Wednesday, February 24, 2010

rain sucks.

I got home with every. single. fucking. particle. of my being dripping with water.

Also, it hurts to chew gum. Why? WHY DOES IT HURT TO CHEW GUM?

I am now sitting at my desk which is next to the rainy window with my space heater running with no pants and no socks.

The last few days have not been so hot on the functionality front. I have been off on my sleep schedule, unproductive, and feeling mightily stupid about the whole thing. I should go to the gym now. But it's raining. I have pottery class tonight. But it's raining. I don't know which of these problems I will be solving. (Not the rain one, unfortunately.)

My body is still pissed at me for the crap I shoveled into it yesterday -- i.e. somewhere around 7-8 cookies worth of oatmeal-coconut-almond cookie dough/finished products. (COCONUT IS SO DELICIOUS. Unfortunately so are sugar and butter.) There is an enormous bowl of bread dough waiting in the fridge to receive similar treatment -- i.e. have me eat 1/6 of it and then bake the rest. Sometimes I feel like my diet is a person, and he likes to go vacationing in the Bahamas every weekend and drives to Wisconsin sporadically during the week.

I went to Campus Crusade's Large Group for the first time in a year (making it my second time attending, total) last night. I missed all the praise and singing part and just got there for the message and discussion questions part, which I was secretly pretty happy about. Contemporary Christian music, for me, is a Venn Diagram with most of its components in two large and largely overlapping circles: "Dull" and "Self-Conscious." Approximately 90% of all the contemporary Christian music I have ever heard (and in Iowa, you can pick up a fair amount just by channel surfing the radio) has the following characteristics:

1. Vocals done in a "worshipful" tone of voice.
2. Chorus that is repeated ad nauseum.
3. Two, or at most three, barely distinguishable verses.
4. The word "glorify."
5. The same slow rhythm.
6. The same 6-7 chords.

Constraints can foster creativity, and convention can smother it. I think this is a case of the latter. It is likely unfair to compare all Christian music written in the last ten years to all Christian music written before 1880 -- sort of like a chihuahua vs. a pack of foxhounds. I don't care.

The message that I did hear was on evangelism. No other topic is so near and dear to my abiding religious doubt. The image at the base of the website makes me squirm -- an image of an East Indian woman with the text superimposed, "Millions of people still need God's word." It feels like there is a layer of text in the layer underneath the picture on Photoshop reading, "And only you, a wealthy white Westerner, can bring it to them!"

My paradox. I am proud of my religion; I believe in Christianity. I believe it is not only true but elegant, not only factual but beautiful. If it were any other thing -- an artist who produced gorgeous work -- a restaurant that cooked delicious food -- a writer whose prose made me joyful at their skill -- I would be out broadcasting it to everyone I knew. "Have you seen this? IT'S AWESOME, MAN."

But since it's Christianity, I lock my jaw and do the little flexing thing with the muscles at the backs of my cheeks.

In some ways, it's about how fundamental the tenets of this particular religion are to how I see the world. My ideas about the human body and how to treat it are almost entirely derived from Christian principles in a way that had little to do with personal choice. It's not just a whole lot of fun putting yourself out there, to be picked up, turned wrong-side-up, and shaken about. It's safer and less sickening to stay quietly in the bushes where the challengers' bizarre, cruel, sometimes legitimate reasoning only sometimes can sniff you out.


And there is the almost-inverse of the white man's burden, perhaps equally pretentious, even offensive; the white woman's guilt. It is so hard to separate Christian evangelism from the harm it has done. Surely God didn't mean for it to happen like that? But if he did -- why didn't he warn us more explicitly to be on guard against our own prejudices, our own hidden motives? And what if, as in Joshua and Judges, he seems to have meant for one people to destroy another? Or several others? When I was in Japan, sometimes I would just look around me and think: Who the hell am I -- what kind of pretentious fool am I -- to stand here and tell all these people they are dead wrong about their core beliefs?

So evangelism and I are not buddies either.

It's sad, because there are definitely people in my life -- generally ones I don't like very much -- who could certainly stand to hear, "You are the beloved of your father; you are not alone; you are worth living and dying for. . ."

Sometimes I wonder about this blog. There are certain blogs I read (cough) where every entry, though sporadic, is crafted, elegant, and uniquely interesting. When reading I am inspired but also glum, because I am aware of what a crass soul I am. Others that I read are consistently hilarious, largely because the authors know how to slice out the mundane and leave only the bitingly funny and ironic in their representations of their everyday lives.

This blog is more like a compost pile.

Would it be better to self-edit, I wonder, and produce a diary which is a work of art? One in which there are no boring entries, no stupid statements, no redundancies? To practice the craft of writing and digital collage in a more self-disciplined manner?

Screw that, man.

The more ideas, the better ideas. Eventually. I hope.

Glaze fails.

1. Surprise, my instructor knows what he's talking about! Rosy Dawn is NOT necessarily translucent, though the sample tile in the glaze room seems to say it is. It clearly showed the glaze FAIL I made on this piece.

But oh, the nice rusty red on the inside. Mmmmm tasty.

2. WTF is this piece of crap? A misbegotten candlestick holder? A misshapen squid? Obviously the brown clay made me so desperate I was willing to keep WHATEVER I made, even if it clearly sucked.

But, apparently the white pseudo-majollica glaze (can't remember the exact correct term, "Ron Roy White") will pick up extra pigments from the glazes around it, because this came out kind of green/blue.

Maybe I'll Goodwill it. I'm not sure my mother would even like this one.

Fun site, via my cousin: Bleubird Vintage. My main complaint is the author's pictures of her boyfriend; he makes me question her aesthetic taste. Well, actually just her life choices. And her aesthetic taste. UPGRADE, MAN. (I mean, WOMAN.)

Most of the stuff here is either fun or beautiful, and sometimes both.

This is my mother's teenagerhood, wrapped up in one random "California Dreamin'" singing chiclet. Only my mom was, you know, dorkier, except in my head she and all her friends looked like this in high school. With vintage colors, of course.

This is part of her "Alexander McQueen is dead SADNESS!" post (the fourth one I've read.)

It is actually important that it is "via my cousin," because the whole site is so much like Leslie -- so arty and hipstery and hippieish -- that it's almost like she wrote it. With her mom.


It is big. It is scary. And I am sleepy so I will write another post later explaining this.


  1. Haven't you ever heard the expression "a vase only a mother could love?"

  2. actually I love your blog. but then, i know you, and i like you, sooo that probably explains something.

    ain't nothin wrong with a compost pile, it's just like real life

  3. @ m: but if I give her something I know to be crap, doesn't that mean that _I_ love her less?

    @cristen: thank you! but. . . hmmm. apparently if you have a compost pile you're supposed to add extra worms to it to make sure it is fermenting properly. perhaps this blog needs more worms. virtual worms. I think my metaphor is breaking down.