Monthly Archives: June, 2006

In Which I Use Far Too Many Parenthetical Phrases

Friday Five: Fangirl
1.) What fandom do you center on most? Harry Potter. Someone alert the Lindsayville Department of Useless Questions!
2.) Do you contribute to it much (write fanfiction, draw fanart, participate in online communities and discussions)? I have written HP fic before. I do not write it regularly. I’ve never drawn fanart, though I’ve seen some great stuff. I used to be a huge poster on the Good Ship at the FictionAlley boards, but now I just keep the Good Ship Guidebook. I belong to a HP LJ community, but I’m on a long hiatus. I subscribe to a horrible HP Yahoo!Group as well as HP4GU. School takes up too much time for anything deeper or more frequent.
3.) Do you think that such things are good or harmful to the fandom and why? They can be good and bad. The bad consists mainly in the potential for trolling, flamewars, and legal battles—which can pop up in any fandom, not just HP. The good is that it gives a leg-up to writers and artists. When they, like me, are strapped for creativity and the time it takes to be creative, there’s a huge well of inspiration in any fandom. You can learn how to characterize by learning to convincingly develop someone else’s characters. You learn to draw by taking descriptions of characters and putting your spin on them. The Internet ameliorates the whole process.
4.) Do you think it’s good or harmful for the original creator? Again, both. In the negative column is the tenuous line of copyright and trademark infringement we all must walk. Very few fanfic authors or fanartists seek any kind of money for their work for that very reason. In the positive column, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We do love JKR so. She’d better be looking both ways before she crosses the street for the next year.
5.) Why do you like this fandom in particular? I don’t even have time to get into why I love Harry Potter. That is a mini-essay for another day.

We’re getting down to the wire at work. My “schedule” still bothers me, though, especially on days like today, when I got to Anne Arundel by 9:10am despite the traffic I hit and Chaz didn’t show up until almost 10. It wouldn’t have bothered me if we hadn’t agreed via late-night text message that the “early” Traci had suggested we come in at meant 9am instead of 10 like past Fridays. We had plenty to do, though, so much so that we worked until around 3:30pm without stopping.* (For some reason, just walking around the office for that long in flip-flops left a sore on my foot. I am not pleased.) One boy was trying to decide between our program and one at Salisbury. Since he didn’t reply by today (four days after the reply deadline), we assumed he chose them. Such a shame, since our program is at Maryland and free. I like working with Honors. I’ve gotten to know the people that work there a lot better, and Dr. Thorne is so friendly. On my way to the garage after work, I ran into Jonah, who was biking to the greenhouse his bio-something-or-other job keeps to get vegetables. It was great to see someone from campus again. I love my family, but it’s not the same atmosphere. The atmosphere, the people: that is why I miss school over breaks. Studying can die.

*The non-stop nature of today’s work shift includes the part where neither of us stopped for lunch. I’ve taken up fasting on Fridays as an act of penance. I was stunned to find out that all Fridays of the year are still penitential (I didn’t find out from Moneybags, but he explains it every week, so it’s faster to link to him), so I took up the practice right after Lent. I tried simply abstaining at first, but that didn’t feel particularly penitential, so I went with praying the Stations. Then I started my daily Rosary again, so praying the Stations felt like overkill instead of penance. (It doesn’t feel like a penitential act if I’m forcing myself through it only because I feel like I should, not because it helps me grow in faith.) I think I’m going to stick with fasting, since it’s not tricky while I’m at home. The difficulty shouldn’t be an issue in a Catholic family, but I’m taking that one step at a time.

I finally gave up tolerating my computer issues and contacted Dell Technical Support yesterday. Their response may be very, very good for me, but I don’t want to jinx it, so I won’t go into detail. But if I have to reconstruct my computer life, I will be one unhappy camper.

