Friday, April 28, 2006
Embrace the Lame
1. I own and still enjoy listening to this Wilson Phillips album. Yes, I have it on CD. Shut up.
2. I have an unhealthy level of love for Alias. Still. I know the show's been kinda lame for the last few seasons, but that doesn't stop my Alias love. (And I swear, it's not just because of Michael Vartan. Sigh.) I own and wear a "Who's Your Spy Daddy?" t-shirt, and I read the recaps and occasionally the fan forums on TWoP.
3. I know all the lyrics to DC Talk's Free At Last album, by heart. (And I do mean all.)
4. I own the extended edition DVDs of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. I saw all these movies on opening night, and watched them multiple times in theaters. I've considered having a LOTR marathon, in which all three movies (yes, extended editions) are watched back to back. But I haven't yet found anyone else who is as excited by the idea as I am.
5. I read and thoroughly enjoyed Good in Bed.
6. I love the Traveling Pants books and was very indignant about the complete travesty they made of Lena's storyline in the movie.
7. I watched the entire first season of American Idol and still harbor a little resentment that Tamyra was voted off. I never saw From Justin to Kelly, though. Lines must be drawn somewhere.
8. I can't count the number of times I've been to the Sound of Music Sing-a-long at the Hollywood Bowl. I have yet to participate in the costume parade.
9. I will watch movies that I already own when they are shown on TV. Crappy reception and commercials, whatever. It's an event. I love it.
10. I have devoted much time and thought to the theory of The Continuum, discussed here, here, and here. Someday Kristy and I will assemble it in its entirety, and then the world will finally see the inherent likeness between such diverse faces as Robin Williams, Steve Zahn, and my brother-in-law. (It's all in the mouth.)
Now, it's your turn. Let out the lame for the world to see, that we may all glory in our lameness together! Post a list on your blog, or throw out a few items of your own here in the comments. Embrace the lame within!
Thursday, April 27, 2006
What is "Embrace the Lame," you ask? Dave explains here. It's a day to confess to things you're kind of embarrassed to admit you enjoy, because others might think they're lame. The idea is that in bringing our collective lameness out into the light, we will discover that deep down, we're all kinda lame. And that really, it's ok to be lame.
My list will be posted tomorrow.
The awesomeness of ETL is such that I have already rediscovered a childhood obsession of mine, in which I thought I was alone. I am not alone. We are none of us alone. This, my friends, is the beauty of the internet.
Embrace the Lame. Friday, April 28, 2006. You know you want to.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
What have you read?
Review the following list of books. Boldface the books you've read, italicize those you might read, cross out the ones you won't, put an asterisk beside the ones on your bookshelves, and place brackets around the ones you've never even heard of.
The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
*The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
*To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
*The Time Traveler's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman) I've read (and own) the first of these. I might read the other two. I've heard they're good, and I'm open to reading them, but I have a feeling the later ones are gonna make me mad, given what I've read about Pullman and his agenda. I did like the first one, though.
*Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J. K. Rowling)
The Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story (George Orwell)
Catch 22 (Joseph Heller) Not high on the list, but I might get around to it someday.
*The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
*The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon)
Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
* Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
*1984 (George Orwell)
*Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J. K. Rowling)
*One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
*Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut) (Kristy, I again apologize that I told you to read this. I didn't mean to give you nightmares.)
[The Secret History (Donna Tartt)]
*Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
* The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)
Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides)
Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell) This one is definitely on my list--I've read such great reviews.
*Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
*Atonement (Ian McEwan) Just haven't gotten to it yet. Maybe on the plane to South Africa...
*The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway) Hemingway. Sigh. Maybe someday.
The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood) I'm interested. But again, not high on the list.
*Cold Mountain (Charles Frazier) I read such rave reviews of it that I picked it up once at a library book sale. I'm just never really in the mood for the Civil War.
*The Alchemist (Paulo Coehlo)
The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton) I like Wharton. Someday.
Who are your friends?
When people meet people like you and me, the first thing they should do is run to the bookcase and check things out. Really. I like showing people my collection not because I want to show off how many books I have or to make them think I'm smart. It's more like, 'These are my friends. Do you know them? Do we have any in common? Who are your friends?'
I love this, because it's so true. Books are enough of a part of my identity, that my bookshelves really tell a lot about who I am. Well, if you are familiar with my book-friends, I guess. Although if I start thinking about this too much, I feel the need to provide disclaimers for why I own the books I do. So I'm not going to think about that one.
