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Aug. 27th, 2010

Top 5s: Places, Movies, Snupin Stuff

Ok, this is me caught up on my Latin homework (for the moment) and continuing the Top 5 Meme.  I'm going to try to knock out several in one block this time.  I am saving the crafty / art ones until I have the time to actually sit with my various sites and portfolios and things.  Plus I took photos of the first sophisticated doll I ever made, when I was 14, for Emily's Top 5, so I'll have to post those before I can do that one.
Also, I have a shoebox full of photos from my high school trips abroad and my college years - those are going to be scanned soon and posted to Flickr.  So watch out, college buddies. (I admit there are a few folks I wish I could airbrush out, but I will maintain the integrity of the photos.) 

from [personal profile] glockgal

Top 5 places you've visited (and loved) )

Top 5 things you do to stop being bored
1. Read fanfiction.
2. Draw something.
3. Start a crafty project
4. Grab a beloved book off the shelf to re-read.
5. Start organizing my apartment. 

from [profile] dizilla
top 5 favorite sci-fi movies (or if not enough, fantasy too) -- Oh, Diz, I could do five of each!  And in fact, I think I will! 

Top 5 Science Fiction Movies )
Top 5 Fantasy Movies )
Top 5 Snupin Kinks/Cliches )

Also, I thought of a woman to add to my favorite characters list: Philippa Somerville from the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett.  In fact, most of the women in the Lymond Chronicles are rockin' awesome, with Sybilla right up there after Philippa. I still haven't finished the Niccolo books, I have got to get on that.

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Aug. 19th, 2010

de-friending, and DW codes

For those who have been reading and care, the cousin I was engaging on Facebook has sent me a note full of vitriol and the kind of fear-mongering peddled by FOX et al,  and apparently de-friendedblocked me.  (How can I tell?  I can't reply to her note, is that what it means?)
This makes me sad, because it just shows that there is neither respect nor listening happening. I don't have the tools or connection with her to attempt further reconciliation (and she obviously doesn't want it), so I'm going to try to let it go and concentrate on areas where I can change things.

And for anybody who is interested, I have Dreamwidth codes available. Drop me a line. I'll edit this post when they're gone.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/451936.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

Aug. 17th, 2010

and then there's Facebook

Ok, so remember what I said about dealing with the fact that people will disagree with me on things, but I should post anyway?
I posted to Facebook today about the Cordoba Initiative's Park 51 building, and linked to Olbermann's Special Comment about it, which my mother emailed me this morning.
My post:
"The continuing discrimination and hate-mongering is really starting to get me down. I ask my fellow seminarians (many of whom have worked with Imam Rauf, or been taught by him, as I was) for help dealing with my own grief and anger, and then figuring out how interfaith activism can help, not just in NYC but across the country, anywhere religious freedom is threatened."

And one of my cousins (a fellow minister and a Navy chaplain assigned to a Marine unit) posted that he was also saddened by the events.
One of my Seminary classmates posted an encouraging note.
And one of my other cousins wrote this:
"Kerri, Are you for a Mosque being built close to ground zero???? Those freaks need to build it in their own country, not ours!"

Now, leaving aside the fact that she's my relative and still misspells my name (It's pretty common, really - big family, not immediate relationship. I give everybody a pass because I can't remember everybody's spelling either. We shall ignore the fact that the correct spelling is plastered all over FB), this makes it worse.

This is the culture of fear, the knee-jerk reaction against something we don't understand, the price of ignorance.  And it makes me so ANGRY.  And then it also makes me so SAD.  And I don't deal well with either of those emotions. ANGER makes me snippy and want to bang things and shout a lot. SORROW makes me curl up and cry, and that doesn't actually happen very often, that I do that snail-curl. It also makes me FRUSTRATED. Because how can I change someone's mind about this when it becomes so confrontational? How can I share the deeply spiritual and loving nature of the Muslims I know, the tolerance taught by Imam Rauf, the inclusiveness and understanding of the New Seminary, when I am so caught up in these negative emotions? That's no place from which to start teaching or talking.

