Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Derrida and graduation

I was reading Derrida for lit criticism today. He says, if language is a circle, then there must be a center to the circle; an anchor, a center, a point which is not the circle but defines it. But the point is not itself language, if it defines language. And he goes on difficultly about deferring and substitution and whatnot, and how the center of language is thus moveable--it shifts. The center is not the center, and language shape-shifts.

He's quite right. If there is nothing greater than language, then language is a game we play and we might as well enjoy it. Interpretation becomes utter nonsense, and all we can do is play with words, amusing ourselves by moving them around. Happily--blessedly--Derr ida is not actually correct to say nothing is greater than language. God exists, and in Him we live and move and have our being. God reconciled the eternal we want by becoming man like we are: the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

So I was thinking of centers and connected it to lands. When I'm in Virginia, my center is a jewel-green campus set between the Blue Ridge mountains and DC. Over spring break, my center was a little red house on the main street of an unpopulous island. Summers and Christmas, my center is in northern New Mexico. It's strange, in a way, to go stay somewhere else; it's the nature of traveling. Suddenly one's horizons look quite different. It doesn't seem so odd, perhaps, to those of you who commute every day, but when I'm at school I am so centered. I am quite capable of never leaving campus except once a week for church. The center is so firm that when it changes, my self has to get used to it.

But at graduation my center will change. I'll probably come back to PHC at some point, but I don't know when and it will never again be my center as it is now. Therefore, it occurred to me that it is a good thing my Ultimate center is in a city not built by hands, but is connected to the unchanging Word. And then it occurred further to me that it is good to have an unchanging center, land-wise, because it is a reminder that the land where our real citizenship is unchanging too. An earthly home is good because it's a shadow or a copy of our eternal Home.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Chincoteague diary

This week was a highly feminine combination of dragons, movies, books, and food, especially butter and rosemary. We ate well and enjoyed pretty well everything!

Saturday, March 18th
We drove out and had problems with trucks (getting caught behind a dump truck twice before getting off campus, making three wrong turns, getting assistance from a pickup at one turn-around and getting caught behind a stopped semi at another).
In Kirsten’s car: Carolyn and Maggie.
In Tiffany’s car: Lisa and Shelley.
In Helen’s car: Hannah, Sarah, and Angela.
Lunch and retrieving sheets at Kirsten’s house—blessings on Mrs. Etherton!
I finished Zahn’s Survivor’s Quest.
We found the rental office and retrieved house keys.
We arrived at the Red House, unloaded vehicles, explored, and settled in. There were five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a big kitchen, a gazebo nobody went into, and a graveyard just past the backyard.
Lisa made dinner: spaghetti and salad.
I took a cold bath and Shelley turned up the hot-water heater.
We watched Someplace in Time and Cheaper by the Dozen.

“The moral of the story, if you can’t live happily on earth in your own time—” Lisa
“You should die!” Helen 3-18-06

“I feel a bath coming on.” Carolyn 3-18-06

Sunday, March 19th
Tiffany made chocolate chip pancakes.
We visited Union Baptist church; good teaching, though not terribly friendly.
The pastor (among other, more spiritual things :-)) talked about how our idea of love is to get married, discover you got the ugly stepsister or the toad instead of Cinderella or the Prince and then go marry somebody else’s cast-off toad.
We made a pilgrimage to Food Lion.
Lisa, Angela, and I went to Assateague, the beach and forest, and saw ponies.
Hannah made us biscuits and gravy.
Maggie made us a birthday cake for her birthday which was last week and opened presents.
We all read one of her books, Viva La Repartee. It was full of brilliant quotes.
Tiff and Shelley tried to break into the attic without actually breaking in.
I had a hot bath.
I finished Edwin Abbott’s Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions.
We watched Life is Beautiful.

“I am convinced the zombies will not get you on your way to take out the trash.” Carolyn
“You never know.” Kay
“If the zombies come, just scream and we’ll all come out wielding spoons.” Helen 3-19-06
“Poor zombies!” Kay 3-25-06

“I think it would make an interesting story if you married Prince Charming and he turned into a toad.” Helen 3-19-06

Monday, March 20th
I made French toast, bacon, and two pots of coffee, the second of which exploded.
Schoolwork started in earnest.
I explored the graveyard next to the house.
Some of the girls walked down Main Street to see the shops (nearly all of which were closed) and the used book stores (where I bought poems by I. A. Richards). The rest of them stayed home and watched Empire Strikes Back.
Angela made us a salmon loaf and Lisa made brownies.
We watched Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

“You don’t punch someone in the face when they are about to save the world!” Lisa 3-20-06

Tuesday, March 21st
It snowed all morning.
Tiff tried to make us waffles but the waffle iron was weird, so they turned into pancakes.
When Angela attempted to help her salvage the waffles, they started the stove on fire because the oil soaking the waffle iron dripped off the iron as they were flipping it and drizzled onto the gas burner—this is a bad thing.
I did laundry and made potato soup for lunch.
It rained all afternoon.
I went stir-crazy and ran around outside the house twice and felt better.
Maggie made us lamb with rosemary for dinner.
We watched the Matrix and then swing danced in the dining room till past midnight.

