Thursday, October 20, 2005

Spin and Penthouse

"'Faith is not meant to replace reason, but is for those things which reason cannot explain,' said St. Thomas Aquinas. Indeed, faith - that leap into the unknown and unknowable - is the price of admission for any religion."
- Bob Guccione Jr., founder of Spin Magazine and whose father founded Penthouse.

There was an article in Travel Leisure's August 2005 issue about his trip to visit the Vatican.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

they walk alike, they talk alike...

I love my sister. Her name is Rachel Ellen Phares, and she's going to be 16 this December, which is beyond me. I still remember bringing her home from the hospital (or rather, watching as my parents brought her home) and she was soooo small! Now she's huge! Heh heh, just kidding.

I was talking to her yesterday on the phone (she lives in Wichita, KS.......and I only talk on the phone to people who live out of state, which is why I felt the need to clarify) and she was updating me on the joys and the trials of being a sophomore in high school, and believe you me, they are a-many.

First let me say that when she started school this year, she was telling me about all the extracurricular clubs of which she is a part, and they are as follows:

1. Book Club (awesome! we(e) Phares love to read)
2. Scholars Bowl, which she described as a "tournament of knowledge" (golden!)
3. (I don't know if she's doing it again this year, but she did last year) Jewelry Club....not to be confused with the ever growing Jewry Club.
4. Orchestra (she auditioned and got 2nd chair! In 10th grade!!! Woot woot, Rae!)

I think that's it. Rachel if you're reading this and I've left any out (or misrepresented these clubs), please feel free to leave me a comment with a corrected list. Or you can fax it to me at 214.747.2716. Thank you.

Anybuns...we were talking yesterday and she was telling me about her accomplishments in school, and that she got a progress report at school saying that her class rank as of yet is 1/400-something!!! I told her I was so proud of her and that if she ever fell below number 1, I would still love her, but less with each passing day. Aye Juz Kideeen!! No, I am so proud of her, and she's so bright, but I did tell her that it's okay if she's not #1. Plus, she's really freaking cool. She likes The Faint, Marc Cohn, Beethoven, Queen, Ben Folds and Bobby Mcfaren.......AND she wears converse!

Well, she also told me that she was talking to our dad the other day about school, and she said:

"So, yeah, I think I may have accidentally joined a cult."

Whaa?! When I asked her to explain, she said that in her book club, they haven't read any books yet (since august) and all they do is eat lunch and make voodoo dolls for people to burn at the football games.

Holy crap! We talked about it - after I finished laughing hysterically at the absurdity of this group that has so cleverly disguised itself as a group of people merely intersted in literature, when really....really all they want to do is kill people (ha!) - and when I asked her if she had to stay in this group, she replied that she wasn't planning on going back. That's crazy! Even as I type about it now it's making me laugh. How weird.

Here are a few pictures of her:

Rachel, in the lab solving the mystery of "the polymer:"

Rachel competing for the scholars bowl:

Rachel accepting her scholars bowl championship award:

Come'd be proud, too.

Friday, October 07, 2005

daily vitamins...

So, I play the violin. Sometimes, I even get paid to do this, which is pretty great. Recently, I completed the most time consuming job I've ever done for a friend of a friend's wedding, where she wanted me to arrange pop songs (Radiohead, U2, Coldplay, Pink Floyd, and my personal favorite, Ben Folds) for a string quartet. I knew about this months in advance, which is benefitial, because it was going to take A LOT of time to do all of this.

Well, approximately two weeks and one half before said wedding, a....change in plans forced me to call on the services of three new arrangers to get 12 songs done before the wedding. I had to use some of my money I was making to pay these extra folks, and due to time restrictions, I had to buy piano books for all this music myself to use in extracting string parts, which left my net profit at -$2.34, and three new lines under each eye. Is it too much to want someone's big day to be perfect, complete with music prepared ahead of time, plenty of practice time (for the musicians who've never heard of Coldwha? or Radiowho? but can play Mendelssohn upside down with their eyes closed while analyzing the latest Philip Glass piece and checking for 12 tone composition patterns). In reality, time restraints left little time for creative freedom (and accuracy) in the arrangements, no one wanted to practice the music but me, and the final piece was handed to me about 1 hour before we left for the wedding.

