Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ideas for Ending the Referee Lockout, New Guitar, and So On

One great continuation between BU and North Park is Thursday is the last day of class. Thursday's (still) the new Friday! The long weekend is great, especially as someone who works in the church (thus, Sunday isn't always the day of rest one would hope for).

I have two ideas for ending the referee lockout:
1. First, collect all the money from fines garnered for the verbal and physical accosting (looking at you, Belicheck) of referees and use that money to pay the regular refs. One more week like last week, and I think we'll be well above the difference between what the refs want and what the NFL is willing to give.
2. Pass an offering plate. If you don't get enough, wait a quarter for the refs to blow another big call and pass it again!  Seriously, if you did that in Green Bay after Monday's game, you would probably be solvent for the next few years. Granted, you would probably have to ring out the beer-soaked bills.

All that said, the NFL is not hurting for money, so I think they just need to pay up and get over it. or suffer the wrath of fans/commentators/Scott Walker (looks who's supporting unions now!).

Thanks to Trinity, I now have a beautiful new guitar: the Seagull Maritime edition. It is solid wood, Canadian-made, and plays like a dream. I forgot what it's like to play a decent guitar with good strings. Here's a pic:

It doesn't matter what level of schooling you find yourself in, students will ask questions that have already been answered several times in class.

Things I am excited for:
-going to visit Andrew and Alicia Sturdy in Connecticut in a couple weeks.
-East Coast Ashram! It will be great to meet other East Coast pastors, and it will be my first time at Pilgrim Pines. People out here love Pilgrim Pines, so we'll see if it lives up to their boasting/my high expectations.

Well, I'm currently in the BC library (Boston College, by the way, is huge, beautiful, and seemingly loaded - as are the people that attend) and in need of a book. So, I will bid you all adieu. Later.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Liberal Intolerance, Vikings, and Weekend Update

One thing I'm learning at a more progressive school, people on the liberal end of the spectrum can be just as intolerant as those on the conservative end of the spectrum (I mean, I knew this; I'm just seeing more examples of it). We had to read something on the very conservative end of biblical interpretation, and a few people were losing their minds at the audacity of the professor (very liberal by the way) to assign something by a fundamentalist! I didn't know assigning a reading was akin to promoting the said belief. Maybe I'm too passive, but it doesn't rile me up to read someone much more liberal or conservative than me. I think some of the progressives are looking to be offended so they can revolt/community organize in the class and recapture the means of production from the bourgeoisie faculty back into the hands of the student proletariat.

Vikings: winning record and tied for first place. Skol! (I know we're only three games in, but don't rain on my parade). My favorite play yesterday was Kyle Rudolph's amazing catch:

In my opinion, the best part of it this one-handed grab is how he smacks the defender in the face right before the grab. And the Gophers are 4-0 (again, they've only played one real team, but that's more wins than all of last year!).. I'm assuming tomorrow the trumpets will sound and the Lord will descend, for the apocalypse is upon us. No rapture though because that's bad theology. (I have to throw that out there to allay my still-present childhood fears).

In other news, this past weekend I went to a vintage bazaar with the illustrious Andrew and Amy Daigle. What started as a cold day soon grew warm and beautiful. The bazaar itself was cool, maybe cooler if I was a 53 year-old woman into rosmaling or knitting, but it was still fascinating to see what people can make with some creativity and old junk. Then, we headed to Newburyport (which sounds like a made-up New England town whose name was formed by taking overused bits and pieces of other New England towns, but I'll let it slide) for drinks and dinner. It's always enjoyable being with those two.

You know how I find the motivation to blog? I put it on my new "Reminders" check list brought to you by Mountain Lion. It's my latest attempt at organization/a calendar, and so far it is working smashingly. Unfortunately, the list also has a dozen other things on it that should probably be given priority, but I just don't care.

If you haven't seen this website yet, you are missing out:

I've been laughing out loud about some of them for weeks. These outbursts usually happen during the middle of the day, making me look like a crazy person.

Finally, I'm excited to get the new Mumford and Sons album tomorrow! One song that I'm really looking forward to owning:

I mean, it has Mumford and Sons, Jerry Douglas, and Paul Simon. What's not to like? Okay, I need to move down my checklist. Next up, reading about Psalms 1 and 2! Eat your hearts out, general public.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Writing Papers, Unions, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

That was a really ugly football game last night. The only thing Jay Cutler excelled at was chewing out his linemen and sulking on the sideline. He is a class act. But I've said it before and I'll say it again, Mike Tice should never rise above offensive line coach.

