Sunday, December 30, 2007

recipes for the not-so-food-savvy bachelor: tacos

in 2005 when i first designed the 17 point scale, i described the blog as "an excuse for [me] to ramble, feign perspicacity, and post pictures; possible topics might include art, quirky observations, and cooking tips." as the blog took shape, i refined the description a bit, proclaiming it "the world wide web's home for cooking recipes, travel pictures, and random thoughts on life, grammar, and that other thing you're really interested in." the descriptions were my attempt to promote and summarize the disparate inklings that i posted in this odd corner of cyberspace. they also amused me.

i am not much of a cook, and i certainly haven't use the blog for sharing
cooking tips or recipes. in fact, over the last few years, the closest i've come to a 17 point scale recipe is the caption on a photo of guacamole. and when i was experimenting with blogger's features, i even posted some text at the bottom of the blog that read: "by the way, i lied. there are no recipes on this website. if it's cooking you want, take a bowl, a spoon, a box of cap'n crunchberries, and some milk; mix 'em all together; and voila! cereal du jour." i kept the text there because, again, it made me laugh. and although i may be the only living soul to scroll to the blog's bottom and read this confession, i don't feel that my lie is an act of malice--while googlers may reach the 17 point scale in search of "blood meridian chickens" or lewd sexual phrases (to name some of the last 100 searches), i can't recall seeing a single hit for cooking or recipes.

now, however, i find myself at a strange precipice. i've decided to post a recipe. and not just one recipe, perhaps several. i think this means that i may need to revise the 17 point scale mission statement:

food

ingredientsmethod
time
result
#1
mini tacos


4 mini beef tacos (trader joes brand), a handful of shredded medium cheddar cheese (gen), pace chunky salsa (gen)microwave tacos in paper towel (30 s) and thaw cheese on counter (1 m), add cheese and microwave for 45 s
less than
7 m

tasty, simple; requires a side dish (e.g., christmas cookies, satsumas)


as you can see, these recipes will not be fancy. they will merely chart the learnings of a lazy, cooking-challenged kid with some blog space to spare.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

back page: blood meridian or the evening redness in the west

xii.

blood meridian or the evening redness in the west by cormac mccarthy**

12/27/07
according to bauercount.com, jack bauer, the protagonist of 24, has killed 185 people over the course of six seasons. yet the glanton gang of mccarthy's blood meridian could teach bauer some things about killing; they eclipse this feat without the benefit of automatic weapons, and because mccarthy writes so matter-of-factly of violence and brutality (not because of the sheer number of murders), these indian scalpers make bauer seem like a harmless saint nick. biblical commentators speak of the earth groaning as it awaits the expulsion of darkness, and no novel offers a grimmer account of the pulsing menace of humanity (and our complicity with satan and, for that matter, nature) than blood meridian (not even the road). read it if you dare.

14 out of 17*

*the 17 point scale panel of experts--andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, andrew, and, yes, andrew--rated blood meridian between 13 and 16 and have yet to formally declare their rating tried and true. they still have some thinking to do.

**i think the cormac mccarthy lemonade is flooding hollywood. i just read that ridley scott will be directing blood meridian. i can't imagine how this could be filmed tastefully yet with profundity. do dark, dark, bloody epics translate well to film?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

backstreet's back!

after the demise of my sufjan stevens cover band, i ceased to practice the piano and began to experiment with some new musical talents: voice and dance. therefore, i was ecstatic when sean invited me to join his boy band.



here is our first live karaoke performance:



video


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

last-minute xmas needs? try beth's book!


buy this amazing book, god with us: rediscovering the meaning of christmas, and do it now. god with us features profound christian authors like beth bevis, scott cairns, emilie griffin, richard john neuhaus, kathleen norris, eugene peterson, and luci shaw--did you catch that? beth bevis! yes, beth wrote descriptions of each of the advent feast days, and i've already seen examples of random web-folk admiring her work.

but what is god with us? as one five-star amazon review proclaims, "We started using this book at the recommendation of a friend and whole-heartedly recommend it to you. We are being prepared this Advent and this book has much to do with it. The paintings, Scripture verses, discussions and prayers have been a great help to us . . . "

i haven't had a chance to pore over the text closely yet--my copy just arrived--but the art work is spectacular.

Monday, December 17, 2007

tell me your favorite writers and poets!

maps are a simple metaphor for almost anything. i recently wrote an article that discussed some new findings regarding alzheimer's disease and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, and what did i use as the article's primary conceit? a map.

and now that i have a few dozen pictures of steve and his map, what better way to solicit advice than to reapply the map metaphor?

i'm looking for some amazing writers that tackle issues of faith and redemption in their work, and i'm hoping that you can be my map. i'm looking for big names and small names, novelists and poets--anyone that writes powerfully and writes well.

i'm particularly interested in writers that might creatively engage topics of atheism (i.e., faith, doubt, superstition, and science) and education (learning, growth, self-ization), but any literary scribe will do.

i'm gathering these names as part of a list of potential writers and interviewees for upcoming issues of the other journal.

if you think of someone, please let me know, and if you peruse my tentative list (including such longshots as david james duncan and marilynne robinson), and are in agreement or disagreement with my inclusion of some particular writers, be sure to tell me.

thanks!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

obama on faith

here's a clip of barack obama speaking of the separation of church and state, the way in which faith could and should inform politics, and his own conversion to christianity. it's a long speech, but i think it's worth a listen.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

blogging hiatus and my novella

in addition to work, christmas shopping, my part-time editing gig, classes at the UW, caring for my ailing house, and rereading the road, i've decided to try and write a novella. therefore, i have even less time for the 17 point scale. historically, however, i've found that the minute i declare a prolonged absence from blogging, i come roaring back with more posts, so i expect that i'll be posting some tidbits in the near future.

(what do you think, should i have written "i've decided to try
to write a novella"? the and seemed to flow better, but to strikes me as a better grammatical choice.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

the road: casting call

in case you haven't heard, cormac mccarthy's postapocalyptic masterpiece, the road, has been gobbled up by hollywood. producer nick wechsler and director john hillcoat have signed on, and the online buzz links either viggo mortenson or guy pearce to the role of the father. but who will play the son?

how about a seattlite? or even better, a greenwoodite! it's possible--the s.o. did some craig's list snooping recently and found this surprising nugget: a greenwood casting agency is "seeking Caucasian Boys, ages 7-10, with a thin build . . . to audition for a lead role opposite Viggo Mortenson . . . for the Feature Film, 'The Road' [sic, sic, sic]."

see: http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/tfr/457653687.html




andrew david. "homage to violence and light" somewhere in alaska.
i selected this photograph because i couldn't find any photos of dark, desolate roads or emaciated father-son scavengers in my portfolio, and fire plays a very, very, very important role in the book.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

me and theology





What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Emergent/Postmodern

You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.


