Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Very First Salt Shakers

Christmas Gift From Niegel:

Most Amazing Salt Shakers Ever. I can't wait to have a kitchen table

For now, they'll hug on my bookshelf.

AWOL for Christmas

So the last ten days saw me rarely at a computer. Niegel visited, snow fell, the city shut down, I stayed downtown for four nights, snow fell, I got grossly ill, snow melted, Niegel got grossly ill, city got worse, we got better, we celebrated Christmas, we ate pancakes, went to Leavenworth, watched Star Trek marathons, tried to go to museums and failed, then went out for fois gras- stuffed quail.

A Very Merry Christmas it was.
Here comes 2009.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Break Activity

The To-Be-Shelved corner of my room

Monday, December 15, 2008

4 More Days

...until this fellow arrives for 10 whole days of Christmas wonderfulness!!

You can't spell "Christmas" without "Niegel"

When Friends Ask for Lists...

...I get too, too eager to fulfill the request.

Tucker asked me to recommend 5 starter books of 19th British fiction by women authors that he could listen to via I asked if it had to be women authors, and he conceded that I could include book's with female protagonists. (I can't write any book lists that don't include Thomas Hardy). I liked the list I emailed him, and decided to post it in case anyone else is hankering for Vic Fic. (Meaning Victorian Fiction. I think I just coined that, but so did probably 900 other people this week).

Books for listening to and growing as a human being in the 21st century written by those in the 19th century, by or about women

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A fierce voice speaking against hypocrisy in an age where "appropriateness" was a woman's highest virtue. This book is sexy, tragic, triumphant, emotionally & theologically intelligent and unflinching. One of my core-life texts.

Persuasion by Jane Austen
Austen's most mature, sophisticated and autobiographical novel

Tess of the D-Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
A pastoral novel about simple people, that turns the mirror back to society, questioning what purity and innocence really mean. This book is a great intertext with the book of Ruth.

Adam Bede by George Eliot
Eliot's narration beats with a warm and poetic heart on behalf of the unheroic nature of everyday people

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
I don't particularly like this book, but you have to read it. It's a dark and tortured story from the mind of a brilliant young woman who's passionate intellect was trapped in the life of a parson's daughter. It's psychologically disturbing and hugely un-romantic despite how people try to treat it, but if you're going to read Victorian literature by women, you cannot bypass this one. (and all the Brontes are brilliant- Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and the fact that all 3 were published in their lifetime, makes reading at least two of the Brontes another necessity when it comes to surveying victorian women's lit.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Song of the Month Club

In class the other day, we got to talking about the seasons: how differently we interact with and feel about each season of the year, memories they bring up, and also alternative seasons to mark our time by rather than just the nature cycle. I was browsing my ITunes and found myself instinctually reminding myself to watch Walk The Line after Christmas, and I started to realize how I have some pretty consistent music seasons. I'm pretty sure this is what they've sounded like the past few years.

Johnny Cash, Ralph Stanley, Dolly Parton
Glen Hansard/”Once"Soundtrack
Rameau, Handel, “Marie Antoinette” Soundtrack
Simon & Garfunkel
Death Cab for Cutie, Postal Service, Iron & Wine
Blind Melon, Counting Crows, REM
Eastern European Folk/Pop
William Byrd, Josquin Desprez, Arvo Part, Meredith Monk
Sufjan Stevens

Of course, I've got Christmas music playing from late October through mid January, but themes emerge even through that. And I was surprised (but not surprised) to notice that I really do kind of go into internal hibernation during summer. Hibernation or denial, not sure, but first day of Summer is apparently the day the music dies.

What are your music seasons?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Think Paper Titles are My True Medium

All my official school work of 2008 is done. I was trying to remember how many gigantic papers I'd written this year and had to look them up in order to remember. Here's the taster's choice version. I think my titles are longer than most people's thesis paragraphs.

The Princess and the Judge:
Rediscovering the Characters in the Book of Ruth Through Traditional Jewish Interpretation


The Heavens Declare:
Looking Closer at Creation
to Gain a Bigger Picture of the Creator

A movement towards theological and scientific inquiry
of our created context… for the glory of God


Impressions of an Either/Or Church Upbringing
(Church of Origin)


“Queen Bitch” Theology:
What Movie Soundtracks Offer That
The Church Does Not

(Church of Future)


The Woman Buried Under the Words:
The Story of the First Female Apostle and How She Was Erased From Scripture

‘Formed For Labour, Not For Love’:
19th and 20th Century Women Authors
Critique the Evangelical Dualism of
Punishing the Body to Save The Soul

Remembering Together, Not Reading Alone:
The Oral and Aural Gospel of Mark


I don't know which I enjoy more, coming up with titles, or making lists of them. I have no social life, by the way.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Weekend Study Space

I'll be saying goodbye to doing homework between shows (and during act 1) at Intiman as my homework for 2008 is pretty much done and Intiman won't reopen again until half way through Spring term 2009. Now I'll get to resort to my non homework activity at this location: eating a cheeseburger from Dick's Drive In and listening to "This American Life" while waiting for the coffee brewer to rev up before the matinee. I love my various Intiman routines.