Sometimes writing a paper is like a dance. Each sentence seems to flow into the next, a rhythm develops, and soon you are lost in the music of it all. Sometimes writing a paper is like a street brawl. It gets ugly fast and you use whatever is at hand to bludgeon the opponent to death. And when the fight ends, you stand maniacally laughing over the lifeless carcass before you wonder what people will think when they see this cadaver/paper. This last paper I wrote was a street brawl. I might have lost a tooth on page 4.

One of the small things I miss about Chicago is that it was so solidly blue we never had to watch political ads. Here I'm watching a constant stream of attacks, feel-good stories, half-truths, and poorly-scripted conversations with "real people."

So, I am some issues with teacher's unions. I student taught/substitute taught with many bad teachers who had not changed their curriculum in 15-20 years (I did see Leningrad (you know, the city that changed its name back to St. Petersburg after the USSR fell in 1989) on a longitude and latitude test in 2006) and deserved to get fired but had tenure and protection from the teacher's union. That being said, I also understand that teachers in Chicago are underpaid, under-appreciated, and don't deserve to be evaluated based on standardized tests, which are horrible assessments that don't tell you much about how good a teacher is. Also, students in Chicago deserve better than 350 social workers who have a case load of around 1000 students. They deserve rooms that aren't 95 degrees and falling apart. And with the practices of big corporations lately, I no longer believe that companies/governments will make the right decision because it is right; they're too concerned with the bottom line. So, with all that said, one of my favorite folk songs:

Nothing is worse than a bad contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" It's embarrassing and uncomfortable for everyone. "The Pentagon's a big square, so that doesn't have a big hump." Say that one more time...the pentagon's a big square. That's like saying the octagon's a big triangle.

Okay, I'm going to practice my sermon. If you're in the greater Boston area this Sunday, come on over to Trinity Covenant Church in Lexington at 10:45! Later.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thoughts on Boston and Bizarre Trip to Staples

Things I like about Boston so far:
1. Good seafood. I haven't enjoyed this as much as I will when I have some money to actually buy things, but just knowing it is there for the taking is nice. I still need to have my first lobster roll, but I have to admit being turned off by the copious amounts of mayo that seem to be a part of the deal.
2. 92.5 The River. I think this may be my favorite radio station ever. It seems to play a bit more obscure songs and a greater variety than XRT.
3. It is beautiful here. The trees, rolling hills, and town feel that even the suburbs have makes for a very idyllic setting.
4. The Bouris family. They have been so incredibly gracious in welcoming me into their home!

Things that humor me about Boston:
1. The accents. I know this is somewhat juvenile, but I do have to laugh (as you do in Northern MN or certain parts of Chicago) when you hear that thick accent complaining about this, that, or the other (usually the Red Sox/Patriots). Sometimes I think a thick regional accent is required for public workers, especially toll booth attendants.
2. The way people complain about the Red Sox. Listening to sports radio, you would think the Red Sox haven't won a World Series in 100 years or made the playoffs in the last 20. They're having one bad season and people completely flip out. They should spend some time in Minnesota were losing is a way of life. Then, any good season is that much better because we're so unused to the phenomenon of success.

Things I could live without:
1. The distance from Boston to Chicago and Minnesota.
2. apartment hunting/high rent. Is anyone looking to buy a kidney or other paired organ that I can live without? Call me.
3. traffic...obviously.
4. The Patriots. They are the Yankees of football who only care about the bottom line and winning. The way they operate and cut players is really corporate/gross.
5. No Chase banks. I don't love the idea of opening a Bank of America account.

I just got home from Staples where I had an interesting experience. I got the register and rung up, and my change came to 76 cents. She had run out of quarters and asked to get some from the manager, so I rummaged in my pocket and found a quarter saying, "Oh, I have a quarter," obviously thinking that she would take the quarter and give me 1.01 back in change. Nope. She thanks me, gives me 76 cents back in small change, and puts the single quarter in her till. Apparently this is my donation to Staples. This is weird on so many levels. First, why would I just give you a quarter? Second, do you think I'm dumb enough to think you just need one quarter to make change for the next however many customers you have? Third, shouldn't you reject customers' free money on the principle that you aren't a 501c3? And you really left me with no choice because am I really going to ask for the quarter back and try to explain all this? Man, that's 12 minutes of parking by the BU campus I just lost! Somehow, I'll soldier on.