Emergent/Postmodern


79%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


68%

Neo orthodox


64%

Roman Catholic


57%

Reformed Evangelical


54%

Classical Liberal


43%

Modern Liberal


43%

Charismatic/Pentecostal


36%

Fundamentalist


32%


Sunday, November 11, 2007

norman mailer died

http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=webmailerobit10&date=20071110&query=norman+mailer

i read his book about jesus. i remember being annoyed. anyway, this is big news in the literary world; he sounds like quite a guy.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

art show tonight!



natalia is the graphic designer for the behavioral neurosciences group at the university hospital where i work. she spends her days creating sciencey posters, newsletters, and recruitment flyers, but her nights are filled with paintings and prints. it's been exciting to find a fellow arts advocate (close call, i almost called myself an artist there!) in an office where numbers and neurons tend to take center stage.

now onto the news--natalia is displaying her art as part of the ballard art walk tonight. her show, entitled GRAVITY WINS, features 15 or so prints. as you can see from the announcement, natalia's art is being showcased at sugartown vintage (2421 NW market st, seattle, wa, 98107) from 6pm-9pm. stop by and say hi; i think there's even free wine and hors d'oeuvres.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

if you're looking to buy a condo...

check out my buddy's condo. you can click the link or use the MLS number (27191157) on a real estate site like johnlscott.com. i've never thought about buying a condo, but if you're in the market for something nice and affordable that's in easy walking distance of basketball courts, tennis courts, and a baseball field, this is a good one. the living room is nice for eating nachos and watching seahawks games (and the kitchen is nice for making the nachos).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

higher ground (a personal essay by andrew david)

some februaries my parents and i would strap the camper to our truck and head south. we'd drive down I-5, through evergreens, olive orchards, and southern california sprawl, until we made our way to the edge of some lonely desert. we'd consult a map and point definitively into an expansive blank space and say, "there. that's where grandpa and grandma are."

sure enough, somewhere in that sea of sand we'd find their rig, parked like a lone outpost in the wild. after pulling in and trying some of their prickly pear jam, we would usually head across the border and into mexico--we'd pass through tijuana or ensenada and then stay a few days in san quentin or san felipe.

i remember one such trip where we all piled into grandpa's truck and out into yet another desert. we may have packed sandwiches, mexican pastries, and water canteens, but all that i can recall are lemon drops--grandpa and grandma's truck was always well-stocked with lemon drops. after jostling about in the pick-up cab for an hour, we started to traverse a dry lake bed. the sand there was nice and flat and made for quick bump-free sailing. but as we drove, grandpa started to notice wet sand sticking to our tires. we began to slip and slide--the lake wasn't so dry after all. my mom sat white-knuckled beside me, afraid that we might get stuck there, doomed to feast on cacti and century plants.

but grandpa led us on. he kept the wheels turning and instructed us to look for higher ground, for tufts of grass that might signal a way out of this mud pit.

perhaps it was because i was an adventurous, short-sighted kid, but on that day it didn't occur to me to be afraid. i believed that grandpa would find a way out of the mess. that's just the way he was: grandpa had a resourcefulness and a quiet strength about him. it was there in his handshake, his bear hug, in the way he worked the timber and served his church, and it was there that day when he urged us to look for dry land. throughout his entire life he always pointed us up, always exhorting us to head for higher ground.

--------------------

author's note
after my grandpa passed away, my grandma asked that we cousins write something to communicate what he meant to us. some of the letters were shared at his memorial and graveside service; they were all very touching. in any case, this was my contribution.
i wrote it during the two-hour car ride from oregon city to marcola. but as you can see, i've been thinking about it for awhile.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

soccer!

we won our soccer game tonight, woohooo!

and i scored two goals!

yeah!



(also, someone's been clicking on some ads. i made a buck today.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

news

it's been a busy weekend.

monday is the launch of the first issue of the other journal with me as the creative writing editor, so i spent all of saturday editing content and assisting my editor-in-chief and managing editor. monday is my second day of class (a fun yet grueling 3 hour affair), so after church, i spent sunday reading, hating the NFL, and doing homework. monday is the return of my continentally-estranged s.o.; i didn't really have to do anything to prepare for this, but it hopefully means that i'll be busy on tuesday.

yikes, i'm going to be worn out.

also, i'm probably headed to oregon this week: my grandpa passed away early saturday morning, and the memorial service will probably be this week. we sang a song in church today about christ's death and resurrection, and i had to stop singing because i was a little choked up. if you're a 17 point scale loyalist, my grandpa's the one that i've been posting interview segments from. i don't know what i think about adding more interview segments at the moment. in the meantime, here's a song that i've posted before, which somehow seems to fit how i feel right now:

http://www.roachmusic.com/music/AJ_Roach-Grandaddy.mp3

my grandpa certainly never "ran whiskey" but i really like that last verse; i think it communicates what people thought of my grandpa. he was an amazing man:

granddady passed away on his birthday,
just a couple ---- of a century ----.
everybody was ---- just to help him celebrate,
and we all cried when he didn't wake up.
mama' gave me a black and white picture framed
of the man in his funeral clothes.
had to hold five or six separate services,
and everybody in the county must have showed.
john, you're gonna shine like silver.
yeah, you're gonna' hear such a beautiful grievous sound
when you're floating over them jordan river,
and we lay your earthly body down.
ah, i love that verse.

(by the way "----" means that i'm not sure what singer says, not that i think he's swearing!)


Monday, October 08, 2007

the visit (a personal essay by andrew david)

Beth’s grandfather talks quietly; his words tremble in the air and then vanish, like hot breath in the winter. There are no other chairs, so we are scattered about the room on a pair of footstools and some empty spaces of carpet.

Grandpa Cole is telling us about a devotional book that he ordered from the downtown bookstore. The book consists of a Bible verse for each day of the year, and Cole has purchased five copies of the book so that the family can read the same daily entries even when they are apart. We are visiting for the afternoon, and he wonders whether we might be willing to give him a ride to the store to pick them up: apparently the books have been waiting there for months.

