My new iBook G4 is truly fun. I'm at the Peabody Place shopping center just blocks away from historic Beale street (birthplace of rock'n'roll, home of BB King's little cafe). There are three available networks :-).
The interesting thing about wireless is that it makes me look like I'm completely out of touch with reality. I'm sitting here typing away while people are milling around going in and out of stores with fresh coffee from Starbucks. My table is an island in the the main three story lobby with few other strandees. It feels like quite a contrast.
I need to go do something. I'll use the wireless later.
Dinner at the Crafton's was great fun. The cuisine of a house in which the brand 'Stovetop' is anathema is always incredible. Gramma Crafton introduced me to oyster dressing (stuffing is called dressing down here), green bean bundles (bacon wrapped, french cut strands in a sweet red sauce), and southern pecan pie.
Mrs. Crafton and I spent the night before making calligraphy welcome gifts for each family represented at the table (10). I can tell now where Dailey gets his creativity. Then Casey, Alex and I went out late to see downtown Memphis all lit up and throbbing with life. Memphis seems to go on and on forever. When you see a big white dot representing Memphis on a wheather map it is probably to scale.
Speaking of wrong side of the river, one might think that both sides of the Mighty Mississippi would be bustling in an urban, commercial area. Nope. Arkansas is accessible from Memphis via bridge. Crossing that bridge is like falling out of the milky way into the abyss. There is absolutely nothing but dim farm land across the river. It is the most bizare landscape I've ever seen. The drive to Memphis from Arkansas, however, is far better. The reflections of the city in the river are intensified by the lifelessness of its neigboring state.
The next morning we helped set up for the guests, finished cooking a few things, and then partied as people came and ate. There was so much food! Gramma Crafton bragged to me over her daughter-in-law's excellent cooking with sound evidence for her praise. I got to meet some more of the family and hang out with the little cousins in between watching to football game and grabbing another plate of food.
Eventually we went to a friend's house to ride a '92 Cherokee on steriods and monster tires through the swamp to shoot at stuff. And finished the night out with PS2 and 'Apples to Apples' while talking about which modifications to certain cars are best and the glories of turbo and nitro and hydrolics.
Life in the mid-south seems to be as quintessentially american as you can get.
Today I'm taking it easy: sleeping in, slowly chipping away at the left-overs, and getting to know the city a little better. I'm in the new Shelby County Library making use of the free wireless and doing a little research for papers and projects.
I have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow.
I am here at the Apple store checking emails and hangin' out with the locals. And, yes, looking to buy an ibook G4 with a wireless mouse (and splurging on a neat little carrying case that would displace the discounts that I'm getting).
As a designer this little tool will be invaluable. I'll be able to take it with me whenever/wherever without tether to a network or outlet. Any time I catch the design bug I can whip out the G4 and go to. It will be good. Very good. And, yes, I'm excited.
I think visiting an Apple store is a rite of passage for a designer or any mac enthusiast, for that matter. Simply being in the store is an experience. All the hardware is separated around the store into neat little vestibules. There is the music section (with the ever-popular ipod), the video section with software for making professional grade edits and productions, the audio section, the photos section, kids, pros, and genius (the learning center at the back of the store). There are also accessory and more softwares available in the center of the store. As a designer I really enjoy how the whole environment is layed out — plenty of space framed by clean, solid materials. Ther's lots of white and hardwood. It feels more like a fine art gallery than a retail store.
It is intersting to me how many different kinds of people are here. There are elders at the learning center watching a miniseminar about how to organize their photos and email them or print them. There are kids wrapped in bean bags at the kids center gaming away on emacs while parents shop. And then there are the few the student/professional types like me. I really had no idea that Apple had such a broad following.
I am making pilgramage to the wrong side of the river.
This thanksgiving in celebration of a week free of classes I choose Memphis (the real Memphis is on the west side of its river).
I really can't express how glad I am to travel again and be in a place of minimal distraction. Lately I've felt so caked with responsabilities and protocols that I haven't had time to be human. I still do all those human things but all I can think about is whether skipping lunch on a particular Tuesday will give me enough time to finish a project and the like.
I desparately want time. Time to think. Time to mourn. Time to play. Time to build up. Time to break down. Time to grow. Time to be thankful.
If this is true then i want one of those glowing crystals and a flying fish moped.
1 Corinthians 2:11For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
14The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16"For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your glorified body?
Think about it: Your heart would no longer be desperately wicked. Every impulse of the heart would be true and just and acceptable. Will it not be so cool to not have to doubt ourselves; to not have to wonder if you are taking the wrong step or maybe fulfilling some selfish craving. In that day all restraints will be unnecessary. To be completely purified is almost unfathomable. I can't wait!