I wonder if this is one subconsious reason I've quarantined my unread books in my room, instead of shelving them among the rest of my books. They're only potential friends just yet, so they shouldn't be free to roam the house for all to see. There's a metaphor here to get at...
Reading (what else do I do?)
I realized while reading this that I've gotten out of the habit of concentrating on lots of characters and intricate plot details. (My on-and-off reading certainly didn't help--I need to curb my book schizophrenia.) But I greatly enjoyed exercising that side of my reading again. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy this kind of thing: Scottish/English history, intrigue...and yes, Julie--I do indeed find Lymond extremely attractive.
"That," said Henry Lauder, closing his spectacles and throwing his pen in the wastepaper basket, "is a brain. If I were ten years younger and a lassie, I'd woo him myself."
If only he weren't fictional. ;-) Though I doubt I'd be able to hold my own with him in face-to-face banter.
After Game of Kings, I felt the need to spend last night reading children's lit. Saffy's Angel, by Hilary McKay, was wonderful. When Saffy's grandfather dies, the family finds a note pinned to his will: "For Saffron. Her angel in the garden. The stone angel." No-one in the family knows what this means, but Saffy doesn't dismiss it as easily as the others. The book is the story of how she discovers her angel. I loved the unique personalities of each of the kids in the family, and the way they interact with each other. I wasn't quite as taken with the characterization of the parents, but that's a minor point.
There's an especially endearing section which I must quote.
The car behind swerved all over the road too, avoiding Caddy, and the driver shook his fist.
wrote Rose indignantly, and then, with Indigo's help, a whole series of messages:
THERE WAS A FOX
SHE IS CRYING.
SO YOU HAD BETTER NOT
TRY PASSING US YET.
I WILL TELL YOU WHEN IT IS SAFE.
The driver of the car behind gave Rose a thumbs-up sign to show he understood, and a few minutes later Indigo was able to stop passing Caddy tissues and they could write,
IT WILL BE ALL RIGHT NOW.
"Everyone waves when they overtake," observed Caddy innocently, knowing nothing of Rose's messages. "I wonder why."
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Because what this blog needs is more pictures of cute kids
With Kristy in Santa Monica: the requisite sunny beach picture. Yes! Sun! Amazing!
It's baseball season! This kid loves his sports. Although maybe I shouldn't have been playing catch with him in the kitchen. While he was wearing his Easter outfit. Oh well.
I love this picture of Rebekah. It's so "look at me!" and yet so nonchalant at the same time--that little shrug along with her posing for the camera.
Driving home. The clouds were beautiful. (That's my dashboard cow, Bosie.)
Hit a little milestone on the odometer. 11,111. And look, I wasn't even speeding at the time!
Ah, corporate America
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Objective for 2006: revise tip sheet to delete tips that should be immediately obvious if you are even halfway intelligent.
Although, I must say that I am rather amused by there being an "If your manager is incorrect" option.
Friday, April 21, 2006
You have officially creeped me out. (Unless "crucify barbara" means something different in French. But still: stop.)
Thanks (but not really),
In which I reveal that I am a TOTAL fangirl
BUT...my VCR decided to be nice to me for once. It didn't eat the tape this time, but rather recorded both episodes in their entirety. So, last night I spent two glorious hours watching the newest episodes of Alias.
And I have the following to say: I told you nobody ever really dies on Alias. Yaaaaay!
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Quotes of the day
"absent an explanation of what putting a ferret into a formula means, this whole section is not coherent."
Yes, please do explain the ferret.
And later in the same review:
"a student might wonder how you replace the letter 'x' with a ferret."
You know, I often wonder that myself.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I'm greatly enjoying reading The Wild Iris, by Louise Gluck--a very timely birthday gift. I'm intrigued by Gluck's use of the second person and the natural imagery that's threaded through the entire volume. I feel like it's very much a book of poetry--a thematic whole, rather than just a collection of poems. Definitely recommended.
I've also been receiving daily poems emailed from Knopf. (There's another poem-a-day feature on poets.org, if you're interested in checking it out.) I keep getting behind in reading these daily poems--poetry needs more than a cursory glance and since I usually do just that in the mornings, I've been saving these for later. Below is one of the Knopf poems from last week, followed by a poem from one of my favorite poets. Enjoy.
One day the Nouns were clustered in the street.
An Adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.
The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.
The next day a Verb drove up, and created the Sentence.
