Friday, August 31, 2012

Seven Quick Takes

1. One of these days, probably sooner than later, I will have to move from Midtown/downtown Atlanta. I will miss it! Today I walked a mile and a half to meet a friend for lunch at her husband's restaurant, and on my way there, I deduced three things just from watching the people around me: 1) The University of Tennessee is playing in town this weekend (football, of course), and their color is orange (I believe they're playing Georgia State, based on a conversation I overheard in the deli). 2) North Carolina (State?) is playing in town this weekend, and their color is red (there just wasn't enough black for it to be UGA). 3) Dragon*Con starts today! Okay, so I knew Dragon*Con was in town this weekend, but it was fantastic to walk down Peachtree St and see costumes galore! Flashbacks to high school, really. Someday I may even go. :)

But the thing I'll miss most about Atlanta itself is actually our homeless people. Their kind compliments and harmless hollas have always been a source of joy, but some days they're more fun than others. Today I took a different route home from lunch, and was surprised to see that Woodruff Park has a Chess Court with chessboard tables and a large chessboard:

Not quite as large as the chessboard we played on in Salzburg,

but still pretty darn cool. Anyway, so as my attention was distracted by these, I saw a gentleman stand up and say, "I didn't know the sun rose twice today!" (A photo of himself, courtesy of Google/Flickr.) He offered to tour me around the park, then to walk me to the MARTA (subway) station that I declared a need to get to, and generally chatted pleasantly and praised my beauty. He, of course, asked if I could spare a buck; I always respond that I don't have any cash, but I'd be glad to buy him something. He did let me buy him two slices of pizza and a drink, which was just lovely. It's an awesome gift to feed the hungry, especially when you know your money is going entirely toward food.

2. I firmly believe that everyone's first car should be an old car, and they should drive it into the ground, if only for how much they learn about cars in the process. My car spent five of the last seven days at one mechanic's or another (don't worry; all fixed for under $200), and when I first brought it in, without even preparing what I'd say I easily explained what noises (and smells and kind of smoke) I heard when, what the car's been through before, and what else seemed to be affected. Just bringing the car in to get things changed every now and again has made me very aware of this potentially deadly machine that I drive around all the time like it's nothing. Don't get me wrong, I still don't know much about cars. But I know about my car, and I've learned how to report its symptoms to the mechanic (possibly better than I can report symptoms of a physical ailment to a doctor), and that seems to me an inestimable strength.

3. So my parents left yesterday morning for a week and a half in Hawaii. My best friend leaves tonight for a week in Israel. How is it that the two people I call most frequently are off the continent at the same time!? It may be a long week...

4. A friend of mine recently hosted a showing of the new documentary Miss Representation:

Ordinarily, I would stay faaaaaaaaaaar away from a project that headlines Oprah, Gloria Steinem, and Nancy Pelosi, but I'd seen the trailer, and it appeared to contain more truth than agenda, so I went to watch and discuss.

It warms my heart when people who value different things can agree on something more important than their differences. The oversexualization of women in our culture is hurting girls from early childhood (also men and boys, respectively, as we discussed), in ways that they carry with them into adulthood. Additionally, for being such a forward-thinking country in theory, the U.S. lags far behind many other nations regarding women in politics (I would love to learn more about how this works in practice in said dozens of other countries.) I am kind of surprised that I recommend this film, but I do, especially if an intelligent discussion is to be had by the viewers afterward.

Language advisory: There are several moments when the women speaking use uncouth language; it wasn't frequent, but when it was there, it was unabashedly there. I mention this because I know it bothers some more than others. The media images shown are really far more offensive than the language, which is by design; this really is a film designed for adults.

5. I am officially a published author! The article based on my Master's thesis was printed in the journal of the organization at whose conference I presented the same paper in January:

Society for Catholic Liturgy Conference, January 2012, St Louis

Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal, Vol. 16, No. 2 (Summer 2012)

At first my delight was overshadowed by shock and disappointment that they truncated my title (removing its subtitle, "Reverence in Celebration and Active Participation"), but then I decided to get over it and just be excited. Besides, that feeling is probably helpful to me as a copy editor. Solidarity with authors!

In the meantime, I'm waiting for my author copies of Liturgy Training Publications' The Liturgy Documents: Volume II, and they've contracted me for the 2014 version of other annual publications, even after I lost my job with its conveniently respectable subtitle. Not only is this plenty of fun and a good exercise for my brain, it's also very kind of them to continue to employ me. Besides how crazy is it to see my name next to much more prominent liturgists like Fr Cassian Folsom, Fr Paul Turner, and Fr Rick Hilgartner!? My life has its sufferings, but it's also really darn cool sometimes. :D

6. So I've been watching the BBC series Merlin recently, which loosely takes inspiration from Smallville insofar as it's the "before his powers were known / before he was famous" take on things. It's just a fun take on the legend, as King Uther has banned magic and essentially waged war on all magic users, so naturally sorcerers come in every other episode trying to destroy his kingdom...

It's been a fun show, but what's got me tickled pink is that they've used actual Eald Englisc (that would be Old English for you modern Anglophones) for the words of all their spells! (Example that I couldn't embed here) Granted, my one college course in Old English has not caused me to retain enough vocabulary to recognize more than the occasional conjunction, but there's no doubt in my mind that they've leaned on the ancient linguistic patrimony of the British Isles for their spells (which, in other series, are often Latinate), and that is awesome. I don't recognize what language they use for the dragon-speak, but I suspect it's Old Welsh or something Celtic. As one who very nearly pursued a career in linguistics, this kind of unnecessary-but-fruitful use of dead languages makes me very, very happy. :)

7. Facebook is a-twitter (no pun intended) about the new Mumford and Sons album that's being released at the end of next month. Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to it as well, but I'm far more excited about the new Avett Brothers album, which they have had the kindness to release on my birthday! You can even listen to the entire album online now, courtesy of NPR. I really enjoy their rock-influenced bluegrassy/bluesy folk!

Yeah, they are kind of hipster, but their music isn't nearly so pretentious.

I think "quick" takes are probably supposed to be briefer than mine usually are... Hmm... Well, thanks for reading part or all!


  1. Yay for old cars. Also, I am going to be in the states and available to chat from time to time if you need someone to call. :)

  2. Update: Tennessee and North Carolina seem to be playing each other in the Chick-fil-A bowl. Totally forgot about bowl games. I thought they mostly came in toward the end of the season?

  3. Congratulations on the publication, Claire! (And you look positively gorgeous in that hat--I love it!)


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