Sunday, March 30, 2008

I did it! I cut my own hair!

It was a swift process, or would have been if I hadn't taken pictures. Here's my hair before:

I gathered it in a ponytail on the very top of my head, and twisted it around:

Here are the ratty ends about to get severed:

I trimmed off an inch, straight across, with haircutting scissors:

And I'm done!

I know what you're thinking: "It doesn't look any different!" And that, dear reader, is the point. I took a pair of scissors to my own hair, and it doesn't look any worse! You could not ask for a better outcome! I think, measured in volume, I barely cut off anything at all...

No more spending money on haircuts for me. From now on I shall trim my own hair at my own pace, like the pioneer women of old!

I think my hair actually looks little longer after than before. I didn't mix up the pictures; it's just a trick of how my hair was combed or something.

I'm not serious about this, but...

... it would probably be a bestseller.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Making fun of the L.A. Cathedral is like shooting fish in a barrel...

...and has been done by every other L.A. Catholic with a blog. So how could I resist?

These are the nicknames I have heard for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels:
Taj Mahony
Rog Mahal
Our Lady of the Angles
The Jawa Sandcrawler
Our Lady of the Borg

A couple of comments about this cathedral, from the internet (and boy, are there a lot more where these came from):

"The one good thing that can be said of Taj Mahony is that it so little resembles a Church that it should be pretty easy to sell it if the Archdiocese and some future Cardinal ever come to their senses. The proceeds could be used to build an actual Church instead of this worship space on hallucinogens."

"A friend of mine was in LA just after the Rog-Mahal opened, and of that strange building he said this: 'It looks like the box a cathedral would come in.'"

The picture is from The Curt Jester, and I really wish His Eminence would thoughtfully consider the offer on the sign. But we'd have to sell it soon, before it starts to look silly and passé like all those 1960's buildings that were meant to be so bravely modern.

Oh, and let's not forget the scary androgynous adolescent with butch haircut and sci-fi clothing which adorns the doorway to the Borg mothership and which the Powers That Be are pleased to say represents the Virgin Mary. We may forgive, but let us never forget.

In fairness I have to say it's no worse than her representation here. But what did the Blessed Mother ever do to deserve this kind of thing?

New title

I've been planning to switch to the new title for a while now; "Would you like blog with that?" was never anything but a placeholder. I'm a bit embarrassed about my new banner, whipped up in three minutes with Microsoft Paint, seeing as I have a friend with an art degree who actually knows something about web design. I'll just hope most of my other readers are as tasteless as I am. :) I think I need to shrink the picture a bit but I'll worry about that later.

I am made of awesome

My parents are visiting back east, so I visited their house today to water the flowers and feed the cat and pick up the mail. And what did I find in the fridge? Chocolate chip cookie dough! I made cookies last week and forgot I'd put the leftover dough in there. And there's just enough for one person to gorge herself on in front of the computer in between moving the hoses down the driveway! Ah, bliss.

It's still Easter...

... so I can link to an Easter homily if I want to. :) St. John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407) preached this and the Ironic Catholic made me aware of it:

Hell grasped a corpse, and met God

Incidentally, he was called "Chrysostom" because he was such a good preacher-- it means "golden-mouthed". And it's still Easter because Catholics celebrate it for eight days, an octave. (Christmas gets eight days too.) Then the Easter season continues till Pentecost, which is May 11 this year.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I know Lent is over...

...but the Crescat had a really moving post last Thursday which I just now discovered. It's a series of works illustrating Jesus' Passion from the Last Supper to the Resurrection.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I reveal my secret anagram

