The time has come once again for me to acknowledge and apologize for the fact that I have been tragically abandoning this blog for a while now. It has been almost two months since I posted anything at all, and almost three months since I put any real time and effort into writing a blog post. Even this post, I am writing mainly for the sake of posting something during the month of March 2014. It would be a dismal failure to let a month go by without posting anything at all. As you have probably guessed, the reason for this neglect is that I’m busy. I’m currently working two jobs and taking a full course load of grad school, and I spend quite a lot of time on the road between these various places. So, yeah, that’s my excuse.
But I am pleased to note that, even without new posts, this blog is still getting views on a daily basis, and hundreds of views over the course of each month. That does include cases in which people get directed from a search engine, or because they are fellow wordpress bloggers who follow my blog, and they click on the link but then close it before actually reading the post. But I like to think that there are some of you out there who are genuinely interested in seeing what I post on this blog, either because you know me and read my blog frequently, or because I have at some point posted something that you found useful or particularly cool. So I am going to ask for a little reader participation here.
Following this paragraph, I have a list of potential blog posts (in no particular order) that I had intended to write at some point over the last two or three months. In some cases, I have the beginning of a draft already written. One of them is even almost done. I’m going to stick a poll at the end of this post, and if you see something on the list that you would be interested in reading, go ahead and vote for it. Comments will also be taken into consideration, but the poll is a little more convenient because there are numbers involved. My readership is small enough that I might not actually get many poll responses, so if you have even a slight interest in my future blog posts, I encourage you to make your preference known. (Even if you aren’t a regular reader of my blog) Just as a disclaimer, I am not making any definite promises as to when the next blog post will appear or how frequently they will come thereafter, nor am I committing myself to only writing stuff from this list in the near future. But I am definitely interested in knowing which of my ideas for potential blog posts have the most merit, and I will definitely make an effort to respond accordingly.
Movie list 1: For Valentine’s Day, I had started to write a long list of romantic comedies that I have seen, each with a paragraph explaining what I did or didn’t like about it. Since I hadn’t gotten very far in writing it by Valentine’s Day, I abandoned it and left it to fade into oblivion in my “Unfinished Blog Posts” folder. But I didn’t delete it, so it is capable of rising out of oblivion if it is asked to do so.
Movie list 2: Along a similar vein, I later started a short list of specifically seasonal movies that have personal sentimental significance to me. They’re the kind of movies that I consider to be an important tradition for their respective holidays or times of year. This is the one that’s already almost finished, so you’ll probably see it sooner or later regardless of whether or not it gets votes on my poll. But I’ll finish it sooner if people express an interest in it.
Movie list 3: Over spring break last year, a couple of my little sisters and I watched a movie online that was supposed to be based on the gospels. It was frequently inaccurate and theologically absurd, as I had expected. There are an awful lot of movies like that out there. Apparently, there’s a brand new one that’s particularly bad. And then there’s Jesus Christ, Superstar which is an outstandingly good musical even though it’s a horrible and completely non-Christian depiction of Jesus. There are so many movies based on the life of Jesus that someone could, in theory, have some fun making an annotated list of them to post it online.
Things you shouldn’t say to food industry/retail workers: Okay, the title needs simplification. That may be one of the reasons that I haven’t bothered to finish and post it yet. Is there even a specific term for people who work in retail, restaurants, and fast food? This blog post is inspired by the fact that one of my jobs is in the food industry, and an awful lot of customers say some pretty demeaning things. There’s a saying that you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat waiters and waitresses, but that saying ought to apply to a wider range of jobs. It seems that most people who have a successful career view people with less prominent jobs in a very negative light, and the people who get the worst of that judgment are those whose jobs involve directly interacting with those successful, moderately wealthy customers. That’s just wrong, not only because being unkind to people is wrong in general, but also because it’s incorrect to assume that minimum-wage workers only have those jobs because they’re inadequate for “real” jobs. Especially in our current economy, it’s not exactly rare for a qualified worker to need some time to get a start on their desired career, and in the meantime, they have no choice but to take a job that doesn’t correspond to their skills or educational background. I started making this list mainly to vent my frustration, and also in the hopes that there would be at least one person who would see it and realize why they shouldn’t make the kinds of remarks and demands on the list. But I didn’t actually finish the list yet; I’m probably a little under halfway done.
YA book list: I mentioned earlier that I’m currently in grad school. For those of you who don’t know, the degree I’m working towards is a master’s in library and information science. This semester, I’m taking a class in young adult literature. The point of the course is basically to read a whole bunch of novels for the teen audience for the purpose of becoming very familiar with what’s available and being qualified to discuss, review, and recommend these titles. So I’ve read an average of about five or six young adult novels a week for the past three months (minus one week) and consequently have some informed opinions about a fair number of recently popular books within this category. Obviously, the class itself has given me an opportunity to express some of these opinions, but I thought it might make an interesting blog post if I finished the semester by making a list of some of my favorites with an informal synopsis and description of what I liked about each one.
