Adjectives on the Typewriter

she moves her words like a prizefighter

20 April 2013

Pros and Cons

File this under "Things I Didn't Anticipate About Living in DC":

That my son would inevitably ask why all the flags are flying at half-staff.

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07 January 2013

On Writing

From Peter Leithart:

"Writing a book is like groping through a cave that no one else has explored or ever will, because you create the cave as you go. When it’s all done I can’t remember how I got through all the tunnels to emerge, blinking, into the sun. Once the book is published, readers will (I hope) be able to follow my simplified map. What they won’t see are all the blind alleys I tried out along the way."

"[T]he process of writing...is an almost entirely solitary experience. You might discuss a major decision with an editor or a friend, but even the most diligent editor and the closest friend will quickly find you tedious if you let too much of your hand-wringing show. Time was when there would be physical evidence of paths not chosen, but now that writers use word processing programs most of that is erased, revised, and lost forever. “Submerge” and “surface” are too exact to be entirely metaphorical. For every book, fiction or non, there is a fantasy book that exists (or existed) only in the mind of the author."

"[The experience of writing is] also seductive in a gnostic sort of way. The cave I’ve been in existed only for this book. Next time around, I’ll be creating an entirely new cave to explore. Easing back into life after the book is done, the world seems peopled by unfamiliar beings from a denser reality. I look at them as a spy might who has just returned from a solo mission in an exotic locale. If I could only tell them where I’ve been...but they wouldn’t understand, and the place I’ve been doesn’t exist anyway."

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18 December 2012

Keep My Eyes to Learn, My Hands to Serve

Cleaning out binders at the end of the semester is one of the most cathartic things ever.

Half of law school in the rear view mirror.

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16 May 2009

At my Future Place of Residence

...I would like a pergola. Preferably similar to this one:



Large, though not sprawling, stained cedar construction, almost obscured in twisting vines, perhaps a flagstone patio underneath. There's just something so organic (not the precise word I was looking for, but suitable at least) about a pergola as opposed to a covered porch or the trendy trex deck.

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22 April 2009

The Seasons of Last Year Like Reasons Have Floated Away

Something I love right now: the piano part in the Jack's Mannequin song "Caves". Not so much in love with the vocals though. Which pretty much summarizes my relationship with Jack's Mannequin/Something Corporate ever since I first heard them my freshman year in college. My immediate reaction to "Konstantine" was to discount the band entirely on account of the whiny timbre of Andrew McMahon's voice. But the piano and the whimsical lyrics wooed me, and now I barely even realize the emo-ness. Talk about selective hearing.

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18 April 2009

Rob, Lie, Kill

I haven't done much reading lately, much to my chagrin, but when have I've ever been able to sate the reading bug? I am making a concentrated effort to change that though, and now that I'm no longer in school I really have no excuse for lazy reading habits. My most recent "conquest" is Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, and while I'm proud to have completed such a significant (not to mention hefty!) piece of literature, I certainly can't boast about the 4+ months it took me to get through it. Hopefully I'll show a bit more concentration with the next few books I pick up...though I may not be able to proceed directly to another Russian novel as I had originally planned (it's a genre which I have neglected in the past, again to my regret).

Just one note on the quotes: somehow they all come from the very end of the book. I hope that's only incidental and not an indicator that I somehow didn't pay attention to the rest of the work. Though I'm inclined to doubt the latter since I read approximately the first half in the summer of 2006 and re-read the entire piece this time around, thus doubling up on 400 or so pages. Then again, perhaps a third reading is in order to grasp the full weight of Tolstoy's writing.

Regardless, without further ado, and in order of appearance, I give you quotations.

     "Understanding clearly for the first time that for every man and for himself nothing lay ahead but suffering, death and eternal oblivion, [Levin] decided that it was impossible to live that way, that he had either to explain his life so that it did not look like the wicked mockery of some devil, or shoot himself [...]
     'What would I be and how would I live my life, if I did not have those beliefs, did not know that one should live for God and not for one's needs? I would rob, lie, kill. Nothing of what constitutes the main joys of my life would exist for me.' And, making the greatest efforts of imagination, he was still unable to imagine the beastly being that he homself would be if he did not know what he lived for.
     'I sought answer to my question. But the answer to my question could not come from thought, which is incommensurable with the question. The answer was given by life itself, in my knowledge of what is good and what is bad. And I did not acquire that knowledge through anything, it was given to me as it is to everyone, givenbecause I could not take it from anywhere.
     'Where did I take it from? Was it through reason that I arrived at the necessity of loving my neighbor and not throttling him? I was told it as a child, and I joyfully believed it, because they told me what was in my soul. And who discovered it? Not reason. Reason discovered the struggle for existence and the law which demands that everyone who hinders the satisfaction of my desires should be throttled. That is the conclusion of reason. Reason could not discover love for the other, because it's unreasonable.'"
—Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. Penguin Group: New York, 2000. pp 796-797.

     "'And don't all philosophical theories do the same thing, leading man by a way of thought that is strange and unnatural to him to the knowldege of what he has long known and known so certainly that without it he would not even be able to live?'"
ibid. pg 798.

     "'It's the newspapers that all say the same thing,' said the prince. 'That's true. And it's so much the same that it's like frogs before a thunderstorm. You can't hear anything on account of them.'"
ibid. pg 808.

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19 September 2007

Objection: Unethical?

Ran across this while perusing criminal law volumes at work yesterday:

§ 114. Ethical Considerations

Invariably, the criminal defense lawyer is asked how the lawyer can in good conscience represent a person known to be guilty. While there is no ethical requirement that the attorney respond, it is nevertheless a good opportunity to explain and defend the criminal justice system in general, without going into the specifics of the case.

Defense counsel is neither judge nor jury. Counsel is an advocate for the client. He or she must exhibit courage and devotion to the client’s cause, and must represent the client zealously within the bounds of the law […]

A lawyer should represent a client competently, and not handle a legal matter which he or she knows or should know that the lawyer is not competent to handle […]

In representation of a client, a lawyer may not knowingly use perjured testimony or false evidence. When the client insists on using perjured testimony or false evidence, the attorney must ask to withdraw from representation. In situations where the attorney learns of perjured testimony after it has been presented, counsel must ask his client to rectify it, and if the client refuses to do so, the lawyer must inform the court.

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28 August 2007

Semi-Obligatory Back-to-School Post

It has come to my attention that I haven't posted since, well, early June. Shameful. And here I am, about to launch into a most mundane exposition of my return to academia.

The return to academic pursuits, though, is not without its disadvantages. It also signals the end of summer reading, which, though better than last year, was not as rigorous as I might have anticipated. Completed books include:

* Harry Potter, numbers I-IV. And yes, these were a first-time read. Chide me as you must, I'm not one for fad literature.
* The Good Earth
* The Secret Life of Bees
* Good in Bed
* Enchantment
* The Lovely Bones
* Princess

At any rate, the summer passed without event-- mostly work, work, and more work, with a periodic interlude of visits to Seattle and such. It was a comfortable routine, one which gave me at least the appearance of stability. Now, however, I about to quit said stable job-- to throw myself into the early stages of a new "career," as it were, and embark on my journey into the legal profession. Which simply stated means I found a job as a menial desk clerk in a law firm.

This vocational transition corresponds neatly to the commencement of my final year in undergraduate work. Thus far, said final year is off to a solid start. Perhaps I say this only because it is Tuesday, and my classes are limited to Latin and Logic. Ah yes, I at last return to my classical foundations. Enough with the pragmatism of trial and argument; they have their place, to be sure, but so often I neglect the principles behind these tools. Hopefully taking such basic classes will revive my interest in and focus on the purpose of argument, and not simply its utilitarian qualities.

Furthermore, I love having quaint little teachers who look and dress as though they ought to be singing "I'm a Little Teapot" and yet speak formidably about the ins-and-outs of symbolic logic. I should say the semester is off to a most advantageous start.

