who the heck knows anything, anyway

Thursday, February 28, 2013

barf who invented brains they are idiots

There are days when I am low and I ask myself "What Would Dana Scully/Ellen Ripley/Sts. Joan or Francis Do?" and the question is enough to give me buoyancy, enough to make me meet the frightening things head-on and feel damn good doing it.

There are other days when all the desperate prayers I can muster are not enough to get my fists up; days when, despite my knowledge that I am not weak and I have nothing to fear, I feel weak, I feel afraid. And I hate these days. I don't know what to do with them. I am a tired Greek metaphor--Atlas, Sisyphus--with nothing so concrete as a rock to point at and say "hey, the futility of pushing this stupid boulder is why I feel so crappy."

Sigh. What Would Scully Do. What Would Scully Do. What Would Scully Do.

If I say it enough times, I'll figure it out.

Monday, February 11, 2013

nerding out over the approaching conclave

Update: this information on Cardinal Peter Turkson's support of a terrifying bill in Uganda was inexplicably absent when I was reading about him a few days ago. I had heard he was a moderate and thought a Black pope would be a nice change, but this information breaks my heart. Anti-Gay and essentially pro-murder? I don't even understand how this is allowed. I guess I'll never understand how people can hate so strongly. Seems like the approaching conclave is being set up to be as disappointing as the last one. I don't know why I ever expect anything to change. Fingers crossed, maybe, maybe, maybe they'll elect someone who acts out of courage instead of fear.

You guys have all heard about Pope Benedict XVI stepping down this month, right? I got an alert on Twitter this morning via the BBC, and I was like WHAAAAA. I understand this kind of nerdery gets fringier by the day, but I can't help myself. I was born and raised Catholic (cradle Catholic, if you will) and though I disagree with many, many, many of the currently upheld social justice policies and haven't been to mass in, well, years, I still find myself caring. I equate it to being culturally Jewish. I have a lot of friends who consider themselves culturally Jewish, but not in the least religious. So I'm like that with Catholicism. I've got a guilt complex, I hate having any money when other people are suffering, and I spend a lot of spare hours researching saints' lives. I once painted a triptych called Saints With Plates, because I find saints with their body parts on plates to be morbidly charming (Saint Agatha, anyone? Patron Saint of bread and bells, because, you know, that's what disembodied breasts look like). Alright, that's my silly little aside.

Right, ok, so now I'm hanging out at home, on the opposite side of the world as my dad, who is the only other person I can conceivably nerd out with, when I read (at like 4am Pacific Time. USELESS.) that BXVI is going to step down. This is the first time this has happened in about 600 years, but I actually respect his reasons. He feels like he's too old and ill to do a good job. I really, truly respect that.

But, Killian, get on with it. This is not exciting. Why are you flipping out?

Two reasons!

I love this crap. I hope I can live-stream the smokestack where they cast/burn votes (dark smoke, no new Pope; white smoke, new Pope!). I want to have a party where we bet fake relics on our Cardinal favorites while we drink wine. I love tittering with my parents and their liberal priest friends about who we want as Pope and who we absolutely do not want*. I love researching the darlings. It's probably the closest I get, outside of Olympic swimming, to being into competitive sports.

Second, and more widely interesting: PROPHECY.
We all love a good prophecy, right? WELL. For years, my dad has entertained us with stories about the prophecies of Malachy. We got pretty amped up about it during the previous Popelection.

SO. According to Saint Malachy--a medieval saint who "predicted" the last, like 100+ popes--Benedict XVI is the second to last Pope. Alright, according to wikipedia: "[The prophecies] purport to describe each of the Roman Catholic popes (along with a few anti-popes), beginning with Pope Celestine II (elected in 1143) and concluding with the successor of current pope Benedict XVI, a pope described in the prophecy as "Peter the Roman", whose pontificate will end in the destruction of the city of Rome."

It saaaaays: 
Petrus Romanus, qui paſcet oues in multis tribulationibus: quibus tranſactis ciuitas ſepticollis diruetur, & Iudex tremẽdus iudicabit populum ſuum. Finis.
Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end. 

EPIC, RIGHT? So, of course, some people read this as a doomsday prediction. My dad and I prefer to read into it differently, finding in it the destruction of the Church as we know it, or something to that effect. Optimistically, we like to think this Peter-pope will usher in a new time in the Church--one of a progressive nature, where women can be priests (again), contraception isn't such an issue, the GLBTQ community feels universally welcomed, or anything like that. Basically Vatican III. 
Or, less optimistically, it could mean the Catholic Church essentially dies, finding itself back in Old School Square One where practitioners hide in basements and are accused of vampirism or whatever. Super less optimistically, it means Vatican City--possibly all of Rome--will get blowed up, and then blah blah blah everybody's dead. I prefer the women-can-be-priests etc. reading, m'self. ;)

The big question with the whole "Peter the Roman" thing is that a pope is not technically allowed to take the name Peter when he comes into office. Peter is pretty much the only holy name that's off limits.  Crazily, though, there IS a current favorite among the cardinals...whose GIVEN NAME is Peter. Peter Turkson. And he's African. First black Pope would be a pretty big deal...