Okay, I need to study some German. Later.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vikings, Napping, and Trading Wisconsin for Massachusetts

Well, I have to say, that Vikings game was pretty amazing. To be on the winning side of a 4th quarter comeback, especially after blowing the lead with under a half minute to play, was a new and pleasant experience. Not a bad first day for Blair Walsh. Right, Walshy?

Look at the little guy celebrate (when I say little, I realize he's probably taller than me, but look at him next to those linemen!). Also, I went down to a place called Tavern on the Square and watched the game with 40 other Vikings fans. And while I don't think all Minnesotans are inherently nice, I have to say this was a pretty great group of people who did Minnesota proud. Eighteen more wins to go until we're Super Bowl champs!

Although, if I am honest, there were moments in the second half when I was going back and forth about whether watching the rest of the game was a better choice than going home and taking a nap. Usually a Sunday service with coffee hour afterward uses up all of my social energy, so tacking on a room full of cheering people emptied the reserves too, but I think it was worth it. Granted, I'm writing this from a small basement closet where I've been practicing sensory deprivation. It's like centering prayer without the centering or prayer.

So, today I'm looking at another apartment. I am confident it will have to be better than my last experience because, as John Lennon chimed in during "It's Getting Better All the Time," "...can't get no worse." I'm also having lunch with the incomparable Christina Tinglof, so it should be a good day overall. Granted, I will also be starting my "Reading German" class, so that may take some of the wind out of my sails. I guess we shall see tomorrow.

One of the things I'm really worried about since I left Chicago is how ResCov is going to make it financially now that they no longer have my tithe to count on. Hopefully the Lord will provide. Jehovah Jireh, as I like to say.

I saw Carol Wild's status wishing that Chicago and Massachusetts were closer, and I came up with a great idea. Let's replace Wisconsin with Massachusetts. This works on so many levels. Let me count the ways:
1. I would be close to Chicago while going to grad school.
2. Wisconsin would be gone, or at least further away if it was a straight up trade. (sorry New England)
3. Ditto the Packers.
4. Ditto Superior.
5. My drive to Duluth would be that much shorter and way nicer.
6. Seafood in the Midwest!

And the humidity has broken in Massachusetts! I awoke on Sunday morning, went outside, and spontaneously began crying tears of joy (and since it had been so humid, I think it was easier to tear up) at the coolness of the weather. There's a lot of people talking up fall in New England, so it better bring its A-game. It always reminds me of this Cheryl Wheeler song (for obvious reasons):

Okay, time to go work. I made a list of things I need to accomplish this week, and it's not a very small one. Let's do this!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Apartment Hunt Fails, Catholic Church, and Big Sisters

I think I'm blogging more lately because it makes me feel connected to people far away. So, feel free to talk back!

Well, I visited my first potential apartment on Friday afternoon. Not good. The place was clean as promised, but I realized that it was clean because there was barely anything in the whole place. Empty apartments are undeniably easier to keep clean. Next, it was apparent that there was a lot of pot smoking going on in the apartment, a claim that was verified by one of the roommates telling me that the other two (one in his 50s) occasionally smoked pot on the couch while watching TV. I could tell that living there would be like living in (metaphorically) a dementor's kiss, my soul slowly fading away like smoke dissipating in the air (pun intended). So, Monday I have another interview to live in a mother-in-law apartment, which seems like it could be just what the doctor ordered. I'll let you know either way.

Tonight I was working on my sermon and decided to take a break by going to the local Catholic Church for their 4 o'clock Saturday mass. When I got to the church, I entered in a side door by the parking lot, only to find that I had entered into the sanctuary between the cantor and the altar as the priest was processing in. I tried to just sit in the front row there, but I think I had 200 pairs of eyes on me, so I slowly moonwalked out and, fighting the urge to just leave, came in through the back door. A general trend I've noticed in my sporadic visits to Catholic churches is that they pray prayers too fast and sing hymns too slow. "Faith of our Fathers" and "Holy God We Praise Thy Name" each could have been sung almost twice as fast, and the Nicene Creed was recited at a speed only comfortable for an auctioneer. Also, whenever I go up for communion and cross my arms over my chest so they don't serve me communion, you can always sense that second of confusion on the part of (usually) the priest before he figures out what I'm doing.

Both of my sisters have been putting on some serious poundage...

Almost time for an intervention. (I can only be happy for my sisters backhandedly, apparently).

