Friday, April 27, 2007

Beauty seen is never heard

Danica found our first piece of art for the apartment. Not in a trash can, but beside one.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Stormie style

My friends Abby and Larry recently had a little baby named Stormie. I crocheted her the Fine Lines jumpsuit/romper thing from Candy Babies. It turned out pretty cute, although I do have a few issues with it. One is that I used cotton/acrylic yarn instead of just cotton. Stupid me didn't read the label closely enough. It ended up kind of heavy and not as soft as I had hoped. And of course, plain old single crochets all the way through are so boring and kind of ugly to look at. Why can't crochet look and feel as nice as knitting? Why???



Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hair help!

Dear reader(s?), I need your help. I am dreadfully sick of my hair, and I need a change. But what to do to it? Here are my main concerns:

  • I haven't had it cut since July, so it's pretty shapeless and boring. I end up putting it in a ponytail a lot.

  • I hate having my hair even the tiniest bit in my face, but it looks dumb when it's all shoved behind my ears. Hence the ponytails.

  • I have no styling ability or patience, so I need something super easy.

  • All the girls in Montreal are beautiful and hip, so I want something with at least a bit of style


Here's what it looks like now, freshly blown dry and frizzy:



Here are a few pictures I've found online that I'm considering:

Just cut bangs and let it grow.

More pictures of this same girl can be found here and here.

Cut it off in a way that will grow out nicely.

There is another, less blurry picture of this chick with her hair grown out a bit longer here.

Cut it pixie short.

Too '90s? Looks like it requires more styling than I'm prepared to give it.

Cut it boring short.

I can't tell if it's cute or if it's too Joan of Arc.

So... what should I do?

Voting has ended. View results here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Found scribbled on a paper inside a library book

UFOlogy. Perpetual motion machine
I was [raised]* schooled in the [school] church of me.
Alien nation, secret conspiracy.
[I was a fool, a dork, a regreter]
These are the lies that I believed.
Exhibit A, exhibit B, Exhibit C, Exhibit Me!

UFOlogy, perpetual motion machine,
the only perpetual thing that I see,
Why, hell, its me!

Look down my nose, but I know better
I proceed, even if they think I'm a fool
I sneer and praise my arogance.
They sigh and laugh and

I look down my face and sneer and jeer
I praise myself, my arrogance
[Stroke what you can to raise offense]
They sigh and laugh, privately offensed

Big foot, ---

the hollow center of the earth!

It's not me, it's the conspiracy to blame.

*The words in brackets were scratched out in the original.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Please stand for the reading of the Gospel

How cool would it be to have William Shatner do all the scripture readings at church each week?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Stuff and things

Here are some things that make me feel really good, joyful even.

1. Danica checks out funny-looking hippy granny crafting books from the library. Macramé owl lampshades and crocheted sweaters with collars bigger than your head. She drinks tea and pores over these books sitting cross-legged on the couch, Mustafa at her side, John Denver on the record player.

2. The phrase "There will be feasting and dancing in Jerusalem next year." I can't help but smile real big when I hear it said, which is not often. But there's a Mountain Goats song where he sings it, so if I need to be cheered up I can listen to that.

3. Seventies soft-rock. Carly Simon, Cat Stevens, Dan Fogelberg, Mac Davis, Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, Lobo, Bread, the Carpenters, the Doobie Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, Jim Croce, etc. That stuff makes me come alive. When I get better at playing the mandolin I want to start a seventies soft-rock cover band with eastern European influences.

4. A good loaf of ciabatta made with a really wet dough so that it has big holes inside. Fervère in Kansas City makes the best ciabatta I've ever had, except for my own, of course. I rock that shit. [In related news, I broke the new baking stone I got for my birthday in half by spilling melted cheese on it when it was heated up to about 550 degrees in an attempt to make STG-standard neapolitan pizza (nothing other than flour, water, salt, yeast in the dough, no toppings other than buffalo mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and basil.). I made a huge mess, broke the stone, filled the apartment with smoke, etc., but that pizza tasted like heaven as I let the dough ferment in the fridge overnight.]