Cole can’t drive himself. Earlier this summer he accidentally drove his car into Lake Washington. The incident was splashed across the local headlines—MAN RESCUED FROM CAR PLUNGE INTO LAKE—but Cole downplays the event. In his soft way, he thanked the lifeguard that pulled him from his lake-bound tomb and then defended the strange event by complaining of poor signage and confusing roadways.

Since that time, he has lived in three separate retirement homes: two independent living communities and an assisted living community. I occasionally hear bits and pieces of these housing adventures from Beth—the rooms are too small, the people are too bland, something just isn’t right. And when we first arrived, Cole recited a litany of life’s curses. Indeed, we learned a great deal about his canker sore and lack of appetite.

But a wall of sound seems to separate us from Cole. The busy buzz of healthy independent life makes it difficult for us to empathize with this frail quiet man.

When we finally wander downtown in search of the bookstore, we forget the thoughtful generosity that initiated this search and only note that Cole can’t remember its location. And when he confesses feelings of loneliness and ineptitude, we call the nurse to check his mouth. We may try to treat his words with gravity, but they strike us as awkward and strange. It is as if each phrase is as an excuse for lake-driving.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

another way to procrastinate sleeping

i use google's picasa as my photo browsing software (except when it goes loony), and one of my favorite (yet most lame?) ways to waste time before sleeping consists of cycling through a folder of photos at about 0.05 seconds per picture. it's a digital flipbook! i highly recommend it.

in future posts you can expect more clips from my interview with my grandfather, possible commentary on pieces published in the creative writing section of
the other journal, some updated film and literature rankings, and perhaps a quick sketch of my first-ever idea for a short story or novel.

my maytrees blurb

here's my blurb from the latest edition of image update:

the maytrees by annie dillard

Reading Annie Dillard’s second novel, The Maytrees, is like taking a stroll through the dunes of Cape Cod, shoeless and pensive, the sea “a monster with lace hem” beside you, and then happening upon a weathered stone or a gleaming pearl in the sand, nudging it with your foot, and sifting the salty grains through your toes as you unbury the unseen. The Maytrees moves at this same careful pace. Dillard’s practiced eye observes the love of two protagonists, Maytree and Lou, unfolding and refolding it thought by thought, again and again. Although The Maytrees explores themes of grace, aging, and nature, it is best characterized as an unabashed love story: two New Englanders marry and find themselves forever wondering what love is. Dillard, undaunted by the long line of love stories that have scoured the genre of its obvious metaphors, writes like a patient beachcomber bent on discovering her own unique treasure in the sand. With her characteristic sense of humor, Dillard encounters the mystery of love with a handful of surprising and poetic images, from Aztec priests to sinking ships. And her characters explicitly ponder the strange paradox of love, the ridiculous notion that we care “wildly, then deeply, for one person out of billions,” that we bind “ourselves to the fickle, changing, and dying as if they were rock.” But ultimately, as Toby Maytree struggles to realize, “reason never trafficked in a man’s love life,” and it is “only in the face of the other” that we each find home.

some of you may frown at the strange opening to this blurb, but i really like it. it feels like poetry to me, and no matter what you might say, i think it works. i'm still thinking about the rating for this one. somewhere between a 9 and a 12.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

thoughts about life, ven diagrams, and grandpa

i've recently become addicted to staying up late even when i don't want to. i've settled into an ugly routine whereby i have to surf the internet before going to bed. in some sense, this is a disaster--i spend the next day trying not to fall asleep in my office. if i go to bed at 11:30pm, i must first read sports blogs, check the other journal wiki, and creep and crawl all over the world wide web. and then after shutting my laptop and eyes, my mind stays up for another hour, wrestling with itself over this, that, and the best strategies for falling asleep.

tonight the random web surfing consisted mostly of some articles by jerry brewer about a young girl who is battling a cancer known as neuroblastoma. as i tried to sleep, the columns kept reminding me of my grandpa; yes, the same grandpa that you've been hearing from on this blog during the last month.

grandpa has been fighting cancer for more than a year now. my parents tell me that he has taken a rough turn recently; his white blood cells (those cancer fighting fellows inside the body) are fine, but he can't manage to eat or drink anything. at the moment he's tethered to a hospital IV, and we're all hoping that he can get hydrated and find an appetite. his condition is bad enough that my parents have canceled our annual labor day adventure in eastern washington so that they can be close to springfield in case his condition worsens.

in the meantime (i.e., until grandpa gets better or worse), all i can do is pray and stay up late thinking (and then writing).

although the situation may look grim, i have plenty of hope. for one thing, i'm confident that if it's nearing grandpa's time, he will be at home at his next destination. but i also have hope that he will make it through this scare.

like the little girl in brewer's seattle times articles, grandpa has been rather sick before. in fact, more than a year ago i found myself pensively considering his cancer and started to write a blog entry to express my feelings. however, my metaphors got all tangled and grandpa got better, so i abandoned the post.

at the moment the post is mostly a jumbled mess, but i don't know that i'm going to have a chance to work on it anytime soon. so i thought i'd post it in all it's confusing glory. i have inserted red asterisks to indicate random jumps in thought that you aren't expected to follow. red text indicate broken thoughts that probably won't make sense.

5/14/06
[another thought brought to you by the kangaroo and kiwi]

"i hope to see my friend and shake his hand. i hope the pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams; i hope..."

~andy duphrane (the shawshank redemption)

as an editor in the field of psychiatry i support brainy academics who say some pretty boring stuff. they write of affymetrix oligonucleotide microarrays and lymphocyte gene expression, alpha-synuclein immunohistochemistry and PSEN 1 mutations. in the publish-or-perish world of research, they write to stay alive. grant money is to alzheimer's disease,*

i remember edwin a. abbott as the wicked writer of '96. his one-hundred year old shadow cast a dark pallor over my mid-winter break. were locked in on seattle. his shadow first crossed my path during one of those odd weeks that seattle schools designate as vacation. districts pass out like candy. the children love february break, and my family was vacationing in mexico. we strapped a big blue camper to our backs and chugged south to yuma, arizona. there we met my snowbird grandparents. grandma and grandpa green. the sun and sand called my name. i remember grandma and grandma's rig: big burly and brown. my grandparents were explorers. they traveled off-the-beaten path before there was a beaten path. before it was popular. i'm sure there must have been some destination in mind, but the plan is lost somewhere in the dust of time. we squeezed four adults, my teenage self, and some lemon drops into the burly brown chevy beast. today my grandpa could use some of those lemon drops--the chemo has him down to a meager 145--but back then he was a burly barrel of toughness. i thought he was indestructable.* at the time, i imagined abbott, the just as william shakespeare haunted june of '01, mr. abbott weasled his way into vacation plans. my of my mid-winter break. my family and i people are obvolute circles. when our circles slop into one another we form insanely interconnected ven diagrams. take your pick of sociologists--auguste comte, georg simel, pierre bourdieu--whatever their theoretical bent, these dudes all agree that we are connected. . for instance, if you're reading this, you're probably connected to me in some way. the intensity of our connections is constantly in flux. today your circle might be big and bold at the point where it overlaps my circle. but as life passes, that circle will fade.*

sometimes we have a tendency to live this life like jugglers. we keep tossing those circles around,
fanning the flame for each of those circles. we don't let them fade. in moderation, this is probably a good thing. otherwise, all the circles will fade and we'd be left on a lonely island, a circle to ourself. conversely, this juggling act is also a failure to recognize the very nature of life. friends and family fade in and out. this is life; that's the way it is.