I hope my responses didn't come off as completely crazed:
"As an interfaith minister, [Cousin], I am aware that Islam DOES NOT equal terrorism, anymore than Evangelical Christianity equals Terrorism or Conservative Judaism equals Terrorism. That kind of ridiculous blanket condemnation of an ENTIRE PEOPLE is a step on a slippery slope to exactly the kind of horror that the American colonists were fleeing in the first place."
and
"Also, I hate to break it to you (not), but the folks who are building and would be using this community center are American citizens. THIS is their country."

But aaaaaaargh. How can we create a community of tolerance and love? Give me some ideas, please. I feel totally powerless, and this is just the top-level news-worthy problem.  How many other places of worship and community (Mosques, but also maybe Hindu temples, or Druid groves, or Pagan spaces, or metaphysical meeting places) are being denied in other places, but won't ever make the news?
Slippery slope, indeed.

Edited to remove cousin's name, oops.
ETA: I have now calmed down somewhat, despite further infuriating posts, and folks who are interested in this issue may also be interested in this article, it's quite good: Ground Zero mosque as Wedge Issue: Muslims vs "real" Americans.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/451464.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

Aug. 2nd, 2010

in which I blather more

a) Toddlers are hilarious.  Lando's biggest thrill when I visited was to have me sit in the armchair, then he would go to the other end of the room, start shrieking, and run run run run to throw himself onto my lap. I flipped him upside down, then, of course, which only made the game better.  And then he'd do it all again. And again.  And again.  ;)  Ah, to be two.

b) Lughnasadh was nice. Jon grilled and we had a tremendous harvest meal. It was a lovely day, indeed.

c) I've been seeing a lot of stories cross my feed and sometimes my flist about the proposed Cordoba House in NYC. It boggles my mind that there is so much negative press about it, in fact. And since it's crossed my flist and feed so many times, I just thought that I might give it some screen time. It's an idea that I first heard mentioned when I was in Seminary in New York, by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf himself. Imam Feisal was our lecturer in Islam and leader in a zikr. He is a wonderful teacher and inspiring leader. It is tremendously exciting to see the Cordoba Project reaching the point of having a building, a community center, in New York. 

d) I spent a large part of Sunday sewing. Good grief, there was a lot of sewing.  It takes me a lot longer than I think it will to cut and sew strips, but I eventually shaved a few minutes off each step by not ironing the seams between every step.

e) Still enjoying Sherlock from the BBC, but The Blind Banker was not as good as A Study in Pink. I was a bit disappointed by certain character developments, but on the whole it was still entertaining. spoilers ahoy ) Despite this, I will keep tuning in. (Plus the fanfic is choice.)

f) I have a few really exciting art projects on the horizon. I am trying to figure out what project to work on for this semester's studio course. Fandom deadlines for the most part preclude using any of those projects, but one never knows.

g) I think that's it for now.  I'm sure there are plenty of other things I could blather about - in fact, I was thinking of blathering about a few in more detail, but I'm not sure if a public forum is the best way...  one of the topics is religion, the other is crafty projects. (They will doubtless at times intersect.) Does anybody want to follow that kind of blather?

Good night!

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May. 27th, 2010

catching up - the bullet points version

So, I keep meaning to post something and then getting sidetracked.  I've even drafted things and then closed the window.  Fun times. It's been busy here, though.