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06 June 2007

Brilliance

She got so excited when she was spouting this ahistorical countertextual nonsense, and I caught myself thinking, ‘What an idiot her teacher must be,’ and thinking about her teacher made me realize—the kind of excitement she was showing as she mindlessly spouted back the nonsense she learned in college, that's just the excitement some of my own students show. And it occurred to me that what we professors think of as a ‘brilliant student’ is nothing but a student who is enthusiastically converted to whatever idiotic ideas we've been teaching them.


~Orson Scott Card, Enchantment

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21 April 2007

Poético

The Rules of Evidence
Lee Robinson

What you want to say most
is inadmissible.
Say it anyway.
Say it again.
What they tell you is irrelevant
can’t be denied and will
eventually be heard.
Every question
is a leading question.
Ask it anyway, then expect
what you won’t get.
There is no such thing
as the original
so you’ll have to make do
with a reasonable facsimile.
The history of the world
is hearsay. Hear it.
The whole truth
is unspeakable
and nothing but the truth
is a lie.
I swear this.
My oath is a kiss.
I swear
by everything
incredible.

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01 April 2007

10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will...

Canto porque hay luz y sombras,
porque hay pesar y alegría,
porque hay temor y esperanza,
porque hay amor y perfidia.

Canto porque existo y siento,
porque lo grande me admira,
porque lo bello me encanta,
porque lo malo me irrita.

Canto porque ve mi mente
concordancias infinitas,
y placeres misteriosos,
y verdades escondidas.

~Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda

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16 March 2007

Commenting on Lewis

The truth of the matter is that I don't read nearly as often or as much as I would like; this, regrettably, has caused a chronic stagnation of the intellect. Writing for class can hardly be considered rigorous, but it at least maintains some level of thought in a mind-turned-vegetative. Here is a rather forced commentary on Lewis' brilliance in A Grief Observed:

It cannot be denied that suffering exists in the world. Some would even go so far as to say it pervades the human experience, tainting each joy, marring each beauty, infecting each seeming perfection. And, independent from our own experiences, we constantly witness the injustice done to others. In the presence of such tragedy, it is easy to doubt the existence of a loving God, one who governs the course of creation and yet allows evil to pollute it. Our reason cries out against faith, "If God truly loved His creation, and if He is truly all-powerful, He would intervene to prevent suffering and injustice." But contrary to this argument, the fact that we as humans experience suffering does not contradict the existence of an all-knowing, all-loving God; rather, it emphasizes His great wisdom in creating a being who can freely choose to reciprocate His love.

In order to address the "problem of evil" in creation, it is critical to define this evil, particularly in relation to God, whose nature is good. According to Aquinas, evil cannot exist on its own—it is not a self-sustaining entity, but rather the privation of some good. Just as "darkness is known through light," so is evil known through distinction from that which is good (Summa Theologica). Good and evil are not two active, opposing forces in the universe; rather, evil exists only in the perversion of goodness. Similarly, because it is not a being, evil has no power to create suffering. Put succinctly, "Badness is only spoiled goodness" (Mere Christianity). Thus, the injustice seen in creation cannot exist apart from the goodness of creation itself. Evil exists as a potentiality within the actuality of creation, functioning as the privation of an intended good.

From this definition of evil, it seems to follow that evil, and its byproduct, suffering, coexist with goodness, corrupting what they may within creation. Thus, claims David Hume, is the "problem of evil": the fact that an all-powerful God does not prevent suffering and an all-loving God tolerates the existence of injustice seems contradictory. For, if God were truly good, he would not desire His creation to suffer evil. And if He were truly omnipotent, He would have the power to prevent this evil. C.S. Lewis, in a book written after the tragic death of his wife, also wrestles with this issue, questioning the goodness of God in conjunction with his own suffering. "Reality," he says, "is unbearable. And how or why did such a reality blossom (or fester) here and there into the terrible phenomenon called consciousness? Why did it produce things like us who can see it and, seeing it, recoil in loathing?" (A Grief Observed). Addressing the apparent contradiction between divine love and the human suffering, Lewis speculates that perhaps God is really a Cosmic Sadist, watching the torment of His creatures and refusing to intervene. Like Hume, Lewis begins to doubt the goodness of a God who, regardless of his power, allows the existence of evil. For, rationally, it seems impossible to have faith in a perfectly loving God who despite His power, does not prevent the injustice or suffering.

But Lewis’ musings do not end here, in a presumed conflict of faith and reason. Rather, he continues to ponder the existence of evil, reasoning that it is perhaps a paradoxical necessity for the existence of love on the part of human beings. Beginning with the premise that God has created us in order to love, Lewis states that "Bereavement is a universal and integral part or our experience of love […] It is not the truncation of the process but one of its phases; not the interruption of the dance, but the next figure" (A Grief Observed). Logically, too, this idea is sound. For, God has created us with free will, the capacity to choose good or evil. In creating this potentiality for evil, He gave humanity a genuine capacity to love—for had He simply created good without the possibility of evil, we would have no ability to truly love. Thus the potentiality of evil is introduced to creation, not to merely perpetrate suffering and injustice, but rather to grant the actuality of love within it. Lewis notes this is another work, The Problem of Pain: "Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself." Here faith and reason are in perfect accord—we believe in a loving God, one who had created us also to love. And in order to do so, it was necessary for Him to create the possibility of un-love (that is, evil and its proximate result, suffering). Without the ability to choose against good, we would never truly be able to choose good itself, for there would be no choice. Thus, though we witness a great deal of tragedy and suffering in the world, it is illogical to conclude that this suffering contradicts the existence of an all-loving, all-powerful God. Rather, reason supports faith in a God who, in His perfect love, created a world with creatures who might reflect that same love.

Thus, even in his profound grief, Lewis notes that the existence of suffering is not only allowable by a loving God, but also necessary for the existence of free will and human love. Evil does not demonstrate a conflict between faith and reason—its very presence validates the human capacity for love and compassion, a choice for good rather than evil. For Lewis, suffering even serves as a reinforcement of his faith, which had been as a "house of cards" before the death of his wife (A Grief Observed). But in the presence of death and profound tragedy, Lewis notes the strengthening of his faith, his all-the-more genuine choice to trust God despite suffering. Thus, the existence of evil does not contradict the existence of a supremely good and powerful God; rather, it allows us as humans to reflect His divine love in an act of genuine faith.

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25 February 2007

Quotes are Posts, Too

“Your bid—for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity—will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high; until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world. Nothing less will shake a man out of his merely verbal thinking or his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.”

~C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

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04 December 2006

Carpe Diem

Today it finally set in.

This is the end.

The end of another semester, that is. And what is another semester? Three have been completed three loom large and empty on the horizon. It is a half-way mark, both a reflection on past work and a looking-forward to the REAL END.

But what is the REAL END? After graduation, not much will change. There will be more faces to assimilate, new classes to adjust to, new expectations to meet, new challenges to exceed. Yet these things have happened again and again. When are they not changing, or at least in the process of change?

Consistently inconsistent, statically dynamic, permanently fluid, always bearing witness to an unaccountable eternality.

We lament, "We're adults. When did that happen? And how do we make it stop?" Still, the river flows on, deaf to our protestations. There is no stopping. There is no freeze-frame. There is no rewind, only the changing of scenery as we pass. Now a torrent, now scarcely a trickle, but ever flowing.

09 October 2006

La Poesía del Renacimiento

Soneto XIII

“A Dafne ya los brazos le crecían
y en luengos ramos vueltos se mostraban;
en verdes hojas vi que se tornaban
los cabellos qu’oro escurecían;

de áspera corteza se cubrían
los tiernos miembros que aun bullendo ’staban;
los blancos pies en tierra se hincaban
y en torcidas raíces se volvían.

Aquél que fue la causa de tal daño,
a fuerza de llorar, crecer hacía
este árbol, que con lágrimas regaba.

