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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BEDA 31: Finale

This month. . . 

I published almost 12,000 words on this site.
We discussed the role that race and culture play in literature.
We baked bread and cookies.
I ate a lot of rice.
I battled a legion of flies
I revealed my guilty pleasures.
I read about a dozen books.
We discussed dreams and passion and the temporary state of success and failure.
We found out that a lot of us would probably make very good Quakers of some sort, thanks to the Belief-o-matic.
I got to know a lot of the great people with whom I blogged every day (sort of) this month even better.

If you read this month, thank you. Thanks for taking a few minutes to read my ramblings and comment and generally be awesome. Now that I'm in the habit of blogging every day, and I'm generally less afraid of it than I was 31 days ago, you'll be hearing from me a lot more. Not EVERY day, but AT LEAST every week. Even though my last-ever semester of college is starting soon, I hope I can keep writing a few hundred words a day both here and on other creative projects. Altogether this month I wrote about 20,000 words which isn't a whole lot but it's a lot more than I've ever written in an entire month before (not including academic writing) and I hope I can maintain those numbers as I finish my degree and move into the big, scary Real World of post-college life.
On a final note, this week is sort of "Social Media Week" for In-Sight Dance Company. Follow us on Twitter and "like" us on Facebook to receive a lot of exclusive news and content. (Yes, that's the right side of my body visible on the Twitter background.) Also let me know if you'd like to be on the email list and I'll see how to get you added. In-Sight is not just another New York City dance company, but firmly rooted in serving the community and creating art that inspires thought, action, and personal change. I've said it again and again, but it's a joy to dance and create with them.

See you in September!


Monday, August 30, 2010

BEDA 30: Belief-o-matic

    Ramadan began this month and Rosh Hashanah is fast approaching and EVERY day is a saint's day and I'm. . .uh. . . using those occasions to justify today's topic. Browsing the blogs and features on BeliefNet has become one of my favorite ways to procrastinate on work, and I recently took the "Belief-o-matic" test, a personality quiz about your religious and spiritual beliefs. It asks you a short number of questions and tells you which faiths traditions you're most "compatible" with. Kind of like a dating personality quiz for religious wafflers. Or curious procrastinators fascinated by theological divisions in Christianity. It's by no means an exhaustive test and I think some of the questions and answers are oddly phrased, but interesting nonetheless. My results are pretty accurate, I think. I am a conservative protestant, with some Seventh Day Adventist ethical leanings. I'm a little surprised no Mennonite sect showed up on the results, but it doesn't look like the Belief-o-matic includes too many anabaptist sects. I also find it funny that I scored higher in the categorie of Scientology, Neo-Paganism and Nontheism than Secular Humanism. And true. Few who know me will disagree. 
     Try the Belief-o-matic quiz here if you're interested. They also have some other interesting tests of general religious literacy and knowledge. If you're comfortable, share your results in the comments. Do you think the quiz is accurate? Can complex religious traditions and personal spiritual beliefs be reduced to a handful of yes/no questions? Is it weird that this is what I do for fun? 

My full results:

1. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (100%)
2. Seventh Day Adventist (97%)
3. Orthodox Quaker (92%)
4. Eastern Orthodox (89%)
5. Roman Catholic (89%)
6. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (65%)
7. Islam (62%)
8. Orthodox Judaism (62%)
9. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (52%)
10. Hinduism (51%)
11. Liberal Quakers (45%)
12. Baha'i Faith (41%)
13. Jehovah's Witness (41%)
14. Sikhism (37%)
15. Reform Judaism (34%)
16. Jainism (33%)
17. Unitarian Universalism (32%)
18. Theravada Buddhism (27%)
19. Mahayana Buddhism (25%)
20. Nontheist (21%)
21. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (20%)
22. New Thought (16%)
23. Scientology (16%)
24. Taoism (14%)
25. Neo-Pagan (13%)
26. Secular Humanism (8%)


Sunday, August 29, 2010

BEDA 28, 29: Blog Almost-Every-Day in August

    I have no regrets about missing a post yesterday. Life happens. In fact missing a post makes me feel more like the kind of person who is too busy making appearances and socializing and generally having a life to spend a significant portion of every evening telling the internet her oh-so-important thoughts. I wish I could tell you that I spent my time here in San Antonio helping the less fortunate, or writing, or generally being productive, but I've honestly been extraordinarily lazy these past couple of days.
     Saturday I spent the day riding water slides, swimming, going to parties and eating amazing food. After a breakfast of (what else?) bean tacos, Dad, Rachel and I drove to New Braunfels, home of christmas "shoppes", the Comal river, and intoxicated tubing. My sister received free passes to Schlitterbahn, a German-themed water park in New Braunfels, so we spent most of the morning and afternoon pretending to be eight years old again. It was fun to relive childhood memories at the park and laugh at the ridiculous psuedo-Germanness of everything. Their strategy mostly involves adding "berg" to English words and making everything a "haus" or "shoppe." The rest of Saturday involved a nine year old's birthday party (with BATMAN MOONBOUNCE) and fantastic salad and bruschetta and too much food.
     This morning I worshiped at the church I grew up in, only not really. My sister and mom now attend a service led by a different worship team and pastor, so it felt like an entirely new church. After years of attending smaller churches in the city, I'm not used to the mega-church environment anymore so it felt a little overwhelming. My experience this morning also reminded me that I'm an old lady when it comes to my worship style. Give me hymns over hardrock4jesus any day.
    Then I worked out, swam laps, and ate an ungodly amount of tater tots. I'm pretty sure I shortened my life span by a couple weeks with those tots.
   I fly back to New York tomorrow and though this visit felt too short, I'm excited to get back. I miss Graham, and my ballet classes, and In-Sight. Thanks for bearing with the sub-par posts this weekend. As BEDA winds down, I hope to leave the blog in better shape than it was at the beginning of the month: more discussing stuff that matters.

