Friday, June 29


My judgment of Ms. Goody Two-Shoes has been confirmed. I feel better because now I know I'm not being critical without reason. But I don't feel better because the majority of our community still thinks she is sweet, kind, compassionate, honest, gracious, forgiving, gentle, merciful, docile and as Christian as can be.

Folks tell me that people's true nature comes out in time, that meanies like her will be discovered just like the rest of us were at some point in our lives. But truly ... waiting for "in time" makes me soooo itchy ...

Thursday, June 28

iDAY . . .

Tomorrow, June 29th, is iDay. You know, the day the iPhone drops. For once, I won't be the Mac-sucker, and I will NOT be purchasing one for myself, although B and I have been going back and forth daring each other to fork over $600 for a cell phone.

But of course, it's much, much more than a mere cell phone. It's got pretty Mac things on it! A feast for the eyes, I hear. And I'm putting good money on the fact that someone at church will manage to get his hands on one, so I'll wait my turn to play with it then.

Still, I can't get over the hype. The loyalist in me demands that all new Mac products are hype-worthy, but the buzz over the iPhone and all the press surrounding iDay does, admittedly, make me giggle a little. (And feel a not-insignificant pang of "Eek. What if it doesn't live up to the hype?") In line with all the other media outlets going buckwild about iDay, I give you my local newspaper's hints for the 29th:

"Tomorrow is iPhone day, and if you want one, you'd better start planning today. (That's unless you are reading this from your laptop as you camp outside an Apple Store in Manhattan, where lines have been forming since Monday.)

Here is what you need to know:

- The iPhone goes on sale at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Apple Stores and corporate-owned AT&T stores.

- Expect long lines and arrive early to assure your success, particularly if you go to Apple Stores, which will be magnets for people from all over the Lower Hudson Valley.

- Bring water and food. A buddy would be nice to help spell you for bathroom breaks.

- Don't forget a credit card. Be prepared to pay $499 or $599, depending on whether you want the 4 gigabyte or 8 gigabyte iPhone.

- You won't need to sign up for a service plan with AT&T on the spot because the iPhone is activated through Apple's iTunes. You just buy the box and go. You pick your calling plan at home. Plans start at $59.99 a month for 450 minutes and unlimited Internet and e-mail and 200 text messages.

- If you really aren't up to standing in line, but must have an iPhone tomorrow, some enterprising folks are offering their services as "line waiters" on for fees ranging from $150 to $350. In a post on the Westchester Craigslist, a mom whose three kids are heading to The Westchester in White Plains said her children are college students who want to earn extra summer money. If you go this route, it might be smart to avoid giving cash to strangers.


Wednesday, June 27


"Bridge to Terabithia" ... sweet, sweet film. Rent it.

Tuesday, June 26


I know all about Ms. Goody Two-Shoes. I used to be one. I grew out of it. But I can still spot one from several miles away.

She is prim and proper, almost a throw-back to ladies of the '50s who wore blouses with high collars and pearl-based jewelry. She smiles with her lips pressed together and laughs with her hand lightly covering her mouth. She is quiet in a crowd, not because she is shy or humble, but because she is either (a) storing up points for being demure, or (b) telling herself how glad she is not to be one of the garrulous, laughing, overly-forthright women surrounding her. She smiles and chatters prettily for the men in her social circle, charming them with the China-doll image she has created for herself. She reprimands people whom she thinks has done her wrong by beginning her rebukes with, "I really wish you had ..." She has no ability to get over herself and her exaggerated view of her own skills, talents, worth. In a church setting, she presents herself as holy, spiritual, prayerful, kind, deep. She butters up to the male leaders in the church. She doesn't cross her legs, and presses her eyes together just so when she prays. She contributes silently, then lashes out, out of the sight-line of watching eyes, when her contributions aren't acknowledged in the way she thinks they should be. She shares nothing of her own heart, but offers righteous-sounding platitude upon platitude to those who are fool enough to share their hearts with her.

