At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Overindulged last night at a BBQ hosted by the Poli Sci prof. Tender, juicy, chickory-smoked brisket, creamy potato salad, homemade ice cream, and beer, beer, beer (Sam Adams, Blue Moon, Hollandia, all good). Speaking of overindulgence, I've gained again all the weight I lost while in Japan, despite the fact that I'm exercizing here and didn't there. Maybe I need to start eating more Soba and Unadon.

Short Lubbock excursion today: IHOP (which sad to say is a rare treat, as there's no good breakfast joint here), music store to pick up some Bach sheet music from my guitar tutor, Oriental Market to get ingredients for Ma Po Tofu, and P.L. for more Philip K. Dick. Back at home, I worked on my latest book review assignment, which as chance or providence would have it is a primer on NT criticism. The author's a liberal but he makes some good points, e.g. how Luke omits from his Markan source material references to Jesus' anger or fear. Not necessarily damaging to orthodox Christianity, but it definitely shows that the Gospel writers put a spin on the tradition for rhetorical purposes (I'm assuming Luke is writing for a cultured Greco-Roman audience imbued with the Stoic ideal of the passionless wise man). In the evening, watched The Vistors, a low-brow but endearing French comedy about a medieval nobleman and his squire time-warped into the modern age--Bill and Ted á la française.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Finally found a used CD copy of The Wall. Turns out that aside from the tracks that get heavy rotation on classic rock stations, it's not that great an album, although I like the martial Ionic-mode strength of that riff in "In the Flesh" and the quiet menace of "Goodbye Blue Sky." I'll never see in it the profundity that one of my high school friends did, who during a troubled summer watched the movie three or four times a week. I can still remember being disturbed by those morbid little cartoons.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Ordered today through

Kate Bush
Our Price: $11.98 Gift-Wrap: None
Gift Message: None $11.98

This is generally thought to be her weakest album, with the possible exception of The Red Shoes, but I love Kate enough to be a completist. If there are only two outstanding tracks I'll be satisfied.

Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament
Peter Enns
ISBN: 0801027306
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American Protestantism is divided between orthodox denominations who close their eyes to the discoveries of biblical criticism, and denominations that embrace biblical criticism but abandon orthodoxy. I'd like to think a via media is possible, and this book, written by a conservative Calvinist trained at Harvard, a bastion of liberal theology, may help clear the ground for it. (Catholics don't have to worry about this problem because they base dogma, not on scripture alone, but on infallible ecclesiastical pronouncement--which may be a good reason to convert, but I'll save that for another time.)

The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World
Marti Olsen Laney
ISBN: 0761123695
Our Price: $13.45 Gift-Wrap: None
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I don't know how much stock to place in pop psychology, but I might learn a few things.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Chicken Korma turned out fairly well, though it could have used more salt; but the Naan was an utter failure. Possibly I'd need my own tandoori to make it come out right. Or maybe the Food Network recipe is to blame.

How depressing it is to see a pretty woman's boyfriend.

Latest movies:
Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald A
Not on the Lips C+ (might be better for Francophones who don't have to read the lyrics of the musical pieces)
A Sunday in the Country B
A Story of Floating Weeds B+
Last Life in the Universe C- (beautiful but dull, even though a librarian is the main character)
Tokyo Story B (yes, a certified classic, one of the contenders for Best Film Ever, but just too static for this Westerner. Interesting, though, to hear characters refer to places I had just visited.)
The Red Balloon B+ (a bit of nostalgia--I saw this last in elementary school and was moved)
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind B+ (similar, though inferior, to Princess Mononoke)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Is it really "better to light a candle than curse the darkness?" At least cursing the darkness gives one something to talk about. Still, I decided to take the proverb to heart; instead of griping about the lack of interesting restaurants here, I'll try to cook the food I want myself. I bought some cookware which, even if not as expensive as Pablo's "I'm Never Getting Married" set of pots and pans, are nice and shiny nonetheless. Tomorrow I'll try Chicken Korma and homemade Naan.

Some recent reads:

Chuck Klosterman, Fargo Rock City: a Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta. Picked this up in the remainder bin to send to my metalhead of a brother. Once at home I opened it up out of curiosity and ended up scarfing it down in one sitting. It's rock journalism at its best: funny, insightful, informed, and opinionated. I like reading high-spirited defenses of critically maligned art forms; if only someone of equal talent would do the same for my beloved prog rock. As interesting as the book is, however, I remain unconvinced of the aesthetic merits of Open Up and Say...Ahh!.

Philip K. Dick, Martian Time-Slip. Starts off slow, and the writing is occasionally flat, but still worthwhile.