5. Good pizza. So hard to come by. By good pizza I mean STG-standard Neapolitan pizza, not that bullshit American kitchen-sink pizza. I want pizza made with care, which means fermenting the dough slowly, stretching it out nice and thin, and baking at high temperatures (about 800+ degrees) so that the dough does not get dried out. Crispy on the outside but soft inside. Word.

6. Being drunk on wine. Such a nice feeling. With beer I feel like a genius and I can't stop spouting bullshit and I always feel like standing on the table and reading Ben Jonson to everyone. With liquor I feel invincible and want to do manly physical things like get into a fist fight with a good friend. But wine is perfect. I don't get all sappy when I drink wine, as I do with beer and whiskey, though I still feel lots of love for everyone. Wine drunkenness is the best of both worlds without going to the extremes. You feel warm but not numb, talkative but not overly so. And wine doesn't make me gassy like beer does.

7. Getting really stoned and riding on the metro. I find it so weird being stuck in a tiny moving room with complete strangers for a minute at a time. I never look at people in the metro unless I'm stoned.

8. Movies by Yasujiro Ozu. They make me feel a mixture of sadness and joyfulness. So beautiful.

Salad days

My two-semester-long Latin course came to an end yesterday afternoon in a dusty, depressing and cramped classroom on the fifth floor of the Hall building, where I and my fellow classmates wrote our final exam. I think I did about B- to C work. Towards the end of the course I had lost motivation and had a terrible time making it to class on those Mondays and Wednesdays. I think this is because I accidentally let it be known to my teacher that I'm quite decent at language learning, especially languages where there is no speaking involved. It happened that I was placed in the super special group of advancedly nerdy Latin-learners, along with Joshua and Mark. No girls allowed. The good thing about this was that I enjoyed bullshitting with Joshua and Mark. They're really great guys, and none of us were taking Latin for any particular reason while the rest of the class were classics majors. Why do classics majors always have to act like they were dropped off at school by the Starship Enterprise? They all talked about comic books and action figures the whole time, which is amusing at first, but only at first. Anyway, the bad thing about being in the super group was that the teacher knew the three of us flew through our regular classwork and so would always bring in photocopies of things like the Satyricon or Catullus (the excerpts he brought in always seemed to be very perverted in content, which made me a bit uncomfortable, as I think the teacher got off on making us translate perverted Latin texts) or something like that. The three of us didn't care about Latin at all, but there we were doing extra work.

So I slacked off towards the end. But the strange thing was that, in the run-up to the exam when I busted some ass studying, I started to enjoy Latin, now that I know all the declensions and conjugations. Not that is doesn't take me fucking forever to read in Latin, but I can at least read it. It is a awkward and clumsy language, closer to a form of torture than communication, but it is kind of satisfying to figure out a line of Latin, like solving mathematical equations.

Before, I was saying that when the class is over, I would shit on my Latin text, set it on fire and piss on the ashes, but I don't have that urge anymore. I even referenced the thing this morning while trying to figure out an Ovid quote I found in a footnote in the Critique of Pure Reason.

But the class is over, and it feels good.

I also registered for fall and winter classes yesterday. Having an entire year of life planned out for you is a bit dreary, especially when it happens in a matter of minutes just by entering some course codes on a badly-designed website, but so it goes. Here's what is in store for me for the next year, school-wise:

Summer: Introduction à la littérature francophone

Fall: Correction phonétique; Textes littéraires; Deductive Logic; Presocratics and Plato; Introduction to Ethics

Winter: Initiation au français ecrit; Communication orale; Aristotle and Romans; Introduction to Metaphysics; Introduction to Epistemology

Should be a grand ol' time. I'm also going to take a preparation course for the permanent residency interview, where I'll have to prove that I can speak French, read French and comprehend spoken French like a pro. Scary. Danica and I are trying for Canadian permanent residency so that we'll get the universal healthcare benefits (right now we pay for health insurance through the school and it is damned expensive) and I'll be able to pay Québec tuition rates for school (which I pay now because I am a French major, but it would be nice to have the option not to take six credits of French every semester.).