The CSC boys manage to keep their blog going with alums, despite the trailing-off of Catholic Girl Talk. I should talk to Mary and Lacy about that. I blog, I’m all over the CSC, I’m a girl. I meet the basic qualifications. Maybe Maura would do it with me. I mention them because they (I use the plural not as colloquial incorrect grammar, but because I don’t know all their pseudonyms) made a post today that makes me exceedingly happy. Rejoice with me, my fellow opponents of debate.

The SS. Peter and Paul issue of Dappled Things is up. Dappled Things is a magazine (thus far only online) for young Catholic adult writers and artists, as the title and issue date would suggest. I haven’t had much time to look into it (darn school), but there’s been some beautiful poetry and artwork. This month has an essay on Measure for Measure, of which, if you heard me talk about my Shakespeare class, you will know I am particularly fond.

I stumbled across the Missionaries of the Eucharist blog sometime this past week. They are a group of college students walking from Maine back down to D.C. to raise awareness about pro-life opinion and JPII’s Theology of the Body. In addition, five of them are students from Maryland, two of whom are CDA officers, including our regent! It’s a good read, especially since I know so many of the walkers/bloggers personally. I might even join them for a bit when they reach D.C. next month (August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration). That’s still up in the air, though. I manage quite well by being non-confrontational.

They’re Animany, Totally Insaney…

Anyone else have a secret love for Animaniacs? I think Ryan has a video upstairs of old episodes. A few weeks ago, some people on HP4GU (the “Harry Potter for Grown-ups” mailing list) were discussing the “Schnitzelbank” song. It’s a German children’s/drinking song of dubious origin, hence the dual usage. Anyway, it’s all about rhyming and pretending you can speak German. It popped into my head tonight after I came across “schadenfreude” in the book I’m reading (a term which was also in the Simpsons quote Happy Catholic had up yesterday). So I consulted with Lord Google and YouTube came through yet again! Oh, du schöne, oh, du schöne, oh, du schöne, schnitzelbank!

Also, the Catholic Carnival for this week is at Kicking Over My Traces. Nothing particularly great this time. This suggests that I should consider writing something to include one of these weeks. I’ll add it to the General Round Tuit list.

Lots of Reading

My away message this afternoon: Why is it that I have nowhere to go on sunny days, and have to go out when it’s raining circus animals?
Jim: sheesh
Jim: you’re lucky
Jim: whenever i go out it’s raining rainforest animals
Jim: i mean elephants and monkeys are one thing
Jim: jaguars and tarantulas and piranhas are totally something else.

The second it starts raining spiders, I am so out of here.

Mom and I braved the torrential rain for Mass on Sunday. We got out around ten minutes of 1; I missed the part where Fr. Finamore always gives shortish homilies. We saw one of my dad’s RCIA teachers on our way out. That prompted Mom to tell me that my dad has enough seniority with TSA to pick better days off. He has Mondays and Tuesdays now, but in a few weeks, he’ll be switching to weekends off. That means he can go to Mass with us on Sundays! And if he goes, then maybe the whole family can go together. I only know they’re going to Mass if I go with them, so this is a huge development. I’ve discussed with my dad about the rugrats’ non-attendance, and he agrees with me: If she makes them get up and go every week, then they’ll get used to it and will stop staying up until 3am on Saturday nights. If she keeps dragging them along on random weeks, well, she’ll have to keep dragging them there. We’re all Catholic; we should act more like it.

Mary emailed me (and Tim and Fr. Bill, among others) a Washington Post headline that made me scream. Literally. I actually yelled out loud: “Rowling to Kill Two in Final ‘Potter’ Book”. Oh, man. That is going to be a rough weekend; I can see it now. Note to self when planning Potter Party: Tissues. Tissues and fellow readers to offer moral support when we’re on the same page (again, literally).

A friend of mine told me of a recent conversation at his family’s dinner table that keeps reverberating in my mind. His wife, a physician, also performs abortions. And their 9-year-old son — hearing the words and curious about its meaning — looked up from his plate and asked, “What is an abortion?” His mother tried carefully to describe it in simple terms.