Today's bartender special: engaging issues of orality in the gospel of Mark.

And I love my various Intiman people.
I enjoy provoking Chase! (Sorry Ian, no cute pictures of you on hand)

Intermission pre-orders. What a lovely spectrum of artificial coloring a la DeKuyper.

I Heart Werner Kelber

The Oral and the Written Gospel: The Hermeneutics of Speaking and Writing in the Synoptic Tradition, Mark, Paul, and Q (Voices in Performance and Text) The Oral and the Written Gospel: The Hermeneutics of Speaking and Writing in the Synoptic Tradition, Mark, Paul, and Q by Werner H. Kelber

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Published in 1983, this seminal work by Kelber marked a paradigm shift in biblical hermeneutics. "Oral and Written Gospel" is the culmination of Kelber's editorial and journal work of the previous years regarding the ancient near east textual transition from oral communication to written text. Kelber counters many of the assumptions made by 20th century scholars immersed in print-based culture regarding how texts (oral or written) were interacted with and maintained within their social context. Most of the reviews at the time of its publication said this book would start a wave of new hermeneutical approaches, and they were absolutely right. While being a classic, this work is still breaking new ground. A critical must-read for anyone trying to recover a sense of the vital oral tradition behind the gospel of Mark (and the New Testament) as well as the rhetorical implications of Greek oratorical culture. This was one of the first works to say that, as far as the New Testament goes, most of what has been relegated to black and white print, was and is meant to be heard aloud in community. Good job, Werner
View all my reviews.

One Small Step Toward Narrative Theology

Hearing Mark: A Listener's Guide Hearing Mark: A Listener's Guide by Elizabeth Struthers Malbon

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
A refreshing commentary that serves as a cue for how to hear, remember and follow the story in Mark. Unlike most commentaries (and Bible interaction in general) Malbon's book resists the urge to break things into tiny, applicable pieces, and instead, guides the reader through the complete world and narrative journey of the earliest gospel telling. Though most of my exposure to Malbon's writing is rich but DENSE, "Hearing Mark" is clearly meant to be readable for non-seminary folk- a definite plus.

I might buy this one to keep handy.

View all my reviews.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

On Reading a TV Show

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home (Season 8, Vol. 1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home by Joss Whedon

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
As what I believe is the first case of a television show continuing as comic book (this first batch of comics is called Season 8, just as if it were the next series of episodes), this breaks all kinds of creative ground, and of course has the potential to step into some pot holes as it forges its way to unknown territory. (Have I mixed my metaphors enough yet?)

It's hard to imagine what it must be like to be in Joss Whedon's shoes. With the transition from sound stages and scripts to paperback and text boxes, your long-loved characters are no longer bound by location shoots, film crew budgets, actor schedules, or frankly, reality of any kind. The stories are free to go wherever the imagination takes these people. Far more significant than those thousands of Star Wars books that supposedly carry on the story, the Buffy comics are crafted by the creator himself, and are meant to hold the same tenor, language and quirkiness of the TV series. This transition from one television media to comic book media is both a total a paradigm shift, and in another way, a totally logical next step: from one pop culture temple to another. And I'd say, it pretty much does it perfectly. Though I'm not a comic book reader (i have trouble tracking the different text styles- dialogue, narration, etc, and I sometimes forget to look at the pictures) I can hear the characters voices clearly in the dialogue, and the stories still abound with Whedon's obsessive love of underlining his genre while subverting it. It's a meta meta meta comic book- always reminding you it's a comic book while totally engulfing you in the plot.

Though I agree with other critiques I've seen of this volume, that instead of being normal people in supernatural circumstances, the comic books have these characters basically becoming straight up- mega-institutionalized super heroes, I trust Whedon to take us to new places safely, even if its awkward sometimes.

It's a one of a kind experience that I recommend. (though not so one of a kind anymore since Whedon is doing comics for his canceled show Firefly as well).

View all my reviews.

Monday, December 1, 2008

12/1/08 1:29am

Does your heart break in
December? Mine does. A cold,
little ache inside.