April 29, 2005
Busy busy busy busy. That's my life and it amuses me. I chuckle quite frequently at the different things that I enjoy being involved with (some more enjoyable than others, of course). And I still have time to veg (almost theraputically) in front of the TV when I get home.
Anyway, I just thought I'd share some of the tools that I like to use in this little juggling act of a life I lead.
For project management I use Basecamp. I've evangelized this tool to several committees, cohorts, and gaggles I'm involved with and it's proven very successful. Seth uses it to keep his animators motivated and on track, the Building Committee uses it to track milestones, ideas, progress and keep the elders and staff in the loop, and I use it to move VISCOM (visual communications ministry) tasks along for Village's short-term teams (first India, now Lebanon).
I'm a list maker and I use the backs of 5"x7" Spellbound promotion cards (which we received by the thousands via hilarious snafu) to keep those synapses in my brain a-firing. I'm a creature of double-redudancy, so I also use Ta-Da lists to track mid-term items and personal goals. I haven't utilized Ta-Da's full functionality, which enables you to share and collaborate to-do lists.
I'm 27 out of 51 on the list at the library to check out David Allen's Getting things done: the art of stress-free productivity; maybe after I read it, I'll understand the hype and the enthusiasm inspired by the GTD (Getting Things Done) phenomenon which has produced far more extensive and useful ideas than I have shared in this little post. 43 Folders is a good place to start. Also 37signals (the makers of Basecamp and Ta-Da Lists) is coming out with a new GTD-friendly tool next week called Backpack that promises to be high on the super-fun, super-cool, super-useful meter.
April 28, 2005
Producer on board for Noah's Friends
My brother, Seth, has just informed me that he's got a producer on board for Noah's Friends!
Congratulations Tall Brother!
April 26, 2005
Noah's Friends launch
We launched the Noah's Friends site over the weekend. This is the brain-child of my brother, Seth. He's written 12 episodes of the adventures of the animals who stuck around after the flood and turned the ark into their own personal clubhouse and home. A team of animators has been working on the characters and background designs I've been amazed by the incredible talent. I did the web site working from a start from Seth's friend and am pretty happy with how it turned out. It was a fun project to work on, especially with all the incredible art to work with. Seth's pitch on the site casts vision very well, I think, and hopefully someone will catch that vision and enable Seth to run with it.
I set up a design gallery for the site as well. The animators have been working hard over the last year or so and Seth wanted an easy-to-update, professional, and organized way to display the various designs. Its powered by the same program (Gallery) that runs my photo site, The Gallery at Sleepyhead City. There's a little tweaking to be done on the design gallery's stylesheet, but it's getting there.
Check out the pitch for Noah's Friends, an animated series ...coming soon to DVD (God willing!!!)
[Updated] Learning Spanish
I may have mentioned that I'm taking a beginning Spanish course through PCC. Our teacher (Henry) is from Ecuador and he sends us practice exercises every week from the Learn Spanish web site. E-mail is such a horrendous archival system, especially since I haven't started using my gmail account yet, so I thought I'd post the links here in a new category "language." Since languages are sort of a dormant interest of mine (slowly awakening, but still relatively dormant), I'll keep the category generic and perhaps other language related posts will make their way to my Awake subconscious.
So here's the links and stuff Henry's sent so far...maybe it'll be useful to someone besides me...who knows?
- Spanish Pronunciation Tutorial
- Exercise with "verb conjugations"
- http://www.studyspanish.com/practice/hay.htm (remember "hay" means there is, there are)
Grammar - Possessive Pronouns
[Henry wrote...] Like English, the Spanish possessive pronouns differ depending on the person they are referring to. Unlike English, the possessive article also changes depending on the number of items that one possesses (for example: mi libro = my book, mis libros = my books). It can also change depending on the gender of the item (for example: nuestro perro = our dog, nuestra casa = our house). The following table summarizes all Spanish possessive pronouns:
[Henry did this schweet table too, I just tweaked the html a little bit...]
|él||su, de él||sus||his||su lápiz, el lápiz de él|
|ella||su, de ella||sus, de ella||her||su lápiz, el lápiz de ella|
|usted||su, de usted||sus, de usted||your||su lápiz, el lápiz de usted|
|nosotros/nosotras||nuestro, nuestra, de nosotros||nuestros, nuestras||our||nuestro lápiz, el lápiz de nosotros|
|vosotros/vosotras||vuestro, vuestra||vuestros, vuestras||your||vuestro lápiz|
|ellos||su, de ellos||sus, de ellos||their||su lápiz, el lápiz de ellos|
|ellas||su, de ellas||sus, de ellas||their||su lápiz, el lápiz de ellas|
|ustedes||su, de ustedes||sus, de ustedes||your||su lápiz, el lápiz de ustedes|
Rellena los espacios en blanco (Fill in the blank)
- Manuel tiene una bicicleta. bicicleta es azul. (Manuel has a bike. His bike is blue.)
