Thursday, December 31, 2009

obligatory last post of the year ;o)

Love God.

This means loving peace, justice, mercy, goodness, kindness, gentleness. And it means loving love.

The rest will take care of itself.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

still and always, just a geek

So, I'm sitting here reading Wil Wheaton's blog (I've caveated his language before, so you've been duly warned), and I come across a post in which he mentions the one where he won a Super Mario competition against, among others, Jason Bateman. There's a link to a picture of said event. In this pic, Wil is probably 12 or 13.

I angled my Mac toward Ed. "Look, honey, here's when he won the Super Mario competition!"

In a voice à la Lumbergh, Ed drawled, "Grrrrreaaaat."

Even after more than eleven years, I'm not sure my poor husband has completely adjusted to the fact that his wife is just a geek. ;o)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

in which a clue is finally gotten (pardon my passive)

I just finished reading this Yahoo! article on finance and the "Great Recession--which is technically over, economists insist--", and the following statement jumped out at me:

"Researchers studying long-term trends among American consumers believe that a 20-year spending binge, fueled by easy credit, is over for good."

I wonder if that's true? I hope so. I think it would be a good sign that people are starting to realize we're all in this together--and individual attitudes toward money will determine the financial condition of a nation.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

when life sucks

The first of the following quotes I discovered in Allison's blog. (Thank you, Al!) The second is from a book I recently read and commented on.

Both of these quotes resonate with me in a powerful way--especially because many recent aspects of my life have felt, to put it bluntly, unbearable. That I am

still here
still more than functional
still optimistic

is a testament to the activeness of God

in my life
in my surroundings
in my heart.

Somehow, he keeps me singing.

And, without further ado, the illuminating and encouraging thoughts of other women:

"Never, ever in our wait, is God inactive. NEVER. We have got to trust that if ever he puts a stay on something, if ever he has put a hold on something, if ever he has called us to wait upon Him: SOMETHING is up. Something is happening in the heavenlies. There is someway that things on earth are coming into the will of the things in Heaven. And we have got to trust Him.
"...When we wait upon a person, a thing, an event, we will lose; but if you're waiting on the Lord, you will renew your strength..."
--Beth Moore
"Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman"

"And he said--gently--that they believe when a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born--and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible.
"I believe this to be true. And I especially believe it when other people's things are breaking down."
--Anne Lamott
"Traveling Mercies"

I, too, believe these things to be true. God in heaven, I believe these things to be true. You haven't given up on me, that much is clear. Neither will I give up on you. This, I swear.

excerpt from courtney's journal...

...complete with original spellings. ;o)

June, 29, 1986

Iam at Church right now. And I have been thinking about something. Amanda and I were at Grandma Wegers house. We wanted to play the Piano. But most of the Key's would'nt Play. Then we said the Piano would'nt Play. Grandpa then took his 22 Gun out of the Piano so that we could Play it. And that was so funny!


Present day: At the risk of sounding self-aggrandizing ;oD I have to say I find this completely fascinating from a linguistic standpoint. At age 9, it seems I was regularly applying German spelling rules to English words--hence all the capitalized nouns. But the one English noun that's phonetically almost identical to its German counterpart (house -- Haus), I spelled correctly.

Why I capitalized the verb "play," I have no idea. Maybe I was thinking "play" as in something you watch onstage--which would be a noun.

I love being a TCK. :o)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

excerpt from nanowrimo...

...encoded. ;o)

"It heippetyed tpalzpalz lpalztyg eigpalz. Ypalzul pepalzple heive fpalzlgpalzttety. We dempalztys lemembel, beceiuse Geidlell dpalzes typalzt let us fpalzlget. She weis leithel itycetysed by the itycidetyt, eityd she dpalzes typalzt fpalzlget quickly."

I weiited fpalzl him tpalz gpalz palzty, eityd he geive ei wpalzlld weeily sigh. I thpalzught theit weis ilpalztyic.

"He heid ei leile gift," he dempalzty fityeilly wetyt palzty, "evety fpalzl ypalzul kityd. He cpalzuld tleivel thlpalzugh speice eityd time eit will, ity the blityk palzf palztye palzf ypalzul delecteible eyes. He ceilled it 'leeidityg the peist...'"

Ta-dah. ;oD

Thursday, December 03, 2009


I might as well make it official, thereby making myself accountable to all y'all nice folks:

My goal in 2010 is to acquire an agent.

There. I said it.

Oy vey.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

becoming an artist

The following is from Mark Z. Danielewski's novel "House of Leaves," upon which I commented in my previous post.

There are seven incarnations (and six correlates) necessary to becoming an Artist:

1. Explorer (Courage) -- First, you must leave the safety of your home and go into the dangers of the world, whether to an actual territory or some unexamined aspect of the psyche...

2. Surveyor (Vision) -- Next, you must have the vision to recognize your destination once you get there. Note that a destination may sometimes also be the journey...

3. Miner (Strength) -- Third, you must be strong enough to dig up facts, follow veins of history, unearth telling details...

4. Refiner (Patience) -- Fourth, you must have the patience to winnow and process your material into something rare. This may take months or even years...

5. Designer (Intelligence) -- Fifth, you must use your intellect to conceive of your material as something meaning more than its origins...

6. Maker (Experience) -- Six, you must fashion a work independent of everything that has gone before it including yourself. This is accomplished through experience...

At this stage, the work is acceptable. You will be fortunate to have progressed so far. It is unlikely, however, that you will go any farther. Most do not. But let us assume you are exceptional. Let us assume you are rare. What then does it mean to reach the final incarnation? Only this: at every stage, from 1 thru (sic) 6, you will risk more, see more, gather more, process more, fashion more, consider more, love more, suffer more, imagine more and in the end know why less means more and leave what doesn't and keep what implies and create what matters. This is what is meant by 'Artist.'

7. Artist


This resonates.


"Could they be the miners?"
--"Sure, they're, like, three years old."
"...Miners, not minors!
--"You lost me."


Saturday, November 21, 2009

book comments 21

"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy
--story of how a man and his son fight to survive in a post-apocalyptic world
--SO vivid
--excellent characterization in minimalist style
--Each sentence draws your attention, your thoughts, your heart on to the next sentence.
--McCarthy has a broad, elegant, lovely vocabulary; I loved the challenge of looking up some of his words:
chary, intestate, shrunken, ensepulchred, davits, sludge, swag, excelsior, loess, torsional, vermiculate
--also the word "illucid," which I think he made up; and crozzled, which seems to be a term from northeastern dialects
--McCarthy is one of my new favorites, if for no other reason than vocabulary. ;o)
--highly recommend

"House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski
--literally the WEIRDEST book I've ever read
--structured something like this:

[[[the story of Johnny (told mostly in footnotes), who reads Zampano's book and starts going crazy as a result <<<the non-fiction book written by crazy (?) old man Zampano (who is blind) *about* Will's movie and house {{{the "home movie" shot by professional photographer Will, whose house is larger on the inside than on the outside; the more he explores, the larger and more labyrinthine it gets--and there's something lurking in it}}} the non-fiction book written by crazy (?) old man Zampano (who is blind) *about* Will's movie and house>>> the story of Johnny (told mostly in footnotes), who reads Zampano's book and starts going crazy as a result]]]

And if you followed that synopsis, you have a pretty good idea of what it was like to read this novel.
--parts of it are in color
--parts of it are missing
--parts of it are written backwards
--parts of it are upside down, so you have to turn the whole book upside down to read it
--The book is structured like the house itself.
--This was a hard, challenging read.
--vulgar language
--recommend, but read at your own risk

"Mister B. Gone" by Clive Barker
--story of Jakabok Botch, a demon from the Ninth Circle of Hell, who tells about his (mis)adventures on Earth
--guest starring Johannes Gutenberg
--fun, fast read, seemingly light-hearted but with darker undertones
--not for the faint of stomach
--reminiscent of C.S. Lewis's "Screwtape Letters"; difference is that the demon addresses the reader
--My second Barker read; the first was 12 years ago. I think I'm ready for more.

2009 Book Count To-Date: 42. Ahhh....The Answer. ;oD

Thursday, November 12, 2009

peace out, or easy out?

There are a lot of things I don't talk about here.

Not because I'm ashamed of my own thoughts or feelings,

and not because I'm afraid of offending someone.

Quite simply, I keep certain opinion and feelings to myself because I just don't want to have to deal with the fallout from people who, I know, will disagree with me and be combative about it.

Does that make me smart and wise for wanting to keep the peace?

Or does that just make me a big chicken?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

because it made me giggle

...and I can see me cooing to squash, too. ;o)


"It's going to be cold and windy tonight," Anne said that afternoon as we stood in the kitchen and contemplated dinner.

"It's cold and windy right now," I said.

"Yes. That's how I know it's going to be cold and windy tonight. It feels like fall, so I want to make something hearty for dinner."

"Something Autumnal?" I said.


"Something that screams HARVEST!" I said, punctuating the word with jazz hands.

"Sure. Whatever. Let's make some soup with that squash you bought yesterday."

I picked the squash up off the counter and cradled it in my arms like it was a baby. "Do you want to be soup? Do you want to be soup?! I bet you'd be a delicious soup! Yes you would! Yes you would! Yummy, yummy soup!"

Anne and I have been together for 14 years, married for just a few weeks shy of 10 of those years, and it wasn't until that moment that I learned just how much she doesn't like it when people use baby talk with squash. (So just keep in mind, kids: even when you're old like we are, and you've been together for something in the neighborhood of 5000 days, there are still exciting new things to discover about each other.)

