Thursday, November 24, 2005

Starbucks Rocks

My internet at home was down last night for some reason or other. It still is today, actually. So I didn't get any work done yesterday or today that I would've liked to. Ironically, it's Thanksgiving this weekend in the US, so most of my colleagues at work aren't going to be there tonite or tomorrow anyway. Half of them had dissappeared from my Yahoo messenger list by Tuesday, so I'm sure I'm not missed. I was thinking of working today and Friday to get my list of tickets down to a manageable number, but it looks like I'm being forced to take a day off or two. And so I'll blog a bit.

Right now I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Taipan that has WiFi access. It just occurred to me a few minutes ago that this is exactly what I used to do at the Starbucks in the commons area of the UT library. Different laptop, but same table (almost... it's wooden and it looks very yuppie), more-or-less the same coffee (I think I moved on to warmer beverages), and the same soft lighting. One thing this Starbucks has that the one at UT lacked is mood music. One thing the Starbucks at UT had that this one doesn't was a semi-constant parade of beautiful young women walking in and out the door, bookbags or laptops in hand.

I like to come here to Starbucks occasionally, and read a book. They have large, soft, comfortable chairs here you could sit in forever if not for the slightly odd smell that emanates from them. Your nose gets used to it after a while, but it still kinda bothers you at the back of your mind that there was a smell in the first place, and so eventually you do get up and leave. Perhaps they don't wash the chair cushions on purpose, for that very reason. I've been doing quite a bit of reading the past few months, more than I ever have in a year. It started, I think, with a book a friend loaned me that was a condensed picturesque version of Philip Yancey's 'What's So Amazing About Grace?'. I started reading that at the cafe we have down by the pool of my family's apartment complex. Then I realised what fun that was, and I started buying books just to read at the cafe. Eventually I found out Starbucks was a good place to do that too, albeit more expensive.

I don't remember the exact order I read them in, but the books I've gone through this year are 'Orthodoxy' and 'Francis of Assisi' by G.K. Chesterton, 'The Bible Jesus Read' by Philip Yancey, 'Protestant Biblical Interpretation' by Bernard Ramm, and I've started on C.S. Lewis's 'Out Of The Silent Planet', which Marci gave me as a going-away present, but that I'd forgotten I'd had until now, shame on me.

Chesterton is always good fun to read, simply because the man was obviously insane (as the world today might count insanity), but yet, paradoxically, was so given to being right on a good many number of things. It is, however, a strange book in many places. I would consider 'Orthodoxy' a book to return to at different seasons in my life, just to see if the whole makes more sense in that later time than it does to me now.

'The Bible Jesus Read' was a book I picked up because it was about the Old Testament, and I have been trying to read through the Old Testament. It was a good read, though, and very edifying, but I'm not certain how helpful it has been with regards to keeping my OT reading on track. I finished Yancey's book a few months ago. I'm still stuck at Deutoronomy.

'Protestant Biblical Interpretation' was one of my more random selections. It had never occurred to me in the past to read an entire textbook (for that is what it is) on the subject of hermenuetics (which means... bible interpretation. Woah!). It's not the handiest reference ever (it does a poor job of organizing and categorizing its ideas), but it did impress upon me the importance of getting some sort of biblical encyclopedia(s) in the future to help with my understanding of the cultural and philological aspects of any passage of scripture. I also learned the meaning of the word 'philological' :p.

So that's what I've been reading this year. I'm pretty grateful that I've had a year like this, if only because I found some time to read, collect my thoughts, and write a couple of songs. I don't think it can be this good for much longer, which is just as well. Too much more of this and I fear I may get too comfortable. There's stuff out there to do, and which I've started poking my head into. I haven't committed to anything yet, simply because I'm not sure I'll be here or in the states next year. Once I know for certain, I can start jumping into these things wholeheartedly.

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