a far too self-absorbed philological foodie…

Spring Forward

This excerpt comes to mind every year, just as the daffodils are sprouting up and the days are getting longer…Thank you, Tolstoy.

“Spring was slow in unfolding. For the last few weeks it had been steadily fine frosty weather. In the daytime it thawed in the sun, but at night there were even seven degrees of frost. There was such a frozen surface on the snow that they drove the wagons anywhere off the roads. Easter came in the snow. Then all of a sudden, on Easter Monday, a warm wind sprang up, storm-clouds swooped down, and for three days and three nights the warm, driving rain fell in streams. On Thursday the wind dropped, and a thick grey fog brooded over the land as though hiding the mysteries of the transformations that were being wrought in nature.

“Behind the fog there was the flowing of water, the cracking and floating of ice, the swift rush of turbid, foaming torrents; and on the following Monday, in the evening, the fog parted, the storm-clouds spilt up into little curling crests of cloud, the sky cleared, and the real spring had come.

” In the morning the sun rose brilliant and quickly wore away the thin layer of ice that covered the water, and all the warm air was quivering with the steam that rose up from the quickened earth. The old grass looked greener, and the young grass thrust up its tiny blades; the buds of the guelder-rose and of the currant and the sticky birch-buds were swollen with sap, and an exploring bee was humming about the golden blossoms that studded the willow. Larks trilled unseen above the velvety green fields and the ice-covered stubble-land; peewits wailed over the low lands and marshes flooded by the pools; cranes and wild geese flew high across the sky uttering their spring calls. The cattle, bald in patches where the new hair had not grown yet, lowed in the pastures; the bow-legged lambs frisked round their bleating mothers. Nimble children ran about the drying paths, covered with the prints of bare feet. There was a merry chatter of peasant women over their linen at the pond, and the ring of axes in the yard, where the peasants were repairing ploughs and harrows. The real spring had come.”

-excerpt from “Ana Karenina”

Tantalizing Syllables.

A friend of mine recently made an observation about which I’ve been geeking for nigh a week. The observation regards the title of this blog, and further explicates the intricate relationship with, and feelings toward words: the written word, the spoken word, and even the musical. I do not simply enjoy words and their harmonious, syllabic constructions. I do not have simple sweet regard for the recitation of rhyme or harnessed syntax. I feel words. I feel words in every mode of feeling. I feel words as if they danced upon my skin like a lover’s fingertips or a Spring breeze. That is the intimacy with which I engage with them, and they refresh me. Epicurus was a atomic materialist thinker around 300 BC. He disregarded the divine intervention of the gods and superstitions and believed that by moderation and knowlege of one’s desires and the workings of the world, namely physics (literally the physical workings and makeup), that a person could obtain the highest pleasure and avoid the worst possible pain; thus, attaining ultimate happiness. His school of thought focused primarily on physical pleasures, though in moderation, without moral or ethical guidelines except for one’s own conscience. Today, Epicureanism implies a vast knowlegde and pleasure in food and drink, making it synonomous with gourmand. Hence, as with all ideas I most enjoy, there lies a pun in this. I taste words. I like the way they dance in my mouth as I speak, and the way in which they resonate in my ears when heard. I like the way the letters flitter across pages and pages and the way a good writer, as he or she is obviously moderate, can make a good reader derive the highest amount of pleasure from his or her phrases.

This is the friend: http://www.justinmcroberts.com/

This is also close to my heart and belly: http://www.epicurious.com/

“Dost thou think, that because thou art virtuous,

there shall be no more cakes and ale?”

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

House [of Blues]

Hawt dayum, the organ is such a sexy instrument…sometimes I feel lustful during church.

Hugh Laurie played a tidbit of the intro in a recent episode of House…

Older, bluesy, sarcastic Brit? That’s pretty hawt too.

I Am?

