Off to Raymond, Kansas

Well, I’m off to the see the wizard. Lexi and I are flying to Kansas tonight to spend the Labor Day weekend with my parents and take in the 10th annual Raymond Labor Day Parade. Raymond is a town of less than 100 people and I’m supposedly related to half of them. The parade increases the population exponentially, so it’ll be quite a show.

Plus I designed the T-shirts the town is selling for the weekend, so I’m eager to see how that turns out (I really pushed for them to have T-shirts, it being the 10th annual parade and all, so I really hope they sell out).

The only part of this daddy-daughter weekend I’m not looking forward to is the part where it’s just daddy and daughter on a plane for two hours. That could be all kinds of interesting.

Too Skinny? Add 5 Pounds of Alluring Curves!

Skinny? Add 5 Pounds of Alluring CurvesAnother ad from a 1930s newspaper, this time encouraging the malnourished ladies to take Kelp-a-Malt tablets to put on 5 pounds of firm flesh. This would be the pre-Twiggy days when people liked a little meat on their women. But not too much. That didn’t work either.

Bizarre. I always thought anything pre-1950 was so much more straight-laced, bathing suits that looked like wet suits and the like (at least mainstream stuff you’d find in a newspaper). Apparently not. (Though I suppose these sorts of ads might be just like today’s ads for L.A. Weight Loss and the what not that look just as creepy.)

A Life of Consequence

Today we got word that our adoption application has been accepted. The next step is a two-day class and a large chunk of money due. Then comes the home study and an even larger chunk of money due.

It’s exciting to be moving forward. It’s also cool to be doing something so big. Granted adopting one child isn’t much in the grand scheme of six billion people, and the large chunk of change we need isn’t much considering what we just paid for a house. But adopting one child is huge in the scheme of my life and the life of my family and the life of that child. You could say it’s everything.

I think the Christian life should appear radical to an outsider, full of enormous loving actions that just don’t make sense. I think this is one of those actions. I don’t mean to minimize the small loving actions—like sponsoring a child or fasting for 30 hours or whatever. Everyday, small actions are just as important. But it’s another thing entirely to devote your life to a cause.

I’m not saying I’m some great orphan crusader. I’m not dedicating my life to that cause, but I am opening my heart and home to a new life and that’s a cause in itself that I’m wholly devoted to.

What I’m trying to say is that the Christian life should be something of consequence, through both everyday and once in a lifetime radical actions. Whether that’s giving a child a home or leaving your comfortable culture to spread God’s love in a strange land or forgoing a new car so you can fund someone else’s dream or pouring hours of your life into squirrelly teenagers or whatever it is you do. This attitude should define our lives in both big and small choices. That doesn’t always happen in my life, and what I’m trying to say is I’m joyful to see it happening now.

Sometimes as an idealistic young person we talk a big talk. It’s nice to be doing something to walk the walk.

Why Do Libraries Shelve Paperbacks and Hardbacks Separately?

A little help from the library geeks in the audience: Why is it that libraries shelve paperbacks and hardbacks separately?

So the hardback of say, Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis is in the hardback sci-fi section, while the paperback of Perelandra is in the paperback sci-fi section. And if you don’t get why that’s inconvenient, they’re both the first and second novels respectively in Lewis’ Space Trilogy. I don’t care if it’s hardback or paperback, I just want to read the trilogy.

Or an even simpler example, I’m looking for The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (I told you I was on a sci-fi kick). But I can’t just check the paperback section (which didn’t have it), I also had to check the hardback section (which did have it).

How screwy is that? I love libraries, but I don’t get this. Is there some rhyme or reason to it? Is it easier to shelve books when they’re all hardback or all paperback? Does it save shelf space? And whatever the rationale, does it justify making it harder for patrons to find books?

Hmm… it makes about as much sense as having to call Northwest Airlines five times at three different numbers to finally talk to a human (and no, the “customer care” line did not result in talking to a human, no matter how hard I tried). I hate to put libraries in the same category as a bankrupt airline–but that’s where I’m at.

The Sanitary Meat Company

Sanitary MeatHere’s yet another 1930s newspaper clipping I scanned, an ad from the Sanitary Meat company.

