It has been almost a month since I last blogged, so this is gonna be a whopper. I plan to just jump around like mad, so consider yourself warned. I’ll try to be brief, but you know me. Long-windedness is kind of what I do.
Did anyone else hear about American Dreamz? I clicked on a banner ad from my Yahoo!Mail because I saw Mandy Moore is in it, and I like her. I’m not quite sure how to take that movie. It’s so contemporary, which means it’ll just be dated in six months. And it’s so political. I am far too politically apathetic for my own good. Perhaps being a former military brat contributes to that. You think I’d be all revved up one way or the other, but no.
A quote: “Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story.” — John Barth
I took this screenshot while spell-checking a Spanish essay. I didn’t know Word could do that. It’s kinda cool. I call it “Spellcheck Gato.”
The weekend of April Fool’s Day, the office door on JK Rowling’s site opened. I had to use instructions to get in, though I tried to do it on my own. When I got through, I found the W.O.M.B.A.T., an incredibly hard trivia quiz. Even the people from the Lexicon had to guess the answers. They weren’t straight questions, I actually had to reason. Results came back about a week ago. I got an Acceptable. Grade 2 is apparently forthcoming; I’m excited.
I went to see Switchfoot live on April 4. It was an awesome night. Hana took her friend Mason as his birthday present, so he gave me a ride. I was losing my mind a little bit at first because I had Adolescent Development until 3:30, then had to change (not that it mattered; concerts are dark), go eat, and be back in time for Mason to pick me up. I made it all the way to the Diner before I realized I’d forgotten my ticket, but it worked out because Hana was still eating. So I ate, came back, and prayed my Rosary while I waited. We made good time to Baltimore and found Sonar (the club) without even having to turn around. Why do I look like a ridiculously bad driver compared to other people? I know I can’t be good at everything, but it’d be nice to have some skill as I’m careening along at 40+mph in my two-ton metal box. There was a medium-sized line to get in, but it was moving. The security guy marked my hands with his big black permanent marker, but instead of X’s, mine looked more like V’s. It was like an underage rite of passage. We had some time to kill before the opening band, so the three of us just stood around, much like we would for the next several hours. Comfortable shoes are a wonderful thing. The opener, Mute Math, was pretty cool. The lead singer was also playing keyboard, and Sonar is general admission, so it was awkward when he moved over to play. Midway through the concert, though, he whipped out a bright red keytar. (
Note that picture is not Mute Math. I took pictures through the whole concert, though I think the lighting will have ruined them all.) They had so much energy, though. The drummer broke his stick and continued playing — with his hand.
Then Switchfoot came out. Oh, man. They started with . . . I think “Lonely Nation,” but I definitely know they played that at some point, and “Stars” second. I was surprised they did “Stars” so early, since it’s one of their biggest songs. (The lyrics in my header are from “Stars,” FYI.) It was such a long time ago, I can’t even begin to list all the songs they played. They did “Ammunition,” which is my favorite non-single from The Beautiful Letdown, and a beautiful acoustic “24.” The lighting was all weird and red and perfect for “Happy Is a Yuppie Word.” They played a song they’d just recorded a few weeks beforehand about halfway through their set. Jon (the lead singer and guitarist) came up with one of those harmonica-holders around his neck, and I was so confused. I was like, “There’s no harmonica in Switchfoot.” Now there is. He took a request for an old song, and forgot the words halfway through. He made up a song on the spot about Baltimore: “Before I count to three, I’ve gotta count to four / Next time the Orioles play, I hope they score,” and then some stuff I have obviously forgotten. They ended with … a song… and then said goodnight, but we chanted them back for “one more song.” Jon came out by himself to start “Daisy,” then all the guys came back to end it. Then, he climbed up on the speakers with Tim (his brother and one of the other guitarists) and started “Meant to Live,” which I hadn’t even realized they hadn’t played. The club went crazy. Then we all went home. It was a fabulous night. They had excellent lighting, which I never even considered before that cute computer kid in School of Rock. And they sounded so amazing that when I tried to remember their concert sound, I realized I was hearing their CD sound because it’s so similar. They had even more energy than Mute Math, and it was definitely worth going. Even though it was their CD with the horrible program known as XCP that messed up my computer, Switchfoot is so much love.