Adjusting to post-collegiate life is more discouraging than I imagined, and I finally feel desperate. I am discouraged by the accumulating heft of stagnation. Almost a year ago I was suddenly hacked away from my umbilical cord of thought. I have incredibly intelligent and thoughtful people in my life, and I am so grateful for them, but I am not constantly enthralled in intellectual interaction with them. I always hoped to be an elitist, intellectual snob, but I can’t be that without other snobs surrounding me. We enjoyed our exclusive conversations and our higher thoughts. Where can I find this now? Daily? Even my writing, which I once practiced with joy, has suffered. My thoughts are wrapped up in the “day-to-day” which now consists of bills, errands, and work. These things once seemed so trivial and simply accidental to my existence as a student. I was a student. What AM I now? Is this all a question of identity? Dan encourages me by reminding me that I am not defined by what I do. Aside from work, run errands, and write checks to pay for the education I reminisce about daily, I don’t do much else. The life of academia I so often envisioned and dreamt of has given way to the mundane…and it makes me miserable. What is it that defines a being if not what said being, does? If a being is defined by its function, is that not the same thing? A hand is a hand insofar as it performs the functions of a hand, thus, I am only a student and a thinker insofar as I study and think. Is that correct? I feel like God had it so easy when it came to defining Himself: I Am. If only I were also an eternal, unchanging participle; I Am would describe me perfectly and all adjectives and modifiers would be excessive.

What defines individual persons? Aside from qualifying adjectives describing our physical features and current attitudes, we are also divided in terms of our occupations, ethnicities, religions, interests, etc. We are constantly dividing and being divided into meticulously created dichotomies until we are the only being within that class. I am hispanic, dark-haired, and petite. I also enjoy reading, cooking, and drinking coffee. What am I? And, how, if at all, does this question differentiate from Who am I? What does it mean to identify? Spanish speakers, I think have an easier time comprehending and differentiating between “whats” with their dual verbs, ser and estar. Both verbs mean “to be” in their infinitive form, but “ser” is used in terms of permanence and physical description. Estar is used to modify place, feeling, and other impermanent states. Apple has placed a trademark on the infamous “i”. iI ithink ithis iwas ian iattempt ito imake iall itheir idevices iseem imore ipersonal. Descartes coined the famous “I think, therefore I am”…but I am What?

Kingdom Love

I keep replaying the sermon in my head, attempting to retrace the logic which lead to our being in groups, telling each other what we “heard from God”. Dan was fuming, and understandably so…does everyone HEAR the voice of God? No, not in the usual, auditory sense. I personally have never felt the sensation of sound waves from Heaven on High, but I do experience God daily. The sermon, continuing the study of Kairos moments in our lives was meant to highlight Kingdom Love. Kingdom Love, as defined by the sermon, is love felt among those and by those in “His Kingdom”. The sermon was circumventing the motto: Practice makes Perfect. Matthew 5 exegetes Christ’s claim that he does not come to “replace the Law, but to Fulfill it”. Matthew poetically relates Christ’s sermon with a refrain of “You have heard”. All Jews knew and lived the Law. In fact, in the Hebrew mind, there is no distinction between knowledge and actions. All Jews were raised in knowledge of the Law, and now, they were confronting the “but”. The sermon continues:

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’.

 39“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

 40“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.

 41“Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.

 42“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

 43“You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’.

 44“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

 46“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

 47“If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

 48“Therefore  you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Christ commands alternate approaches to love. He makes love whole and perfect by giving it openly to all. Love is not meant to be denied to any, else it not be love. He urges that this practice of giving more than requested, giving without condition, and giving continuous love become regular, so that it may be perfect. The sermon touched on the well-known “Lord’s Prayer”. I inwardly smiled at the resurge of importance and meaning of the prayer which has become trite in the modern, American church. We do not place enough importance on dissecting the prayer. “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name.” The perfect prayer, to the almighty, omnipresent, God, begins with us. The prayer to HIM, begins with His community, his people, his kingdom. Community cannot exist without Love, and God makes Himself known to his people by their communities. The more inclusive, non-judgmental, giving a community is, the more one may find Love in it, and thus, may moreso feel God’s presence in it. This idea should tie neatly into a ribbon of thought with verse 48…”Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Practicing constant love, without hostility, resentment, or denial transforms one’s heart and transforms the actions into habit. It then naturally follows that they become perfect. The sermon could have concluded in that realm and I would have gladly followed the logic.

