Sunday, January 25, 2009

Words just don't do it

Writing down every meaningful moment from the past two weeks became an impossible task, so I've decided not to try.

Tuesday, January 13

Mr. Haller and Scout

Soup Tuesday at Sarah Witt's.

Come to HUB-BUB this Tuesday (the 28th) at 8:00 to have as much fun as George is here.

Hookah and a cookbook. (Joey Geier, Sarah)

Friday, January 16

After the College Town interview, I unwound and celebrated with a little banjo pickin'.

Amanda and Cole Cheek at the SMC Faculty/Staff Winter Banquet

Tuesday, January 20

Wednesday, January 21

Birthday girl Grace Suggs, husband Jacob, and Georgie

Thursday, January 22

When a planned activity is canceled, an unplanned adventure generally results.

Nathaniel Coburn and Lindy Bunch. We ate sushi and talked big. Marvelous thinkers, those.

Friday, January 23

Screen was not working.

Source of the problem (notice the pinched spot on the pink wire).


Saturday, January 24

Allyn Steele's house.

Finally got to meet the man after hearing about him for a year.

Lindy Bunch.



Sunday, January 25

Chapman Cultural Center.

I was on the front row. It was a defining musical experience.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I am pleased to report I have my car back. It had been stuck at the Showroom since Saturday night. Why, you ask? You will learn in good time, but I must begin with Saturday morning.

The Augustine Project's SC chapter gets together once a month to discuss tutoring strategies and the progress of our students. I've been tutoring a sweet little girl over at E. P. Todd since November. Her name is Charli and she is the brightest, most cooperative pupil a tutor could ask for. Anyway, Saturday was "lunch bunch," as we call it, so I drove out to Traveler's Rest (where all the other SC tutors live). It ended up just being me and the director, Maxine Bennett.

Maxine is one of my favorite people. She is astute, compassionate, and driven. She works at the Camperdown Academy for dyslexic children, and is dyslexic herself. Anyway, we had a great time at Panera and she gave me lots of ideas for working with Charli. She also entertained me with fascinating details about how the English language gets its quirks. You know how it's the words we use the most often that seem to defy the spelling and conjugation rules? These actually tend to be the oldest words in our language, and have shifted over the years as speakers come up with easier ways to say them. (English speakers have always been a lazy bunch.) The way she explains it to students, she said, is by holding up her favorite Birkenstock so they can see the soles. "See here where the pattern is worn off?" she asks. "These old words are just like that. They got used so much the patterns wore off."

So interesting. Makes me want to study linguistics.

Home from that, I spent the afternoon cleaning and messing with my new banjo and then headed to the Nu-Way lounge for the Sparkle City Bloggers meet-up. That's always fun. (well, always as in the two I've made it to...) I met Chris of Flying Oskar, as well as Daniel of the Plastic Breech and Jim O'Donnell. And Steve's wife Erin, with whom I share a passion for knitting. Ironically, we were both sporting a pair of gray fingerless mitts. What's more, we both had knit the same pattern from the Winter 2002 Family Circle Easy Knitting. Dude.

Over fried green beans (delicious!) and beer (water for me), we discussed Spartanburg's strengths, failings, history and potential. As well as knitting, the "QVC for porn," music in the 90's, and sundry other topics.

Then I invited them all to the HUB-BUB's showing of the Petty Crimes Unit, a short film featuring all-local talent. Here's the trailer. We had a blast. A full house, free popcorn, pre- and post- show cop trivia, and a creative, hilarious film. Written and directed by Brad Tinsley, it was utterly silly and the ultimate spoof of all the 1970's cop shows. The lines were delivered to deadpan perfection by Tinsley, who played a mustachioed crime buster / rookie trainer, and Benny Lee Smith as the sensitive, determined unit captain. Jose Franco, also producer, completed the team in an unforgettable silent role. I was quite impressed by the script, the acting, filming, the use of music, and by the poster I got for free:

This little pic hardly does it justice. That thing's going on my wall.