“But,” said her son, “that means killing the baby.” The mother then explained that there are certain months during which an abortion cannot be performed, with very few exceptions. The 9-year-old shook his head. “But,” he said, “it doesn’t matter what month. It still means killing the babies.” Hearing the story, I wished it could be repeated to the justices of the Supreme Court, in the hope that at least five of them might act on this 9-year-old’s clarity of thought and vision. [read it, via Jimmy Akin]

Sometimes I think much of life really is as simple as that. I just finished reading C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity a few days ago. (I bought it the same night I got HBP, so this completion was particularly satisfying.) The experience of reading it reminded me of “The Five Ways of Knowing God” (St. Thomas Aquinas, from Summa Theologica) in ARHU last fall. That was a great reading for two reasons: first, because I totally understood it, unlike almost everything else we ever read for ARHU, and second, because I agreed completely. I conceded, though, for St. Thomas and for Lewis, that I didn’t exactly need convincing. It’s much easier to prove your point to someone who already agrees with you. I found Lewis’s approach particularly interesting. I believe in objective/absolute truth, and that was where he began, with moral law. If you don’t believe that some things are simply wrong and some are simply right, then it’d be hard to be a Christian. It was definitely worth reading; I’ve seen it recommended as the #3 most important read for Catholics or seekers (right behind the Bible and Catechism). Now I really understand why. I will definitely read it again in the future, perhaps when I can discuss it, but that’s one less item on the Round Tuit book list.

Have Mercy on Us

Friday Five: What makes you feel good?
1. What is the one outfit/piece of clothing/accessory you own that makes you feel incredibly good whenever you wear it? Why? I’ve recently (in the last few months) started wearing holy medals. They remind me of my faith every time I move. As Jessica put it once, though, they’ve dashed my plans of robbing a house. I also have a purple t-shirt from Old Navy that I absolutely love. I’m still wearing it even though it has a little hole in it. :x
2. What do you do to make yourself feel better when you’re in a funk? Find some people. Usually “in a funk” for me means I’m lonely.
3. Has anyone ever surprised you in a way that let you know you were special? How? Maura brought me a Hairy Otter mousepad after winter break. That made me feel loved, and showed how much by obsessions define me.
4. When you are having a “good day,” how do you spread the happiness to others? I try to spread happiness regardless of whether I’m having a good day or not. No one likes to be around unhappy people, and the best way to make yourself happy is to pretend like you already are.
5. What is one thing that puts you in a bad mood, no matter how good you were previously feeling? Rain. It sucks the most when I’m caught in it, but even when I know I won’t have to go out in it, I automatically scowl.

Tonight on Jeopardy!, in the category “What’s Up, Doctine?”, the Daily Double was about the Petrine doctrine (the current pope and all those before him are direct successors of St. Peter, the first pope). I almost didn’t get it, but I remembered just before the contestant did. Man, I love that show.

As the title of this post implies, today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Here’s a good act of consecration to the Sacred Heart if you’re interested (via Moneybags). I do the readings from the lectionary every day, and I read them out loud to myself both for lectoring practice and to hear them in their “original” form. Today’s second reading was three sentences long, but I swear I had to stop to breathe about ten times. Then I had to read the whole thing over again because I didn’t understand. Oh, St. Paul, you were not a fan of being concise.

Lonely, but Then Not So Much

This week’s Catholic Carnival is at Part-Time Pundit. Yay for being on the Google Groups list so I got the announcement myself, without having to wait to pick it up from Happy Catholic (though I love Julie’s blog). Highlight: Part II of Tom Reagan’s wonderful series on the Rosary. I highly recommend it, and agree completely with what he says—especially the part about understanding the Rosary better while in college.

From Christian Singles Today, we have an article called “The Gift of Loneliness.

