Random Thoughts on a Sunday Afternoon, Episode Six

5 Comments

Louisville Kentucky1. If anyone has been keeping track, they will have noticed that I haven’t written many blog posts over the past few weeks. There are several reasons for this, many of which are quite predictable and include a lack of free time and an excessive amount of stuff to do during these infrequent bouts of free time. (For example, I spent the last three days in Louisville, Kentucky, at an academic conference. That is why the five pictures included in this blog post all show scenes from downtown Louisville. For the record, they were all taken by me between about 11:30 AM and noon on Friday, April 5.) Despite the aforementioned fact that I have not posted much on my blog lately, I would like the record to show that I had started many things that were intended to become blog posts, including some potentially good ones for Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, and April Fools’ Day aka The First Day of Baseball Season. The Holy Saturday one was practically finished, too, so I’m kind of annoyed with myself for not going ahead and finishing it on time. However, I can now inform you that I actually have two finished drafts, so I actually can promise at least two new blog posts after this one in the relatively near future.

2. (Added much later in the day) I would just like to stick a disclaimer here and say that I haven’t really read through much of this after typing it, so it is going to be even more random and disjointed than usual, and probably will contain many typos. Sorry ‘bout that, but I’m not going to actually get around to posting this if I take the time to edit it.

Louisville Kentucky3. After church this morning, I stopped at Wal Mart to pick up some hand soap and some band-aids.  For some reason, these are both products that are challenging to find. The hand soap was somewhat easier, but the band-aids greatly baffled me. They had gauze bandages and little circular band-aids, they had band-aids with pictures of cartoon characters and specially shaped band-aids and water-proof band-aids and special non-stick band-aids for sensitive skin. But they didn’t have regular band-aids. All I wanted was the kind of band-aids that you put on your toe to keep it from bleeding in dance class. But they didn’t have that kind of band-aid, so instead, I got absorbent non-stick band-aids with comfortable fabric that stretches with movement and innovative adhesive that stays on long without irritating the skin. So the box tells me. It seemed like the closest thing to normal band-aids that I could find.

4. Today, as I left my dorm to go get food, people stared at me. This was not surprising, given the fact that I was wearing black boots, blue-and-white socks that went up just barely past the top of the boots, a fairly formal purple floral skirt, a very casual T-shirt, and the earrings and necklace I had worn to church this morning. I fear that I may have committed some kind of fashion crime.

Louisville Kentucky5. It struck me as being very interesting that in today’s gospel reading, (John 20:19-31) Jesus identifies himself first to the group of disciples and then to Thomas by showing them his hands and side, where he bears marks from the crucifixion. I have always been puzzled by the fact that, after the resurrection, people who knew Jesus keep on not recognizing him, but it’s cool to note that even the very first Christians recognized Christ by His sacrifice for them; the crucifixion was the foundation for their faith. Another fascinating thing along the same lines is Luke 24:13-35, the part where Jesus talks to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They come to realize who Jesus is and to understand what he has done when he first explains the scriptures to them and then breaks bread and gives it to them. It’s Word and Sacrament.

6. I wish I was doing a jigsaw puzzle today. Given the fact that it’s 4:30 in the afternoon and I have yet to accomplish enough stuff to justify the existence of this day, I can’t really take the time to start one now. But a jigsaw puzzle seems like a fun thing to do right now, and besides, I have the feeling that there are many rambling thoughts I need to be thinking, and jigsaw puzzles are good things to do while thinking rambling thoughts. Unfortunately, I don’t really have time for rambling thoughts right now, either. That’s problematic, because it’s really hard to think organized thoughts when my brain is in rambling-thought mode.

Louisville Kentucky7. My hands smell like early December. It’s this new hand soap; I like its scent much better than the previous hand soap, but it seems all wrong for April. This anomaly in time disorients and confuses me.

8. Maybe this is just some kind of senioritis thing, but I have lately found myself having a very hard time distinguishing between reality and imagination. Just a minute ago, I suddenly and randomly remembered a certain recent conversation, but I couldn’t remember whether it was in real life, a dream, a movie, or just my imagination. I couldn’t even remember who the other person was. It doesn’t help that I’m taking a class in postmodernism, and some part of my mind is fascinated by the question of what constitutes reality.

