Thursday, October 6, 2011

Happy Birthday to a fellow Whovian.

Who wouldn't want a Doctor popping out of a cake? click the picture for the gif.
Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fun with Time

This is one of my favorites:

Yay. The words "wibbly-wobbly" feel great to say. We're discussing postmodernism in my Literature Seminar, and I am always wanting to use that term to describe things. It's my new definition of Postmodernism: a recognition that everything is a bit wibbly-wobbly.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Recent Ramblings

I've just returned from a superb week at Roxbury Camp, and felt it was about time for another blog post.
Three things God taught me last week:
1. The body of Christ is essential. Trying to be a Christian by yourself just doesn't work.
2. God doesn't always need to use explosive "I CALL YOU TO THIS" moments to point you to a place where he wants to use you; sometimes it's simply a faithful walk from one thing he puts in your path to another. If you keep waiting around for an explosion, you might be missing the quiet way he's prepared for you.
3. Don't rope Christ into a neatly set aside devotion time, Bible study, or Sunday morning. Live with him and expect him to show up to meet you all day, every day.
So, it was a most excellent week and one I hope not to forget.

Since returning I have been working on moving in to my apartment for the fall...which actually turned out to be more of an ordeal than I had originally thought.
On Saturday, when I was supposed to be moving from summer housing to fall housing, it turned out that the summer residents in my apartment weren't finished moving out; in fact, they weren't even close. Pressed for time, I asked the RAs if there was any place to put my things until they were finished. I would come back and move them on Sunday. So, they gave me a key to an apartment on the same floor and I just put everything in there. Everyone was supposed to be out by 1 pm of Saturday or be fined, so I figured, no problem, it will be definitely empty on Sunday.
What do I find when arrive on Sunday at 10:30 p.m?


 An accurate representation of my reaction

Most of the stuff was gone, but they still had furniture and trash in there, some dirty socks, and the mess...We are talking crumbs and paper all over every carpet, dirt from plants on bookshelves, crumbs on the kitchen floor, table and counters; the bathroom sink was absolutely covered in hardened soap scum and beard cuttings, the toilet had a ring of scum in it and the shower was also gross...frustrating. But, I had to move my stuff over, so I started doing that (My sister Evi was there helping me) and then at around 11, who should show up but the guy who lived there and some girls to finish moving. So they took out the couch and chair, and then left. I had work in the morning, and Evi had to drive back home early, so we got ready for bed, and then at 11:30, I heard a knock at the door and the guy was there with a vacuum and a tub of lysol wipes. He apologized for the moving out problem, and asked if then was an ok time to clean, and despite wanting to laugh bitterly at his bad timing and ill-preparation, (lysol wipes to clean an entire apartment?) I just told him that I was going to bed, but that I would leave the apartment unlocked so that he could clean. Which he did, but still left the toilet and the kitchen sink gross.

The moral of this story is...don't do this. Or if you do, at least leave a apologetic present, like a cake or something.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Some Thoughts on Saying Good-bye

This post is dedicated to anyone who is faced with saying good-bye to something soon, but especially to Gabby, who will be leaving SA in just a few days time.

It is my opinion that something that creates a large amount of Young Adult Angst (or YAA, which could represent well the sound I sometimes make when I fall victim to this type of angst) is the fact that young adults have to say good-bye to a lot of things. Childhood, college life, beautiful people and placesyou name it, we probably have to say good-bye to it. And especially with the last two things mentioned, often the "good"-byes don't really seem like they can be good. When your heart is breaking on a plane ride or drive home with the realization that you may not see that landscape and the people you've met for a very long time, or, as in a sadly large number of cases, you may not see them ever againit can be hard to find much "good" in leave-taking. 

Which is why I don't think we should try to mask the fact that it's very sad, and almost horrible in some ways. It's the death of living memories, after all. Once you leave, the place and the people will take on a haze that memory always takes: even the most vivid memories are statictaxidermied, if you will. Not the same as the living thing.

So when I think about the "badness" of good byes, I think about something that someone once told me in my last days at Oxford. The last Sunday we were there, a group of us went to St. Ebbes in Headington for church. It was a fantastic children's service that week, with some Christmas skits featuring little British kids with tea-towels on their heads—brilliant. Afterwards, as always, was a tea and biscuits and mingling time. We talked with an American who had been staying in Oxford for a while, his name was Jimmy. The regular St. Ebbes goers from The Vines wanted to say good-bye to him, since they'd gotten to know him a bit in months we'd been there. We talked about good-byes, coming to the same conclusion I've come to here, that they're pretty rough, but Jimmy said something that has stuck with me. I'm paraphrasing, so this isn't a direct quote, but he told us,

"There's something I've heard some of the Brits say here, and I like it a lot—instead of saying good-bye, they'll say "Go Well." I might not be able to call my leaving "good," but I can go well." 