Each Sentence says one thing—for example, "Although it was a dark rainy
day when the Adjective walked by, I shall remember the pure and sweet
expression on her face until the day I perish from the green, effective
Or, "Will you please close the window, Andrew?"
Or, for example, "Thank you, the pink pot of flowers on the window sill
has changed color recently to a light yellow, due to the heat from the
boiler factory which exists nearby."
In the springtime the Sentences and the Nouns lay silently on the grass.
A lonely Conjunction here and there would call, "And! But!"
But the Adjective did not emerge.
As the Adjective is lost in the sentence,
So I am lost in your eyes, ears, nose, and throat—
You have enchanted me with a single kiss
Which can never be undone
Until the destruction of language.
Naomi Shihab Nye
The D is desperate.
The B wants to take a vacation,
live on a billboard, be broad and brave.
The E is mad at the R for upstaging him.
The little c wants to be a big C if possible,
and the P pauses long between thoughts.
How much better to be a story, story.
Can you read me?
We have to live on this white board
together like a neighborhood.
We would rather be the tail of a cloud,
one letter becoming another,
or lost in a boy’s pocket
shapeless as lint,
the same boy who squints to read us
believing we convey a secret message.
Be his friend.
We are so tired of meaning nothing.
Monday, April 17, 2006
A Liturgy, a Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band (Rich Mullins)
Illinois (Sufjan Stevens)
Recovering the Satellites (Counting Crows)
The Crucible (Sandra McCracken)
(self-titled) Jars of Clay
My Calm//Your Storm (Caedmon's Call)
(self-titled) Tracy Chapman
Let it Die (Feist)
Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack
Our Hopes and Dreams (The Owls)
A Boot and a Shoe (Sam Phillips)
(This just wasn't a weekend for books on CD.)
Highlights of the weekend
Hanging out with Melinda on Friday night: "The answer to the question is always: 'Go to Spain.'"
Finally naming my car. (With help from Melinda and Starbucks.)
Getting to see Heather's first sonogram pictures.
Riding in the Mustang (one last time?) with Kristy: "Don't ever apologize for turning up the volume on The Cure."
Hearing my 2-year-old nephew say "Peace out, yo." Except it comes out as: "Peace out, lo." I love this kid.
Getting an Easter basket from my sister.
Hugs from people at church. I forget how much I miss that. One of the benefits of living far away and coming to visit? You get lots of hugs.
Call and response on Easter Sunday morning: "He is risen! He is risen indeed!"
Hope you all had a happy Easter.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Palm Sunday, Good Friday
When I was just a little church kid going to Sunday School, we would always make newspaper palm trees on Palm Sunday. I don't know if it was just a Baptist Sunday School thing or what, but Palm Sunday always makes me think of newspaper palm trees.
Palm Sunday is the day Jesus entered Jerusalem amid shouts of celebration. Within this story, there's an undercurrent of hypocrisy--I find it's inevitable that somewhere during the Palm Sunday service, it's mentioned that the same people who shouted "Hosanna!" on Palm Sunday were shouting "Crucify" just a few days later.
I realized on Sunday that I was feeling a bit self-righteous about the difference between the hosanna-shouters and myself. Because of course, I know better. I will praise Jesus on Palm Sunday and will be mindful of His sacrifice on Good Friday. I'm so smug in my enlightened frame of mind...and so unmindful of my own pride and my own failings. Really, I am no better. My profoundest moments of praise easily turn into moments of distrust and blame, when God isn't giving me what I think I want. And even in those times of praise, I can be pretty blind to my own faults.
But Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away." Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You." All the disciples said the same thing too.
Matt. 26: 33-35
I started thinking that it's a little strange that we echo the triumphal entry in our Palm Sunday celebrations, especially when it's mentioned that this time of praise gave way to condemnation and shouts of "crucify him!" It seems in a way that we're imitating insincere praise. But in pondering my own pride, I realized that one reason we echo their praises in this way is because our own hearts echo theirs.
My response to Jesus mirrors that of so many who went before. I get caught up in the changing mood of the crowd: I praise and adore, and then I shout for the death of the One who came to save. Like Peter, I exclaim that I'll never leave Him, and then I do the very thing I vowed not to do. And I run.
Ultimately, the shouts of "crucify him" on Good Friday don't negate the praise of Palm Sunday. Just because the shouts of "Hosanna" turned to shouts of "crucify" doesn't mean that the praise wasn't sincere in the first place. Just because praise turned to condemnation, doesn't mean the praise wasn't sincere. Even a Friday denial can be turned around with words of restoration. We praise, and we fail. And we will praise again.