Louisville Kentucky9. Along the same lines, I have noticed something very odd about college life. This is especially true of my current phase of college life, in which I am trying to figure out what in the name of Galoompa is going to happen after I graduate. Anything that has to do with “the real world”- looking into financial aid, jobs, places to live, etc .- involves sitting around and staring at a computer screen. Likewise, homework either involves computers or books. But when I step away from all of that and do something like running away to a certain secret hiding place and flipping over logs to look at the bugs underneath them, or driving in a literally real car on a literally real road, I can guarantee that everything happening in my head is abstract and/or imaginary. If I’m not pondering hypothetical questions or reliving conversations that never actually happened, I’m probably making up stories or determining details of some imaginary fantasy world. So “the real world” apparently exists only in my computer, and imagination apparently exists only in the outside world. The question is which reality is real, or rather, in which reality I am real. And the other question is, whether I’m actually trying to find reality or hide from reality.

Advertisements

Various Aspects of My Life Today

Leave a comment

Every now and then, generally on a Sunday afternoon, I like to open a Word document and just type random things at intervals throughout the day. Later in the evening, I then give the whole thing a very quick and cursory edit and stick it on my blog with a few pictures added. I am not sure if anyone else in the world is particularly interested in reading such random collections of stuff, but it’s fun to do, so I keep doing it anyway. Without further ado, here is a list of stuff that I felt like typing at some point between noon-ish and 8:30-ish PM this evening.

I found this online and edited it a little. It used to say Missouri, but I've been to Missouri many times and I can assure you that it is more true of Alabama.

I found this online and edited it a little. It used to say Missouri, but I’ve been to Missouri many times and I can assure you that it is more true of Alabama.

1. Alabama is such a weird place. Today’s weather feels more like an example of the proverbial April Showers than like typical mid-January weather. The temperature is high enough that I would have the windows open if it wasn’t raining, and it’s so humid that my hair is just as curly as it is on a ridiculously hot summer day. The current weather system is interestingly reminiscent of the rain that occurred during the first week of June. In fact, I am now experiencing much nostalgia regarding the beginning of last summer.

2. On the way to and from church today, I discovered that I still know all of the words to all four verses of “Today Thy Mercy Calls Us”, “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”, and “Be Still My Soul”, the first three verses of “Salvation Unto Us Has Come” and “Soul Adorn Thyself With Gladness”,  and the first two verses of “By Grace I’m Saved”, “We All Believe in One True God,” and “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands”, even though I haven’t sung in the car much since about late September. Ironically, despite being able to do all that singing in the car today, I still couldn’t sing in church due to the cold that I had almost two weeks ago. Also, I can’t remember all of “Christ is Arisen”, which is odd given the fact that it’s only one verse long.

No, there is no reason for this image to be here. Should there be a reason?

No, there is no reason for this image to be here. Should there be a reason?

3. When you think about it, it’s really amazing and incredible to have a body. It’s a concrete and physical representation of your entire self and identity, like an avatar in a computer game except that it’s more real. And you can do stuff with it, like walking around and like eating. I might not like everything about this physical self-container; I might wish that it had a prettier face or that it danced better, but the fact remains that it’s a pretty cool thing.

4. I feel very proud of the last couple chess games I just won. None of them were particularly interesting tactically; they mostly involved things like races to get pawns queened and slow maneuvers to chase the opponent’s king around. But now I’m sad because I just lost a game. Yes, I am typing and playing chess at the same time. I might be playing better if my attention wasn’t divided. (Update a couple minutes later: I won a game by resignation because my opponent made a really stupid mistake and lost his queen just a couple moves into the game. That blunder would have been unusually bad even for me. The moral of this story is that you should always think very carefully before moving your queen that soon.)

A picture of me and my sister. As you can probably guess, it's a rather old picture. I'm the one in pink.

A picture of me and my sister. As you can probably guess, it’s a rather old picture. I’m the one in pink.

5. It just occurred to me that last summer, when my sister and I fought a spam war, (the evidence of which can be seen here and here) this was before we used tumblr. I think that the time is coming when I should plan my next attack.

