Monday, August 27, 2007

Trial by Fire

Hello good readers! Glad to have you here at the Update. To the right is a complimentary Goblet of Fire pic for your enjoyment. If you haven't guessed already, I am still in the midst of reading this book in the HP series.

Again today, I seem at a loss for words. Clare and I took an impromptu trip over the weekend to the Winston-Salem, NC area to check it out and see what's what. It was generally very relaxing and we stayed at a very comfortable hotel.
I just stinks that the weekend had to end so quickly. Alas, next weekend is a 3-day weekend for those who have a nice work schedule. Will the Monday Update be off for Labor Day, too? I don't know. Even artists have to take a break.

As I write, I am currently at work, getting ready for the next season of updates and repairs to our facility at Holy Family, in what is hopefully an attempt to make it look less dumpy and more like a church.

And speaking of churches, over the weekend Clare and I attended Our Lady of Grace in Greensboro, NC for mass. It was wonderfully gothic and beautiful, with fanstatic stained glass, an old-school organ and beautiful high altar. I felt great to be in that space.

That's it for now. I am off to celebrate a Staff member's birthday. In the meantime, enjoy your day.


During lunch today, I had the oppoprtunity to talk at length with our parish's resident classical language scholar, Fr. Carrier. I asked him a host of questions regarding his latin study, classical and medieval latin texts and requisite dictionaries. Our discussion was highly enlighting for me, because he clarified a number of my questions regarding Latin's study and use. His father, in fact, is taking a Latin correspondance course with the bloody University of Cambridge, which I think is pretty cool.

In any event, I cannot adequately express how satisfying and refreshing it is to talk with someone who is conversant regarding Latin and its rewards and difficulties. I find myself again inspired to plunge back into the Latin texts.

Well, after Harry Potter, of course.


Will you be chosen?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Out of Azkaban

I am not feeling particularly verbose. I am more in a "Hey man, let's chill" mood at the moment.

My diligence in reading Harry Potter has by far outstripped my discipline of waking up at 6:30 in the morning to study Latin and pursue the intellectual virtues. Over the past 7 days, I have pounded down Books Two and Three with abandon and have ventured into Book Four.

Pictured above, by the way, is Azkaban. If you don't know what lies within, you're one of the lucky ones.

I am certainly happy to be reading so much. My wife is reading too. Sometimes reading just Potter feels like literary hedonism, but it's still great, especially on a night like tonight, here in the upper room, listening to the thunder and rain and seeing the occasional flash of lighting.

It's just bloody fantastic.

Anyway, nothing profound has percolated within lately, so I am going to keep this one short and sweet. Enjoy the rest of your day and evening, whichever it may be, and see you next time.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Magical Me

Hello everyone! I am actually updating my blog on a Monday. That is, I am updating my blog on the proper day. Man, that's just bloody brilliant.

Since my last post, I have read and finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1 of 7) and have plowed my way into Book 2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, from which the title of this post is taken. Rowling's books are easy on the eye, a quality that is especially nice for the late evening before bed. This means, however, that I am going to need Book Three faster than you can say "Flue Travelling."

Watching the Harry Potter movies has certainly re-kindled my interest in the history of the university, particularly the medieval university. I had even forgotten, or took for granted, that before I left Christendom I took a 500 level course on Catholic higher education which outlined and described the development and philosophy of the Catholic university throughout the ages, with particular emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

So much occurred on a grand scale during these two centuries to alter our paradigm of formal education it is mind-boggling. Suffice it to say, education is no longer what it used to be.

Ah, Oxford. I wish all schools looked this awesome.

Anyway, I have been continuing my medieval studies, boring to some, but intriguing and exciting to me. One of the books on my list has been Christopher Dawson's Medieval Essays. This marks the first time I've really sat down and read Dawson on my own, and he is fantastic! One of the big inquiries I have is exactly how did the transition from Fall of the Empire to Medieval Catholic Europe take place? I mean, how did it transpire on an organic cultural level? I think Dawson's answers are not only insightful, but refreshing.

The other facet of my study has been Latin. I can only handle about 40-45 minutes a day, at the moment, and by that time I am pent up and need to throw somebody. Seriously. I love Latin but it makes me mad, as in crazy. (My wife says I don't need Latin to make me crazy, though.) Even still, I figure if I can make it through that much each day, after a long period of time, I will have a solid grasp of the language.

To study anything historical pre-1800 requires ease with Latin if I want to move on in the ranks of academia. I don't know that I ever will--though I am thinking about it, I got the itch, you know--but if I do decide to go in that direction, I will need to be a competent Latin scholar. I will need to kick it seriously. Better to be prepared than to be unprepared and found wanting.

I love Latin despite it's difficulty. Ever since I knew there was a Latin language, I've always wanted to learn it and be good at it. If I can get my lazy bum up each morning to try and master it, maybe "good" will be attainable after all.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

What I've been up to...


Well, if you know what that means, then you also know that I have happily immersed myself in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter story. At least the movies, at any rate.

Alas, I know some of my readers may be shaking their heads if not their fists, but in truth I cannot say I haven't been charmed by Rowling's tale. Perhaps it would be even more accurate to say, "Bloody Hell, I'm so spellbound I can't even keep my eyes straight!"

For me the films are powerful because they are extraordinary in their spectacle, breadth of imagination, feature an all-star cast, and at least for the first three installments, the artful score of master composer John Williams, and that set upon the back-drop of the Bodleian Libary and Christ Church College at Oxford.

And what does all this spell, my friends? K-I-C-K-A-S-S.

Ok, so there you go. I like Harry Potter and that is my opinion. Enough of that for now.

So what else have I been up to?

Well, I have quietly, though enthusiastically, begun immersing myself further into medieval studies via my own personal library.

Well, when I have time. Speaking of which, I've also been thinking much of late about my time at Christendom and what it has meant. Now the professors who had seemingly ensconced themselves like institutions of the institutions, who exerted so much influence in my studies and life as an upper-classman--Drs. Fahey, Blum, and Reyes--are all gone into the ether and working at other Catholic enterprises.

Honestly, I never thought those dudes would leave. I thought they had it sweet--Department Heads, VP of Academics and everything. But most people, for one reason or another, usually--eventually--do leave.

For me, this goes to show that when we go to a place like Christendom for example, we embrace such a large tradition that it cannot be restricted or confined to a small group of individuals. It is vast and alive. So despite the absence of these intellects, Christendom will still be Christendom, and I will remain an alumnus, not of Blum and Reyes, but of Christendom.

Maybe the Hogwarts craze is having its effect on me, but that, my friends, feels pretty damn good.