There's a reason we walk through Easter week: through the celebration, the betrayal, and then His death. We walk through the praise, the condemnation, and the end of hope, and then all of that gives way to Easter morning, where everything is changed and nothing will be the same again. This walk is a journey into our own hearts--causing us to see our deep need and His great sufficiency--and beyond, into Easter's celebration of the One who can change the pride and the blindness we find within.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Happy 90th to Beverly Cleary
I have so many fond memories of the Ramona books:
- Brick Factory!
- Picky-Picky the cat
- Howie and his little sister (was it Willa Jean?)
- Ramona telling Beezus, "Turn on the dawnzer!"
- Ramona's fear over the gorilla with no bones that she imagined might ooze into their house at night
- The paper towel slipper she made when a dog ran off with her shoe
- Ramona finding the wayward diamond ring at her aunt's wedding
- The time she took a single bite out of apple after apple in the cellar, because the first bite always tastes the best
- The time Ramona and Beezus have to make dinner for their parents (does that happen after they complain about having to eat tongue?)
And just because I feel compelled to mention it: these illustrations are the ones I grew up with and any other depiction of Ramona just doesn't look like Ramona to me.
I came across this Cleary quote in an article about her birthday: "If we finished our work, the teacher would say, 'Now don't read ahead.' But sometimes I hid the book I was reading behind my geography book and did read ahead." I love that. When teachers said to not read ahead, I didn't listen either.
Actually, I only remember being told that by one teacher: Mrs. Frankland, in my first year at St. Mary's (equivalent of American 2nd grade). After being told specifically to only read the assigned story and not read ahead, my entire table promptly went home and read the whole reader. The next morning we were all excitedly discussing a story from the end of the book. But by the time it was actually assigned reading, we were all SO OVER Juliane in the Jungle. In second year, we had a much more sympathetic teacher who let us read at our own pace. My best friend Frances and I burned through the blue and the purple readers and were then allowed to pick books to read from a designated shelf. I loved that.
Anyway, in honor of Ramona and of Beverly Cleary's 90th birthday, please Drop Everything And Read today. Or at least do some Sustained Silent Reading.
Around Cardiff...with a coconut.
Heather--next time we're in Cardiff? Eric and Jude would totally be up for it.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
A picture is worth...
I love this picture from Saturday's Easter walk:
And I can't resist posting this one from the women's retreat a few weeks ago:
Where are we staying? Mazatlan? Margarita?
For this week...
Monday, April 10, 2006
Then on Saturday I got to be part of a "Family Easter Walk" at my church. I've often played the role of pregnant-at-Christmas Mary, but this time I was at-the-tomb Mary. It was a lot of fun to see the kids' reactions to our small drama and to see their excitement at the empty tomb. It was also rather amusing to hang out in the sanctuary later, still wearing Bible-times attire: one angel, 3 disciples, and Mary, just hanging out.
After we de-costumed, we headed to the 'bucks (as Lloydie would call it) to visit Elise, who was quite taken aback by the arrival of so many people she knew all at once! I geeked out by examining all the cool word cards, attempting to gather together a complete set. There was alphabetizing involved.
Church, friends, and book club rounded out the weekend. Good times. Not a terribly compelling weekend, but fun nonetheless. In spite of my mechanic finding a rat in my engine on Saturday. I'm not kidding; rather, I'm still grossed out. Let us speak of this no more.
Friday, April 07, 2006
On this day in 1327, one of the most important events in the history of poetry took place: The Italian poet Petrarch saw the woman he called Laura for the first time at a Good Friday service in the church of Sainte-Claire. He would go on to write dozens of sonnets to Laura, providing a model for generations of sonnet-writers, including Shakespeare. But he didn't publish those sonnets until 1374, almost fifty years after Petrarch saw Laura for the first time. Most historians now think Petrarch's Laura was Laura de Noves, the wife of a nobleman named Hugues de Sade. She died on April 6, 1348, twenty-one years after Petrarch had first seen her.
I discovered Petrarch's sonnets in a World Lit class while I was studying in Florence (rather appropriately). This is one of my favorites:
I go my way regretting those past times
I spent in loving something which was mortal
instead of soaring high, since I had wings
that might have taken me to higher levels.