- Of course, ApolloCon is coming up very soon and that takes up a lot of bandwidth.
- I blew through the Twilight saga at last, on Donna's recommendation, and actually I really enjoyed it. I didn't find nearly as many objectionable political themes as some reviewers, and while I found Bella rather unappealing as a protagonist I certainly enjoyed the world and many other characters in it.  I also watched the first two movies, and they were pretty blah. The second was better than the first by miles, which is true of the books as well, but I don't hold out too much hope for the translation of the books to screen.  Look what movies did to Harry Potter.  Anyway, the point is that they were fun books and I enjoyed the heck out of them, and while I won't be jumping to find some Bella/Edward fic on the internet any time soon, I would totally be down for some explorations of Caius's experiences with the Children of the Moon.  Anybody? 
- Still enjoying the heck out of the new Doctor Who, and very much in love with the characters, most especially Rory.
- I am now reading Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett's latest Discworld book, and it's quite fun. On deck are a whole slew of YA fantasies from the library, and then I really must get back to the Dresden Files so I can catch up and stop avoiding spoilers.
- Enjoyed a great benefit concert at House of Blues Houston with the family. It was really nice to be out just the four of us, and it was an interesting evening full of fabulous music.
- Went to my first Geeks Who Drink pub quiz in Houston with a co-worker, her husband, and their friends.  I hope it will become a regular thing. It was a fun quiz, with the usual moments of woe and of genius, plus bonus outdoor patio bar with friendly dogs. I wore my Heroines of Science: Marie Curie t-shirt to commemorate the occasion.
- I was accepted as a College Associate for one of the residential colleges here, which basically means that I get to have lunch in their servery sometimes and hang out with the students, support the college in its projects on campus, and maybe be more involved in other things as well.  I understand the definition of the role is still somewhat fluid, so come the fall semester I'll find out more. It'll be nice to have a connection on campus proper, since my office/cave is off on the far side and I don't get to mingle much with the undergrads or faculty.
- I've been mainlining Legend of the Seeker Season 1 on Netflix for the last few weeks.  It's a bit awesome and a bit awful, not sure yet where the balance will end up. I may be slightly skewed in my viewing after watching part of Season 1 of Xena, though.
- Been getting a lot of "Thanks for your opinion, but I'm on the opposite side of the issue" replies from my congressional representation again, which is typical but for some reason coming in floods now.
- I had a brilliant idea for a story while on my morning commute the other day, listening to Democracy Now! on KPFT. I'm not certain it will work, but it's exciting to feel inspired.  Also, I have some direction on my current WIP that my crit group will love to see, if I can get it all typed out in time to turn in on Monday.
- I'd really like to take an art class this summer, so I'm counting pennies and figuring out schedules to see if I can work something out. Hopefully I'll still feel like working after showing my illustrations at ApolloCon (eep!). At least I finally got my drafting table and lamp set up. Yay workspace! Now I just need to break out the watercolors again.

And now it is time to sleep.

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May. 15th, 2010

catching up - good, bad, plus ApolloCon Yay!

So yesterday something wonderful occurred: a family dinner, just the four of us: me, my parents, and my brother. We met up after the Scion got off work and had a great dinner at a local restaurant. It's been a long time since we had such an occasion, so I was very happy.
Then just as we were getting ready to go, the heavens opened with torrential downpours. Whee, gotta love East Texas.
Today my cousin is graduating from the University of St. Thomas, and I'll be going to her party this afternoon. I was hoping to see the ceremony on streaming video but it took me until just now to find their link. Doh. I'll have to see about watching it later.
I have tons of stuff to do this weekend, as well, and a busy schedule.

On Thursday I got lucky and attended the symphony in place of a friend who had to go out of town. That was really nice - it's always cool to go to Symphony shows.
Tomorrow I'm going to see Jane Eyre: the Musical at the Hobby Center with another friend, which I expect to be LOLtastic, although I have heard the music and it's pretty good.

Last week really sucked, mostly because of things I didn't feel comfortable blogging until they were resolved. and they live under this cut )
And of course that was totally separate from the general worry about the upcoming Hurricane Season, which promises not only to be worse in general than previous ones, but also full of nasty gross oil spill madness. Apocalypse, this summer!
Plus I've been doing a lot of reading on rape culture, sexual assault awareness, and misogyny in media, which isn't cheerful anytime.
So given that fabulousness I'm sure folks can understand why my reaction to recent Merlin fandom wankitude over the last week has been, "I can't believe you guys think this is worth this much outrage, seriously."

But I'm very happy to see some fun prompts in various prompt-collecting places, and hopefully in this month's TOTAL CRAZINESS (i.e. the last month before ApolloCon goes up) I'll find the time to draw some stuff.

Also, hey - APOLLOCON is coming! Houston's science fiction, fantasy, and horror convention is full of awesome, and I say that not just because I'm on the ConCom. ;) Weekend memberships are still available for pre-registration for $35. They'll be $40 at the door!
We'll have fun stuff this year: authors, artists, musicians, rocket scientists, LARPers, cosplayers, concerts, a dance, readings, and a FABULOUS Con Suite. Come play!