Perhaps my reason fails me and I lack the divine revelation needed to grasp what followed. We were each given a post-it and were asked to jot on the post-it a phrase or word which we “heard God say to us”. The theological and personal turmoil several of us were thrown into was sickening. HEAR the VOICE of God? I understand the subtle interlacing between sharing what God presumably spake unto these to each other, and that in doing so, we were sharing His love with each other. However, again, I have never heard His voice. I constantly experience Him and His love, and thus constantly attempt to reciprocate that love by giving it to His people, but not because I hear His voice. I experience God through all of my senses. I see the colours of the fields, taste the literal fruits of his labor, smell and touch his creations, and yes, I HEAR laughter, music, and leaves rustling. All of these experiences make Him evident to me. I guess the next time I am asked what I hear God say to me, I should answer, “that he prefers music over chit-chat too”.

Sultans of Swing

Not only does this tunage contain one of the cleanest guitar solos in the history of musical creations, but the drum fills are some of the most exhilirating little tidbits in percussive moments. This is perhaps my third favourite song of all time. Their rendition of Raglan Road solidifies Mark Knopfler’s older-laid back-musician sex-appeal for me…

If only Knopfler were younger, less famous and available. If only.

God is a Participle.

Dante’s Paradiso begins in Reflection, and ends in Resplendent Love:

And I, who now was nearing Him who is

the end of all desires, as I ought,

lifted my longing to its ardent limit.

Bernard was signaling-he smiled-to me

to turn my eyes on high; but I, already

was doing what he wanted me to do,

because my sight, becoming pure, was able

to penetrate the ray of Light more deeply-

that Light, sublime, which in Itself is true.

From that point on, what I could see was greater

than speech can show: at such a sight, it fails-

and memory fails when faced with such excess.

As one who sees within a dream, and, later,

the passion that had been imprinted stays,

but nothing of the rest returns to mind,

such am I, for my vision almost fades

completely, yet it still distills within

my heart the sweetness that was born of it.

So is the snow, beneath the sun, unsealed;

and so, on the light leaves, beneath the wind,

the oracles the Sibyl wrote were lost.

O Highest Light, You, raised so far above

the minds of mortals, to my memory

give back something of Your epiphany,

and make my tongue so powerful that I

may leave to people of the future one

gleam of the glory that is Yours, for by

returning somewhat to my memory

and echoing awhile within these lines,

Your victory will be more understood.

The living ray that I endured was so

acute that I believe I should have gone

astray had my eyes turned away from it.

I can recall that I, because of this,

was bolder in sustaining it until

my vision reached the Infinite Goodness.

O grace abounding, through which I presumed

to set my eyes on the Eternal Light

so long that I spent all my sight on it!

In its profundity I saw-ingathered

and bound by love into one single volume-

what, in the universe, seems separate, scattered:

substances, accidents, and dispositions

as if conjoined-in such a way that what

I tell is only rudimentary.

I think I saw the universal shape

which that knot takes; for, speaking this, I feel

a joy that is more ample. That one moment

brings more forgetfulness to me than twenty-

five centuries have brought to the endeavor

that startled Neptune with the Argo’s shadow!

So was my mind-completely rapt, intent,

steadfast, and motionless-gazing; and it

grew ever more enkindled as it watched.

Whoever sees that Light is soon made such

that it would be impossible for him

to set that Light aside for other sight;

because the good, the object of the will,

is fully gathered in that Light; outside

that Light, what there is perfect is defective.

What little I recall is to be told,

from this point on, in words more weak than those

of one whose infant tongue still bathes at the breast.

And not because more than one simple semblance

was in the Living Light at which I gazed-

for It is always what It was before-

but through my sight, which as I gazed grew stronger,

that sole appearance, even as I altered,

seemed to be changing. In the deep and bright

essence of that exalted Light, three circles

appeared to me; they had three different colors,

but all of them were of the same dimension;

one circle seemed reflected by the second,

as rainbow is by rainbow, and the third

seemed fire breathed equally by those two circles.

How incomplete is speech, how weak, when set

against my thought! And this, to what I saw.

is such-to call it little is too much.

Eternal Light, You only dwell within

Yourself, and only You know You; Self-knowing,

Self-known, You love and smile upon Yourself!