¡Oh miserable estado, oh mal tamaño,
que con llorarla crezca cada día
la causa y la razón por que lloraba!”


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25 September 2006

Philosophy—How I Love the Sophists

“Nothing is guaranteed, except that what is born will die, and that in life ruin cannot be avoided.”

~Critias

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De Rubén Darío

¡Juventud, divino tesoro,
ya te vas para no volver!
Cuando quiero llorar, no lloro,
y a veces lloro sin querer.

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17 September 2006

Más allá de palabras

Y la luna llena
Por los cielos azulosos, infinitos y profundos esparcía su luz blanca;
Y tu sombra
Fina y lánguida,
Y mi sombra,
Por los rayos de la luna proyectadas,
Sobre las arenas tristes
De la senda se juntaban;
Y eran una,
Y eran una,
Y eran una sola sombra larga...
~José Asunción Silva


Is it bizarre that I enjoy analyzing poetry in Spanish? Extraordinarily bizarre. Not only am I mystified by poetry in general, but when was the last time I enjoyed something for which I have an egregious lack of talent?!?

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27 August 2006

Summer in Summary

Number of Hours Worked: 530.25

Miles put on Car: 2969

Movies Watched (in theatres): 3

Books Read, in order of preference:
1) I am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe
2) Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis
3) Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
4) The Bonfire of Vanities, Tom Wolfe
5) Ender's Shadow, Orson Scott Card
6) The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis
7) Driving Blind, Ray Bradbury
8) The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
9) Player Piano, Kurt Vonnegut

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09 July 2006

Just Because

"Some while back one night I dreamed that I was motoring along a country road with my inspirational Greek muse. She occupied the driver's seat while I occupied the passenger's place with a second, student's, wheel.

I could not help but notice that she was driving, serenely, with a clean white blindfold over her eyes, while her hands barely touched the steering wheel.

And as she drove she whispered notions, concepts, ideas, immense truths, fabulous lies, which I hastened to jot down.

A time finally came, however, when, curious, I reached over and nabbed the edge of her blindfold to peer underneath.

Her eyes, like the eyes of an ancient statue, were rounded pure white marbles. Sightless, they stared at the road ahead, which caused me, in panic, to seize my wheel and almost run us off the road."

~Ray Bradbury, Driving Blind

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01 July 2006

Some days all I do is watch the sky

I glance over the contents of my desk, sigh, and sit down to write. But it stares back at me, defiant, a reminder of things left undone and the clutter of my mind. Meandering stacks of books (where does one draw the distinction between a stack and a heap?) punctuate the landscape, dotted here and there with spools of thread, piles of flashcards (Spanish, English, Greek), misplaced jewelry, paycheck stubs, scribbled thoughts… Mein Kampf is beginning to look a little neglected. Black leather-bound folder, you belong to someone far more organized than me—the girl who speaks with confidence (even if it is feigned), who stands tall[er than usual] in her black heels, commanding attention in the courtroom. And perched above it all, the monarch of this haphazard kingdom, my alarm clock blinks away the minutes, patiently.

The scene is too much of a distraction. No hope of writing here. So I move to the bed, where the reminder is distant, the mess a little less dizzying. But where to begin? It has been ever so long since I last wrote anything intended to be read. And I add the “intended to be read” because I’ve written volumes lately, only I realize they’re not worth the work necessary before publication (and by publication, I mean blogging). Observations, reflections, quotes, rantings, and even the beginnings of a few book reviews linger in My Documents. Most of them are underdeveloped: thoughts having-been-begun but never finished. They start as anecdotes, conceived with a greater, more universal purpose, and then in an instant the vision is lost, I become myopic, and the status quo—silence—prevails. As soon as I lose sight of that purpose, even for the briefest moment, I abandon the progression of thought altogether, though it seldom deserts me as easily.

But now I’ve turned horribly introspective, and it’s preventing me from writing anything of worth or interest. So, I shall spit out the anecdotes and hope some purpose accompanies them.

A year has passed since I first started working at the vet clinic. And, in my mass amounts of spare time (read: the hours when insomnia rages through my mind like a rabid dog), I’ve been thinking about why I am where I am. Because I know that veterinary medicine is not my unrelenting passion. Nor is it my mission in life. In fact, my more observant readers will notice there isn’t much of a connection between veterinary experience and a career in law. So the question is, as always, why?

And the answer is fairly simple: beyond exploding centrifuge rotors (imagine a Big Bang followed by a literal galaxy of blood spatters) and interesting breeds I’ve seen (the Client is by far the most perplexing), working at the clinic has taught me quite a bit. Of course, I’ve learned things like not to answer the phone with the question “Can I help you?” because people are all-too-apt to respond with a “No, you probably can’t, but is there a doctor available?” or the sardonic “Well, I should hope so.” On a more serious level, though, I’ve learned how to excel at a job even when people think me incompetent. I’ve learned that making mistakes is not only inevitable, but also necessary in order to perfect a skill. Trial-and-error may not give immediate results, but it will give lasting ones. I’ve learned to do a job well because no one else is about to do it for you, and you can probably do it better anyway. And the moral of the story is (since I’ve become so obviously didactic): “Work to your fullest wherever you find yourself.”

Anyway, this particular brand of rambling could continue for a while, but again I doubt the purpose of it all. I’ve returned to the desk, and I think for once I shall seize my spare time in order to tidy up a bit. If only thoughts were so easy to arrange.

24 May 2006

On Fiction

"Why do we read fiction anyway? Not to be impressed by somebody's dazzling language—or at least I hope that's not our reason. I think that most of us, anyway, read these stories that we know are not 'true' because we're hungry for another kind of truth: the mythic truth about human nature in general, the particular truth about those life-communities that define our own identity, and the most specific truth of all: our own self-story. Fiction, because it is not about somebody who actually lived in the real world, always has the possibility of being about oneself."

~Orson Scott Card

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07 May 2006

Secret Formula for the Best University-Level Paper You'll Ever Write

1. Wait until the day before said paper is due.
2. Look over the guidelines and determine which ones you will not follow.
3. Select a topic, preferably one you find incredibly boring, as this ensures the professor's interest and benevolence.
4. Connect to the internet with the pretense of completing the required research, but maintain no intention of doing so.
5. Take an extended break from the strenuous work you have done so far (which should be none).
6. Change your topic to something even more unoriginal. At this point it is necessary to discard any research on the previous topic.
7. Create a vague and completly useless outline for the new topic.
8. Return to internet procrastination. Or take a nap.
9. Draft an introductory paragraph without focus or development, including as many syntactical errors as possible.
10. Spend in inordinate amount of time niggling over the "right words." This should consume 1.5 hours at minimum.
11. Physically tear the now-perfect introductory paragraph into little shreds and start over.
12. Re-write the exact same thing as before.
13. Attempt to follow aforementioned Vague Outline. Write a few equally vague and repetitive paragraphs.
14. Pretend to critique the draft thoroughly.
15. Fall asleep; wake up 2 hours before the paper is due.
16. Turn paper in without correcting any minor grammatical or spelling errors.
17. Wait expectantly for an A and the professor's undying admiration of your work.

17 April 2006

Domus et Dominus

There is a certain comfort, and dare I say satisfaction, to be had in the order, rhythm, and simple activity of the home. Not that I would completely give up my academic pursuits in exchange for domesticity, but I am convinced that a degree or even a successful career in law isn't really necessary to be happy in life. Things so "mundane" as rocking a baby to sleep (do people actually consider this demeaning?), cooking dinner for the family, reading a bed-time story-- thay all bring a sense of completion. And sometimes make me wonder if I missed my calling when I embarked on my 7-year university education.

*Sidenote: the writing process has thwarted me once again. I drafted this entry earlier this afternoon, thought it over, saw how terribly vague it was, hated it, and deleted it. Proceeded to take a nap, instead clarified a few thoughts, sat back down to write. Curse my inability to say things and say them effectively when I actually feel passionate about them. I suppose we call this "inarticulate."

