Thursday, November 29, 2007

Freegan Microwave

It's been hard to keep up on the posting lately. I teach from 9-1 on MWF this semester and I tutor on Tuesdays (and soon also Thursdays) from 9-2. This means I have to use most of my time before 9 on the computer prepping for class. It also means that I don't want to hang around after class to play around on the computer. I guess one day we'll get a laptop. I imagine once David will want one once he starts his dissertation. Anyhow, back to blogging and such. Recently, my friend, Elisabeth,suggested that I get on Facebook. I know I should because I already have an empty profile and many of my friends are on there. Yet I worry that if I keep a blog, converse on myspace, and then start monkeying around on Facebook, I'll have to quit my job to become a full-time elecrtonic social networker. I've heard it doesn't pay much.

Well, onto the title of my post. Nope, I'm not angry at our microwave. In fact, until Sunday at approximately 11:30, we didn't have a microwave. As we were walking back to our apartment after church, we happened upon a microwave sitting out on the curb across the street from our building. I wanted to pick up this microwave and take it back to our apartment, but I was paralyzed by the fear that I would look like a stupid, poor trash picker for the thirty seconds it would have taken me to walk it across the street and into our building. Luckily, David was not hindered by this fear. He picked it up and we went to our apartment to see if it worked. It actually does work to our surprise. I cleaned it thoroughly, but it still smells like a sickening combination of all the foods that have ever been prepared inside of it. Think of the microwave in the break room of your first job that no one ever cleaned. I hate the microwave smell. But our freegan microwave does work and the smell, which I think most microwaves that are not cleaned daily acquire, does not affect the taste or our food, so it's a keeper.

If we had done this five years ago, it would have been called trash picking, but today it has a much hipper, cutting edge, and socially aware name: Freeganism. Vegans, who, in my experience, are always looking for ways to make their eating routines more bizarre and are also looking for ways to whine more frequently about how hard it is to live under self-imposed dietary restrictions, have added a new element to their stringent practices. Some feel that even if they eat a vegan diet, the money they spent on that food may have gone to people who firebomb duck ponds, cut down redwoods to make a single toothpick, or majored in something besides peace studies in college. In order to insure that their money does not go to Hoggish Greedly types, freegans rummage through the dumpsters of supermarkets and other stores to provide food, clothing, and furniture for themselves.

And although I poke fun at their ideology, I have to agree with freegans in basic principle if not in practice. Our country is incredibly wasteful. We throw away things if they are not absolutely perfect. And we do this because we know that we can go to Wal-Mart and replace whatever it was with another poorly made model for $2.88. We surround ourselves with stuff and then make believe that the stuff defines who we are or makes us better people for owning it. But I'll get off my soapbox because I am equally annoyed by the people who treat me like I just killed a small business owner's baby because I went to Starbucks.

Well, our freegan microwave rocks. And kudos to the vegans and freegans for finding a way to make eating more difficult and more idealistic yet again. I am happy to have benefited from another person's trash- even if I made my husband do the fetching.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Christian Music

I'm here at work. I should be making a syllabus for my English 102 students. I'm not doing that. Instead, I want to talk about modern Christian Music... and how I pretty much hate it. I'm not talking about church music. That is a completely different subject. I'm talking about rock 'n roll the Lord's way or whatever you want to call it. I think that fewer Catholics on the whole listen to Christian pop music, and I have to say that for that reason this post goes against my general religious inclinations at the moment. Right now, in the non-blogging world, I'm feeling the call to reach out to as many non-Catholics as possible to let them know that there are really awesome and positive aspects about being Catholic. And yet, I hold a special hatred for really lame-ass music (and a special love for making outrageous claims). And so I'm writing this post. The following is an explanation of my reasons.

1. This Band Sounds Just Like Creed
For half the Christian pop bands I've ever heard of, I've been told that they sound "just like Creed." That's a huge strike one. I don't even listen to that crappy band, so why would I want to listen to a heavier handed, crappier version of a band I hate? And more importantly, why are so many Christian bands imitating such a supertard band? I guess this reason hits at a larger issue. I don't like most music that I hear on pop radio stations these days, so I guess it would follow that I wouldn't like their Christian counterparts. I can remember when this started. I was in high school and a friend was taking me to school. A Matchbox 20 song came on the radio and I thought I was going to die of a severe lame overdose by the time the song ended. I just kept thinking that there had to be better music out there somewhere and that one day I would find it. That's the only reason I didn't die that day. And I did go on to find better music on smaller labels and with original sounds.