6. It’s mid-afternoon and I’m still wearing my church dress. I’m lazy and I hate changing clothes. Also, I happen to particularly like this dress. It fits me nicely and it’s comfortable, which always win major coolness points for dresses, especially dresses that still look as nice as this one does. I like the pattern, too; it’s brown and white with pink flowers. The really appealing thing about it is that, unlike most of my clothes, it doesn’t have a super low neckline or a very short skirt. I suppose I could see it as a compliment that the fashion industry assumes that anyone who wears my size would want to wear revealing clothes, but they happen to be wrong. I would prefer to dress more modestly than most clothing manufacturers allow, and this dress happens to be adequately modest.

I posted this on tumblr this morning

I posted this on tumblr this morning

7. I have two jigsaw puzzles in progress right now. I’ve been too busy to really work on them, so right now, they’re just sitting around and I put a few pieces in place every now and then. That’s not the way I like to do jigsaw puzzles; I have been known to stay up ‘till the wee hours o’ the morn to finish a puzzle that I started earlier that evening. Puzzles are fun because they’re somewhat intellectual but take up little enough mental energy that you can use that time to let your mind wander wherever it wants. And they’re metaphorical for life in that the point is to take hundreds or thousands of little pieces and put them together in a way that makes sense and allows you to see the big picture. The difference is that, in the case of a jigsaw puzzle, it really is possible to get the whole thing put together properly, and it usually doesn’t even take very long and isn’t very stressful in the meantime. Still, the metaphor is accurate enough that there’s something comforting and reassuring about accomplishing a jigsaw puzzle, particularly if you do it in a short time frame. The fact that life is significantly more complicated than jigsaw puzzles is the main reason that I decided to do two at the same time. That setup is still much simpler than real life, and it’s less fun that just focusing on one puzzle.

In progress

In progress

8. I’ve made a list of my top 100 favorite songs four times over the last three years or so, and it’s always a pretty long process. Making a list of my top 250 songs is taking forever. But it’s a great excuse to find time to listen to a lot of good music. That includes some music that I haven’t listened to since the last time I made a top 100 favorite songs list.

9. Speaking of music, I’m a little bit obsessed with Judith Durham of the 1960s Australian folk band The Seekers.  I think that she exemplified everything that a female pop singer should be. Most importantly, she had a very beautiful voice and she sang songs that I like, but besides that, she had a pretty face and dressed nicely. Also, she was married exactly once and divorced zero times, she never did drugs or got in trouble with the law as far as I know, and there was nothing even remotely provocative about her image. But mostly, I like her because she had a very beautiful voice and sang songs that I like. Examples of Judith Durham’s awesomeness can be found here and here and here and here and here and here and here. Those are about half of the songs by The Seekers that are going to be on my top 250 favorite songs list.

On days like today when there's lots of stuff I want to do and none of it involves leaving my room, I just stack everything I intend to use on my bed or desk.

On days like today when there’s lots of stuff I want to do and none of it involves leaving my room, I just stack everything I intend to use on my bed or desk.

10. I have experienced an utter lack of schedule since my car broke down on Friday. Even though it’s working again, and even though it got me to and from church just fine this morning, my life still isn’t following a predictable and controllable chain of events. Because I have obsessive-compulsive tendencies regarding my schedule, this feels like an anomaly in the space-time continuum. Note to self: get to class early tomorrow so I can ask my physics professor how to solve anomalies in the space-time continuum. If he asks what I mean, inform him that my car broke down on Friday. This should clarify matters entirely.

11. I don’t know what to make of the fact that I barely have any homework to do. It’s not that I have a problem with this situation; there are an infinite number of things that I’d rather do than homework. It’s just that I am unaccustomed to having as little homework as I’ve had this last week and a half. It’s an aberration that baffles me even while it brings me pleasure. I am content to spend the rest of the evening reading, writing, playing online games, and recording snippets of my favorite songs, but my brain tells me that this is not the way college students are supposed to live life.

In case it isn't obvious, I don't care if my pictures are relevant. Here's a random picture of Oswin from Doctor Who.