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10 April 2006

05 April 2006

...gone faster than the smell after it rains...

Walking across the quad in the light rain, I was surprised to find that the smell of wet grass reminded me of parks, and brought me almost instantly to several distinct scenes from my childhood. I am comforted that my memory is indeed triggered by smells, since sight and sound so often fail me.

Also, I can no longer accomplish anything while in the confines of my room. It possesses some constraining force that binds my mind and suffocates all thoughts struggling within.

03 April 2006

Sequel to Honesty Post

We use our understanding to make decisions; thus if that understanding is manipulated by either misinformation or the witholding of information, the decision-making process is impaired and the rational autonomy of the agent undermined. Basic respect for another demands complete honesty.

THANK YOU KANT. IF I HAVE GAINED NOTHING MORE FROM TWO-WEEKS-WORTH OF ETHICS CLASS, I AM SATISFIED.

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30 March 2006

αλήθεια

So here's my perplexing question for the next couple days: WHAT IS HONESTY?

I'm convinced that it's more than keeping a promise or even telling the truth when it's required of you. Honesty is making a promise you know you can keep, know you should keep. Giving all the truth instead of holding back bits and pieces with the justification that it wasn't directly asked of you. Banking on a technicality like that can get you in a lot of trouble in court, but its consequences are even more serious in day-to-day life, especially when relationships are at stake.

Because really, truth is much more than the absence of lies.

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15 March 2006

Love, balanced with a Sense of Perspective

"It is not good at all...to do everything for those you love and not give them a share in the doing. It's not kind. It's making too much of yourself..."

From At the Back of the North Wind
by George MacDonald

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06 March 2006

Movie Reviews

Movies I have seen recently—let’s hope I don't sacrifice quality for brevity (as I have done oh so many times in the past):

The Boondock Saints~ Though drowning in an excess of profane language, this film is partially redeemed by its intricate plot and skilled acting. Unlike most action films, Saints isn't focused on violence for violence's sake. Instead, it attempts (if unsuccessfully) to reveal violence as a means to justice. In doing so, however, the film does display a contempt for law and the authority vested by God in the State. While Saints does an excellent job of portraying the evil/corruption of modern society, it fails to acknowledge any standard higher than the individual's desire for vengeance. As a result, the film's concept of justice is self-contradictory, since it both condones and condemns the individual's right to act outside of the law. Yet another secular attmept to create a moral standard independent of the Divine.

Curious George~ This recent movie, while simple, fullfills its role as an entertaining children's piece. Remaining (at least principly) faithful to the beloved H.A. Rey stories, the film follows the adventures of a bumbling museum curator-gone-explorer and his mischievous companion, the monkey George. Avoiding the pitfalls of so many modern "children's" movies (I'm thinking of Shrek, among others), Curious George neither wastes its time appealing to a crass adult audience nor over-moralizes for a younger audience. Accompanied by a charming soundtrack, this film is certainly successful as a work of children's cinematography.

Crash~ Although publicity and popularity are often the trademarks of a shallow film, the Oscar award-winning Crash may qualify as a rare exception. Reminiscent of Thorton Wilder's story The Bridge of San Luis Rey, this film depicts the collision between inextricably connected lives and the cultures they represent. It focuses on real issues of social justice, avoiding the temptation to overemphasize the plight of one particular race/people. And unlike The Boondock Saints, Crash does not advocate vengeance as a means to justice, but rather takes the more biblical view that only forgiveness and grace can triumph over human depravity. All-in-all, both a very persuasive and a poignant portrayal of the human condition.

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28 February 2006

Go Gonzaga—G-O-N-Z-A-G-A!

Have discovered there is no better way to relieve stress than going to a basketball game. It provides not only an ample opportunity but also justification for jumping up and down, screaming, and waving one's arms like a lunatic.

27 February 2006

On Utilitarianism

In explaining his theory of Utilitarianism, Mill addresses many of the criticisms leveled against that ethical system. He argues that utility—the achievement of happiness by maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain—is the fundamental principle of all morality. And in doing so, Mill finds it necessary to refute the accusations both of those who misunderstand the Utility Principle and those who understand and yet reject it.

As a primary concern, Mill sets out to (better) define his terms so as to eliminate some of the misunderstanding surrounding Utilitarianism. All moral systems, he says, are based on general principles, regardless of whether those general principles are inherent or “learned” through experience. He further argues that happiness always governs our actions, and thus is the fundamental (if unacknowledged) ethical standard. This refutes Kant’s idea that ethics is governed by the potential consequences from the universal adoption of an individual’s action. According to Mill, Kant’s principle fails because it only deals with the theoretical situation in which consequences are universally applied—something that almost never happens in reality. In contrast, Utility is by definition “the ultimate ethical principle for human conduct” since all humans inherently value pleasure and “the good.”

After discussing the impracticality of Kant’s transcendentalism, Mill moves on to address the accusation that Utilitarianism neglects pleasure by promoting usefulness or practicality. To refute this misconception, Mill reiterates that the central tenet of Utilitarianism is the promotion of pleasure and the absence of pain. And while the Utility principle is not preoccupied with instant physical gratification, it does revolve around pleasure both inherently and as a means to the promotion of future pleasure. Conversely, the Utility principle does not reduce humans to pleasure-seeking animals, but rather elevates humans by acknowledging the superiority of their faculties to those of animals. Mill also emphasizes that Utility balances the quality of pleasure with quantity; thus some pleasures are inherently more valuable than others. As humans, we can appreciate this difference in quality by virtue of our “moral experience,” something lacking in animals. Whereas sensory/animalistic pleasures do at times direct the human psyche, pursuing higher pleasures most often leads us to sacrifice those fleeting passions. Finally, Mill makes the distinction between happiness and contentment, saying that even if our higher sensibilities cause us to be dissatisfied, we still have a greater capacity for happiness than a satisfied but “ignorant” being.

The most compelling argument against Mill’s Utilitarianism, however, is that it places the individual’s interests over those of the human community as a whole. Mill even goes so far as to admit that Utility “requires us to be as strictly impartial as a disinterested and benevolent spectator.” He further claims that in order to achieve this, we must educate people to associate individual good with the good of the whole. But in reality, most individuals are not impartial spectators, and neither can they simply be taught to act as such. Each individual by nature places his own interests over those of others, thereby creating the need for ethics. Mill’s only response is that so long as we make the distinction between motives and actions (a distinction he presupposes to be crystal-clear), morality needs only to restrain acts and not seek to constrain the propelling interests behind those acts. And while Mill attempts to show that morality can never really address motives, his argument becomes incredibly circular as he seeks to redefine morality. Mill’s morality, then, is incomplete because it deals only with consequences of human action—in a way similar to law. Thus while Utilitarianism offers a “tangible and intelligible mode” for regulating human behavior, it neglects the deeper problem of motives and their direct correlation to human nature and behavior.

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Grey skys make me Pensive

I do not wish to spend my life regretting all the things I didn't do.

15 February 2006

Return of the Quotes

"Humans are amphibians—half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to be in time means to change." ~C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

"All virtues are less formidable once the man is aware that he has them, but this is especially true of humility. Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, 'By jove! I'm being humble,' and almost immediately pride—pride at his own humility—will appear." ~Ibid.

"Man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents at all, since he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of Fame." ~Ibid.

"...the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time—for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays... Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead." ~Ibid.

"Once [man] knew that some changes were for the better, and others for the worse, and others indifferent. We have largely removed this knowledge. For the descriptive adjective 'unchanged' we have substituted the emotional adjective 'stagnant.' We have trained them to think of the Future as a promised land which favoured heroes attain—not as something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is." ~Ibid.

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13 February 2006

Ah, Portland


Back from the weekend's redezvous in Portland for regionals. Tragically, though not unexpectedly, my team didn't make it to nationals. I must admit, I had secretly hoped we'd make it- even if we are all inexperienced freshmen- because the freshman team went last year over the sophomore/junior team. This year, though, neither made it, so I don't feel quite so bad.

