February 12, 2011


do you know me? if you're reading this you probably do. i don't think i get a ton of random traffic here. or, well, much of any traffic for that matter. but whatever! it's time for me to share one of my great loves: deep analysis of popular culture. in other words:


of all of my personality quirks, i embrace my nerdiness with the most relish and joy. i am unabashedly in love with using words like unabashedly. i have an opinion about oxford commas, and i'd be willing to share it with you (even you, vampire weekend). i have not only read the age of innocence, but i've read it about 8 times and i could argue that it gives a much fuller picture of femininity and the complexities of love than any jane austen novel. i think barnett newman's abstract expressionism is real dumb (i mean "zips?" really??) but i love me some rothko (even if admitting that makes me feel like i lose a little indie art cred). i recognize and love my over-use of parenthetical asides in my casual writing (this is the fourth one for this paragraph alone!). and i know that even right this very moment, i'm digging myself deeper and deeper into the bottomless pit that is my nerdiness, and i do. not. care.

but here's my not-so-secret confession: i'm just as happy listening to puccini as i am memorizing the ludacris rap in justin bieber's baby. i love reading short stories from literary magazines, but i can as easily spend my time reading a celebrity news blog. sure, i occasionally like to think i can rise above pop culture on the wings of bach and flannery o'connor and npr. but i know i'm a participant. and not just any participant, a gleeful one.

and i'm here to tell you - the greatest thing about being a nerd is the total lack of tension that comes with using a ten dollar word in describing a two cent tv show.

in other words, being a smarty pants and talking about stuff that's real dumb? COUNT ME IN.

over time, i've found more and more incredibly smart people talking about popular culture. in fact, i would say some of the most intellectually satisfying things i've encountered over the last few months all fall into that category. and man do i want to participate in that conversation! maybe (because of the crushing unlikelihood) not as a pop culture correspondent for npr, but at least with some friends.

twitter is kind of awesome for enabling little bite-sized quips and observations. but the best things i'm seeing right now are as follows:

npr's monkey see - hosted by linda holmes, the blog itself is full of terrific insights: reviews of everything from comic books to theater productions, to the bachelor. but my true love is the weekly podcast entitled pop culture happy hour, in which four npr writers/edtiors/friends sit down and chat about the week's events. the show is snappy, whip-smart, hilarious, and insightful. imagine four of the smartest people you know cracking wise about friday night lights and passionately defending community. it's my favorite.

television without pity - some argue that television without pity lost its teeth when it was acuqired by nbc owned network bravo, but i'd say there are still enough things about it that make it worth visiting. primarily a recapping site, TWoP balances deep analysis with hilarity quite well. they archive all of the shows they've covered, and i can tell you that the recaps of buffy the vampire slayer have made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions.

and finally, the a.v. club - you want smart? you want funny? you want real, thoughtful, deep analysis of last week's glee and why it didn't measure up to the other episodes? go to the onion's a.v. club. seriously. these people know how to write about pop culture. they know how to articulate their arguments, and they know how to do it right. i could literally read this all day. they cover music, film, books, and tv. and i think they're some of the best people out there writing about it.

so yeah. i'm a nerd. are YOU a nerd? do you wanna talk bout buffy with me? or glee? or anything at all? do you work for any of those websites and you want to give me a job? no? okay, that's cool too.

February 5, 2011

Rain and Gloom, Or How I (re)Discovered God's Faithfulness in February


the last two months have been a challenge. i packed up my cozy room in mcconnellsburg. i said tearful goodbyes to my church family and, you know, my regular one. i said goodbye to one tiny town and hello to another tiny town.

i moved to camp.


and if you know me, you know i love camp. it felt so strange to be away from it this summer. away from the games, the routine, the songs and skits and staff. so the opportunity to be back - and not just back, but back starting in january - sounded fantastic. it sounded like where i was supposed to be.


but when the time to leave rolled around, it felt less like that. i realized how much home felt like, well, home. leaving felt absurd and scary. but at that point, it's not like there was much of a choice left to make; it was time to go.


and now i'm here. the work is good work. i have community, and a job that matters. i live in a cozy house:


and i live with friends and neighbors who are caring, loving, and gracious. even with all that, the transition has been rough around the edges at times. i leapt headfirst into a time consuming and pretty intense job. and even with the familiarity of camp and the surrounding area, there's a level of feeling out of place that comes and goes.


in other words, it's not home yet.


today i gave a family with three sons a tour of the property and answered their questions about camp. and while i was telling them about everything we do, i remembered how much this place can feel like home. i remembered how precious my summers have been here, and i remembered how much i love being here.


so this afternoon, i decided to go for a walk. the weather here is downright gross today. it's rainy, gloomy, muddy and wet. yesterday would've been a much better day to trek about, with the sun out and the bright blue sky, but today felt right. it's not too cold, and the rain isn't too heavy. and the more i looked, the more beautiful the day became.


i don't mean to sound too melodramatic here. it's not like i've been slogging through some emotional turmoil and i finally had some breakthrough today. "i've been so sad, but now i see that the sad is beautiful!" ha, not this time. i'm actually quite happy, but the confusion and transition felt a little messy.


today it was nice to be out in the mess and enjoy it. it's not that photogenic, it's not the ideal day to show off our property, or to take a lot of photos for my blog to impress you with the beauty of my surroundings. but it's where i am right now, and today i remembered that the lord put me here with great intentionality. he put me here, because here is where i'm supposed to be. he put me here in the middle of winter, when there are no kids, when it snows all the time, when it's cold and icy.


he put me here to accomplish his purposes for me, no matter how vague or distant they might feel to me right now. and he calls me to enjoy it, not just in the summer. not just on the bright and beautiful days, but always.