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Apr. 18th, 2010

fun geeky weekend

This weekend I had a grand time with various geeky pastimes.
On Saturday I finally got to see Secret of Kells with my parents.  It was a great little film - very different from what I expected but excellent anyway. It was gorgeous - totally inspiring and intriguing on many levels.  I really liked the animation of the illuminations, and the voices.
ETA (not really a spoiler but cut just in case )
After the movie we had a nice dinner, then I came home to finish setting up my new computer, which I named Aisling after the fairy in the film.
It's kind of amazing to work on a machine that doesn't take much time to boot, and doesn't default to error messages from the start.
Today I went with Chuck, Val, and Julie on the Texas Wine and Wildflowers Tour of local wineries. It was really lovely. The flowers were abundant and colorful, and even though it threatened rain all day it didn't really pour until after we were done with the tour. We had some wonderful wines on the tour, and met some very nice wine makers as well.  I learned that I have no idea how to taste wine any more, but that there are a lot of wines out there that I like.  I also appreciated the way the selections offered for the tasting were complemented (or not) by the food offerings. The discussion around the table was great.
I got a few photos, but nothing exceptional, and no flowers, unfortunately.  I'll have to go out on a wildflower quest later.

Also this weekend, I watched the latest episode of Doctor Who, "Victory of the Daleks."
fandom nonsense, cut for spoilers )

I'm planning some new art, but mostly now that it's the end of April I need to concentrate on finishing my Prismacolor of Morgana for the show in June, and making prints of my digital work.  It should be a pretty good spread of pieces, I think, fandom-related and not.

Apr. 8th, 2010

contents of this gallery may not be appropriate for all visitors

Today I had a tremendous headache after a day of computer tedium at work (it's not bad, but it is repetitive, and there's a lot of it to do), so I finally finally did what I had been telling myself I would do ever since I got this job, and went straight to the Museum of Fine Arts after work.
It's right down the street, literally. Not quite walking distance for me at this time, but very much in the neighborhood.  I probably could walk home, too, if the construction on the streets were finished.
Anyway.
So I went to wallow in John Singer Sargent some more, but frankly that gallery is tiny and I could only wallow so much before I walked on seeking other bright shinies within the museum.
So it turns out that there's a HUGE Alice Neel exhibition in the other building. I went right up as soon as I figured out where it was.  (The museum has a maze-like quality to it in some areas.)
Holy cow, it was brilliant. [And the subject line for this entry is text from the sign posted at the entrance to the gallery.]
Alice Neel's portraits are amazing - brutal, and beautiful, and terribly moving. The canvases are large, and mostly the people fill them up, and the paint is often thick, but wonderfully expressive. At times it was creepy, even, standing there staring at these people who are often staring just as boldly back. I was really impressed by some of her nudes - the pregnant ones are amazing. She doesn't pull any visual punches, and the use of color is so interesting, the way she renders skin in a rainbow of patches yet it all pulls together and somehow works. It was stark to compare those to her cityscapes, which were by comparison relatively colorless, all lines and corners and angles and shadows and confined spaces.
Truly her work makes me want to paint, in the best inspirational way. She makes me think of things like color and proportion in ways that I usually don't, and that is always a good thing.  It's easy for me to get bogged down in a quest for realism that isn't really necessary to portraiture or illustration.

I also walked through the store ogling expensive books that I can't buy (yet) for myself, and contemplating expanding my magnet collection.

Mom and Dad went to a book signing by Jim Butcher on Tuesday at Murder by the Book and apparently found him quite personable, funny, and very very patient as they were some of the last to get to the table. I'm only on Book 7 so I try to avoid spoilers when they gush about it, but the Dresden Files are another one of those Family Series - everybody's read them, we've all seen the TV show, it's become part of the family lexicon.

I am SO CLOSE to being finished with my craft project.  I have to do a repair, and then the final finishing bits, and then the final photos and then into the mail with them! And then once they have been received the photos can all by published!  Yay!

In other news, I am SUPER EXCITED about the new Doctor Who!!  Has anybody else seen The Eleventh Hour already? Did you like it?  I did! FYI, the BBC America premiere is the 17th!

