Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy Chinese New Year!

I observe from my Latin-phrase-of-the-day calendar that today is the Chinese New Year. We are now entering the Year of the Dog.

The Latin phrase of the day says it best:

Ave Caesar! Morituri te salutamus.

Keep the faith, y'all.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Good inventions

Do you ever find yourself going, "Whoever invented such and such was very sensible," and then remember that it was actually invented by God?

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I was going back to my dorm this evening from watching Miyazaki's movie Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (a good movie, I think, but foreign), and it looked like Lake Bob might have been frozen over. So I went and inspected it more closely.

It was still very liquid, but then I happened to look up. Oh, the stars were bright, and many, and beautiful. It was a very clear, very cold night, and beautiful.

So I returned to my dorm, asked a couple friends to go stargazing, and went. :-)

We walked out past the RA lot to the tennis courts. There's a hill there or embankment, and depending how far down it you go, you get different amounts of campus light. Toward the top of the hill we could read my star chart. At the bottom of the hill, if one kneeled or lay, the lights were gone entirely, and there were only stars.

Orion, of course, was easy to find, and so were the Pleiades and Cassiopeia. We picked out Perseus for the first time; he's sort of a semicircle looping between the other two, with a bright star below making a triangle's apex. And if you follow Orion's belt stars in a slightly drooping line out to the left, you find Sirius, the Dog Star, the alpha star of Canis Major. There were also the two Dippers and Gemini and Auriga, and a couple others.

It was delightful to go with my friends, because we all knew slightly different legends and constellations. And we saw two shooting stars.

The stars were lovely, dark, and deep, but the hour grew late and it really was cold. We came in, but oh, it was a good night for stargazing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

At school

Well, I'm here.

We had a nice dorm party and whacked a pinata; it took forever, and finally we took turns beating it unblindfolded. It was lovely stress relief! And when the chocolate came down, the chocolate came down.

I said goodbye to Mom and the sister.

It's a little daunting, seeing my shelf of unread books and thinking of all the work I haven't done yet.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Sitting pretty in Oklahoma

Well, all, I'm sitting comfortably in a hotel in Oklahoma. It has free wireless, a thing the sister's computer likes. :-)

I did get all packed, and without too much trouble. We've been eating well, shopping successfully, and driving...not too strenuously. We should make it to Virginia in three more days. And I've got more store-and-restaurant stories. :-)

Grandma heard I wanted cowboy boots and gave me the wherewithal for Christmas. So we've been searching all of New Mexico for a pair. Well, hardly anybody stocks my size. So as we went through Amarillo, Mom and the sister and I stopped at Cavender's Boot City to see what they had. It's a really nice store; a bit expensive, but very cute. The front section has two barber's chairs and a coffee pot, beneath a sign, "Mrs. Pat's Coffee." One hopes the two stay separate! We made our way over to the cowgirls' section, and a red-haired and -bearded guy in a cowboy hat, Brandon by name, came over.

"How are you today?"

"We're fine, thanks. How are you?"

"Aw, not so good."

"It's hard to get started in the morning."

"Yeah, and I'm on Nyquil. Had a terrible time getting up, and I've been here two hours doing inventory, and you're my first customers. What are y'all lookin' for?"

"A pair of boots. Are they arranged by style?"

"Yes, what kind were you looking for? Round-toed, pointy-toed, square-toed?"

"Oh...round or pointy..." and asked if they had my size.

"Well, not much that size. Where are y'all from?"

We told him and discussed its absolute and relative location.

"What brings you out here?"


"Where do you go to college?"

"Virginia." We named the place. He didn't know it.

"What do you go all the way out there for?? You could go to school in New Mexico! Or Texas!"

"It's a good school!"

"I hope you get scholarships."

"She does."

He told us where he went to college. It was somewhere around there, and he hated it. "I don't think I'm cut out for school, but you've got to have a degree to get a good job." He told us about his present and hoped-for incomes. "What are your majors?"

"Literature and Strategic Intelligence."

That woozled him a bit. "And you're sisters?"


"'re older." He guessed right! Then he started guessing our ages. He started a bit high and worked his way down. He didn't ask our ages, thereby depriving us of the chance to make repressive remarks about gentlemen. Ah, well. Why is this one of the standard questions? Hi, where are you from, how old are you? It didn't used to be the Done Thing, but now people keep doing it. Rant finished now. Meanwhile, we'd determined that they had precisely two pairs of boots my size. One pair fit. They were black and pointy-toed and extremely normal. The sister goes, "You can be the bad guy. You just need a hat to match." I'm not sure I want to be the bad guy... I'm a terrible bad guy... I just ranked as a "hippie" on the general test on Athallas' blog...but that's not this story. The boots are cute.

