Desktop Analysis


Co-worker #1:  I love this image. It’s so relaxing. It reminds me of the poppy field in the Wizard of Oz.

Me:  That…wasn’t really a very nice relaxing…

Co-worker #1:  Yeah, OK, but look! There’s snow coming down. So it’s OK. The snow is falling. They’re saved.

Me:  Or else the little dots are evil nanobots or some sort of genetically altered insects come to destroy us all.


Co-worker #2:  You know, this is an interesting psychological exercise.

Time Unwise


Red Clock
I am a totally hardwired morning person. Even on the weekends without an alarm clock, it’s rare that I wake up after seven at the very latest. I remember being a kid, staying overnight with friends, and both liking and dreading the mornings–because I was generally up well before anyone else in the household, which gave me both time to myself and an awkward social situation. Am I allowed to get up and prowl the house? Or do I have to wait for a grownup to tell me it’s OK? Maybe I’d better just hide here and read.

Back on topic: mornings are when I find it easiest to get things done, when I can make habits and routines and keep to them. I have more willpower when I’m just getting started with the day.

Therein lies a problem: I start my day job at 8:30AM, and it takes about half an hour to get there (a paltry commute by many standards, I realize). Which means, getting up at my normal hour of 6AM, I have about two hours of free time to work with. Continue reading

Standing Accused

Shame grafittiI’m hoping longer and better ideas for blog posts come to me soon.

But for now, here’s just one little reflection that came out of a most excellent homily by Fr. Brian Thompson last Sunday.

He pointed out that one possible translation of the name “Satan” is “the Accuser.” Satan is a miserable creature–the most miserable creature–and he wants to take us all down with him.

You know those times when you feel like you’re the stupidest, evilest, most worthless scum on the face of the earth, completely undeserving of mercy or goodness or love or anything else?

Guess who’s really good at accusing you of all of those things?

Guess who’s the Father of Lies?

There’s a difference, of course, between honest guilt (the shame we should feel for sin) and unfounded despair, and in the darkest times (I’ve been there!) it can be hard to see the difference. But I still thought this interesting.


Marokko Wüste 01Hey, where’d everybody go?

You can tell it’s Lent, because all of a sudden people vanish from the Face of the book, and I start to feel like it’s just me, talking to myself in a wasteland.

I get it. I understand that–especially to those for whom Facebook is primarily a place to post and read links or play games–Facebook can be a time waster and a temptation. Same goes for other social media applications or Internet forums. But for some of us, the Internet is also our main means of communication with friends and family.

“It’s good for everyone to step away from the computer and socialize,” people say.


No, you don’t understand. I step toward the computer to socialize, not away from it. Continue reading

Listen Well

Pau Casals 05
Pau Casals
 February in Western Washington is a good time to learn to appreciate subtleties. For the most part, one grey day follows another. It can be a dark time unless one learns to pay attention and rejoice in small blessings: the slow lengthening of the days from week to week as spring approaches, the few brave sprigs of green that will become early crocuses and daffodils, a quick shaft of sunshine breaking through an otherwise dreary day.

I’ve been enjoying another exercise in the appreciation of subtleties as well: recently I’ve been really into (OK, make that obsessed with–it’s what I do, after all) Bach’s cello suites. I’d been in something of a classical music phase in general, and then a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of seeing the Goat Rodeo Sessions’ live broadcast to movie theaters around the country. At the end, Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile played a few Bach pieces as one of the encores for the concert, which inspired me to seek out more Bach cello music, which led me to the full suites. Continue reading

Sitting Pretty

Fauteuil rond2

I dreamed Extreme Leather Armchair Sitting was the latest craze.

The goal was to get a photo of yourself, from behind, draped in a leather armchair overlooking…something unusual. Or exceptionally mundane. Or poignant. Scenic mountain vistas were good. So was a colorful shot taken in a New York alley.

And the unwritten rules stated you had to get the chair wherever it was under your own power, at least the final stretch, so you’d see people straining to lug leather armchairs up stony outcrops and through the streets.

I suppose it makes about as much sense as a lot of other fads. I’m still not sure where it came from. Still, fads involving comfy chairs can’t be all bad, can they?

I am not Aristotle

Dunce (7885704332)Just to start this off right, here’s a rodent in a dunce’s cap.

OK, I’m just going to get this off my chest, because frankly, it’s cramping my style.

For a variety of reasons, I did not have quite the same opportunities for education as many of my younger siblings did. (A lot of this had to do with a pathetically strong desire for approval and a perceived familial disapproval of some of what I’d hoped to do, but that’s beside the point.) And honestly, if I’d had the chance to be absolutely anything at all, I’d likely be a lab rat rather than a theology professor.

I just can’t seem to make my brain go certain places. Unlike certain other family members, I don’t read books on economics or politics for fun. I struggle with getting through books on philosophy or spirituality. I make myself read some of the writings of the saints, for example, because it’s good stuff…but I’m much more likely to navigate through Francis de Sales than Thomas Aquinas.

Given my druthers, I tend to read fiction, and not necessarily of the “literary” variety. If and when I read non-fiction, I’m mostly fascinated by stories of disease and disaster and adventure.

I guess my point is that I’m just not the hyper intellectual scholar many family members and friends seem to be. And this can’t help but be reflected in my writing. I’m not comfortable with attempting opinions on politics. I’m never going to be a major apologist. I’m never going to be one of those bloggers.

Any fictional stories I write are likely to be pretty straightforward. They are unlikely to have deep philosophical layers. They’re likely to have some nerdy elements, because I like such things. They’re likely to explore feelings and humor. But when I try to force deeper themes into them, I sound like a clumsy child, and I know it, and it makes me want to give up writing entirely. Which is kind of where I’ve been these past few months.

At the same time, I feel like I’m not supposed to be anything aside from deep. Not that anyone has said so in as many words, but I feel shallow, ridiculous, and out of my league even in my own family and the social circle that surrounds them. It’s like…they’re debating the pros and cons of various minimum wage options, and I’m over here talking about my favorite tea and fairytales.

Is that so wrong? I don’t know. Some days I really feel like it is.

Other days, I make another pot of tea and write (guiltily) about talking dogs and space ships. And wish I didn’t think so much.