Anyway, the tournament wasn't a total loss—it’s also worth mentioning that Gonzaga received a total of 4 attorney awards as well as 3 for witnesses. So 7 out of the 28 individual awards given at regionals. Not bad. And 4 for freshman team 616!

Alas, it's all over now. Oh Case Binder, you are so forlorn! But we still have practices, just not nearly as serious as they were before. In all honesty, it will be a refreshing change- social interaction minus the INSANE STRESS.

Haha, and I am now Facebook friends with a random brilliant Stanford attorney.

07 February 2006

Dudas

Pues, el Viaje Último para Mock Trial viene en dos días. Esa vez, es como HACER O MORIR—si perdemos no hay más. Es un pensamiento grave.

03 February 2006

Back to English (interinamente)

Gah, don't have much time, so forgive the fragmented nature of this post. First, a few ["random"] thoughts:

Yay for iPods: they are indeed proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy (to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin's thoughts regarding beer).

Never have I seen the Catholic faith more vilified than at the Jesuit university I attend.

Learning a second language is greatly impeded by one's complete ignorance of basic English grammar. Quote from today's Spanish class: "But I don't know what an adverb is, so how can I know when to use the subjunctive in an adverbial subordinate clause?"

This isn't really a thought, but here's a link to a most insightful and thought-provoking post. Enjoy.

31 January 2006

Composiciones

Uno de las tareas que hemos recibido en la clase (de español) es escribir dos o tres "diarios" por semana. La profesora nos da unas temas y exige que escribamos un mínimo de 150 palabras para cada uno. La semana pasada, las temas fueron muy tontas y juveniles, como "¿el semestre va a ser fantástico o no?" Pero esta semana hay cuestiones más seriosas, cuestiones sobre la pobreza en otros países y la emigración. Éste es lo que escribí:

"La pobreza y la inestabilidad política de otros países no es un problema para los Estados Unidos como un estado porque el gobierno federal no tiene la responsabilidad de intervenir en gobiernos extranjeros. Además, nuestro gobierno no tiene ningún derecho enredarse en los problemas de otros países.

Aunque hay mucha pobreza y luchas en el mundo, es el individuo que debe ayudar a la gente tiranizada. De veras, los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos tienen la responsabilidad de oponerse los problemas de inestabilidad política y pobreza, porque 'injusticia a cualquier parte es una amenaza a justicia por todos partes.' Por eso, si nosotros como estadounidenses valoran nuestras libertades, luchamos con todo que tenemos—nuestro tiempo, dinero, y recursos—contra los problemas de otros países.

Pero todavía es la obligación del individuo, y no la del gobierno federal. Pues el gobierno de los Estados Unidos no existe para ser el salvador de gobiernos extranjeros."

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30 January 2006

Decisiones

He decidido que usaré el blog para practicar mi español con más frecuencia. Ya que no he escrito nada interesante en inglés por los últimos meces, pienso que debo mejorar mi uso de la lengua escribiendo en español. El único problema es que nadie que lee mis pensamientos ha estudiado mucho español, y por eso mis errores comunes no van a ser corregidos. También, los que no tengan ningún interés en español no puedan entender nada de lo que escribo. Por eso, el pobre blog no va a tener ningunos lectores…

Pero creo que el blog casi ya había muerto durante los meces pasados, y puesto que es más importante mejorar mi español que añadir muchos lectores, el blog será escrito en español. Vamos a ver si puedo mantener esta decisión…

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21 November 2005

Poetry. . . or my sad little attempt at it.

The mourning mist lies heavy, holding fast
To hardened earth and starkly stiffened blades
Of grass whose green no longer lives but fades
As all succumbs to winter's deadly grasp.

14 November 2005

Mock Trial

09 November 2005

A whisp'ring rain of golden green, as light
Dispelled and toss'd on but a breath of wind.

07 November 2005

If along the way, you are growing weary

Mmmm, still contemplating the lovliness of walking alone in the rain, steaming coffee sending pulses of warmth through my hands, back to the solitude of the dorm. Nothing before me but an empty afternoon...oh, what shall I accomplish today? No appointments, no demands until 7:00 tonight (curse you, Mock Trial!!!). No job to hasten to. Just my mind, and the silence, and the gentle rain. I'm tempted to pick up a book, wonder of wonders. Haven't done that in about a month and a half. No, must resist...

Must.

Be.

DEDICATED.

Where are you going?

19 October 2005

Pensées

Thou Great I AM,
Fill my mind with elevation and grandeur at the thought of a Being
with whom one day is as a thousand years,
and a thousand years as one day,
A mighty God, who, amidst the lapse of worlds,
and revolutions of empires,
feels no variableness,
but is glorious in immortality.
May I rejoice that, while men die, the Lord lives;
that, while all creatures are broken reeds,
empty cisterns,
fading flowers,
withering grass,
He is the Rock of Ages, the Fountain
of living waters.
Turn my heart from vanity,
from dissatisfactions,
from uncertainties of the present state,
to an eternal interest in Christ.
Let me remember that life is short and unforseen,
and is only an opportunity for usefulness;
Give me a holy avarice to redeem the time,
to awake at every call to charity and piety,
so that I may feed the hungry,
clothe the naked,
instruct the ignorant,
reclaim the vicious,
forgive the offender,
diffuse the gospel,
show neighbourly love to all.
Let me live a life of self-distrust,
dependence on thyself,
mortification,
crucifixion,
prayer.

~The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers

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18 October 2005

This Too Shall Pass

I find myself amazed that I actually have not only the motivation to sit sit down and blog, but also the TIME. This is mostly because midterms have come in, with moderate success:

New Testament~ 94%
Philosophy~ 100% (Rhetorical Question: why am I not ecstatic?)
Music History~ 98%
Western Civ~ 87%
Spanish~ Yet To Be Determined 94%

Strangely enough, it's that 87 that thrills me most. And the Yet To Be Determined that makes MADE me lose sleep.

But to return to the issue of time... What's really odd is that it no longer seems to pass linearly. I've lost all sense of proportion. This happened once before: right at the end of summer, as I recall. Back in late August, when I was lamenting how quickly the summer had passed, I came to realize that my perception of time had changed...radically (as clichéd as that word is, I can't seem find a more appropriate one). My mind stretched hours into days, and shortened weeks into only moments. Now again, I have lost the ability to judge the passage of time. When I think of the hours I have in a given day, they either fly away with startling rapidity, or else drag themselves mercilessly through my existence. And I can never know in advance which it will be.

This leads to an even deeper problem (or shall I say "quandry"?): I can no longer plan my day with much precision. And I am- or used to be- a very precise person. Now I am forced to take every moment captive, to harness my wandering mind, to buckle down and accomplish even the smallest of tasks in the time I am allotted. Much as I long to return to the days of the fixed schedule, I must learn to function, nay to excel within my new boundaries. And to be honest, it scares me. Moreso than most change.

17 October 2005

Morbid Introspection?

"...'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in
weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of
my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
II Corinthians 12:9 ESV

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03 October 2005

Credo in Unum Deum...

Title- I've been reviewing some of my Latin in hopes of taking a class next semester...the first thing that came to mind was the creeds (especially since they're used in the Gregorian Mass I attend every-so-often).

This post is inevitably very random because it's too hard to organize my thoughts against the cacophony of a dorm room.

Hehe, I "earned" a dollar from my New Testament professor this morning by answering his question about where Moses died. He so was not expecting anyone to know the answer. Why? Well suffice it to say that earlier in the class discussion one especially perceptive student noted that the biblical Moses account was really "just a Disney story." I laugh- but it's sad at the same time...

Yea! I have Wednesday off! Normally I would be upset about losing hours, but my gracious co-worker offered to switch me for Saturday, which gives me a slight break from the unrelenting school-work-Mock Trial schedule (non-stop from 8 am to 9 pm on Wednesdays).