Mar. 10th, 2010

prepping for travel

I always forget how much stress increases as I approach air travel.  Even the relative ease with which I have managed in the past serves only to temper the stress, never eliminate it.
In any case, I'm flying on Friday.

I shall be landing in Philadelphia, and barring any other plans I will be training directly to Manhattan from there, and spending a week in the land of college buddies, spiritual friends, museums, and pubs. I am hoping that once I have landed my stomach will proceed as it has in this last month, and allow me to enjoy large chunks of time without distress.  Whee!

From NYC I'll be heading back to Philly for the Equinox weekend and some fandom fun in the city. Yes, it's a tiny Merlin Con. ;)

My biggest hope for the week, outside of quality time with folks I don't get to see a lot, is that I'll get some use out of my sketchbooks and pencils.

Jan. 20th, 2010

seeking ideas for 1920s alt-reality fantasy

Ok, I am pretty sure that the placement of the story I'm working on is sometime around 1922. Currently all but one of the protagonists are aboard an airship over Vienna, but they are a varied crew of folks with vastly differing experiences of the last decade or so.

for those who don't care about my writing trials )
So I'm looking for some good books/sites about the Great War and the early 20s in Europe, some ideas about how magic might have influenced the conflict, but not TOO much, and how magic and magical technology might change the social and political face of 20s Europe and the British Empire.
Thoughts?

I don't know. Somebody punch holes in all my ideas so I can figure out what's going on.

Dec. 3rd, 2009

a random rant + stuff

Getting e-mail responses from my senators always makes my blood pressure skyrocket.  It's not that I don't understand that they are pretty much absolutely opposed to my views on just about everything, but I still get so peeved to get these long involved letters that pretty much tell me that I am an idiot. I may be over-sensitive here, but I wish they would just skip the overly text-heavy reply and just say that they received my message, some intern made a note somewhere of the general gist, and they are going to do what they want anyway. Better that than this ridiculous response in which they pretend to relate to me when it couldn't be more obvious that it's a canned platform response. They even say that it's because of citizens like me that they will keep blocking the very legislation I wrote in to support (or vice versa). Do they have no concept of a constituent writing in to disagree?
Also, I don't appreciate the informal greeting, nor the generic "Friend".  I'm not a friend of my congresspeople, I am one of their many constituents.  Call me "Constituent" if you can't automate a Title and Surname off the e-mail form. Let's be real about our relationship.
One good thing I can say is that so far I haven't gotten any letters. My old rep (Democrat, not that it seems to matter) used to send those canned, patronizing responses on expensive letterhead (sometimes two pages worth!) even after I asked the folks on the phone not to send me a response.
At least the interns who answer my phone calls have so far been unfailingly polite.

Maybe I should go have a drink and relax. I am obviously overthinking today. 

Can I just say, too, while I'm ranting, SNOW?! In December? In Houston? Seriously, what is that? Oh, climate change, how we love you. The birds are going to be so flipping confused. Not to mention the trees. They all still have leaves!  Anyway...

Lunchtime is over. Got stuff to do today and then I'm driving to Austin in the morning. Cons... there are some events when having a smartphone with web access would be quite useful.

I'm going to add in a small squee, because I can: Merlin Series 3 got the green light from the BBC! w00t! Why must my only currently airing fandom be something none of my RL friends likes or has heard of? I need some folks to squee with...  oh, well. 

Also, here, in pretty font this time:

the ♥
fanart love ♥ meme

Dec. 2nd, 2009

wednesday stuff

[info]glockgal has started a meme for fanartists to share the love. my fanart meme entry

It's really cold here, which is weird. And I've discovered that I'm kind of unprepared, so I'd best go pick up some things before the end of the month when I go to Philadelphia.
By the way, northeast folks - I'm going to be in Philadelphia for the end of the year. I'll probably have a day or an afternoon to meet with locals if you're in the area. Give me a call or drop me a line.

Good lord, I have less than a month before I leave.  Eek eek eek.

Art is proceeding well, but as usual my list of projects keeps growing ahead of my ability to finish anything.