--Wil Wheaton

FYI, Mr. Wheaton's blog contains language of the unwashed, unrinsed variety. You have been forewarned.

Monday, November 09, 2009

me in november

You know you're a writer when you're trying to get the words out, and you start looking at your hands, and you get distracted by the complete cramazingness of the fingerprint of your left index finger, and you start coming up with different ways of describing it on paper. Of course, this helps your day's wordcount not at all, but at least you know who you are.

It's NaNoWriMo, you hooligans.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

book comments 20

"When The Day of Evil Comes" by Melanie Wells
--first book in the Day of Evil series (I commented on the second book [The Soul Hunter] here.)
--the start of Dylan Foster's misadventures with the demon Peter Terry
--for some reason, I think "Peter Terry" is an excellent name for a demon
--creepy (grave-robbing), gross (plague of flies), and disturbing (did I mention there's a demon?)
--good characterization, believable dialogue, good plot twists
--story and writing flow well
--also disturbing in that it makes ya think
--a few slow parts, more so than in Book 2, but nowhere slow enough to make me stop reading
--recommend; and I plan to acquire Book 3

"Star Wars: Death Troopers" by Joe Schreiber
In one shelle du nut:

Imperial prison barge. Convicts and stormtroopers. Zombies.

Yes, I said zombies.

--excellent writing: well-flowing story, action-packed, fast-paced, tension in every line, great vocab, highly effective imagery, vivid characters
--blood, guts, gore, and Wookiees
--I mentioned there are zombies, right?
--cramazing fun
--plus, the author's last name is German for "one who / something that writes"
--recommend to any Star Wars or sci-fi fan

"Traveling Mercies" by Anne Lamott
I can give no description that would do this book justice.

--Lamott tells her own story: growing up with drugs and alcohol in the '60s, watching friends die, becoming Jewish, becoming a seeker, becoming disillusioned, finding truth here and there and clinging to it
--tells the story of coming to faith in God by a grittier, more circuitous, more realistic path than most of us could imagine
--irreverent, profane, hilarious, wholly unafraid to say what others think but never dare to say
--If you have any faith in God at all, this book will probably take what you think you know and turn it inside out. And leave you feeling less as though you have a hole in your middle. That's how I feel about it, anyway. :o)
--one of my favorite quotes so far: "When a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born--and...this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible."
--highly recommend

2009 Book Count To-Date: 39. Alas and alack, I fear I shall not exceed, nay, shall not even meet my book count of 2008. I had a longish non-reading period earlier this year, which was an unfortunate happenstance. Ah well, c'est la vie, n'est-ce pas, mes amis? Bien sur.

Please, pardon my French. ;oD

Saturday, October 31, 2009


(aka outing myself just a teensy bit ;o)

“The New Testament doctrine of ministry rests therefore not on the clergy-laity distinction but on the twin and complementary pillars of the priesthood of all believers and the gifts of the Spirit. Today, four centuries after the Reformation, the full implications of this Protestant affirmation have yet to be worked out. The clergy-laity dichotomy is a direct carry-over from pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism and a throwback to the Old Testament priesthood. It is one of the principal obstacles to the church effectively being God’s agent of the Kingdom today because it creates a false idea that only “holy men,” namely, ordained ministers, are really qualified and responsible for leadership and significant ministry. In the New Testament there are functional distinctions between various kinds of ministries but no hierarchical division between clergy and laity.”

~Dr. Howard Snyder

“Increasing institutionalism is the clearest mark of early Catholicism—when church becomes increasingly identified with institution, when authority becomes increasingly coterminous with office, when a basic distinction between clergy and laity becomes increasingly self-evident, when grace becomes increasingly narrowed to well-defined ritual acts … such features were absent from first generation Christianity, though in the second generation the picture was beginning to change.”

~James D. G. Dunn

half empty, half full, or maybe the apocalypse

"I think we're in a cultural period that celebrates mass appeal and democracy and devalues experts. I'd bet that more people read Amazon reviews than the New York Times Book Review. More people check Yelp for restaurant recommendations than a city's local restaurant critic. People don't particularly listen to the judges when they vote for their favorites on American Idol and they certainly don't listen to movie critics when they decide which movies to see. The Internet has opened up all kinds of ways for the crowd to be king.
"...And I think this has resulted in a cultural moment that celebrates mass appeal rather than the elite."

--Nathan Bransford

Agreements? Dissensions? Confusions? Predictions? Apersions? Self-aggrandizements? Cookies?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

book comments 19

Shorter than usual! Because I haven't let 'em pile up this time! Zoinks!

"The Angel of Darkness" by Caleb Carr
Characters from Carr's wonderful "The Alienist" return to solve the case of an abducted child.
--set in the late 1800s, when psychology was a new field and much of the "science" was guesswork and superstition
--particularly interesting because the antagonist suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy
--fascinating look at New York City in 1897--the city itself, its people, and their mindsets
--vivid, realistic, engaging characters, with an endearing narrator whose voice is *perfect* for this story
I skimmed some of the longer descriptions of places and high society people, but otherwise remained engrossed in the tale.
--highly recommend, especially to anyone interested in psychology and/or historical fiction

"Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers
Ah me, there are SO many hurt people in my life who I wish could read this book.
--story of the biblical Hosea, set in 1850s goldrush California
--main character is a former prostitute named Angel: baggage, attitude, and strength/weakness
--story of a human trying to leave an old, terrible life behind --> something we all can relate to
--story of sacrifice; self-sacrificial love; how bitterness and envy can poison an entire family; idolatry in marriage; the human struggle oftentimes *against* grace; the pain of accepting redemption
This story will tear your heart out, rip it to shreds, and then put it seamlessly back together with Love.
--highly recommend

The Mortal Instruments, Book Two: City of Ashes" by Cassandra Clare
--sequel to "City of Bones," which I commented on here
--fast-paced, fun, smart, sexy read
--engaging characters, fascinating modern fantasy setting
--*better than the first one!!!* I only had the editing urge ONE time! ;o)
--highly recommend to fantasy fans or to those who read the first book

2009 Book Count To-Date: 36

courtney in 2010

I Googled the above in order to find out what my life will be in the year 2010--at least, according to the Internet. Here are ten results that best translated into predictions (minus all Courtney Love references, kthx):

Courtney in 2010

1. Courtney at the Pittsburgh Combine.

2. Courtney in Congress.

3. Courtney won't run for governor.
Of course not. I'll be in Congress. Duh.

4. Courtney is excited to start working with you!
Hopefully, you is a literary agent. ;o)

5. Courtney advances to the state competition, set in January.

6. Courtney is going to do awesome things!
You betcha!

7. Courtney would like to pack up her car and drive your way and sing in your town.
I'm game. Absolutely. Let's book it!

8. Courtney's future will probably include more school and hopefully some traveling and writing as well.
Odds bodkins, you better believe it!

9. Courtney is touring Australia from January 8th to February 15th!

10. Courtney is not gonna talk as much.
Oh. Bummer.


That's cuz I'ma be writin', fool!

2010 is gonna be an exciting year. CRAMAZING!!! ;oD

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

RE: movies kids shouldn't see

"As with most parenting issues, it's probably wiser to inspect what children will be exposed to beforehand, rather than complaining about it afterward."

--Matt Ufford
Yahoo! Movies
October 20, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

God knows kids screw up

I currently don't have the mental energy to give this subject the time and analysis it deserves. So, please to be forgiving the slapdash feel of these thoughts. ;o)

I've been thinking a lot lately about this:

In the denomination in which I grew up, either I was taught, or I absorbed as though through osmosis, that mistakes and sins are the same thing.

They are not.

Sometimes, I do the wrong thing for the simple reason that I am a human being.

I am a child who has not yet acquired all the necessary skills for leading a life free from mistakes.

I understand the difference between good and evil. But sometimes, I just don't know any better than to do something. Sometimes, I just make a mistake. It's not a sin. It just wasn't the right decision.

Like I said, there's more to it than this, but that's all I have brainpower for right now.

Ending thusly:

"God knows quite well how hard we find it to love Him more than anyone or anything else, and He won't be angry with us as long as we are trying. And He will help us."

--C.S. Lewis
in Letters to Children, 6 May 1955
(Emphasis mine)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

crazy english redux

Originally blogged April 9, 2006; decided to unearth it for entertainment purposes.

No languages were harmed in the making of this blopgost. CAVEAT EMPTOR: The use of adverbs abounded.

The following bits of great literature came into being on the Oklahoma Christian University "Singing Campaign" of June 2001. Several of us were playing a language game in which each player contributes a part of a sentence without knowing what the other players are contributing. As in:

Player A contributes a subject ("The handcuffs"),
Player B contributes a verb ("gargled"),
Player C contributes an object ("pimentos"),
and Player D contributes an adverb ("symbiotically").

Players may add other adverbs, adverbial phrases, adjectives, and so forth, as long as the structure of the sentence remains intact. Here are some sentences that came together in strange ways on that starlit night so long ago:

A blunt elephant awakens delicately.

4,000,362 slimy heifers bebop coke repeatedly.

The juicy squirrels rang manure radically.

Some magical Martians snorted river cautiously.

Your mama’s shrunken sludge dances vomit lovingly.

The Saran-wrapped amoeba strangled fever blisters.

Its unwilling dough wore pimples authoritatively.