So, I haven't had cable in about five years, so my current house (the Bouris's) does, and I've noticed a few things:
1. I do enjoy going to bed watching SportsCenter. There's something about hearing those groupings of three notes (do-do-do; do-do-do) that just seems right. If only I was in Minnesota to watch some Twins/Wild games.
2. DVR is amazing. I know, I know, welcome to 2007, but it's the first time I've really experienced it for myself.
3."Big Bang Theory" is my new favorite sitcom (again, 2007). It's never been on Netflix streaming or Hulu, so this is my first time really watching it.
4. There still isn't much that is worth watching.

This makes me sound like I haven't done anything but watch TV, but I've read two books, 10 articles, and written a rough draft of a sermon. So don't worry; I'm not slacking.

Anyway, tomorrow is my first Sunday participating in worship at Trinity, so I'm looking forward to that. Plus, they're having a potluck brunch for rally Sunday! They must have known I was coming! Next week is my first sermon, so you should come. Now, to enjoy the rest of my Saturday evening. I'm thinking of doing a Saturday evening-Sunday evening sabbath during school here. We'll see how it shapes up.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bus Fails, Convention Coverage, and BC

So, I wonder if bus drivers feel like they've failed when they're running back-to-back with another bus on the same route. This occurred today, except we were sandwiched between two busses of the same route. This is the worship pastor equivalent of realizing you have written "the risen lie of Christ" instead of the "the risen life of Christ" (which happened in our Easter Vigil bulletins and resulted in some furious edits with a fine-tip pen. Speaking of which, how does anyone write with anything besides the Precise V5? Anything else feels like I'm writing with a blunt object dipped in a puddle of ink. Am I right, Jeff? (even though you always accused me of stealing yours).

One thing that amuses me is how everyone who speaks at these conventions seems to want to prove that they had it rough growing up. "I was raised a feral child by a pack of rabid wolves, eating nothing but grub worms until 14. My first job was at 7 years-old as a chimney sweep. I was the broom wrapped in cotton and feathers and shoved in the dirty chimney. And as I slid between the grimy bricks, I knew that I would spend the rest of my life working for the public good. So, walking barefoot in the middle winter to DC, I came to the capital committed to change this country. My first few years I lived off of old newspapers and cigarette butts living in various dumpsters, but I worked my way up to the senate and am here today to change the way politics is done in the United States!"

I just have to say, Biden brought it last night. He was made for sticking to a teleprompter and letting his emotions go (in that order). However, I think the rah-rah USA stuff gets a little overboard, especially when talking about killing people. Also, I might have a policy crush on Elizabeth Warren. She seems to have the kind of fan base of a Paul Wellstone type. I spent the rest of the evening watching Obama's speech (who also brought it) and reading Hittite, Egyptian, and Babylonian prayers/songs/psalms. Jealous?

I also had my first class at Boston College today (Jewish liturgy). My impression of the campus: large, ornate, hilly (my calves were burning from all those stairs! If the staircase had started moving, I would have sworn I was at Hogwarts), and rich...really rich. Thursdays are my busy day with Psalms in the morning and Jewish Liturgy in the afternoon. By the time I was on my way home, I wasn't sure whether I was going to fall asleep or burst into tears on the bus. I was just so sick of being around people and roaming around places I didn't know. They should make a sound-proof cocoon that you can bring on public transit. Granted, this may make one look like Hannibal Lecter or at least the bus driver giving you a referral to a local psychiatrist.

Today I'm hopefully checking out my first possible apartments and the two roommates that live there. Fingers crossed they're not crazy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Few Days of School

Well, I've had my first day of classes (Tuesday), and I think it went pretty well. For example, after I got home, I did not go home and rock in the fetal position singing "Jesus Love Me." Tomorrow will be the real test because after 4 p.m., I will have had all my classes and will be experiencing the most acute syllabi shock. I might take a preemptive xanax to smooth it all out (joke). My class on Tuesday was the Trinity and the hymnody with Karen Westerfield Tucker and Carl Daw (whose hymn "As We Gather at Your Table," we sang on Sunday at Trinity). It's a pretty great class already. I found out that in past classes they used the Covenant blue hymnal as their neutral hymnal of choice (mostly methodists in the seminary/class).

In related news, to prove that I'm entirely nerdy, I purchased as leather soft-cover brown hymnal on ebay this past week. I better keep a low profile about it, or I'll have to (figuratively) beat the women off with a stick.