Lent and the Triduum and Easter was an amazing time, though a different sort of amazing than Switchfoot. (Though, being Christian in a band with obvious Christian musical themes, the two are related.) My Lenten goals were to get closer to God (of course), to try green vegetables, to pray the Rosary every day, and to do the Stations of the Cross and fast every Friday. I also had secondary resolutions to be less self-centered and start a spiritual journal. The results: I prayed my Rosary every sing day, adding in the Divine Mercy Chaplet after a few weeks. I did Stations every week, though on Good Friday we shadowcasted them like on retreat, so that only sort of counts. I didn’t feel my fast as much some weeks, but I did it. I never did start that spiritual journal, though. And I actually got so habitually sarcastic, Andrew had to tell me to stop. I’m trying to be more conscious of that. I really feel like I got closer to God this Lent. Last Lent was about practicing Catholicism again after so many years, but this time it was about personal growth. I definitely think I achieved that.
My last Lenten resolution was to do the entire Holy Triduum, the three days before Easter Sunday: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil. Andrew went with me, which was lovely, since Maura had various things and could only make it on Good Friday. Holy Thursday Mass and Good Friday service were the most packed I’d seen since Ash Wednesday, though that remains the biggest day of the year. (And Ash Wednesday is not even a Holy Day of Obligation.) I knew almost everyone who participated in the Washing of the Feet. I’d never been to a Holy Thursday Mass, so it was interesting. We sang the Gloria for the first time since before Lent started, but in a minor key, which was so haunting. At the end of Mass, Fr. Bill, Msgr. Malloy, and Patrick Y. and Justin the seminarian carried the ciborium into the Great Room, because Jesus isn’t allowed in the tabernacle on Good Friday. We sang several verses of “Pange Lingua Gloriosi” as we processed to the Great Room for Adoration. I didn’t stay long because I had homework, my knees were killing me, and the incense was aggravating Andrew’s asthma (alliteration!).
Good Friday is the only day on which the Church is not allowed to celebrate Mass. The tabernacle is open and empty and the crucifix is covered, to symbolize the loss of Jesus. I went to the CSC in the afternoon to prep for Stations. When I got there, they’d already moved the altar and the tabernacle and its table, and pulled back the altar hangings and covered the windows to set up our stage. It was so quiet and empty. I’ve never felt more alone than when I went in by myself to check the setup. It was hard. The Stations themselves were substandard. We had to replace Chris and Brendan with Alex and Patrick Y. because they went home for Easter. I read in Katie’s place, and controlled the lights when I wasn’t reading. Deacon Drew came back twice to tell us they couldn’t hear us, so I had to shout more than read. Once, when we were switching places between scenes, everyone started gesturing at me, and I uncovered the light, confused. Then they gestured more frantically, so I slapped the cover back over it. I imagine that looked really bad to any of the audience who saw it. We got through it, though, and apologized to Jesus in prayer afterward for doing such a mediocre representation of His Passion and Death.
That evening, Andrew and I went back down for the service. It’s so weird to not call it Mass, but it really wasn’t. We kept silence until Father and Monsignor entered, then Fr. Bill explained about it not being Mass. We read St. John’s account of the Passion, playing the part of the crowd as we had on Palm Sunday, yelling, “Crucify him!” It was chilling. (Side note: The secular Jew friend I mentioned came to Mass with Andrew and me on Palm Sunday.) We venerated the Cross before Communion. Fr. Bill, Msgr. Malloy, and Deacon Drew carried in a giant wood cross, and we went up in turns to genuflect and kiss it. I almost cried. I haven’t felt sadness like that since my last great loss, and that one will never be resurrected. We received Communion that had been consecrated the day before (Mass is only not Mass without a Consecration), then the choir, led by our wonderful music ed student Julie, sang “Holiness is Faithfulness” while we meditated. We left in silence, which I largely kept until I went to bed. A girl offered me a flyer for her church on my way back from the CSC. Apparently the “Hail Mary Land” on the back of my Catholic Terps shirt wasn’t clear enough. Then I went straight to bed.
I got up on Easter Vigil morning, dressed in the dark, and went to Shoemaker to take the Praxis I. The Praxis tests, I and II, are the ones I need to pass to get my teaching credentials. I’d accidentally scheduled mine at 8am that morning, but I decided to just do it and get it out of the way. I’d gone to bed so early, I wasn’t tired at all even after getting up so early. The test was on computer, so it started with this ridiculous section on how to use a computer. I finished almost thirty minutes early on the reading section. The math section took me the entire time, and I guessed on the last few answers. The writing section involved an essay, which worried me because you have to explain your opinion on a statement. Fortunately and thanks to a lot of fervent prayer before and during the test, mine was an issue I actually have an opinion on. I got preliminary scores for the reading and math sections: ten points higher than I needed to pass. Yay me! And then I had an omelette with Valerie and came back to do homework.
