Saturday, March 29, 2008
And I did some smiling--there are not very many roses just yet, but there are lots of rose buds. By next week, or the week after, we should have quite a display out front.
Most of the new rose bushes are still putting down roots and discovering that they are bushes, but the established ones are all budding, even the miniature roses in the yard.
Friday, March 28, 2008
It's going to take some getting used to. The instructions are in something vaguely reminiscent of English and thus are no help at all. The device itself appears to operate on some system of Morse Code; one hits buttons for a long time or a short time and gets different results thereby.
I also now own the Bible on MP3. Good old Alexander Scourby's doing the reading. Yes, I've listened to some very good dramatizations, but when it comes down to it, I like books read rather than acted.
And I like the KJV.
Listening, I once again feel very sorry for Leah. Spectacularly beautiful women seem to have run in that family (Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Dinah), and she got stuck with being "tender eyed."
Joseph was a first class brat when he was younger ("Hey everyone! I dreamed you'd all bow down to me some day! Isn't that neat?!")
God's used to crazy people. Jacob lied to everyone in sight (as did Rachel at least once); Abraham couldn't wait for the right kid to come along....).
I think I'm starting to like Babylon 5 now. At least, I still haven't seen the famous Eighth Episode, but I did enjoy episodes 9, 10, and 11.
I'm still on the fence about Captain Sinclair. On the one hand, he has a gorgeous voice. On the other hand--he has a gorgeous voice. Everything is stated at full intensity. It's hard to picture this man asking someone to please pass the butter, or wondering where he put the car keys.
Oh! Just looked to see how to spell the good captain's name. Neil Gaiman wrote an episode! I'm going to have to stick around for at least that long.
Modding continues to continue. I'm rough-coding the 5th (and final) quest now. Lots still to do on that, and my co-modder has just suggested a couple of complications for the 4th quest.
Just started reading Dragonhaven. So far, it's worthy of its author.
Life's not bad.
Actually, it's pretty good.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I'm relatively new to the liturgical tradition (Ok, um, going on 8? 9? years here, but I didn't grow up with it), and one thing that impresses me is how much and how well both the pain and the joy are recognized.
We go through the long, solemn time of Lent, when not even Alleluias are allowed, because it is not a time of rejoicing but a time of reflection, a time to recognize the fallen, flawed nature of the world we live in. This is a place where everything is not all right. Where, as Gerard Manly Hopkins wrote in a poem I posted earlier, "All is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil."
And as we approach Easter, we recognize the sacrifice that was made to, ultimately, redeem the world, and, in some ways, how far away we still are from that ultimate shining out. There is a descent into the depths with the formal stripping of the altar and the silent, thoughtful exit at the end of the service--an exit made in near darkness as a remembrance. There is the thoughtful remembrance in the Stations of the Cross, a time when we do recall that Christ first "suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified." The dark paradox of Good Friday.
And then. And then the Great Vigil, the holding of the breath and waiting for the final moment of glory.
Sunrise services and the great cry of
He is Risen!
The joy and light and laughter and the realization of hope and, ultimately, victory.
Despite the darkness, despite the pain, because of His pain, there is joy.
And that is why I try to get to every service held during Holy Week. I don't want to miss a moment.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
There is always a lot of lovely food on display.
And there is always plenty going on.
Delighted onlookers watch one of the performances.
There's nothing like listening to music on a pleasant evening.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
In case you haven't guessed from the last week's worth of posts (with the exception of the Stargate post, of course), Holy Week is by far my favorite church celebration.
There is all of Lent, leading to the solemnity and joy--going down to the grave, and then up to the resurrection.
And, on Easter we can say Allelujah again.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Transitioning between stories is always rough, and I have to say, so far, I'm still in Stargate-withdrawal. I have missed, I think, three of the eight episodes everyone's watched so far, and I'm sure that doesn't help, but, well, so far the show seems fairly miss-able.
The last episode I watched (episode 6, I think) for example, was fairly predictable--good friend comes. Prediction: she's going to die or get horribly injured, that's going to run the plot--That, after all, is what Old Friends (especially Old Friends who are shown laughing and happy) are for--to get themselves hurt, thus advancing the plot. It's a rough life, but someone has to do it. And, yes, Old Friend was attacked--injured, not killed, which was mildly surprising since I had rated death more likely, but too close to the "standard" to be all that exciting.