Mike’s infected Thumbelina impaled puppies slowly.

My swollen blue suede shoes defecated coconuts.

April’s peanut butter jar beheld toxic waste creepingly.

With blackest moss, the other Deutschmark stabbed Romanoffs with ease.

Thy radical snot gulped hamsters alluringly.

Rupert’s clairvoyant slug plucked tongues boldly.

Satan’s slutty cheese cake slurped turtles on the highest rooftops.

Surprisingly enough, our milky busts curtsied pustules right on task.

Tomorrow, flamboyant lace will flatulate kabobs happily.

Russia’s flat hairballs created toilet tingling.

The parole violators’ amazed horny toad blew rafters with great linguistic skill.

On the poop deck, our objective booty crushed dried linguini like a goose in heat.

Eight crunchy handkerchiefs serenade egg drop soup like redneck Olympics.

With the absolute possibility, spoonlike cowboys cut snot rockets while smelling like a stinky tube sock.

Unbeknownst to us, many underground headless horsemen slammed bellybutton lint so well, it would’ve made you cry.

Like sands in the hour glass, strikingly handsome mold slaughtered jazz hands while dancing like a 5-year-old on purple crack.

--April Wooldridge Everhart, Courtney Cantrell, Matt Barger, Mike Antwine, and others, June 2001.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

throwing sand

On my brisk autumn walk this afternoon, I walked down the canal on Village Road. Or Village Drive. Village Something, anyway. But before I digress, allow me to progress. Three boys were playing in the canal, all probably eight years old. As I approached, one of them climbed out of the canal to join his friend on the bank. The third one stayed below.

"Hi," said the boy in the striped shirt as I passed by.

"Hi," said I. "Having fun?"


"Good deal."

I continued on, not expecting further conversation. But then I heard a bright voice pipe up behind me. So, still walking, I half-turned to look.

It was the second boy, the little blond one. "I'm just throwing sand," he informed me, matching action to words.

I chuckled. "That sounds fun, too."

The little blond one looked at me one more time, then scattered another handful of glittering sand as he pronounced: "I lost all my strength just getting up here."

I don't remember what I said in response, but it doesn't matter. I fell in love with that kid right then and there. Because isn't that just how it is sometimes? We lose all our strength just getting up there, so all that is left to us is to throw sand with big smiles on our faces, thereby brightening the lives of strangers (mayhap friends yet unknown) who're passing by.


Saturday, October 03, 2009

book comments 18

Preamble that is not a preamble.

"Gods Tomorrow" by Aaron Pogue
--sci-fi, set in the near future in which all human activity is recorded (video and audio)
--strong, engaging main character in Katie, part of an FBI team that tracks down people who manage to get themselves off-camera and off-audio
--first in a series
--brilliant concept, engaging characters, vivid world-building
--an almost scary marker pointing toward a very believable possible future
--The concept is somewhat Orwellian, but far more accessible, if that makes any sense. Aaron himself calls it a "beach read," without meaning to disparage his own story, and I agree: You could read this for fun in your free time and just enjoy it for the sheer, non-stop adventure of it all...or, so choosing, you could let your mind consider the deeper implications--both for the world at large and for yourself personally.
--I devoured the book twice and was just as captured by the author's storying skill the second time through.
--I'm not just saying all this because Aaron's my friend. It's all true, and if you don't believe me, we'll just see who's right after Aaron gets published and takes the world by storm. So there.
--The movie is gonna be CRAMAZING.
--highly recommend


"Expectation" by Aaron Pogue
--fun, hook-you-with-the-first-line, leave-you-wanting-more second novel in Aaron's "Gods Tomorrow" series
--further (mis?)adventures of Katie, who just can't seem to get any downtime ;o)
--even better than the first book--and not just because the future of humanity is at stake, either
--clears up a few things about Katie's past....and, of course, inspires more questions about the same...and about her future...and...and.... *sigh*
--very strong writing (seemingly effortless), giving the reader maximum "info" without unnecessary wordage
--This one has a worrisome love triangle to engage the girl in me. ;oD
--This one especially makes me want to have a Martin in my life--or even a (limited?) Hathor. To understand that remark, you're just gonna hafta wait and read. ;o)
--highly recommend

"The Mortal Instruments, Book One: City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare
--paranormal YA fantasy set in present-day world
--basic story sounds has-done: normal girl Clary stumbles onto "magical" world and finds out she's not as ordinary as she thought
--BUT. The author takes a fresh tack on the magical world, which saves the story from been-there-done-that-ness.
--enjoyable, easy read, vivid characters, strong writing
--I wanted to edit some adverbs several times throughout, but that might just be personal preference talking. ;o)
--I will be reading the sequel.
--recommend to anyone who enjoys the genre

"From The Corner of His Eye" by Dean Koontz
--thriller revolving around good people to whom bad things happen, a psycho who's evil and not as smart as he thinks he is but still smart enough to be deadly to Our Heroes, and spiritual themes that make this, in my opinion, one of the most significant novels ever written
--spiritual theme, summarized in a line which I have adopted as a tag in this blog and as one of my personal goals/mantras: "Brighten the corner where you are, and you will light the world."
--wound up in quantum theory, cause & effect (as in, effect coming before cause, "spooky effects at a distance"), n-dimensions, and the interconnectedness of every point in the universe
--And at the same time, you've got flawed protagonists just trying to make something beautiful while being pursued by one of the creepiest, most arrogant, most believable villains ever.
--Don't tell me that all of this doesn't make you want to read this book. ;o)
--This was my second read-through of this novel, and I've decided this is my favorite Koontz.
--highly recommend

"Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins
--brilliant sequel to "The Hunger Games," which I mentioned here, and which is being made into a movie, let the people say OH YEAH.
--picks up where Hunger Games left off, with Katniss trying to adjust to life back in District 12--with little success and with new threats from the government looming
--But. No spoilers from me. Just know that it's a fun, easy, engaging, make-you-think read.
--UPDA. I read it in two days. ;o)
--highly recommend

"The Ruins" by Scott Smith
--present-day thriller set in Mexican jungle, revolving around hapless tourists apparently being held captive by crazy Mayans
--Or are they?
--Something's mos def after these people...but again, no spoilers from me. ;o)
--strong, vivid writing, style flows very well
--The characterization kind of threw me--very different from what I'm used to reading. Point-of-view contributed to the oddness: POV was from four main characters, but it was like an omniscient narrator was inside each character's head. I'm sure there's a technical term for this, but it escapes me. Anyway...the narrator never intrudes, really; the reader just gets occasional hints of things that the characters might or might not realize.
--Both female MCs annoyed me a lot of the time--mostly the negativity and cluelessness. But they had enough redeeming qualities to keep me from hating them outright. ;o)
--definitely UPDA
--recommend--highly, to anyone who enjoys thrillers--but prepare to be grossed out ;o)

That's all for this round. I haven't been reading as voraciously since my last blogged comments--but the ones I have read have been good ones. Guess I need to get my hands on some PDAs**--no, not what you're thinking! lol --to gain some perspective.

Or not. ;oD

2009 Book Count To-Date: 33

*UPDA = UnPutDownAble

**PDAs = PutDownAbles

Friday, September 25, 2009

future challenge to myself

What if...

What if we--as humans and as believers in a King ever so much greater than ourselves--what if we held as self-evident that (our) children have more to teach us about God than we could ever teach them?

What would happen if we approached children this way? And parenting? And life?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

hi, my name is courtney, and i'm an introvert

"Oh, for years I denied it. After all, I have good social skills. I am not morose or misanthropic. Usually. I am far from shy. I love long conversations that explore intimate thoughts or passionate interests. But at last I have self-identified and come out to my friends and colleagues. In doing so, I have found myself liberated from any number of damaging misconceptions and stereotypes. Now I am here to tell you what you need to know in order to respond sensitively and supportively to your own introverted family members, friends, and colleagues. Remember, someone you know, respect, and interact with every day is an introvert, and you are probably driving this person nuts. It pays to learn the warning signs."

--Jonathan Rauch
in "Caring For Your Introvert"

Read the full article here. However, caveat emptor: If you're an extrovert, you might not appreciate the tongue-in-cheekiness. ;o)

Thanks to Aaron for pointing this one out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

another episode in stream-of-c

Dear Blog,

I had the feeling I've been neglecting you, so I decided to come post something on you. Kind of like writing on a Post-It Note and sticking it to someone's back without their knowledge. But then I checked, and I saw that I actually posted a few things recently. So I guess the neglecting was all in my imagination. Do carry on with whatever blogginess you were engaged in before I so rudely interrupted.


In other news, apparently I've had fund-raising on the brain of late. Last week, I participated in the Wishing Well Walk. Amy and I walked 2.5 miles, carrying 2 gallons of dirty water apiece, helping raise awareness of the well shortage in Africa. Lest you be overly impressed with our feat, there were many, many people who carried more water than we did. They rocked the Walk, so to speak.
Then, this evening, I drove up to Edmond to attend Heartbeat for Hope's fundraiser at Adora. It was fun, I bought two cute shirts (15% of the proceeds from Adora's sales tonight will go toward Heartbeat for Hope), and I got to hear a really good band named Countdown for Reno, if I recall correctly.

So, yay for helping people. ;o)

Furthermore, I'd just like to state for the record that it's not my fault my cat has a flabby tummy. We throw away about half the food we give her because she won't eat. And we're already giving her half the recommended amount. So I don't know why her tummy sags, unless it's from getting spayed and no longer having taut tummy muscles. But she has a lot of fur--how'm I s'posed to figure out what happened to her six-pack?!