But even now we have a Helper who is closer to us than our dearest confidant. God sees the heart and we can tell Him honestly what our innermost problems and concerns are and the Spirit will teach us how to change. When we draw close to Him He will draw close to us.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
I've been rather sure of myself lately in what I believe. I'm becoming more and more convinced of truths that deal directly with what I read, listen to, and see in art. I've abandoned standards of tradition for a scriptural philosophy that can address every unique situation (I've found that most standards and generalizations fall flat on their faces when thrown a curve ball). But there is one conflict with developing a biblical philosophy toward life: not everyone will agree with you on your philosophy.
"But there it is, plain as day!" I've said to the doubtful I've tried to convert. "Do you see how it all fits together?"
I've known that there would have to be some solution to getting everyone to recognize the truth I'd realized. How come there couldn't be unity over this? Christ prayed in John for the unity of the church. How do I help achieve that goal? How do I glorify God in my approach toward music, literature, and art?
My first mistake was forgetting to work love into my philosophy. I assumed that the problem was with others and not myself. Love doesn't seek its own. God wrote this for me:
1 Corinthians 8
1Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that "all of us possess knowledge." This "knowledge" puffs up, but love builds up. 2If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.
4Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one." 5For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth--as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"-- 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
I'm not supposed to indoctrinate the church with my philosophy (I'm sure you've noticed by now that I'm deliberately leaving my views vague). I'm supposed to know what I believe regarding music, literature, art, etc. I'm to be as liberal with others in their "standards" as long as it isn't worldly (fulfilling the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life). I'm to be as sensative as possible to the weaker brother and not offend him. If he wants to talk then we'll talk. That's love. Selfishness is trying to get everyone to think like me, even if that means searing their consciences. That's not seeking the kingdom.
This means a whole lot for me now. When I go home this Christmas I'm going to take my KJV to church. I'm going to listen to 90.5 Quebec Classics in the car. I'm going to read Hamlet, and what's left of the Brit Lit anthology. I know that Christian liberty lends me far more slack, but because I love my family and church and because the world knows that we're God's Children by that love I can forgo a few things for a time.
I haven't had the time to throw or build anything with clay in quite some time. In fact, the last thing I threw is still a piece of green-ware (that means I heven't fired it yet [that means I haven't put it in a kiln yet]) sitting on a shelf collecting dust. I threw it about three months ago.
But recently I've been inspired to put my foot to the pedal and my hands to the wheel and make things again.
I visited a friend at her new house recently. We talked about how having a place of your own is so nice because you can completely express yourself in decorating it and making it your little sanctum. She pointed out a collection of carved wooden orbs that she picked up back home at a 'Christmas Loft.' But she didn't have a bowl in which to corral them from rolling off the coffee table. That's when I got inspired.
So lately I've been fashioning 25 to 30 inch diameter platters that I'm planning on decorating with various slip, scraffito, subtractive, and glazing techiniques. I'm really excited about them because I can explore tondo compositions and play with ethnic motifs from Hungary and Turkey (which both have their own unique approach to folk art and decoration when it comes to pottery and even the platter specifically). I'm also experementing with different ways of mounting them on walls; I've a bit more research to do in that area, platters made of fifteen to twenty pounds of clay don't easily stick to walls.
The platter for the afore mentioned new home will probably be a grooved 26 inch-er glazed in tenmuku (a rich, shiny, crystaline black that turns russet on sharp corners and grooves) with a red iron oxide underglazing to give the black a little extra kick.
I'll let you all know when I show them publicly (which being interpreted means: when I start selling them)
The air is so clear this morning, despite threats of rain, and I can see my breath! A heavy dew coupled with the low, raking light of the morning sun is turning the grass on the golf course behind the office blue like a Manet. And the color of the leaves still lingers over the trees. It's so perfect.
When I see how new and beautiful creation is every day I can't help but marvel at the grace God gives us.
This world is mangled by the affects of sin. It is drastically different from the creation that He intended. Creation is decaying and falling apart. But somehow it is still uniquely beautiful. Sunsets never get old. Its annual cyclic changes are never tedious. And every rule of aesthetics as we understand them is used to the fullest within the open composition of creation. Have you ever noticed that it is very hard to take a bad snapshot of a landscape?
God has given us far better than what we truly deserve.
I am in a play. The cast has five guys and six girls who are doing a marvelous job at making the play 'The Curious Savage' come alive with tons of emotion and down right awesome humor.
So where does the music come in?
Case study 1:
Cast member X brings guitar into practice having slightly less learning than subject T(im). The subject, realizing his opportunity to test his social theory of the affects of six-stringed instruments on the female populace, plays a song.
Dimly lit full thrust stage with set. Thirteen people are situated at various zones among the seats and stage. The group is disjointed and unorganized.
Subject T plays a few chords while quietly singing (or rather stumbling, I haven't quite got the hang of playing and singing at the same time).
The group assembled when the first few chords were struck (opening chords apear to have an attention getting affect on people, especially when played live). A few people joined in with the singing, but participation stayed relatively low. Female response was posative.
People (girls) dig live music.
OK, OK, so I botched a song and everyone laughed and we had ourselves a time. I think case study #2 will need a larger audience to really test my social theories. I still need to find some good vibes, though.