Also, about the time Old Friend shows up, someone else's Former Boyfriend appears and restarts the relationship. It's a cinch that he's a) Not Who He Seems to Be (Old Boyfriends are always relying on their charm to get them by as they engage in nefarious doings. Old Girlfriends frequently indulge in the same idle hope). Also, b) he pretty much had to be involved in the attack. And, yeah, he was, and Girlfriend was upset and wanted to Take Him Down, which she did--waaaay too easily.
Despite the above, I wouldn't say it wast really, a bad story--there were some good emotional notes & some decent character bits, and it might contribute to the rest of the arc in an interesting way.
The problem is--I've gotten used to not being able to accurately predict events in the story. With Stargate, the Old Boyfriend might have been the bad guy, or he might have been just who he seemed, or he might have been someone who would turn out to matter to another plot four, five, or fifteen stories down the way. Old Friend would also have had a variety of possible roles. Yes--they use very familiar archetypes, but there's almost always a new twist to them, and I enjoy that. It's fun to try to guess the plot and not be able to do it.
I miss that!
Right now, too, Babylon 5 seems to be taking itself terribly seriously, on top of recycling plots that maybe shouldn't be revisited (ever). A couple of nights ago they had a "talk down the computer" episode. Now, where might I have seen one of those before?
Plus, the writers committed what I consider the cardinal sin of writing: They didn't trust their viewers to get the message. After having the characters talk with each other, in appalled tones, about how this particular people had ended up extinct because they programmed their killer-robot-cyborg-things to kill all but pure whatever-they-were, and after telling the computer that it had failed in its mission to protect its people because it had killed them all for not being pure, and "no one is pure," they then had to have two of the characters had to have a solemn discussion about the subject of purity, and, then, of course, someone from their government had to show up to have the computer/robot/cyborg thing carted away by their own government for study, followed by a dismayed comment from Our Pair.
Y'know, I think I got The Message somewhere back there, like, oh, the first time they mentioned it?
I suspect most viewers did.
Last night the family watched episode 8, which is supposed to be the one where things really take off, but I was too tired to sit through it, so I'll have to catch up later. And, maybe then I will change my views.
Right now, though, I'm very much missing Doctor Rodney McKay & Lieutenant-Colonel John Sheppard, and the rest of the gang--and I'm especially missing a group of writers who don't take themselves and their show too seriously.
In addition, thanks to a friend of mine & some of her older LJ posts, (I'm catching up), I'm also missing Blake's 7, but that's a different story--and a different sort of story--entirely.
The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.
Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam's curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.
The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.
The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.
The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.
T.S. Eliot, East Coker IV
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Almighty God, whose most dear Son
went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified;
Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life
and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Book of Common Prayer
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A conversation with a friend brought this to mind. A little
digging in the Project Gutenberg archives located it.
THE world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell:
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs--
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah!
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
A photo from my files.
Sometimes we plan.
Sometimes, things just work out right.
This was a bit of both.
I had the camera, I went on the walk, I was looking.
I wanted to get the butterfly, a bee, and a flower all in one frame.
But I could never, ever have gotten the bee to rear back just so, or the butterfly to turn its antenna at just that angle.
I wouldn't have thought to ask, even had I known how.
I love it when things come together this way…
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I don't visit the Nature Center nearly as often as I'd like. And I almost never get the pictures I want. But--I have a lot of fun when I do go, and usually get to see quite a bit. This last time was the first time I had ever seen turtles there. Couldn't get very close to any of them (and wow, they can move quickly when it comes to getting into the water).
The hawk I initially thought was a dove of some sort. It wasn't until looking at the picture later that I realized, nope, a much fiercer sort of creature was involved.
And yes, there really is something in the bushes there.
The Two Fishers is actually from outside the nature center (thus the human fisher), but no one told the heron that.
Watch the Food Court Musical by Improv Everywhere.
Then, if you have not done so already, take a look at Frozen Grand Central.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
She wanted some practice, and I was only too happy to offer to "let" her make one for me. The Bookwyrme below is based on my primary gaia avi.
