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Archive for June, 2008

The Pauline Year

Yesterday was another hot, humid day which ended in a severe thunderstorm watch. Typical summer weather. When I went to bed, the watch was still on, but I didn’t see any of those storms, and I doubt we got any.

The Feast of St Peter and Paul, being on a Sunday this year, meant we had a mixed liturgical service. Liturgy had to serve both the Sunday Feast (every Sunday participates in Pascha) and as the calendar feast (since Peter and Paul is a solemn feast). This meant readings and tropars were taken from both.

I’m always surprised at what texts are chosen for such feasts. Some are ones I would also choose. Indeed, some just make perfect sense to use them, that when they are not used, I assume there must be a reason which I do not know. For the epistle reading yesterday, I would have chosen St Paul talking about knowing a man (himself) who had been “caught up in Christ,” because I think it is Paul’s best description of himself and highlights the mystical side of his faith. The Gospel reading was exactly the one I would have chosen, Matthew 16 and Christ giving Peter his new name, so I know I am not entirely off.

St Peter and Paul also served as the first day of the new Pauline year, for it is believed he was born 2000 years ago. That would have made him in his early 20s when he was persecuting the Church. That sounds just about right.

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Doctor Who Recap

There is one more week of Doctor Who before this season is over, and when it is over, it’s over for sometime. It means I won’t have to wait early Saturday evenings for Doctor Who to show up online to watch it. I will be free to do other things.  But, if possible, I would rather things continue as they do now, and a new Doctor Who episode was shown every Saturday night.

Now, I quite enjoyed “The Stolen Earth.” Even though it was trying to do many things at once, it didn’t suffer from the errors of “The Five Doctors.”  Davros with his Dalek horde is back. Torchwood, Sarah Jane Smith, UNIT — all have their place in this, the  “ultimate story” of the RTD era. It takes everything he has done or brought out into the show and brings it into one final story. It’s the send off of his era/  Yes, there will be a few specials next year, but they will, I expect, be a bridge between the present era and the Moffat era.

We still don’t know if David will remain as the Doctor or not. David, it appears, does not know either, but he is being offered a large amount of money to do so. Which means the cliffhanger at the end of “The Stolen Earth” will end with his reappearance after the “regeneration.” How? My theory is the 11th Doctor will look like the 10th Doctor, but will have a slightly different personality (hinted at by River Song earlier this season in Moffat’sstory of this season). Or there could be something which gets in the way of the regeneration, and it is only a partial regeneration (which happened to his “daughter” this season). Speculation is all I have, other than knowing, somehow there will be two Doctors together and both are played by David.

Hopefully, next week’s ending to the story does not disappoint, and we get to see much more of Davros than his cameo in this episode.

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Folklife Festival

I made my annual journey to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival yesterday. The highlight of this year’s festival is Bhutan (the other two sections at the festival were NASA celebrating their 50th anniversary, and Texas). Since I hope to make my way to Bhutan one day, I thought it was nice to see what they would like to highlight of their culture and way of life to Americans.

Much of it I already knew. Some of it I didn’t. One thing that really interested me was the history of their postal stamps. These were remarkable, and not what one would expected. While some actually pertained to Bhutan, many of them pertained to world history: from King Tut to NASA. They also had made 3-d postage stamps (in the 1970s). I never expected something like this.

I would say they had two central exhibits. One was the stage where they played music and did many of their dances. One which I found interesting was a monastic dance, The Black Hat dance. When I saw the hat, I couldn’t help but think they looked like Jesuit hats with a monstrance on top (of course it wasn’t).

   

The dance was very “acrobatic.” They were going around in circles, slow and fast, sometimes bringing their hats all the way down to the ground, sometimes jumping into the air.

The other highlight was a temple that was made and placed in the middle of the National Mall. It was, to be sure, a small temple, but it was enough for the monks to use for religious observances (which, when going on, can be heard from afar).

For food I tried an interesting pepper-cheese dish with red rice. I quite liked it. The cheese sauce was a little soupy, but good, and the pepper was quite spicy. There was also something else in it, I think a potato, but it could be something similar which is from Bhutan, cut up into round wedges also in the mix. It was better, and more filling, than some of the dishes I’ve had at previous festivals.