To me, the phrase make it also feel less like the ending of something, and more like the beginning of something. I'm not leaving, but "going well" to another place. 

And though taxidermied memory takes over for real experience, there is still something good there: it is preserved. Not exactly as you knew it, but still preserved. And I've found that it is difficult to realize the profound effect that people and places have on you in the moments you are experiencing it. Life-changing events and experiences only become so once you've moved on from them and left them in the past. Otherwise, instead of live-changing, they simply become normalcy, something taken for granted. The old phrase, "you don't realize how important something is until it's gone" is very true. I sometimes wish that my heart didn't ache to go back to places, or see people, but if it didn't, how would I ever know those things were important to me?

         So, those of you who are leaving
  embrace the ache and Go Well into a new adventure.

                                       Sunrise in South Africa—courtesy of Gabby

Monday, July 11, 2011

"You're Scottish, why don't you fry something?"

Whenever I can't think of a blog post title, I'm just going to use a Doctor Who quote, ok? New Post, new rules.
Also, there are many links in here, but I assure you that they all are worthy of clicking.

It's been a little while, so short synopsis of things happened: some dear friends were married, I finished the Hunger Games series, I read North and South, I made it to the eleventh Doctor (nearing the end of series five, almost caught up!), and my Wodehouse  paper was accepted to a conference!

I am also resisting spending every penny of my salary on fun things on Etsy.

But I shall elaborate:

My thoughts on the Hunger Games
Of all the popular teen fiction out at the moment, I would say this is probably one of the best, at least to my knowledge. For starters, I actually read the entire series instead of saying "ho hum, another book trying to be Harry Potter," or barfing in my mouth a little because it's yet another Twilight-esque plot-line.
                            (Was that a little pretentious? Yes, yes it was.)

Also, who doesn't love a good dystopia novel? Collins practiced some excellent borrowing of both past and present themes that I really appreciated. By pairing ideas like the gladiatorial games of Rome and mythology of Theseus and the Minotaur with modern-day reality survival shows, she created a world that is both fictional enough to fascinate, but real enough to spark some real questions about ethics, and about whether the world of the Capitol and the Districts is the type of place our world could become someday. I feel like the series has real potential to get kids who mostly only read popular fiction to actually think about big ideas. So, that's my take on it.

My thoughts on North and South:
Number one--yes, I have heard of the mini-series and fully intend to watch it and adore the heck out of it. But as of yet, I haven't, so this will be my take on the book, not the film adaptation.
Number two--where has Elizabeth Gaskell been all my life? kudos to Libby Baker for alerting me to her existence. (Also Libby, that was pronounced koo-doss in proper British fashion). Basically, North and South combined some of the best things I like about Dickens and Austen and smooshed them together in a glorious tale of industrious romance. Addressing social issues of the day connected with industry? Check. Characters that you absolutely adore? Check. Interpersonal conflict and eventual beautiful reconciliation? Check.
One of my favorite bits of the book was how Gaskell set up dichotomies (North of England/South of England;Workers/Masters; Educated/Non-Educated; Male/Female etc) and then showed how both sides had things to learn from each other, that the middle ground was actually the most preferable. 
 Let's just say that when Mr. Thornton starts have pot-lucks with his workers, I was a little swoony. What a guy, learning from Margaret about the value of people (who by the way, after reading the description of her, I imagined looking like the lovely Marisa P.). In conclusion, it is absolutely worth reading.

My thoughts on Doctor Who:
DROOL. I am such a sci-fi nerd right now. I feel like I should start watching Star Trek after this, or Torchwood or Firefly. Unfortunately, next on the list are things like Sherlock and Robin Hood, so those will probably have to wait.
                                      The Doctor and Amy (from series 5, episode 5)
Oh yes, the new Doctor. He's different, but good. He seems less human than Tennant did, or rather less aware of the way humans do things. But I suppose that makes some sense, being freshly regenerated and being not actually human and all that. I also fully approve of the new costume. Bow ties and suspenders? yes very yes. I also believe he tries wearing a fez in the near future. Ha!

My thoughts on having paper accepted to conference:
Am I....a grown-up now?
Golly, if only it were that easy. Seriously though, it's on Oct. 8 and I am going to start practicing now. It's exciting and yet a bit scary.