You who see all my shameful, wicked errors,
King of all Heaven, invisible, immortal,
help this frail soul of mine for she has strayed,
and all her emptiness fill up with grace,
so that, having once lived in storms, at war,
I may now die in peace, in port; and if my stay
was in vain, at least let my departure count.
Over that little life that still remains to me,
and at my death, deign that your hand be present:
You know you are the only hope I have.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Be kind to your youth pastor
Cruelty to youth pastors has always been a quiet part of church life, under the guise of job preparation and "training a servant's heart," but some youth pastors are speaking out and saying the hazing has gone too far.
The cruelest we ever were to Nick was making him go out in the hot sun and change the cheesy message on the church sign. Oh, the days of working in the GHBC church office...
Thank you, Julie, for reminding me that Lark News exists.
Hunger and failure
I was listening to Sandra McCracken on the way to work, yay for birthday gifts. =) And while listening to the song "New Shiny Shoes," which kind of reminds me of a failed friendship in my past, the words twisted themselves around on me. I stopped feeling so empowered about a friend who failed me and started thinking about the ways I've failed a different friend. It was sobering when I thought about the "you" referring to me.
I got an email from this friend a couple weeks ago, and she's been on my mind. She was one of my best friends in high school, but moved away during our senior year. Contact with her since my first years of college has been minimal--we've gone different ways and we've both changed a lot. We reconnected almost 2 years ago now, discovering that we now live only about a 2-hour drive away from each other. But the reconnecting didn't really take...we saw each other once, and talked on the phone a couple of times. Occasional emails would affirm "We should get together!" but we never did. I should have tried harder, but I would fall back on the semi-cop-out answer that she wasn't making a huge effort to see me. I think neither one of us knew how to be friends with each other in a new context. I know I wasn't sure how to be her friend. But I didn't really try.
This last email said she'll be graduating in May, and moving to Texas in July. I won't even be able to go to her graduation, because it falls on the weekend I'm leaving for my South Africa trip. I feel in so many ways that I've failed her in our friendship. It was too much of an effort to bridge the distance of a couple hours' drive, or the distance that the years have made in our friendship. And I'm more sad about that than I can say.
New Shiny Shoes
It's been almost two years now
Since I saw you last
Sorry I remembered you anyway,
cause you won't escort me out of your past
So you better just leave me here
Cause I knew you when
Just take your new shiny shoes
You don't have to be my friend
Go ahead and walk away
Sever these last ties
I am nothing but a breath,
You're nothing but a lie
You got the last word when you left
Put me in my place
And you went off to your wild dreams,
Gone without a trace
While you followed a yellow brick road
To thine own self be true
And when you choose to go that way
In the end there's only you
Go ahead and walk away
Sever these last ties
I am nothing but a breath
You're nothing but a lie
High on the sound of your own name
And this fleeting fanfare
Our common ground is falling down
Cause it was never there
While I'm still wearing this same old dress
My heart has come alive
And I will wait for your return
If you'd ever change your mind
Go ahead and walk away
Sever these last ties
I am nothing but a breath
You're nothing but a lie
You're nothing but a lie
Monday, April 03, 2006
It's just not a party without muscle man drink charms
Fridays are usually bagel days at work...but the usual bagel benefactor was out of town, so there were no birthday bagels. But there was a birthday lunch and a birthday card and many happy birthday wishes.
The evening brought me a house filled with friends and laughter and many, many flowers. (And muscle man drink charms.) I am so very grateful for the wonderful friends I've made here and I had so much fun sharing my birthday with the girls...even if I managed to make several guys bitter by having a girls-only gathering.
My dear friend Melinda called at 11:45pm, getting in under the wire for birthday greetings on the day: "it's still your birthday, right?" It was so good to laugh and reminisce with her for a bit, before rejoining friends for the last minutes of Anne of Green Gables. "He touches her face!!!" Sigh. =)
If the birthday is any indication of things to come, 28 will be a wonderful year. Bring it on, 28.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Betcha can't listen just once
On that list right now:
If I Could Write – Sam Phillips
Bothered – Over the Rhine
Tear in Your Hand – Tori Amos
Nightswimming – REM
One – U2
Bleed to Love Her – Fleetwood Mac
Springtime Indiana – Sandra McCracken
Anna Begins – Counting Crows
Misguided Angel – Cowboy Junkies
Mushaboom – Feist
Peace – Rich Mullins
Go – Innocence Mission
Anybody else have songs that create this compulsion?