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5.31.2009

Beautiful wedding yesterday. More than beautiful - restorative. So I rather dislike weddings in general. There's so much of it that seems unnecessary to me: the rings, the cake, photographs, looking porcelain for the photographs, making small talk, being stared at by a hundred people you mostly don't know....
This wedding was perfect. It completely represented the bride and the groom at their most generous. It was smooth, simple, free from pettiness. I was there to help; there was little to do. The joy of the company of good people - the taste of good food without pretension - everyone's beauty and strengths illuminated.

Now I'm home after little sleep and much driving. More to come, but not much. My cat is curled up like a pea on the turtle. My mother chats with my grandfather on the phone. The living room still smells like Kenny, which makes me happy. I plan on a nap and then some coffee, possibly with Victor Hugo. All the ducks in a row - gardenia and jasmine in scented bloom - maybe a mindless movie tonight........

all my love to all of you who live a full life, who know the good to do and do it, who honor with your words and with your silence, who need no ceremony but for whom ceremony is due. i miss you.

5.28.2009

Today is the start of my very long weekend. Well, actually it began yesterday with an unexpected lazy day off. Hung out at Portfolio, ate an enormous chronic burrito, and watched the new Star Trek. Tried to tell the ticket taker lady how I'd seen Chris Pine in real life, but she wasn't having it. Totally ignored me. Very depressing.

I'll be heading to LAX twice today, then the desert tomorrow. There are still one or two things I need to pick up before the desert trip, but that's not too complicated. Just a bit boring for my charges. :)

5.23.2009



seriously? i have no idea how i feel about this. it looks like plunkett and macleane meets tintin. or something. maybe.

5.17.2009

5.0

As I am sure most of my readers felt for themselves, we had a bit of an earthquake this evening. 5.0, apparently. My phone stopped sending text messages a few minutes later. Crowded server, perhaps? Nervous tourists? The rollicking earth interrupted our viewing of 'Whale Rider', one of my favorite movies, right when Paikea defies her grandfather by sitting in the front of the boys' chieftain class. It played while the cat cowered under the piano bench and we huddled in the hallway laughing at our own awkwardness. I confess, when the earth stopped moving, I glanced out the front window to be sure that the shore was still in place against the sea. Sorry, Australia. We're not neighbors yet.

5.13.2009

Staying up late tonight to get myself ready for inventory tomorrow. All-nighter! Just like college. Sort of. Almost. Except that I'm not in college, and I haven't been very good about the whole staying-out-late thing since I graduated (year in Edinburgh aside, when bedtime was around 3am). Here's to staying cheerful and useful the whole night through!

I forgot... I don't blog about work. oops.

I'm staying at my sister's apartment this week because my parents have a guest. This will be fun. I have already borrowed her hair straightener and eaten one of her bananas. Yay for mooching! Perhaps we will make yummy food tonight. Maybe something curry-related. You know, the things my parents don't eat.

abrupt end to blog post.

5.12.2009

It boggles my mind, trying to understand how this thing called 'abortion' ever got thrown in with this thing called 'women's rights.' Human rights are about life, not death. If you are cold and fearless enough to promote abortion, so be it. But please, as a woman and a human being I ask you: please don't call it a right. What company have light and dark?

5.07.2009

note to self: always balance serious blog posts with inane blog posts

Over the last few weeks, I've been developing a taste for eggs. This is significant, because for the last ..oh, fifteen or so years I have thought of eggs as rather nasty things. They kind of made me gag a little. But recently, I have started to appreciate them. For one thing, I found that I adore egg sandwiches. I keep having these cravings for eggs, like my body is in need of something they possess. I used to think of them with disdain; now, the thought of eggs makes me mysteriously happy.

Here's the trouble: I am twenty-six years old and a tolerable cook (when I take the time). But I have spent all of my cooking years averse to eggs. So I cannot make them. This afternoon, arriving home from work tired and hungry, I had the joyous notion to fry up an egg. Nothing simpler! Except that I burnt the white to the pan, broke the yoke, and flipped half of it onto the burner. Oops. Pan and egg - the latter unsalvageable - are now in the sink. I ate some leftover rice instead.

5.05.2009

Earlier, I posted a quotation from Hugo's Les Miserables on the exploration of the human soul. I meant to add a note with it, but forgot. I wanted to confess something: I do not always see the epic nature of every human.

I listened to a video clip a while back of one of the TED talks from this year's conference hosted down the street from my house in the Long Beach Convention Center. I can't remember the name of the speaker or the title of his presentation, but he was talking about technological advances and how they will - within our lifetime - transform human society into a super-human society. In other words, we are not the pinnacle of the evolutionary process, we are not the point - there's more to come, and it's not us. He tried to reconcile his listeners to this thought with dry chastisement, calling it arrogant to believe that we are the reason for it all. That the evolutionary process would come to a standstill at the sight of us and cry 'eureka!'

