Friday, November 27, 2009

This guy looks awesome

I know this is a little weird, but I randomly came across this picture while I was looking for something on flickr and I think this guy looks awesome. It's quite possible I've been listening to the Into the Wild soundtrack and bearded indie bands too much lately. Whatever. That beard is cool.

Knapp Is Back

I love Jennifer Knapp. Her voice, her music. Love her. I have never gotten tired of her first album Kansas, which is so full of beautiful, raw truths and music that is likewise. And now she's back from wherever she's been and is working on an album. Two songs are up on her Myspace page and they sound good--like Kansas which I thought was better than her two subsequent albums. Here's hoping.

Also, checkout a live performance of The Way I Am.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm Brian Fellows

During a break today I discovered that Brian Fellows, my favorite SNL skit, is on Hulu! If any of you reading this went to PCB with me, then you'll remember myself and a few others repeating portions of the skit over and over and over again... Watch and laugh:


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Just Finished: Cry, The Beloved Country

When we were in Birmingham this summer, I tracked down an old bookstore. It wasn't that great, but I did pick up a copy of Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton. It's one of those books on a lot of lists but since it's about Africa I had avoided it (please don't write me mean letters). My copy was published in 1950 and has that nice old book smell.

I started reading it a few weeks ago and from the beginning was not thrilled. There are a lot of short sentences, and I'm not the biggest fan of short sentences. The story wasn't gripping me either, but I kept chugging through. About 2/3 through it just gripped me. The whole narrative takes place in South Africa and begins with a rural Zulu parson who finds out that his son has come into some trouble in Johannesburg. He goes to the big city in search of his son as well as his brother and sister who have all ceased communicating with him since they left. What he finds in the city is mostly heartbreak with chinks of hope--the black people are repressed, living in cramped housing, turning to crime, etc and his family is no different. The more he learns about his son, the more he feels that he is actually the failure. There is constantly the tension of what is and what could be or could have been. Here's one of the most heartbreaking passages from the book concerning the parson's son:
And again the tears in the eyes. Who knows if he weeps for the girl he has deserted? Who knows if he weeps for a promise broken? Who knows if he weeps for another self, that would work for a woman, pay his taxes, save his money, keep the laws, love his children, another self that has always been defeated? Or does he weep for himself alone, to be let be, to be let alone, to be free of the merciless rain of questions, why , why, why, when he knows not why. They do not speak with him, they do not jest with him, they do not sit and let him be, but they ask, ask, ask, why, why, why...

But when the parson returns home, partly successful yet still with a heavy heart, the author starts to show us that there is hope and redemption even in the despair of failure; that even in a society wrecked by racism and corruption that a seed can be planted and that change can happen in both the young and the old. It's vague, but I think you should read it and fill in the gaps yourself. You'll be motivated to justice.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Just Finished: Plan B--Further Thoughts on Faith

I read one of Anne Lamott's previous books on faith Grace (Eventually) and wasn't really planning on reading this one, but someone gave it to me so I thought I'd give it a go. I have a hazy goal to read more books written by believers, especially ones vastly different from myself and Anne Lamott fits the bill. She's wicked liberal, Episcopalian, my mom's age, and she has dread locks.

Plan B is much like Grace (Eventually), a collection of essays on the author's life and faith in the day to day. And much like Grace Lamott rails and rails and rants about George Bush, which I began to skim after the 20th or so reference. Aside from that she has some great, practical insights into coping with this flawed existence we have and relating it back to God (or having friends relate it back to Him for her). My second favorite part was when she referred to her love handles as Aunties, but the best line, something that shed new light on the verse "take every thought captive" was this blip about praying:
My mind kept thinking its harsh thinky thoughts, but I would distract myself form them gently and say, "Those are not the truth, those are not trustworthy, those are for entertainment purposes only."

Those are words I can take to heart.

Although her writing style is totally different from mine, I admire her honesty and how she puts herself out there on the page. Something I could definitely learn to do better, I just might have to change a few more names...

Plan B is funny and thoughtful and she sneaks in some content in there, which makes her essays entertaining and substantive.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Eye and Mouth Candy

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon the most amazing, delicious, scrumptious, eye and mouth watering website appropriately named TasteSpotting. Any recipe you ever wanted and didn't know existed from the best food blogs on the internet can be browsed, searched, and gloriously discovered right here. On the opening page is a row of recently discovered pictures which speak well enough for themselves. Pic[k] one and let the baking begin. It's like having access to a fancy, gourmet Betty Crocker or Joy of Cooking and it's all free and available at your literal fingertips. Whoever thought of creating this aggregator of recipes--hats, spoons and spatulas off to you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Blood, Sweat & Tears

...that title is an extreme exaggeration all to announce the latest newsletter from the Social Venture Group team! Woot woot! For the past several plus weeks we've been writing, editing, and translating to bring you, our public the Fall 09 edition of Doing Good. So if you've been wondering what exactly I do all day, now all you need do is click the link below and see for yourself. Inside these pdf pages you'll learn about some great organizations working with people in need here in this large chicken shaped country as well as other interesting and informative info.

This was really a team effort and I had so much fun on my first go 'round with it.

Read all about it:
For the English version click here.
For the Chinese click here.

Sticky Bike

The other day something unexplainable happened to my bike. I was coming home after a day out. I exited the line 4 metro and sauntered up to where I'd locked it. At this point I noticed something: my whole seat was covered in some sort of stickiness. Tiny dots of dried stickiness which I noticed covered the whole bike. I got out a wet wipe and tried to rid my ride of the mystery stuff with some success. When I got home, my shoe soles were sticky from the pedals. I was mildly annoyed, but more than that I thought how strange this was. What the heck is on my bike? Seriously, what? Did someone come through spraying everything in sight with sprite? Some sort of liquid manna? It's almost infuriatingly bazaar, but this is one of those occurrences that happens in a foreign country.

Since it was clear that I would probably never figure it out, my roommate and I made up a song. I think you'll know the tune:

Sticky bike. Sticky bike.
What did they spray on you?
Sticky bike. Sticky bike.
It's not your fault.
It's not your fault.