Brandon wandered off and came back just as we'd about decided on the boots. So I asked Em to grab me the other--you know, so I could make sure both feet fit--and Brandon goes, "Nope, we only sell those boots one at a time." We laughed. We decided on the shoes. Brandon took them up to the front counter. There was a girl, Ashley, already working up there. Ashley gave him a job and sent him off, and turned to us. "He'll talk your leg off if you let him. He's a mess!"

We liked Ashley and Brandon...

And then at dinner--actually, there was no waiter at dinner. We went to an A&W and sat in the booth-next-to-the-corner-booth--what is that, the penultimate booth? Anyway, the corner booth was full of the high school volleyball team, mostly blonde and uniformly cute. There were also two brothers who turned up, and a dad, who said, "I thought you wanted this to be girls-only!" The younger blonder guy had a T-shirt that said, "Define 'girlfriend.'" It was pretty entertaining sitting there. They were fixing to go to the theater next door.

I think Purcellville needs an A&W so we can hang out there. It looks fun.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


packing: n, from the middle English pack, from Low German or Dutch.

A process creating piles of clothing everywhere except in one's closet or suitcase. Often stressful for those leaving for extended periods of time.

Yes, we're leaving tomorrow, and driving out to Virginia. I am getting rid of piles of clothes. The cat found my room--the only one with loud Christian rock going--and evinced a great need to sleep on my brown velvet skirt. I made him get off. He got huffy, left, came back, and then moved to Mom's clean laundry. Meanwhile, I have to decide what stays here, what gets gotten rid of, and what goes with me. I'd rather take finals than pack. I'm not looking forward to May...

On the up side, I went to see my optometrist today, and she fixed my glasses so the ear pieces don't flop around. Life is not entirely depressing. :-)

Off to knock something--anything!--off my to-do list. Hail and farewell.

Monday, January 09, 2006


Well, we successfully got Kyle married off and sent away in a cloud of bubbles. When handing out bubbles, and before the couple ran to their getaway vehicle, Mrs. Rutherford--one of the Chorus Board ladies--came through and threatened everyone if they dared pour their bubbles on the groom.

There is precedent for such a misdeed. It happened three years ago, at Kristi's wedding. :-) And, to make it worse, my dad captured it photographically. I asked Curtis, and he said several people had taken him aside and threatened him strongly.

It was, in truth, a good wedding. And I think it will be a good marriage.

Afterwards--it was getting on for four-thirty--we went to Espanola to dinner, at a very nice place to which Dad had a gift certificate. :-) And then we came back and Emily and I ran uptown to return the coffeepots to church before the Sunday service. (There would have been wrath and indignation, else.) Then we rented Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which I liked. I really shouldn't have, but I did. :-D

Sunday morning was church; good and proper. We started a series on hospitality. Apparently, the early church was particularly good at it and this helped their spread. Clement of Alexandria mentioned it. And then the sermon was on Melchizedek. If you read Genesis 14, 18-20, Psalm 110, and Hebrews 5-8 (I think), you will know everything the Bible has to say about him. And it's really, really cool.

Then yesterday afternoon I worked on the Macbeth scrapbook. I discovered our store of stickers last night about 9 pm, and embellished. Banquo now has birds on his page. :-D I'm still accepting photos, if anyone has good ones. I'm working on September and October rehearsals next.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Rehearsal dinner

Just got back from a rehearsal dinner, for a guy I've gone to church with since we were four. (He's three months older than me.) He's a good guy, and his lady seems to be worthy of him. And vice versa. This is happy.

It was a very encouraging evening. The sister and I were helping, mostly in the kitchen, but we got to watch the powerpoint and hear the toasts. :-) The families were very gracious, and everyone kind. The roast beast and key lime pie were excellent. I even got to see Kristi's new baby.

But most astonishing of all, the entire clan, even the groom, thanked us and talked to us and generally behaved as though we were indispensable parts of the affair and they were not having a seriously emotional weekend. In fact, his mother took time to encourage me. They have always been kind to us, but that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is evidence of God's grace in their lives. I certainly couldn't have pulled it off. Oh that I had character like that.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

King Kong

We actually went Monday, but you know how there's a lag time on these things. I liked it. I didn't watch the icky parts, I think I jumped every time a giant bug appeared, I made comments at Josh and he made good comments at me (i.e. he only mocked things that needed mocking), and I liked it.