Oh yeah. I know all about her. I'm not her anymore, thank God, but I know ALL. ABOUT. HER.

Sunday, June 24


If and when God ever blesses me with a child of my own, I will never use him or her as an excuse:
    * to only talk about him or her
    * to not pay attention
    * to not feed my own soul -- whether alone with God, with other believers, or at church on Sundays
    * to not pay more attention to myself or my spouse
    * to "be out of it"
    * to be late
    * to feel and act superior to others, more knowledgeable, more experienced, simply better
    * to make others feel inferior, lacking, less complete as a person
    * to not be aware of what is going on around me, near or far
    * to shirk my responsibilities and duties
    * to interrupt conversations with or care of friends
    * to not pull my fair share of hard work and manual labour
    * to leave people out
    * to close myself in
    * for anything which I cannot stand by on my own

Others might be tempted to say to me, "You'll know when you're a parent" or "You say that now, but ..." or "Who are you to judge me using my children as an excuse in any of the above manners?" But they would be wrong to (1) assume that they actually do know better, (2) predict that I'll reverse myself, or (3) claim that I'm not in a position to observe and resolve to be different. For one thing, my position of observation is as yet objective and definitely on the outside; it's a better perspective from out here, and for sure, in learning what TO do as a future parent, I'm also certainly learning what NOT to do. And for another thing, and more importantly, my greatest role models -- my parents -- managed to avoid the above pitfalls, grow in their faiths, pull their own weight, be generous with time and heart and money, strengthen their friendships and nurture people around them no matter their status or lack thereof. If they can do it, so can I.

Friday, June 22

BUSTED . . .

I saw "Breach" last night. I recommend it with two thumbs up, certainly for Chris Cooper and Laura Linney, and yes, even for Ryan Philippe. And make sure to watch the DVD extras, too.



I've watched friends and acquaintances suffer from a variety of chronic conditions, and I've heard of people who suffer from chronic pain. I have felt so bad for them and wished that I could heal them with my own hands. But, like so many other things, I just don't know until I've gone through it myself.

This new back pain of mine ... I can't even find the right words to describe it. What I can say is this: it hurts not only my back, but my mind and my heart. Sometimes, the stiffness is so severe that I feel like all of my bones have fused together and I can only move as one glued-together unit. Other times, I can't breathe because my muscles are spasming so rapidly. And even other times, I have to move so slowly and cautiously, lest an unaware movement trigger the sharp ache that I dread.

And the worst part is exactly that: the dread. As I wake each morning, I think, "is today going to be a good back day or a bad back day?" As my friend reaches to hug me, I think, "do I have to hold him off in case he squeezes me too hard, or can I relax?" As I sit up, bend over, turn around, step down, lift objects, reach my arms out, or ironically, lean back for a stretch, I think, "is it coming - is the pain coming?"

I am worried. I am stressed out. I am overly cautious. I am scared and grumpy and sleepless. I'm so tired. All because of a wee little spot of pain on my back that radiates unhappiness throughout.

Thursday, June 21


The reason cliches are cliches is because they are TRUE.

Case in point: if at first you don't succeed, TRY, TRY AGAIN.

Tuesday, June 19


The first is always the best.

"Ocean's 13" was ... eh. Visually = STUNNING. My eyes were gorging on the sumptuousness of the colours and shapes.

But the movie itself ... I was bored because the cast was bored. Actually, no, I enjoyed Casey Affleck and Scott Caan. And I don't know why I get such a kick out of it, but I do: I simply LOVE the fact that the Chinese actor is not translated, internally or for the audience. However, as for the rest of the film ...

Sigh, I need to go rent "Ocean's 11" so I can erase the memory of 12 and 13 from my mind.