About halfway through the video I noticed my camera was missing. Enough cause for alarm in its own right, it was especially worrisome since my car key, my only car key that actually unlocks the door, was hooked onto it. I conducted an unsuccessful search during the movie, trying to keep a low profile. I went out to the car to see if it was locked in there, but couildn't really see by the dim light. So after the movie I made an announcement (embarrassing!) and borrowed a flashlight. Sure enough, the camera was locked in there. Fast forward 45 minutes, a bent coat hanger, and some very helpful but ultimately unsuccessful friends (Thanks for trying, Blanchard!) The cops used to be willing to come out and use a jimmy stick for you, but apparently now it's too much of a "liability." Thanks guys. I'm sure glad I wasn't alone at night in some shady neighborhood. I didn't have enough money to call a locksmith, so eventually I convinced my dad to come pick me up. I decided the best course of action would be to go to the Toyota dealership and have them make me a new key from the VIN number. So that's what I did, yesterday.

It's actually kind of nice to have your favorite things taken away from you for a while. It makes you appreciate them that much more. (I'm certainly appreciating my laptop as I type this with numb fingers in the sunroom, snow looming in the windows...)

I can't wait to find out whether I got the College Town position. The interview was Friday and I think it went very well. Hopefully I'll hear back this week. If I don't get it, I'll surely want to know who did so I can hook them up with the student leaders I've been working with. One student group I'm particularly excited about have organized a monthly meeting known, presently, as the Spartanburg Student Convergence. The next one is this Saturday at Wofford. (Olin Theater, 2:00, in case you're interested.) From what I gather, it is an open forum for any and all college students interested in local matters and/or enacting change in Spartanburg. Curious non-students are welcome as well.

Oh, I'll be covering the college scene for the Spark, probably starting next week. Have any ideas for a column name? Have a scoop? I guess the convergence makes a good starter story.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why I Can't Sit Still and Listen or Stand Back and Watch

I guess I failed to mention my new year's resolution. I will not buy myself new clothing for the entire year of 2009. This is because I have ENOUGH clothing, because I don't need to use shopping as a source of entertainment, and because I'm sick of the consumerist values I have allowed to sink so deeply into my character.

I've heard of people garbing themselves entirely with the castoffs of others. I really like that idea. After 2009 we'll see how plausible that is for me.

Also, I realized something about myself. The hardest thing in the world for me to be is passive. Today I went to the HUB-BUB AIR invitational exhibit opening. My favorite pieces were the memento boxes artists create at the end of their residency at Elsewhere, an artists' collaborative with an emphasis on creative play. Why were these my favorite? I'd like to say because they were aesthetically striking and I felt like I connected to the soul of each artist and felt I was experiencing part of their Elsewhere journey through the objects, and that wouldn't be untrue. But the real reason they were my favorites is childishly simple. I could PLAY with them. Not only was I actually allowed to touch them, I was encouraged to pick them up, open them, rifle through and examine the contents. The tactile dimension and the explorative process were immensely satisfying. I have gotten in trouble at art shows and high-end stores countless times for TOUCHING the goods (heaven forbid!). It's a part of who I am, to experience something fully I must touch it.

But it's not just touching. I can't just watch, I yearn to participate in whatever I'm looking at. That's why I've always hated watching sports, ever since I was a little kid. Even if I would be the slowest kid out there, never catch the ball, and keel over exhausted after the first play, I'd rather be in on the action. Not to be is almost...torture.

This is true to a lesser degree with music. While I love attending classical concerts and listening to records, with most live popular performances, I can't sit or stand still. I at least sway a little in my chair, I'm even happier if I can get up and dance. But I'm the happiest yet when I can have even the tiniest part in making the music, whether that's clapping along or jamming along. Like when I went to Sonny's for open mic, I couldn't keep my hands off of Kerry's djembe. Here are these songwriters up on stage strutting their stuff, and here's me at the corner table drumming quietly (sometimes not so quietly) along. When I didn't have the djembe, as much as I wanted to pay attention, I was easily distracted and quickly bored. And this is why I love the Jam so gosh-darn much. To get right to it, it's not like I'm really doing it for the community. I'm doing it for ME. Because it's so darn FUN.

Yes, I wouldn't be surprised if it relates to ADD. (which runs in my family.) But it also relates to the way I was raised. I was homeschooled. Try sitting silent in the back of the class when the class consists of you, your mom, your textbook and your couch. I also grew up attending unusually participatory church meetings. Everybody says amen to the prayers, anybody can pray aloud at just about any time. Anybody can stand up and speak God's word instead of having to listen to some preacher lecture them all the time. Even the music gets chosen by whoever calls out a hymn number, and is played by whoever brought their guitar that week.

