy and devoted e-mail folder of blog comment notifications) that I have received 753 comments (“replies”) to posts here at the blog. Of course, that does not count the comments that came when the automatic e-mail notifier wasn’t working. But since it’s the only official number I have, we’ll go with that.Congratulations to da_baum for posting the 750th comment!Here’s to another four years of my blogging. But most importantly, to another four years of random comment threads!

New theme—a keeper this time

So I reckon that about half of you already know I changed the theme—or rather, that I told you specifically that I had changed it. The rest of you, now, shall get an explanation!Reasons I changed my theme:I like my whole secretary-desk-themed titles and modifications. Any chance to use the word “amanuensis” is worth it. So I needed a blog look to match.I also needed visual confirmation of the blog’s name.I had an awesome fountain pen picture that I had stopped using. It is now in use again. This is probably the main reason.I like books and writing. Obviously. I mean, that’s half of what I write about on my blog, right?This seems to be a more serious, or more thought-provoking, theme. (If a theme can provoke thought.) The purple one was gorgeous but just didn’t match the tone of what I think a lot. At least, that which I choose to publish. There’s plenty of thoughts running around in my brain that would match quite nicely with the cute flowery purple-and-blue theme… but they mostly hav…

On keeping a personal blog

As you know, this blog has basically no point. It is simply the airing of various observations, fascinations, and rants that find their source in the fount of my mind.That is, I write whatever I feel like writing.But I do not write every time I feel like doing so… not on this blog, at least. Much of my writing is instead left in my journal, or on scrap paper in notebooks strewn about my room. That’s because I often write to clear my head and to organize my thoughts. Most of my writing is, in fact, private—not for public consumption.Some think that to write is to be read—that there is no purpose to writing if the words on paper (or screen) are never intended to be read by someone else—but I think those who write will understand an article I found linked off of some blog or other that I frequent (I don’t remember which one right now).For many of us who love the act of writing—even when we are writing against a deadline with an editor waiting for the copy—there is something monastic abou…

Good or bad: A killer’s brand-new life

I read an article on Yahoo! News today about a man who killed another person in Montana back in the 1950s, skipped out on parole about 20 years after that, and managed to hide in plain sight for several decades until the victim’s grandson tracked him down.This man, Frank Dryman, went by the name Victor Houston while he lived in Arizona, started his own wedding-chapel business, and even married a woman (who knew nothing of his past until he was apprehended)."They [law enforcement] just forgot about me," said Dryman, in his first interview since being caught and sent back to the prison he last left in the 1960s. "I was a prominent member of the community."And what does he have to say about his misdeeds? Well, to quote the article, “he is not kindly disposed to the victim’s grandson,” who found him with some private investigative help."I can't blame him for what he did," Dryman said. "But I think it was so wrong he spent so much money getting me her…

Copy-editing is a dying art

My mom sent this in a forward this morning. I couldn’t stop giggling. This is just a small taste of my kind of humor…. all the comments below the headlines are not my own; rather, they were part of the e-mail as sent to me.Proofreading is a dying art, wouldn’t you say?Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter
This one I caught in the SGV Tribune the other day and called the Editorial Room and asked who wrote this. It took two or three readings before the editor realized that what he was reading was impossible!!! They put in a correction the next day.Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
No crap, really? Ya think? Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Now that's taking things a bit far!Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
What a guy!Miners Refuse to Work after Death
No-good-for-nothing' lazy so-and-so's!Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
See if that works any better than a fair trial!War Dims Hope for Peace
I can see where it might have that eff…

“Map of Online Communities”

I love maps.I love to hate Facebook. (Or something like that.)So, you can guess how much I love this.From xkcd, where the larger version may be viewed and laughed at. It appears to be slightly out of date (I’d guess that Facebook is a wee bit bigger than it appears on this map), but still entertaining. I happened to see this graphic over my brother’s shoulder a few minutes ago.

A question about e-readers and Kindles and Nooks (oh my!)

I’ve been reading a book called Writing Space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print (2nd ed.) by one Jay David Bolter. It’s about the Internet and how it relates to what we have known as reading and writing. It’s fairly interesting, although a bit jargony and academic-sounding. (What can you expect?)One part got me thinking. This book says one of the Internet’s major advantages is the ability to hyperlink, like this. So, since e-readers, Kindles, and Nooks are all digital “reading spaces” (shall we say), do they let you create your own links? For example, if I read some particularly fascinating sentence in GKC’s Orthodoxy, and then later I’m reading C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and I notice that Lewis addresses the same issue, can I tell the e-reader to make its own little link between the two books?Providing, that is, that I have the time and inclination to go back to the first book (Orthodoxy in this instance) and find the part I’m remembering… but considering that e…

On WJI: Felons find job training

One project that I had worked on quite a bit, but had to give up, was a story on a nonprofit organization that had just started providing job training for former prison inmates in New York.I didn’t want to give it up, though, so I didn’t really. I kept corresponding with my contact, and though I could not put together a convergence project (i.e., a story with video and slideshow and audio to accompany it), I ended up with a decent print story with a few photos. That story was just posted online today.And the best part about this story was working with my contact. She was amazingly cooperative—not a common experience for a journalist—and even went so far as to stay up late just to find me an official document stating New York’s recidivism rate. I have an e-mail from this lady date-stamped at 11:26 at night, after she was already worn out after a full day at various New York prisons and looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend. I would never have asked her to do that, but she went th…