That circle-which, begotten so, appeared

in You as light reflected-when my eyes

had watched it with attention for some time,

within itself and colored like itself,

to me seemed painted with our effigy,

so that my sight was set on it completely.

As the geometer intently seeks

to square the circle, but he cannot reach,

through thought on thought, the principle he needs,

so I searched that strange sight: I wished to see

the way in which our human effigy

suited the circle and found place in it-

and my own wings were far too weak for that.

But then my mind was struck by light that flashed

and, with this light, received what it had asked.

Here force failed my high fantasy; but my

desire and will were moved already-like

a wheel revolving uniformly-by

the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.

(Canto XXXIII. 46-145)

Dan asked.

My relationship with God is no secret. I don’t speak of it much until you ask about it. I don’t know if that’s wrong or right, or if it can be so simply qualified. In the past couple of days however, since you mentioned it, I have considered several aspects or His and my relationship. I refuse to sound cliché, but yes, it is something both simple, and yet unfathomably intricate. The simplicity in my relationship with God is about as simple as attempting to define Love. Yes. Love. We all know that “God is Love”, but in calling myself a “Christian” I have chosen to direct my life in such as way that I live and love as Jesus Christ did. He, whether he was the Son of God, or simply Of God, lived in such as way that He gave as much love to as many people as a possible. This lifestyle, though it is not for the faint of heart, is appealing enough to give it an honest shot. Thus, I will attempt to live in such a way that I may give as much love to as many people as possible. Therein lies the simplicity of my relationship with God.

The intricacy slowly unravels from that very simple concept. The question of High Christology, and whether Jesus Christ was God or simply Of God, only indirectly affects my lifestyle, but when I begin to delve, I find such gorgeous details that I cannot help but continue wondering. I so believe that Jesus IS God for the very Beauty in His Being. Accepting the premise that Jesus is God, then it must follow that God Himself “left the place [He] most desired to return”, to paraphrase the Pilgrim-Poet. He, God, loved His creation so much beyond Himself, that He abandoned perfection and submitted himself to the human condition. In the Fall, humanity embraced loneliness in sin and separated itself from its Father. God, in taking on that human condition, also separated Himself from his very Being. God, is an active participle; He is Being. However, when God the Son, left the right hand of God the Father, He ceased to Be. God lost His very Being for the sake of Humanity. He did this is descending  physically, and through metaphysical planes. A lover loses himself in the beloved and simultaneously finds fulfillment of the self in that loss and in the other. God did this very thing. In our brokenness, his Grace is made perfect. He is most God when we accept Him and His love. And likewise, we are most ourselves in losing ourselves in Him. The Triune Godhead serves as an ultimate divine loving relationship. The Father begets the Son upon Reflection of the Self, and when the Father reflects on Himself, that Love and Reflection are the Son. The Son and Father intimately reflect on and are in relation with one and other, continuously losing themselves in one another. This very relationship and love is the Holy Spirit. Again, God is a participle. He is active in self-reflection and Love, which can never be stagnate. Constant reflection, constant Love. Constant Being.

This is the nature of my relation with the Father. I [attempt] to live in constant reflection of Him, and as He is Love, the reflection manifests itself in Love. The most appropriate and most loving response which I can give to His Love, is loving His beloved people. I don’t want to over-simplify an incomprehensible, uncompartamentalizable God, but in truth, I also hope I do not set expectations which God perhaps does not desire I set. He cannot be contained. I imagine the thing of most Beauty, and I Know, that I am only human and imagination fails me.





I used to fall asleep on my dad’s shoulder to this song in my toddler years. Ritchie Valens and the Santos Brothers may be responsible for why I so enjoy the very act of sleeping now in adulthood. Jeff Beck turned it into a whole new lullaby. yum.

Coffee & Cigarettes

Peas & Carrots

Peanut Butter & Jelly

Billie Holiday & Lester Young

Bread & Butter

In 2003, independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch took the concept that good artists and good conversation should be accompanied by coffee and cigarettes, and conjured up eleven gorgeous, honest stories. I’d try to be much cooler around Tom Waits than Iggy was…though I know I’d fail miserably and swoon.

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