I guess I'm just spoiled. Yeah, that about sums it up.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Livin' Life in 2009

Hey guess what! Spartanburg college students (and recent grads) now have a literary/art 'zine! It's called the Salt Shaker. Now I have to dig up some poetry. much life. More than I have time to blog about. Oh, but I do have photos:

Last Thursday I took a walk with one of my best friends at Converse, Sarah Bracey. We always find ourselves gravitating toward the graveyard. Its peace matches the usual contemplative nature of our discussions.

This house struck us as a foreboding place. Few windows in the front and a general air of neglect. I imagined dark things happening there. It was an especially odd juxtaposition with these houses across the street:

Hard to believe they are part of the same neighborhood.

Sarah (left) treated me to dinner at Gee Dining Hall. It was good to be back. I caught up with a lot of friends including Liz (right).

Saturday morning I spent with one of my longtime best friends Bethany and her husband John.

We watched a great documentary Lucas Patterson lent me, called Ordinary Radicals, while Bethany and I crocheted and knit. That blasted mitt still isn't finished.

My friend Daylan (2nd from R) is a children's librarian at the HQ library. She invited mom and me to her open house party where we got to tour her sweet little townhouse. And try on a few hats.

Today I interviewed Ellie at HUB-BUB for an article I'm writing for the Spark. I took a few photos too.
Jonas is going to kill me for posting this. Haha.

Studio space. The sign reads "I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art anybody could ever want to own." -Andy Warhol.

The Jam went very well yesterday. We are at the HUB-BUB for the winter. PJ brought his electric guitar and Adam, Maneesh brought his djembe, Allison brought her flute and guitar, and Lucas Patterson showed up and tapped on the bodhran. I rocked out on dad's string bass on "Fever", jammed along to some Dave Matthews covers with the pear shaker, and played recorder on "Wipeout." One of my favorite things about the Jam is being able to pick up completely random instruments I don't play and not caring if I sound terrible. The funny thing is, usually it turns out alright.

I'm so excited about the February Jam. Bryant's bringing his new uke and I'll have my new hand-me-down banjo. Thanks Bryant!

I go back to work tommorow. Oh that dream job I mentioned, it's for College Town Coordinator. I have an interview Friday. I am so excited and very nervous. If you pray, please pray for me Friday!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Atlanta and "Cottonwoof"

I left my camera at home! *whines* And my knitting bag, so that blasted right mitt remains unfinished. But the trip was absolutely wonderful.

Before I tell you about that, a recent piece of marriage advice from my father.

"When you're talking to him [as in, a potential husband], find out if he likes food. If he loves food, he will like sex. And I think you will like sex so you'll want someone who likes food."

Yeah. Awkward turtle. Now I've passed the awkwardness off on you, muahaha.

Oh and then today, he told me he didn't think I was going to last more than three or four years. This is the guy who said maybe he'll allow me to date when I turn 45. Suddenly he's decided that I'll be married before I'm 24.

And now, back to the regularly scheduled program.

There are times when you are just compelled to do something, even when you can't explain exactly why, and then you do it and God reveals it was part of a plan more wonderful than anything you could have come up with. This was one of those times. To begin with, I got there for the last three open messages of the video training, which meant I got some really solid scriptural teaching, fellowship about the Lord's move around the world, and more excuses to see all my friends, including a bunch from Athens who came over for the training. Then, there was this brother that doesn't even meet with the Church in Atlanta that I had met earlier at a conference, who just happened to be there visiting his friend, so we got to fellowship and I gave him a study Bible. Actually, that was a pretty funny story.

So I was like "what are you reading in the Word lately?" And he was like "1 Peter, it's awesome."

"Cool! Have you gotten into the footnotes any? Like in the Recovery Version?" [this great study Bible]

"No, I don't have that translation"

"Well hey do you want one? It's free!"


So I dragged him over to the bookstore and asked the brother at the cash register for one of the cards you fill out to get one and he was like "I'm sorry, we ran out of those...but I think i have some in my car if you'll hold on for 10 minutes"

Jeopardy theme music. I needed some air (I really don't do big crowds and the hall was packed.) so I went and played balance beam on the curb for what approximated 8 minutes. Hadn't done that in a while. Such a simple childish pleasure.

Went back in and the bookstore was overrun with saints buying stuff. "Hey," I said to the brother at the cash register, "It looks like you really have your hands full. If you want, I'll take your keys and get it so you can stay here."