Now that my full name's been posted on the web, sabotaging future job prospects and jump-starting my FBI file (so comforting to know that waterboarding is not torture, it just feels like it!), it's time for me to reveal the shocking feature of my seemingly respectable name. As we know, anagrams contain all knowledge and insight. And it turns out that "Rachel Florence Gray" anagrams to...
Forge carnal lechery.
Yeah... what can I say? But! I have a confirmation name to add now! When I realized this I flew over to the Internet Anagram Server to learn my new true identity, as anagrammed from "Rachel Francis Florence Gray". There were a few false starts, such as:
A Farcical Corn Greenly Fresh
Freelancing Charcoal Fryers
which suggest that any summer barbeque I might put on would be of uneven quality. Also there was:
Frilly Fragrance Encroaches
an apparent reference to the unfortunate habit of wearing overwhelming flowery perfume in crowded enclosed spaces. And there's a prayerful variation:
Rosary Chancel Fern Cafe Girl

which makes me picture myself praying in church with lots of little tables and potted plants around. But anyway, then I found this, and recognized it at once as my true anagram name:
Archangels: Fiercer Falconry!
How cool is that? Falconry is a life-or-death sport in which your trained falcon takes to the skies to kill smaller prey and bring the bloody little corpse back to you. So what's even fiercer than a falcon? An ARCHANGEL, that's what, who will take to the skies to slaughter the principalities, the powers, the world rulers of this present darkness, and then deliver their bloody little corpses back to me! Or perhaps I shouldn't push the analogy quite that far....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dinner at elBulli

An old college friend of mine has this step-by-step illustrated account of his dinner at elBulli, a famous restaurant in Spain. It's worth reading if you have twenty minutes to waste; every course is something you've never seen before.

Faithful to the end

Sometimes the deaths of holy people have the air of being deliberately willed. I was told a story of Father Bede Jarrett, the great Dominican provincial who died not very long ago, which illustrates that. I have been told that when he fell into his last illness, Father Bernard Delany went to see him, and said, "Well, Father, of course you know that you've got to get well; we can't possibly spare you." And about a fortnight later, when Father Bernard went to see him again, Father Bede said, "Oh, Father, I'm so dreadfully tired; do you think you could let me want to die after all, or must I go on under obedience wanting to live? " And he naturally said, "Oh, of course I never meant to put you under obedience." And Father Bede said, "Thank you so much," and died about half an hour afterwards.
From The Creed in Slow Motion, by Msgr Ronald Knox

New convert has questions

Some dude named John C. Wright joined the Catholic Church this last weekend and posted about it. Among his questions:
I have heard my whole life how corrupt and superstitious the Catholic Church is, so, now that I am in, where do I sign up? I'd like to start with Simony. Can I buy Church offices wholesale, and then sell them through retail outlets? What are the tax implications?
Now why didn't I think to ask stuff like that? He also wants to know where to put his confirmation name. Apparently it goes right after your baptismal name, which would make me Rachel Francis Florence Gray. Not bad.

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Attention, burglars!"

"We're a bunch of dunces here in Lakewood. Come rob us!"

(I snapped this photo myself and can verify its authenticity.)

That's romantic

I spent much of Valentine's Day helping out at the Missionaries of Charity convent. With the exception of me, everyone there was either single and pregnant, or vowed to lifelong celibacy. Think it's catching? :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Priestly tact

On Ash Wednesday I walked to the front of church where a priest solemnly intoned, "Remember that dust you are and to dust you will return," while he drew a black cross on my forehead with a thumb smudged in ashes.

Later he remarked cheerfully, "They don't show up on anybody like they do on you!"

But I'll have you all know that I have a very healthy monitor tan. :)

After Lent, I can... whatever I want, whenever I want. the Internet anywhere I please. on my blog if I feel like it!

There's a strange and wonderful sense of freedom. :)

I don't really want to eat much at the moment, since last night after the Easter Vigil I went out with some like-minded gluttons and consumed a half-pound barbecue bacon cheeseburger. What cracked me up was my friend who'd given up coffee for Lent and so had two cups of it at the restaurant-- it was nearly midnight!


It was a beautiful Lent and an even better Triduum. I didn't want it to end. And there's still Easter Sunday tomorrow! (I haven't gone to bed yet, so right now it's still Saturday.)

I don't have words for any elevated spiritual feeling beyond that, but I can plagiarize: here's the Exultet! A version of this was sung a capella at the Easter Vigil tonight while we all held our flaming candles. This is what I'd say if I were both well-rested and eloquent.
Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,

that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
"The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.