Ok, done squealing about this. I just think there's so much potential in any election--even if the Cardinals are a bunch of conservative-to-moderate dudes. Still... change is possible. Even baby steps make a difference, although a leap would be nice at this point. If I were a better Catholic I'd say the Holy Spirit will find some way to work it all out for the best, but I am a little bit jaded these days, and I doubt Pope Benedict XVI would consider me much of a Catholic at all, what with my social politics. Ah well. I like the nuns better, anyway. 

*full disclosure: there was a lot of crying and angrily-locking-selves-in-rooms after the last election. It's basically like a presidential election! All the crazy emotions and chewing of fingernails...except we non-cardinals don't get to vote. Eh, yeah.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

the flat, etc

So, hey guys! This is our house and neighborhood and stuff!

Heeeeere's our cute little 'hood.

Dining room table! With breakfast! 

This is our living room/dining room. (You can see the corner of the table over there.) We keep blankets on the couch, because our apartment is buttsa cold. Flannery claimed the little purple towel as a bed, so we put it on the windowsill. It's her new favorite hangout, that windowsill.

More living/dining room. The art-wall is the wall to the right if you're sitting on the couch. Daniel is a good model. He's holding the inflatable moose head, who many of you know as John the Baptist. We haven't put him up yet, but he currently chills in the living room.

Kitchen. So grown-up looking. (keyword: "looking")

Floor bed in our little attic bedroom, complete with sleepy, happy cat. (She adjusted super quick to her new home, because she's a professional cat.)


Other side of my office (to orient yourself, the window in both pictures is the same window), with a little picture of Scully to remind me to be awesome (I am making my Scully Face. I need round glasses to really get it down) and a framed bunch of photobooth pictures of me 'n' Danielle, also to remind me to be awesome (not Daniel, but Danielle. My two loves have pretty much the same name. haha.)

Yep. That's our life now. We miss the States (our families, our friends, BFF brand cat food, Netflix, Obama, etc.) but we're settling in pretty well. Friday night, we went out with our friend Gina to a really great Chinese restaurant in Gloucester Green--if you come visit, we'll take you there!--and talked about books and writing and philosophy. It was a nice break from my hermetic week of writing and insomnia. Then we saw Lincoln yesterday with one of D's work peeps, his wife, and their friend. Everyone really liked it (actually, I don't know about Miriam's opinion. I didn't reveal my feelings about it until D and I were walking home because I didn't want to try to explain my opinion out in the cold while I was hungry), but I felt a little meh about it. Tommy Lee Jones and Daniel Day Lewis (and JAMES SPADER) were amazing, but it's basically a movie about a bunch of old white dudes doing politics.  I'm kind of tired of "Hooray! Old white people talking a lot!" movies. I do appreciate Lewis' very human depiction of Lincoln. A less skilled actor could have easily fallen into the Saint Lincoln, Savior of Humanity trap. Lewis did an A+ job of lending some ambiguity to his personality. Also: all the storytelling Lincoln/Lewis does? The best! But I am a sucker for Story Time--in books, movies, real life, anytime all the time forever. I'll forgive most things if you give me some story time.

Aside: I have pretty high hopes for Argo. I wonder if I'll like it more than Lincoln, and I wonder if I'll be able to articulate why? Maybe it has to do with Fact vs. Truth (y'all have read The Things They Carried, right? If you haven't, you need to). I left Lincoln feeling a little like I'd been "America Is Great, Lincoln Was The Best" propaganda'd. Everyone already loves Abraham Lincoln and the 13th Amendment. Did we need a movie about it? Argo seems more...useful. Not that I think all movies need to have a lofty purpose (I also want to see Django real bad), but I think historical films/biopics run the risk of seeming like propaganda, or preachy, and I prefer when they are revelatory. But I guess I like history, so maybe a lot of people DID find Lincoln to be accessible and revelatory? Guess that's what makes it my opinion! LOL. Yep. For whatever it's worth, that's my review of Lincoln: great acting, sort of okay movie. But Daniel super loved it! So, obviously lots of room for diversity of opinion.

I wish I had more money to go see movies. I really enjoy movies. I less enjoy how much they cost. I'd like, some year, to watch the Oscars and have seen more than two of the nominated movies. Will I even be watching the Oscars this year? Can they be streamed online? I don't have a TV, and even if I did, are they aired here?

Oh, if you want a trippy experience, go see a movie about American history in a full theater in the UK. It feels weird. Did Brits who saw The King's Speech in theaters in the US feel that same thing? Like: why do all these people give a poop about a long-dead leader of my country? It's kind of cool, but really surreal.

Okay, after that unexpected rant about a movie I felt lukewarm about, I'm gonna let y'all go! Hope you liked our little house tour. It's nice, getting some art up on the walls. And my desk is the best! But we really miss you guys. It's only been a week and a half, but I was already missing the PacNW while I was on the plane.