Also, I think there has got to be a more efficient way of picking jurors for trials. A friend of mine got called in for jury duty and is looking at Day 3 of sitting in a courtroom, waiting to get called in for an interview. They might pick him for the jury, or they might not. Nobody knows. So far, two days of sitting, maybe reading, maybe texting, but mostly just sitting. Why can't they just give people appointments so that not all 160 potential jurors have to come in at the same time and sit? Somehow, I doubt it's stimulating the economy very much to have all these people missing work.

In addition, whoever made the decision to cancel "Firefly" is an annoying person.

Not only that, but I've finally started getting my pomegranate obsession out into the open. Oh yes. There has been a quiet pomegranate obsession of late. A quiet, mental, internalized pomegranate obsession. I don't know why. I only know that I've finally drawn a picture of one, and I like it, and I'm going to add pomegranates to the painting that's been in-progress since January. Themes of Hades and Persephone have been drifting in and out of my awareness. It's all very ethereal and amusing. Now that I've started drawing/painting pomegranates, though, it's about to get concrete and amusing. Bam.

And I wrote two poems during the past week. One for slightly-public consumption (meaning I've shared it with a few people), and one not (meaning nobody gets to see it--yet).

Finally, lest I forget--no, no, no, not Gethsemane, whaddaya think this is, a hymn? ;o) --I've also been working on Deren's Story. And I've decided that Deren's Story is definitely for the boys. Except Deren keeps insisting on having all these romantic thoughts about the girl. I know that romantic thoughts and "for the boys" aren't mutually exclusive--but the oy-vey-potential is there, and I've got my work cut out for me in not turning my poor hero into a feminine shadow of his former self. ;oD Just kidding. Deren and I are not that bad off, I'm just acknowledging some potential here. Maybe blogging about it will help my subconscious mind stay where it's supposed to be. Namely on Heinlein-esque perkiness. And that's all I'm gonna say 'bout that, 'cause that's just how I roll.


Please forgive the crudity of this blopgost. I didn't have the mental energy to write it to scale.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

one of those moments where i use my blog as scratch paper

Note to self: I want to read "When Darkness Loves Us" by Elizabeth Engstrom.

09/12 Addendum: And also "Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow" by Nathan Bransford, who is my favorite literary agent I don't have.

rednecks and philosophy

"A philosopher is a blind man in a dark alley, looking for a black cat that isn't there.
"A theologian is a blind man in a dark alley, looking for a black cat that isn't there, but he thinks he has found it."

--Author Unknown


"A redneck is a blind man in a dark alley, looking for a black cat that isn't there, but he thinks he has found it, and he's gonna shoot it with a deer rifle."

--Alan Robertson

AMEN Retreat 2002
Chiemsee, Germany

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

german swings my verge

For many reasons.

One of the main ones being compound words. Which, really, one may make up arbitrarily, contrary to the opinions of traditional grammar purists.

I'm talking about compound words like this:


= female chooser of color of deliverer's vehicle for producer of collar of coat belonging to carrier of toolbox for briefcase lock button tools.


I heart languages. I really do.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

if there is a woman in your life, you need to read this


Thanks to Paul for pointing this out. Read the full article here. Caveat emptor: It will probably turn your stomach.

A few significant quotes:

"In India, a 'bride burning' takes place approximately once every two hours, to punish a woman for an inadequate dowry or to eliminate her so a man can remarry — but these rarely constitute news. When a prominent dissident was arrested in China, we would write a front-page article; when 100,000 girls were kidnapped and trafficked into brothels, we didn’t even consider it news."

"The global statistics on the abuse of girls are numbing. It appears that more girls and women are now missing from the planet, precisely because they are female, than men were killed on the battlefield in all the wars of the 20th century. The number of victims of this routine 'gendercide' far exceeds the number of people who were slaughtered in all the genocides of the 20th century."

"Our interviews and perusal of the data available suggest that the poorest families in the world spend approximately 10 times as much (20 percent of their incomes on average) on a combination of alcohol, prostitution, candy, sugary drinks and lavish feasts as they do on educating their children (2 percent). If poor families spent only as much on educating their children as they do on beer and prostitutes, there would be a breakthrough in the prospects of poor countries. Girls, since they are the ones kept home from school now, would be the biggest beneficiaries."

"Yet another reason to educate and empower women is that greater female involvement in society and the economy appears to undermine extremism and terrorism. ...Indeed, some scholars say they believe the reason Muslim countries have been disproportionately afflicted by terrorism is not Islamic teachings about infidels or violence but rather the low levels of female education and participation in the labor force."

--Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
"The Women's Crusade"
N.Y. Times
August 17, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

on my way to bed, i read something that irks me

I haven't looked into this any further, but the headline caught my eye.

"Brazilian researchers: Tick saliva may contain cure for cancer."

Of course. It would.


Yes, I'll be thrilled if it's true.

But have I mentioned how much I LOATHE ticks?


two items of interest (maybe)

First, if you have any interest in language, linguistics, humor, or speaking, you need to read this. Thanks goes to Nate for pointing it out to me and making this linguistics-obsessed cousin's day. ;oD This poem makes me so happy, I could just do the potato wave.

Second, early Thursday afternoon, a cop pulled me over while I was driving north on Penn between Britton and Hefner. My first thought was that I must have been speeding--though I was pretty sure I couldn't have been going more than 36 or 37 in a 35mph zone.

I pulled off at a gas station, and even though I knew I hadn't done anything spectacularly terrible, my heartrate started going up. It only got worse as the officer came to my open car window and asked for my license and registration. As I handed him my license, I realized that my hands were shaking.

Great. I hope he doesn't notice.

That's stupid. He's a cop. Of course he's going to notice.

The trembling only increased when I pulled out the flimsy registration paper, which betrayed me by fluttering madly as I handed it to the cop. It was all I could do not to roll my eyes at myself. *That*, I figured, would not go over well if he misunderstood the gesture.

"Well, Courtney," he said--

--and inwardly, I did a double-take at being addressed by my first name by a Person Of Authority, which would never occur in the formal society I grew up in--

"Well, Courtney, you're not in big trouble today. Just a little trouble."

Oh good. I guess. That's good, right? Does that mean I'm not getting a ticket, I hope?

"You changed lanes kinda fast back there--"

I know. I did it on purpose. I wanted to get in that space before the motorcycle got too close.

"--without signaling--"

I did, too, signal! I just maybe flipped the switch off again before the light actually started blinking. ;o)

"--and in front of that motorcycle."

I knew the bike was there. I was watching him the whole time. I was always aware of exactly where the front and back ends of my car were in relation to the pickup in front of me and the bike behind me.

As the officer spoke, I nodded in what I hoped were the right places and gave him what probably looked like a sheepish smile.***

"I'm sorry," I said. "I thought I signaled..."

Fortunately, his smile and understanding nod saved me from having to elaborate on what I thought I'd done. I trailed off as he handed back my license and registration.

"Just pay better attention, Courtney. And behave yourself."

*gasp* And egad! You know me!!!

"Okay," I said with a laugh that wasn't at all fake in its shakiness.

Zounds! I'm not getting a ticket! How disgawestomely cramazing** is this?!

"Thank you," said I.

"Have a good day," said he, walking back to his cruiser.

He got in and drove away. I grinned like a loon to myself, ignored the residual adrenaline rush, and continued on my merry way to Walmart.

The End.

**Okay, so those weren't my exact words, since those terms had yet to be invented by Your Truly, but I like to think the sentiment was the same.

***For those of you who suspect I might be tempted: No eyelash-batting took place during the course of this incident.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

truth, beauty, and goodness

I'd love to post the whole from which I'm borrowing the following quote, but I'd like to avoid the specter of plagiarism. If you'd like to read the whole post (which is short and very worth the read), you can find it here.

"What if we were nice to each other? What if we put cynicism and snideness aside and saw beauty and possibility in everything?

"What if we all treated each other as we wanted to be treated? What if we loved our neighbors and acted toward them with affection and understanding?

"...What if we aspired to promoting the values of Truth, Beauty and Goodness? What if we saw Truth as Love, Beauty as Mercy, and Goodness as Ministry? What if we made those acts of Love, Mercy, and Ministry, the cornerstones of our lives?"

--Liz Cratty

As I've recently discussed with several of you, I see myriads of possibilities. All the time. In every situation, in every conversation, I see multiple possible outcomes--and, sometimes, outcomes of the outcomes. Sometimes, this can become paralyzing...because I see both good and bad possible outcomes, and it's hard to know which decision to make in order to maximize the possibility of a positive end result.

I'm probably not saying this clearly enough. For a writer, I have an awfully hard time expressing myself sometimes.

Anyway...please to be trying to get what I'm saying. ;o)

The point is this: I read that quote up there, and my imagination takes over, unfolding all the myriad possibilities of the what-ifs Cratty poses. And you know what? Every single one of those outcomes is positive. Every one of them is Good. And every one of them leads, in turn, only to further Goodness--maximized and exponentially multiplied.

There is no paralysis here. There is no fear. There is no looming darkness. There is only truth and beauty and goodness, world without end, amen. In the fulfillment of this set of what-ifs, there is relief, release--and maybe, if we give ourselves permission to hope--redemption.

I'm trying to hope.

I'm trying to let myself move, realizing that movement will not engage the attention of the monsters under the bed.