Friday, April 13, 2007

Two plugs

Last week saw the launch and final tweaking of two sites. They are both all Flash sites, and I developed all the Flash for both of them. The first to go live was the Kansas Health Foundation's Best State for Children campaign site. They want to make Kansas the best state for raising kids. The coolest part about the site is a drawing tool I made. You can draw a picture and then save it to a gallery and/or send it to a friend. The coolest part about the coolest part is viewing the gallery. You get to see the saved drawings being drawn out just like the artists drew them in the first place. I think it's pretty cool anyway.

The other site that went live is Houlihan's virtual I Never game. It's an online version of the drinking game. You know, the one where one person says something like, "I never had a crush on a teacher in high school," and then everyone who did crush out on a high school teacher has to drink. Yeah, that one. With the virtual game, you respond to several similar statements (or make up your own), spill the beans on the stories surrounding each one (like, describing how hot your 11th grade math teacher was [mine wasn't -- Mr. Ford, ha ha]) and then invite your friends to do the same. Then you all get to watch as the game plays out and giggle at each others' answers when you should be working or cooking dinner or something equally productive. Danger Kitty gave it a go and played with some hot randos. Check it out:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We love carbs

Matt got The Bread Baker's Apprentice for his birthday from my mom. (His response was, "Danger Kitty, we're gonna destroy this thing.") Yesterday, Matt helped me make my first loaf of bread. It actually started the night before, as I had to make a starter, but the baking was yesterday, and this is what we got out of it:



I'm pretty proud. It was tasty. There is just a tiny bit left today, and I bet it will be gone before nightfall.

A couple days ago, on Easter, Matt made us hot cross buns since all the stores were closed, and we couldn't buy any. The recipe made six. We ate them all that night. Here's a picture of the last one to be devoured:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Holy Saturday


The magic of Holy Saturday.

The chaotic fountain remains directionless. Could this be the residue of the Son’s love which, poured out to the last when every vessel cracked and the old world perished, is now making a path for itself to the Father through the glooms of nought?

Or, in spite of it all, is this love trickling on in impotence, unconsciously, laboriously, towards a new creation that does not yet even exist, a creation which is still to be lifted up and given shape? Is it a protoplasm producing itself in the beginning, the first seed of the New Heaven and the New Earth?

The spring leaps up even more plenteously. To be sure, it flows out of a wound and is like the blossom and fruit of a wound; like a tree it sprouts up from this wound. But the wound no longer causes pain. The suffering has been left far behind as the past origin and previous source of today’s wellspring.

What is poured out here is no longer a present suffering, but a suffering that has been concluded–no longer now a sacrificing love, but a love sacrificed.

Only the wound is there: gaping, the great open gate, the chaos, the nothingness out of which the wellspring leaps forth. Never again will this gate be shut. Just as the first creation arose ever anew out of sheer nothingness, so, too, this second world–still unborn, still caught up in its first rising–will have its sole origin in this wound, which is never to close again.

In the future, all shape must arise out of this gaping void, all wholeness must draw its strength from the creating wound.

High-vaulted triumphal Gate of Life! Armored in gold, armies of graces stream out of you with fiery lances. Deep-dug Fountain of Life! Wave upon wave gushes out of you inexhaustible, ever-flowing, billows of water and blood baptizing the heathen hearts, comforting the yearning souls, rushing over the deserts of guilt, enriching over-abundantly, overflowing every heart that receives it, far surpassing every desire.