Sometimes, when loneliness gets the best of me, I become angry and bitter toward God. How could he let this happen to me? I conclude he’s cruel because he could give me a spouse in a flash, yet he refuses. So I choose to avoid him and just go through the motions of religion. I mutter under my breath in disgust. But then, aware of my need, I fall before him pleading—and he always answers with comfort, hope, or new paths for the future. Without loneliness, I’d run from him and not look back. But I can’t, because this creature was created for intimacy with its Creator.

I had some desperate loneliness myself, right around Spring Retreat. It’s been getting to me again over break. I miss being on campus because that is where my life is now. Almost all my friends are there. The CSC is there. I want to make school my career, and it is even now, though I’m on the student side for a few years yet. I have my family here, but since I live away from them most of the time, I’m growing away from them. Generally, that’s a good thing, because it means I’m growing up as well. I just feel like I’m in this limbo between childhood and adulthood, and I have no idea when I’ll be able to move on to the next stage of life. It’s disheartening to have so little idea of what my future holds. I’ve grown so much closer to God over the part year, which has made my life infinitely richer. Unlike the author of that article, I’m not just on hold until I marry—I feel like I’m on hold forever. I don’t know what will happen when the person on the other end finally picks up.

Yesterday, the CSC had a cookout. I had planned to go in to work anyway, so it worked out perfectly travel-wise. (We didn’t have anything to do at work, but that’s beside the point.) I went straight to the CSC after I picked up my car from the garage, so there was almost literally no one there when I arrived. It was eerily quiet. Michelle and Fr. Bill weren’t even around yet. So, being myself, I went into the library to read. Cathy showed up after about ten minutes, and eventually she and I and a guy named Nick went into the chapel, where there were more people. Joe, Cathy, and I started the Rosary, but Cathy was coughing a lot so it was just me and Joe for a bit. More people started to show up, and soon we had a small crowd going, yay. Michelle asked me to read about two seconds after I walked into the Chapel. Fr. Bill celebrated, of course. He went with the common for the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. I was prepared for the proper, but the Holy Spirit and I have this agreement about lectoring, so it worked out fine. I didn’t even trip on my flip-flops on my way up or anything. (Being on the altar in flip-flops felt weird at first, but then I saw Fr. Bill was wearing them, too, and Jesus wore sandals all the time.)

We wandered outside to fire up the grill after Mass. Fr. Bill recruited some aimless Knights to oversee the cooking, and I got to catch up with people while we waited. Lyzii liked the Franciscan e-card I sent her for her birthday. It was so nice seeing everyone again. The conversation was just the thing to combat the loneliness I’ve been feeling. Sure, I IM people, but it’s not the same. I knew I’d stick around as long as people kept talking. I didn’t plan on being there until 9:45. I spent last fifteen minutes with Chris and Kaitlyn trying to figure out how to lock the Great Room doors, but Mike C. and some other people needed to get back in anyway, so Mike figured it out. I got home around 10:30 (there was road work that closed two lanes). When I went to tell the parental units I was home, my dad had apparently just commented on my being out “late.” It’s kind of sad that getting home at 10:30 is “late” now, when getting home just before midnight was a regular occurrence when I was in high school.

Either way, I had an awesome night. And Michelle and Fr. Bill asked me to be in charge of lectoring (liturgical ministry?), so I’m super excited. People keep asking me how to become lectors, and I’m always telling them that Stacey (who’s been in charge until now) will put a note in the bulletin, but now I get to put the note in the bulletin and do the training (which is easy, but still useful) and everything! Yay!

BustedHalo: Change, and Black Marriage

BustedHalo: Can the Church change?

Rocco Palmo, of Whispers in the Loggia: [T]he whole goal of the church is to get back to the ideal of Christ, the vision of Christ, the teaching of Christ. Not just to expound that teaching in word but to really live it. And to be out there as the instrument of it. And again, not by beating people over the head with the Catechism but by living it in daily life. And not by some over the top, “I’m so saintly” way but living it so that people just say, “Oh, she’s such a good person. What makes her tick?” So the closer we get back to that, the better church we are. And that’s the change, with all of these policies about liturgy and ideology, that changes the church for the best.
[read it]

I agree with Rocco on this one. It’s part of my “happy Catholic” mission. My goal is not to beat people over the head with the Bible (or the Catechism, which is smaller than most Bibles anyway and therefore less effective). I’m just trying to be as much like Jesus as possible. People rejected Him, too. I don’t mean to compare my insignificant struggles with His amazing ones, but even if my cross is only pocket-sized, I’m determined to carry it.

