Operating on Religion. Part 1.

September 24, 2010 at 6:48 am | Posted in religion, school | 6 Comments
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What’s that you see? Yes, it’s a post. I have returned to teh internets. At least this corner of it. I figure that since I have suspended my classroom education for the year (or two for reasons that are still shelved in the back of my brain to be dealt with at a later date) that I no longer have boring, badly copied readings and bullshit (I mean that endearingly) english papers clamoring for my time. Without future ado..


I met SJ in college. We hit it off immediately. Both from the west coast, we were marooned in Philadelphia and its fast east coast ways and lackluster sunshine. Our mothers bonded while they moved us into our tiny freshmen rooms. Well, my room was a tiny double. SJ’s roommate was a Pakistani girl that for reasons unclear withdrew at the last moment leaving SJ with a double, already slightly larger than normal, to herself. My mother and I were on the floor of my new room, transforming it into the set from one of those commercials Bed Bath & Beyond runs during college move in season. “Yoohoo. Anyone in there? We don’t have a key,” wafted through my ground floor window. And thus I met SJ’s mother.

I immediately saw in SJ my salvation. The world feeds us the line that college is where it’s at. College is where you meet your best friends (true for my parents), where you live and reminisce about it for the rest of your life. I stepped foot in my assigned hallway, opened my assigned door, and checked my subconscious expectation for an assigned best friend.

Which is all to say, SJ and I connected on a plane I hadn’t quite experienced before. Politically, culturally we were borne of opposite threads. I grew up in a household that wasn’t religious. My parents aren’t atheist, but we didn’t go to church. I did go to bible study – of my own free will – because I found the exercises fun and it was run by my neighbor’s mother. My favorite book for a long time was the Children’s Bible because I loved the pictures (one on every page) and the stories. But none of this molded me into a religious person.

I went to a high school stuffed with big ideas and liberal veins. The majority of my friends fit this mold and those who didn’t were considered naive and given more than one impromptu sex education demonstration with a spoon and a fist over greasy pizza and chocolate milk cartons in the cafeteria. We were lucky to go to a high school that encouraged us to fight our teachers, to debate our peers. Occasionally we dug ourselves into holes, but by the time we graduated we had tasted blood. We flipped our tassels, tossed our caps, and began our hunt for some college meat to sink our considerable (or so we thought) canines into.

So I expected myself to be frustrated with SJ. To stalk her conservative values and take them down one peg at a time. I admit that at first this is how I approached our friendship. We’d watch The Music Man – in love with the world our favorite musicals presented us on screen for 3 hours. Marian, the librarian. But at lunch, I’d bring up Prop 8 and ask again what she believed and why.

I quickly abandoned the huntress and prey approach. I respected SJ’s ideals. I didn’t understand them, so I grilled her constantly about her religion and learned about it. I went to church with her, got a Book of Mormon, went to a bible study or two. Mormonism became my “Operation” game (a stand in for all general religious ideas). I poked my tweezers into its organs and mulled the result over.

I haven’t been convinced.

I’m still a spiritual person. I can Have Faith and Believe in the Universe to work things out, but “God” and His principles still stand to question.

I’ll leave my specific objections to Part 2. As I’ve been writing this post, I’ve been listening to the L Word in the background but now approaches the finale (with Anabella Sciorra) and I’d like to give it (and her) my full attention.

Also my nose is running – I shall vanquish ye head cold! – and it’s slowing down my WPM.


Is the Kindle already extinct?

March 10, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Reprinted article I wrote that appeared in the Bryn Mawr College newspaper. It can be found online here.

The highly anticipated Amazon Kindle debuted in November 2007 and sold out in a matter of hours.

Amazon was hailed as a pioneer, paving the path for the e-book industry and leaving the Old Ways of print in the dust. Much as the iPod revolutionized the music industry, the Kindle heralded a new era for the publishing world.

This month Bryn Mawr College joined this new technological wave. A post on the tri-co library blog on Feb. 2 announced to the community, “Curious about the Kindle? Borrow one from Canaday!”

Berry Chamness, Head of Technical Services and coordinator for the tri-co libraries IT, and Melissa Kramer, Head of Bryn Mawr Library Access Services, worked together to get Bryn Mawr a Kindle.

“Melissa and I were talking about e-book readers — and this was actually over a year ago — and would there be any usefulness in libraries for us to possibly circulate an e-book reader of some sort,” said Chamness.

At the time, the Kindle was the best e-book reader on the market. Its competitors — such as Apple’s iPad and Barnes and Noble’s Nook — had not yet launched.

“We wanted to experiment with this and see what kind of use students might make of [the Kindle],” Chamness said.

He and Kramer hoped the Kindle might store course reserves, but found that there was no course that had a substantial amount of course readings available on the Kindle.

This might change as e-books become more popular and publishers tap into the market.

“What we ended up doing was saying, let’s just get some suggestions from students on what they might like to read on an e-book version,” Chamness said.

The post announcing the Kindle’s arrival also listed the several e-books loaded onto the device. These include Moby Dick, Great Expectations, The Mists of Avalon, and Evil Genius. To find a complete table of contents, search “e-book” in the tri-co library search bar. If a book is in the Kindle, it will show up in a search as an “e-book” and be listed as a Kindle edition.

Common anti-e-book reader sentiments include dislike for reading material on screens and a sentimental attachment to curling up on a chair and reading a physical book. Continue Reading Is the Kindle already extinct?…

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