I am trying to see.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

the day my home country started getting bigger again

Hungary remembers picnic that cracked Iron Curtain

SOPRONPUSZTA, Hungary – It was a picnic that changed the course of history.

Twenty years ago Wednesday, members of Hungary's budding opposition organized a picnic at the border with Austria to press for greater political freedom and promote friendship with their Western neighbors.

Some 600 East Germans got word of the event and turned up among the estimated 10,000 participants. They had a plan: to take advantage of an excursion across the border to escape to Austria.

Hungarian President Laszelo Solyom and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were taking part Wednesday in festivities Wednesday marking the 20th anniversary of the "Pan-European Picnic," which helped precipitate the fall nearly three months later of the Berlin Wall.

One of the key factors allowing the Germans to escape: the decision by a Hungarian border guard commander not to stop them as they pushed through to freedom.

Lt. Col. Arpad Bella and five of his men had been expecting a Hungarian delegation to cross the border at Sopronpuszta by bus, visit a nearby Austrian town as a symbol of the new era of glasnost — or openness — under reformist Soviet leader Mikail Gorbachev, and return to Hungary.

Instead, at the planned time of 3 p.m., Bella suddenly found himself face to face with 150 East Germans marching up the road to the border gate, which had been closed since 1948.

"I had about 20 seconds to think about it until they got here," said Bella, 63, during an interview where the gate once stood.

"Had the five of us confronted the Germans, they would have (overwhelmed us)."

Once the initial group got through hundreds more East Germans joined them. Still vivid in Bella's mind was the reactions of the Germans, including many young people and families with small children, once they were on the other side.

"They embraced, they kissed, they cried and laughed in their joy. Some sat down right across the border, others had to be stopped by the Austrian guards because they kept running and didn't believe they were in Austria," Bella said. "It was in incredible experience for them."

Laszlo Nagy, one of the organizers of the picnic, was startled by the East Germans' actions, who left behind hundreds of cars and other possessions near the border for the chance to make the short walk to a new life in the West.

"Some of them were waiting for this moment for 20 or 30 years," Nagy said. "They left behind everything ... because freedom has the greatest value."

Dirk Mennenga was one the "Ossies," a nickname for East Germans, who made it to Austria on that day. He had come to Hungary from Dresden.

"We had planned beforehand that we would try to cross the border through Hungary," Mennenga said. "We didn't know how easy or difficult it would be."

After seeing flyers promoting the picnic, Mennenga thought the event could provide an opportunity to escape West.

"It was a very emotional situation," Mennenga said. "There was a sole border guard. A young Hungarian man kept pointing the way and before we knew it we were in Austria."

While Bella was unaware of the East Germans' intentions, behind the scenes the Hungarian government had already decided that it would somehow let them go West.

Miklos Nemeth, Hungary's last prime minister of the communist era, said the picnic and the East Germans' breakthrough on that day was one in a series of steps that brought democracy to most of the Soviet bloc within a year.

"It was a planned process on behalf of the government, but it was a transition where everyone was also seeking to secure their own future," Nemeth said.

With 80,000 Soviet troops stationed in Hungary, Nemeth said it was difficult to know how Moscow would react to the unprecedented events.

"In my mind this was an important event, a test," Nemeth said. "And fortunately, Arpad Bella ... although he did not get any information, he decided in the right way."

Tens of thousands of East Germans had traveled to Hungary as expectations mounted that the more moderate Communist country might open its borders to the West.

They lived in makeshift shelters in Budapest on the grounds of the West German Embassy and at a tent city set up by a Catholic parish.

In the weeks after the picnic, East Germans continued to make attempts to cross the border, although many were still turned back. Then, on Sept. 11, Hungary began allowing all East Germans to travel West.

Bella continued his career as a border guard for several more years before retiring in 1996, later even working as a consultant on developing aspects of the Schengen agreement, which now allows for borderless travel within 25 European countries.

"I didn't think of myself as a hero. How could I? I wasn't even sure I'd be around for another week," Bella said. "If the Russians had wanted to come, they would have swept us aside like nothing."

For Nagy, the significance of the events of Aug. 19 has grown over the past 20 years.

"At the time, we didn't feel like we were making history," Nagy said. "It was the world's greatest garden party."

Friday, August 14, 2009


In case I've never posted this here before....this is what it's like to be a TCK:

"If you came back, you wanted to leave again. If you went away, you longed to come back. Wherever you were, you could hear the call of the homeland, like the note of a herdsman's horn far away in the hills. You had one home out there and one over here, and yet you were an alien in both places. Your true abiding place was the vision of something very far off, and your soul like the waves, always restless and forever in motion."

--Johan Bojer
"The Immigrants"

The good news: I know what my true abiding place is. It's more than a vision. It is a reality. It is The Reality. And someday, I will go there, and no longer live restless in the Shadowlands.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

here's what i really think...

...and I'm not saying it because I'm fishing for someone to contradict me. I honestly believe this is the truth.

I have enough natural talent to be above average. But the remainder--if there is a remainder--is blood, sweat, tears, and God.

And I'm okay with that.

I'm sorry if this comes across as arrogant. But maybe you'll understand what I'm trying to say.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

snippet of writing life

I don't know about everybody else, but for me it works like this:

I work at home, and I write. Sometimes, as I'm writing, I have ideas that I can't figure out within my story text. So I pop over to Facebook (or other sites) for a few minutes and let my subconscious ruminate on the ideas without me. When I go back to my story, the problems are worked out, and I can get back to writing. Facebook et al. distract my conscious mind so my subconscious can do what needs to be done.

That's my life. ;o)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

because i feel like i should

Dear Readers,

I haven't forgotten you. I promise. I don't know why I haven't felt very bloggy of late. Well, that's a lie. I do know. There are several reasons. One, I've been working on Deren's Story, which has passed the 15k mark, gasp and egad. Two, I've just been really, really busy. With many a good thing. But all of this has left me with little brain power for blogging.

Not that blogging requires anything like 1.21 gigawatts of brain power or anything. I'm just sayin'.

Maybe you want to know some of the things I've been busy with.

And maybe you don't.

But guess what.

I'm going to tell you.

I don't know why I seem to have fallen in love with shorter sentences today.

There. That one wasn't short. But this one is.

But I digress.

So here's a run-down:

I've been out to my parents' new place to help out with whatever needed helping out. Last Saturday, that included mopping all but two rooms of this humongous new abode and wiping down all the shelves that go in the kitchen cabinets and built-in book cases. Someday, when I have time [ ;o) ], I'll set up a Facebook photo album of their house from start to present. Present includes tiled floors; paint on the walls, ceilings, doors, and baseboards; aforementioned cabinetry and shelving in place; cemented porch and driveway; and a lot of little details I can't remember right now. The front door is supposed to be being delivered (yes, I did that on purpose) TODAY. There will be much rejoicing.

What else? I've been down to Lawton to see my aunt who was in from Utah, as well as to honor my grandparents, who celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary this past Monday. I am in awe of them.

As I said before, I've been working on Deren's Story. But not this week, because I've been otherwise occupied. I don't know yet if I can say Deren's Story is going well or not. I've certainly had moments where The Words Have Suddenly Been There, which are the moments we writers live for. (You know who you are, and you know what I'm talking about.) But still, I'm feeling a little bit stuck, and I know it's because my main character is male, and he's surrounded by a group of men and only one woman. I'm going to have to get the writers group to give me some fairly detailed, possibly embarrassing info on dynamics within groups of guys, especially as to how a single female presence affects that dynamic. The whole Story so far is requiring me to go to a place I don't often delve into, because most of the characters so far are blatantly immoral people. So I'm hoping that talking things out with my fellow writers will give me some insights and get me where I need to be.

Speaking of fellow writers, I've now had the honor and joy of reading and giving feedback on the first two novels in Aaron's Ghost Targets series. I'll write more on this later, when I do my next book comments--but for now, suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed both novels; I am thrilled (for multiple reasons) to be friends with such a talented fellow word-smith (who also gives incredible feedback); and the movies are going to be awesome.

One more thing I am particularly pleased about, and then you, Gentle Readers, can get back to your lives. ;o) This week, my friend Bryan is in from Pittsburgh, visiting various and sundry folk. What's way cool about this is that I got to see him for the first time on Monday. The first time in over 20 years. How amazingspiffalicious is that?!? We were kids together in the Frankfurt church, back when the American congregation still existed. Neither of us can remember when he and his family left--such is military life--but I'm thinking it was 1986 or '87. Anyway, I found Bryan on Facebook last year (through the Gambill boys, much to our collective amusement), and now we've met again for real this week.

Ed and I got together with Bryan at Ted's on Monday, and though it wasn't really awkward, the first few moments were definitely a bit surreal. I could see him now, but I could also see him as a kid, as I remembered him, so it was weird trying to make those two pictures match up in my head. The only thing I could say was, "You're a lot taller than I remember," which was so obvious, it just sounded silly. ;o) We've played catch-up all week and keep discovering all these random things we have in common--such as a favorite pickle brand and the color red. Ed and I are going out with him for German food tonight (Royal Bavaria. OH YEAH.), and I probably don't have to spell out for you how all sorts of excited I am about this. It definitely swings my verge (click tag below for explanation). Sha-boom. ;oD

And that's all the run-down you get. ;o)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

thinking ahead: nanowrimo 2009


Does this swing our verge, my friends? Why yes, yes, I believe it does.