Things went pretty well I suppose, but for the future I will know to charge MORE money, and to make sure that I have arrangers with plenty of time to help, and musicians as passionate about the project as I will be.

Vitamin Records is a label that produces instrumental versions of lots of popular bands. Strung Out On OK Computer was a birthday present and my introduction to this label. Now, this isn't Muzak that you hear in elevators or chair committee luncheons, these are REALLY REALLY good arrangements, and they stay true to the original songs. At least the Radiohead cd did. As for Rush, Sonic Youth, Kanye West and the cornucopia of others, I can't say, but I can only imagine that they're well done, too.

I tried to contact these peeps before this wedding to see if they had any info about these glorious arrangements already being available for purchase, and when my second inquiry was met with "I've forwarded your inquiry on to someone who can better meet your needs...." I came to the conclusion that Vitamin Records, though great at spitting out these little instrumental pieces of heaven, are elitist, self centered people who sit and laugh over their hummus and zwieback toast at my infantile request. ...Actually, I'm sure they get tons of email, and it's hard to keep track of it all, but still! Couldn't they see that MY request was OBVIOUSLY really really important?! My friend Eric tried emailing them again today (more than a month after my initial request) and he, of course got a reply back within the hour which was more than helpful, and directed him straight to the arranger himself, Doug Munro.

Oh, Lady Justice, why hast though forsaken me?! And for a boy!!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

What did he say...

There was a bulletin all over myspace today about "What would Jesus say to you?" and you go to this website, and it spits out something that he would say, generally profane in nature, though some were just random and bizarre. I was relaying this bulletin post-fest to my friend Paul, and he said, "Hey, I have a story about Jesus."

Let's have at it.

He said that his psychology professor was telling the class about one of his patients recently, without breaking the confidentiality clause.....too much, anyway. They had been studying transpersonalism in class, and I did a little (little) research on this, just to find out exactly what it meant, and because I was curious about the onstart of the lecture I'm about to detail.

According to the Center for Psychological Development (CPD) transpersonalism is defined as follows:
The term transpersonal means beyond (trans) the personal, ego or self.
Transpersonal psychology Is (capital I?) concerned with the study of humanity’s highest potential, and with the recognition, understanding, and realization of unitive, spiritual, and transcendent states of consciousness.*

"La Croce" - I found this picture on some Italian bible code website. Impressionante!

Okay, so there's that. Now during this discussion, the professor shared an experience he had with one of his patients. The patient had recently undergone surgery, of the heart I believe, and while he was on the table he died. Now, I'm sure it's obvious that he did not remain dead, as he had to tell all of this to Professor Psych. When he flatlined, he said that all of a sudden he was in this beautiful garden, and some of the other details I forget, but then Jesus came up to him. The patient (as his name was not revealed for previously state reasons of confidentiality maintain...ment?) said he felt this indescribable feeling of unwavering love and acceptance, and he couldn't even explain it in words because he'd never felt anything close to it before.

The professor asked him if Jesus said anything to him. The patient said, "Yeah, he said, 'What do you think?'"
Now I don't know if he meant, "What do you think about this garden?" or "What do you think about life?" Or, "What do you think about politics?" or what. The professor didn't go into much detail about the rest of the conversation, but the patient re-existed(?) or became alive again 45 minutes later, after they had already pronounced him dead, told his family, and taken him to the morgue.

The teacher then went on to say that Jesus was probably the one to appear to him because he was a Christian, and that's how this particular person interprets God. Nice thought, but I don't think so. I think if God really did appear to different peoples in different ways saying that each particular belief system is the only way to get to him, it makes him a liar, and I don't think he's a liar. I also think that being the root cause of something that has incited more hatred and war than almost anything else in the world isn't really what God's about, but that's a whole different post.

I believe this story for reasons twofold:
1. The story comes from a reliable (deemed so by myself) source - Paul, who had a first person encounter with this professor and his story, and did not come across it as part of a mass message in his inbox.
B. His psychology professor does not believe in said Jesus, and therefore the relaying of this story was not for the salvation of all who hear of the words of which he spake.