but sometimes circles suddenly disappear. (flashy quote from poet; talk about grandpa; that's really what i wanted to talk about.
)


okay, back to 2007. an explanation of this post:

i was planning to recount a story in which my family and grandpa and grandma piled into their truck and went for a drive through the desert. we nearly got stuck out in a dried-up lake bed. i can't recall what this had to do with any of my metaphors except that my aim was to talk about grandpa.

my life as a science editor is somehow related to the life of
edwin a. abbott an author, mathematician, and christian theologian. i'm not sure how we're related except that during the trip that i hoped to describe, i was forced to read abbott's flatland for my pre-calculus or geometry class. flatland is about a society of shapes (including circles), ven diagrams consist of circles, jugglers juggle circles, little tropical islands look like circles, and thus circles were my main conceit.

the end.

----------

for an updated version of this story, see this post.

Friday, August 24, 2007

tribute to the girls of 79th


beth's house is breaking up.

after a mildly stressful rental search, mari and beth are headed east toward greenlake. they have found a beautiful new house (which i've yet to see) and fun new roommates. nora, a sometime-roommate, will be heading to california (or maybe colorado?) later this summer. and tomorrow, whitney (seen below in red socks) will be shipping her soccer skills south to california for good.

i thought i'd write a post to commemorate whitney's leaving or the disbandment of the house, but instead i'd like to share some advice from getgirls.com: "there's a rule about dating women with a roommate....this rule is that you must also make a good impression on her roommate."

this
rule is general knowledge in the kingdom of men, and we don't need "the world's leading source for seducing women" to give us a head's up. still, i've heard (and seen) horror stories about guys and their girlfriends' girlfriends. for example, during the years right after college, i lived in a series of cramped, messy apartments--at one time, we squeezed three guys into a single nasty room--yet despite our ugly abodes, one of my roommates preferred to hang out with his s.o. at our place, not because it had some mystical appeal or because he loved us so much, but because of his relationship with her roommates.

in contrast, i'm a regular at beth's house on 79th; i genuinely like all of her roommates and consider them good friends.

during a recent work lunch, some friends and i chatted about dinners and executions; we pondered what we would eat for our last meal on death row--steaks & ribs, pizza & beer, exotic curries and a bottle of egon muller riesling--each listing was a more wonderful gluttony than the one before.

now, regardless of what we may think of california, it's probably a bit ridiculous (and morbid) to venture any kind of comparison between whitney's last meal as a washingtonian and the smörgåsbord of delicacies my work friends dreamed up for a final night in the joint. but forgive me, i can't resist. indeed, i find it rather interesting that we ate sadza, a simple shona food that mari imported from zimbabwe. sadza tastes great, but it's rather simple; it doesn't set the taste buds on fire or make the stomach purr, and i would be a little surprised if it were whitney's favorite food.

but sadza ignites community.

the kitchen crowds as people gather to help prepare the meal. someone grabs a great pot and dumps pound after pound of corn meal inside. the pot is large, they say, because you never make just a little sadza. and when it's ready, the main dish is a finger food, the ultimate evolution of the potluck. grubby fingers go at it, glopping the sadza in delicious tomatoey-onion sauce; everyone is united in their forklessness.***

yes, sadza is a fitting end to the era. beth, mari, nora, and whitney's decision to prepare sadza seems emblematic of their heart for community (also see this post from 2005), of their friendly openness to people like me. and this sadza approach to life worked.

indeed, it has inspired phrases that you'd see in yearbook scribblings: fun parties (which i used to consider an oxymoron), caroling, talking about guys (errrrrrr...perhaps i mean listening to talk about guys), taking trips, eating too many vegetables, performing sufjan, watching lost....

you know, getgirls.com is right: it pays to be friends with your girlfriend's roommates.

addendum

i was also hoping to say some words about whitney. i think we'll all miss whitney's honesty, her enthusiasm, her encouragement, her funny mannerisms, and her devotion to her friends, and we know she'll settle in well down in cali.

(the links are to other posts about whitney and to other posts with whitney pictures).


the s.o. "soccer skillz" seattle, wa. [PS these are very, very closely cropped pictures; thus the poor quality]

***well, almost everyone. as much as i love this metaphor, there are those that choose to wield silverware, and they don't spoil the community by doing so. some may think them stubborn or contentious, but really they're just adding their personal flare to the event.****

****in case you couldn't tell, i eat sadza with a spoon.


please comment if you h
ave other thoughts or yearbook-like comments on the girls of 79th or whitney.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

grandpa and the country school

by the way, i'm curious whether anyone has follow-up questions for any of these segments. if you do, please share your question in the comments section.

and now, here it is:

v. the little country school

personally, i'd like a few scene-setting details, puzzle pieces that don't really matter but help tell the story. i'm left wondering little things like: did the teachers use chalkboards? did grampa--i just realized that i tend to say either "gran-pa" (with a silent
d) or "grampa," yet i spell it much differently; maybe i'll start alternating the spelling here--ever have to stay after class writing things like "i will not chew gum in class. i will not chew gum in class. i will not chew gum in class. i will not chew gum in class. i will not--" on the chalkboard? did they have gum back then or did they obnoxiously chew other things instead? grannpa says that they often gave outsiders a tough time, what about teachers? does he remember having a crush on a teacher? did he ever bring a teacher an apple? were there apple trees on the farm?

Monday, August 20, 2007

good advice

i don't give advice much, but when i do it's really good:

at about 2:12am, i set down my laptop, walked from my bed to the stairs, and shouted to the roommate, "want some advice?"

he paused his dwarf-town-building video game long enough to grunt.