"Tell you what. Go get that brother over there [another older brother selling morning revivals in the lobby] to come over here"

So I got him, but he couldn't leave the table because people were buying things and the money box was there, so I was like "Here, I'll man the table for you while you go over there."

So there I am, selling morning revival books in the Church in Atlanta, I didn't even know how much they cost at first, and to top it off, he took the money box with him so I was just collecting the money in my hand. And I didn't have any change. And I was thinking "this dude better not leave before I get him that darn bible card!"

10 minutes later the brother returns with the cards at last. He gave me a few and said I was free to go. I handed him the 20 something dollars I made. Thank goodness, the young brother was still over there so I walked up to him, handed him the bible card, waved awkwardly and left. Looking back I'm thinking I should have at least introduced myself to his friend.

That whole encounter was one of those weird, "is that really what you want me to do God?" type things. Actually I had several of those in Atlanta. The great thing is, I was reading about something kinda like that in Acts, it was one of the passages mentioned in the meeting.

In the beginning of Acts 13, a handful of prophets and teachers in Antioch were "ministering to the Lord and fasting." The Holy Spirit spoke to them and said "Set apart for me Barnabus and Saul" so they prayed and fasted some more, laid their hands on them, and sent them off. "Then," says verse 4, "having been sent by the Holy Spirit, they went to Selucia and sailed to Cyprus."

First of all, this was a really new church. A church in a Gentile city, probably the only one at that time, since only in chapter 11 had Peter and the saints in Jerusalem figured out that God had given "repentance unto life" to the Gentiles too. Plus, who is this Saul dude? At that time, he was pretty much the new kid on the block, one of Barnabus's friends. Not exactly the place or the people today's church leaders might pick to launch a mission. And yet, this was the beginning of Paul's great ministry to the Gentiles. You could even say I, along with all the American Christians' salvation could be traced back to that moment.

And it all came out of a handful of saints in some little remote church praying, ministering to the Lord, fasting, listening to His speaking, and doing what He said. They had no idea how richly He would bless their faithfulness. Heavens, it doesn't even sound like they knew where they were sending Paul and Barnabus, the way verse 4 is arranged. (Notice how the "being sent by the Holy Spirit" part comes first - the where is secondary.)

Wow. I'm thinking a little prayer and fasting is in order.

Anyway, a few more memories I will treasure from my visit with the saints in Atlanta:

Goofing off in the GSU music building with Michelle and Alana

Trying to find to Javaology, then Java Monkey, then finally going to Java Lords and drinking fair trade chai with Michelle and Alana

Enjoying great rock music from across the street, seeing the band through the open front door

Goofing off on webcam with Alana and Glori

Spending time with the sisters and getting a delicious meal at Moe's for under 4 dollars

Playing Catch Phrase and cooking angel hair with garlic alfredo sauce for 6 sisters at ten o'clock Saturday night

Cleaning bathrooms with dear sister Debbie

Making up riddles, playing Snaps and the Line Game with the sisters at Emily's birthday party

A handful of much smaller but perhaps more meaningful moments that I can't write about here.

The fun hasn't really stopped yet. I spent pretty much all of today hanging with Spartanburg friends. First Dad and I went to see our dear friends Bill and Michelle and daughter Tifaney. Bill's battling cancer, again, but he is just so fun to be around and he has a servant's heart to which I've never seen the match. Then Grace, Bryant, Georgie and I went to the Cottonwood trail. Two of my best friends, an adorable dog, gorgeous weather and the squish and smell of fresh mud under my shoes. How could life get any better?

(photo credits to Bryant)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Old School Paper Delivery

Happy New Year.
Yesterday, Dad and I successfully delivered Root to a handful of locations, by bike. Pick up a copy while dining at the following fine establishments:

the Honeybee Cafe
Sun King
Captain Tony's
Mexico Lindo
Four Seasons

Or you can just read it online.

As promised, I have pictures chronicling the journey.

Me pumping air.


This is what we were looking at for about half an hour going down East Main.

Bike Portrait With Flag. Note the trash bag. I felt compelled to do a little tidying along Webber Road.

Me back at the house. I now have two sets of wheels.

It's cold out here in the sunroom. My laptop is experiencing the bane of all laptops - the dreaded power plug malfunction - so I am on Dad's desktop. Luckily I have a mitt to keep me warm:

My right hand is jealous. The right mitt's been giving me grief but I'm gonna finish it off tonight.

Now that my camera is back you may expect a lot more photos. Next up: pix from Atlanta.

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