Christian cliches: I’ve posted some stuff like this before, but this list attempts to be a little longer and a little more thorough than some of my other rants about bad cliches and cliched theology. Spoiler alert: in most cases, my complaint about the cliche basically boils down to “It’s not from the Bible” and/or “It’s not Christian because it doesn’t have Christ in it”.
About April: A couple months ago, I started drafting this one in my head, but I haven’t started writing it yet. The idea was that I would write a nostalgic blog post about springtime in which I would describe some of the things that have characterized the springtimes of recent years in my life. It wouldn’t be about specific events, but rather about the little, day-to-day things that characterized the way I remember those times, like the general atmosphere of classes I was taking at the time or songs that I listened to a lot, or what I did if I had free time on Sunday afternoons. Of course, since the purpose of this post has more to do with tone than autobiographical description, it would basically just be about the pleasant things. If I do write this one in the near future, I will limit it to April rather than springtime in general, mostly because I currently live in a part of the country where spring doesn’t start until April anyway.
Weird myths about love: Here’s another one that I actually never even started, even though I had a pretty clear idea of what would be in it. It would be a list of assumptions that people of my generation make about the way that romantic love is supposed to work. For example, (despite everyone’s enthusiasm about weddings) there’s a sense of contempt for anyone who gets married before they’re in their thirties with a good job, financial security, and, most importantly, a well-developed self-awareness that has nothing to do with their relationship with anyone else. Because, *sarcasm alert* you know, in twenty-first century America, self-identity is more important than vocation, self-esteem is more important than caring about other people, and even marriage is to be viewed only as a landmark in an individual’s life rather than as a commitment between two people. Anyway, the main reason that I never got around to doing that post is that I would be writing it from the midst of the demographic that I’m critiquing (that is, single young adults) rather than from the more informative perspective that would be offered if it was written by an older, married person. While I am always happy to use my blog to criticize the cliches and weird assertions of my peers, it might be a bit too presumptuous for me to take on this particular topic. But I’m including it in this list because, if people want to read it, I’ll change my mind about that and go ahead and write it.
On prepositions: This one would take more time than the others on the list because it would require a good deal of research. I find it fascinating that prepositions in the Greek of the New Testament don’t correspond to English prepositions. Most Greek prepositions change meaning depending upon the context, and it seems kind of confusing. But when you think about it, English prepositions are just as weird. For example, “by” can be used to denote authorship or spatial proximity. I can think of many different shades of meaning for “in” and “with” and “for” and “to”. It seems to be an inter-language phenomena that the definition of a preposition is actually a cluster of related ideas. I personally think that it’s absolutely fascinating that different languages form these clusters in different ways. It would be very cool to take the time and effort to learn prepositions in a variety of languages and to compare them. In fact, maybe that comparison would lead to some interesting socio-cultural observations. As far as I know, no linguist has done an extensive study on comparative prepositions, because I have failed to find an academic book or paper on such a topic. Since I’m not a linguistic expert, my attempt to undertake such research would be less of an academic study than informed speculation, but informed speculation is good enough to make for an interesting blog post.
On giving up: This would basically be a rant about motivational cliches that tell people to always chase their dreams and never give up, or that promise that hard work always pays off if you stick with it long enough, without acknowledging that sometimes, it’s not a matter of choice. Sometimes, you lose the opportunity to try even if you never actually gave up. This is kind of a personal topic for me because I haven’t been able to take a single ballet class since last May, when I graduated from college with a major in dance after having pretty much dedicated my life to ballet for the past seven or eight years. Even though I always knew that no non-dancer can comprehend just how much a dancer’s life revolves around dance, it has come as a harsh surprise to me that nobody else is even aware of this major, life-shattering loss that I’ve experienced. Even knowing that I’ll someday have a chance to take some ballet classes again, and even the awareness that I was never very talented anyway, don’t change the fact that circumstances out of my control are causing me to miss out on something that defined my daily schedule, my priorities, and my self-identity for a significant proportion of my life. In light of the insultingly short-sighted inspirational phrases that are used by people who have never faced any obstacles worse than experiencing physical pain or reaching a frustrating plateau, I wanted to write a blog post that would talk about why these inspirational phrases are so insulting and short-sighted.
The differences between college and grad school: I didn’t really have this one planned out at all, but I kind of wanted to put something like this on my blog at some point. Now that I’m approaching the halfway point of my stint as a grad student, (yeah, I’m not planning to go for a PhD, as cool as that would be) this spring or summer seems like a good time to write such a post.