"when you start your new job next week, don't go get two more."

okay, now that i've almost finished
the other journal submisson page, i'm going to bed.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

movies to see and grandfathers to hear

if it seems like the blog has been resurrected, it hasn't. once i finish posting these audio files, i'm sure things will quiet down again.

beth was out of town this weekend, so i stuck around the house and worked on this blog,
imageupdate (i.e., i started and finished annie dillard's new novel, the maytrees, which i'll be writing about soon), and the other journal. i also played some soccer with the roommate and went to church at bethany. still, after two-and-a-half days (and counting) without beth around, i got rather bored. generally, i'm able to relieve boredom by reading novels (e.g., the maytrees) and mariners blogs, but despite the m's recent winning streak, blogs are relatively quiet over the weekend. so i did the next best thing (besides watching movies): ate cereal and watched movie previews.

here's my list of new movies with potential:

charlie bartlett - comedy (about a brilliant kid causing problems at school + dys***)
get smart - comedy (the preview is hilarious)
lars and the real girl - comedy (lars has a life-size doll as a s.o.; his family tries to make do)
margot at the wedding - drama (dys; from the makers of that squid and the whale movie;
michael clayton - action/drama (i just expect clooney movies to be good)
no country for old men - action/drama (violent; based on the novel by cormac mccarthy)
rocket science - comedy (about a stuttering kid on his debate team)
the darjeeling limited - comedy (three odd brothers travel india together; typical wes anderson)
the simpsons movie - comedy (the roommate says it's funny)

here's my list of new movies with less potential:

2 days in paris - romantic comedy (like meet the parents but in france and with ex-boyfriends instead of parents)
dan in real life - romantic comedy (an advice columnist falls in love with his brother's girlfriend)
death at a funeral - comedy (dys)
death sentence - action/drama (kevin bacon's son is murdered; he tries to get revenge; and then the revenged try to get revenge with kevin bacon)
dedication - romantic comedy (a neurotic writer falls in love with a pretty illustrator)
feast of love - romantic comedy (it looks funny even though, from what i can tell, it's a movie about affairs)
gone baby gone - action/mystery (ben affleck directed a movie...and it looks okay!)
hannah takes the stairs - romantic comedy (another movie about love triangles)
hunt party - action/drama - (about journalism in bosnia)
ira and abby - romantic comedy (an odd couple marries after one date, have problems, and fall in love)
into the wild - nature drama (based on jon krakauer's book about a twenty-some who wandered off into the alaskan wilderness)
no end in sight - documentary (about how the war strategy in iraq is messed up)
rendition - action/drama (about a woman whose husband is being held in a prison outside the US instead of being formally charged)
the exiled - action (an asian action flick)

*** dys = about dysfunctional families

there's a surprising number of comedies on this list--hmmmm...i don't usually like comedies....


and here's the latest clip from my interview with grandpa:
iv. a few dollars, some eggs, and a nasty recorder

Saturday, August 18, 2007

updated ratings and chapter 3 of the grandpa interview

after a great deal of thought (several months, in fact), i've finally rated some more books and films.

books
14.gilead.marilynne robinson ! - as the links (i.e., this link and the link within the next page which sends readers outside the blog) suggest,
gilead may initially require an effort--it may seem slow at first--but the narrator is so likeable and so authentic that after a few pages you'll want to know what this thoughtful, well-meaning old codger says next. it's a great book for reading around the fire.

11.the great divorce.cs lewis - only the first third of this link is relevant, but it describes my sense of the book:
the great divorce is an interesting allegory, but for a novel it ends rather poorly. to quote from the back page: "crazy goose. an interesting vision of heaven and hell and the lessons we may learn there."

11.harry potter & the 1/2-blood prince.jk rowling - yes, i read the final two harry potter books. as the creative writing editor for a culture and faith magazine (the other journal), i thought i should at least be familiar with the books behind the harry potter hysteria. the roommate and his family love harry potter, so i borrowed his books. i found them entertaining yet formulaic. the link is to a wikipedia article that briefly summarizes some of the critical responses to potter. the wikipedia article also suggests that potter is increasing literacy, but this article in the washington post offers an interesting counterpoint.

10.harry potter & the deathly hallows.jk rowling - see hp & the 1/2 bp.

10.cities of the plain.cormac mccarthy - i found this, the third novel in mccarthy's
border trilogy, to be predictable and considerably less engaging than its predecessors. the link is to a german amazon.com site, and i'd direct you more particularly to the review "Don't like it? Have it your own ignorant way," which takes my ambivalence for the third novel and tosses it to the heavens, building a strong case that cities of the plains is a fitting end for this magnificent trilogy. thus, despite rating this book a 10, i think that i'd still give the series a 15 or 16.


films
09.flags of our fathers - too many characters - director clint eastwood had a chance to make this story great, but i found myself lost in a sea of characters, and (with the exception of one scene) i had trouble buying into their onscreen camaraderie. thus, the movie seemed to drag on at times. i've heard that
letters from iwo jima is the better of eastwood's two WWII films.

08.fearless - martial arts movie - there's nothing blatantly wrong with
fearless, so i could probably be convinced to increase my rating of the film. in the meantime, i found that the relationships, emotion, and drama of the film were unconvincing (and thus an 8). however, they were markedly better than the jackie chan films i've seen. the fighting choreography seemed cool, but i have absolutely no sense of how cool. the link is to jet li's wikipedia page, primarily because although fearless is set nearly 100 years ago, it appears to be somewhat autobiographical.

interviews
and now a longer segment from my interview with grandpa where he describes his father as responsible and discusses the relationship between farming, logging, and the great depression:
iii. livin' on farms, workin' on wood

Thursday, August 16, 2007

a new job! and chapter 2 of the grandpa interview

hooray! the roommate gets to become a cube-rat again (i.e., a cubicle dweller). after a month of applications and interviews, he landed a job with a computery company in pioneer square. whoohooo!

and now, since allison was so demanding, i'll continue with the next segment of my interview with grandpa:
ii. grandpa's dad the technophile

helpful links that may clarify today's audio file:
something like grandpa's route to church
the only car in the neighborhood


andrew david. "hello from caracol" caracol, belize.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

1. GRANDPA That memorable day, the parents, and the sibs

a few weeks ago i bought a digital voice recorder so that i could interview my grandfather. to those who wonder why, i don't have an easy answer. like many $65 life decisions, the seeds for this interview cannot be attributed to a specific circumstance or thought, but rather a strange blend of the two. here are some of the many reasons i asked Grandpa if he'd grant me an interview:

1. veronica mars. in this since-canceled TV show, the protagonist, a high schooler by the name of veronica mars, wanders from episode to episode solving crimes. beth loves veronica mars. she wants to be veronica mars. and every true veronica mars-wanna' be needs the proper equipment to solve her crimes (e.g., a digital voice recorder). and any good boyfriend would do whatever was in his power to fulfill his girl's dreams (e.g., loan her his digital voice recorder so she can solve crimes). moreover, this isn't the first time beth considered a side-life as a PI--apparently she and mari once formed a club to solve mysteries. as far as i know, they haven't uncovered much, but perhaps with the help of my voice recorder....