Friday, July 24, 2009

excerpt from an email

He asked: What is the most important thing in your life? What drives you, or what is your motivation?

I replied:

The most important thing for me is probably communion. And by that I don't mean what goes on in church buildings on Sundays. ;o) I'm talking about communion: sharing my thoughts with someone--the other person sharing their thoughts with me--in a way that is transparent, vulnerable, honest, gritty. It's inextricably interwoven with genuine emotion, empathy, understanding. The kind of meeting-of-the-minds-and-hearts that happens after you've been talking for hours and hours and it's four o'clock in the morning, you're so tired you're delirious and yet each of your senses is sharpened, hyper-aware, perfectly attuned to the other person's wavelength. Four in the morning is the ideal time, but communion can happen anytime, anyplace, as long as both people are laying things out The Way They Really Are. You get to the point where fewer and fewer words are necessary...until just looking each other in the eye suffices for communicating a universe, a googolplex of thoughts.

This can happen with other humans. This can also happen with God.

As for my motivation.....I guess it's to become the kind of human capable of that level of communion--sustained.

If I could reach this goal....everything else would fall into place.

this one's for all you book-lovers out there...

Hi friends. Read this: literary agent Nathan Bransford on Kindle, Orwell, and Amazon's Trying To Take Over The World.

For my writer friends: Nathan Bransford is a Most Extraordinary Blogger Who Will Teach You All You Need To Know About Agents, Query Letters, The Publishing Industry, And Why You Should Hate The Lakers.

Also, I got to meet him in April, and he's nice.

Also, I still need to trim my fingernails.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

status update

My neck still hurts. It felt better yesterday (after Refinnej worked on it on Tuesday--thank you again!!!), but the betterness has not progressed into today. Alas, alack. I feel discouraged. And irritated with vertebrae. Why do I need those, again?

Also, I need to trim my fingernails. They're interfering with typing.

That's all.

Oh, and I have neat writer friends. :o)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

amen, amen and amen again.

Air and light and time and space

by Charles Bukowski

“-you know, I’ve either had a family, a job, something
has always been in the
but now
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
the light.
For the first time in my life I’m going to have a place and the time to

no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your
body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
back while
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.

baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
new excuses

Thursday, July 16, 2009

hey programmers, two technical questions for ya

Edit: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a toolbar. I repeat, we have a toolbar. Thanks, Aaron!!!

1. How do I get the Blogger toolbar back? (Toolbar has search function and "next blog" option, etc.) I used to have it, but when I changed blog templates, it disappeared. If you'll tell me where to find the toolbar code and where it goes in the template code, I can probably fix it myself. If I can't, I'll ask. :o)

2. What would need to be done to set up a reply-to-comments function on Blogger?

Thanks! I give you all virtual chocolate.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

to whom it may concern...

...I did manage to dissolve whatever was blocking my writing. Yesterday morning, I moved my laptop from my desk in the office to the kitchen table...

...and BAM!

More than 3000 words in two days. On a brand-spanking-new story*. Yes, it's the rough first draft...but it's not drivel.

This swings my verge, Gentle Readers. It really, really does.

*Working title: "Deren's Story." Now, ain't that all sortsa hunky-dory creative? ;oD

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

for my fellow fantasy enthusiasts**

What do you expect from outlaws in your fantasy reads?

What's your favorite thing about outlaws?

What's your least favorite thing?

What do you consider cliche* about them?

Maybe you consider outlaws-in-fantasy to be cliche altogether, I don't know. ;o)

Whatever, just let me know what you think!

*Please forgive the lack of correctly accented 'e's.

**Addendum: Although I am interested in feedback from all of you, my faithful readers ;o) and though I do appreciate my fellow ladies' opinions, I am particularly interested in hearing about these things from the guys' perspective. So, gentlemen, speak up, please! I need to hear how you view this aspect of the fantasy world! :o)

two items of ridiculousness

1. Cellulite.
There is absolutely no logical reason why my thighs are not as muscular as my calves. Not that my calves are entirely free of fat, but they're doing a lot better than what's above them. There is no logical reason for this. Cellulite is a cosmic joke on women. Gah.

2. Journalists who don't know what subject-verb agreement are.
Error intentional. 'Nuff said.

P.S. I have had a severe case of writer's block over the last ten days. This does not swing my verge in the least. I'm going to do something about it today. When I figure out what that something is, I'll let you know. ;o)

Monday, July 13, 2009

thinking more cultural thoughts....and others

Last week, we got to hang out with various old friends who were visiting Oklahoma for various reasons. Two of these friends were Randy and Bri, who work with the church in Dresden and were here on furlough. I think being around them is probably part of the reason I've had Germany specifics on the brain for the last few days.

Anyway, one of the specifics this morning is Joe, our Iraqi friend from the Turkish place in downtown Chemnitz. And what I'm thinking is that I'm sad we never got to have him and his wife over for dinner. I would have loved to find out more about his culture than what he was able to communicate to us over the busy lunch counter at Kervansaray. I wish we could have learned more about each other's cultures and discovered more common ground. I wish I could ask him how he feels about Americans now and whether or not he still likes us. I wonder if he has been able to go home to visit Kirkuk. I wonder if his daughter knows her grandmother yet. I wonder if his mother and sister are still alive.

How do you brighten the corner where you are--in the midst of a war? Forget all the political claptrap, forget the justifications and reasons and excuses on both sides. The definition of war is humans killing each other. The definition of war is humans snuffing out lights instead of making them shine brighter. The definition of war is humans destroying opportunities for sympathy, compassion, and mutual understanding.

If the goal of human existence is to cross the bridge which spans the breach between humanity and God--and I believe this is the goal--then those who have seen the bridge need to be able to tell others about it.
We cannot tell others about the bridge unless we first learn a way to communicate with them.
Humans cannot communicate with one another unless they find common reference points.
This means sharing thoughts, feelings, experiences, cultures, personal background, collective history, language, habits, traditions, taboos, hopes, fears, dreams.
We all have a responsibility to share these things with each other. Not because we're American or German or Iraqi or French or British or Finnish or Chinese or Venezuelan or whatever. But because we're all human.

I wish Ed and I could have exchanged all of that with Joe. He gave us a small taste of his culture--both literally and figuratively! ;o) --and we gave him a small taste of ours. It wasn't nearly enough. But in our brief conversations across the lunch counter at Kervansaray, Joe brightened his corner of my world. I hope I succeeded in doing the same for him.

As always, I don't have the answers to any of these dilemmas. I don't even have a personal answer to the question of whether war is fundamentally right or wrong. I'm just thinking out loud and letting the world overhear.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

i've probably shared this before...

...but if I did, I'm gonna do it again. Take that, you Evil Imps of Repetitive Redundancy!

Living in the modern age,
death for virtue is the wage.
So it seems in darker hours.
Evil wins, kindness cowers.

Ruled by violence and vice
We all stand upon thin ice.
Are we brave or are we mice,
here upon such thin, thin ice?

Dare we linger, dare we skate?
Dare we laugh or celebrate,
knowing we may strain the ice?
Preserve the ice at any price?

--Dean Koontz
in "Dragon Tears"

Thursday, July 09, 2009

mafias gnawn thru...

...or: fun with anagrams.

Today, I wrote a poem for which I required anagrams, so I spent several hours playing around with this online anagram generator. From said generator, I derived a grey jot--I mean, great joy. I thought you all might receive a similar jaunty of moo amount of joy, so here are a few of the anagrams I came across today. Feel free to interpret at will!

thyroidal woof
holy woo, adrift
wily foot hoard
Hen with eatables!
I linger on mops, yet.
some wise fatheads
fatheads meowing
antisera de-fog
magenta shrews
tame hogness
tea theism (I think I am becoming a believer.)
A seventh moo howled!
I linger on my pesto.
Seesaw thongs mow. (Oh dear.)

Thus ends the fungi wash mantra. Tune in next week for another rousing round of A Ham Fig Nun Warts!

Sincerely Yours,

None Any Cuter ;o)

Monday, July 06, 2009

roll call

If you read this, leave a comment. I wanna know you're there.

I'm going to go paint my toenails now.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

book comments 17 and a reading adventure story

"The Right Hand of Evil" by John Saul
--general reaction: Meh.
--story of a family in which Satanic possession is passed down through the generations like an heirloom
--lots of long, confusing dream sequence stuff
--Teenagers who talk like 40-year-olds are not believable.
--I never really connected with any of the characters. I spent most of the book wishing the mom would grow a backbone and wondering if none of these people ever watched "The Exorcist."
--some very good imagery, though, especially the cathedral scenes
--Saul fans might like it, but I don't recommend.

"The Good Guy" by Dean Koontz
--story of mistaken identity leading to a high-thrills cat-and-mouse hunt between a serial killer and two innocent bystanders
--Can you already tell I thoroughly enjoyed this one? ;o)
--vivid, compelling characters, especially the main character --> loved him!
--a serial killer so charming it hurts --> excellent
--Koontz is the master of clever dialogue.
--an UPDA* read
--highly recommend

"Maia" by Richard Adams
--fantasy epic spanning 1223 pages
--story of a girl sold into slavery as a prostitute, does oodles of heroic stuff, and lives happily ever after
--This is one of the most complex stories I have ever read.
--way too much gratuitous sex in this one --> kinda freaks me out that a 62-year-old man wrote this
--too much description --> I appreciate that Adams made both the culture and the landscape into characters, but honestly, I skimmed at least a fourth of the book, thinking, "Just get on with the plot already!"
--In my opinion, the main character falls in love with the wrong person, and her obsession with him is not believable.
--incredibly vivid characters, imagery that puts detailed pictures into the reader's mind
--You might like this if you have thick skin, a strong stomach, and the stamina for sticking with a book that's 2.5 inches long (paperback).