Nyx is also the one who made the funny little dragon I use on some forums.
Take a look at some of her other work on her deviant art site. I like the Old Mother myself. In fact, I tried to get her to let me use it for the mod I was talking about earlier, but she says someone else has already claimed it.
For the last year-and-a-bit, I've been working, with others, on a mod for Baldur's Gate SOA/TOB.
Learning to code has been every bit as hard as I thought it would be, though it has also proved possible & I find it fascinating, which I had not expected to do.
Except... for the last few weeks I've been stuck on two pieces of code. They just would not work and I could not figure out why they would not work. It was all very frustrating.
And, ultimately, embarrassing, because both pieces turned out to be stalled to to good old human error--my error. Once the mistake in the most recent bit was pointed out to me, it was even obvious human error.
I don't know if I ever would have caught it myself, though, so I am still extremely grateful to the people who took the time to look at the code and point it out to me. I know I haven't mentioned it here, this blog being so new-and-all, but there are some really amazing, patient people in the modding community.
Along the way, they explained a number of other things, which will probably help me avoid errors in the future (Not all errors, that would be too much to ask).
The other error was similarly basic, but at least that one I caught myself--eventually.
So, now I'm embarrassed, but unstuck, and about 2/3 of the way through (I think).
Monday, March 10, 2008
We're getting to midterm time in the photography class, so today was a lab day--time to print and mat pictures.
For me, this ended up meaning I got out early, in time to wander around the Shipley Nature Center and to make a visit to the library where I desperately needed to turn in some of the books that have been piled on my floor the last couple of weeks (no room in the library bag).
I was not going to check out any more books; there were plenty left unread in the house.
Except, I might as well pick up a couple more Smithsonians. They aren't books, after all.
Oh, and what was the name of that book I was looking at the other day in the store? Oh, yes, Runemarks. I should check to see if that's in (yes).
And, I can hardly go to the library without stopping to see what new science fiction has come in since I last visited.
Also, I never stop by without looking at the new nonfiction (A history of cleanliness? Sounds interesting. A true history of Disneyland? Maybe.... no, on second thought, I don't really want to know).
Oh, and I really should check to see if Carola Dunn has written anything since I last looked (Yes, but it's out), and is Seeing Redd in? (Not yet). And, oh! Dragonhaven is out already. And...
All things considered, I think I was very restrained.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
It was a good sermon (as usual).
I was at her ordination yesterday, and wow! It's the first Anglican ordination I've been too. It was the first Anglican ordination I've been to, and so the first time I've been able to see & feel that the apostolic succession really does mean something.
It was an amazing service, too. They managed to blend all three service types (traditional, contemporary, and charismatic), and even throw in a small amount of Latin. And it was one of those times when God is quite definitely and apparently there.
And the sanctuary was packed. Mom & I got there ten minutes early, and we almost couldn't find a parking place.
I'm still getting used to being part of an Ugandan diocese, though.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. turn to page 123.
3. find the 5th sentence.
4. post the next 3 sentences.
5. tag 5 people.
The nearest book happens to be someone else's Spanish Dictionary, so I'm going to go with the next-nearest, The Big Knockover, a collection of stories by Dashiell Hammett. Page 123 is somewhere in the middle of "The King Business."
A thin, stooped man with glasses freckled by raindrops translated the little man's story into English, "He says the artillery has betrayed us, and guns are being mounted in the government buildings to sweep the plaza at daybreak." There was an odd sort of hopefulness in his voice, and he added, "In that event we can, naturally, do nothing." "We can die," Lionel Grantham said gently.
So, it's time to tag people, though my tagger got to a couple of them first. Still, let's see, I'll tag Adventures in Mexico before heading over to MySpace to tag Andromeda, Heaven, Rovin, and Jean.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
O gracious Light, pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.
From the 1979 American Book of Common Prayer
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Speaking of photos, one of the possible alternatives for the final was to keep a notebook with a picture-per-day, plus possible comments. I figure it may as well serve a dual purpose. Besides, I like these pictures in themselves, and they cover a number of my favorite places to be.
While walking Cinder, I found myself at this year's kite festival.