2. curiosity. in case you haven't noticed, i like to ask people questions. my roommate likes to attribute this trait to my time as an interviewer at northwest research group. my question lust may also be a kind of avoidance technique. that is, while most people love to talk about themselves, i get uncomfortable. thus, my question asking makes everyone more happy. still, i really do think i'm genuinely curious. i like to punch through the shallow and follow conversation threads wherever they may lead. i've often lamented to my mom that i don't live closer to my grandparents so that i could buy them coffee and pester them with questions.

3. ignorance. one day, several months ago, i realized that i didn't know much about my grandparents' past. i've heard a few stories, but i don't have a good picture of who they were before they became grandpa (green), grandma (green), and grandma (david). that just doesn't seem right.

4. gilead and loss. i recently finished marilynne robinson's pulitzer prize winning novel gilead. it's a fictional collection of letters from a dying pastor to his young son. the pastor uses the letters to pass on stories, wisdom, and history that the boy won't grasp until he's older. gilead is at times slow, at times funny, and nearly always poignant.*** and now that i'm older, it got me thinking: "grandpa is sick these days. i don't know God's timing, and i don't know how many opportunities i'll have to learn about his past." and really, my interview (he said yes) wasn't an interview in the strictest sense of the word. it was more of a conversation. it was quality time.

5. history. some protestants think that truth and faith are confined to the words in the bible. i'm right up there with luther, shouting "sola gratia! sola fide! sola scriptura! solus christus! soli deo gloria!" but i also don't think it's right to dismiss the past. our interpretations of the bible are shaped by centuries of tradition, theology, and culture. and like it or not, without this history, the nuts and bolts of our faith would look strikingly different. moreover, there is something amazing about attending a compline service at st. mark's and realizing that i join a long line of Christ's followers, all saying these words, praising this God, staring up through these ancient stone pillars, all looking for the hand of God.

i believe that family provides a similar sense of connection. science says that we are a product of our genes and our environment. in other words, we are our family. and even were i to abandon this post, dash downtown, jump into the aquarium, proclaim myself a fish, and live my life in denial, i believe that some part of my family's tradition, belief, and personality would be embedded in that silly skull of mine. i think this is especially true in the green family. there are 50+ of us, and it is incredible to see how grandpa and grandma green's influence has shaped each generation. somehow, i think it's important to understand and reclaim this connection.

6. the desert remembers my name: on family and writing. in tdrmn, a book i skimmed for imageupdate, kathleen alcala travels across the continent to trace her grandmother's history. she searches dusty libraries, drives forgotten dirt roads, and interviews complete strangers. all i had to do was drive 300 miles.

7. writing. perhaps someday i discover that i'm a writer. on that day i might be happy to have collected information about grandpa's past. maybe it could be the seed of a memoir or novel. i doubt it, but you never know.

8. recording history as it happens. beth works as the mfa coordinator for SPU's MFA in creative writing. although this keeps her rather busy, sometimes she's lucky enough to participate in amazing classroom discussions of faith and writing. when she returns home from these conversations, she often regrets that some of the words and ideas were forever lost. now, with the help of my handy-dandy digital voice recorder, such discussions can be preserved.


well, that may seem like an exhaustive list, but i know that i'm missing one or two important reasons. oh, well. to some degree, my motives are irrelevant. as you can probably tell, grandpa agreed to be interviewed. because of his sickness, grandpa initially warned me that i should keep the interview short, so if my questions seem stumbly, that's partially because i didn't formally prepare anything.

in the end we had a nice long chat (nearly two hours!). depending upon the response i get on this blog, i'll try to serially post the entire interview.

and now, here is the first segment, in which grandpa and i get some of the facts out of the way:
1. GRANDPA That memorable day, the parents, and the sibs

oh, and don't worry, i won't talk quite so much in future posts. i promise!


***elsewhere i say this: "
gilead may initially require an effort--it may seem slow at first--but the narrator is so likeable and so authentic that after a few pages you'll want to know what this thoughtful, well-meaning old codger says next. it's a great book for reading around the fire."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

the good news and the bad news

the good news
my soccer team won 4-1 last night! whoohooo!

in addition to my research editor position at the VA, i am now working as the creative writing editor for the other journal, an online quarterly that publishes essays, reviews, and creative writing that investigate theology, culture, and social justice.

and it gets even more exciting. for its ninth issue birthday, TOJ received a great big check from mars hill graduate school (not to be confused with ballard's mars hill church). this financial support is a sign that TOJ is growing, and with this growth in mind, the TOJ editors are making matters of style, punctuation, and writerly perfection a priority. therefore, becky (the former creative writing editor and new master copyeditor) and i get to establish (and enforce) a house style. this may sound daunting or even painful, but the creation of editorial guidelines is really a copyeditor's dream come true.

the bad news
you've probably noticed that the 17 point scale content has been scarce recently. well, get used to it. because of soccer and TOJ, i don't really have much spare time for blogging. i'll try and keep the numeric book and film ratings up-to-date, and i may occasionally post reviews (e.g., i have an in-progress review of cormac mccarthy's border trilogy that i hope to publish one day) or life updates, but don't expect many of my signature quirky reflections or picture captions.

someday the 17 point scale may return, but in the meantime, i won't be hurt if you stop visiting or change your homepage to some other blog.

send me an email (sparklinandrewivories@hotandrewmail.com but remove the andrews) or leave me a comment if you're interested in hearing directly about future incarnations of the 17 point scale.

-andrew


andrew david. "the setting point scale" ocean shores, wa.