"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
--title says it all: The Bennett girls are zombie-killers, and so is Mr. Darcy.
--no complaints about this one, I loved and laughed my way through every moment of this read
--definitely UPDA*
--I love the irreverence of making a horror spoof out of a classic. SO fun.
--highly recommend

"Flight of the Raven" and "A Tapestry of Lions" by Jennifer Roberson
--books 7 and 8, respectively, of Roberson's "Shapechanger" series

I have a history with these books: For years, I have owned books 1-6 and 8 of the series. For years, I have read only books 1-6, because I refused to read 8 without reading 7. However, 7 has been out of print for for*ever* and I couldn't find a copy. Then, Roberson came out with omnibus editions of the series: four huge books containing all eight. Well, naturally I wasn't going to buy those simply in order to read one story, when I already owned seven of the individual novels!

Are you following me so far? ;o)

A couple of weeks ago, I visited a used bookstore with Celia. Out of curiosity and without intending to purchase anything, I was browsing through the fantasy section, when there! right before my eyes! there is a copy of book 7!!! Of course, I couldn't leave it there, and of course I bought it, and of course I started reading it immediately, and of course I fell in love with the story from the beginning, and of course I was enjoying it with every shred of my being, when...

...I got to page 116--and the next page was 85.


I checked again. Pages 1-116. Then pages 85-116 again, followed by pages 149-372.

Yeah, that's right. The pages in my copy of "Flight of the Raven" number 1-116, 85-116, and 149-372. This copy, WHICH I HAVE BEEN WAITING TEN YEARS TO GET MY HANDS ON, is missing the chunk of story spanning pages 117-148.

Which means my brain is still missing thirty-one pages of the "Shapechanger" series. So close...and yet, so far.


Dismay and chagrin do not quite cover it.

But moving right along. "Flight of the Raven" is still an amazing UPDA* novel, with a main character who just breaks your heart. And after I finished that one, I finally got to read "A Tapestry of Lions"--also quite UPDA and also with a main character a reader can fall in love with, not to mention one of the best, most spectacular endings I have ever read in a fantasy series.

Aside from the minor irritation of 31 missing pages, I am well satisfied. And I will read the series again...

...and continue the search for a complete, individual copy of book 7. Never give up, never surrender! ;o)

2009 Book Count To-Date: 27.

*UPDA = UnPutDownAble

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"writing time" --hahahahahahaha!

If you are a writer,

or if you are in any sort of relationship with a writer,

I encourage you to read this article.

Among other things, it outs us writers for the narcissistic, airheaded time-wasters we really are.

And I love it.

J.R. Lennon, the author of said article, gives a run-down of how he typically spends his writing time. I thought some of you might be interested in seeing how I typically spend mine:

8:00-8:30 Get up. Lately, this has taken place 1-2 hours later than noted here, but who's counting.

8:30-9:00 Check online stuff. Messages, email, Facebook, Bloglines, what-hast-thou. Sometimes, this takes 45 minutes, but who's counting.

9:00-10:15ish Prepare and eat breakfast while reading something not on the computer.

10:30ish Sit down at computer to start writing.

11:00 Force self to stop editing the results of previous day's writing. Start writing for real.

11:03 Go to bathroom. Get cleaned up for the day.

11:30 Pet cat. Get something to drink. Wonder why that line of dialogue reads janky.

11:31-11:36 Really get down to writing.

11:37 Check Facebook.

11:38-12:00 Reply to comments. Look up something on Wikipedia. Read and ponder what Angie wants to know in her status update. Possibly post reply.

12:01-12:26 Typing, leaning back in chair, backspacing, typing some more, turning around to fix back of chair, typing some more, reading aloud, deleting everything written today.

12:27 Wander into kitchen to check fridge for anything. Anything at all. Ponder whether or not Character X should just die and get out of the way.

12:30 Return to office with drink and stand there, staring at computer screen. Computer screen stares malevolently back.

12:31 Coo over cat and re-write scene in head.

12:35-12:55 Re-type scene with improvements, taking previous day's writing into account.

12:56-1:05 Find favorite funny scene and read aloud, giggling.

1:06-1:30 Check online stuff.

1:31-2:30 Prepare and eat lunch while reading something not on computer. Go to bathroom.

2:31-2:40 Check Facebook. Reply to comments. Ruminate on the benefits of moving on to a different scene and leaving current one alone until the Apocalypse.

2:41-3:00 Re-read everything written today. Write one line of dialogue and delete it. Copy and paste dialogue from Chapter 11 into Chapter 6.

3:01-3:45 Fix glaring plot hole in Chapter 6.

3:46-4:10 Check Facebook. Resist temptation to scrap everything written today.

4:11-4:30 Speed-type. Pass "Go," collect 200 metaphorical dollars.

4:30-6:00 Housework, optional cooking, errands, bills, other such.

6:01 Return to office

6:02-6:21 Speed-write amazing plot twist that popped into existence and hope the sudden mania is sated before Ed walks in the door.

Voy-oh-lay. The truth comes out. Take it from me, folks, ya gotta see it to believe it.

Have I mentioned that writing really swings my verge? Oh yeah. ;oD

Monday, June 22, 2009

the one where i pass the point of no return

I am desperate.
I am tired.
I am hungry.

And I am not talking about my physical condition.

The last few years have wrought a great many changes in my spirit. The last 14 months in particular have stripped my soul of a great many impediments that had been mucking up my vision for a long, long time. Over the last few days, I've had several heart-wrenching, intimate conversations that have led me to *want* to say the things I am about to say.

I won't say that "I can see clearly now." ;o)
But I will say that I have reached a point of clarity enabling me to say, "I don't know."

I don't know who or what God really is.
I don't know exactly how he goes about saving humans from being eternally separated from him.
I don't know what the afterlife is going to be like.
I don't know why good things happen.
I don't know why bad things happen.
I don't know any human who can set a satisfactory standard of "good" or "bad."
I don't know what the nature of the universe is.
Humans are primarily spiritual beings, but I don't know exactly what that means.
I don't know a great many things.

I can speculate about all these things. My speculations might even be tinged with hints of truth. But they remain speculations because, frankly my dear, my human brain is too puny to fathom the spiritual reality behind it all.

Here's what I do know. These things, I am sure of without a doubt:

God is.
God created humans, and he loves us.
Humans are primarily spiritual beings.
God hears each of us when we speak to him.
Jesus of Nazareth had a more personal, intimate, vulnerable, honest, transforming relationship with God than any other being that has ever existed.
Jesus was a safe place for people to be.
Jesus wanted/wants his followers to be safe places for each other and for every person they come into contact with.
If you look at Jesus, you will gain an idea of what God is like.
Religion means nothing. Relationships mean everything.
I want to become as safe a place for others as I can.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. ;o)
That's my statement of faith.
That's my creed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

i do dumb things sometimes

This time, I tried to light a match. Which, under ordinary circumstances, would not be a dumb thing to do. But I had just smeared lotion all over my hands, making my fingers too slick to get a good grasp on the match. So, instead of doing the smart thing and wiping the lotion off, I...

...tore the match out of the matchbook with my teeth,
clamped the head of the match between the front and back flaps of the matchbook,
and pulled really hard.

It did not occur to me that this would result in my holding a burning match in my teeth, with the flame about half an inch from my face.

I was startled enough to let go of the match, which obeyed the law of gravity by dropping to the floor. Some other natural law--having to do with combustion and chemistry, I suppose--also went into effect, keeping the match burning as it fell. Fortunately, I regained my presence of mind quickly enough to stamp out the flame before it could catch the carpet on fire.

So, dear children, the moral of the story is: obvious.

There's now a little stinging spot on my lip--not a burn from the flame itself, but from the spark as the match lit.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

in case you were wondering...

...I love being the person who handles the words. You need someone to take point in the challenge of traversing the jungles of syntax, vocabulary, and literary flair? I'll step up, and with my tools at the ready: bamboo knife for slashing through ambiguous verbosity--or a scimitar for beheading every Inner Editor that dares step onto the path too soon--or delicate clippers for trimming. Whatever's needed for getting from Writing Base Camp to Noveling Summit, I'll shoulder the pack and take the lead with a warcry of, "Onward! Hail Tawanda, Queen of the Amazons!"

Yup, I'm yer huckleberry. ;oD

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

people ask me where i get my ideas...

...and for me it works like this, and Sting says it better than I can:

"...The germ of the thing, and you work backwards from that. The procedure is very conscious, and very thought out but the actual lines that appear are really unconscious. I've got the germs of a few songs when I was half asleep. Just waking up...immediately have to rush to that piece of paper and write it down. I've read a lot about it. I've read a book called "The Act of Creation" by Arthur Koestler in which he scientifically analyses the moment of creative thought, where, according to him, the brain has different compartments and everything is well ordered, but in kind of semiconscious states those compartments sort of dissolve and ideas that should be in one place kind of seep into another and then you get a creative spark and something happens. And I would go along with that. I think that in a dreamlike state, you get ideas, but the actual hard work is a conscious thing. Once you get that idea you then, with a lot of discipline, piece it together."

