Category Archives: Uncategorized

What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege

I have nothing to add to this. It is very accurate and an experience I share and will cherish as an example.

A Little More Sauce

The phrase “white privilege” is one that rubs a lot of white people the wrong way. It can trigger something in them that shuts down conversation or at least makes them very defensive. (Especially those who grew up relatively less privileged than other folks around them). And I’ve seen more than once where this happens and the next move in the conversation is for the person who brought up white privilege to say, “The reason you’re getting defensive is because you’re feeling the discomfort of having your privilege exposed.”

I’m sure that’s true sometimes. And I’m sure there are a lot of people, white and otherwise, who can attest to a kind of a-ha moment or paradigm shift where they “got” what privilege means and they did realize they had been getting defensive because they were uncomfortable at having their privilege exposed. But I would guess that more often than…

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On how I became a Pokemon trainer

Pokemon TCG XY:Primal Clash image

So… My kids have decided that Magic might be a little too much for them at the moment and have opted for Pokemon instead. The mechanics are interesting, and the gameplay is actually quite entertaining. They now have decks, and I have a deck (Alicia has a deck as well, and enjoys it enough to play readily with them and me.)

But we have a problem with their friends. Other parents don’t seem to be as interested in learning the game as we do, so their friends ‘play’ Pokemon by just throwing cards down on the table and looking at them and then ‘trade’ them by just passing them amongst each other.

So we’re turning our house into a battle arena soon. It really is a fun game, and I’d like to spread the actual play amongst these kids with all the cards. I suppose that makes me a trainer, but do I have to take a Professor [Tree] name?

Nano is here

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. My first full fledged participation.

Yay.

I crammed 1200 words into the last two hours of the day. The funniest thing is, when you are writing you realize all the stuff you forgot to prepare for. The stupid stuff, like the names of the freakin’ fighter ships that are the centerpiece of your work. Yeah, stuff like that.

As mentally exhausting as writing can be, I felt really good writing tonight. First time in a long time. I can see the actual story taking shape, rather than just the bits of plot I’d put together before this. I’m glad that the really important stuff is already… mostly… prepped. My characters are presenting new sides of themselves to me, which is par for the course, I think, but the plot is forming up into structural pieces.

I’m working on three key structural points to begin with. I’ll be filling in a lot of stuff later. I wasn’t going to tackle the prologue until the end, but I found out I needed to address how much of the information in the first couple of chapters was already going to be familiar to the reader by the time they read it. I’m glad I’ve taken that angle, because I’m seeing that it would have lead to some sticky reformations later.

Enough writing for now, I’ll try and keep up a journal this month, it’s likely to be more regular than my typical schedule, and maybe that’ll be a good thing.

Oh, excerpt:

Juliana stared out the enormous window of her office at the fleet gathering above [Juliana’s home]. Her fleet, much larger than any she’d ever been able to gather. Much larger than she’d ever seen, actually. The League’s declaration concerning Earth had been questionable in her mind, though the League of Humanity didn’t hold much water with her at the best of times. She couldn’t be happier with them now. This was the host her father had always dreamed of, the host that would shake the stars and drive fear into her enemies. She chuckled thinking of her first stop along the campaign path before her. The irony of the void was that this fleet was assembled to aid her longest standing enemy.
She turned away from the array of ships before her, pulling her hair back into a single tail before picking up a practice blade and mask and sauntering into the sparring circle opposite the stocky figure of her husband.
“You seem pleased with yourself.” He crossed his blade arm to salute her and then put on his own, well worn mask. “Allow me to help you with that.”
“Ha, there is little that could damp my mood, love.” His taunt was not without merit, Calvin Terrias was one of the few men with enough skill to best her at fencing, but even a loss in the ring could do little to bring Juliana down at this point. Her dream was floating through the void outside her window, and within a week she would be off to Alpha Centauri to launch a campaign against one of the greatest enemies humanity had ever known. The excitement was palpable, and the zeal of her commanders and their troops was stronger than she could have hoped for. Juliana languidly saluted and prepared for the first pass.

The Wolf and the Shepherd

Reading from the gospel of Matthew again today, chapter 9. Jesus heals a demoniac mute and everyone who sees it is amazed, then the Pharisees all cry foul. Jesus ignores them, because haters gon’ hate, and moves on with his ministry. This is a part that gets focused on a lot, so I’m going to look at what comes next.

At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.