Hans Urs von Balthasar

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday


To many, many Christians, and especially to those who only know the faith from a fair distance, it looks as if the Cross is to be understood as part of a mechanism of injured and restored right. It is the form, so it seems, in which the infinitely offended righteousness of God was propitiated again by means of an infinite expiation. It thus appears to people as the expression of an attitude that insists on a precise balance between debit and credit; at the same time one gets the feeling that this balance is based, nevertheless, on a fiction. One gives first secretly with the left hand what one takes back again ceremonially with the right. The “infinite expiation” on which God seems to insist thus moves into a doubly sinister light. Many devotional texts actually force one to think that Christian faith in the Cross imagines a God whose unrelenting righteousness demanded a human sacrifice, the sacrifice of his own Son, and one turns away in horror from a righteousness whose sinister wrath makes the message of love incredible.

This picture is as false as it is widespread. In the Bible the Cross does not appear as part of a mechanism of injured right; on the contrary, in the Bible the Cross is quite the reverse: it is the expression of the radical nature of the love that gives itself completely, of the process in which one is what one does and does what one is; it is the expression of a life that is completely being for others. To anyone who looks more closely, the scriptural theology of the Cross represents a real revolution as compared with the notions of expiation and redemption entertained by non-Christian religions, though it certainly cannot be denied that in the later Christian consciousness this revolution was largely neutralized and its whole scope seldom recognized. In other world religions, expiation usually means the restoration of the damaged relationship with God by means of expiatory actions on the part of men. Almost all religions center around the problem of expiation; they arise out of man’s knowledge of his guilt before God and signify the attempt to remove this feeling of guilt, to surmount the guilt through conciliatory actions offered up to God. The expiatory activity by which men hope to conciliate the Divinity and to put him in a gracious mood stands at the heart of the history of religion.

In the New Testament the situation is almost completely reversed. It is not man who goes to God with a compensatory gift, but God who comes to man, in order to give to him. He restores disturbed right on the initiative of his own power to love, by making unjust man just again, the dead living again, through his own creative mercy. His righteousness is grace; it is active righteousness, which sets crooked man right, that is, bends him straight, makes him correct. Here we stand before the twist that Christianity put into the history of religion. The New Testament does not say that men conciliate God, as we really ought to expect, since, after all, it is they who have failed, not God. It says, on the contrary, that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19). This is truly something new, something unheard of—the starting point of Christian existence and the center of New Testament theology of the Cross: God does not wait until the guilty comes to be reconciled; he goes to meet them and reconciles them. Here we can see the true direction of the Incarnation, the Cross.

Accordingly, in the New Testament the Cross appears primarily as a movement from above to below. It stands there, not as the work of expiation that mankind offers to the wrathful God, but as the expression of that foolish love of God’s that gives itself way to the point of humiliation in order thus to save man; it is his approach to us, not the other way about.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Whoopee

My parents have some chickens. Four chickens to be exact. Three females and one male. Three hens and one rooster. That rooster has sex with those hens all the time. Those chickens are, at this time of year, feathery balls of coitus.

My brother and I were filled with beers the other night, sitting in plastic lawn chairs in my parents' yard in Florida, so we were talking of course about sex and growing up Southern Baptist and the extra special relation between the two. I spent a not small chunk of my youth at church services and bible studies and sunday school classes and youth group get-togethers and the like.

There are those who claim that talk of sex and bodies is repressed in the evangelical churches. Nope. That's really wrong. If anyone likes to talk about sex it is the eeeeevanjellikuhls. Looking back over all that time spent in church it seems that sex was talked about more than anything else, especially with us youngsters in the youth group. We loved to discuss all the naughty potential inherent in our young horny bodies. We had a grand time watching videos and slideshows presenting us fourteen-year-olds with images of big hairy penises with oozing pustules from STDs so that we might feel good about our own clean, pustule-free penises, and feel genuine pity for those who were not so blessed as us. We expressed some nice deep bits of sorrow for those young ladies outside the walls who got themselves a swollen belly. We discussed tactics for dealing with pesky sexual thoughts. We shared with each other that if you ever find yourself with a penis that is becoming erect, just think about polar bears with polka dots or Jesus dying on Calvary or some other arousal-defeating consideration. We stood up before our group of youth and let ourselves know, made it crystal clear, that the guilt we're all feeling is a real good thing. Real good now.