Boy, I sure hope so. But right there in the title they’ve assuaged my fears:

Butcher: Wanna buy some meat?
Shopper: Yeah, but is it sanitary?
Butcher: [points to ‘Sanitary Meat Co.’ sign]
Shopper: Oh, OK then.

There’s a little marketing tip for you from the 1930s, free of charge. Use at your own risk.

The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Classification Sucks

So I’m on a little sci-fi bender, and let me tell you–the bookstore doesn’t help. Your sci-fi books are classified in one enormous section: Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Both genres are a certain kind of fanciful fiction where unrealistic things can happen. But there’s an incredible difference in that lack of realism. It stretches from Lord of the Rings on one end–a made up world with made up magic and creatures–to something like Serenity on the other end–a fictional world that includes realistically possible scientific advancements, but no fanciful elements like magic (and Serenity is probably a bad example with its Western bent and River’s psychic powers, but it’s a better example than say, Star Wars with its Jedis and the Force).

So as you wander through the aisle you get medieval warriors with swords and armor next to realistic portrayals of settlements on the moons of Jupiter. And there’s plenty of room in between: realistic, modern day stories with fantastic elements (Buffy, X-Men, etc.), futuristic stories with fantasy elements (Star Wars), fantasy stories with elements of sci-fi (I don’t have a good example of that), even realistic sci-fi stories with elements of horror (Sunshine). It gets even weirder when you consider sub-genres like revisionist history. Right now I’m reading Empire by Orson Scott Card that the library considered sci-fi, but it’s more a political thriller or maybe a dystopian future (though it’s hard for it to be future when Fox News is involved and the president is obviously supposed to be George W. Bush).

Continue reading The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Classification Sucks

Addicted to Sci-Fi

In addition to my blog bender, I’m on a bit of sci-fi bender of late. I’ve always liked sci-fi. For the longest time Star Wars was my favorite movie and it was only dethroned by another sci-fi flick (Serenity). But I’m a casual sci-fi fan. While I’ve watched Star Trek, I’m hardly a Trekkie. And my reading list of sci-fi is fairly short. Until this weekend I had never read Orson Scott Card, and I’ve read nothing but short stories by some of the masters like Isaac Asimov.

But I do enjoy the genre. Specifically, I love space stories (Star Wars, Serenity, etc.) and post-apocalyptic fiction (Mad Max: The Road Warrior). I find something tremendously captivating about these stories, both the realism of a future in space and the harsh reality of a world gone wrong in a post-apocalyptic era. I can’t put my finger on it, but I love those stories.

Continue reading Addicted to Sci-Fi

Blog Bender

I kinda went on a blogging bender last week. That’s pretty standard before I go on a trip. For some reason I have this urgent need to get all the thoughts out of my head before heading off on a new adventure and filling my head with all sorts of new thoughts. Same sort of deal here before my trip to L.A.

And now I have the post-trip blog rush where I have all sorts of stuff in my head, but I’m a bit too overwhelmed to jump back in and make sense of it all as it spills out. We’ll what happens.

A Green School in the Twin Cities

Good magazine has a feature on green schools that features the Interdistrict Downtown School in Minneapolis. I used to walk by the school every day on my way to work. Apparently the big glass window in the front is a supplemental solar heating system in the winter. Cool. Our old house had one of those. I called it the porch.

The article doesn’t mention it, but I believe they have a playground on the roof. Pretty sweet, though losing a ball over the fence would really suck.

I Could Go for Some Wii Boxing

I finally played the Nintendo Wii on Saturday. Now I know what all the fuss is about. I doubt I’ll rush out and buy one, but the temptation is definitely there. It’s very much a video game system for the non-gamer. The concept of actually doing something active to play a video game instead of just sitting there pushing buttons is great. Though the temptation to play virtual games instead of real ones is a bit scary (especially when we’re talking about the basics: bowling, golf, baseball, fishing, ping pong, billiards, etc.).

My favorite was Wii boxing. Very stress relieving. I had two fights and quickly realized how someone could pull a muscle playing a video game. I also realized I have a strong right but my left if practically worthless. Something to keep in mind if you ever have to fight me.