Saturday, 12 December 2009

7 Quick Takes (XXI)

1. Was it only last Friday that I went to a party? It must have been just a week ago. That's crazy. That, then is the first entry: On Friday I went to a party. The import of this is that I haven't been to a real social gathering since September--September!--when I visited Oakville, Kingston, and Windsor. It was tremendously awkward at first since I knew so few people and didn't want to latch onto those I did know and drag them down with my own social ineptitude. But in the end it worked out, as I got to know a few other people there and by the end I had quite a bit of fun.

2. Saturday. What happened Saturday? Books happened on Saturday. That's what. We went to the library, where I extracted The Magician's Book again, as well as Neuromancer. I finally got to finish the former, which has excellent parts and less than excellent parts. (It also gave me a book idea--I good one, I think--that I will attempt in the future. Not yet. I am not mature enough to take on this task yet.) I began Neuromancer, but will return it without finishing it, I think. It is perhaps too dark and gritty for me. Maybe not; maybe it's just a mood I'll pass through. But I am not feeling it right now.
After this, there was an expedition to the Peter Pond Shopping Centre (ie. the mall). This involved Chinese food and Bootleggers (not for me) and Zellers and Coles. This later was what interested me most, as from it came The Elements of Style and Huston Smith's The World's Religions. Lacking a reference book in either English grammar or world religions, I decided that I must use my gift certificates to remedy this situation. I have never read Strunk and White's classic, so I picked it up. And Smith's book was the most promising and most comprehensive, though now that I look over it I realize it stills lacks things on what might be called 'minor' religions--Shinto, Zoroastrianism, Rastafarianism, Wicca and Neo-Paganism, Mormonism, Scientology. There is a section for "primal religions" in the back, but this is thin and covers too vast a territory for me to confident of it. I haven't read that far yet, so I can't tell you for sure.
What Huston's book has so far done is greatly improve my understanding of Buddhism and re-familiarize me with Hinduism and Confucianism. That's as far as I've read so far, but I feel edified for having read this. Also, it's here in Fort Mac with me, so I can refer to it as need be. This is better than my host of textbooks in Ontario, which I cannot access. Yay!
Visits to the other stores mentioned, incidentally, involved buying presents for families through the Salvation Army.

3. Events must have occured on Sunday, but for me the day revolved around the twin axes of church, in which I didn't serve, and reading. I haven't spent enough time reading lately, so spending a whole day with The Magician's Book (see above) was nice. Not that I agree with certain parts of that book, but it was nice to just read.

4. And then on Monday work recommenced. Somewhere in this past week I finished writing text files, which is to say that most of the prose for the exhibit I am designing is now in draft form. This I must edit myself and then have edited. I have a rock-truck of work left to do, which means that the coming holidays will lack in certain holiday-like elements. Such as free time, or as much of it as Christmas usually heralds. This exhibit is becoming a stress-centre.

5. I need to spend more time on grad school applications again. I very much do not want to--I have mentioned this sentiment before--but there you go. I must, or I will be here in Fort McMurray for yet another year, and I can tell you that if that wasn't an incentive before, this week has changed that...

6. ...because it is COLD here! Geez jumpin' Louise. It took the knights of yore less time to suit up for a joust than it does for me to get my outdoor gear on, and I'm still woefully underdressed. I lack snowpants or other leg-warming accoutrements, for instance. I wear a coat and a jacket and a sweater over a t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt simultaneously, as well as two pairs of gloves (that's gloves, not mittens, b/c I need fingers to work) and two pairs of socks in my boots. I wear a hat and a hood (sometimes two hoods, if I am wearing my one-and-only hoodie that day) and a scarf or a neckwarmer. Under this pile of cotton and polyester my torso and ears are warm, but my hands, legs, and feet are still cold.
Now, in case you're thinking that I'm merely participating in that time-honoured Canadian tradition of griping about the cold, let me lay down some figures for you. Yesterday I saved some outdoors-related tasks at work for the early afternoon, when it was to warm up to -30 oC. For you Fahrenheiters, that's -22 oF, according to some on-line temperate calculator. Notice that it warmed up to that temperature. You wouldn't know it, though. I heard tell that with the wind chill it was -50. My legs actually hurt they were so cold when I did my end-of-day security round.
Some forecaster was talking about a balmy -5 next week, but I've been told that they lie about the forecast all the time. This happened during the summer when they told us it would be sunny next week, and it never was. I'm not surprised they lost a zero somewhere between the meteorologist's office and the newsroom.

7. I went to work for a few hours today and got a photo shoot done. (Of artifacts and not models, alas.) And then on the way back I had an impromptu photoshoot of some ravens. My subjects were kind enough to pose for me, though they were a bit nervous.

Oh, and I didn't do this last night because the folks wanted to break out a new game Mom bought called Catch Phrase. I found out about it at the party (see above), so Mom got it on Saturday (see above).
Also, again outside of the 7 Quick Takes thing, do people ever e-mail information to themselves, like pictures or links or whatever, instead of burning CDs or using USB keys? If yes, does anyone else feel weird about writing anything in the body? Like it somehow bifurcates your selfhood, makes you uncomfortably non-singular? Or am I the only one who both feels such bifurcations and feels uncomfortable about them?


skatej said...

No bifurcation here. I consider it a note to self. I did it all the time before I had a jump drive and had to print something on-the-fly at a computer lab.
Funny, I was at a party last Friday night where I played Catch Phrase. We also played it Sunday night!

Doug Hogg said...


I came across your article above which refers to Scientology. I was raised a Christian but was very much on the fence about religion and my own spirituality. One day I ran into a short book, Dianetics, Evolution of a Science, and it made a lot of sense to me. Dianetics is the forerunner of Scientology and to understand Scientology, I recommend starting with this book as it explains concepts basic to Scientology.
It is available at

Why did Dianetics become Scientology? Dianetics means "through mind", and through Dianetics, I can honestly say that I became certain of the fact that I am a spiritual being. At that point, I moved into the realm of Scientology which means "study of knowledge". I find that Scientology has goals which are similar to those of Buddhism and other eastern religions, in that the idea is to achieve a greater understanding of ourselves and life right here on Earth. Interestingly, the concept of God is not prescribed in Scientology. Rather it is left to the individual to achieve a high enough state to understand God for oneself. So is Scientology a genuine religion? Well it works for me.


Doug Hogg

Christian H said...

Is Scientology a genuine religion? I'd give that an unqualified yes, if by 'genuine' you mean that the word "religion" denotes a category of which Scientology is a member. But the way I define religion includes Buddhism and most forms of atheism, so I think there are some who would argue with me on that.

Thank-you, though, Doug, for your response. Learning about other people's faiths is something I do too much through books and not enough through conversations, and so your dialogue means something to me.

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