In case it isn’t obvious, I don’t care if my pictures are relevant. Here’s a random picture of Oswin from Doctor Who.

12. Here is a fun fact which my sisters told to me over Christmas break: Liquid Paper (which is a certain brand of correction fluid) was invented by the mother of Michael Nesmith, who went on to become one of the Monkees. In case anyone reading this doesn’t know who the Monkees are, The Monkees was a television show in the mid-1960s featuring a band by the same name. As a musical group, the Monkees were successful and talented enough to earn themselves the reputation of a serious band in their own right, despite the fact that the television show was anything but serious and clearly modeled after the Beatles. (To my sisters: Sorry, but it is true. I’m not criticizing them. I’m just saying that they were intended to be very, very similar to the Beatles.)

13. And now it’s time for a fun grammar fact! The contraction “ain’t” stands for “am not”, and technically is grammatically correct. Or at least, it was grammatically correct until it departed from common correct usage because it had become so prominent in common incorrect usage. It is frequently used in cases where the correct contraction is “aren’t” or “isn’t”. For example, “Ain’t those some funny-looking chickens?”  or “That one ain’t a chicken at all; I think it’s an ostrich.” But if the word “ain’t” can be correctly replaced with “am not”, it would have been grammatically acceptable. For example, “Actually, I ain’t sure if it’s an ostrich or a penguin.” On an unrelated note, I take pride in my ability to come up with brilliant examples of sentences with which to discuss grammatical points. Just kidding. I was only trying to come up with a relevant way to mention an ostrich in this blog post. Mission accomplished.

A picture of my beautiful cat that I think should go viral

A picture of my beautiful cat that I think should go viral

14. It’s raining very heavily outside, I’m feeling extremely lazy, and I’m not particularly hungry, but I feel like eating. Besides, it’s suppertime. It’s a good thing that I’m a college student and that popcorn and hot chocolate constitute a perfectly valid dinner under such conditions.

15. This popcorn has utterly failed to live up to my expectations, and I feel that my expectations were entirely justified on the grounds that the bag in which the popcorn was packaged clearly indicates that this popcorn is butter flavored. This, as it turned out, is untrue. However, I do have some cause for satisfaction, because there are notably few unpopped kernels. This is not a condition for which the popcorn or the corporation who packaged and sold the popcorn can be commended; rather, it is a sign of my own impressive popcorn popping skills.

16. I recall those days when I was a young child who had no fear of thunder and lightning, for I was brave and bold, not in general, but in regards to such phenomenon. Those days are long gone, and now I live in a world where storms are to be feared, not because of a paranoid phobia or a childish terror of vague and uncertain causes, but because I know I must drive my car tomorrow, and my brakes screech something terrible when it has just rained.

17. Once again, I am engaging in an interesting experiment where I periodically time myself attempting to memorize a string of digits acquired with a random number generator. The history of this experiment can be found in these blog posts from last summer. I find it relevant to mention this point now because I am pleased with my statistics recently. Despite the fact that my life is currently in turmoil, as indicated by other statistics regarding my quantity of sleep and my emotional state at various points throughout my daily life, my brain appears to be functioning at higher than normal efficiency. Out of the past six runs of this experiment, I have succeeded four times in memorizing a string of twenty random digits in less than a minute, holding them in my mind for more than a minute while not consciously thinking about them, and then writing them down accurately in just a couple seconds. This game does have some practical applications. Early last week, for example, I instantaneously memorized the speed of light (299, 792, 458 meters per second) without having to actually put any effort into it. Clearly, I am well on the way to turning my own brain into a robot, and I expect that the fact that this doesn’t bother me is evidence that I’m getting quite close. Now, if only I was as good at things that actually matter in real life.

I made this sign for my wall this evening. Aside from the obvious fact that I can't draw or write properly, I think it's an awesome sign.

I made this sign for my wall this evening. Aside from the obvious fact that I can’t draw or write properly, I think it’s an awesome sign.

18. In order to make hot chocolate, I microwaved some milk. It scalded a little, and when I took it out of the microwave, I observed that there was a sort of film across the surface of the milk. I lifted it, and it had the texture of wet paper. This fascinated me. I am easily fascinated.