2. If You Like 50 Cent, You'll Love Tithe 2 Him
I read an article in Touchstone a few months ago that equated Christian pop music to those Designer Impostors perfumes. You know the type: "If you like Calvin Klein's Obsession, you'll love Unstable Stalker." The article said that some Christian music stores even have conversion charts. So say you like 50 Cent's style, but you hate all his sinning, cursing, and references to criminal activity. Not a problem! Just go to your nearest Christian retailer, look up ol' fiddy, and find the Christian version of him on the chart. David asked me once why I become so angry when I talk about Christian music, and I think this kind of thing is at the heart of it. People in the Christian goods market are out to make a buck just as quickly at the next guy. And many people fall for it because, hey, as long as it is "Christian" then it is acceptable. No one will have to explain to their friends why they are listening to certain music or reading certain books as long as they have been labeled Christian. Think about it. You wouldn't buy your kid a meat cleaver. But what if it was a Veggie Tales meat cleaver? Slap a picture of a Christian tomato on that bad boy and you just might reconsider. After all, it is Christian. Had enough of your pagan tic tacs? Just go to the Christian outlet and buy yourself some "Testamints" as a Christian alternative. So, I guess my second problem with Christian music expands out to the Christian goods market and the disgusting lengths it will go to in order to make a buck. Oh, and this also includes the people willing to buy this stuff. Honestly, a lot of Christian retail stores make me want to vomit.

3. Gross Misuse of Initials,Numbers, and Zs
I think everyone knows that Christian bands try too hard to sound cool by adding numbers or initials to the names of their bands. Ever hear 4Him, DC Talk, Reliant K, 3inOne,FFH, or DJ Morphiziz? Wow. All I have to say about that last one is WTF? I can see the meeting between the agent and this guy in my head.

Agent: Say, we're gonna sign you to our label. Do you have a catchy rapper name?

DJ Morphiziz: Well, I was thinking about something to do with morphing, because God really morphed my life.

Agent: Morph, morph. I like it, but could we throw some Zs in? Kids really love Zs.

DJ Morphiziz: Well, I guess I could do DJ Morphiziz.

Agent: That's great, kid. I love it. The Zs are the kicker. In no way will this make you sound stupid.

4. Sounds Better When You Are Drunk
I generally avoid drunkenness and anything that sounds better to me when I'm drunk. Taco Bell is a great example of that. Here's another example- I remember once I rode a skateboard down New York Street hill. At night. Bare foot. With a beer in my hand. I had been on a skateboard about three times in my life before that. I know this wouldn't have sounded like a good idea except for all that Gin I imbibed about a half an hour earlier. I also remember when my friend Jack punched his hand through a window at Wabash in order to show a freshman about "drunken responsibility." I know that wouldn't have sounded like a good idea if he wasn't drunk. What's my point you ask? Well, my friend John has gotten me to listen to Christian music while I was drunk. Each time I resisted, and each time he told me that Christian music is best listened to drunk. And what happened? I had a totally awesome rock out session to "Our God is an Awesome God" and "Sister Christian," two songs I hate when I'm sober.

Actually, what's the whole point to all this? Do I think that everyone who listens to Christian music sucks? No. Do I think their taste in music sucks? Well, I can't judge too quickly. I just don't like Christian music and I think Christian retail is just as profit driven as any other market... unless I'm drunk.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I have a great post up in my head that I want to write. It would be great. I'm sure it would be funny and I'm sure it might infuriate someone, which is the best kind of post. However, I've been a little too depressed lately to try to be funny. Well, let's not call it depressed. That conjures up too bleak a picture. Let's call it crestfallen. No one can be that sad if they say they're crestfallen.

We went to a party last night. It was cool, but I felt like was a little rusty on the whole talking to people who aren't David issue. I tried to be nice, pleasant, and not too weird. Who knows? Maybe I pulled it off. The people at the party were genuinely neat and interesting. It was a bunch of classicists and their spouses, and as someone with a classics background and a spouse, I wasn't entirely out of my element. One of the coolest parts about the party was that the hosts (a classics PhD student and her husband)live two floors below us. What is even cooler is that they play board games!! They have all the good ones like Settlers, Caylus, Powergrid, Puerto Rico and so on. I think we're going to play games with them in the future. Well, actually, David is ditching me tonight to play board games with his classmate's husband, his professor's husband, and other people.

David said I had to wait a year before applying to a PhD program. But then yesterday he said I could apply for next fall. I am at least looking into it. How's work you say? Well, I'll just say that I have never been so inspired to go back to school in all my life, and my students are the ones who have inspired me to do it. They are a very inspirational group. Oh, case in point- I'm in a computer lab right now, and an inspirational student (not mine) just came up to me as I was typing the previous sentence and asked me if I was a fast typer. I said I was and asked why. He asked me if I wanted to make three dollars by typing his English comp paper for him. I responded that I didn't think I should considering that I am an English comp teacher at this very school. There was a lot of backpedaling and mumbling before he went back to his computer. I have not seen him solicit anyone else. Ah, inspiration. It really can come from anywhere.