Home, sweet home…. by bus

I made it home.After spending 24 of the last 40 hours on a bus or in a van.(By which I mean, 20 hours by bus from Manhattan to my cousins’ place, then more than 4 hours from my cousins’ to home. Time spent on bus layovers was made up for by driving from the bus station to my cousins’ and from there to the graduation ceremony.)How am I not crazy?Two good-sized novels pass the time quite pleasantly. (I read some of my favorites, Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott.)I much prefer being chauffeured over driving myself. Go figure. (That’s why I loved the public transportation options in NYC.)Simon and Garfunkel provide a perfect soundtrack to a trip to New York City. Seriously, half their songs are specific to Manhattan. I loved it.It is actually possible to sleep on a bus. (Not too comfortably, and not too long, but it is possible.)Mothers are fun to talk to on long van trips.And sisters supply a great variety of songs to sing along to.Staring out the window has its benef…

Quotes on my Facebook profile

(Just for some meager amusement while I spend all day tomorrow on a bus and all the next day out of reach of the Internet. Sweet dreams.) There's a loyalty that's deeper than mere sentiment
And a music higher than the songs that I can sing
The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance
I owe only to the Giver of all good things...
--Rich Mullins But there's more to this life than living and dying,
More than just trying to make it through the day;
More to this life, more than these eyes alone can see,
And there's more than this life alone can be.
--Stephen Curtis Chapman For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love
I'll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
And with every breath I take, I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love.
--Avalon Be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my …

More about New York’s Fleet Week

[tweetmeme style="compact" only_single="false"] My entire convergence news package about Fleet Week is up on the WJI Times Observer (the video was posted here yesterday). Be sure to check out the slide show for some nice photos (if I do say so myself). :)My previous projects have been about immigrants overcoming the language barrier and a new pedestrian-friendly design for 34th Street right here in front of the Empire State Building. (Those also have slideshows and an audio piece.) And tomorrow? Well, we’ll see when we get there, but another package will be completed Wednesday night. Then we’ll be working on a radio piece, 60-90 seconds, and I have something rather interesting in mind for that, I think. We’ll see how everything pans out.Tonight, though, I’m going to try to do something non-journalistic and quite touristy—I’m going to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Pictures will be forthcoming provided I get somebody to go with me! (I think I have two apartment-mat…

Fleet Week in NYC

Today, I learned why I’d seen so many uniformed military men passing through Manhattan: This weekend is the height of New York City’s Fleet Week, when members of the Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy descend on the city for a sort of shore leave. There is a ton of stuff going on in Times Square, including the Navy Band Northeast (which was this evening) and some drilling from the Coast Guard’s Silent Drill Team (which was fantastically fun).Coming tomorrow: a video about the drill team! I got some interviews with members of the drill team after they were done drilling, and one explained to me the process of becoming a part of the drill team. Look for it!

WJI: The biggest thing I’ve learned recently

In the last few days, I’ve gotten drummed into my psyche one important journalistic item: Get the name and contact information of everyone, absolutely everyone, that you talk to. Including the receptionist at the organization, or the passerby you videotape commenting on the mayor’s latest initiative.
I’ve learned this by forgetting to do it. So far it hasn’t hurt me too much—but I know it might in the future. That’s why I’m trying to make it a habit to ask people for their names and e-mails, at least, and often phone numbers as well (if I don’t already have it—I’ve been calling organizations on the phone lately).

Moral: Just read the sign.

I was up way too late last night. (Don't tell my mom. *wink* ) First of all, I was out covering my current story until quite late, then I stayed up even later to get laundry done. I'd have done the laundry Sunday night but the little laundry card machine was out of laundry cards. *sigh*

So I was up till 1:30 waiting for the dryer to get done. And I take the elevator four floors down... and walk around the corner to the laundry room... and find the door securely locked. The large sign in one of the windows to the laundry room proclaimed the room's hours:
OPEN DAILY 7AM -- 1AM You'd think I'd have seen that sign earlier. The laundry waited until this morning to be removed from the dryer.

WJI: Ten things I've learned.

1. Tell the story. Find the story. Make it a story. Personalize the story. It's a story that needs to be told, and it needs to be coherent and compelling.

2. Show the story. Use a little color. Don't say that "she was happy." Say that "she smiled widely when I told her the news."

3. Work together. ("Work, work together...") It's a lot easier to do your job if someone's helping you, and then you can help out your partner. You play off each other's strengths.

4. Windows Live Movie Maker is the least capable video maker possible.

5. New York streets make sense, and it takes half an hour to walk to the Hudson River from the Empire State building.

6. Don't talk while you're trying to take video. That's your natural sound you're obliterating!

7. Get some variety in your photos and videos, both in composition and in content. Don't take all your pictures of the same two things.

8. Waking up at 5:40 A.M. can be worth it.

9. …

World Journalism Institute: A Morning with Pulliam

I hardly have time to write anything--I'm spending a solid 12 hours a day solely on class and homework. (As in, I have to be in the classroom before 8:30 in the morning and I don't get back to my room until after 8:30 at night.) But I don't care.

The WJI program is amazing. It's the biggest challenge I've had in journalism--definitely on the level with my challenge in my Spanish major of being plopped into a Spanish-speaking household when barely able to string two sentences together in Spanish.... if not even more challenging. I'm learning from Russ Pulliam today, who's a senior editor at the Indianapolis Star (woohoo Indiana!) and whose family has been in newspapers for a few generations. From reading a collection of his editorials and features in preparation for this course, I thought he'd be in-your-face and blunt.

I couldn't have been farther from the truth. He's very Midwestern, as he said himself, where people are polite and nice--at leas…