I had dinner that evening, then rushed back to get ready very quickly for Mass. It was so hot that night, so my face was all sweaty, but I looked cute. There were so many people when Andrew and I got to the CSC. Easter Vigil is when new Catholics are baptized and confirmed, so there were the candidates and catechumens, plus all their guests, plus the regular Mass crowd (Easter Vigil counts for the Easter Sunday obligation, an option which I took last year). We got candles and hymnals, then Stacey (the lector coordinator) and I divided up the readings from the Lectionary. We only did four readings and the Gospel. I got the parting of the Red Sea from Exodus, and a passage from Isaiah. I got confused when the pattern of reading/psalm/reading/psalm broke up before the epistle so we could sing the Gloria, so I wound up standing next to Alex and Chris M., the choir. First, we all crowded into the courtyard and hallway for the lighting of the Easter fire, which we shared to get everyone’s candles lit in the darkness of the Chapel. Deacon Drew started Mass with an incredibly long chant, but he did a great job. Fr. Bill did all the baptisms and Confirmations, and Alex led the Litany of the Saints, which I love (though the version we chanted was shorter than the one I linked). So many of my favorite saints are there, including St. Cecilia, my Confirmation patroness. It was wonderful to have a consecration again and to sing the Gloria in its proper major key. It was an exceptionally long Mass, but I loved every minute of it, especially once I calmed down and cooled off. Andrew and I split after the final hymn, which had lots of “alleluia”s.
I didn’t plan on going to Mass on Easter Sunday since I didn’t have to, but Maura’s mom loaned me a cute red skirt so I had something to wear. Lenisa was congested that morning, so she asked me to lector, which was a lovely surprise. And I read something called the Easter Sequence while our lovely pianist Carol ad-libbed in the background. We sang the Gloria, reverberating off the walls of the beautiful Chapel, and everything was wonderful.
There were, however, two not-so-wonderful things. When we came back from Mass, I wrote “Alleluia! He is risen!” on our whiteboard. Maura later added “Glory to God in the highest!” After adding that to the quote from St. Catherine of Siena (which I didn’t attribute) and its accompanying drawing by Elise, my across-the-hall neighbor, we had quite the holy board. One of the other girls on the hall had drawn a cross on a hill on her board and wrote, “Jesus died to save us all!” Lots of Christian pride on AA3. Anyway, last week, I noticed that both the other board and ours had been smudged out. I can tell it wasn’t an accident because only those two boards were smudged, and the drawing and quote on ours is still intact (it’s not an overtly religious quote). I’m upset because it’s just so mean. Why would you do that? I saw a flier in Jimenez this week I very much wanted to rip off, but I left it because I can’t destroy things like that. I just haven’t experienced religious antagonism in a while, I guess.
My Scholars class is officially over. The last few weeks were a bit awkward. We had a guest speak from the UMD Office of Student Financial Aid come out to the school to talk to the students. There were some technical difficulties and we kind of threw our lesson plan out the window. I had an interview that day, so I was dressed up. (It’s for a new summer seminar with University Honors; I should hear back any day now.) We had the students here twice, for a second tour and a “class” led by a grad student whose real class was finishing projects. This week, we walked around Comcast a bit and had a farewell reception. The walk to Comcast after Shakespeare lecture was not fun. I almost got lost on the way, but I found it eventually. I was so worried about being late that I made it in about thirteen minutes. I make good time when I’m panicking. The Scholars Program and the Anne Arundel County Board of Ed gave us certificates, the students gave us candy, cards, and gift books, and we all had cake. And I got a Maryland Day t-shirt. I’m gonna miss those kids.