Speaking of Mock Trial, I got moved from the freshman team to a higher level; now I'm "Cobalt" instead of "Coral." More work, more fun.

Lol, at work today I got in a serious fight with the power hose. It literally attacked me. To make matters worse, one of the technicians saw the whole thing from the other end of the hall (inside). Of course, it was too funny to keep to herself, so when I wiped the water from my eyes/face I saw my audience had grown to 7. Last time I leave that possessed thing on the automatic setting. And good thing scrubs dry fast ;)

Life is good. I think I'll go to bed.

PS: I was going to write a poem about the rain the other day, but it wouldn't come out. Sleep deprivation I suppose.

24 September 2005

Time for an Update

Wow, it's been a while...so much has happened that I don't think I'll even bother trying to recap (though it's sad that so many of those memories will fade so quickly if I don't write about them).

Something too important to be skipped over: I now have a brand new baby brother- this makes #7! Gabriel Andrew was born on the 22 of September :) I wasn't there, so I can't tell much of the story, sorry.

In other (completely mundane) news, classes have really picked up and combined with working 3 days a week, I'm pretty bogged down. Hopefully only temporarily. And the very fact that I've taken the time to blog at all means I'm working my way out of it. I've also joined Gonzaga Mock Trial, which, although another time-eater, has been both instructional and fun. I eagerly await our first tournament- it's the second weekend in November, and we get to go to Tennessee!

01 September 2005

First Impressions

Almost the end of my first week here on campus...I can't believe it's gone by this quickly!

Of course, I've already gone on a couple of expeditions to the library and filled my desk with books of all kinds. Have I mentioned my compulsive library habits? Anyway, I don't have much homework just yet, so it's all good. Here's what I've got thus far:

Nothing Serious, P.G. Wodehouse
• Augustine, Great Books Series
• Locke, Berekeley, Hume, Great Books Series
Mathematical Logic, J. Shoenfield
Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
A Writer’s Journal, H.D. Thoreau
Good News from Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Gracia Ellwood
• Fourteen Short Stories, Henry James
C.S. Lewis: Defender of the Faith, Richard B. Cunningham
• Collected Plays, Charles Williams
Latin in Church, F. Brittain

Other than that and an incident in New Testament class relating to my "fascination" with Dorothy Sayers (my professor shares the same literary tastes), the week has been fairly uneventful, or rather unremarkable but full of events. On Monday night, the night before classes began, Allison (my room mate) and I stayed out past midnight...exploring the old administration building & theatre here on campus. What fun! The buildings were completely empty and a sort of "sanctuary" from the endless cacophony of orientation.

Speaking of sanctuaries, I went to mass last night. I guess it was a little awkward for me, not knowing all the "rituals," but it was a much-needed break from harried campus life. It gave me a little time to refocus and set my priorities straight. I must say, I really admire the solemnity and sense of awe in the Catholic liturgy. And I didn't feel as if the formality was forced or "dead;" it was a very graceful sort of formality, a reverence which is sadly lacking in a lot of churches today.

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29 August 2005

Not Exactly a Romance Novel...




You're Fahrenheit 451!

by Ray Bradbury

Having wanted to be a firefighter much of your life, you've recently discovered the job wasn't exactly what you were looking for. While ignorance seems like the result of oppression, it all began with people just wanting to be ignorant. As you realize more about the sordid world around you, you decide to watch less TV and work on your memorization skills. Though your memory will save you in the end, don't forget to practice running from dogs as well.


Take the Book Quiz

Monday Morning

Getting up early definitely has its benefits...gives you a few minutes of solitude (or near-solitude) before the mundane hurry-scurry of the day begins. And there are times where that interlude of silence is just bracing enough to get one through the next 12-15 hours of constant (but often unnecessary) activity. I sure hope it does today.

It feels so odd, knowing that on any normal day I would be buzzing around at work by now, either running frantically from task to task in attempt to keep up with the busy Monday pace, or perhaps more frantically looking for something, anything, to do on one of those anomalistic Mondays. I miss it; not the individual (and often unpleasant) tasks, not the frenzied pace, but the inherent satisfaction that comes from doing a job- and doing it well. I miss the motivation to be "early to bed and early to rise." And most of all, I miss the sense on completion at the end of a long day.

Needless to say, "college life" is not what I had expected. Granted, I haven't started classes yet...but after 3 days of "orientation" I'm a bit exhausted from all the silly activities. I just don't understand why they think a weekend of chaos and late nights will prepare 900 freshman for the academic year. This is college, not summer camp, after all.

27 June 2005

Ramblings

You'd think by the time I can no longer focus visually on what I'm typing and the screen keeps jumping away from my eyes I'd take a hint and stop blogging for the night. Then again, I'm not that bright. And besides, I'm home completely alone so I've really nothing better to do, though I am in the middle of baking raspberry muffins...I'll have to take some to work tomorrow to appease the doctors (I don't think they like me much but I have yet to discover why). At least blogging distracts me from the *creepy noises* that kept me awake until 2 am last night. Anywho, this post, and my brain, have lost focus so enough and good night!

24 June 2005

Quotes, quotes, quotes...

I think I'll make up for my utter lack of originality with some more quotations:

"Because we are creatures we must necessarily see and express the world poetically. All our knowledge is in some fashion metaphorical. Only God knows things immediately. For us, wound tight in our finitude, knowledge of the world must be mediated, that is, apportioned to us in the same way a toddler gets his mashed peas." ~Wilson & Jones, 181

"...the world is an enchanted place, and so when a scientist describes it for us as a great concourse of atoms banging blindly down the corridors of time, we should not commend his stark scientific realism. We should rather condemn the clunky poetry[...] Our choice is not between science and poetry, but rather between good poetry and bad poetry." ~Ibid. 182

And, along the same lines, here is Tolkien's view of the subject:
"Something really 'higher' is glimpsed in mythology [poetry]: Divinity, the right to power (as distinct from its posssession), the due of worship, in fact 'religion.' Andrew Lang said, and is by some still commended for saying that mythology and religion (in the strict sense of the word) are two distinct things that have become inextricably entangled..." ~On Fairy-stories, 25

Finally, on to some of the more mundane details of my life... I've started working at a vet clinic and find myself slightly overwhelmed by the sheer variety of tasks given to me. I do very basic things like laundry (which runs constantly) but also "restrain" animals during procedures and clean kennels, etc. The best (and most complicated) part is probably making and sterilizing surgery packets. And then there's the job of loading euthenized animals into garbage bags and taking them to a giant freezer- not the most glamorous job in the world, but also not as "icky" as I would have imagined. All-in-all, things have gone very well this week, and the people training me are so exceptionally patient :)

In other news, I have had time to catch up on a ton of reading...I LOVE summer! A Sayers mystery, James Joyce's Ulysses (which I have not yet started- it's rather daunting...), The Oxford History of the Crusades (I'm forcing myself to read it after seeing Hollywood's perversion of history in Kingdom of Heaven, Bulfinch's Mythology, and as many Chaim Potok books as I could find!

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19 June 2005

Ponderation

How strange it is that hardly an hundred years ago students routinely read Vergil in its original language and today we scoff at Latin, calling it "dead." Yet this is no sign that Latin has lost any of its potency, but rather that our culture has lost what little it once had.

07 June 2005

Fascinated with Sayers

Only on the eighteenth page of Dorothy Sayers' Whimsical Christian and I've already filled my notebook with three pages worth of quotes & notes. Honestly, it's a bit overwhelming, so I'm sure I'll have to re-read it over the summer. Anyway, here is an excellent example of Sayers' versatility as a writer:

Hynm Suitable for the Vigil of the Enlightenment

"The day that Nature gave is ending
The hand of Man turns on the light;
We praise thee, Progress, for defending
Our nerves against the dreadful night.