So, I have to say I'm pretty excited about the beginning of the football season (which I am watching as I type). Sunday I will be joining other Vikings fans at 1 p.m. (a great time for pastors; how many first quarters was I deprived of as a child waiting for my dad to stop glad-handing and gabbing and do his fatherly duty by driving us expeditiously home?) at a local Cambridge bar to watch the game with others in style. It reminds me of the Minnesota bar that Marshall goes to on "How I Met Your Mother." Hopefully it will be as folksy and friendly. I'm hoping for 5 wins, but maybe that's too optimistic.

Well, Colbert's new opening montage is pretty great:

I have sent out about 25 emails for Craigslist apartments/rooms and have gotten about 10 responses back: 2 to tell me they're filled, 2 legitimate, and 6 from missionaries in various parts of the world who just need me to send them the money first because they're too busy serving Jesus to find a realtor. To them, I shake the dust off of my feet and wish I was better with computers to send them a Christian-themed virus. It wouldn't install 7 viruses, but 70 times 7 viruses giving the viruses abundant life. If you know any legitimate people in Boston who are renting, let me know!

Also, David Bjorlin - 1, Boston Transit - 0. I owned it on Tuesday. One hour bus trip there and back (dropping me off and picking me up right outside the Boston University School of Theology) and only $3 to do it! Not to mention I can read away to my heart's content on the way in and out. So, thinks are looking pretty good for the next few weeks. If I can get through tomorrow without obsessively washing my hands while singing Lina Sandell hymns, we'll call it a success! Later!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Trip to New Hampshire!

Well, this weekend was of firsts. On Friday, while I was skipping the aforementioned day of service at BU, I headed up to New Hampshire for the first time to visit Amy and Andrew Daigle for a much-needed vacation after approximately 48 hours in Boston (sarcasm). I went straight to Manchester (first) to Republic, the restaurant that Andrew currently works at. It served great local food, and he was almost done with his shift, so I hung around looking shifty and complaining to the manager about Andrew's service.

After we were done, we decided to grab a drink before we went back to the house. So, we drove my car to a local bar (about a minute away) with the understanding that we would pick up his jeep after and head back to his house. So, when we were done, we got in the car, and he started directing me. After driving about 7-8 minutes, I began wondering how far away he parked from where he worked. Was there some kind of park-and-ride or shuttle service going in to downtown Manchester? Finally, I made mention of it: "Do you park this far away from work?" Nope. So, we turned around to get the jeep.

They live in a wooded paradise (maybe I'm looking at it through rose-colored glasses or city-smeared glasses) in Auburn, New Hampshire, and it was there we headed. That evening, we headed over to Amy's parents' house for my first true lobster experience (with a mussel opener). I have to say, it was pretty delicious and educational. I think I could now eat lobster without looking like a total idiot.

Saturday we got up late and ate a lazy breakfast (I think we actually ate after noon; it was a few hour process) of delicious salmon cake eggs benedict (also, should there be an eggs benedict arnold?) and solved most of the world's/church's problems over the next few hours. That afternoon we went to Portsmouth via Exeter stopping at Phillips Exeter Academy, the most prestigious private high school in the nation that has been the breeding ground of presidents, senators, and big-wigs in many different fields. You can send your child there for one simple payment of $45,000 a year. I'm one day hoping to make that much money in a single year. In Portsmouth, we sauntered around the area, checked out a brewery, and ended the night by eating at a Mexican restaurant in the area.

We had driven the jeep there sans doors, which was awesome. However, it cooled off nicely throughout the evening leaving us with a sizable and chilly drive on the way home. About halfway through the drive, I started nodding off, but thought I better stay alert in case this was the first signs of hypothermia setting in. However, we made it. I am so glad/blessed/excited that these two are in my area and give me some continuity. I think continuity in transition is like manna in the wilderness.

I headed home on Saturday to attend my first Sunday at Trinity Covenant Church, which was great, by the way! It's good to finally worship with the church you will be serving. After lunch, I came home and took a lovely, monster Sunday nap.

Also, good news, I only have classes on Tuesday/Thursday! I ended up rounding off my schedule with class called Jewish Liturgy taught by a rabbi at Boston College, so I'm excited about that! Classes start Tuesday. I feel like I'm in this scene with Gandalf and Pippin:

Granted, I don't think the program is equivalent to an attack from Mordor, but you get the idea. Okay, I'm going for an evening run to make up for my ravenous eating patterns this weekend.