Friday, July 20, 2007

salvaged tunes

many mp3s perished in yesterday's purge, but today was a time of musical salvation. i was preparing to trash most of aqualung's strange and beautiful album; the tracks were rated 1s, 2s, and 3s, and seemed unlikely candidates for survival. but then something peculiar happened. i gave them a second listen and was pleasantly surprised--i may like this aqualung fellow! perhaps my tastes are changing....

that's all.

andrew david. "a strange plant that you mistake for a weed and then learn to love." san ignacio town, belize.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

deleted tunes

my laptop is bursting with mp3s and photographs, so i recently purchased an external hard drive to help with the storage problem. after backing up the files, i went on a deleting spree. the first files to get the ax were 196 songs (that's about 1 gig) from the paste magazine sampler albums. each of the casualties was first given a 5 to 10 second opportunity to increase its ranking to the 3 star safety threshold, but only 1 song was spared (an arcane fire song).

two deletion observations:

  • several of my favorite bands appeared to use paste as their dumping ground for sub-par songs. paste contributions from ben harper, ben kweller, bright eyes, cat power, coldplay, death cab for cutie, solomon burke, and van morrison each found their way to the recycle bin.
  • the paste music editors and i strongly disagree on several bands. multiple contributions from bill mallonee, brindley brothers, mary gauthier, michelle shocked, rachael sage, sonia dada, and the black keys were included in paste albums and subsequently deleted by me.
a list of the most recently deleted songs (sorted by artist)


andrew david. "iguanas and the s.o." san ignacio town, belize.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

big events in the real world

for once i feel legitimately vindicated in my 17 point scale absence. since we last spoke, my world has exploded. by world, i mean my friends, my teams, and myself, and by explode, i mean that the last two weeks have been crazy ridiculous.

my friends

  1. alex got married and headed off on his honeymoon
  2. sean finally left on his honeymoon
  3. my roommate got laid off
  4. beth and her roommates got a tentative eviction notice
  5. the other andrew and some of beth's roommates (i.e., whitney and nora) confirmed that they were beginning new life adventures in sunny california while others (i.e., joel & sara, mari, my parents) set off or prepared to set off for trips to china
my teams
  1. the sonics drafted kevin durant and jeff green and signed wally szcerbiak, delonte west, general manager sam presti, and coach pj carlesimo
  2. the sonics traded ray allen and rashard lewis
  3. the muckleshoot indian tribe is considering the possibility of the construction of a new sonics arena
  4. the mariners are still winning, and at 50-36 are only 2 games out of 1st place in the west and 1 game out of 1st place in the wild card race
  5. after jj putz and ichiro, a pair of sports bloggers may be the leading MVPs for the mariners this year; perhaps i'll explain more later
  6. the others, my amazing soccer team, are 0-3 with an ever climbing goal differential and potential for success
myself
  1. i finished the text for the first issue of that silly newsletter that i mentioned a few months; i'll post a link when it's all fine and dandified
  2. i spent the last week or so in ocean shores with the s.o., her family, and my family; it was the first meeting of the two clans
  3. i have a new job! i am the assistant creative writing editor for the other journal; i'll explain more later
if life slows down and gets ordinary again, i'll be sure to visit more frequently.

andrew david. "the wize young iguana listens patiently to andrew's list" san ignacio town, belize.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

back page: an american tragedy

xi.
an american tragedy by theodore dreiser

5/1/2007
let me quote you from my edition's afterword: "the action of the novel moves like a series of waves, each surging forward to a peak of tension and receding into quietness, and each, after the first one, reenacting in a more complex and perilous fashion the material of its predecessor."

i heartily agree, but while iriving howe suggests that the gathering storm of dreiser's prose is something to be admired, i think i'd rather stay ashore. an american tragedy pounds the reader with wave after wave of its protagonists indiscretions. eight hundred fourteen pages of boring breakers. can someone please call an editor? dreiser's relentless descriptions of the blindly selfish age in which he lived make one tired. for those that survive the deluge, the novel concludes with an interesting collision between faith and conscience. ultimately, i'd say this is the kind of book that inane teachers will assign to their unfortunate students, forever spoiling the next generation's opportunity to appreciate great literature.

6 out of 17


andrew david. "dreiser won't save you, grab the rope!" crescent bar, wa.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

sufjan stevens cover

i'm a world famous musician! my band just aired our music video for sufjan stevens's "chicago" on youtube. i'm the fellow on secondo piano and occasional background vocals.



(if you press play and the video appears to be slow or perpetually loading, click the youtube logo in the right-hand corner of the video screen and follow it to the youtube site. also, be sure to take part in the first ever 17 point scale poll--see the side bar--and leave poll-related comments here on this post.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

back page: the master and margarita

x.
the master and margarita by mikhail bulgakov
translated by michael glenny

4/12/07
some masterpiece--this book stinks. the master and margarita was the worst experience of my recent trip to belize. its fantastical plot reminds me of some of the tales my buddy adam and i wrote in junior high. its funky, disjointed style reminds me of chesterton's the man who was thursday. and its ceaseless chaotic pouncing of immortal crazies on squeamish muscovites reminds me of the sadistic violence of tom and jerry with a slice of greek mythology. i'd like to blame this mess on the translator, but some parts of the book were actually rather good. if you choose to read this book, skip to the creative retellings of the life of jesus, judas, and pilate.

3 out of 17

i should mention that (1) the critics love this book, (2) rebecca the internationally-minded legal counselor-in-training loves this book, and (3) if you don't mind messy senseless plots, people say there's a meaningful satire here.


andrew david. "the wise mennonite grinds the master and margarita into the hard grassy slope." san ignacio town, belize.

Monday, June 25, 2007

blog to do list


  1. change the red font to something more readable
  2. find a way to capitalize (i.e., make money) on the 10-50 hits that i get each day for blue scholars lyrics
  3. decide whether i want to change the random nature of the blog. that is, i generally post on whatever topic strikes my fancy, which tends to include a lot of off-the-wall reflection, but perhaps i should narrow my focus. over the last month or two, i've hit a serious dry spell as far as creative writing and insight are concerned, and i feel like i'm letting my dwindling readership down with the substandard fare that i post instead. therefore, i'm considering limiting the content of the blog to ratings and reviews. if i make this change, the frequency of posts may decrease slightly or stay about the same as the current rate.

andrew david. "the posing problem" san ignacio town, belize. this man was busily building a shoe, but when i asked him if i could take his picture, he stopped, said yes, and stared. he didn't return to work again until i left.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

oh, crap

i guess i just destroyed my blog template.

let me know if the new colors are annoying.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

my culturally savvy christian blurb and some words on poetry

the june 15 issue of imageupdate includes the s.o.'s reviews of sandra scofield's the scene book and michael mott's the world of richard dadd.