Well, that was quite a bit of writing, and now it is lunch time.
Toodle pip!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oxford,T.S. Eliot, and Wood Ducks

Well, this is new, this blogging often thing! But I suppose I brought this on myself. Yesterday I did some hardcore reminiscing of Oxford, and nothing quite sparks the need to write in me like reminiscing. So, I wrote something that I've been meaning to write for a long time, based on an experience I had mid-way through term on my way to the EFL...or perhaps it was Wycliffe for lecture and tea on Wednesday. It's all right if it sounds too melodramatic or like it's trying to be one of the "deep, introspective" things. I'll fully admit that I aspire to be one of those deep, introspective people, but suspect I might never become one because farts make me laugh. So if this piece sounds fake, I apologize, I didn't mean it to be. I just might have been distracted by some passing of gas or something.

The Wood Duck

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance
–T.S. Eliot  "Four Quartets, Burnt Norton"

It was chilly. Not the type that makes you shiver as you walk, but the type that takes up residence in the tip of your nose as soon as you step out the door, to which the nose protests by running until it can breathe in warmer air. It’s a healthy sort of chill, one that gently reminds you that you are in fact alive. 

It was this type of reminder that caused me to stop on the path, on the bridge over that small daughter of the Thames tributary and realize that almost five weeks had passed. It’s a funny thing about time; it never can be measured by its duration, how long it feels—it almost always ends up being counted in other ways. In times opening a bright red door, in times pouring boiling water into a teacup, in words written, in miles traveled, in friends made.

The trouble is that in the middle of it, you forget to count these things—until a chill tweaks your nose, and suddenly you realize how much has happened, and is happening. The more experiences you have, the faster times feels. The world is turning.

So on that chilly day, I stopped on the bridge, and felt a bit paralyzed. Michaelmas term would be over before I realized it. Going backwards was impossible, but moving forward promised more of the same, being so caught up in the experience that I never stopped to look at it. 

So instead I watched the ducks. A gathering of mallards floated calmly in the water around bridge. And thena wood duck. He was the only one, his long-feathered head standing out among his companions. I had seen him before, other times that I had passed this bridge. But today I noticed him, and remembered that he had been there; every time I passed by and looked beside the bridge, that one solitary wood duck in a crowd of mallard brethren was there.

And suddenly the world stopped spinning for one moment: anchored to a constant wood duck—something living that didn’t seem to change, only returned and returned again to the waters by the bridge.

Of course, he will change. If I return to Oxford, there probably won’t be a wood duck by that bridge. Who knows, the bridge might even be gone. But he reminded me to take time to stop and watch, and anchor myself in something constant; he reminded me of God—

The still point of the turning world.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"But you've got a Northern Accent!” “Lots of planets have a north.”

I am nearly finished watching Doctor Who season 1 of the 2005 series, and so far I'm finding it most excellent. I'm not sure what my favorite episode so far is...I like the introduction of the Captain Jack, but that episode was also creepy as all get outzombie-like people in gas masks calling for their mothers? Eerie, to say the least.
Any way, that is all I will say for now. I will leave you with a picture of a t-shirt that was up for vote on and which I do wish would be made, because I would probably buy it:
TARDIS and damask. What a great combination.

Next TopicBooks I Am Reading/Have Recently Read:

The Hunger Games book one: I finished it in a day. It was very well done, I thought, and the concept behind the book was a fascinating was sort of Lord of the Flies mixed with scifi stuff mixed with reality T.V. After finishing it, I had thoughts similar to the ones I had after reading Brave New World, mostly that "Wow...I wouldn't be surprised if our world actually does these things someday."  So, I think I'll finish the series, if I can avoid spoilers. For these fantasy novels, the element of surprise is one of their best assets, so I will try to  preserve that for as long as I can. But, as with Doctor Who, most people have already encountered these, so it may be a challenge to hide from the " OH MAN HUNGER GAMES I LOVED THAT TIME WHEN SO AND SO DID SUCH AND SUCH...OH WAIT THAT WAS A MAJOR PLOT TWIST, WHOOPSY!"

The second book I'm reading is called Redeeming Laughter by Peter Berger. I have only read the preface and I can already recommend it. This guy is a great writer, and is approaching his topic with a great (and I would say necessary) combination of silliness and seriousness. It's an academic work, but it's also about the comic, so he's not ashamed to say that there are many jokes in the book. I'm really looking forward to reading an example of approaching humor from an academic standpoint while "saving the joke" so to speak. It will be most helpful for my honors project on humor this fall.

The third book I am reading is Hebrewsand here is my thought for today, from chapter three. I thought it was pretty neat that one of the ways the author suggests to keep from getting a hard heart is to "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." So, basically, in order to keep yourself open to spiritual growth, you have to be encouraging others toward it as well. Just one more cool example of the communal nature of following Christ.

I will end, with this photo: 

It isn't true, I actually love sandcastles. But I love this baby's face, so he's staying.

The end.