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Posts Tagged '2008 sucks'

2008: the less said the better

2008 in the rearview mirrorAs may sometimes have been clear, 2008 wasn’t exactly a hoot and a holler and a gaggle of memories I’d love to relive. Exhaustive detail on all the reasons why wouldn’t be at all appropriate, let alone interesting, in many cases; therefore, instead of a lengthy retrospective, I decided to see if I could go month-by-month and write descriptive three-word phrases. Here’s what I came up with:

January — Uncomfortable but hopeful.

February — Hope seeping away.

March — Devastated and trapped.

April — Escaped, thank God.

May — Decompressing; emotionally raw.

June — Left at roadside.

July — Picked up briefly.

August — Rock bottom. Miserable.

September — Some good ideas.

October — Leveling out slowly.

November — Waiting, hoping, writing.

December — Door opened, finally.

For 2009, now that I actually have an official academic field (and might still have yet another), I hope to be able to spend some more time here discussing it/them. Obviously, a lot of professional wind got let out of sails after March and April, and the blog as a result became much more of a personal exercise than I originally intended. I don’t expect that will go away, exactly, but I hope to have more to contribute in terms of academic discussion. I don’t plan on discussing original research in detail, exactly, but it would be very much in keeping with my original intent to be able to at least jot down some notes here.

It’s possible I may have additional opportunities to post some travel journal kinds of things in the coming year. More on that as it happens.

I really hope to have more to say about Pascha at the Singing School, and very soon. I’m so close to having a draft completed I can taste the cheese.

There are other writing and musical projects that may or may not get anywhere as I have time to devote to them. As some things get completed, more capacity will be opened up. We’ll see.

At any rate, I will be toasting the New Year with at least one Maker’s Mark Manhattan tonight.

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“Bear Stearns is not in trouble” — Jim Cramer, 11 March 2008

What, do you suppose, would the term be for the polar opposite of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

All Saints Choir invited to be Midwest franchise of Cappella Romana

And before I say anything else about that, do check today’s date.

Fr. Peter with the choir during the Great LitanySaturday evening, the choir’s first public outing, did go very well, however. They learned the music, they were able to do it outside of the church building in front of a group of people specifically there to listen to (and, to some extent, watch) them, and I am inestimably proud of all of them for doing it and keeping it together throughout. For most of them it would have been the first time they would have ever done anything like this, and certainly the first time the choir as an ensemble has ever participated in this kind of outreach. There are always things you’d hope would go better, but they maintained composure throughout the whole program and never once crashed and burned. Just being able to do that is a fantastic start for a group like this, and now we all know we can do it (I’ve always known they could do it, it was just convincingRichard with the men them), we’ll move forward from here. This group wouldn’t have been able to do this at all a year ago, and it sure isn’t because of me that they can now, so that they were able to do this is a measure of the hard work they’ve put into this.

(Thank you to Anna for taking photos, but really just for being there.)

Here are some highlights:

Troparion of Bridegroom Matins

Lauds with stichera, Bridegroom Matins of Holy Tuesday (Matthew Wells, Megan Barrett, and me, cantors)

15th Antiphon, Great and Holy Friday (John Labban, cantor)

I’m hoping the next opportunity to do something like this comes along soon (but preferably after Pascha, at least).

In other news, my paper went well at the Medieval Studies Symposium; I felt good about the research and the presentation, particularly since I had been able to go back and replace many of my key references to English translations of Syriac sources (for which I didn’t really have a choice when I started writing the paper a year ago) to the Syriac sources themselves. I also felt like I handled the questions well. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Dorushe conference goes at Notre Dame this weekend.

I’m leaning increasingly towards going to the Fellowship of Ss. Alban & Sergius conference one way or the other. It seems very much like it would be worth the money and would behoove me to be there. Maybe I can “blog the conference,” as it were. Even so, at the risk of sounding like I’m begging for money — tip jar, baby, tip jar!

If I can just say — I am well to have March behind me. It has been a really awful month on several levels, and I have felt despairing at many points throughout the last 31 days. I am hopeful that April is beginning on a brighter note, with an eye towards the fact that the month is ending with Pascha (and Finals Week, but never mind that now). Onward and upward, with God’s help.

Mmmmmm, fish.

coptic-annunciation.gifA blessed Feast of the Annunciation to everybody, even if liturgically it’s been over for three and a half hours. I’m still eating fish right now. In honor of the fact that I just got my Coptic textbook six months early, I’ve chosen a Coptic icon of this feast.
So, I’m a member of the Fellowship of Ss. Alban & Sergius, and I think you should be too. I joined a little over two years ago, and quickly noticed — “Hey! Everything they do is over in England!” That makes it a little spendy for academic wannabes with no institutional support to participate, so I inquired after the possibility of starting a United States-based chapter for the, well, probably three of us who are over here. Probably not, was the answer, but they mumbled something about planning a conference on American soil at St. Vladimir’s, probably around January 2007.
Well, January 2007 came and went with no word. However, a few months ago the Fellowship officially announced that the conference would be occurring in June of this year, and then today, at long last, registration opened.
It should be quite an event; Metropolitans Kallistos & PHILIP, and Bp. Hilarion are among the highlights, over five days (4-8 June 2008) in Crestwood, NY.
However, one thing that quickly made itself conspicuous as I was perusing the registration information: there is neither a Fellowship member registration price break, nor a student price break. It’s $400 for everything (including accommodation) if you pay in full before 7 May, otherwise it’s $500 for everything, and that’s the only verse that song has.
Now, to some extent, this is to be understood. I have to imagine the number of actual members in America is so small as to be insignificant, and perhaps most of them are people who are already going to be there as invited guests. This is also not exactly an academic conference as such, so there’s not really a good reason to have student pricing.
But still. With airfare, that’s going to be around $700. We’re back where we started when I first joined the Fellowship — it’s a bit spendy for an academic wannabe without institutional support to participate.
All the same, I wanna go. I really wanna go. I’m not going to get a chance to do much else this summer, my wife will be out of the country again, plus 2008 has really sucked so far anyway, so this would be nice.
It occurred to me that allegedly my blog is worth $2,822.70, which would pay for four people to go to this conference. Well, I think I should leave some of that for a rainy day, but if I can just monetize just a quarter of my blog’s value, then there is my registration fee and airfare, no muss, no fuss.
So I’ve added a tip jar. Besides that link, there’s a permanent link to it on my blogroll under “Tip Jar.” If you think what you read here is worth something, then I recommend counseling and lots of it, but I nonetheless give you the opportunity to let the free market work. (It will be noted that not contributing anything will also be seen as a weighing in on the value of this blog and perhaps a more accurate one at that.)
(And yes, I recognize that, realistically, this will maybe raise enough money for me to buy a latte at the airport. Well, whatever — nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.)
(Maybe tomorrow I’ll actually say something about Bp. MARK’s visit.)
(OK, OK, I’ll quit with the parentheticals.)

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