Also from BustedHalo this week is another article on black marriage in America. (I commented on one from the Washington Post last week.) Again, the author points out that it’s a crisis of culture.

Andrew Lyke, the coordinator for marriage ministry for the Archdiocese of Chicago agrees. “There are too few examples of successful marriage around them. Their expectations of relationships and family go no deeper than what they see” he said.

Lyke, who, along with his wife Terri have been the guiding force behind Marriage Ministry for the African-American Catholic Community of Chicago since 1982, believes the issue also touches on topics that have become taboo. “At the root of the problem is distancing of sex from procreation and moving more toward recreation. No one wants to talk about abstinence” he said. “As long as brothers get sex without commitment this will continue. This is an unpopular idea and too few ministers and other leaders in the community are willing to assert it.” [read it]

Yet another reason why chastity is awesome. It seems that, more than other racial groups, black men are getting the milk for free, so they’re not interested in buying the cow. Meanwhile, the good cows are missing out and thinking they’re somehow inferior, and the cows that have been milked think less of the ones that haven’t. I’m no fool. Discerning, and sometimes lonely, but not a fool.

Friday Five, Etc.

I wish my Blogger software wasn’t screwed up so I could post more than once a day. It’d be infinitely more organized, and you all know how I am about organization.

Today, I learned that “Cv” is the postal abbreviation for “Cove”. I learned this as Chaz (my partner at work) and I were putting together the acceptance letters for the summer program. We’re inviting twelve girls and nine boys. It’s a pretty big group for the two of us to manage, but I kind of hope they all respond. Bigger groups foster more interaction. We’ll see how this all works out. I hope it turns out better than my class did this past year. I really need to stop joining the staff of pilot programs. It’s like the educational field’s version of experimental drug trials.

The USCCB approved the new translations for Mass. Darnit, I liked “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you”! (Via Lyzii’s away message, since I haven’t been blog-hopping today.)

I got a letter in the mail this afternoon: “I am pleased to inform you that you have been granted full admission to the Secondary Teacher Education program in English at the University of Maryland.” Yay! I’m so excited. I must remember to thank Dr. White (my old boss), Kristi (my Spanish TA), and Fr. Bill for their recommendations. I’m gonna be a teacher, I’m gonna be a teacher!

If any of you missed the drama that went down in the last month or so, I’ve stopped talking to Greg. He has now de-friended me on LJ. This is the best thing for both of us.

Friday Five
1. What’s the most embarrassing thing/job you’ve had to do to earn money? I’ve never had a particularly embarrassing job. I’ve had really boring ones, though, like my last temp job. I feel for my coworkers during those two weeks. I would have gone crazy doing that job for longer than nine days. Who would have guessed that sitting still and typing with one hand would be so tiring?
2. What’s the easiest and quickest way you have earned a buck? My dad paid me to wrap his Christmas presents. I donated the money to the servicemember ministry of The Word Among Us. It wasn’t much, but they needed it more than I did.
3. If you could set your own salary, according to your skills and worth, how much would you earn? It depends on what I’m doing. I have a very bad money sense, actually. At the moment, I’m technically earning $10/hour, which works for me. That is also part of why I can’t charge people (especially not friends!) to edit and proofread their papers: I don’t really know what I’m worth.
4. Are you a good saver? I’m kind of cheap. Does that count?
5. What’s the most expensive and useless thing you have ever bought? I have a really cute Winnie the Pooh trash can I paid far too much money for. It holds my trash. I’m satisfied.

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