25 August 2008

Roald Amundsen

Roald Amundsen, 1923. Compliments of Encyclopedia Britannica online.

An informative bio of Amundsen is available
here. You can download a free translation of his book on his South Pole adventures via Project Gutenberg here. Because of my insatiable need for more adventure stories, I will be checking him out a bit more thoroughly. Enjoy!

Interesting Quote

This came up on one of my quote lists and I thought it was interesting, especially considering my love of adventure (future posts on recent adventures coming soon!) Now I need to find the context.... Bio info on Roald Amundsen coming soon!

Adventure is just bad planning.
- Roald Amundsen
Norwegian Arctic & Antarctic explorer (1872 - 1928)

Bible lust

Is it possible to lust for a Bible? If so, I am currently in the throes of an intense Bible lust. Some of you may remember from my birthday/Christmas post from last year that I was looking to get a new Bible. A leather-bound to-last-a-lifetime Bible. Well, I didn't get one last year, for myself or from someone else. It was a disappointment, but like all disappointments, in hindsight I can see the upside.

The upside to this disappointment is the ESV Study Bible. Due out in October (just in time for my 30th birthday!) it looks amazing. Normally I shy away from too much commentary in a Bible. My old stand-by Slimline NASB with cross-referencing was enough for years. At this point in my walk with Christ, though, I think I could do with some quality commentary.

So, if anyone is looking to drop a large amount of money on my birthday celebration, I would love the premium calf-skin:-) It needs to last for 60 yrs or so, so the cost/use analysis makes it a great deal--just over $3.00 a year!

08 August 2008


(photo compliments of NY Times)

This past week one of the foremost Russian writers died. I've linked to two different obituaries, the NY Times and a Boundless blog post. There is always so much to be said about someone as controversial and pugnacious as Solzhenitsyn.

I distinctly remember reading One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. The writing was hard and visceral and almost too simple to be real. I had wrestled (unsuccessfully) through Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment, firmly convinced that Russian novels were an Everest I was incapable of climbing. But still, I had seen that unpronounceable name in the writings of individuals I admired. If I was to be an educated 20th century reader I had to read something by him. My reading was so random and lopsided. Here was a chance to fill in a gap.

Universal human experience is one proof, in my mind, of the centrality of a Creator. It is fact that, regardless of seemingly consequential differences, humans have a huge well of shared experience. Pain, loneliness, anger, fear, pleasure, happiness..... We have families and friends. We experience gain and loss. We love beauty, hate ugliness, and often times don't think past our stomach or our bed. Any person that I meet anywhere on the planet shares far more with me than could possibly be different.

Because of this great shared wealth the gulag became my life for the short time that it took to read One Day... I was a suburban teenager in my basement bedroom, surrounded by a loving family and recipient of the freedom and decadence of an American middle-class life. I was female, young and almost excessively sheltered. But I knew the reality of that life.

Solzhenitsyn reminds me often of an Old Testament prophet. I don't know that he wept much, but he was often misunderstood and he spoke truth when all wisdom seemed to advise silence. He championed against injustice motivated out of a passionate love of his homeland and people. He was often disillusioned and alone. The general public regarded him as a saint and crusader one moment and painfully awkward old coot the next.

He was just a man and one who lived long enough to prove that all men are fallible and easily misunderstood. But irregardless of some extreme and often mistaken views, he clung tenaciously to the truth when the truth promised little but heartache. In that respect, Solzhenitsyn was almost a living embodiment of anti-postmodernism. It is not all about questioning. Deconstruction is only valuable when you are actually taking apart something harmful AND are willing to subject your deconstruction to the lens of truth. Finally, truth doesn't change, no matter how you look at it, or whether or not it is fashionable or pleasant.

Haven't written anything this complex in some time. I am still wrestling with the implications of a life well-lived and whether or not I or Solzhenitsyn can lay claim to having one. Death brings so much to the foreground that I rarely think about. The NY Times obit is in my bag, haven't finished it yet, so I have some more time to think.

04 August 2008

Cool stuff: my version

Was wandering around the blogs I like to frequent and came across this post from Random Musings. I always enjoy what she has to say, and her name is Rebecca, so she must be cool ;-) It seems like I wrote just yesterday and it has already been almost 2 weeks... YIKES!

Cool stuff:
  • Thunderstorms that crash so loudly they make me jump... even if I have my earphones in.
  • Changing the hem on $0.80 pants from the thrift store and having cute office wear.
  • A best friend who will sit and listen to me verbally process my relational experience without yawning once.
  • Thumb-wrestling with an extremely intelligent man and considering it just as fun as deep conversation.
  • The fragrance of clothes fresh from the clothesline.
  • Anything that combines mushrooms, spinach and good cheese.
  • Standing in front of A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat with someone who has never seen it before.
  • Living over a year without a car.
  • Working with interesting people at a job that really only requires 35 hrs a week from me and still pays me a livable wage.
There is always more that could be added. I am hoping to have a book list/review post in a few days. Just finished Chesterton's Orthodoxy and am in the midst of Till We Have Built Jerusalem by Philip Bess.... an interesting collection of essays on New Urbanism and its ties to the sacred. So much to think about (and write about)-- so little time!