One of the panels I listened to, outside of the main stage, was about the history of Bhutan and how its king had, on his own, moved the country from a monarchy (which started in 1907) to a constitutional monarchy, when the people themselves were happy and satisfied with the monarchy. When asked why, he would tell his people “The time for change is when things are going well, not when things are falling apart.” In other words, if things are going well, it is easy to improve with wisdom, when things are going wrong, one will have to make quick fixes which might end up being worse than what was replaced.

All in all, my experience confirms I want to visit Bhutan. I just need to work on the credentials to do so as a scholar with a grant.

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Just Reading

I didn’t do much yesterday other than read or rest. I’m currently going through a book critical of Balthasar, and I am constantly finding faults in the author’s reasoning (or lack of it).

My fatigue got the best of me in the afternoon, which prevented me from doing some of the writing I wanted to do. Then I didn’t sleep too well last night. I think this was because I got so much rest during the day. It was not my worst night, at least when I woke up, I was able to get back to sleep for another hour. But, it did take a bit of time between the time I woke up and when I got back to sleep, including a trip to the bathroom.

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At CUA

Yesterday, I went to CUA to do some photocopying. When I got there, I found out that the machine one uses to put money on one’s copy card was down. Next to it is a photocopier which allows one to use cash without having a card, but it was also down.

At first, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do any copying, but then I found a sign which said if you need to put money on your card, go to the help desk. It turns out that they were selling pre-filled cards there.  While this at least allowed me to get some copying done, it made it more difficult. I had to pre-determine how much I would be doing. Yes, I could go back to get more, if needed, but that just adds to the annoyance of the situation. Having to go up and down stairs and hope that someone else doesn’t get to the copier.

Sadly, after all that, I couldn’t find some of the articles I wanted to copy. But I did get enough to hold me down for a few days.

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Storms? What Storms?

Yesterday morning I decided it was time to get some more food.

Most of the times I go grocery shopping, I forget to get everything I plan on buying when I am there. It is usually only one or two things which I don’t get, and things I can usually wait to get the next time I go. Obviously, the reason why this happens is because I don’t make out a list. I just try to remember everything I want to get when I am at the store. Many people would say I should make out that list, but, as with all note-taking, writing things out with my hand just hurts with my arthritis. It makes it that I write as little as I can. And this will make it that I probably will never write out a complete list. Thanfully it is rare that I forget something I have an immediate need for. This time, I only forgot to get some canned veggies. The worst thing I can remember neglecting to get was toothpaste (I ran out of it in that morning). 

During the afternoon, I was expecting storms, but where I was at, I didn’t see any. I heard from others in the area they were about to get some, so it seems they did come through the area, just none of them as far north as I was. It’s always interesting to me how people in a given metro area can have quite different weather patterns. As a whole, I’ve noticed those south of me usually get more intemperate weather than where I live. I am not sure what to make of that, other than it is another indication that I chose the right area of the metro area to live in. 

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Despite waking up late, yesterday morning I was dragging my feet, and just didn’t want to get active. I was just feeling a bit out of it. I cleaned up later than normal, and left to church slightly later than normal. The service was sort of a blur for me, not because it was bad (it was good, as usual), but because how I felt in the morning continued throughout the day. The rest of the day continued like this. I just was not able to concentrate much, and just had to rest because of it. And so the little things annoyed throughout the day, although I tried to take them by stride.

For supper, I decided to go to Subway. I walked there, and the only person there was a guy who always messes something up when I order from him. I don’t think he pays attention and assumes what people say. This time, since there was no one else there, I had to accept what he said, that the toaster-oven was not working (I don’t know if it was his fault and could have been fixed or not). Already a bit displeased with that, I thought maybe that was all that would be off this time. But, for whatever reason, this time I had difficulty getting him to give the right condiments for the sandwich. There are not many there, so it should have been easy for him. As an example, I told him to put on the spicy mustard. His reaction? He was going to put on this hot pepper mix. I repeated to him that I wanted spicy mustard; he looked confused, stopped just before putting that pepper mix on, and put on regular mustard. At least it was mustard and I got it without having to constantly repeat myself (last time I encountered him, he didn’t want to give me veggie patties and kept ignoring what I said and I had speak up louder and louder until he noticed).

At the end of the day, I got a slight headache which didn’t want to go away. And it didn’t. It stayed with me all night. At least I think it is now in check this morning.

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