- clases son a las nueve por la mañana. (My classes are at 9:00 am.)
- Nosotros visitamos a abuelos. (We visit our grandparents.)
- Los Mexicanos tienen día de independencia al 16 de Septiembre. (The Mexicans have their independence day on September 16.)
- Tú juegas con amigos. (You play with your friends.)
- ¿Puesdes mostrarme casa? (Can you show me your house?)
Time and numbers
Por y Para
I also added Spanish word of the day and lesson of the day to the bottom another page of my on Awake home page. It's from a different site than the one that provides all these great lessons, but the coding was a little more flexible and generally more likable than the word of the day content "for your site" offered through Learn Spanish (IMHO).
April 25, 2005
Good Times with Guess-the-Google
It's Monday and that means I've been on the prowl for coping mechanisms, oh, I mean Library in the Sky picks (work-related). And what better place to find the pulse of what people are bookmarking (well at least in geekdom land)? del.icio.us of course. Today's coping mechanism (that is super-fun and potentially addictive game/amusement on the web) is Guess-the-google.
If you play, post your score in comments. That way we can encourage one another in brotherly/sisterly love to be obsessively addicted. That will help us to cope with our bad days better which will give us head space to see what's really the problem with our lives and then, well, it's gotta be all uphill from there.
So it's really just healing process, really. Um, yeah.
April 22, 2005
Behind the scenes of an empire
Took my Borders coupon and went to get Newbigin's An Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission (theology of mission = always an exciting topic) but they didn't have it.
With all the missional (both community- and globally-focused) churches around here with all those crazy ministers with their love of the written word, there's no pent-up demand for Newbigin's classics?!?
[Maybe it's the publication date (revised edition, 1995).] Yeah, I suppose that's what it is.
Foolishness to the Greeks is already on my shelves from college days and Brant said I could borrow The Gospel in Pluralist Society, so I wandered elsewhere and found Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which I purchased straightaway.
Admitting to a problem is the first step toward finding a solution. Confessing a sin is the beginning of redemption. Let this book, then, be the start of our salvation. Let it inspire us to new levels of dedication and drive us to realize our dream of balanced and honorable societies.
What adventures in personal/national confession and action will ensue after millions of people read this book, I wonder? Will its bestselleriness be usable to the One who says Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.
April 21, 2005
Nooks, crannies, and scalloped walls
I started reading this book on church architecture today and after reading a few pages, I flipped to the back of the book to look for drawings and floor plans. I saw this drawing and it immediately resonated with me because we're in the midst of envisioning a "sacred space" for corporate worship that is inclusive and participatory and allows for varied forms of worship. I felt that this layout had some potential for providing what we're referring to as "alcove spaces" that might accommodate some of these various forms (that is, beyond a band, a sound board, and worship aerobics).
One of the things I like about this layout is the scalloped walls. On the building committee and with the architects, we've been talking about the idea of alcoves, nooks, and crannies, kinds of secret hiding places for prayer, worship, drawing, painting, conversation in the midst of big church worship...and places for these same kinds of activities throughout the week, unscheduled, unprogrammed, unrehearsed.
Found in the book Liturgy and Architecture by Peter Hammond (Columbia University Press, New York, 1961.
The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.
I don't think my life has been ruined enough (enough??? at all???) by the Word of God. This quote reminds me of a comment made on Renee's blog where she posted some insights from the group that has been meditating on scripture together on Wednesdays. Rick said, "'Religion' is the undertaker, trying to make our dead body beautiful. (The Spirit brings true beauty.)"
My heart, my soul, my mind (oh curses on my pride-filled mind) needs you, Spirit, Word, Father, God. Ruin my life and create me all over again.
April 20, 2005
April 19, 2005
sniff sniff. i think God put me on forced relaxation. i can't imagine why.
so i'm sick on a beautiful day sipping hot emergen-c and tea (alternatively). got U2's latest on airtunes and toast-butter-jam in my belly.
could be worse.
April 16, 2005
Red Ball Project
More about the Red Ball Project here...
On Friday, VJ and I are talking. I'm looking through her Flickr pics and she's talking about this guy who keeps inflating this ginormous red ball all over portland. at the schnitzer, city hall, somewhere on the bus mall and i'm kinda half-listening, half-looking through her pics. about a minute later, i look out our office window and there this giant red ball in the world trade center right across the street. i say, "oh, is that why you brought up the red ball guy?" she looks out the window, "oh my god!" the whole time she was talking about the red ball, it was right outside our window.
mike h. next door says it was a perfect place for a giant red ball. almost like it was made for it. we all feel dumb for not thinking of it first.
oh well. ;-)
April 15, 2005
April 14, 2005
In U.S., Oregon ranks 5th in spoken languages
From a series of [Fwd]s on the internal work e-mail grapevine...