Writing not proceeding so well, but slow is ok as long as it gets done.

Austin this weekend for SMOFCon, then next weekend is the election and then the next weekend is meeting and parties and when exactly was I hoping to get anything done again?  Hmm.

Still making my way through Doctor Who, although I took some time to listen to the three episode commentaries on the Volume 1 DVD of Merlin Series 2.  Interesting.  I wish those DVDs could include deleted scenes, even (perhaps especially) ones played out against CGI stand-ins or greenscreen.  It would be so interesting. Plus we might see some of the characters that appear to have gotten pretty short shrift in the show as aired. (Hi, Morgana!)

Right, gotta make art now.

Nov. 11th, 2009

it all happened again and again and again and again

On this Day of Remembrance, two songs by Eric Bogle about the First World War, lest we forget...

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda (YouTube)

The Green Fields of France (YouTube) (performed by the Dropkick Murphys; video is historic photos)

And now some concerns for the servicemembers and veterans alive today, from Democracy Now! Because a 'thank you' means more when it's backed up by decent support and care:

Study: Over 2,200 US Veterans Died in 2008 Due to Lack of Health Insurance

Sexual Assaults, Inadequate Healthcare Among Spate of Issues Facing Women Servicemembers

And my usual barrage of quotes for the day:

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official...
~Theodore Roosevelt

The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without.
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.
~John F. Kennedy

It doesn't require any particular bravery to stand on the floor of the Senate and urge our boys in Vietnam to fight harder, and if this war mushrooms into a major conflict and a hundred thousand young Americans are killed, it won't be U.S. Senators who die. It will be American soldiers who are too young to qualify for the Senate.
~George McGovern

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There's a graveyard in northern France where all the dead boys from D-Day are buried. The white crosses reach from one horizon to the other. I remember looking it over and thinking it was a forest of graves. But the rows were like this, dizzying, diagonal, perfectly straight, so after all it wasn't a forest but an orchard of graves. Nothing to do with nature, unless you count human nature.
~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

Oct. 25th, 2009

At the Faire


Keri and Donna
Originally uploaded by zephrene.
I ran away to the circus.. er, Renaissance Festival today!
It was pirate weekend, so I got into a pseudo-costume (I wore jeans), and met Donna, Jon, Lando and some friends.
It was a long drive, by the way. Geez. It seems so much shorter when there is another person in the car.
This is us in front of the waterwheel by the carousel, which was the designated "let's all meet here" location.

Oct. 18th, 2009

Quilt Show Day 2 + politics

More from the Quilt Show:
Mom and Me at the GRB

photos )

Oct. 16th, 2009

Quilt Festival Day 1

International Quilt Festival, Day 1:

Totally awesome!
I blew half my festival budget on amber jewelry, but the highlight of the show was still the quilts.

This one is pieced, not painted - I swear.  It's huge, taller than I am, and gorgeous in person. "Medea Escaping". 
My flickr set for the show includes the card for this one, and some detail shots.
IMG_3562

Oct. 8th, 2009

a spiritual experience

This evening Mom and I attended the Progressive Forum again. 
Tonight the speaker was Karen Armstrong, and she was amazing. Brilliant. Incredibly well-spoken, fun to listen to, grounded in her knowledge, and beautifully eloquent. Plus bonus British accent.
But seriously, I was so moved at times during her lecture, and her answer to one of the questions during the Q&A portion had me choked up.
It reminded me with deep, loving nostalgia of the best of my class in Seminary.