Sunshine, kites, sand, and the ocean... What more could a person want.
Actually, it was kind of cloudy the second day, but that didn't seem to be stopping anyone.
Folks visiting the Balboa Fun Zone. It's loud, bright, and always worth a visit.
Sunny Shoes, Sandy Bay.
A butterfly enjoying the sunshine.
They have lovely, lovely Apple computers dedicated just to pictures. And, they've a marvelous pair of printers & printers & monitors are calibrated to work together. This does not mean that pictures always print out the way I decide I want them; I've used a lot of paper & spent a lot of time asking the lab instructor questions.
Like any really marvelous machine, the printers themselves are complicated and confusing. I keep thinking I've figured everything out and then learning about a new menu I need to look at. There are, for example three different places to tell the printer what kind of paper it has, and if they don't match, neither does the picture.
It's great to be in there, though, fooling around with images and watching other people do the same & discussing pictures & picture changes.
It's not something that, even a year ago, I would have thought to do, much less enjoy.
Monday, March 3, 2008
I don't know what got into her. I got up briefly at 2AM & was greeted with the full "Haven't seen you in years, when are you going to feed me?" routine. This from a dog who, these days, is usually completely zonked out at night.
I opened the door, and she bounded out, looking back at me eagerly.
Then, come 3:30 AM, she came bounding into my room, waking me up, and she knows perfectly well she's not allowed in there and has only come in twice before--once when she was sick and needed to go out, and once when there were fireworks going off and she needed someone to hold her paw.
I don't know what got into her. I felt like the owners in Lassie who are always asking "What is it, girl? What is it?"
Only, I don't think anyone had fallen into the well.
She just wanted to play.
At three-thirty in the morning.
I wasn't really all that enthusiastic about the idea, myself, and went back to bed, though the sound of doggie feet ticky-tacking across the floor did keep me awake for a while. When I woke up again, at a more reasonable hour, she was sound asleep.
I suppose it might have been the wind--the friends who gave her to us years ago said that she was scared of wind. But a) She has never done this before and b) she wasn't acting scared. She was acting like she wanted to play tug of war.
Edit: Just read in a friend's blog that her cat went crazy last night. Odd.
It could be the Santa Ana-type weather, but... it's not the first time our dog's been through these winds, and it is the first time she's thought the wee small hours of the morning was a good time to play. Anyone got any reasonable sort of theory?
Sunday, March 2, 2008
This involved doing things like getting up at 5 AM and taking the dog for a walk to see the morning light. Well, I saw the morning light. She smelled the morning smells, and a good time was had by all.
It also meant getting my patient brother to "talk" on his cellphone for a long time while I tried to photograph the light reflecting off his face; that wasn't so successful in terms of catching the light, though I got a couple pretty decent pictures of him.
And it involved driving out to the pier on a drizzly night in order to take pictures of the light there. I brought a tripod and an umbrella along, both for the camera.
I still feel pretty self-conscious walking around with a tripod; this was the first time I had taken it anywhere, but really, no one seemed to mind, or mostly notice, save for a couple of very polite people who wanted to know if it would be ok if they walked down the pier to get their dinner, or would it spoil my shot?
Overall, I enjoyed the assignment itself, and I'm delighted with the fact that, as a side-effect, I finally learned how to control shutter speed. It's always seemed so arcane and incomprehensible before.
I took this on the "auto" setting. I like it, but the way it turned out color-wise was pretty much up to the camera. I'm not really sure why it's greenish. Over-compensating for the yellow light, maybe?
Incidentally, I learned that night that "auto" trumps any preprogramming done. I have to use one of the other settings if I want the light etc. to go my way.
This is, I think, a one second exposure--maybe a bit longer, I can't check while uploading the picture itself. I do know it wasn't much more. 10 seconds, for example, produces a glorious golden glare and not much else.
The camera's on a tripodand the light is set to "Daylight" which apparently translates into "Record the light the way it is, not as white" (something else I've recently learned).
Also at the longer exposure time.
Starbucks at night. Tripod in use and shutter speed adjusted.
Raindrops on the car window.
I hadn't really looked before.
Shutter speed adjusted. (Told you I was having fun!)