Thursday, May 31, 2007

movie review: The Apostle

We finally watched a movie Brandon has been recommending to me for ages: The Apostle, starring, written, directed and executive produced by Robert Duvall. It's about this preacher whose wife sleeps with the youth pastor at the church, and he ends up killing the guy and skipping town. The movie is about what he does in this town while he's on the lam. It's a great movie--excellent performances all around, an original story--and very true to life.

I guess I haven't watched a lot of movies, but this is the only one I've seen that portrays the more "out there," somewhat charismatic evangelical church in a both accurate and respectful light, without minimizing or apologizing for the wackiness and sins of the people in the church, but never mocking or judging either. It's one of the very few movies I've seen that I would call both "Christian" and "high quality." In fact, there's only one other movie like that: Babette's Feast.

So: watch these movies if you are so inclined!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

how much ... ?

Not everyone here has a Bostonian accent--and the people in whom it's strongest are usually:

1. The Elderly
2. The Working-Class

And for the most part, people are no less polite than on the West Coast--most are probably more polite, but less friendly/familiar. More formal, less casual. But this one time we went to the hardware store to get some keys copied and the guys at the shop were shockingly unashamed of being rude to us. I guess at first they just looked and sounded surly. Then, I had to like, fill out some kind of form for the receipt, and I asked if I needed to sign on the place where it said "Signature" or something, and the guy like, sneered, "No, I don't want your autograph." So Brandon and I went away and laughed because it was so crazy and not the kind of thing that happens on the West Coast, I don't think.

Anyway, I wish I could put onto my blog an audio file of Brandon imitating the accent, because he's very good. And knowing how it sounds makes the following exchange funnier.

Brandon, as I write, is on his way to get a haircut. He's been needing it, badly, for a few weeks now. He opened up the phone book to find a place, called one and said "Hello, um, how much for just a man's haircut?" And the voice on the other end said "One million dollahs."

When we move to Pasadena, I will not miss the New England weather, but I will miss the surprisingly sarcastic strangers.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Sorry for not writing in a while. I just haven't been "inspired." Not that I'm particularly inspired right now. But I feel it is my duty to write something--for my multitude of adoring fans, you know. (-:

Sometimes I feel like most of my time is spent waiting. Waiting to start seminary. Waiting until we're in a place where we'll stay for a long time so I can start to really feel at home. Waiting to start my career. Waiting for the weekend. And up until recent weeks, waiting for the weather to get warm.

Waiting is not really fun. Sometimes I remember that I needn't think of my time as a long wait. Sometimes I remember to enjoy what I'm doing. Sometimes I remeber that mundane activities--things I'd rather be able to skip altogether--can be celebrated. Taking a shower is not a chore, but a privilege: it feels good to be clean and being able to bathe so often, and with clean, hot water, is a luxury most people can't afford, I think. I do have to remind myself that tidying up the house is not a waste of time. But it is good, and it can be kind of fun, to bring order to chaos and make the place look good instead of "pig-sty-esque," as it usually is ...

Like I said, nothing profound today but I wanted to throw y'all a bone, meatless though it may be.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Self Check Out at the Grocery Store

So at most grocery stores nowadays they have stations where you can scan, pay for and bag your groceries without the aid of a store employee (well, assuming you don't make any mistakes--not a safe assumption). When I first started using these self service stations, I thought they were *just perfect* for people like me--people, that is, who dread brief, unnecessary social interaction with strangers whom one may never meet again.

Surely I am not alone in this feeling--why else would people be using the self serve station? It would be less work to have someone else scan and bag one's groceries. The self service station is ideal for people who have only a few items, so the line is short and moves quickly--but that's already the idea behind the "10 items or fewer" lane.

And that's just the problem: the line doesn't move that much faster, because people make mistakes and the machine rejects their coupons or crumpled dollar bills, and they end up standing around waiting for a store employee to come and help them anyway. And sometimes they're just slow.

But the worst of it is that you have all the most anti-social people in the store--all the people who, like me, are prone to embarrassment in social situations, trying to escape interaction with the checker, only to end up having even more embarrassing interaction with other customers who are either before or after them in line. This was the case the last two time I used the self check out lanes. So maybe I won't use them again--unless there's no line, I suppose.