I once took a peek at the realization that I never felt much like masturbating until we started talking about it at youth group guilt-soaked training time. I mean, I would masturbate every now and then, nothing of an obsessive nature. But once I learned the truth of the matter, that this was an entirely shameful affair, and that I had heaped piles of guilt upon my head (and my future offspring naturellement!). I was guilty and ashamed. That's on the reals.

After that you can bet your droopy ass that I couldn't be stopped. I was pleasuring myself every chance I got. Orgasms are much more interesting when you know that there's a world of sinful meaning behind them. I rubbed myself raw. And when I was kept awake by the pain of the battle wounds on my penis, I would cry and whisper to the good Lord above through heaving sobs that I was so sorry and that would He please forgive me just one more time.

My aching bits and pieces became a lovely symbol for everything that I was taught to hate about myself and a sign pointing to the heavenly after world where I'd be free from the devilish urge to bring myself to climax. I'd often dream of cutting off my penis so as to be through with the whole ordeal. Honest. Fourteen years old.

When I met some girls from church who would get me off themselves and would even let me bring them to orgasm, I was to say the least very interested. And very very guilty, as I was often reminded. I'd go to sunday school, all is well. After sunday school I'd sneak off with a girl into the bushes or somewhere and we'd fool around until it was time for church service. We'd go to church service and halfway through I'd stop holding my girl's hand because I felt God's laser beam eyes peering into my dirty soul. I'd go home, lay in bed and want to kill myself. The next week I'd go back I'd go back and do the same thing all over again. This went on for a while, eventually moving into the forbidden land of sex.

As you may well imagine, this begins to take its toll on a person after a while. My hatred for myself was real damn passionate. This isn't such a nice way to be, especially for a sixteen year old kid who is just trying his best to be a good Christian and yet failing endlessly.

At this point I had had entirely enough. I didn't want to feel guilty anymore. I was going to end up killing myself. I just wanted to be a kid and have fun.

With our bellies full of beers, my brother told me a story similar to the one above. Except his story involved both sexy things and music things. If you have ever met my brother you'd know that he loves music. He always has. Nothing makes him joyous like a good tune in the air. Growing up as a youth in the church he was always told to stay away from the evil music. This he found very difficult to do because for some reason all of the music that is worth a damn falls under the evil music heading.

This one time he accidentally left a couple of his cds, evil ones, at the church and they were brought to the attention of our youth pastor, Mr. David Head, who came to our church in Florida from Alabama and moved back there not long after. My brother's name was connected to the evil cds and he was called into a private meeting with the saintly Mr. David Head, where he proceeded to scold my brother for his sinful ways. This had a profound effect on him and he later found himself shut in his closet with a hammer, weeping and smashing his cds.

My big brother also engaged in sexual activities as a church-going youth and learned to be real guilty and filthy and hateful toward himself just like me.

The thing that I find really interesting about all of this is this. When we had both reached our limit, when we had had enough of the guilt, shame and hate (which we never would have experienced without its being drilled into us from the age of five) we both did the exact same thing. We both acted in the same way. We both fucked a girl on the front steps of a church, as a way to say our fuck you's to the church and to their God. I did this when I was sixteen years old.

At the age of sixteen I said to my body that it is alright. My body is al-motherfucking-right.

That is why I brought up the chickens. They made me so happy to see them screwing in the yard without thoughts of killing themselves. In the spring the whole world comes alive to do not much more than screw. The animals are have sex. The plants are having sex. Sex everywhere and all the time! How awesome is that? Enjoy your spring! Enjoy your body! Enjoy your sex!

Monday, April 02, 2007