I liked Chad Denham. He was so incredibly unreliable, and his eulogies made us gag, but he had a winning way about him. And I liked his approach to video cameras. He reminded us of a certain Hitman.

Naomi Watts was excellent. She was, to start with, pretty enough to pull off the role. And to continue with, she did a good job varying the wide-eyed/sad/awestruck look that she was required to use in every scene with Kong. It's harder acting when you have no lines to work with.

I did wonder why her arms didn't both break when Kong yanked her off the ropes. And surely she should have had more scrapes and bruises, running through the jungle in that thin little outfit, and being manhandled (ape-handled?) all the time. And her makeup stayed awfully good. But at least she got a little dirty.

Jack Driscoll --ah! ::happy moment:: I really liked him. He was a playwright. That's a good start, right there. He went through that entire jungle to rescue the girl. Jungles are good for men, unless of course they kill them. (Be heroic or be squished.) He defied a giant gorilla to get her--even better. He refused to profit off Kong being taken back to America. He was nice, heroic, and an all-round Good Guy. He can stay.

The cinematography was awesome cool. I liked the dinosaurs. And the dialogue, what there was of it, was quite tolerably well done. The swearing wasn't especially offensive. I could almost ignore it.

But the question did arise: what was the movie about? There seemed to be several thesis statements floating about. That would win it a C from Dr. Hake ("no thesis statement, or multiple conflicting theses"). These are the top contenders, in my opinion:

"Beauty is irresistible to men and beasts."

"Mystery is ruined when you can sell it for the price of admission."

"Dinosaurs and giant bugs don't like video tape."

"The native doesn't want chocolate."

"Monkeys must beware beauty."

"Jump, or you'll have to write in a cage."

Someone also suggested something about courtship, but I wasn't quite clear how to formulate that one. "If you drag the girl through the jungle, she'll only want to leave, but if you rescue her from the one dragging her through the jungle, she'll love you forever"? "Silent strength is no match for skill with a typewriter"? "A beautiful vista improves any relationship"?

Dream job

Okay, I think I've decided what to do with The Rest Of My Life. I need to find a nice up-and-coming sci-fi production and get put in charge of inventing languages for it. :-)

Monday, January 02, 2006

More bumper stickers and sundry thoughts

Well, we went back to Trader Joe's yesterday to stock up for the New Year's Eve party, but there weren't any interesting bumper stickers in the lot. But we found a few others.

Today is a new day: anything good is possible [But isn't anything bad possible too? And does that mean bad things are possible yesterday? This sounds like Huxley's Island.]

In goddess we trust [ouch]

The goddess is alive and magic is afoot [on a different vehicle]

We don't have a democracy: we have an auction [technically, I rather think it's a democratic republic]

Humans aren't the only species on earth; we just act like it [All about the dominion mandate! And stewardship. We are human, after all.]

In other news, the New Years party went splendidly. We dipped some things in chocolate fondue, drank a lot of bottled cokes, and argued philosophy of school rules and poetry. (I maintain that rhyme and meter are good things.) I lost two games of ping-pong and won a word game thoroughly. :-)

The soror made it back from Jon and Raynel's wedding. It sounded really nice; the music was wonderful and the church lovely. Apparently they're successfully married. Congratulations!

And then this morning Dad preached the sermon on Galatians. Key thing from it: salvation is by faith not law, and this gospel was given to Paul from God. It's not of man, and man has no right to mess with it. That is an encouraging thought.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Barrow-Wights

It is a tragedy to me how it is said men love the good,
But when one writes of light, then quick, they turn away.
Boethius said error causes us to seek in stone and wood
The good that only comes from God; and true, that way
Indeed a wandering is. I called it “quick,” but it’s more “dead,” for while
We walk we’re dead, buried wights in living men,
Our treasures gone, and we can’t bear the light. We try to reconcile
Our empty barrows with our empty selves, and plan
How marrow-houses will replace red gold and life and sun.
But even those who own the treasure-blood prefer
A miserable “realism” to the hopeful absent one:
Remember Dante and his books, how Hell disturbs
But people read it more than Paradise. We fallen men in graves
Understand dark nights and think the dawn “to blaeve.”
But wake, immortals, day has come. Red gold awaits; straight paths are paved;
Unquiet spirits, seek the light of life we crave.