It bothered me. Not the notion of superhumans. I mean, I've seen Terminator and the Matrix. We discussed cyborg theory in my 'Poor Things' class - reification, mechanization of the human, blah blah blah. It's not outside of my imaginative powers to see the next generation literally embodying the foreboding sci-fi novels of the fifties and sixties. Heck, it's happening right now. 'Cyberspace' was a hoakie made-up word by cyberpunk fiction writer William Gibson. Now, it's an alternate universe we take part in daily. Like, right now.

No, what bothered me wasn't his prediction of the future - which I am, admittedly, highly skeptical of - but the look on his face and the tone of his voice when he said 'isn't it a little arrogant to assume that all this evolutionary process was all for us? (my paraphrase)'. You see, I don't think there's anything arrogant about it. How is it possible to have any conviction, any standard whatsoever, of human rights and human dignity if you do not believe that we are essentially purposeful? That there is a reason for our presence beyond our place in the food chain. Why do we read Lord of the Flies or Heart of Darkness in school if not because we acknowledge some essential, underlying offense against that dignity, that sanctity, that purpose? Kurtz cried 'the horror! the horror!' because humanity had been defiled - and at his hands. We stare at the black gulf in our hearts and know it is black and gaping because it swallows all we were meant to be - holy, human, particular, true.

I think this speaker must not be married. He must not have any children or any friends. What of his mother and father? Surely he has never known anyone, including himself, very well. Because when you know someone, really know them, you cannot help but recognize the miraculous complexity, the beauty, of the human person. I said before that this is a confession. That I don't always see that in people. There are people I call common - and that is my arrogance. Or I call them simple. Or uneducated. Or not very deep. Or not very interesting. I ignore them. It is my laziness that fails to see the epic nature of every person, that fails to recognize that miracle that separates us from the animals: the breath of God.

This Grace does as much to distinguish us from our Creator as it does to unify us with him. It is his gift to us, his drawing-up. It comes not from within, but from without - or the without within. If I could, I would spend my life with one other. Any one. Take your pick. Watch me watch the one. I will not grow tired of it. If I have any amount of energy, any intention left in me, I will not grow weary; I will certainly not get bored. The person is a marvel.

'...People read for diversion; for relaxation; to inform themselves; to stave off anxiety in airplanes, when the flight attendant is out of wine and beer. A book can make a good door stop; and if you find yourself especially angry at the cat, have a good throwing arm, and a good angle — well, there's no end of uses for a book. But if you're going to take a book into a room, where the objective is to educate people — education being from the Latin educere, meaning "lead out of" and then presumably toward something — then you should consider using the book to help lead those who want to go out from their own lives into another, if only a few steps....

'Just so, we need to befriend the texts that we choose to teach. They too are the testaments of human beings who have lived and suffered in the world. They too deserve honor and respect. If you have a friend whose every significant utterance you need to translate into another idiom — whose two is not the real two, as Emerson says — then that is a friend you need to jettison. If there are texts that you cannot befriend, then leave them to the worms of time — or to the kinder ministrations of others.'

- Mark Edmundson, 'Against Readings'

Wish I'd read this article aloud in my master's courses. Of course, it was only just published last month...


Mikhail Nesterov, The Great Initiation, 1898.

Thank you for this one. This is what a wedding should look like. Branches and candles and meditative vision.

5.04.2009

more Hugo. tell me if you're tired of him (not that i'll pay much heed...).

'The mind's eye can find nothing more dazzling or dark anywhere outside mankind; it cannot fix on anything more fearful or more complex, more mysterious or more infinite. There is a spectacle greater than the sea, and that is the sky; there is a spectacle greater than the sky, and that is the human soul.
'To write the poem of the human conscience, were it only that of a single man, were it only that of the most insignificant man, would be to meld all epics into one superior epic, the epic to end all. Conscience means the chaos of chimeras, of lusts and temptations, the furnace of dreams, the den of ideas we are ashamed of; it is the pandemonium of sophisms, it is the battlefield of passions. Pierce through the livid face of a human being at certain moments as they ponder, look behind the facade, look into the soul, look into the darkness. There, beneath the outer silence, titanic struggles are taking place.... What a somber thing is this infinity that each man carries within him and against which he measures in despair what his brain wants and what his life puts into action!'

5.01.2009

Hugo: '...success is pretty awful. Its deceptive resemblance to merit has people fooled.... They mistake the constellations of the cosmic void for the stars made by ducks' feet in the soft mud of the bog.'

I'm not working today, but we're out of coffee - so I will probably go in anyway to buy some. When was the last time I bought coffee in the normal way, at a grocery store? Dunno. Some books I ordered are also in, and while I didn't think to include them in my budget for this week, they are somewhat necessary. I might also buy City of Thieves for my dad - most especially because I want to read it myself. It's now in paperback, and not nearly as long as I thought. This is very good, because I am still reading Les Miserables (sort of) and War and Peace is next in line to that - and one of the other books I'm picking up is just as long as those two... we shall see how I do. I never used to judge a book by its length.......
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