An interesting bit of research from the U.S. English web site shows that in the U.S. state of Oregon, 138 languages are spoken, making it the 5th most linguistically diverse state in the United States. It also notes that there are 10 counties in Oregon with 20 or more languages spoken. Download the 2-page PDF on Oregon languages for more detailed info.
I don't presently have an opinion about the issue of "official languages" but I do realize that it can be a hot topic in the U.S. and many other countries. In practice, I am a (English) literacy tutor for a recent immigrant/refugee from Somalia. Also, I support the work of the Dalit Education Centers who provide English-medium education for Dalit children in India. In both these senses, the purpose of learning English is to increase economic opportunities for people who are severely lacking in economic opportunity. On the other hand, I am taking beginning Spanish classes through the community college and would also like to learn some conversational Korean as well in order to converse more freely with my friends and students at church, neighbors and business owners that I see on a regular basis.
As far as outside the U.S. goes, one recent comment I noticed in a report to the U.N. on East Timor (which I can no longer find online) was that national and historic policy regarding official languages is causing tension and conflict in the fledgling judicial system, a system in which clear and widespread communication is of paramount importance to establishing the rule of law within a society.
Definitely a complex and diverse issue, not unlike my neighbors.
April 11, 2005
Community worship as an orchestra????
current sanctuary...lots o' services...too many...one community...many strangers. worshipping together happens only 2 or 3 times a year.
new sanctuary...how do our values determine our design? how do we creatively provide structure to our vision? we long to be a community of priests...we long to see each one use her and his spiritual gifts...we long to not only sing and listen, but pray and eat and drink and dance and draw and paint and kneel and a bunch of other things that we have never even thought of as a community yet (cuz we're a little behind...or maybe we're right where the Spirit wants us...we're finding out...)
so....we need a flexible space. but a sacred space. not a alabaster box decorated with many fake ficuses but a place set apart...a place to focus on the Creator, the Savior, the Son of God, the Christ, the Redeemer.
so Jesus...he says he's the Head of the Body. and his apostle Paul says that there's one Body and many parts. so I was thinking about our space...about what our space says about who's who in the Body...about how our space enables or disables us, guides us or denies us from moving physically and spiritually closer to Jesus.
and i thought to myself: an orchestra.
what if we, that means everyone present at a time of community worship...lead worshippers, the choir, the people, the person(s) teaching the Word, the people serving (communion, offering, whatever) were seated kinda like an orchestra is seated.
we're leaning toward a flat floor space with some stadium seating in the back. what if the choir was in the back seats, like they would be at the Schnizter or Benaroya, what if the musicians were seated accordingly, what if the people were seated around a center, facing each other.
what if we started Reading, and the Readers were seated together. and the singers were gathered together. and the artists were gathered together. and what if there was Joy and Encouragement and Strength displayed in worship before God?
what if Listening started to happen as the parts of the Body learned to Tune. what if after we learned how to Tune, by listening to others near us with similar Gifts, we then learned to worship together in mixed and diverse arrangements, free to move about. not just sitting somewhere because i'm imprisoned by cultural proximity values and i've sat in the general area for the past 5 years, but chosing a seat strategically and wisely, with discernment and boldness.
where God do you want me to minister to your Body at this moment? where do you want me to minister to Your Heart? where do you want me?
moving about a physical space as a metaphor.
learning to warm hearts, not pews.
learning to engage and act, not politely listen and endure.
i have a drawing of this in my head...maybe when i finally get it down on paper, it won't pan out. but for now...i offer it up.
(if you were able to meander with me down this little stream of consciousness, i salute you...i'm not sure if this will make sense to anyone but me...)
April 05, 2005
On taking justice personally
Just read a thoughtful piece on Romero and the Pope that reflects mostly on Romero and the point in Romero's life in which justice became an issue that he could no longer walk away from. Justice moved from academic issue to martyred friendsomething not to be intellectually trifled with but engaged on an intense relational and personal level. The author of this article, Mary Jo Leddy, remarks in conclusion that "Until you have a friend who is a refugee, you do not factor in the human cost of war." That is my hope as I move toward building relationships with those in my community who have experienced directly the injustices of war. I know that I treat justice as an intellectual and theological issue. But I think God is moving me toward a more personal relationship with Him as a compassionate and just God. (He is so patient, huh?)
Anyhoo, you may find Romero and John Paul II: Now they see face to face an encouraging read.