“Did the waffles work?” Carolyn
“Kind of. Tiffany’s making pancakes now and told me to destroy the evidence.” Angela
“It doesn’t look too bad. If you have any more evidence I’ll help you destroy it!” Lisa 3-21-06

Coming into the kitchen after waffle, coffee, and ant problems: “Are we having any more explosions or invasions or anything?” Helen 3-21-06

The Matrix gives Helen warm fuzzies. “I like my warm fuzzies in black leather.” Helen 3-21-06

Wednesday, March 22nd
We all slept late.
Lisa and I went to McDonald’s all afternoon and wrote papers most productively. Mr. Pibb is very conducive to writing papers.
Then we went on to Assateague and explored the marshes, saw the lighthouse and ponies, and went back to the beach.
Hannah and Sarah rode their bikes to Assateague and Lisa and I kept leap-frogging them, passing them in the car. J
A policeman flashed his lights at us while we were at the beach, so we hurried back to the car. Happily, we hadn’t parked in the wrong place or anything; he just wanted to tell us the park closed at six and we were crazy for going in because it was cold. I pleaded that I was from New Mexico and I hadn’t gone much in.
I had another hot bath.
Shelley made us Carolina chicken and dumplings, Hannah chocolate chip cookies, and Angela orange juliuses.
I made a pot of coffee, only forgot to put the grounds in, much to everyone’s hilarity.
Then we watched Return of the Jedi and an episode of Lost.

“I feel like a big bowl of chocolate ice cream.” Lisa
“I feel like a girl.” Angela
“I imagine a bowl of chocolate ice cream is very happy. And it feels wanted. But then it gets eaten.” Lisa 3-22-06

“Helen is never hungry.” Helen
“And the sun rises in the west.” Hannah 3-22-06

Thursday, March 23rd
Hannah made us cinnamon toast. J
Lisa discovered a fairy upstairs whose preferred prank is unrolling toilet paper.
All of us except Tiff and Lisa went to the beach; Hannah and Maggie bought saltwater taffy on the way back.
Lisa, Maggie, Shelley, Hannah, and I went and had ice cream at the Island Creamery. Yummy!
Kay made us southwestern burrito things with avocado and Spanish rice.
We played Cranium.
We had sort-of fried ice cream, courtesy of Angela.
We watched Kronk’s New Groove.

“I’m not weird, I’m supernormal!” Angela 3-23-06

“Thank you for putting on coffee. I firmly believe in coffee after meals.” Hannah
“And before meals, and during meals, and all around meals. Like that St. Patrick’s prayer.” Helen 3-23-06

“Um, our lime water is turning green.” Kay
“Cool!” Carolyn 3-23-06

Friday, March 24th
I made scrambled eggs with veggies and rosemary in them for breakfast. Kay decided she does not like rosemary.
They watched two disks of Firefly.
Leftovers were eaten.
Lisa, Angela, and I went and studied at the Island Creamery. I read Milton and Macbeth, Angela took an expedition to Pony Tails, and Lisa directorially coordinated with her wireless internet and cell phone.
Helen made fettucine alfredo and we ate upstairs by candlelight and listened to Josh Groban.
We had chocolate ice cream and listened to everybody read aloud what they’d been working on.
We watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and decided it was a strange movie.
Then we packed and cleaned. Hannah swept. Thoroughly.
A bunch of people stayed up late watching Bend It Like Beckham and Tiff stayed up even later watching something else.

“Kirsten is competent. She rented this house. That makes her all kinds of competent.” Helen 3-24-06

“That’s the depressing thing about not having Laura in the dorm any more. She was excellent to have about when you wanted to steal small stuffed dogs.” Helen 3-24-06

Saturday, March 25th
I was the first one up and was actually dressed before 7:45 am. Mirabile visu!
I made scrambled eggs again with green onions, celery, and mushrooms (and rosemary, not knowing Kay didn’t like rosemary). Hannah made coffee. We ate anything left in the fridge.
Packing and cleaning commenced.
I turned down the hot-water heater.
Tiff did dishes.
We were all out of the house by 9:50 and had checked out at the rental office by 9:55.
I think we all rode back in the cars we came in.
Kay’s car stopped at Food Lion and Sonic for batteries and cokes.
I typed up quotes.
Kirsten's wonderful mother fed us lunch.
Then we stopped by IKEA and bought two vases, four mugs, a package of napkins, and a cool ice-cube tray, all for $8, while adroitly missing the traffic tangle on the Beltway and reading Lord Peter aloud.
Maggie napped.
Kay: 55 bugs, 42 X-Terras
Carolyn: 24 bugs, 0 X-Terras

And now we are back; for which we are grateful.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Farewell for half a fortnight

Well, all, I am off to Chincoteague. I shall not have internet access, so I must bid you farewell for a time, and will see you as soon as we all get back. :-)

Spring clothes...