Her talk was about god, in a very early sense of the word. She spoke of traditions having a special language and breathing to discuss god, the concept beyond realization. About finding the moment when one's word become too much and one is reduced to silence and awe. (Like the moment, the beat at the end of a symphony, the breath before the applause begins.)  The goal of the practice is to breathe in the silence, in the presence of that awe.
She spoke of creation stories or cosmologies as therapeutic exercises, guides for personal creativity with an emphasis on personal sacrifice. Never does something come from nothing; something always from something.
She spoke of revelation as an ongoing process. Scripture, in the Rabbinic tradition, as something to be re-interpreted for and by each generation.
She spoke of the complementary relationship in pre-16th century society between logos and mythos. Logos as knowledge, science, the physical reality. Myth as a way to deal with inner issues, emotion, pain, despair, psyche. Myth as a program for action. Religion, she said, is like dancing - a skill requiring practice.  A belief is not enough. And belief as a word did not mean then what it did now, but represented a commitment, love, dedication, a doing.
She spoke of dialogue as a spiritual exercise in the Socratic tradition, its goal to realize the profundity of human ignorance, and from there begin to seek wisdom. She said that one difficulty we have now is that instead of proceeding in the dialogue with gentleness, as Socrates said, these days we feel the need not only to win, to prove our knowledge, but also to humiliate our opponents.
And of course, she spoke of compassion. She is developing a Charter for Compassion online. (See the page at the TED prize about her wish.)

One of the most intriguing and resonant things she said, to me, was about the need for silence.  Specifically inner silence as a place of spiritual revelation and knowing. This reminded me so much of one of the books that was formative to my young spirituality, Sati by Christopher Pike. We are all god, and this can be discovered in silence.

When asked to describe her idea of god:
"I try not to have any ideas of god at all." She does not wish to 'domesticate the transcendence', but to keep it in the realm of music, poetry, etc. She feels intimations of awe and wonder during the day: "I do feel touched within, but what that is I don't know - and it's better not to ask."

At the very end she spoke about hope for the future in the face of so much misunderstanding and upheaval.

In short, it was an awesome evening.

Also, happy happy birthday to my awesome Dad. :)

Sep. 21st, 2009

sick day

As some folks already know, I spent today being sick. Ugh.  I still have a low-grade fever, and the persistance of that will determine whether or not I go to work tomorrow.
I spent this morning at the emergency clinic with Awesome!Chauffeur!Dad, and then the rest of the day in varying stages of sleep or eating under Mom's eye.
Now I'm taking advantage of brief moments of concentration and hoping that I can sleep through the night. Or at least large chunks of it.

Sep. 11th, 2009

friday of a long week

Had a lot of stuff going on this week.  It's just been terribly busy, and I haven't slept well.
Thought about going to the memorial concert tonight, but wasn't up for it.  Spent the whole day reading various bizarre social networking posts about where people were in 2001. There was a hashtag for it, for goodness sakes. Bizarre, and yet I suppose completely human.
I doubt I'll ever forget, but the memory seems to change with each telling. And more than the day itself, the days and weeks immediately after stay in my mind. It was a hard time, but one that has faded with the passing of years so that its immediacy is lessened but certain indelible images and feelings remain, worn into the psyche beside all the rest of a life's traumas.

Hm, I seem to have gone a bit introspective despite my effort to avoid same this year.

I've finished two actual novels this week, though, which was great.  And they were both awesome in totally different ways.  Lavinia by Ursula K LeGuin, and The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop.

Now I'm really tired and looking forward to a fun weekend, so I'd best get to bed and try to actually sleep.

Aug. 25th, 2009

it's tuesday

So begins my quest to blog more frequently...

Last night I visited the ancestral homestead, where I picked up various fun things like my laundry, a box of things Mom wanted to get rid of (mostly my bookends - two of them are carved stone figures that are bloody heavy, even for bookends), and some of Mom's lentil soup, this time the cumin and coriander variation.
I am eating the soup right now and it's awesome, but I do wish I'd had the forethought to add some cheese to it before I left. There are so few foods that cannot be improved by the application of some extra sharp cheddar.

It's a rather nice change to have so much of my floor visible at home, although I still don't have all my flat spaces cleared. I can't sew yet, for one thing. But I'm close, very close.

Yesterday I did actually draw something, too. It may or may not morph into a full-blown illustration, we'll see.

Also, I took a Democratic Party political survey, the mail-in kind, and I mostly wished I had a big red marker to strike through half of it. "Mark the issues most important to you right now" - well, it's hard to do when they aren't even on your stupid list, Democratic Party. I added some write-ins.
"Which party do you trust to look after your interests?" NONE.
I hope they don't just throw my survey away because it has so much writing on it, outside of the "Please tell us anything else you think we should know" box. I have extremely neat handwriting, Democratic Party interns, you can handle it!

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