A Good Day
What a good day yesterday was. I was so wound up and exhiliarated by the end of it, I could hardly bring myself to go to bed. My first Spanish class was so much fun. The teacher is an Ecuadorian man and he was hilarious. The class dynamic was fun, too. As we're learning that "v" and "b" are the same sound, several people clarify, "So it's "cerbesa" not "cervasa"! Ohhhh. Hilarious.
Working backward, my afternoon over at IRCO was time well spent. I observed, or rather, co-taught, a beginning literacy class that my tutee, "Ruth", is in. We had people from Somalia, Haiti, and Thailand in that class. It was good fun. I'm really looking forward to working with Ruth one-on-one.
In the morning, my brother Seth and I went to see his friend, Jeff of On Point Designs. I wanted to see what kind of niche they could possibly fill in the area of sound, acoustic, lighting, sanctuary design in the planning of our spaces for worship -- even possibly children's worship spaces and student worship spaces as well. (I hope!)
And on Sunday, had a great time with my nieces and my sister-in-law and my brother. They're building a house, which is very exciting...it's got a roof now!
Seth helped me realize that the problem with my DVD was that I tried to put 5.1 GB on a 4.7 GB DVD. Riiiiight. Apparently, the little meter widget that shows how much space you're using is on the Basic window configuration of DVD Studio Pro, not the Extended one. Go figure. So I can check off my list creating a DVD master (again!).
Saturday morning, I went the way of the urbanite. Walked over to the Sunset Transit Center, took the train downtown, walked over to PSU and browsed around the PSU Farmer's Market which opened that day, then walked over to the library and looked at books on church architecture. I even found a gem in the basement, which was kind of a devotional piece and brochure of sorts on the building of the First Presbyterian Church in Portland, which was built in a classic gothic style.
So I'm trying to think of a country-focus or some kind of focus for this month. I'm actually thinking of staying in India, but focusing on the Dalits. Maybe it could be a kind of prep for the presentation I want to do for my work colleagues.
Only 3 more days until the win a trip to London sweepstakes ends....what could happen??!!!??!?!???!
April 03, 2005
On a personal note...
Yesterday I thought about renaming my blog "The Schizophrenic Servant." This, after thinking about this upcoming Monday. At 9am I'll be meeting with a guy in Olympia, Washington specializing in all things sanctuary design. At 1:30 I'll be in SE Portland observing an English class where I'll meet my tutee, I'll call her "Ruth." And at 6:30 in the evening, I'll set foot for the first time in ten years on my old high school campus to take a beginning Spanish class. (Work? Nope, I'll be taking a personal day and get all this covered in one day.)
The thing is, all these tasks aren't really what's making me crazy in the head.
It's all those questions floating around in my head as I go about my business of web development, helping to redesign a church site, learning spanish, teaching english, listening to bible verses, and teaching mini-disciples (4 and 5 year olds and 3rd grade girls) about Jesus. what's the most effective way of communicating and giving voice to our whole church? (and who's gonna translate those messages to/from spanish, korean, and chinese?) why does our church still have contemporary and traditional services when the young and old people i have conversations with want to worship together? how do we design a chapel that will be a comfortable place for all the people in our church who come from what seems like a lot of different cultures? how can we effectively equip and train our local body to think of ingenious and creative ways to minister to our community? how can the design our sanctuary at least partially (or at least not hinder) the building up of our congregation into a local body of priests -- able and unafraid to approach the throne of God and able and unafraid to minister to others? how do i teach english to a middle-aged pre-literate refugee woman from africa? how do i communicate to a group of co-workers about the injustices the dalits in india face in an interesting and effective way? what is wrong with the master dvd i sent to the duplicator? is proposing premium parking for scooters, motorcycles, auto rickshaws, bikes (and senior citizens) a thougtful and innovate response to rising gas prices, the environmental harms of car pollution, suburban traffic nightmares, and a parking deficiency on the church's site...or just a pipe dream? will i win the grand prize for the visit london sweepstakes and get to visit my friend in may? where will i go in spring of 2008 when my debt is completely paid off? and when the hell am i ever gonna get my house clean?
all this...and there is hope. my old friend lindsay did the nicest thing for this lonesome hermit. she called me on thursday and invited me over to her house to a artist's recovery group (which had been herself and a friend who i met on good friday). i'll be borrowing The Artist's Way from Linds' roommate, who dropped out of the group...hopefully the fellowship with other artists, each of us dealing with various levels of creative blockage, will be mutually encouraging and edifying. one can only hope.
so...still hopeful and excited...but also doin' a lot of chewin' and ponderin' and taking excedrin tension headache from time to time....at least until i can save up for another hot stone massage. ;-)
so if you have a moment, remember this crazy girl. i'd appreciate it.