Until tomorrow.

Friday, August 27, 2010

BEDA 27: Sort-of Running, Nearly Vacuuming, Winning Stuff

   I am incapable of just, you know, relaxing on a vacation due to my constant need to feel busy and productive. That said, I did a pretty good job of sleeping in ridiculously late in my childhood bed (like, literally the bed I slept in as a towheaded toddler). I intended to workout, get straight to work on writing, and vacuum my mom's house for her. I wasn't entirely unsuccessful, but the cruel San Antonio sun cut my run very short and I couldn't really figure out how to use the vacuum properly. Instead, I walked Daisy to the local Starbucks (which seems twice as big as usual coming from the cramped, crowded NYC stores), finished reading a manuscript for my hopefully-new internship at a literary agency, and baked espresso fudge brownies.
   Yeah, I'm probably going to gain a hundred pounds this weekend. Whatever.

My mom and sister are both at work because they have real people jobs, so I have the house to myself. It's nice but it's also kind of lonely and I'm missing Graham a lot. I'm trying to get a few paragraphs written for an assignment that's due soon before I head out to the Riverwalk tonight. We're having dinner at my favorite tea house in South Town, then walking to a great little jazz club for coffee and music on the river. In addition to some much-needed girly time, tonight kind of doubles as a celebration for me. I just discovered that one of my essays won the narrative nonfiction award from a creative writing journal that publishes the work of undergraduate and graduate students of English. I was sort of floored that they even wanted to publish my piece so I'm doubly surprised and honored that it won the award.
     We're closing in on the end of Blog Every Day August and so far I haven't missed a day. I'd like to maintain that trend all the way until the end, but I'm spending the day at the greatest water park in the world tomorrow, courtesy of Rachel, and I can't guarantee I'll have the energy or time to blog at the end of the day. Either way, I hope you all have lovely weekends and enjoy these last few days of summer.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

BEDA 26: Home

Prissy Kitty and my friend, Mia

It's funny what you miss when you're away from home for an extended period of time. When I lived in San Antonio, I thought I lived in the most boring place ever and was sure that I'd never, ever, ever want to come back once I moved away from college. I don't know that I ever want to live here again, but I miss it when I'm away. Sure, I miss the iconic San Antonio-y/Southern/Texan-y stuff like breakfast tacos, my favorite cty hangouts, and the ubiquity of Chick-fil-a. But mostly, I miss hanging out with my family in our living room, drinking tea and quietly reading or loudly discussing books, the state of public education, or politics. I miss my love/hate relationship with my family's very fat cat. I miss my childhood bedroom. I just miss being home.
     I flew in this afternoon and had a remarkably painless travel experience. The most annoying thing I dealt with this journey was the fact that I sat next to a talkative old man who, upon learning that I danced, kept asking me about the TV show "So You Think You Can Dance?". Repeatedly. Every five minutes. I guess it's his only frame of reference for dance, and I'm sure he was just trying to make conversation, but 1) I have only seen a couple of episodes of the show and 2) I kind of dislike it and the impact its had on the dance world. I kept trying to deflect his questions with polite, simple responses, but it got a little awkward.
    Upon landing I ate puffy* vegetarian tacos with my mom and sister and discussed plans for the rest of the weekend. Also, I took advantage of the washing machine to do some laundry as every college student visiting home should. Now, I'm petting Prissy, the world's fattest cat, curled up on the sofa, enjoying the suburban quiet. Daisy, my mom's dog, just got jealous and knocked Prissy off my lap. She's trying to take Prissy's place, a difficult feat for a 70 pound dog. I need to give Daisy some long-awaited attention and spend some time with la familia, so until tomorrow, dear reader!

*Puffy tacos are a San Antonio specialty. They are like regular tacos except instead of baking the masa dough for the tortilla on a griddle, you deep fry it until it puffs up and becomes twice as bad for you as a regular taco. Except this one was full of vegetables, so I declare it HEALTHFUL.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BEDA 25: Remembering Esther

I woke this morning to the news that 16-year-old Esther Earl, a fellow Harry Potter fan and nerdfighter sometimes known as "crazycrayon", passed away in the early hours of the morning.  It almost felt like the whole internet stopped to pray for Esther and her family when we heard about her condition last night. I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Esther personally, but I often watched her video blogs and enjoyed her thoughts and insights.Her passion for books, life, and people was evident in all the volunteer work she did through the Harry Potter Alliance and the nerdfighting community. My heart is heavy for her family and I hope you'll join me in continuing to pray for them. The loss of Esther will certainly be felt by the online communities she did so much for.

   You can read about Esther's story and get updates from her family here.

In other news, I'm going to this place tomorrow, to ride some horses and eat breakfast tacos. Just kidding about the horses, kind of. See you in the Lone Star State!