It just occurred to me that I've worn three coats and two sweaters at various times today, plus the other sweater I almost wore before I remembered it was St. Patrick's Day. It's partly because of spring weather oddities, and partly classes, and partly cleaning, but still. What in the world?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Latin of the day

Vivat rex.

Long live the King.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Today is the Ides of March

Julius Caesar died this day, and Maggie was born. In honor of the two, I give you Mark Antony.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious.
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answered it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest--
For Brutus is an honourable man,
So are they all, all honourable men--
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me.
But Brutus says he was ambitious,
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill.
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious.
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious.
And sure he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here am I to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause.
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgment, thou are fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason! Bear with me.
My heart is still in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

--Julius Caesar III:2, 70-104, William Shakespeare

On sin and knowledge and humility and love

For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he falls.

Who can discern his [own] errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I will be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home [in heaven] or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What is an artist?

Hello, everyone. Racquet the skunk here from Jungle Jam. What is an artist? Well, an artist is someone who loves crayons, first of all. I love crayons. Always have. I began expressing my art when I was barely old enough to hold a crayon.

I'll never forget it. I picked up a dark blue one and drew a beautiful picture of a lovely red crayon. It was before I understood the importance of selecting the right color. I was young. Ever since that day my crayons and I have been pretty much inseparable.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith go to California

I just watched The Legend of Zorro and thought I would review it for your reading pleasure. :-)

1 happy thought: it’s almost completely amoral, artistically and philosophically terrible, but thoroughly charming. There was a marriage subplot kind of like in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and The Incredibles. There were adventure/chase scenes straight out of Indiana Jones. Zorro rescued a baby from a burning barn just like Spiderman rescued a baby from a burning house. Zorro and his rival actually jousted for Elena’s love during a polo match. There was this strong high-class theme, kind of like the Scarlet Pimpernel, where de la Vega pretends to be wimpy and then at night he turns into Zorro. Overall, it was—well, it was kind of like Napoleon Dynamite only with (quite well executed, if completely snipagated) fights instead of dumb moments.

Stuff and nonsense: Well, Catherine Zeta-Jones stays clad the entire movie. The men involved don’t exactly, but still, I was quite proud of them. And there wasn’t much language. But it had issues….

Yeah. You’ve got the scuzzy blond villain who does all his enormities in the name of the Lord, the priest who’s a good guy but not remotely Christian (nor Spanish, despite the attempted accent), the son who’s an adorable little terror (like Ramses from the Amelia books) and has good aim with a slingshot, the evil butler who has a metal hook for a hand, and the mad scientist who’s also the wife’s love interest.

They tried to cram into this one movie finishing school, the Civil War, marital tension, a spy movie, soap, and these random guys from the proto-CIA who try and make the wife get a divorce so she can be their spy: or maybe they were from the CIA and the movie directors didn’t know it hadn’t been invented yet. There were an impressive number of anachronisms. I think the only cliché they missed was making the current villain the previous movie’s villain’s brother, but at least he looked like him.

5 warm fuzzies for its audacious plot blend and occasional moments. “You do have your moments: not many of them, but you do have them.”

6 bloody daggers for some swordplay almost as good as in Pirates—and borrowed directly from it—as well as most of the fight scenes from the first Zorro movie, a joust from Knight’s Tale, a train-top fight like in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a wide variety of explosions, and some martial artsy warrior-chica scenes.

It was, in fact, a very bad movie, but I really enjoyed it.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

About shrimp

I was eating a thing of ramen noodles in a cup--you know, the just-add-boiling-water kind (which I actually like so don't knock it)--and it occurred to me that it's really not a very honorable fate to be caught, cooked (?), desiccated, and put into a styrofoam cup with noodles.

So I'm wondering about the theological status of this. I mean, clearly we've got dominion over teeny weeny shrimp, and I'm not advocating that we go vegetarian, but is this a vessel-for-dishonor matter? Somehow it seems much better to be, I don't know, marinated and grilled over an open flame and put on little plates with lettuce and rice. I hesitate to malign any worthy and legitimate end, but I'm not impressed by the way these poor things went to their death. Maybe they're more heroic, more fulfilling of their telos, for doing a work that seems lowly and never complaining. Though if they did complain I'm not sure how we'd know it.

Are we having a "they also serve who only stand and wait" moment, or did my desiccated shrimp really and truly come to a dishonorable end?

Early Spring

I was struck by the Muse. All right, I also had a Cummings-esque urge to play with punctuation. Enjoy the weather report.

Blue bowl above,
Green grounds below,
Beneath the bright sun from the west came the wind
And it whooshed and it swooshed and it half-blew


But we live in buildings of brick,
[Brick]. [brick].
While wild willows flail in the wind,
{Dangle leaf}, {flap branch},
Willow-ware does not.

So under the blue bowl
The figures walked
From brick to brick
And did not bob in the pond.
But the blow swept the bowl and the greens.

Another reason occurred to me why I like my major

I like being a lit major because, because of it, I like my real world better. I'm actually very happy with my own little trees and streams and Lake Bob.