Archive for the ‘City Life’ Category

So Much For the Rain

Turning back papers, I of course got some people upset at how I graded. Part of it was the fact that, as I graded, I was sick, and so I didn’t give the best comments explaining how I graded. Some of it is difficult to explain the grade — although I was able to figure it out what I was doing. I was looking for more than fact but how people put them together and made a case for why their presentation was important; I will have to explain that to my students more. There is a difference between putting down facts and putting them down in a way which makes meaning out of them, and that difference will help determine the strength of a paper. Obviously, I am also looking to see how students judge the facts and determine which out of them to discuss, but I also want to see how they discuss them and not have them put them down, one without another, in a dull manner.

While I expected rain in the day, we didn’t get any; every so often I would feel a few light drops of rain and then it would stop. So I carried an umbrella all day yesterday without needing it; obviously it made sure that would be the case (as always happens; if I didn’t bring it, it would have poured). I made my way to the function at St Matthews last night, where the presentation was done by an older law professor from CUA. I was more than a little exhausted by the time, and so my focus at the lecture wasn’t high. The question was what exactly the Church means by talking about “the common good,” and what it doesn’t mean. Clearly the dignity of the human person is central and they are not to become a slave to the state, but yet there is a sense where people need to work together and not just exist in selfish isolation.


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A Relatively Calm Day

Thursday, my TA taught, so I didn’t have to prepare for the day, allowing me to respond to some people on the Bulgakov Blog Conference before class (it had been several days since people commented on my posts, and I had not gotten to them until then).

In the evening I went to the second of five weekly discussions at St Matthew’s on the USCCB’s document, Faithful Citizenship. I was able to talk to Tony there before and after the lecture, where we both had a laugh about a new “Catholic” blog and how difficult it is to take it seriously.

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Saturday, the weather was a mix of rain and no-rain. I was able to get some needed work done in the morning, and I went out to eat for supper. Walking back home, I was stopped by some cultist — I don’t know what cult she was a member of, but her words were clearly indicative that she was a part of a cult. She was approaching everyone, especially when they were stopped at a stoplight, saying hi to them, trying to get them to go with her, but of course people don’t go with strangers like that, especially strangers who say weird things, and just are not dressed appropriate for the weather. The bad thing is, whatever cult she is a part of, it clearly doesn’t care for its members – having them approach strangers like, and try to get people to go with them like that, is likely to get someone hurt, and that is probably the cultist themself.

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Since my class is going to be required to visit the Smithsonian and look at some Hindu art there for a take-home assignment, I knew I had to go and see what was there. Sometimes there is more than at other times; I only found two exhibits, one in the Freer and one in the Sackler Gallery, and each had a few items (more in the Sackler than in the Freer). It means most students will probably choose the same item to describe; not much can be done with that. I have to say, I hoped for and expected more, but not much I can do with that now. My time at the Smithsonian itself was less than an hour, so, I expect my students won’t be there long, either.

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Earlier this week, I got some pipe tobacco to smoke (it’s been over a year since I’ve had any). While I cannot smoke in my apartment anymore (since they changed the place to non-smoking throughout), I can smoke outside, while doing some walking, and so I did so. I didn’t do much smoking, but some. I wanted to use it to help contemplate on a few things as I walked, and I think it may have helped. I don’t know, could be psychological there. The tobacco itself wasn’t the best, and it is a brand which I know is a bit harsh, which helps keep me to using it only for an occasional smoke.

In the late afternoon, we had occasional light rain and thunder, all the while being told on the television that the storm could be severe. Thankfully it never was. I was actually outside, hoping to read in the open air for a bit, when I felt a few small drops of rain come down upon me. The amount of rain we got I think was incapable of affecting anything (the thunder lasted longer than the rain, and I didn’t see any lightning).

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There was a power-outage yesterday where I live, although I didn’t know about it until mid-morning, because my apartment building’s backup generator was running and my apartment had all of its power when I woke up. I only found out about the power problem when I walked outside and heard the generator going. It was loud. It wasn’t just loud, it was very loud, and sounded like it was going to blow. I was more than a little concerned about that, and so I made sure people in charge of my building knew about how bad it sounded, since I didn’t want it to blow up and catch on fire. It was then I was told they knew about it, but it was because the power was out in the area, and it was working hard to keep up with the power needs for the building.

After talking to the person manning the front desk, I learned how extensive the outage was. I went out for some coffee, to drink as I did some reading. I thought I would get some at Starbucks. They had none. Their power, as with the power at the bagel shop nextdoor, was only partially on. They could sell food, and espresso drinks, but not coffee.

I didn’t want to return home yet. I walked further down the road and saw that the traffic lights were also out, and that this was true for several stops in the area. I was more than a little disappointed when I saw that there were no police officers directing the traffic. Thankfully, the drivers knew what to do, and everyone took their turn in the organized chaos that came out of this. The worst part was trying to find which time was the time for people to cross the road.  

I decided to walk downtown, and get my coffee thereWhatever power problems were in my area didn’t affect the buildings downtown. So I was able to get my drink and sit out and read for an hour.  When I returned home, the traffic lights were still down, but the generator at my apartment complex had calmed down. At least some of the power had been turned back on in my area.

Now, what caused the power-outage, I don’t know. I can only guess it was from the storms the night before. But I do find it rather odd that there have been many power issues in the region of late. Is there something more going on? I hope not.

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Holy Monday

Today is Holy Monday; Jesus is preaching in Jerusalem, gaining the ire of its rulers. Today the East remembers the sign of the barren fig tree. The fig tree was one of the most common symbols of Israel, and it was clear that Jesus was making a judgment on the situation of his time. We should learn from the lesson and not become barren ourselves.


I was able to get a fair night’s sleep last night. I woke up a few times, but was able to get back to sleep each time. For some reason, my dreams brought me back to high school; but of course, the events in them were not real events of my youth. Instead, I got to see bloodshed and accidents happening, killing people who never died. I wonder what purpose these dreams were for.


Sometimes I think the people who run DC are crazy. Proposals are underway to make it that people will have to pay to use the main highways into the city. If I were a business which wasn’t immediately off of metro, and required people to use a car to get there, I would complain, for it would mean a lot of customers won’t be coming as often.

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