So how’s my Keystone project going? Well, it’s going. I’ve been revising the same story for over a month. I think I qualify for the double-major extra semester allowance, but I’m not sure. I’ll have to talk to Tanya. Revising takes time, time that I don’t have with everything else that’s been going on. School has been especially rough these past two weeks. I had to skip two assignments for classes where we were assigned an extra and could drop the lowest grade or skip one. My usual plan is to do them all and drop the lowest, which shows how my plan for my life has so little to do with what actually happens. I had to write my second Shakespeare paper in one night. It was about male anxiety in response to female sexuality, and it had to be seven pages, so that was a rough night. I managed to get it done, though, skipping a Spanish essay in the process. This week, I had a paper due in my colonial literature class this morning. Maura and I were both writing papers last night; she had a music history term paper. It was weird to have the room so quiet with her here. Mine was not as hard to do as I’d been expecting from my paper-writing precedent, so I got to watch ER and made it to bed at a reasonable 1am or so. Earlier this week, I had to write a short story for Adolescent Development. I should have been working on it all semester, but smaller things kept getting in the way and I kept forgetting about it. The first story I wrote was absolute crap. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything that bad, not even the lines I added to a collaboratives story in a Harry Potter LJ group once. My second story wasn’t much better. I plan on getting in touch with that professor and seeing what I can do about the bad grade I already see coming my way. Why is school getting so hard? Also, I submitted my application for full admission to the College of Education yesterday. That was the one thing that went right, which confirms that I’m just meant to be a teacher. God definitely has that in His plan for my life. I asked my boss, my Spanish TA, and Fr. Bill to write me recommendation letters. I included every experience I’ve had that could possibly be useful for a teacher, and I wrote the most PC goal statement imaginable. I really don’t think I’ve ever used the word “Caucasian” before.
The CSC has been a good time lately. Wednesday night dinner is always good. Last week we had tacos. Mary, who’s a senior, said they have never ever had tacos before. Usually it’s pasta, which is good because it’s simple and I like pasta. It was an especially good dinner, though. Like I mentioned, Andrew has been coming with me. I wasn’t sure he was Catholic for a long time, but I suppose my persistent offers of free food finally lured him in. It’s a quiet evangelization, like I’ve said. A few weeks ago, I went to Blob’s Polka Park with CSC people. They go every semester, but I’d never been before and was interested in going. It was such a crazy place. There were a bunch of families and old people there. All of the other Catholic Terps (and some of the younger ones, actually) enjoyed the cheap beer and attempted to polka. I wound up being volunteered to dance with this kind of crazy old guy. He was a really good dancer, which meant I was completely lost. I danced once with Sara T., who’s in ballroom and is therefore very good. I also polka’ed with Matt W., Tim, and Jim. Matt and I also improvised a cha-cha, since neither of us really knew what we were doing. I was so tired and sweaty and gross, but it was a great time.
I went to my first Catholic Daughters meeting this month. We donated a lot of money to a lot of deserving people. Toward the end of the meeting, we had a lot of dates to remember. I mused, “It’d be a lot easier to coordinate things if we had a website.” So, I asked if we had one. Lisa replied, “Do you do web design?” I said yes, Lacy said, “All in favor of Lindsay being webmaster, say aye,” everyone said aye, and she banged the gavel. So I was put in charge of a nonexistent website in, seriously, about a minute. I have some ideas, but no time, so we’ll see how that works out. I also finally remembered to check the Good Ship’s email and found a week-old hosting offer from a girl in Australia. I got back to her and she set up an FTP account for me, so the Good Ship site is now completely XHTML and CSS compliant, without all that GeoCities crap. I moved in the home page, but everything else is forthcoming.
About that karaoke thing: Weekends at Maryland has karaoke every First Friday in the Baltimore Room of the Union. This month’s trip wasn’t great, which was disappointing because it’s the last one until the fall. (Art Attack conflicts with May’s First Friday.) I ran into Jonathan, the VP of Sign Language Club, which was nice. I feel bad for quitting without mentioning anything, but I did it for church, so not quite as bad as I might feel. Andrew, Guy, Ana, Rebecca, Nick, and Sara went, too. First I sang Faith Hill’s “This Kiss.” Sara brought her own backing CD and was fabulous, as always, doing a song from a musical that I didn’t recognize. Then Maura and her SAI members-in-training sang “Love Shack,” Ali did Reba McEntire’s “Fancy,” and I went back for “Breathless,” by the Corrs. Andrew took video, which he later sent to me. (Comment for the link to download it, if you’re really interested.) It made me realize that I am not a good performer. Piano I could do because it doesn’t take much action other than playing the instrument. I just feel like I’ll do something ridiculous if I do anything but sing up there. And I’m a fairly good singer, so I shall just stick with my strengths.
I think that about sums up my life over the last month. Lots of schoolwork, a bit of fun, and no time for blogging. I was so bogged down with work that I’m also a month behind on all the email newsletters I get. No promises to blog more often this time. You’ll just have to take my word for it that I will, at some point, update again.