We're going through a series called "The Beginning and the End" at church lately, and by all empirical, philosophical, theoretical and theological accounts, there is no reason for the diametric opposition between science and religion (or more precisely, science and Christianity). Why the two are constantly pitted against each other, why one cancels the other out, why proponents of one are always ridiculing proponents of the other, is all beyond my ability to fathom. And as always, I'm going to blame the media, for they write paragraphs like this:

"Three-century-old manuscripts by Isaac Newton calculating the exact date of the apocalypse, detailing the precise dimensions of the ancient temple in Jerusalem and interpreting passages of the Bible -- exhibited this week for the first time -- lay bare the little-known religious intensity of a man many consider history's greatest scientist."

The strong intimation is that because Newton was one of history's greatest scientists, he could not also have been a man of religious intensity, curiosity and/or fervor. How could great science and great faith (or even religious curiosity) have possibly resided in one man?

What an irresponsible intimation. It would only make sense that a true scientist, one who pursued truth in the world and how the world operates, would also delve into religious matters. Duh.

Thursday, June 14

SAD . . .

Ruth Graham, beloved wife of Rev. Billy Graham, died today.

Go with God.

Thursday, June 7


Originally uploaded by chaesq
A little while ago, a friend and I went to the Met to check out the new Greek and Roman Galleries. While it wasn't the quiet, uncrowded, dramatic and dimly-lit vision I had expected and wanted (from seeing all the newspaper and magazine photos) it was still quite thrilling. There will always be something about light streaming down from the skies that seems to fill me with the very greatest and boldest essence of life. There will always be something about old, intricate, beautiful sculpture carefully chiseled by an ancient artisan that makes me marvel and scratch my head and catch my breath. There will always be something about the Met that satisfies ...

Originally uploaded by chaesq

Originally uploaded by chaesq
"The Three Graces" ... took my breath away.

Originally uploaded by chaesq
However beautiful the things at eye level and above are, I can't help always looking down at my feet, to see what I'm standing on. I prefer not to think of it as a strange quality; rather, an attention to detail that perhaps I might share, in however a rudimentary fashion, with those detail-oriented artists who created the happiness I might find below me. The tilework in the Galleries is scrumptious. I wanted to shout at everyone to "look down! Look down!" But then again ... I sort of liked having the floor all to myself.

Originally uploaded by chaesq

Originally uploaded by chaesq

Originally uploaded by chaesq
The day just could not have been more beautiful. We strolled all over Central Park, ostensibly looking for a place to settle down to read and relax. But frankly, it was more relaxing to take in sights like this, viewed from the Belvedere Tower overlook. Gorgeous. I love this town.

Wednesday, June 6


Sometimes all it takes is one short phrase to break me: "We missed you."



Thirty-one years ... Thirty-one years have passed and I'm embarrassed to admit that I am only now learning what it means to care selflessly for someone. To take on someone's problems and hurts and pains as my own and to carry them with both hands and my whole heart. To be faced with someone who has nothing to give me, not even the energy to reach out for me or smile at me or speak coherently to me, and to have to fill that person up with the little that I have myself. To overcome my tiredness so that another can be refreshed. To sacrifice my time and space so that I can give rest to another. To listen without speaking. To put myself aside for a short (or long) time so that another can take precedence. To do so cheerfully and lovingly, without resentment, without looking at the clock to see when it'll be my turn to receive.

It's exhausting. It's exhausting for the perfect soul; all the more so for me, who does it all so poorly. As imperfectly done, it is satisfying and right, but exhausting nonetheless. And I wouldn't have it any other way, for the cliche is correct: it IS better to give than to receive.



The countdown is on: now that the new 15" MacBook Pros, with LED screens have been released, the only big thing left to come - this year, anyway - is the mini-laptop. 13.3" is the word on the street. Super-thin. No optical drive, but who needs one anyway? Wide-screen viewing. More screen real estate. Faster everything. LED screens. I hear the Apple angels singing their joy now ....

Friday, June 1

HONOR . . .

What a stand-up guy. I'm not going to start to imagine this world without him. God may be happy to have him home, but this world will suffer for the loss in massive ways.

“My whole life has been to please the Lord and honor Jesus,
not to see me and think of me.”

- Rev. Billy Graham