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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Swiffer and Gogol (good fish names)

Have you ever had a totally irrational and long standing hatred of a product? I just realized the other day that I have this /thing/ against Swiffer! The first time I heard of it I thought it was stupid -- basically a paper towel jammed on to the end of a pole. Gross. Okay, then came "Swiffer Wet". Oh great, so now I get to run this thing all over my filthy floor, then pull it off with my bare hands, delightful. Then for some reason I heard this Swiffer ad coming from the other room (even though we gave up tv for Advent, I swear -- oh that's right we turned it on briefly to check the weather report) and I swear I was /heckling/ the ad out loud! Things like "That's so dumb. Just get a mop, moron".

Anyway, this has been going on for years. I should get over it.

Okay, so having absolutely burned through Crime and Punishment (and again I cannot recommend this new translation strongly enough -- will it help to say that this team have also translated Lossky and Schmemann?), I felt I had to continue in the Slavic vein, so now I'm reading Gogol for the first time. Boy, that's what's great about literacy, isn't it? All your life, no matter how ancient you become, even, say, 36, you can still have new experiences without leaving your living room. Anyway, it's this book of his stories called The Overcoat. So far I've just read the first story, called the Terrible Vengeance. It's one of the weirdest and most lyrical things I've read in a long time. It's kind of a scary fairy tale with a hair raising end bit which turns out to be a prequel thing which explains the whole bizarre thing. Check it out.

Then there's the second story -- I can't remember the name -- Somebody and his Aunt -- and I've only read a bit, but it has this great line from the aunt writing to her nephew. It is the ps and has nothing to do with anything:

We have the most wonderful turnip in our kitchen garden. It is not so much a turnip as a potato.

Monday, November 20, 2006

St Barnabas

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two more completed icons, bringing my lifetime achievement up to five!

Well, here it is at last (thanks, Tab!) -- a photo of my completed St John the Forerunner. And it only took three and a half years! The St Barnabas one is above (if I do this right); I finished that one at the same time. They are now up Island and installed in the new (drumroll. . .) well, read on --

Congratulations to the mission of St Barnabas in Comox, BC, who have completed and moved into their new, purpose built CHAPEL!!!

I can't wait to go see it!

Joy of the Feast to all you Orthobloggers out there. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Actually I'm a fairly happy creature these days, rain and mud notwithstanding.
Really I have nothing to say except hi there, just to break throught the blog-block I have going again.
Just read: Till We Have Faces, by you know very well who. Hadn't read it in a loooong time. Pretty gripping stuff: I am Ungit! Brrrrrr!

Reading now: Crime and Punishment. Have never read it, which is delicious. The last time I had a 'Russian' phase was in oh, 1992. High time for another one. If you want to know, the first couple of chapters constitute one of the most heart-wrenching depictions of what alcoholism does to families in --I'm sure -- all of literature. (Angela's ashes is another, of course.) It is a bracing reminder of one of the functions of literature: to bypass the cliche detectors in your brain and slap it with something as if for the first time. All the AA pamphlets in the world can't shake you the way Dostoyevski does when he drags you into a miserable apartment where children are starving (and then beaten for crying with hunger) and a young woman-- their stepsister -- is forced into prostitution to save them (and then is kicked out of the building for being an 'bad' person) all because their father drinks every bit of money that comes his way.

It sounds wretched, and of course it is, but reading it is somehow wonderful. It helps that the translators of my edition are the exquisite team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volohonski. If memory serves, Heather (my iconography guru) went to St Vlad's with Ms Volohonski and I think Mr Pevear as well. Cool. Plus the book has a nifty cover design, which always helps.

Okay, off to bed now, mainly so I can read.