in addition to noting that she's reviewing two books, not one, i'd like to emphasize that mott's book is poetry. indeed, i'm particularly impressed when a fellow non-poet like the s.o. can pull that off. yes, i was an english major; i have scanned and explicated my share of strange poems, and i do all right in the comprehension department, but reviewing the stuff is beyond me. i feel rather inadequate when it comes to comparing the quality of one poem to another. i suppose prose is just my thang.

why all this attention to imageupdate? well, i also contributed to the latest issue, and it went something like this:

The Culturally Savvy Christian: A Manifesto for Deepening Faith and Enriching Popular Culture in an Age of Christianity-Lite by Dick Staub
Image
There’s a good chance that the writer and social commentator Dick Staub is a secret apologist for Image. His newest book, The Culturally Savvy Christian, closely parallels Image’s underlying mission: it vigorously challenges readers to discern rather than idly consume, and more importantly, to nourish the contemporary culture rather than becoming pop culture clones. As the past host of a syndicated radio program, Staub has mastered the art of pairing people with ideas and watching them take off. This talent makes The Culturally Savvy Christian a particularly intriguing read: Staub collects facts and voices from sociology, theology, and pop culture and fits them into an insightful conversation about the devolution of culture and evangelicalism. He contends that most Christians, even those who travel in exclusively Christian circles, have been wooed by the forces of marketing and technology and have thereby fallen into an unconscious illicit union with superficiality and sentimentality. Staub dubs this blind self-centeredness Christianity-Lite, and he believes that to avoid a quiet backslide into mediocrity, we must get serious with our faith, sink deeper into the Word, and react to the world with intelligence and creativity. Some Christians bemoan culture’s vulgarities and believe that deepening faith requires us to withdraw into cocoons of Christian isolation and churn out happy-feely Christian art, but Staub warns us that this is not the way of Christ. Instead, he explains that like CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and Dostoevsky, “Christian artists are not bound to create religious art, but they understand that their exploration of everyday human occurrences is gilded by their walk in faith.” The Culturally Savvy Christian encourages us to peer through the pop culture fog, dismiss the fluff, and reach for the life-changing, the thoughtful, and the meaningful.
let me know if you want any more feedback about the book. i'd give it a 10 out of 17.

despite staub's criticism of marketing, i think his book succumbs to two marketing ploys: (1) every five paragraphs or so, he has a new section. this makes the text easy to digest, but it's a cheap writing technique. (2) staub loves to watchwords. he picks adjectives that seem heavy and laden with meaning and then he uses them again and again.

still, although i skimmed the meaty middle of the book, the culturaly savvy christian certainly succeeds in its overaching goal. it is an insightful depiction of the emergence and cure for christianity-lite.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

the reason i didn't blog tonight

i'm getting tired of looking at that last post every time i boot up the internet, so i thought i'd shoo it further down the page by writing a sentence or two about why i'm not writing:

  1. first, i toured alex's new house and ate at his neighborhood BBQ joint. fans of the blog might remember alex because of his vast collection of music (somewhere between 3,800 and 4,016 songs) which i nabbed and subsequently rated. during our afternoon chat i was shocked to learn two things: (a) alex is renting his two-bedroom ballard house for an insane $600 a month and (b) because of financial problems (i.e., working as a mars hill intern, having an upcoming wedding this month, and being alex), he is no able to keep current with the indie music scene. still, he let me borrow the shins' latest album.
  2. i'm breezing through dick staub's the culturally savvy christian: a manifesto for deepening faith and enriching popular culture in an age of christinaity-lite, the next book that i've been asked to review for imageupdate. i have to finish skimming the book and writing a one-paragraph blurb by thursday morning.

andrew david. "conversations in spanish I: but what if he's this tall? can he still ride the octopus? yes, sir, it is right over there, in the field." san ignacio town, belize.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

first sentences and google

NEWS: i'm performing at the norse center tomorrow. just me and a piano this time.
------------------------------
no blog today. i'm
not doing well at this timely posting business lately, and i don't expect to improve anytime soon. the problem is that i don't have anything to say and no time to say it.

but once long ago i had plenty to say. here's some of the first sentences that i wrote while i was in college. the sentences aren't spectacular, but i can objectively prove that they're unique. you see, for some reason, i was curious to see if any of the sentences were duplicated on the internet. not even close. i couldn't even find a duplicated independent clause. in the list that follows, citations are formatted like this:

month.day.year The first sentence of the paper with material duplicated elsewhere on google in bold. The name of the paper. A description of the closest duplicate on google with the number of hits for the bolded material in parentheses; in some cases this description is hyperlinked (3,780).

12.08.99 Before embarking on my first quarter at SPU, I possessed a fair share of anxiety regarding my future roommate.
The Victorian Perspective. Chris Lear's first marathon (44).

05.02.00 In his Discourse on Method René Descartes urges travelers “lost in a forest…not to wander this way and that, or, what is worse, remain in one place, but…always walk as straight a line as they can” (Veitch, 165-66).
Contemplating Contemplations. A chapter in a philosophy, science, and technology book (6).

06.8.00 Some folks find gardening to be a great stress reliever; probing the moist earth sets their minds at ease.
The Brothers Karamazov. (22,700).

06.8.00 The literature of Stephen Crane typically portrays a world bereft of God.
A Shipwrecked Commentary. A horror literature course (18).

11.22.00 George Herbert’s “Redemption” is a poem narrated by a tenant in search of a cheaper rent contract.
Residing in Redemption. (6).

02.12.01 In the corner of the Skagit Valley Hospital maternity ward lay three pregnant poets.
Parents of Perspective (Dryden, Swift, Wordsworth). (1,010,000).

03.13.01 Without wise men, no nativity scene is complete.
Journey of a Sophomore (TS Eliot). Commentary regarding Ralph Waldo Emerson's Nature (33).

03.15.01 With eager anticipation, the crowd gathered about the fire.
No Such Monk (Beowulf). A pipe shop (707).

05.25.01 Let’s be honest, I am writing this paper for you—a captive audience of one.
The Patchwork Quilt of Humanity. A dumb blog (7,510).

03.19.03 According to Dante Alighieri, the gates of Hell warn newcomers to “abandon every hope, you who enter” here.
Arbeit Macht Frei. (4).

yes, i spent way too much time on this post. yes, in the time that it took to do all this googling, i probably could have written something more substantial. yes, i am going to bed now.