These people were not leaderless, it’s important to note that. If anything, they were burdened with leaders. Religious leaders like the Pharisees and the Sadducees,  a defunct ‘king’ in the line of Herod, traitor tax-collectors from among their own people, and the Roman Government itself. They weren’t lacking leaders, but ‘lead’ isn’t what a shepherd does. They weren’t idiots, either, no matter how often people try and spin the sheep simile that direction in making fun of Christians. In fact, there is little reason to believe they are any different from a crowd you might see in a big city today. Slumped shoulders, thoughts elsewhere, moving from one place to the next without a purpose, but because everyone else is doing the same. That’s what Jesus saw, but he also saw the wolves moving among them.

Those same ‘leaders’ that were directing the lives of the people were herding them, not for care of the people, but for what they could gain from them. Power, prestige, prosperity, those were the motivations of the leaders of the day. When the shepherd came along, showing direction, purpose, and resolve, when the shepherd began giving their sheep a spine, when the shepherd began leading their sheep without force, that’s when they began to growl. They also already knew how to take care of the problem.

 

Isometric Life

So, I’ve gotten back into isometric rendering, thanks to a buddy on Google+

[I have a lot of my artwork up over there, btw]

 Here’s my first room attempt. I’m enjoying them. Now that the setup is done, they are quite easy, actually.

Legacy

Today is the Solemnity of John the Baptist for us Catholics. The lessons we can learn from the story of John the Baptist are much more generally applicable, however. John had vision, dedication, and combined those into a purpose. He very clearly fulfilled his calling in life, a thing many of us spend a very great deal of time wondering about, and not doing.

Ultimately, his situation is very similar to ours. We will die. The question we must answer is, what legacy will we leave. We are all preparing the way for something, even if we do great things in our life, someone will build on them to do greater things later. We have to ask, what things am I preparing the way for?

Sometimes, we have to identify the desert we are calling out in. Other times, we simple need to be aware of what we are calling out. Ultimately, we need to marry that vision and dedication we each have, and make it a purpose.

For what cause are you preparing the way?

Three St. Augustine Nuns Arrested

On Easter Sunday, 1916, three Sisters of St. Joseph (in the Diocese of St. Augustine) received a call to appear in court the next morning promptly at 9am. The sisters, of course, would oblige and one would go on to be placed under house arrest, but what this story tells us about resistance to improper authority, and obedience to God is just right for this month’s remembrances.

The Sisters of St. Joseph, an order founded in 1650 in France, had first come to the New World in 1866 at the request of Augustin Verot, the first bishop of St. Augustine. This would have been right after the Civil War, and tensions about what to do with the “newly freed slaves” were at a high, and Florida legislators had passed several measures to ensure that there was still a very clear separation of whites and blacks within the structure of the population. Bishop Verot had the forethought to see that the large population of former slaves would need an education to be able to function well going forward, and thus had commissioned the Sisters to have a Motherhouse built in his Diocese. By 1899 the Sisters had been established as a diocesan congregation and assumed a statewide role as pioneers in the fields of education, health care, and social services.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the arrival of their order to Florida, it seems the Sisters of St. Joseph would have been unlikely to expect to be arrested for what they had been called to as part of their mission, but that was exactly what happened. Of the three sisters arrested that Monday, two were released on their own recognizance. One, the principal, Sister Thomasine Hehir, refused to pay the $25 bond and was brought before the court. Her official charge? “arraigned on the offense of, to whit, a white teacher teaching negroes in a negro school.” And because she had refused to pay the bond, the court was “commanded to convey the said Sister Thomasine to the county jail and deliver her to the keeper thereof.” Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and the sister was allowed to remain under house arrest at the convent for the remainder of her trial. The bishop at the time, Bishop Michael Joseph Curley, went very public with his outrage at this arrest, threatening to take the case even to the federal Supreme Court. Eventually, Judge George Cooper Gibbs called the law into question and dismissed it on the grounds of it not pertaining to private schools on May 29th, 1916, a month after Sister Thomasine’s arrest.

The bigger story here is this, long before the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s, the Catholic Church was providing essential services to minority members of the communities they served. Forward thinking bishops could see a need where it presented itself, and acted on that need accordingly. Though this is the most public instance of Civil Disobedience of this kind from Catholics, we can be pretty certain it wasn’t the only one. Despite this adversity, the Sisters of St. Joseph went right back to serving the community they were called to, and though many of their schools have now closed, there is one, St. Pius School in Jacksonville, which was founded in 1921 and still serves the K – 8 ages. Many of these students are now fourth and fifth generation. What a legacy.