Wouldn't it be just like Jesus to ask "What do you think?" Anything in the world to ask, and he wants this guy's opinion. Sounds about right. :)

I like it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

wrapped up like a dooce...

So today has been really slow at work, and I asked Julie for some website suggestions to occupy my time since I can only check and re-check and re-re-check my email so many times before feeling like my life has little to no meaning each time I'm confronted with "no new messages."

Her suggestion: dooce, which I've now created a link to on my page. WARNING: language may not be suitable for younger audiences. *huzzah!*

I should have thought of this already, because back when the term "online" was still met with responses akin to "on-who?" and "hububububub?" - Julie was already a dooce devotee. I vaguely remember her telling me about this girl, who I believe had, at this juncture, just recently been fired from her job for writing about her dissatisfaction in this very blog.

As I said before, it has been and still is a REALLY slow day at work *staring a little too long at the clock to let the reality of the current time - NOT YET 3pm - sink in* and I've had a chance to look through all dooce's pictures and read her most recent posts, and I'm just now embarking on her "Dooced" entries. Dooced is a term coined by said blogstress to mean "having been fired from one's job after writing about it on the internet." I'm paraphrasing, despite the quotes, but these entries include the posts leading up to/posts during/and - job loss.

Let me interject here for a moment to say that I've always loved writing. Every time we had a writing assignment in school - particularly one with creative freedom - I've really enjoyed it. And (starting a sentence with a conjunction - take that grammar ranger!) I feel like it's something I'm actually kind of adept at (strike two!). I also really like reading memoirs or autobiographies, especially if I've never heard of the person before. I just find it fascinating that people can write about themselves, and on top of that, write so entertainingly about themselves, that someone wants to publish it, and subsequently, someone(s) want to buy it.

I was talking about wanting to write my own memoirs one evening with Jessica and Julie and Jessica last year at some bar in Dallas, the name of which now escapes me.

NOTE TO READER: There is a group of friends of which I am a part, that we've (or Jessica R.'s boyfriend Alex) has dubbed "The Girls." We have all gone to school together since elementary/middle school, and we've remained friends and grown closer over the years, most notably the years after graduating high school and throughout college. This group consists of Julie Whitaker (see: JulesDWit link), Jessica Williams, and Jessica Roberts, or Yessica Boberts as she yearns to be called. So when I refer to them, you'll (who'll?) know who I'm talking about. Well, provided that you've read this post, that is. Blast.

(From left: Yessica, Julie, me, and Jessica) My hair doesn't look like this anymore.

Okay, so I was talking to 'the girls' about this desire of mine, because I think I had just finished reading "Dry" by Augusten Burrows. I was explaining that I would love to write my memoirs, but I was afraid that my life just wouldn't be that interesting on paper. Or at least not interesting enough to break even on the expenses of writing and publishing (insert pipe dreams here) an entire novel. Comfortingly, Yessica replied by saying that no one's life is that interesting, some people just know how to write about it. She's very eloquent, and I'm sure she said it with more pizazz, but you get the point.

To come full circle, dooce's blog is kind of like this. Her posts make me laugh out loud, and all she's doing is recounting daily occurrences that everyone deals with in some form or fashion. She has a way of writing that establishes all these events, whether it's her husband sealing (or talking about sealing) the fence, or her daughter peeing all over her, as monumentally significant...not because she says they are, but because I think they are. It's just helped me realize that all those times I sign on to my blog and think I don't have anything interesting to say....I should just say it anyway.

It kind of gives me a way to have an appreciation for the happenings in my life that might seem trivial. And it validates my ever waning sense of self-worth. Right.

Monday, October 03, 2005


In order to gain the respect and admiration of my web savvy-est friend, "Julie," I've embarked on a journey of learning how to blog *check!* and create links in said blog. *as yet unchecked...*

Hopefully, this blog will change all of that. So far I've been able to copy, paste, and insert web locations into existing links that were already on my blog template, and I must say that today, there will be some copying/pasting/inserting, but one day I hope to be able to create a link from memory. *can't wait!*

For my first link, I will start off recommending a site that I think is hilarious and necessary for every aspiring ninja.


....dangit! I don't know how to get rid of that bullet point.......more on this later.

op! figured (julie told me) it out!