Hot Press, 8/80

Most of my stories have started as dreams.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

seven characteristics of a loving person

I don't know where this list originated, but Rob shared it in our group discussion last night:

Seven Characteristics of a Loving Person








I have my own thoughts about these, but I'm curious to hear yours.
Do you agree with this list?
Would you add to it?
Subtract from it?
What is the value in defining a "loving person" in this way?
*Is* there value in such defining?
What is the value in striving to be a loving person?
Do you feel that you should try to be this kind of person? Why or why not?
If you are trying to be this sort of person, how would you evaluate your...hmm...success?
If you don't feel the need to be this sort of person, what goal have you set yourself instead? How would you evaluate your "success" in reaching your goal?

The floor is yours. :o)

Friday, May 22, 2009

book comments 16

Just a reminder: If you'd like to check out all of my book comments, scroll down till you see a long list of tags in the bar on the right and click the "book comments" tag--and voy-oh-lay, ya gotta lotta books to check out. Yippee.

Without further ado, the latest:

"Mark of the Lion III: As Sure As The Dawn" by Francine Rivers
--last book in Rivers's trilogy; I commented on the first here and the second here
--great read, vivid characters, strong writing
--sounds like a bland description, I know ;o)
I enjoyed the story, but I didn't get into it nearly as much as I did the first two.
However, I *will* say that psycho-witch-antagonist-chick *really* got to me--she was just CREEPY!
--some of the "miraculous" incidents were hard to swallow
--enjoyed the Theophilus connection
Atretes annoyed the snot out of me in Book I, and I was still irritated with him by the start of Book III. But I got over it. ;o)
--recommend (but not quite as highly as the first two books)

"Deepwood" by Jennifer Roberson
--second in Robersons's "Karavans" series (comments on first book here)
I might have enjoyed this one more than the first.
--less world-building, more time with individual characters
--too much time with pessimistic, vindictive dad (Davyn), and not nearly enough time with surly...ummm...fascinating Brodhi ;o)
--Rhuan is wholly absorbing.
--And so is Alario.
--LOVE the ending
--more, please
--recommend to fantasy fans

"Beasts" by Joyce Carol Oates
--novella, kind of neo-Gothic
--story of Gillian, student at a girls' university in the 1970s, who thinks she's "in love with" her poetry prof
--turns out poetry prof and his wife are sexual predators
--very well-crafted story, vivid imagery, strong characters
--excellent illustration of the power of those we consider our "authorities" or "mentors"....or "idols"
--excellent illustration of how the molding of young minds can go awry (and turn into psychological torture)
--recommend only to those with a penchant for literary fiction

"Cross" by James Patterson
--my first Alex Cross read (though I've seen the films with Morgan Freeman)
--fast-paced, unputdownable (UPDA ;o)
Characters were vivid and *real* from the moment they stepped onto the page.
Patterson did a frighteningly good job with his antagonist. It takes masterful skill to write a psychopath so that the reader cares about *that* character's motivations and fate....but Patterson made me care about "the Butcher." Good job, Mr. Patterson. *shudder*
--highly recommend

2009 Book Count To-Date: 21 (low, very low ;o)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

great song by nickelback

They've been radio-stalking me, so I decided to share one of their songs I like. ;o)

"If Today Was Your Last Day" by Nickelback

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day

Against the grain should be a way of life
What's worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts 'cause there's no second try
So live like you'll never live it twice
Don't take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you're dreamin' of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it's never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes
'Cause you can't rewind a moment in this life
Let nothin' stand in your way
Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you're dreamin' of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

Monday, May 18, 2009

ghosts of blopgosts past

Whilst happily imbibing my coffee this morning, I herumgestöbert (there has got to be a good English word for that!) in my blog and found the following gems for your potential perusing pleasure:

Monday, November 21, 2005

When I should be writing, I'm procrastinating and finding fun things on other people's blogs, like this fun thing I found on Patricia's blog:


The Movie Of Your Life Is A Cult Classic

Quirky, offbeat, and even a little campy - your life appeals to a select few.
But if someone's obsessed with you, look out! Your fans are downright freaky.

Your best movie matches: Office Space, Showgirls, The Big Lebowski

Of those three movies, I've only seen "Office Space," and though it's funny, it's not one of my favorites. I guess my life is a cult classic with all the profanity bleeped out of it.

Actually, that's pretty accurate. ;o)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

....At the end of October, Ed, Clint, April, and I were driving to Dresden (this was back B.C.S.--Before Car Selling), and we started talking about what a movie of our lives would be like.

First, we decided that nobody would go see it. Then, we decided it would be a blockbuster. (Anybody remember what title we decided on?) And finally, talk turned to which actors would portray us. We came up with the following:

Clint: Jack Black
April: Courteney Cox
Ed: Adam Sandler
Me: Drew Berrymore

What do you think???

Friday, May 15, 2009

the grocery store saga continues

"Oh, no," you think. "Not again!"

But yea verily, Gentle Reader, I have yet another grocery store incident with which to while away your time. HOWEVER.......drumroll, please..........this one is neither an angry incident nor a cultural frustration! Can I get a hallelujah on that one? Yes, yes, I believe I can. ;o)

So, here's what happened: I grabbed a can of catfood off the shelf at Wal-Mart (yes, Wal-Mart--I'm doing some comparison shopping this month). The can was busted, it leaked on my hand and my shirt, and since it apparently got busted long enough back for decomposition to set in, I drove home yesterday afternoon smelling like fish bait. ("Shark bait! Ooh-ha-ha!")

Joy o joy o joy.

And yet, in spite of the not-so-happiness of this episode, I didn't allow it to dampen my mood...mainly because of the cashier who chatted with me as she checked my groceries.

She was an odd lady. I hardly even remember what she chattered on about, but she did chatter on pretty much non-stop as she worked. I chattered back to her, and it was nice. And then, quite randomly, she said,

"I hope you don't mind my asking, you have Native American heritage?"

I'm sure the look on my face was priceless. If you've met me once--or if you've taken a glance at my picture over there on the left somewhere--you've seen for yourself that I'm about as non-Native-American-looking as a white girl can get. That being the case, no stranger has ever before asked me if I have Native American heritage. For obvious reasons, it simply would never occur to anyone.

Nevertheless, as I told the cashier, I do have Cherokee blood from my paternal grandmother's side of the family. We can't prove it, and I don't even know how far back it goes. I'm not sure Grandma even knows. (Aunts and/or cousins, correct me if I'm wrong.) I think it would be neat to find out for sure--maybe through the new DNA test that people have started using over the last few years. I doubt anyone would let me take the test for free, though, and at this point I have no desire to pay for it. ;o)

Anyway, I felt amused that the cashier would ask me that question--and pleased that I could answer in the affirmative. I have no clue why she asked, but it was nifty that she did.

Tune in next time for the continuation of "Grocery Store Adventures: Taking Back the Coffee I Bought Because It's Whole Beans And We Don't Have A Grinder." ;oD

Monday, May 11, 2009

good grief, people. free your minds, wouldja?!?

This morning, I read two articles in "Newsweek" that annoyed the poo out of me.

The first concerned white supremacy beliefs in the USA. Apparently, the popularity of white supremacist groups has started going up since Obama was elected. Perfect. The article was complete with pictures of good ol' home folks with swastikas on their T-shirts. Their new party line, it seems, is "preach love of white, not hate of black, don't come on radical, be quiet and subtle, or you'll scare people off before you can get them to come around to the right way of thinking." "Right way," meaning: deportation of all immigrants and incarcerated non-whites. Ad infinitum ad nauseam.

There are a lot of names I'd like to apply to people who think this way. But instead of using those names, I'll just say this: I grew up visiting concentration camps in Germany. You wear a swastika and come within twenty feet of me, and I am deaf to you before the first word exits your white supremacist mouth.

Ugh. Utterly revolting.

The other annoyance was in an article about new apps (read: applications) for cell phones, specifically apps of the Bible. The author was presenting differing viewpoints. Apparently, there are people out there who disapprove of having the Bible on a hand-held electronic device, because having the Bible accessible this way "takes away from the sacredness of scripture." Or somesuch.

Huh? Am I understanding them right? They're saying it's a bad thing to have access to the Bible no matter where you are?

That's almost the dumbest thing I've read all day. (For the dumbest, see the second and third paragraphs of this post.) Do you really think God cares in what medium his Word appears? When you carry the Bible in book form, there is absolutely nothing sacred about the paper, ink, leather, plastic, and glue with which that book is put together. There is not one iota of holiness inherent in a printed copy of the Bible--or a audio copy, or an electronic copy, or a copy written in the sky with airplane vapor trails. The medium doesn't matter.

I would even venture to say that the words themselves don't matter. A word is merely a symbol we use to convey an idea or a set of ideas. House, Haus, and maison are different symbols that convey the same idea. Same goes for cat, Katze, and gato. Same for ichthys, Fisch, and pesce. Symbols for ideas/concepts/specific meanings.

When it comes to sacredness and holiness of the Bible, all that signifies are the concepts behind the symbols. Aletheia, Wahrheit, truth. Symbols which, in themselves, are not sacred. Heaven, Himmel, ouranos. The sacredness belongs solely to the concept, the reality, behind the symbols.

It matters not what form those symbols take. Whether printed or electronic, the symbols convey concepts that have unlimited power to work on the human heart and change it. Consuming those symbols--and, through them, the bedrock reality concepts--through an electronic medium doesn't dilute their effect in the least.

Come on, people. Have a little faith!