As o'er each continent and island
The switches spread synthetic day,
The noise of mirth is never silent,
Nor dies the stain of toil away.

We thank thee that thy speed incessant
Provides upon this whirling ball
No time to brood on things unpleasant--
No time, in fact, to think at all.

Secure amid the soothing riot
Of crank and sound track, plane and car,
We shall not be condemned to quiet,
Nor left alone with what we are.

By lavish and progressive measures
Our neighbor's wants are all relieved;
We are not called to share his pleasures
And in his grief we are not grieved.

Thy wingèd wheels o'erspan the oceans,
Machining out the Standard Man.
Our food, our learning, our emotions
Are processed for us in the can.

All bars of color, caste, and nation
Must yield to movies and the mike;
We need not seek communication,
For thou dost make us all alive.

So be it! Let not sleep nor slackness
Impede they Progress, Light sublime;
Nor ever let us glimpse the blackness
That yawns behind the gates of Time."

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Random Post of the Day

Here are some of my random thoughts, in no particular order at all…

My last few posts have been conspicuously lacking in comments.

I’ve found Erasmus quite boring, so I’ve given Praise of Folly up for Dorothy Sayers, who is much more engaging. I’m sure Erasmus is very dutiful to Ad Herennium, but his oration is unbearably structured—there’s no poetry to it.

I have 8 windows open on the computer right now.

It’s very weird to blog about Erasmus and Sayers while listening to the song Mockingbird.

The word “blog” isn’t even in Word’s spell check/dictionary.

I ought to be studying my Philosophy right now, or even Spanish considering my final’s today.

This could likely be my last post for a long while; summer is better spent with books than with the computer.

06 June 2005


First Arabesque


Japanese Gardens


Ballet

Ne quid Nimis

My goodness! It's the end of the quarter already-- I'm not sure I'll be able to endure a full 3 months without books... Then again, what's the summer for if not excessive "recreational" reading?

I've decided not to study for finals this quarter :) I'm just a little burnt out with studying at the moment.

"According to this conception dergrees of value are objectively present in the Universe. Everything except God has some natural superior; everything except unformed matter has some natural inferior. The goodness, happiness, and dignity of every being consists in obeying its natural superior and ruling its natural inferiors." ~C.S. Lewis

"The medievalist thinks of our entire existence as a dance, in which some bow and some curtsey, some play the music and some dance, some laugh in gladness and some try to flatter the ladies. The irony, the last being first and all that, is that when a man finds a lowly station in cheerful obedience, he acquires in this great dignity. He knows what he is supposed to do in the dance, and he is happy to do it. In the medieval world, a simple stable hand could be content with his station. Today a union member glares at mangement and calls it his moral duty." ~Wilson and Jones 167

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01 June 2005

Neglecting Nietzsche

More quotes...I finished Angels in the Architecture over the long weekend. Other than that and an insane sunburn (only on my back), the weekend was fairly uneventful. Hooray for finals! Wait- that means I've been blogging for a whole quarter now...cool!

"For some time now we have hyped the importance of having 'contemporary' and 'relevant' Christianity and have done so to the point where we have almost emptied the faith of its historic and orthodox content" (Jones & Wilson 97).

"Modernity has abandoned the household gods, not because we have rejected the idolatry as all Christians must, but because we have rejected the very idea of household [...] If our rejection of the old idols was Christian repentance, God would bless it, but what is actually happening is that we are sinking below the level of the ancient pagans" (Jones & Wilson 117).

"A rebellious city is not a place of peace, of Sabbath. It is in constant movement, unending work. It rejects the rhythms and seasons of God and imposes its own exhausting drone and sleepless flow of electricity and wheels. It is no place for silence. Silence is terrifying; it reveals our bitter sin. The rebellious demand constant background noise as a shield from God. It provides diversion from their souls..." (Jones & Wilson 135).

And, especially regarding my previous comments about Plato's Republic:
"The truth is that even a non-tyrannical king or president is a sign of our lack of self-control. The existence of civil authorities should always be a reminder that we are so immature as a people that we cannot live our lives peacefully on our own in submission to the divine commands. Every kingly, presidential, or prime-ministerial seal should bear the inscription 'They have not rejected thee; but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them' (I Sam. 8:7). There have been godly kings, kings with whom God has been pleased [...] yet the goal should be 'no king but Christ'" (Jones & Wilson 152).

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26 May 2005

Agh! A whole week since the last post!

Your Dominant Thinking Style:

Experimenting

You're all about looking at the facts, and you could always use more of them.
You see life as your lab - and you're always trying out new things, people, and ideas.

The master of mix and match, you're always coming up with unique combinations.
You are good at getting a group to reach consensus.

Your Secondary Thinking Style:

Modifying

Super logical and rational, you consider every fact available to you.
You don't make rash decisions and are rarely moved by emotion.

You prefer what's known and proven - to the new and untested.
You tend to ground those around you and add stability.

19 May 2005

Te Deum

Recently I've been revelling in the book Angels in the Architecture by Dougs Wilson and Jones. Last night as I was reading, just before falling asleep, I felt for the first time in months (literally) that I actually understood and delighted in those monotonous scribbles across the page. I have never stopped reading, but lately reading has been somewhat of self-inflicted disciplinary measure rather than a joy. These are some poignant quotes which awoke me from my intellectual slumber:

"Properly understood, the formal descriptions we give God are not boundaries for the divine essence; they are well-marked boundaries between creaturely knowledge and creaturely ignorance. When we heed them, it leads us to true knowledge which ends in worship." (Jones & Wilson 40)

"We do not know what it would be like to walk through a grove of ancient trees sacred to the holy and terrible gods, and then be converted to the worship of One holier, and stanger, and mightier than these. We reject the shining of the ancient and numinous gods [...] not because they are creatures, but because they remind us of the divine. This is not the holiness of Christianity, but rather the crass materialism of modernity..." (Jones & Wilson 44)

"We [moderns] have no room for the idea that ineffable wisdom governs us in the most inscrutable ways. We, trapped in our thicket of time and chance, imagine there is nothing above or outside it. Because we do not know, because we do not see, it must not be there to be known or seen." (Jones & Wilson)

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17 May 2005

Wrestling with Hume

Yes, so we've moved at all too rapid a pace until reaching the Continental Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) and the British Empiricists (Berkeley, Locke and Hume). And though I didn't much like what Descartes did with induction- which I believe was at least slightly marred by the professor's bias- I find Hume's philosophy absolutely repugnant, even in comparison. And yet my refutations crumble before the professor's rhetorical battering ram.

Here's what little I managed to write last night:

Despite the accusations of my opponents, I don't reject Hume because I dogmatically hate. That would be rash-- throwing the baby out with the bath water, in effect. But when the baby has drowned in the fetid water, reason demands they both be thrown out.

Hume has no concept of truth. For him, it's either analytic (viz tautological) and thus completely impractical, or synthetic and thus merely a fleeting human "impression." And, even ignoring the fact that these implications are false, some truths are both analytic and synthetic- the two interact.

Consider, for example, the proposition "God exists." God, by definition, exists, for He is the highest, most perfect form of reality (see Anselm's ontological argument). Nevertheless, we also know He exists because we witness the aspects of His existence in creation through general revelation (Romans 1:20). So the truth of God's existence is both tautological and experienced through finite human impressions.

Thus Hume, while guarding against a post hoc, ergo propter hoc of the highest degree, is guilty of an even more serious apriorism.

The fool has said in his heart "there is no God"...

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12 May 2005

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Just got my philosophy midterm back and was pleasantly surprise by a 100%! I guess all those hours of mundane studying really worked. I also got back a Spanish quiz for which I had not studied and felt I had failed horribly after it was over. 27.5 out of 25- my Spanish teacher was inordinately gracious! It must be the gorgeous weather...

08 May 2005

Science and religion: mutually exclusive?

I must apologize for the lack of intelligent posts over the past week or so. Between writing a résumé, filling out 8 job applications, and taking midterms, I haven't had much time to blog- or think, for that matter. To speak with perfect honesty, I suppose I've had the time, just not the motivation to do so.

Because I've been discussing the relationship between religion and science with my philosophy professor lately, I thought I'd look into the matter a bit over the weekend. More specifically, my professor acknowledges that evolution is often dogmatic (and therefore not true science), but refuses to let it go until I can propose and support something better. My solution would be Intelligent Design Theory. Here's what I found in a post entitled Mere Creation:

"The main thrust of design theory is that (given the Christian premise that God interacts with the world He has made) God's activities within the world are empirically detectable, showing up as evidence of intelligent causation. Building up from the distinction between undirected natural causes and intelligent causes which science itself already recognizes, design theory seeks to show that life is the product of intelligent design, not of random, undirected natural forces (as in naturalism).
Design Theory avoids the polarization that always occurs when "religion" is perceived to be "meddling" in "science" by focusing rigorous scientific inquiry "not on intelligent causes per se [God] but of informational pathways induced by intelligent causes." Once such intelligent causation is recognized, design theory permits a scientist to go beyond the constricting confines of materialist philosophy (which would absolutely insist that some "purely natural" explanation be found) and probe deeper into the created order, to in effect "reverse-engineer" the objects previously shown to be the product of intelligent design. Such a project is certainly worthy of being pursued by scientists, and in fact, is pursued by even the most radical naturalistic scientist, who simply refuses to admit that he, as an intelligent agent, is interfering with the "natural" course of the universe (much as God would have during the creation week!)."

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06 May 2005

Wow, this is uncannily accurate

Your Birthdate: January 7
Born on the 7th day of month gives you a tendency to be something of a perfectionist and makes you more individualistic in many ways.
Your mind is good at deep mental analysis and complicated reasoning.
You are very psychic and sensitive, and you should usually follow your hunches.

You may not take orders too well, so you may want to work alone or in a situation where you can be the boss.
This birthday gives a tendency to be somewhat self-centered and a little stubborn.

02 May 2005

All the interesting details about me you never wanted to know :)

~~~The Basics~~~
1. Name: Emmilee
2. Nicknames: "Emm" (which I despise and accept only from my closest friends) and Emmi (which I also despise but am forced to accept from my mother :)
3. Birthday: January 7, 1988
4. Place of Birth: Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane
5. Zodiac Sign: I think Capricorn
6. Male or Female: Female
7. Grade: Senior in highschool, sophomore in college
8. School: Eastern Washington University (for another month...)
9. Occupation: Student
10. Residence: Home
11. Screen Name: elfchick, psyche, and em2ile2

~~~Your Appearance~~~
12. Hair Color: Used to be blonde, now a bit darker
13. Hair Length: About shoulder length, a little longer.
14. Eye color: Blue-green.
15. Weight: 135
16. Height: 5'10"
17. Braces?: Nope
18. Glasses?: No, but I think I need them.
19. Piercings: Just ears.
20. Tattoos: Um, no.
21. Righty or Lefty: Right (unfortunately- they say left-handed people are more artistic).

~~~Your 'Firsts'~~~
22. First best friend: BJ
23. First Award: Perfect attendance in 5th grade.
24. First Sport You Joined: None, really, unless you count ballet.
25. First pet: Never really had one, unless you count the family's dog, Rosy.
26. First Real Vacation: Minnesota and the Midwest at the age of 6.
27. First Concert: I don't ever remember going to a concert...
28. First Love: Non-existent.

~~~Favorites~~~
29. Movie: Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Patriot, Emma, The Bourne Identity, and A Beautiful Mind.
30. TV Show: I don't really watch TV.
31. Color: Various shades of green and blue.
32. Rapper: I rarely listen to rap so I don't really have a favorite.
33. Band: Did I mention I don't listen to much music?
34. Song Right Now: Track 16 from Hero soundtrack.
35. Friend: Too many to choose from.
36. Candy: Symphony and/or Reese's peanutbutter cups.
39. Favorite brand to wear: Whatever is inexpensive without being cheaply made.
40. Store: None. Anyplace that has what I want when I want it.
41. School Subject: Philosophy at the moment. Spanish is good too, but not right now.
42. Seafood: Disgusting!
43. Book: "The Mating Season" by P.G. Wodehouse, and also "Angels in the Architecture."
44. Magazine: World or St. Anne's audio magazine.
45. Shoes: Hmm, I need new ones...but out of the ones I have, probably my white heeled sandals, though they make me too tall.
~~~Currently~~~
46. Feeling: Tired and incompetent.
47. Single or Taken?: Single and proud of it!
48. Have a crush: Not at the moment, but someone else has one on me...*rrrrrr*
49. Eating: Not right now.
50. Drinking: Water, though it's coffee I need.
51. Typing: Obviously.
52. Online?: See previous answer. About 2 hrs a day.
53. Listening To: A pleasant mixture of Hero, Fellowship of the Ring, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Troy. No, I don't like soundtracks...
54. Thinking About: The looming deadlines I'm facing. And also a summer job.
55. Wanting To: Get something done and go to sleep.
56. Watching: Nothing, but I might catch Jeopardy! later tonight.
57. Wearing: My pajama pants because I felt in the dirt and tore my pants.
~~~Your Future~~~
58. Want Kids?: I suppose yes, but I think that's far away in the future.
59. Want to be Married?: Sure, why not.
60. Future Occupation: Who knows, maybe a lawyer?
61. Where do you want to live?: Anywhere, but most of all I want to travel.
62. Car: Anything with good gas mileage.
~~~Which is Better With The Opposite Sex~~~
63. Hair color: Preferably dark, though it doesn't matter much.
64. Hair length: Also not very important, so long as it's shorter than mine!
65. Eye color: Blue, green, or brown I guess. I really can't be picky.
66. Measurements: No me importa.
67. Cute or Sexy: Both are good.
68. Lips or Eyes: Definitely eyes.
69. Hugs or Kisses: Either works.
70. Short or Tall: Tall! At least 6 foot.
71. Easygoing or serious: Both, and knowing when each is appropriate.
#72: Missing. It was probably something inappropriate.
73. Fatty or Skinny: I suppose skinny is techinically better.
74. Sensitive or Loud: Again, both, but knowing when to use each one.
75. Hook-up or Relationship: Relationships are much stronger.
76. Sweet or Caring: Hah! He'd better be both!
77. Trouble Maker or Hesitant One: Trouble Makers are a lot more fun, besides, I need someone to balance my "serious" personality ;)
~~~Have you ever~~~
78. Kissed a Stranger: Not that I'm aware of.
79. Had Alcohol: Oh, most definitely.
80. Smoked: No.
81. Ran Away From Home: Yep, and spent about 6 hours out in the woods barefoot.
82. Broken a bone: Maybe a toe, but I've learned to ignore such trivial injuries, being a ballerina and all.
83. Got an X-ray: Of couse.
84. Been with someone: Hmmm, that could imply a whole lot more than I want it to, so no.
85. Broken Someone's Heart: I think not.
86. Broke Up With Someone: Um, no.
87. Cried When Someone Died: I think my grandpa was the only one.
88. Cried At School: Maybe when I was homeschooled, but definitely not in front of other people at a "real" school.
~~~Do You Believe In~~~
89. God: I should hope so.
90. Miracles: Yes.
91. Love At First sight: Possibly...I'd have to experience it to believe it.
92. Ghosts: Spirits, souls and the supernatural: yes.
93. Aliens: Yes, but only the illegal ones who come across the border from Mexico.
94. Soul Mates: Sure.
95. Heaven: Yes.
96. Hell: Yes
97. Angels: Affirmative, though not blonde ones with white dresses.
98. Kissing on The First Date: I would say no.
99. Horoscopes: Meaning whether they're true or not? Well, maybe seeing how ambiguous they are...but no, not really.